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Greg Scott

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Posts posted by Greg Scott

  1. One can be leftist ("liberal" in the North American sense) – i.e., believe in state and collective ownership – yet not be open to change or to the new.


    But it also happens to be the case – though this isn't relevant to openness to new things and alternatives (lifestyles or whatever) – that most of Scandinavia is moving towards a libertarian perspective on economics, and a far-right perspective on immigration and tradition.


    The areas where Scandinavia, at least traditionally, has been more open to alternatives than the US and most countries are things like different forms of sexuality, gender, and the like. But that doesn't carry over to much else.


    - Brian


    Thanks Brian for the interesting comments.


    Wikipedia article on Political_spectrum:


    "...the contemporary American right is often considered communitarian (or populist) on sociocultural issues and individualist (or libertarian) on economic issues."


    I don't know how "scientific" such descriptions are, but they can certainly be entertaining.


    Similarly for the proliferation of chatter about "Generations" such as "Gen X" versus "Millenials".


    Are these collections of humans mere constructs, or do they really exist?


    It's all good, clean fun and I enjoy reading about these constructs even while wondering if the groups are real or imaginary.

  2. Alex,


    I'll say "you're welcome" now, since I doubt we'll hear from you again on this topic. From past experience it seems you never engage in any sort of dialog or conversation around one of your posts - just a question and then silence... :-(




    Sounds like an askhole.

  3. For some mysterious reason the laws of physics are configured in such a way as to repeatedly throw things together in different configurations, and then challenge them with forces & events that would break them down again.


    A variation on the Tibetan Buddhist Sand mandala.


    Those conglomerations of things that are best able to withstand these repeated challenges and thereby persist and proliferate


    The sand fights back...

  4. Dean,


    This sounds like a contrast between an ordinary person and a genius.


    No contempt is intended in my use of the term "ordinary person".


    It also brings to mind this quotation:


    "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."


    It could be that the inspiration for this quotation Is Henry Buckle:


    Background is on p.32, the gist of the quotation is on p.33:


    Haud Immemor (Not Unmindful) by Charles Stewart.


    Here is the quotation for the click-averse:


    "Buckle said, in his dogmatic way: "Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence ; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons ; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest, by their preference for the discussion of ideas" The epigram, for an epigram, is, I think, unusually true; but the modifications it requires for practical life are too obvious to dwell on. The fact, of course, is that any of one's friends who was incapable of a little intermingling of these condiments would soon be consigned to the home for dull dogs."


    For more on Buckle: Wikipedia: Henry Buckle.


    Here is another excerpt you might like from "Haud Immemor" (p.158):


    " The best years of life are after fifty or sixty, when you know what the world really is and what it has to offer. One knows more, and can do more for others; has more experience, and is free from illusions about wealth or rank or love ; or even about religion, for one begins to see what is really valuable in it, and what is half physical and half emotional."

  5. But to be honest, this type of "omnibus" thread has had mixed reviews and some pushback among the moderators of these forums... The reasonable argument (it seems to me, although I didn't promote it) is that packing all the discussions of a single large health topic like "PREVENTING COGNITIVE DECLINE" into a single thread will result in very long threads, with inevitable diversions & divergences off-topic. It's the natural way these types of forums go. 


    Instead, it has been advocated that we keep threads fairly granular and relatively narrowly-focused, with good keywords to help people search via the forum search mechanism, and via the helpful functionality the forum software provides to show related threads based on overlapping tags at the bottom of the page. If you're reading this on a desktop, you should be able to see them at the bottom of your browser window. But in case not (i.e. if you're on an android or ios device), here is what they look like via a screen capture:


    Between this and the search mechanism for the forums, it seems to me (and especially to others) a better solution than having just a few omnibus threads for high-level topics. In fact, with just a few omnibus threads, tagging threads with keywords becomes a lot more difficult, since when you say add a new study and discussion of it to an omnibus thread, you need to go back and edit the first post in the thread to insert new keywords, and each thread is limited to only 10 keywords, adding further constraints....


