Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A disproportionate spread of wealth

The richest 20% of people consume 76.6% of the world’s resources, while the world’s poorest 20% consume only 1.5%. Use this to see where you fit into the world. If you live in America and are able to access the internet, you're easily sitting in that top 20%.

While we may moan we don't have enough money or resources amongst the perspective of fellow peers, as Americans we're far richer than the vast majority of the world. 1 in 100 chance seems like pretty small odds to be chosen out of a group of people, but that's the luxury we're blessed with. I challenge you to forgo the money you want to spend on something new and give it to a friend or family member who's lost their job or just had kids. Or give it to a charity. Appreciate what you have. As Warren Buffet puts it, “I’m in the luckiest 1% of the world right now.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I love this simple photo. 3 girls w/ 3 different emotions. Leaves you wondering what the person on the right out of the picture is holding.. how tall are they? what do they look like? Where are the girls going? Why are they dressed alike? The caption gives part of it away. The girl on the right looks to be the mischevious one, the middle the worrisome and the left the depressed mom-type but definitely all different personalities. All w/ a beautiful backdrop. I'm glad it's just a photo.. if I heard their accents it would likely kill the beauty of the photo. Kidding….

Thursday, March 25, 2010

IT Band saga

Did sprint intervals Tues, rode to work yesterday.. IT Band feeling peppy so far. I made myself a PVC roller for $8.35 w/ materials from Home Depot and Michael's (see pictures).. works like a charm.. websites were selling something similar for $40-$50.. hogwash.

The real test of the IT band will be tomorrow.. I spent yesterday mapping out a 60 mile ride (see map)from my friend's house in Austin out to Lake Travis and back. Elevation change is 3700 feet up, gonna be killer!

The cheap materials. 4" PVC pipe, 2 $0.99 Foam sheets..

Sanded it all down w/ 80 grit sandpaper to let the glue bind better.

Moistened PVC and used Gorilla glue to bind. Align foam, squeeze out air pockets and rubber band to hold together for a few hours.

Trim off excess foam w/ razor blade, re-glue hanging parts.. just saved myself a lot of money and works like a charm.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A young guy I worked w/ a few years ago at BP died skiing Friday afternoon. He apparently lost control and slammed into a tree, dying at the scene. 27 years old. Way too young. Parents should never have to experience burying their own children. He was a solid guy.

Another reminder to live your life, care less what others think and do what you enjoy. Don't let the shit you own or any preoccupations with material items end up owning you or your life. Don't regret anything, don't lie, don't cheat, don't leave a mess behind for others to clean up. Keep learning. Everything boils down to perspective, of which we all need a strong dose of sometimes.

Rest in peace Josh.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human

Good easy reading. I picked it up after seeing it on The Economist's Best Reads of 2009. Let me forewarn you if you’re religious, this book won’t be for you as the author delves deeply into anthropology, evolution and science.

I’ve recently become interested in the history of food and how it changed slowly with humans. If you think in the grand scheme of human history, grains are even relatively new since farming techniques only began about 10,000 years ago. The processed food revolution began very recently, just around 100 years ago, so a lot of marketed drivel isn’t tailored to our bodies for consumption.. (but damn does it taste good). The new era seems to be heading toward GMOs.

I could see why this book would turn a lot of people off because he uses the eating behavior of gorillas, great apes and chimps as analogues throughout the book; however his theory on the use of fire and cooking to shape human physiology is really good reading.

He points out our proportionately smaller mouths, teeth and guts and breaks down how cooking food significantly decreases chewing time (cows chew up to 20 hours a day, chimps 7+) in addition to increasing the digestibility of food. Rather than the common logic that we manipulate fire, he points out that cooking and its benefits to taste, time and digestibility led to bigger brains (which use a lot of energy) and smaller guts. Even today’s animals whose diets consist of raw food prefer cooked food if given a choice simply because it tastes better. A cooked food eating animal will gain more weight than its raw eating counterpart given the same amount of caloric density since cooking increases the uptake of food by the gut. He even goes into details on how cooking shaped gender roles still apparent today in modern hunter-gather cultures as well as our own. The presence of fire to do the cooking, illuminating darkness, defending against predators and keeping ourselves warm is central to his ideas that the presence of fire played a major role in the development of humans.

I have my doubts on some of his claims, but it’s definitely a thought-provoking read.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

IT Band Flare

Beautiful ride in Fayetteville today, but I waited too long at the last rest stop, body went cold waiting for some people to pace with. As soon as I hopped on, my IT band flared again. It didn't help my situation that I pushed w/ a paceline in pain the last 20 miles. Didn't seem that bad until I drove home and could barely push the clutch in.

So it's 2009 all over again. That sidelined me for months last year... a 10 hour hike in New Zealand was the culprit. Couldn't cycle for months, got cortisoid injections, the works.. hopefully this is just a one-time flare up, otherwise MS is out the window.

Going to Home Depot tomorrow to buy a PVC pipe to roll my leg. Yes, that's the most hardcore roller you can get. It will make any grown man wince in pain, but hopefully it'll put this IT problem to rest. Not gonna cycle this week.. take 2 weeks off and see how it feels then. If it acts up then, MS training stops and alcohol training will be in full swing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jamie Oliver's TED Prize

A great TED video in which Jamie Oliver highlights the food problem in America and the UK. There's another good one by Ann Cooper as well.

The bit that really stuck out to me is the first few minutes where he shows the graph of food related deaths in red with homicide at the very bottom.

I go back to my post about Fear as a Tool. I will reiterate how much American media uses fear to have consumers questions themselves, am I pretty enough, good enough, smart enough to sell more and drive our consumerism engine. News is the same. It uses dramatic cases as fillers to what's important to increase viewership and ratings. It blows homicides and death out of proportion to buy guns, trust no one and travel with the notorious uptight American style we're known for. (Seriously, non-Americans can pick newbie American travelers out of a haystack) On the flip side, highly processed food, high fructose corn syrup and all shit which is actually shortening our lifespans gets a glorious rap from the media.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm rich and poor

Poor in that I've simplified even more. Rich because I sold various things over the past week and as a result have freed up more time and resources. I got rid of...

Canon 70-200 Lens
Canon 10-22 Lens
Canon External Flash
Canon Camera Bag
Apple 12" Laptop
Klipsch Surround speakers

All I'm left w/ that's vital in my apartment are bed, clothes, bikes, french press, computer.

Next to go are old DVDs, some clothes. Someone buy my damn S.T. Dupont lighter! I guess it's karma for such a bad purchase years back.

TV, receiver, surround sound system is on the verge of joining my Craigslist historical sales.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Depression's Upside

Great article about depression in the NYT… have a read.

I'm fascinated by depression. I like movies or books that deal with suicide and depression because I've found those people most interesting because they think non-stop, albeit in a self-mutilating type of way. They're not side-tracked by anything superficial because they need to focus very deliberately on how to function for themselves and it makes them more 'real.' It also has very personal roots which I'll expand more on in some future posts. I went through a severe episode in 2002 - 2004 when I gained 40 pounds, withdrew from school and admitted myself to a hospital.. and a family member has committed suicide. I like the way this article sheds light on the matter.