My new tooth

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Yesterday I got a new tooth. That isn’t the latest in CRISPR technology of growing a new tooth, that will have to wait for a few more years, but a new crown. A couple of weeks ago I unexpectedly chipped the back off tooth # 22, as you can barely see in the beautiful selfie I made. Many people would have ignored the problem forever, but I called my dentist immediately, and she thought the tooth would have continued to degrade because there wasn’t anything holding it together but the front surface. It looks okay in the photo below but it’s all show and little substance. There was zero pain in the whole event because the nerve wasn’t exposed, and there was no pain in the procedure of grinding away some of the tooth to make a firm foundation for the replacement. As horrible as I look in the photo below it wasn’t particularly annoying except that I couldn’t talk in my usual articulate way.

An upside down view as a dentist sees his patients.

This is how my dentist sees me … and you too.

The temporary tooth I have been smiling with all week looked fine, and none of my friends commented upon my invisible imperfection, but the new permanent tooth looks even better. It looks like it belongs in my face even more than the original which you can see above in its last minute of existence in that venue.

My dentist seems to think the fact that most of my teeth have their original roots living naturally is surprising for someone 82 years old, but I am saddened because of their less than perfect general condition. Back in the 1930s and 1940s when I was growing up in Spokane, Washington, there was a controversy about fluoride being put into the water. Many claimed it was a communist conspiracy, or a Nazi plot, to weaken America. Without any natural fluoride, teeth are not very resistant to decay, and Spokane water didn’t have any fluoride, and thus people like my father and mother had dentures from my first knowledge of such things. That’s just the way it was, so no one thought much about it.

It wasn’t until I was off to college, and on my own, that I started even thinking about taking care of my health and my teeth. I made a lot of money over the summer working in Antelope, Oregon, and after a couple of months into my first year of college I went to a dentist and had a lot of work done. My dentist at that time seemed to like me and tried to get me to become a dentist. He was so excited about this idea that he had me watching all the procedures being done to me in a mirror. I remember clearly the visits, my looking into my mouth, about like the picture above, but with this guy’s hands and instruments hacking and hewing away at “me”. At one particularly grueling event, where I overly identified with the carnage going on within “me”, I fainted. I later discovered this is a common event in medical school when prospective doctors start cutting on real people. But this wasn’t other people. This was “ME”.

I enjoyed my dental visit and as I was scheduled for an hour we talked about our personal adventures for fifty minutes.

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If you don’t act on an idea and cause an effect the idea dies.

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I have discussed at some length with my friends the value of physical actions. My contention is that thoughts that are not expressed in physical activity and therefore influence the external world in some way don’t really exist in a meaningful way. Those thoughts and potential physical actions go to the grave with that thinker’s death. My companion has asserted that a thought that does its thing within a brain influences every thought that will ever be thought by that brain and therefore any action that that person performs in the future will be influenced by that thought. To which I retort that what they assert is insignificant because it is like me moving the philosopher’s cup of coffee sitting on the table before us, which will influence gravity a little and that will change things on the opposite side of the Earth. We both grant that each of those tiny events and thus influences do exist in physical reality, but it is obvious that any movement of my cup across the table isn’t going to create a discernible effect anywhere outside of this room. And every thought that flits by one’s brain and finds itself reaching into a consciousness isn’t going to have a discernible effect on the person having the thought, or anyone else.

Now just suppose we were having this conversation in a remote cabin in the woods and after moving the philosopher’s cup under discussion we locked up the cabin and went back to our city lives. Wouldn’t that cup just sit there until our next visit unless someone came in and moved it? And, if we returned next year and the cup was still sitting there with dried residue of coffee, wouldn’t that cup stimulate us to restart this conversation? Thus, that dirty cup sitting there will have more influence on that conversation at that future time than if we cleaned up the cabin before we departed.

Even mundane physical acts have the potential to create future effects, whereas mental thoughts that are unexpressed in some external way lose all power to motivate anything, even a mouse, even a microbe.

For our existence to have any meaning we must do something external.

An overview of diets with web links.

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 A long list of diets from Wikipedia. I also checked the possible 38 Popular Diets Ranked by Health.com experts and copied their list below. I made web links to all of the diets on their list and a few that they didn’t list. Debbie and I have created a slight variation on the intermittent diet where we did a very easy form of intermittent fasting and then once a month increased the challenge slightly. We have each lost about two pounds per month for ten months and are now within a few pounds of what I estimated to be our ideal BMI of 23.4 weight. For me, that was estimated to be 161.75 pounds. So what I am now aiming at is bouncing between 161 and 163 pounds. Two pounds seems to be about what the usual variation is when I weigh myself when I get up in the morning.