    So at least for now I'm inclined to maintain threads at a relatively granular level.




    Thanks for this excellent post.


    You have produced a number of these educational posts with great screenshots.


    Can you tag those posts so we can get a listing of all your meta-forum posts?


    They really deserve to be spotlighted with some forum heading, like FAQ or "Tips for getting the most out of this website".

  6. I apologize for being irreverent, even if you, Dean, say you've enjoyed that aspect of me. I had to look up the word irreverent, and it means disrespectful. And I certainly do not mean any disrespect to your prodigious and frankly overwhelming research and writing, Dean. I guess I've written disrespectfully not on purpose, but rather because I'm floored by the amount of time, attention, and care you express here. You have my profound respect -- but I'm just not very good at expressing myself. I was attempting to add lightness, levity, humor -- but comedy is best left to professionals, I think. I'll try to tamp down my disrespect, Dean.



    Don't be hard on yourself. I'd bet Dean meant it like "saucy" or "cheeky", something like this ad hoc "definition":


    taking things less seriously than the stuffed shirts do, in a way that is regarded as entertaining or amusing;


    In other words, nobody felt disrespected, and you are more amusing than offensive. No worries.


    I practiced severe CR for two or three years. I lost so much weight, got so weak, felt so miserable, cold, ugly, freakish, isolated from friends and family, that I had to let it go. I let it go right around the time the Wisconsin studies came out. It felt right to lose it then. But I'm still flirting with CR. I fast a lot. But I honestly don't know if anything will slow the ravages of aging beyond advancing technologies like SENS or CRISP gene editing, or whatever's next. At best, I think, CR may give us good health if practiced from an early age and diligently. But I don't expect to live much longer than my genetic inheritance. Unless we can discover how to tinker with genes. Which seems far away. But I don't know.

    That is interesting. I too don't expect to live longer than my genetic program dictates. All I am doing is avoiding an undue shortening of my potential by abusing my body through overeating or other harmful treatment.

  7. Greg,


    Thanks for your detailed response! I have several questions / comments for you.


    You wrote:

    I have not found much in the way of actionable advice or guidelines here.


    Huh? At least it appeared you were going to modify your diet in several significant ways as a result of some of these discussions. The hazards of a fruitarian diet thread seemed like it had some reasonable, actionable advice you at least said you were inclined to adopt. No?



    Yes Dean, I am a backslider. The alterations to my regimen didn't "take" or "stick". I got sick of nuts, for one thing.


    So the only behavior change I am aware of is the use of CRON-O-METER and my taking many of the vegan supplements on "the Dean's list".


    I was already drinking coffee, so all the research on the benefits of coffee consumption don't matter to me. Anyway, I'll probably find out that the benefits don't accrue to someone drinking my coffee, or my coffee prepared the way I do it.




    Of course there are some conclusions from research so convincing that most of us have altered our behavior, but in general I don't do anything that doesn't come naturally to me.


    Ah - the naturalistic fallacy. You do know it's natural for humans to eat meat,...



    This raises the question of what is "natural". Among humans, is eating meat more natural than smoking tobacco? I read that 92% of Chinese men smoke, so it would appear to be as natural as eating meat in America. Or is there more to it than prevalence?


    I could never tolerate alcohol, and eating meat never appealed to me. Veganism is effortless and seems nearly instinctive. Is that quirk "unnatural"?


    ...and it's natural for humans to grow fast, raise a lot of kids, and die young? In short, we've been finding ways to improve on what comes naturally to us for eons. You're welcome to ignore what we've learned from these experiments, ...


    I'm missing your point here. What "experiments" do you mean? I'm all for sanitation that promotes health and longevity, quarantine of the infected. Is that what you mean by experiments that offset the "natural" tendency to die young?

