Notions Of Cool V.019

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Your diet doesn’t matter. Seriously. The data shows that at the one year mark the success rate for all diets is virtually identical. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, South Beach, Zone, Keto, the cabbage soup diet… it doesn’t matter. In grossly simplistic terms losing weight is still all about calorie reduction. Expend more than you consume and you lose weight. Period. If your goal is weight loss, what’s most important is picking a diet you can stick to. The cabbage soup diet is probably not sustainable long term. If you’re picking a diet for other health reasons, blood sugar control, etc…, that’s a different discussion. Keep the two concepts separate and a pick a diet for the right reasons.
  • The history of Greenland’s melt cycles is interesting in light of recent “the sky is falling” news about sea level rise. As is NOAA’s potentially sketchy claims about February temps. Agree or disagree, the point is that maybe there’s more going on than we fully understand. That’s the point of science – to ask questions and search for answers. Don’t be a lemming.
  • I gained exactly 1 follower on Twitter. I find it interesting that on both Twitter and Instagram I get the most activity with posts or pictures of animals. People seem to like the hound. There must be some meaning around the human need to connect to animals and seeing happy things.
  • A video of all of the 8,000 meter peaks in the world. Worth it for the pictures.
  • I’m still not entirely sure why I’m writing. Performing for a nearly empty room day after day does get discouraging.
  • It’s interesting to watch the democratic 2020 candidates jockey for a campaign theme. I personally think that was one of the major factors last time. Like it or hate it, you knew exactly what Trump’s message was. I can honestly say I never knew exactly what Hillary’s message was. What is the central democratic message going to be for 2020?
  • Trying to heat a house in the mountains is challenging. Gas, wood, pellet, electric, hybrid… it’s making my head hurt. So many trade-offs between BTU’s vs energy cost and efficiency. It’s not like a plain ‘ole HVAC central heating system that makes all rooms the same temp. I will be very happy when I don’t have to think about this any more.

Song of the day: Fat Freddy’s drop “Bohannon”

Notions Of Cool V.018

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • This is a perfect example of what’s wrong with news today. I like to think I’m reasonably plugged in… and I had absolutely no idea this happened last week. 1000+ people dead and 1.5 million at risk of water-borne disease or starvation. Meanwhile, Bob in Ohio was outraged at something someone said. We have a fantastic panel to discuss…
  • A neat video about cycling. I couldn’t do it, but a great reminder that we’re only here once. If you get hit by a bus tomorrow, are you happy with what you’ve seen and done?
  • Speaking of bikes, my town is installing this in one of the downtown parking garages. Yay for bicycle friendly!
  • Jim Acosta is the very definition of douchebag. I get it, he generates equal love and hate traffic. And yes, there are Acostas on all sides of the political spectrum. Sad that this has become the new norm for “news”.
  • I did not hit my weight target this week. It’s mostly meaningless… just a goal. Next week for sure.
  • Bullet Journal update: it went strong for a month, then faded. I still like the idea. I resolve to resurrect the habit.
  • A patient was unhappy with his diabetic menu choices, so his wife brought him Burger King and a supersize chocolate shake. When his blood sugar was 320 he was shocked. He was actually angry and accused us of giving him some “pill” that was making his blood sugar go up. It was a battle to convince him I had to give him insulin.
  • “This will be your favorite patient. Super nice and rarely calls for anything”. Sadly as a nurse, I hear that in report maybe once every three or four weeks. The vast majority of the hospital population are grumpy, sour, demanding people. They’re also in the worst possible health – much of which is due to lifestyle choices. I see a clear correlation between your upbringing, mental attitude, emotional stability, and overall health outcomes. It’s not rocket science, but it’s striking when you see it in front of you every day.
  • My internet went down for approximately 7 minutes today. It was a terrifying vision of the pending zombie apocalypse.