When we began this intermittent diet I was eating a serving of tilapia fish about once a week and taking salmon oil capsules. We have been moving slowly over to a vegan diet although I still eat Greek-style yogurt. One of the unexpected effects of our diet plan is that I am never hungry and am usually feeling just a bit full. I have been eating a lot of trail mix made with nuts and cranberries. The list below was created so it would be quicker and easier to compare what we are doing to what the rest of the dieting community is doing.

Best Diets Overall

1. DASH Diet
2. MIND Diet
2. TLC Diet (tie) Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes
4. Weight Watchers
4. Mayo Clinic
4. Fertility
4. Mediterranean (tie)
8. Volumetrics (tie)
8. Flexitarian
10. Jenny Craig
11. Biggest Loser
11. Ornish (tie)
13. Vegetarian
13. Traditional Asian (tie)
15. Slim Fast
15. SparkPeople
15. Anti-Inflammatory (tie)
18. HMR Health Management Resources
18. Flat Belly
18. Nutrisystem (tie)
21. Vegan
21. Engine 2
21. South Beach
21. Abs (tie) Abdominal exercise
25. Eco-Atkins
25. Zone
25. Glycemic-Index (tie)
28. Macrobiotic
28. Medifast (tie)
30. Supercharged Hormone
30. Acid Alkaline (tie)
32. Fast
32. Body Reset (tie)
34. Raw food
34. Atkins (tie)
36. Dukan
36. Paleo (tie)
38. Whole 30
Not listed but I checked them out
Weight Management
Dieting
Intermittent fasting

The big problem with diets is the difficulty with sticking to them for the rest of your life and instead reverting to your previous lifestyle and level of weight.

What I like about my current diet plan is that it is so easy and it works.

Some problems with eating

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Here in the United States, there is a growing problem of people gaining too much weight. This isn’t because we now have more food available. There hasn’t been a famine in this country during the lifetime of anyone living here. And yet, last night on the Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) news were seen the victims of opioid addiction all of whom were morbidly obese. Part of the pain these legal opioid users mentioned was their poverty. For me there was an obvious omission because the subject of obesity didn’t arise in the conversations but it was profoundly apparent.

If these people are eating far more calories than their bodies need for maintenance there must be something these people and the TV interviewers are missing. Does their addiction to opioids interfere with their body’s ability to sense when to quit eating or are they simply eating the wrong foods? Is there some way that simple question could be answered? For example, if they happened to have an identical twin who wasn’t on opioids but who ate the same foods, was that twin obese? Or alternatively, would an identical twin who was on opioids but ate one of the popular diets have a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) below 25?

It would be difficult to find twins with one twin on opioids and the other not on opioids but on a specific one of those diets and impossible for all of the diets. However, it would be relatively easy to follow for a week a largish number of opioid users and observe what they actually ate. Even a questionnaire, which is not a very good way for getting accurate results, would probably be adequate for demonstrating that these opioid users were eating poor diets. Perhaps the best intervention for them wouldn’t be trying to wean them off of opioids but help them to eat appropriate amounts of better quality foods.

American’s big problem is putting too much of the wrong stuff into their bodies.

Clockwork Purple, Oct 16

Clockwork Purple – October 16, 2017 at Ahonu and Aingeal’s

The Elves of Lilly Hills Farm by Penny Kelly

page 10 by Charles, line 8 by Aingeal

100 tons it will be!

Alexa set timer for 46 minutes – Starting now goes to 11:01

——

I have nothing to say about 100 tons of anything. I could think a bit about megatons of TNT like the Russian Tsar Bomba which is very, very, roughly 100 megatons of TNT equivalent. But that can bring nothing other than something that would be very, very ugly. I could write about one hundred midsized cars which weigh about a ton each and make a story set in a parking lot at a high school football game. There are without doubt many exciting things that have happened in that venue, but I don’t feel moved by that idea either.

I could write about how disturbed I am feeling about the emotional state of the world at the moment, and the triumph of the forces of chaos and self-interest based on personal accumulation of money. Those things are being legitimized to the point of the US Congress depriving the enforcement of drug laws so “legal” drug distributors can make more money. That was the report on TV last night.

I am sensitive to that theme at the moment because I just finished reading Colin Campbell’s book Whole, which documents how the top agencies of public good have been wholly subverted by corporate takeover of their leadership. Campbell proves how the bottom line of corporate books, which means their total monetary profit, brings about pushing the limits of legality to achieve maximum profits for those corporations. That sounds almost reasonable until those same corporations, in an effort to make even money, take over all of the lawmaking institutions and rewrite the laws so they can make even more money.

Then to make even more money they fight to remove any lawmakers from office who try to represent the health of the general public rather than their desire to make more money. That was the lead story on 60 Minutes last night. It has become totally crazy to the point of the gun makers controlling the gun laws, and the drug manufacturers and drug distributors controlling the drug laws and the rules of enforcement of the laws.