  8. Both Singer and Sidgwick ultimately say we must rely on either:

    • Our natural instinct/inclination to promote the social good, bred into us by a long history of ancestors who survived by being part of a functional group.
    • Our capacity for reason, by which we recognize that from the point of view of the universe the well-being of one individual is no more important than that of another. To reason that I want happiness for myself, but so does everyone, and I have no more right to it than they do, so I shouldn't promote my own well-being at the expense of the well-being of others.
    I personally consider both of these arguments for universal benevolence (i.e. from instinct and rationality) to be fairly weak and not especially convincing.



    My feeling exactly (that such arguments are "fairly weak and not especially convincing".


    But I also don't see any ethical framework that is any more convincing or ennobling, despite several millennia of philosophers and theologians trying find such a framework.


    I don't believe there is any amount of ratiocination that could produce defensible "theorems" about purpose in life. It all boils down to preference. Saying that preferences are inherited, based on eons of selection (i.e. they have survival value) doesn't justify the preferences. They might be useful for propagating genes, but survival itself is pointless in a universe devoid of purpose (or at least a universe in which animal life has no purpose (in a philosophical, teleological sense) other than proliferation or continuance of genetic factors).


    ...we have the freedom (within limits) to pick our own purpose (yes somewhat arbitrarily) and pursue them to the best of our ability.


    I find most instances of "life purpose" to be *very* arbitrary, rather than merely *somewhat* arbitrary.


    But we all need to pass our time somehow, so I applaud anyone who latches on to some "purpose" that provides self-justification or gratification and doesn't hurt anyone else.


    ...we are thrust into the world without a predetermined purpose and each of us must struggle to find one for ourselves.


    I like that way of putting it, and concur.


    That seems to me like about the best we can do, and Singers' suggestion of universal benevolence seems like a better purpose than most.


    However pointless and arbitrary the adoption of his principle might appear, it is certainly admirable.


    Greg, do you have a better, less arbitrary solution to the big question of the ultimate propose/meaning of life which can be rationally defended?


    My "take" is probably clear from the foregoing remarks, but I'll elaborate anyhow.


    I have an esthetic approach to this issue. [it seems the quaint spelling aesthetic might still be predominant, but I'm all for spelling reform]


    There are behaviors that appear ugly, including selfish or hurtful attitudes and actions.


    They appear so to me, no matter what anyone says.


    However, I am not a unique machine, so I expect many other humans to think just as I do.


    You made a comment earlier about a framework being "convincing or ennobling", and that nails it. The "convincing" part covers the need we have for rational notions, and the "ennobling" part covers what I call the esthetic approach.


    Attitudes and behaviors that we would call noble attract us. Their opposites (ignoble, selfish, heinous,... whatever expressions of distaste or disapprobation we use) are repellant, ugly, offensive to our delicate esthetic sensibilities.


    The ugly reality is that there are people who don't share our esthetic values.


    That compels us to do a cost/benefit analysis of confrontation with them. In some cases we defend our arbitrary values by attempting to obliterate the enemy. The outcome doesn't matter to anyone but us, here and now.


    Nothing matters really. But we do have our predispositions and preferences, and each of us can have a grand time, for it seems to me we live on an interesting little planet.

  9. But you might experiment with the two icons highlighted in red below before you paste into the composition window. They might disable the format "guessing" you refer to. The "paste as plain text" option (under the icon on the right highlighted in green below) might also be helpful.


    Please let us know if any of this helps.




    It might be premature to report after making only one long post, since that one post did not have much markup in it (such as LIST items).


    But I think your suggestion has merit.


    I did not see a proliferation of markup generated by the forum software. So it appears that the beast has been tamed.

  10. Greg,


    You can't pick and choose which threads to mark as read, but you can mark them all as read with just two clicks:


    1) Click on the "Mark Community Read" link at the very bottom of the "New Content" page (see below).

    2) Click on the "Mark all as read" item from the drop down menu that appears.




    Thank you Dean.


    As always, your response was helpful.

  11. I compose a post in an external editor (not a component of the browser), then submit it to the forum software.


    After selecting "Preview Post", I often get a surprise at how it looks. In checking the composition area of the forum webpage, I see that the forum software has inserted markup that was not in my editor. This happens routinely with LIST tags and QUOTE tags.


