a t e v a n s . c o m

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On Gary Taubs and "Why We Get Fat":

His demonization of the calories-in/calories-out principle strikes me as a bit of a straw man argument. He says exercising and reducing total calorie intake don’t work; moreover, he says they can’t work. Most of us would argue that they can and do; the problem is not with the principle, but with its implementation.

This is not what Taubs is saying. Yes, calorie restriction works. It absolutely does. Anyone who's looked at the studies knows this. Low-carb diets usually result in eating fewer calories per day. But that's all beside the point.

The point is, if you eat 1500 calories / day of twinkies, you are going to feel miserable. You will be hungry and starved for energy, both of which are bad if you're trying to maintain new eating habits and exercise. You will lose weight, but it will suck, and failure is easy.

If you're looking at it like "I can eat all the bacon I want!" without counting calories, you will probably hit the same calorie target without the misery. High-fat foods are satiating. Low insulin levels mean leptin is actually working for you, and you feel more full, faster. Low insulin also means your fat cells aren't struggling to store everything they can, and triglycerides float freely through your blood to provide you with energy.

It's not a magic cure-all; you may still get the 3pm slump. But it takes a lot less willpower to say "no ice cream" when your fat cells aren't screaming "HEY WE NEED MORE CARBS." It's also easier to say "no cake tonight" when the alternative is all the steak you want rather than just enough sweets to make you crave more.

But the broader point is that those now questioning the utility or relevance of the concept of the dignity of work are responding to reality. They are not so much pushing people away from work as acknowledging that work has moved away from people.

So much this.

There are two features I wish current e-readers would add (notably Kindle, since that's the reader I use most often).

  1. A dynamic dictionary for books. I read a lot of genre fiction (fantasy and sci-fi) which uses a lot of invented words. It would be awfully nice if an e-reader could build these words into its dictionary only for that particular book. You could have definitions for place names, magic systems, important people, etc. that would pop up when the word is highlighted, just like the normal dictionary. These definitions could even be crowdsourced to readers, though that may bring up issues of spoilers.

  2. Support for series of books. There are three books in Peter F Hamilton's "Void" trilogy, but the Amazon titles and descriptions don't say which are which, and the description for the third book spoils part of the second. Same for disconnected series like Iaian M Bank's "Culture" novels - they're not sequels to one another, but how easy is it to find all of them in one place? Not easy. I hate to even think of series with multiple authors contributing, like books in the Cthulhu Mythos or Forgotten Realms settings. I'd love to have a page dedicated to each series with the books in reading order, or failing that, publication order.

These things are small, but would be unbelievably helpful. I'd like to do it myself for a mobile reading app, but I couldn't be arsed to deal with the nightmare that is eBook publishing. Anyone at Amazon / Apple / etc listening?

From Rob Sheldon

What are you going to do, stand up in a coffee house one night and show off your code on a projector? "And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where I got the brilliant idea to use my new mutex to manage simultaneous multithreaded access to the same chunk without the risk of a race condition!" There's wild cheering, somebody buys you drinks, and you get to go home with a cute girl who thinks your brain is super hot.

Looking for external validation will always lead to depression. When I've done some good work that I'm excited about, I do like to tell someone, but it's not so much for validation but to get someone as excited as I am about the tiny bit of awesome I've added to the world.

From the linked article. This is fucked, man. This is why I don't like mobile games - I want to pay up front for a good game, then get lost in it for hours. It's escapism, and an almost meditative state of flow when you really get into it. Not this "tap twice every day" BS.

Seriously, game devs: stop it. Just. Stop.

Update Great quote from metro.co.uk

We were going to refer to Dungeon Keeper as a non-game, but that’s not really accurate. It’s an anti-game. It is purposefully designed not to require thought, skill, or experimentation. Instead it rewards only money and, begrudgingly, patience.

Barack Obama, outlining his changes to the NSA:

Why is this necessary? The program grew out of a desire to address a gap identified after 9/11. One of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar, made a phone call from San Diego to a known al- Qaida safehouse in Yemen.

