Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mechanical Consistency

But because it is so typically in our best interests to be consistent, we easily fall into the habit of being automatically so, even in situations where it is not the sensible way to be. When it occurs unthinkingly, consistency can be disastrous. Nonetheless, even blind consistency has its attractions.
First, like most other forms of automatic responding, it offers a shortcut through the density of modern life. Once we have made up our minds about an issue, stubborn consistency allows us a very appealing luxury: We really don’t have to think hard about an issue anymore. We don’t have to sift through the blizzard of information we encounter every day to identify relevant facts; we don’t have to expend the mental energy to weigh the pros and cons; we don’t have to make any further tough decisions. Instead, all we have to do when confronted with the issue is to turn on our consistency tape, whirr, and we know just what to believe, say, or do. We need only believe, say or do whatever is consistent  with our earlier decision.
The allure of such luxury is not to be minimized. It allows us a convenient, relatively effortless, and efficient method for dealing with complex daily environments that make severe demands on our mental energies and capacities. It is not hard to understand, then, why automatic consistency is a difficult reaction to curb. It offers us a way to evade the rigors of continuing thought. And as Sir Joshua Reynolds noted, “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to to avoid the real labor of thinking”.
There is a second, more perverse attraction of mechanical consistency as well. Sometimes it is not the effort of hard, cognitive work that makes us shirk thoughtful activity, but the harsh consequences of that activity. Sometimes it is the cursedly clear and unwelcome set of answers provided by straight thinking that makes us mental slackers. There are certain disturbing things we simply would rather not realize. Because it is a preprogrammed and mindless method of responding, automatic consistency can supply a safe hiding place from those troubling realizations. Sealed within the fortress walls of rigid consistency, we can be impervious to the sieges of reason.
From: Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion

Removing Ultrabay Lenovo Y500

  • Remove battery
  • Unlock switch next to M 2.5x10
  • Locate unlock switch in the grille, somwhere near center. Push it down and hold while pulling out the ultrabay.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1dollarscan

If you have a lot of books lying around, 1dollarscan.com converts them to searchable pdf. I find their prices reasonable, $1 for 100 pages (for books). Do note that your book will not be returned back.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Barclays Credit Card

Don't ever apply for Barclay's credit card (or cards managed by Barclays - such as US Airways). They need proof of citizenship or permanent residency.

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Expendables


Yin Yang: It's difficult.
Barney Ross: What?
Yin: My life is difficult. I need more money.
Barney: Why that?
Yin: I work harder than the rest.
Barney: No, you don't.
Yin: Yes, I do! Everything is harder for me. When I'm hurt, wound is bigger, 'cause I'm smaller. When I travel I need to go farther.
Barney: I know, because you're smaller, right?
Yin: Yes.
[awkward silence]
Yin: I need more money.
Barney: I know, you told me.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Depo-Provera

... counteracts the biological tendencies. By lowering testosterone, Depo-Provera reduces sex drive. Males can have sexual intercourse but do not want to. Depo-Provera also decreases aggressive tendencies by reducing testosterone. "[T]he castrated criminal would be more docile and have a better opportunity to be rehabilitated, educated, and to become a worthwhile citizen

 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Obihai Obi100

  • Get OBi100.
  • Get a Google Voice number. Place a call via Gmail.
  • Login to Google Voice, Phones, check ONLY Google Chat. OBi uses Google Chat/XMPP.
  • Find OBi100 IP address from your router. Login to the IP, default password admin, admin.
    • Change Auto Provisioning - disable Firmware Update and Auto Provisioning
    • Change Network Settings - Static IP, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, DNS.
  • Register at obitalk.com. This is simple, just register online and call the number from your phone, your device serial number and MAC address will be registered with obitalk.com
  • On obitalk.com, configure Service Providers, select Google Voice and enter Gmail credentials. This should automatically setup your device for GV incoming and outgoing.
  • Update: Login to obitalk.com. You will see 2 entries under My OBi Endpoints. Select OBi 100 (or 110 if you have that). Under "Configure Voice Services", you will find Google Voice setup. This will automatically configure the "Service Provider 1". 

Some folks may have a problem with incoming calls. A possible solution is to use SIPGATE. See Amazon reviews for setup details.






5BX program

From Discussion


No kidding! I used to have frequent back pain, with aches that wouldn't go away even after an age of stretching.
Six years ago I started on the RCAF's old 5BX program (a quick Google search will lead you to the booklet that describes it -- dead simple) and, in exchange for 11 minutes of exercise a day on an open floor, had the body I've always wanted within a year.
I've since moved on to weights and other gym-like stuff and have not had back pain in years.
It's so stupidly obvious I'm kicking myself for it now: If you have decent muscle to support all those bones and tendons up your back, they won't be straining themselves to the point of pain while supporting your body.