    Is there any way to prevent the composition software from guessing what I intend and inserting its own markup?

  12. The function "View New Content" is most useful.


    After a hiatus, there might be a great many posts listed.


    Is there a way to select and mark posts that are not of interest as read without actually selecting them?


    Email programs allow you to select multiple messages without reading them, then trash the group. Is there a similar function for removing posts from the "View New Content" display?

  13. There is the story - not apocryphal I believe - of a woman who for decades had wanted to get an audience with the Dalai Lama, and finally did - a year or two ago. 


    She felt, she said to him, this great need to understand the purpose of life.


    It is said his reply was:  "Ahhh.  That one is easy.  Happiness is the purpose of life.


    Another arbitrary assertion ("Happiness is the purpose of life.")


    But the much more difficult question is:  How does one obtain it?"


    I see nothing wrong with setting goals or pursuits. One has to pass the time somehow.


    Yet the feverish "pursuit of happiness" seems to cause more misery to the pursuers than if they would just relax and enjoy life.

  14. Dean,


    My impression of the website and forums could merely reflect my obtuseness. There might be great value here that I have overlooked.


    I keep tabs on the forums mostly because I like the way you think and write.


    I have not found much in the way of actionable advice or guidelines here. I don't have the capacity to digest voluminous and intricate research reports and derive practical guidelines.


    Allow me to make a facetious comment pertaining to the way scientific studies might be used to alter one's behavior:


    I might train my body to sleep on the right side. After 40 years, I find out that the benefits are only derived from sleeping on the left side.


    Of course there are some conclusions from research so convincing that most of us have altered our behavior, but in general I don't do anything that doesn't come naturally to me.


    At this point I will note exceptions to my contention that there is little actionable information: the excellent advice I received on the forums to use CRON-O-METER software, and your list of vegan supplements.


    This has been the biggest change in my practice.


    Otherwise, I'm just plodding along doing what I've been doing for over 40 years.


    I haven't bothered with doctors or blood tests, so I accept that I might be doomed and just don't know it. I accept that risk.


    It helps that I'm not concerned about longevity. I follow a CR regimen because it makes me feel good and satisfies a strong ascetic tendency that seems inbuilt (as does a vegan compulsion).


    Zeta wrote:

    Of course, I'm not really on CR right now...


    Of course, many would say I'm not either, if you look at my raw calorie intake and ignore my net energy balance and weight/BMI.



    Dean, you follow a high calorie/high exercise program, and I follow a low calorie/low exercise program. So there would seem to be few practices of yours I would adopt. Yet I have paid attention to your vegan supplementation recommendations, and I simply find it interesting to follow what you are doing.


    It seems ironic (and rather sad), that the two most active members of these CR Forums are not actually practicing CR, by the strict definition of the term. I wonder why that is, and particularly why the CR veterans that we know lurk on these forums from the CR demographics survey results won't seem to participate in the discussions.


    I can think of several possibilities:


    CR is simply another part of their life, so fully integrated and natural they don't care to talk about it, or to socialize with other like-minded individuals on topics of health and longevity on these forums.


    What I do *appears* to work for me, but nobody should want to emulate my practice.


    The socializing part might account for why I continue to respond to forum posts. That's as close to socializing as I get.


    If alone-ness (not loneliness) were bad for longevity, I'd really be a goner.


    But I agree with Sthira, that we hermits sometimes seem to have surprising longevity. I am curious whether I'll roll sixes or snake eyes. Time will tell.


    They are simply too busy to bother contributing to the discussions.


    I wonder if such busy people can derive anything useful from forum discussions. Maybe it is entertaining discussion even if not actionable.


    They are somewhat selfish - content to absorb the information shared on these forums, but unwilling to contribute to it.


    They must be absorbing info that I am too obtuse to see the use of. The info is interesting, but not useful to me.


    They are too private to feel comfortable sharing, although this one seems unlikely given how easy it is to remain anonymous if one wishes.


    I have no reservations about sharing details of my practice, but why should anyone want to know what I do? Like I said, my regimen is based on my intuitions and inbuilt quirks.