Song of the day: Charlie Feathers, “That certain female”

Notions Of Cool V.017

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Spring appears to be here (in the West anyway). Blue skies and no signs of further snow in the forecast. As much as I like winter, I’m done. Been thinking more of the bike than the skis.
  • Speaking of skis, my new ones are scary fast. Super stable at speed with no chatter. Several times yesterday I caught myself at ludicrous speed and thought… crashing would be bad right now. They are forcing me to be more aggressive, which is a good thing I suppose.
  • We had to hire a crew to remove our snow disaster at the house. These folks worked their asses off for days. The vast majority of the population in this country has lost that all-day farmer strength we used to have. We’re doomed when the zombie apocalypse hits.
  • Speaking of zombies, a great book to read is “World War Z” by Max Brooks son of Mel Brooks. It’s what the movie was loosely based on. And by loosely I mean they share the same name, that’s about it. One of the neat concepts in the book is that post-apocalypse, society flips. The blue collar folks become the sought after leaders because they know how to actually fix and build things. The white collar workers are useless without electricity and become the new ditch diggers.
  • I’m fascinated by the Instagram algorithm. How is it that an account with 1 post has several hundred followers, but others with many hundreds of posts have only a few?
  • My shoulder is still messed up several years later. I can’t do pull ups or back squats due to pain. I need to fix this somehow.
  • Hard to gage who will be the democratic front runner. Kamala would be their better choice, but Bernie has the dollars. Beto, Booker, and Warren will be busts. Yang and Schultz could be interesting. Biden is corrupt as hell and I’m not convinced he’ll run.
  • An interesting interview by CNBC with GOPRO founder Nick Woodman. I still think the main problem is the learning barrier to editing and creating a watchable video. People buy the camera, use it a few times then it sits. I may or may not be referring to myself.

Song of the day: Rebelution “Feeling Alright”

Notions Of Cool V.016

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • I listened to a pretty good podcast with Renee DiResta about the Russian trolling and social media tactics. The Russian government is clearly in it for the long game. The bulk of their influence happened because they understand we’re all members of one tribe or another – republicans, democrats, car lovers, gardeners, etc… We’re very susceptible to wanting to think like our tribe.
  • I also started watching Amazon’s “The Widow”. I’ve seen the first two. Not bad, a lot of moving parts. Keeping my interest so far.
  • Stumbled upon an intriguing service – Steady MD. Basically an on-line doctor. Communicate to your doc anytime via txt. Interesting idea. The monthly fee adds up to more than I spend in a year on health care, so probably not worth it for me.
  • The 2020 election cycle is going to be a train wreck. A horrible, nasty, divisive train wreck we won’t be able to look away from. A good time to stay away from the standard opinion news sources and do your own research. Whatever side you’re on, challenge your personal mindset. Don’t be a tribal lemming.
  • The icefall doctors have arrived at Everest. The climbing season begins. Not on my bucket list.
  • George Hincapie launched a hotel, “Hotel Domestique”. An interesting post career investment for a former cyclist.

Song of the day: Anna Lunoe “303”

Notions Of Cool V.015

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The dermatologist took one look at my sunburned, peeling, self and deadpanned “well, I guess we don’t need to have the importance of sunscreen discussion do we?”. Other than that, got the all-clear. I feel better having been checked out.
  • I mentioned before that I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching YouTube videos on travel bag reviews. Unclear why, since I rarely travel. I had settled on the Aer Travel Pack 2. Anyway, I used a simple duffle bag for this last trip. I realized that carrying stuff on your back sucks. For the little travel I do, I’m going to find a minimalist wheelie.
  • I got my passport photo done. Like an idiot, I let it expire. Renewing it, you know, in case I need to flee the country.
  • I loved this quote from David Goggins. “People ask me how I lost so much weight… I didn’t hire a trainer… I didn’t go to Jenny Craig… basically I just stopped eating so much fucking food.” Made me laugh. It’s simple, but true. People make weight loss too complicated. Speaking of which, unless there’s a nacho blowout I’m about a week away from my weight goal. So there’s that.
  • I gave Instacart a try for grocery shopping. Loved it. I’ll certainly be using it again. I’m a busy guy you know.
  • One of the hardest things I do as an RN is care for a patient who is a truly horrible human being. Spending twelve hours making sure I give the same quality of care to that person that I’d give to a sweet grandmother sucks the life out of me.
  • Rebecca Rusch was the first woman finisher in her first attempt at the bike category of the Iditarod 350. That’s badass. I wimp out after shoveling the driveway for an hour.
  • No further Instagram stories. The Twitter experiment has yielded exactly 2 followers. Good thing I’m not in marketing.