Yeah, yeah, 5BX is great! While a certain rare exercise machine gives the most relief, one simple 5BX back exercise (chart 1, exercise 3) is as effective, provided I do it regularly.



The only thing that has helped is exercise. Strengthening your back (especially lower) is probably going to help more than anything else. Squats and deadlifts in particular.



Pull ups will do wonders as well.




I agree, but I wish I could caution my younger self about the risk of low back injuries from certain weightlifting activities
1) You can develop very strong lower back muscles (primarily the extensors), but don't challenge those muscles when they're nearing their endurance limit.
2) If your femurs are long relative to your tibia, don't try to force yourself to perform as heavy or with the same form and depth on squats, deadlifts, or cleans, as more normal folks. At low depth, your back will consistently be more parallel to the floor than upright, dramatically increasing shear across your spine.
Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn't round your back excessively while bearing significant load, especially if it's far (horizontally) from your hips. It's not necessarily that a rounded back is automatically dangerous, but in general, if you're bracing your abdominal/back muscles (which will prevent rounding), you're less at risk of injury.




Outside of seeing a doctor to see if there's something seriously screwed up with your back, I'd offer these 3 pieces of advice I had to learn about the hard way.
1.) Massage.
You may not think it's the manliest thing ever, but if you can afford it you should find a good local masseuse and get yourself an hour session. Even if you go once and never go again, you'll get an education in just how kinked up your back and shoulders probably are.
I tweaked my back lifting a lawn mower out of my car a few years ago and didn't think much of it at the time. Over the next few weeks I started to have all kinds of shoulder problems and other various pain to the point where my arms were getting tingly and I couldn't sit and code for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Long story short, I went through a few doctors before I finally just decided to see a masseuse and see if it helped. I was lucky to find someone that knew what they were doing and helped get me straightened out. It took about 5 sessions over 5 weeks, but I've never had problems since.
2.) Trigger points.
Learn what they are and how you can fix them. This was my problem that the masseuse turned me on to. Trigger points are essentially little micro-knots in your muscle fibers that can add up to cause big problems for you. For me, lifting that mower was really just the straw that broke the camel's back. It just exacerbated all the trigger point problems I'd been creating over years of coding and not stretching out my back and shoulders properly.
If you know where the common trigger points creep up and how to get rid of them you can save yourself a lot of pain and downtime (not to mention massage bills).
The book will show you how to identify and treat the trigger points all over your body, and the TheraCane will help you reach the places on your back that you can't reach yourself.
3.) Yoga.
Once you get all your issues straightened out, yoga and/or a good daily stretching regimen can help keep you kink free.
Hopefully some of this advice is helpful. I was really messed up for a while until I figured all this out.

exercises for back problems

I have 3 squashed discs in my lower back from a skateboarding injury. I've tried everything for back pain. Before I share what works for me, I'll say that if you don't have a structural injury you probably just have very weak "core" muscles and the best thing you can do is get into a general state of good fitness and then add in some core strengthening exercises.
After doing tons of PT, and trying everything from yoga to pilates to accupuncture to cyclobenzeprine, I figured out three main exercises that strengthen the muscles in the lower back:
- "superman": lay on your stomach on the floor. raise your left arm and right leg up at the same time. hold for a count of five. repeat on other side. do this 10 times for each side.
- "planks": this is like a pushup but you're on your elbows and instead of doing a pushup, you just hold in that position. It sounds easy but is very hard if you don't have strong abs. try to work up to 3-5 sets of 60 seconds at a time.
- "bird dog": like the superman but you're on your knees and hands, doggy style. raise left leg and right arm at the same time, hold for count of 5. alternate. do 10.
Those three things, and being generally in shape have helped my back more than anything else I've tried. You can find videos of them on youtube if you google those exercise names with "core fitness" or similar search strings added in.
Other lifestyle changes are good, too. Don't sit down in a pile for 8 hours at a time. Get up and move around, even if you're just getting out of your chair at least once an hour. Change your position. Sit on an exercise ball for a while, lie down on a couch with a laptop for a while, work standing up for a while. Go for a walk at least an hour a day.
I've found that pilates is much better for back care than yoga. many of the yoga moves are not good for your back if you have slipped discs. in particular, "downward dog" which is the staple move of most yogas is not good if you actually have a back injury like mine. Pilates arose out of rehab so most of the moves are safer for your back. I mention these activities because one of the side effects of back problems (or sometimes the cause of back problems) is very tight hamstrings. You'll need to do some sort of stretching to get the hamstrings back in order and I've found this easier to do in a structured, class context.
I'll be semi controversial and say that you want to have strong abs, but you DON'T want to do situps. do planks instead. Situps strengthen your abs while pulling your back into the same position that makes it hurt. planks strengthen your abs but you're also extended and working all your stabilization muscles at the same time.