    They don't have the energy to engage in the lively discussions we have. :)xyz


    They show admirable restraint, not adding useless quips and opinions to posts by diligent and better-informed contributors. Think of them as spectators with the good manners not to blurt out worthless reactions. Or think of them as your bashful fans.


    They think they've heard it all before, and all we're doing is rehashing things they (think they) already know about CR, and health/longevity in general.


    I have not "heard it all before" when it comes to the studies discussed in the forums. I skim the research summaries out of interest, but the results don't translate into behavior change.


    There are no 'true believers' anymore in the human longevity benefits of CR in the strictest sense of the concept, or perhaps more accurately, the benefits don't seem worth the costs, and so everyone has moved towards different strategies for maximizing health/longevity, and don't feel the need to talk about it here.


    I follow a CR regimen because it makes me feel best. I doubt that my practice will translate into impressive longevity. Probably I've been sleeping on the wrong side most of my life.


    I'd be very interested in hearing other CR veterans' answer to why they aren't more active here.


    You have contributed so much that interests me, that I hope this post is of interest to you.

  15. Words of wisdom from my favorite living philosopher, Peter Singer, from a Q&A session he did on Quora.


    Because the universe was not designed or created by anyone, there is no ultimate purpose to our lives, in the sense of a reason why we exist.  We just do exist. We evolved. Here we are.



    Now it is up to us to find out what is the best thing we can do with our lives.

    If there is no purpose, I see little meaning in "the best thing we can do".


    My view is that the best thing we can do is try to make the world a better place, using our resources and our capacity to reason and evaluate evidence to find out how best to do that.

    This sounds totally arbitrary, a mere personal preference.

  16. Two guys walk into a bar. The first orders some H2O. The second guy says sounds good, I'll have some H2O too.


    The second guy died.

    I've heard that hydrogen peroxide is deadlier than dihydrogen monoxide.

  17. If you're in a giving mood this holiday season, I heartily endorse the organization Kiva.org, which allows you to participate in microloans to deserving people around the developing world for only $25. The best part is that once people use the money for their project, they repay the loan so you can lend out the money again. Here is one such Kiva success story, a Peruvian coffee farmer named Avelino (pictured below) who received a $325 loan last year to buy compost and fertilizer so he could increase his crop yield. He was successful and paid back his 10 lenders in full.




    This was a great post!


    Thank you for bringing Kiva.org to our attention.


    I had been wondering about how to extend microcredit, and kiva.org appears to be a great way to accomplish that.


    I read up about the organization at Wikipedia: Kiva.org and at reddit: Kiva.org.


    Despite my considerable reluctance in registering accounts online (fearing well-meaning organizations being hacked), I created an account.


    For others reading this, rest assured the website is easy to use and permits payments via PayPal. It was all very painless, including "choosing a borrower" (to use kiva.org's phrase).


    Dean wrote:

    I tend to focus my loans to people like Avelino, farmers or people who sell fruits & vegetables, and who commit to repaying the loan relatively quickly (usually under 1 year), so I can re-loan the money to others as quickly as possible and help the most people. But that's just one strategy. Kiva provides a ton of different ways to search for loans that meet your own criteria.


    There were many appealing borrowers.


    For starters, I've been looking for coffee farmers in South America. I favor older folks, since there is a log of ageism in the world, making it hard for elders to catch a break.


    Dean wrote:

    Anyway, I believe in Kiva so much, I'm giving away a $25 loan gift code to encourage the first person who reads this and wants to give Kiva a try.


    Simply go to kiva.org/redeem and enter this gift code: RAUH-RK3N-QXKD-KDXP


    Thank you! I used your gift code and added my own portion for a "Total Loans, Gifts, and Donations $57.50".


    There was an anonymous donor who matched my contribution, which sweetens the deal.


    For others, note that every $25 to a borrower incurs a $3.75 contribution to kiva.org, including the $25 from Dean's gift card. However, the $7.50 that goes to kiva.org from the $57.50 is not outrageous.