How much cocaine, or meth, or LSD do you need today? “How about a 100 tons of coke.” Okay, 100 tons it will be!

Sloppy science

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Today in two separate lectures I was bothered by what can only be called sloppy science reporting. My science knowledge is reasonably good and my proof for that contention is that when Debbie and I go to the science lectures presented here I usually win a T-shirt. That comes about because when they bring in a lecturer from one of the universities a written test is prepared beforehand with ten multiple choice questions. There are usually about a hundred people attending and I suppose most of the people take the test so getting one of the shirts isn’t trivial. We don’t grade them ourselves. My college degrees are in art, so science isn’t my forte. I only offer this feeble statement because I was so annoyed at speakers, not the ones from the university, waxing gooey over science and then quoting things that were many orders of magnitude wrong. Okay, it’s not big deal when someone says there are thousands of stars in our Milky Way galaxy when the number is more like a 100–400 billion, but the other more subtle things to measure were equally distorted.

Back at UC Berkeley people would simply walk out of these lectures, and never attend another by that person. Here in Bend, I am trapped because if I am going to have an enjoyable social life it is necessary to do something other than cruse the internet. The people here are well informed about their personal lives and when discussing those kinds of subjects where they have substantial feedback they are excellent interlocutors. Most of the people with whom I interact with are retired from some very successful career. Some are artists, entrepreneurs, computer geeks, pastors, gurus, psychiatrists, pilots, and athletes. But many of the public speakers’ information comes from, I don’t know where, but it seems to be vacant of scientifically tested reality. Many are actually hostile to that kind of information.

Yesterday I concluded my post with, “A wise man can learn more from a fool than a fool can from a wise man,” and it is possible to learn a great deal here, but one must be very careful not to lock onto unsubstantiatable nonsense and also to drive one’s car very carefully because people are prone to do physically stupid things.

The fire season is over here but Berkeley’s fire and earthquake risks were part of my search strategy for finding a place to retire.

Alcohol and coronary heart disease

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About 1996 I began a strange behavior. It was based on the idea that plaque in the arteries was in some kind of balance with the normal bodily processes. If there wasn’t some kind of natural method for clearing plaque off of the arteries then the build-up would be one way and quickly kill people. Instead, the process takes years and usually decades.

My idea was that if the plaque was in a librating state of balance with a slow buildup on the walls of the arteries then there must be some kind of dissolving function counterbalancing the accumulation processes. What could that be and is there a way that I could improve the cleaning of my arteries and remove the plaque?

Alcohol dissolves fats and therefore it might make more soluble the plaque buildup in my arteries. I had no idea if people who drank had less cardiovascular problems and it was obvious that those who did drink very much alcohol had a multitude of problems. Then I realized that the solubility of most things is temperature related and if the plaque was near a natural equilibrium state, it would probably be sensitive to alcohol plus heat. So, I began an experiment 21 years ago which continues to this day, and I have averaged about one hot bath a month with a shot of whiskey when my mouth temperature reaches 101°F. At age 82 my blood pressure is generally about 120/68, 55 bpm which is about right for a high school athlete in training. The old medical rule of thumb for the systolic was age plus 100 which means my blood pressure should be more like 182, not 120. Nowadays, the doctors are saying get it down to 120 any way possible and for them, that means using drugs.

I am quick to admit that a single person’s experience isn’t science but then I came across this study which is based on a cohort of 400,000 European adults followed for an average of 13 years. That’s science, and they came up with this chart.

Alcohol consumption and life risk

Total hazard rate ratio of various diseases based on alcohol consumption

Image from Public Health Expert, University of Otago, New Zealand

The coronary heart disease curve shows the effect I have been suspecting for over twenty years even though it is unlikely that anyone was influencing that curve by following my hot-bath procedure. If they had been doing my procedure the death rate from coronary heart disease would drop even faster to near zero. Using my procedure of an occasional hot bath with a drink and one drink per day would probably put my overall consumption near the bottom of all the risk curves at 10-15 grams per day.

A wise man can learn more from a fool than a fool can from a wise man.

How to create meaningful spiritual experiences.

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The goal is to give you new and meaningful experiences so you may become a more fully developed human being. Each of these events will explore different approaches to what it means to be a complete human being. Everyone is capable of many things which they haven’t done yet, and each of these meetings will choose a theme and safely give opportunities to learn something that will make your life better. For example, instead of just saying good ideas and discussing them we will, in addition, practice the base actions a few times with the goal of creating a personal relationship with how to live with that idea and action.

Here is a generally accepted idea we can hear about, talk about and then physically practice a few times. “Show up, be open to a friendly greeting, pay attention to the situation, think about something relevant to say, do something appropriate, participate in a relevant way with the other person, let it go, give a polite thank you and depart.”