Maybe Americans just aren’t dumb enough to keep buying houses?

Psychologically, a person who just lost enough money to have paid for 5-10 years of rent is not a very likely candidate to go back into the market where he was just burned.
Thus the more houses are sold, the worse the buyer-seller ratio will get. Every sale has a roughly 37% chance of removing a person from the real estate ownership market. More and more Americans will be conditioned to the idea that home ownership is a waste of time and money, not to mention the inflexibility that it imposes on a person who might otherwise have been able to get a better job by moving.
Summary: Why would house prices continue to fall then? The longer that house prices fall, the more people will critically assess whether it makes any financial sense to own and conclude “it does not”. They withdraw themselves from the market of potential buyers, at least for 10 years or so until they forget what wounds they suffered and how boring they were when they owned.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vivint - Home Automation

When you’re looking for a comprehensive way to connect the technologies that run your home, the Vivint Home package is the answer. It features all the products in our Security and Energy packages, but also gives you a lot more. It includes automatic door locks, video surveillance, and non-emergency alerts. With only a $199 activation fee* plus the monthly monitoring charge, this package provides simple, affordable home automation. 
From premier security, to heating and cooling, to access control and video surveillance, our Home package meet your needs today while helping you prepare for a smarter future. Its additional products include automatic door locks, video surveillance, and non-emergency alerts. And you can manage them all through your computer or smart phone, so you always know exactly what’s happening at your home—even when you’re not there.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The final humbling of America


This had happened very briefly once before in 1979/80 when America was inflating the dollar faster than usual and investors started to rein back on buying US Treasury bonds. The gold price spiked up to $2,300/ounce. Volcker (then Chairman of the US Fed bank) raised interest rates to 20% and investors immediately sold their gold and bought dollar bonds instead. The gold price immediately collapsed. This time, however, gold has taken 11 years to rise and has done so steadily from about $300 to $1560/ounce. This time, Bernanke (the present Chairman of the US Fed bank), dare not raise the interest rate even by 0.25% for fear of plunging America into economic depression. Nor can the Bank of England do so. The European Central Bank has raised its low rate only very slightly in an effort to reduce inflation. It cannot raise it to normal levels because, like America and the UK the Eurozone stands on the edge of depression.
But it’s America—hitherto the central financial pivot of the world—that’s crucial. Its national debt, which was only 20% more than its annual GDP at the time of Bretton Woods is now almost four times higher. As both Europe’s and Japan’s debts, it is already higher than its taxpayers can possibly repay. Sooner or later it is going to have to pay some or all of its immense debts with gold—when the price of gold reaches high enough.
There are those commentators who still say that the present rise in gold price is a spike. But scores of central banks in the world, including China and Russia and the vastly prosperous Middle East oil and gas countries, don’t think so. Gold speculators have almost been driven out now, such is the heavyweight demand for the metal. Gold is now making its way back to its traditional role as the background currency which doesn’t inflate. You can be certain that although Bernanke of the US Fed and Geithner of the US Treasury are saying all sorts of brave things to the world, they are even now thinking seriously of how to bring about a gold standard world trading currency. This is what China and Russia have been asking for for years. This is what Zoellick, of the World Bank suggested last November.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Commuter Tax Benefits


  • Up to $230/month* for transit expenses
  • Up to $230/month* for vanpool expenses
  • Up to $230/month** for parking at or near an employer’s worksite, or at a facility from which employee commutes via transit, vanpool, or carpool

How Sports May Focus the Brain


The student athletes completed more successful crossings than the nonathletes, by a significant margin, a result that might be expected of those in peak physical condition. But what was surprising — and thought-provoking — was that their success was not a result of their being quicker or more athletic. They walked no faster than the other students. They didn’t dash or weave gracefully between cars. What they did do was glance along the street a few more times than the nonathletes, each time gathering slightly more data and processing it more speedily and accurately than the other students.

“They didn’t move faster,” said Art Kramer, the director of the Beckman Institute and a leader in the study of exercise and cognition, who oversaw the research. “But it looks like they thought faster.”

... the finding did have a certain intuitive logic. “To the extent that athletes, in their sport, must routinely make split-second decisions in often very complex environments (e.g., whether to pass or kick the incoming soccer ball), it would make sense to me that they would have superior skill sets in processing the fast-paced information to successfully cross the street.”



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Most folks ..

are about as happy as they make up their minds to me. -- found on the interwebs.


Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Found this rowing machine while searching for ergometer (see High-Intensity Interval training). Has the highest-rating I've ever seen on Amazon. 94 rated 5 out of a total of 100.


http://www.amazon.com/Concept2-Model-Indoor-Rowing-Machine/dp/B001A0ZT2I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303189308&sr=8-1


What’s the Single Best Exercise?