    Dean wrote:

    Start loaning through Kiva.org today. You'll be glad you did!


    Yes Dean, I am glad to join Kiva.org and help out people like Gregorio.


    Thanks again for the gift card and the introduction to a fine microfinance organization.

  18. That's strange. Greg, did you try from a machine other than your Linux box? It wouldn't surprise me if the browser features required for Bing Maps aren't fully implemented in your Linux browser.



    I only tried from Linux Chrome browser. My Windows 7 PC is stored until tax preparation time.


    Thanks for the photo. Your driveway is enormous!

  19. OK - so 3-5 'cups' of coffee per day is the 'optimal' dose for health and longevity according to several epidemiological studies. But what the heck is a 'cup' of coffee, anyway?


    Bizarrely, a standardized 'cup' of coffee is considered to be 6oz (=177g) rather than the standard measuring cup (8oz).



    Thanks for pointing that out. I had assumed a cup was a cup was a cup ...


    Dean wrote:

    So how much ground coffee is typically used to brew a standard cup?

    According to The Coffee FAQ, the standard is about 10g of ground coffee / 6oz cup, which equates to about 2 tablespoons.


    Thanks for that info.


    So, if we're shooting for ~4 standardized (6oz) cups of coffee per day, that equates to about 40g, or conveniently, about 1/2 cup (that is - 1/2 a standard measuring cup's worth), of ground coffee per day, independent (more or less) of the amount of water used to brew it.


    I've always wanted to know that. Now I do, and you do too!


    Also good to know. This short post was well worth reading.


    The amount of health-promoting polyphenols in that liquid coffee will vary depending on how it's brewed ...


    This might not be the right place to parade my ignorance around, but Google searches didn't enlighten me, so here goes.


    Catechins are antioxidants (a good thing), but they are also phenols.


    Phenols don't sound that good for health.


    So how do we laymen reconcile these?


    Some background to my question:


    Wiktionary: phenol:

    • 1. A caustic, poisonous, white crystalline compound, C6H5OH, derived

      from benzene and used in resins, plastics, and pharmaceuticals and in

      dilute form as a disinfectant and antiseptic; once called carbolic


    • 2. Any of a class of aromatic organic compounds having at least one

      hydroxyl group attached directly to the benzene ring.

    • Synonyms:

      (caustic compound derived from benzene): carbolic acid

    Wikipedia: Catechin:

    Catechin is a flavan-3-ol, a type of natural phenol and

    antioxidant. It is a plant secondary metabolite. It belongs to the

    group of flavan-3-ols (or simply flavanols), part of the chemical

    family of flavonoids.


    Interesting trivia:

    ... catechin chemical family derives from catechu, which is the tannic juice or boiled extract of Mimosa catechu (Acacia catechu L.f)



    Probably a corruption of the Malay kachu. A gummy extract of any of several species of Acacieae, produced by boiling the wood of the tree in water and evaporating the resulting liquid.

  20. Greg, James, and others: you might want to consider buying dried beans and boiling them yourself (a small hassle, but can be amortated by preparing multi-serving potfulls): canned beans are consistently reported to lead to substantially higher postprandial glucose and insulin (1,3), presumably because a mixture of the high heat conditions during industrial pressure-cooking(2) and time in the can both tend to break down the soluble fiber excessively.


    Additionally, there is the concern around BPA and many of its substitutes: very few companies use genuinely xenoestrogen-free linings for canned beans, most notably Eden's switch to oleoresin years before BPA became a subject of national headlines. Many manufacturers say their cans are "BPA-free," but use other known or suspected chemical-leaching linings, such as vinyl or bisphenol S — and most won't disclose. (To be clear, however, it really isn't entirely clear that BPA is harmful to humans under real-world exposures — or if it is, if it's meaningfully harmful to adult humans, and I wouldn't consider anyone rash to ignore the issue at this stage in the science).

    Thanks Michael,


    I will look into alternatives, as my distaste for the canned beans makes it unlikely I will continue with canned foods.