Song of the day: “Im gone, Joyryde”

Notions Of Cool V.014

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Why in the world didn’t I come up with the idea for a blog entirely about Bloody Marys? I’m not big on research, but that I could get into.
  • I bought new stall mats for my home garage gym. It hasn’t helped my workouts any, but I’m happier doing them. I can get very obsessed with thinking that if I just had this piece of equipment it would make all the difference… (it doesn’t).
  • I thought it was a cute rural saying the first time I heard it. I’ve now had multiple patients ask me how they ‘caught’ the diabetes. How is it possible that in this era there are still people who think you catch diabetes?
  • I finally watched Free Solo. As a novice, sometimes climber, it was hard to watch. I have just enough experience to truly appreciate what he did. Also, to realize what a nutjob you have to be to do it. I do not understand that level of risk taking.
  • The interesting result of my carb blowout on vacation was how bad I actually felt. It was a bloated, sluggish feeling. My stomach was definitely not right. If I find the right plate of nachos I’ll drop keto in a heartbeat… until then I’m back to a more restrictive eating pattern.
  • I don’t think the younger generations can really appreciate the marvel that is modern technology today. While on vacation I noticed the hotel we were at had three three flags flying on their flagpole. I’m not good with state and country flags and didn’t know two of them, so I took out the device of all knowledge and searched. In about 30 seconds I knew that one was a state flag and the other turned out to be the flag of a country that purchased the hotel a few years ago. It wasn’t that long ago you would have had to go to the library and check out books to find that info. Who would have bothered? Amazing.
  • Today’s the day I have my first dermatologist appointment. Sunburned and peeling badly. He’s going to love me.
  • I’m becoming obsessed with finding services that can make life easier. Blue Apron and HelloDinner, Instacart, Bird and Lime scooters, Uber and Lyft. What other services are worth looking at?
  • I posted my first Instagram story. Exactly one person viewed it. This may or may not continue.

Song of the day: Dannic “Doster”

A Case For Universal Basic Income

I should start out by saying that I do not agree with implementing a Universal Basic Income (UBI). However I recently listened to a podcast with Andrew Yang, a 2020 presidential candidate, and he made the most compelling case yet for it. I think the alarm bell he’s ringing is true… I’m just am not convinced UBI is the right solution.

Mr. Yang’s premise is that due to AI and automation one-third of all working Americans are going to lose their job in the next 12 years. Most of these workers are going to have a very hard time finding new employment. He makes the case that it’s not realistic to think that you’re going to re-train a truck driver from rural Iowa to write code. By giving every working age American $1000 a month you provide a safety net that will be put back into the economy in the form of gas, groceries, fuel, etc… A UBI paid for by a VAT tax. You have a choice of taking the UBI or social services (e.g. food stamps) but not both.

I agree that the coming AI boom is going to displace mass numbers of people. The Mckinsey research group estimates between 400 and 800 million people will be replaced by automation by 2030 worldwide. In the US, the top ten professions are mostly all lower wage jobs. The top five are:

  • #1 for males – truck driver
  • Retail sales
  • cashier
  • office clerk
  • food prep
  • customer service

The mean annual income in the US is $46,000. Every single one of those most common jobs listed is replaceable by automation. A third of the country out of work is a recipe for a real economic crisis that I’m not sure we can survive. The taxpayers are going to pay one way or another – in the form of food stamps, medical, etc…

There are folks who claim we’ve always had revolutions in technology that displace workers – let them #learntocode (don’t put that on Twitter!) The difference between the first and second industrial revolutions and today’s displaced workers is twofold; first the scale of displaced workers was much smaller and second, those revolutions actually spawned a middle class. An uneducated displaced farm worker could move to the city, work in a factory and support a family. Today it’s actually those lower-middle class jobs we’re removing.

So what’s my solution? I don’t know. As a libertarian-ish person I have a very hard time seizing taxpayer money and giving it to others because they made poor decisions and aren’t busting their ass to improve themselves. I also recognize that a mob of hungry, desperate people rioting with pitchforks isn’t in societies interest either.

Most politicians will push for ungodly expensive government boondoggle spending programs to “re-train” workers. Those are usually bottomless money pits with little positive outcome. I applaud Mr. Yang for at least being brave enough to raise the issue and give a plausible solution.

Is UBI the right solution? The more I think about it, the more I’m on the fence. It’s not often I stumble upon an issue where I don’t have a clear opinion. What do we do with 100 million people in this country out of work and no skills to bridge the gap? I’m curious what you think? What’s the right answer? Is this even a problem? Maybe the revolution will happen slower than we think. It’s certainly worth having a discussion… but I suspect we’ll ignore it until too late.