From: What’s the Single Best Exercise?


the burpee, in which you drop to the ground, kick your feet out behind you, pull your feet back in and leap up as high as you can. “It builds muscles. It builds endurance.” He paused. “But it’s hard to imagine most people enjoying” an all-burpees program, “or sticking with it for long.”

And sticking with an exercise is key, even if you don’t spend a lot of time working out. The health benefits of activity follow a breathtakingly steep curve. “The majority of the mortality-related benefits” from exercising are due to the first 30 minutes of exercise, said Timothy Church, M.D., who holds the John S. McIlhenny endowed chair in health wisdom at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. A recent meta-analysis of studies about exercise and mortality showed that, in general, a sedentary person’s risk of dying prematurely from any cause plummeted by nearly 20 percent if he or she began brisk walking (or the equivalent) for 30 minutes five times a week.


“I personally think that brisk walking is far and away the single best exercise,” said Michael Joyner, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a leading researcher in the field of endurance exercise.

interval-style walking (three minutes of fast walking, followed by three minutes of slower walking, repeated 10 times). The results have been striking. “Physical fitness — maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength — increased by about 20 percent,” Dr. Nose wrote in an e-mail, “which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training.” The walkers’ “symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent,” he added, while their depression scores dropped by half.


“I nominate the squat,” said Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and an expert on the effects of resistance training on the human body. The squat “activates the body’s biggest muscles, those in the buttocks, back and legs.” It’s simple. “Just fold your arms across your chest,” he said, “bend your knees and lower your trunk until your thighs are about parallel with the floor. Do that 25 times. It’s a very potent exercise.” Use a barbell once the body-weight squats grow easy.

The squat, and weight training in general, are particularly good at combating sarcopenia, he said, or the inevitable and debilitating loss of muscle mass that accompanies advancing age. “Each of us is experiencing sarcopenia right this minute,” he said. “We just don’t realize it.” Endurance exercise, he added, unlike resistance training, does little to slow the condition.

High-intensity interval training, or H.I.T. as it’s familiarly known among physiologists, is essentially all-interval exercise. As studied in Gibala’s lab, it involves grunting through a series of short, strenuous intervals on specialized stationary bicycles, known as Wingate ergometers. In his first experiments, riders completed 30 seconds of cycling at the highest intensity the riders could stand. After resting for four minutes, the volunteers repeated the interval several times, for a total of two to three minutes of extremely intense exercise. After two weeks, the H.I.T. riders, with less than 20 minutes of hard effort behind them, had increased their aerobic capacity as much as riders who had pedaled leisurely for more than 10 hours.

The only glaring inadequacy of H.I.T. is that it builds muscular strength less effectively than, say, the squat. But even that can be partially remedied, Gibala said: “Sprinting up stairs is a power workout and interval session simultaneously.”Meaning that running up steps just might be the single best exercise of all. Great news for those of us who could never master the butterfly.




forests, immunity, depression, stress

Research in Japan has demonstrated that being in green spaces improves a person’s immune system.
The test subjects were divided into two groups: those who stayed in an urban environment and those sent to a forested area. Both groups engaged in the same activities and ate the same diet. It is thought that the chemical phytoncides, an oil that defends trees from insects and decomposition, somehow affect the chemicals in the human brain.
In other studies, it was demonstrated that there was an increase in natural killer cells that fight cancer, an increase in white blood cells, and a reduction of glucose levels in diabetics.
In the U.K. and in Europe, depression is being treated with farm work and gardening. Whether it is tending plants or animals, the act of caring for something alive in the fresh air has had a positive effect on patients with clinical depression.

Walking in the Woods


Trees are good for you. Walking in the woods can reduce stress and depression, ease muscle tension, counter attention deficit disorder, and even calm an erratic heart.

You knew that anyway, but fortunately intrepid Finnish researchers have come up with interesting proof. Published in Environmental Health Magazine, the Finns have collated evidence that forests promote Human Health. Forests reduce physical and mental stress. The researchers say, " Forests represent rich natural pharmacies by virtue of being enormous sources of plant and microbial material with known or potential medicinal or nutritional value. Forest food offers a safety net for the most vulnerable population groups in developing countries, and healthy forest ecosystems may also help in regulation of infectious diseases." Despite the large amount of work on biodiversity and forests, the psychological and medicinal aspects have not been studied greatly. Perhaps their very familiarity made them elusive as a subject of study - we all know from childhood on that it is good to have a romp in the woods.
Forests may even have an anti-cancer factor, "Forest visits may strengthen the human immune system. Spending time in forest increases natural killer (NK) activity in humans. The increase was observed as long as 30 days later. Since NK cells can kill tumor cells by releasing anticancer proteins, forest visits may have a preventive effect on cancer generation and development," according to Japanese researchers.

Saturday, April 23, 2011