This is far too much to remember to do, so each of the actions would be prompted at a short interval, about ten seconds from one statement to the next. And then each person would move on to another person in counter-rotating inside-outside circles. After about five repetitions of this practice, change the roles of the two circles. This whole thing could be made more fun by having a different small object given to the inner circle for a discussion topic.

Several easy lessons could be learned by this simple routine. How to say hello in a friendly way to different people, how to observe something about the other person’s unusual situation, how to be polite in relating to some strange thing about the other person, how to relate to unexpected things in a flexible way, how to quickly let go of some interesting event and move on, how to politely say goodbye quickly.

That is an example of a kind of social dance, almost like a square dance where routine calls are made and actions are performed by the dancers, but these actions are about relating to personal behaviors.

This same general pattern could be followed of a lecture talking about something, followed by a short discussion of the ideas and then some form of physical practice of the idea. That physical practice takes an abstract idea and makes it into a behavior that is more useful to the development of the person.

We become able to do things by consciously doing them a few times.

What will trigger my life-changing events?

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There are so many things happening in the world today that are causing disruptions in our lives that it is difficult to know which ones must be addressed. For example, I did something yesterday that I probably wouldn’t have done a year ago. It is so simple as to seem meaningless and yet it was an obvious change in my behavior that confirms a tipping point has been passed.

I needed some freeze-proof windshield washer fluid for my car because winter will soon be bringing temperatures that may drop well below freezing. I was at Costco shopping with Debbie and thought it would be available in such a huge store, but it wasn’t. They had windshield wiper blades but no wiper fluid. I asked a clerk where I might get some and he suggested an auto supply store a couple of miles away. It was toward my house but it would require a mile of extra city driving to get to it and another mile extra to get back to my house. While driving home we discussed what to do.

I won’t need this stuff for a month, so I will probably drive past that store before it is actually needed. But even if that happens I must remember to go there and remembering some random thing for a month can lead to it being forgotten and not being purchased. So it is better just to endure the expense and time wasted to go get this three-dollar item. But there were frozen groceries in the car and the transaction will take some time, etc., which is times two because we are both going to that store so double the time wasted.

We decided we would check out an online purchase and went straight home and put our frozen items in the frig. Debbie went online and in a minute or so she had purchased the fluid. We have Amazon Prime so there is no shipping charge and chances are the stuff is cheaper online than in the store. I don’t actually need the freeze-proof windshield wiper fluid for a couple of weeks so it’s not being available instantly wasn’t an issue. Between us, we saved a couple of miles of city driving, the convenience of being home sooner, probably paying less for the same item, with free shipping, having the item magically appear at our door, and no worry about having to remember to get this stuff before we need it.

The point of this longish description is that even a year ago we had been using Amazon for several years but I would have hesitated to buy a single cheap item. A tipping point has been passed in my mind and attitude, and I have become willing to shift a trivial worry from my mind to the web.

Will I be quicker to adopt CRISPR, Oculus, bots, Bitcoin and Uber?

A happy, healthy, wise and wealthy society.

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It would appear that Benjamin Franklin was the creator of the phrase “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Most of the words were written by Thomas Jefferson but Franklin is considered the one who changed the final idea to the pursuit of happiness.

This post title takes its inspiration from the proverb ‘”Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” This quote is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin since it appeared in his Poor Richard’s Almanack; however, it was first used in print by John Clarke in a 1639 book of English and Latin proverbs.

That general idea is usually considered to refer to the happiness of individuals but it might also be applied to whole nations of people. The individual human emotional terms happy and wise do not automatically transfer over to groups of people without a little stretching of the definitions, but words are always defined in relation to their surrounding context. Among the nations of the Earth when these terms are asked of people in survey polls, Americans generally consider themselves to be happy. I am not aware whether the question of being wise is ever polled, but after our last election, it will probably be added to the questionnaires.

The terms healthy and wealthy are more easily accepted as applicable to groups and to the American nation two centuries after their usage in the Declaration of Independence. It has been for a century the wealthiest nation ever to exist on Earth. My worry is whether the quest for wealth by the corporations has gone too far in their focus on bottom-line profits and thus interfered with the other three great goals of our Declaration of Independence. Are the people’s happy, healthy, wise goals being destroyed by the corporations’ need to maximize their profits?

I am a firm believer in Freedom of Speech being promoted to the maximum but that freedom does not include and permit lying about the source of the speech. Creating fake news and publishing it under false source names is a violation of the intent of free speech, which is to find the truth and make it public. The hope is that when all ideas are exposed and explored in an open forum that the truth will prevail. Truth comes about through the interchange between competing ideas. If an input from a hidden source is permitted to enter the conversation, then there is no interchange of ideas; and when that source is intentionally lying to create a manipulation of the truth that the public would not applaud if it knew the whole truth, then that source must be dismissed.

The institution permitting secret money and information entering the public debate must be exposed and brought back to open truth.