Skating to where the puck used to be.

I’m also calling on Congress to authorize the establishment of a panel of advocates from outside government to provide an independent voice in significant cases before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

This might actually help. One of the biggest problems with FISA courts was that there was no opposing voice.

For example, if a bomb goes off in one of our cities and law enforcement is racing to determine whether a network is poised to conduct additional attacks, time is of the essence.

No real examples? This is movie threat security.

The review group recommended that our current approach be replaced by one in which the providers or a third party retain the bulk records, with government accessing information as needed.

Because Verizon employees are so much more trustworthy than NSA employees. This makes the phone records BS worse, not better.

tl;dr

We will continue collection enormous amounts of private data on nearly all citizens, foreign and domestic. We may disclose more info about how we use that data, unless it's important or something. I've issued a bunch of presidential orders saying we really shouldn't be evil with this data; but the "access private data" button will still be right there next to the "drone strike" button. The next President may reverse those orders.

Can't say I expected better - Obama is a centrist, and isn't going to scale back any programs labelled "defense" or "security." We knew that when he was elected. But it's still disappointing.

How to have the Burning Man experience from the comfort of your own home:

Pay an escort of your affectional preference subset to not bathe for five days, cover themselves in glitter, dust, and sunscreen, wear a skanky neon wig, dance close naked, then say they have a lover back home at the end of the night.

Tear down your house. Put it in a truck. Drive 10 hours in any direction. Put the house back together. Invite everyone you meet to come over and party. When everyone leaves, follow them back to their homes, drink all their booze, and break things.

Buy a new set of expensive camping gear. Break it.

Stack all your fans in one corner of your living room. Put on your most fabulous outfit. Turn the fans on full blast. Dump a vacuum cleaner bag in front of them.

Pitch your tent next to the wall of speakers in a crowded, noisy club. Go to sleep. Wake up 2 hours later in a 110+ degree tent.

Only use the toilet in a house that is at least 3 blocks away. Drain all the water from the toilet. Only flush it every 4 days. Hide all the toilet paper.

Visit a restaurant and pay them to let you alternate lying in the walk-in freezer and sitting in the oven.

Don't sleep for 5 days. Take a wide variety of hallucinogenic/emotion altering drugs. Pick a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Cut, burn, electrocute, bruise, and sunburn various parts of your body. Forget how you did it. Don't go to a doctor.

Buy a new pair of favorite shoes. Throw one shoe away.

Spend a whole year rummaging through thrift stores for the perfect, most outrageous costume. Forget to pack it.

Listen to music you hate for 168 hours straight, or until you think you are going to scream. Scream. Realize you'll love the music for the rest of your life.

Get so drunk you can't recognize your own house. Walk slowly around the block for 5 hours.

Sprinkle dirty sand in all your food.

Mail $200 to the Reno casino of your choice.

Go to a museum. Find one of Salvador Dali's more disturbing but beautiful paintings. Climb inside it.

Spend thousands of dollars on a deeply personal art work. Hide it in a funhouse on the edge of the city. Blow it up.

Set up a DJ system downwind of a three alarm fire. Play a short loop of drum'n'bass until the embers are cold.

Have a 3 a.m. soul baring conversation with a drag nun in platforms, a crocodile, and Bugs Bunny. Be unable to tell if you're hallucinating.

Thanks to Slashdot for not providing a permalink for comments. To see the comment from Anonymous, hit "Load More" about fifty times then search in page for "Burning Man"

Just FYI, I have never heard an SF techie say these kinds of things. The many people I've talked to at networking events, 500Startups, and through friends have expressed empathy that so many people have it so hard, an urge to help in whatever way we can, and anger at the system and culture that has placed so many people out of reach of the benefits of a developed country. A lot of us are now talking about a basic income, which would give people the freedom to create wonderful things and do what they love -- which as a side effect would provide a huge boost to the economy in additional production and consumption.

But "human trash"? No. I tend to filter out people who think like that.