Print Story A Long Lonely Time
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:23:14 AM EST) Reading, Museums, MLP, OBMS (all tags)
Reading: "The Solitude of Thomas Cave". Museums. Web. OBMS.


What I'm Reading
The Solitude of Thomas Cave by Georgina Harding. Curious book: 17th century whaler Thomas Cave takes a bet that he can survive a winter in Greenland: he makes it, but is changed forever by the experience.

Was expecting a kind of fictionalised Worst Journey in the World with lots of detail about ingenious methods of survival. Instead it's a part-psychological, part-allegorical journey into the human soul

Quite crisply written and compelling in places. Found it a bit hard to take myself though: had problems suspending disbelief, and it didn't really seem to say that much.

Museums
Saw the Shah Abbas exhibition at the British Museum: collection of works related to the influential ruler of Persia.

Was pretty quiet on the Sunday morning, no queue to get in. Usual BM bureaucracy: even with a card you have to go over and get a ticket, and it's a kind of linear labyrinth that makes it hard to backtrack, though may work well for shepherding hordes at busier times.

A few interesting things there. Especially liked the sparse and elegant silver bowls designed for exceptionally religious people without too much ostentation.

However, mixing up the Persian artefacts with Chinese porcelain and European paintings doesn't do them many favours. The blue and white pottery looks decidedly crude by comparison, and the lack of perspective makes the paintings look slightly childish.

Museums 2
Dropped in at the last day of the Rebecca Warren exhibition at the Serpentine gallery. Bit of a mixed bag. Some very tedious vitrines of ugly random objects in glass cases, and some pointlessly conceptual bronze cubes. However some of the unfired clay sculptures are fascinating: there's a nice rotating one with a female form emerging from the rough clay. And the "Helmut Crumb" sculpture seems to me a hilarious Robert Crumb tribute: woman reduced to two muscular legs and a vagina.

Slideshow, review, review, review.

Operation Become More Stoic
Fasted for 24 hours last week: no food, just water and black coffee. Not what I expected: thought there would be agonizing hunger pangs and a kind of light-headed clarity. Instead I only felt about as hungry as on a normal day: felt hungry as a mealtime approached, but less hungry after it passed.

Mentally however I felt tired and thick-headed: it's a bit like waking up still drunk.

Definitely makes you appreciate your food a lot more afterwards though. Might try skipping meals next time I need to lose weight too.

In general, not much change since last time. I'm definitely a lot more less stressed in queues and when trapped behind slow-moving walkers. Also managed to deal more patiently with my family.

Doesn't seem to be helping at work though: I lost my temper a bit on Friday. Epictetus says "To the rational being only the irrational is unendurable, but the rational is endurable." I think the irrationality of work problems makes it hard to deal with: I'm forced to waste time on ludicrously stupid ideas, and can't work effectively because I'm constantly having to change tracks to deal with whatever the latest artificial crisis is.

Web
Video. TV ad pans around a frozen action scene. Snatch Wars. A dark and silly night. Wolf/pig stop motion.

Articles. Form-fillers will continue to thrive. Weak newspapers should die.

Random. Bridge Game (MeFi). No-eye-contact gorilla safety glasses. Helicopter sniper drone uses Xbox 360 controller. Cutting through steel with bacon.

Science. Antarctic bacteria. Economics. China buys copper. Mankiw advocates Negative money supply. Partisanship bias.

< MLP | I'm writing this from my retired iBook. >
A Long Lonely Time | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Unscientific half-heard rumour alert! by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:44:50 AM EST
I've heard fasting is a counter-productive way to lose weight as your body just stores more calories next time you eat in anticipation of you doing it again.

Interesting experiment though, maybe I'll try it...

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It's political correctness gone mad!

That's true by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:50:07 AM EST
I was thinking of just skipping meals, rather than going whole days without eating.

I think it takes a couple of days for the famine response to kick in though.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Well...not really... by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 11:25:58 AM EST
The body can only work with the calories you put in it. More likely is that people overcomponesate the next day thinking "I can get away with this because I fasted yesterday". 90% of dieting is psychology and simple calories in<calories out.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
but if by bobdole (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 02:57:19 AM EST
in > out in the first place, skipping a meal might bring it down to in == out (or at least close). The body does also store "reserves" for worse times, bringing on famine triggers this response and can force it to store more the next time you attempt the famine trick.

For losing those last pounds before a weight-in (or similar shortterm goals) starving yourself can actually work, but for the long term - easy does it.

-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
Calories in = calories out is true by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:21:21 AM EST
But the rate it's metabolised at has a big effect on the amount you take in.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
"Metabolism" by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:22:13 AM EST
Is a big word for "the body makes you feel tired so you move less, thereby burning fewer calories".
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
If you can get to Britannica by R Mutt (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:43:05 AM EST
Look up thyroid: hormone
The two thyroid hormones have many actions. One of the most important is to regulate the metabolism of nutrients and the consumption of oxygen in cells (i.e., the metabolic rate of tissues).
Even though the claims of fad diets that they can speed up your metabolism are generally bollocks; it's not complete nonsense that there is a metabolic rate, and starvation reduces it.

[ Parent ]
Energy has to be conserved by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 02:04:21 PM EST
In the end, you can't reduce energy consumption without using energy use.  Regardless of the biological mechanism, a reduction in energy usage has to be measurable as a reduction of either motion, heat output, growth, or something.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Article continues by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 04:09:31 AM EST
The hormones also stimulate the contraction of heart muscle and increase heart rate, stimulate nerve function, and increase the utilization of cholesterol and other nutrients
I think the main effect though is that body tissues regenerate much less when you're starving: your muscles start wasting away and the energy that would rebuild them is diverted to movement instead.

Presumably a slower heart rate reduces energy consumption to a degree though, and sounds like less cholesterol etc is wasted.

[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure there's well accepted science ... by lm (4.00 / 2) #13 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 12:01:15 PM EST
... for example, alcohol tends to decrease metabolism so drinking while eating makes it more likely that excess calories will stored as fat. Similarly, eating right before one goes to bad vs. eating right after one works out. The latter makes calories more likely to be stored as glycogen in the muscles while the former makes it more likely that they'll be store as fat. There are also some interesting studies that show that certain stem cells will turn into either bone cells or fat cells depending on whether an animal is on a vibrating surface.

So it's not all bunk. But I do suspect that most people mentally exaggerate the effect. ``Oh, I'll just have to eat this ice cream right after dinner instead of right before I go to bed. Then I won't get fat.''

One of these days, I'm going to write a junk science book called the ``The Red Hot Chili Pepper Diet'' all about how consumption of capsaicin speeds up the metabolism. But the real secret to the diet will be that once one starts putting extremely hot chili peppers in everything, one eats far less.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Chili diet by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 12:44:47 PM EST
Would probably have the opposite effect on me :)

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Fun fact by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 2) #17 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 02:29:31 PM EST
When living in Shadwell, there was a delicious and cheap Indian kebab shop around the corner. Lovely and hot, tasty, everything you could want. When I first moved there, I would have one most nights, complete with a couple of beers and fattening samosa.

Lost half a stone within a month.



[ Parent ]
Brilliant! by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 05:28:29 PM EST
I will now embark on the beer and kebab diet, and blame you.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Does it count if it works? by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #20 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:10:36 PM EST
I understood that one of the many purposes of hot foods where they're eaten (as well as as a preservative, a disguiser of taint, a stimulant and a promoter of sweating) was to reduce appetite.

[ Parent ]
going for a couple days isn't much different. by gzt (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 10:51:52 AM EST
you get surprised at how not-hungry you are. however, eating just a little food changes things a lot.

This is probably unrelated by Herring (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 12:21:07 PM EST
but when on long cycle rides, I get the feeling "while we're stopped, I'll have a bite" and as soon as I start eating, I realise I'm really, really hungry. I've got no idea whether you can run down your blood sugar far enough in a couple of hours of exercise for it to make a difference.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Fasting by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #7 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 05:35:49 AM EST
I know a guy who 'fasts' twice a week. He's been doing it for at least 2 years. He still drinks beer on those days if they are holiday days, and becomes an unspeakable arse. Colour me skeptical about the benefits of the whole thing. He has lost a lot of weight, but looks somewhat ill for it, IMO.


beer on empty stomach by bobdole (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:01:32 AM EST
is the recipe for an illegible drunken diary... Best way to get drunk, if you ask me.

-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:33:58 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



Form filling/box ticking by Herring (4.00 / 2) #15 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 01:52:04 PM EST
Seems a popular subject at the moment. Dr Grumble posts on it in a reasonable sounding manner.

To say that it's purely a public sector thing and therefore purely this government is clearly balls. Anyone who has worked in corporate IT (or any other job that requires thinking) for the decade or so must have seen it. I am probably going to land in the shit at work because two directors asked me to change a "45" to a "60" in a config file (well, they asked me to make the system ... nevermind) and I did it. The official process takes a minimum of two weeks as it involves convening a meeting of about 6 senior people - which is bloody hard.

Anyhow, the point I wanted to make is that in a lot of large organisations, justifying how you spend your time ends up being more important than what you actually do.

As an aside, I am tempted to boycott the appraisal process this year. It's a lengthy process involving scoring in a large selection of "competencies". Before I waste my time, I want someone to admit:

The point being, we're in some sort of recession/depression but millions of working hours will be wasted this year on this sort of bullshit.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
Beauracracy's about back-covering really by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #19 Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 05:52:25 PM EST
Things need to be recorded for if something goes wrong. There's a few times I've been glad of all the records I have to keep. I even keep extra ones.

I'm health and safety rep which means loads and loads of beauracracy and can be very tedious, but in this case I think it's justified. It needs to be thorough.

As for appraisals, I don't have to do any of that bullshit so yes, the public-sector-only argument is pretty flawed.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
You have to wonder by Herring (4.00 / 1) #21 Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 03:40:59 AM EST
how much is down to litigation culture, the modern management obsession with measuring everything or bureacratics departments' tendency to expand as much as possible.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Stumbling and Mumbling's Chris Dillow by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 04:11:22 AM EST
Calls it "Managerialism." Might get his book some time, but I was hoping for a paperback release.

[ Parent ]
Might be interesting by Herring (4.00 / 2) #25 Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 06:17:09 AM EST
What gets me is that I have worked in an actual engineering environment, following processes (BS5750 pII, AQAP 3&4 and others) producing components for things like the Joint European Torus, Trident submarines, MRI scanners. It's all certified material, certified processes, everything traceable and signed off - and with good reason. Yet there was far less bureaucracy in that environment than a typical corporate IT department.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Missing question by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #24 Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 05:26:48 AM EST
Will the lack of usefulness of the whole thing prevent me from being fired for not doing it? (Answer, probably not if it can be used as a pretext).


[ Parent ]
A Long Lonely Time | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback