…forgive, forgive, forgive. And then forgive again.

“In any bond of depth and significance, forgive, forgive, forgive. And then forgive again. The richest relationships are lifeboats, but they are also submarines that descend to the darkest and most disquieting places, to the unfathomed trenches of the soul where our deepest shames and foibles and vulnerabilities live, where we are less than we would like to be. Forgiveness is the alchemy by which the shame transforms into the honor and privilege of being invited into another’s darkness and having them witness your own with the undimmed light of love, of sympathy, of nonjudgmental understanding. Forgiveness is the engine of buoyancy that keeps the submarine rising again and again toward the light, so that it may become a lifeboat once more.”

-Maria Popova, “13 Life-Learnings from 13 Years of Brain Pickings.” brainpickings.org. October 23, 2019.

It’s a beautiful sentiment. Before you go plumbing the depths of others and having them do the same in return, make sure it is done under the aegis of earned trust. Earned trust is a necessary precondition for any bond of depth and significance.

Triage Your Hells

Listen. In a perfect world, we’d all be able to work through our problems with love, compassion and understanding. We’d see that we are all flawed human beings looking for measures of love, respect and power over our lives.

But, we don’t live in that world. In our world, some people only understand violence. Some are so wounded that they have little to offer anyone else but a share of their suffering. Some only know how to take your time and energy and will give nothing in return. And there are others, so many others.

Perhaps, life is like the Chinese fable: Hell is a place with only six foot chopsticks and no one can feed themselves. And, heaven is a place with only six foot chopsticks, and everyone feeds everyone else. And maybe, it only takes a few people from hell to turn heaven into hell, and vice versa.

You may be an angel, ready to feed the world with your six foot chopsticks. And God bless you, sweet angel. But, a bit of advice: be prepared to run if the demons put you on the menu, and maybe pick a better hell next time.

Aerospike Engines

“[A rocket engine] is a heat and pressure machine whose end goal is to convert…heat and pressure into workable thrust. The more that gets converted the better. This conversion is usually done by a large bell nozzle…

The further down the nozzle you go, the lower the pressure and temperature of the exhaust gets and the more it’s exchanged for higher and higher exhaust velocities. So in general, you want this nozzle to be as big as possible in order for it to convert as much of that energy as possible. 

Only one problem. When the exhaust pressure at the end of the nozzle gets below the pressure of the outside ambient air surrounding, the ambient air actually starts to squeeze in on the exhaust gas. Lower the pressure too much and the ambient air will squeeze in on the exhaust so much that it will actually start to peel the exhaust off the nozzle walls and form random shock waves and spikes that will tear apart the engine. So what if you turned an engine inside out and made it so the ambient air pressure is actually pushing the exhaust IN against the nozzle instead of squeezing the exhaust away from the nozzle.”

—Tim Dodd, “Are Aerospike Engines Better than Traditional Rocket Engines?” Everyday Astronaut. October 18, 2019.

I’d never heard of aerospike engines before. This seems like a good introduction.

For Fathers of Daughters [and Anyone Concerned with Gender Equality]

“When I was pregnant with my third son a young colleague asked me whether I wanted a boy or girl. I responded that I thought that the role model pressure of having a daughter would be hard, so I would be more comfortable with a son. She wagged her finger at me and said, ‘You have it all wrong. The most important thing you can do for women like me is to raise fair men who are equally competent at household activities as they are at working collaboratively with women in the office. That’s the role model you should worry about–your being a strong woman who expects her sons to treat women as equals.'”

-Jules Pieri, “For Fathers of Daughters.” jules.thegrommet.com. October 10, 2019.

Advice for all men, not just fathers.

Agree to Disagree or Fight

“‘I don’t believe in argument,” he said…

…’You don’t?’ Erens said, genuinely surprised. ‘Shit, and I thought I was the cynical one.”

‘It’s not cynicism,’ he said flatly. ‘I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.’

‘Oh well, thank you.’

‘It’s comforting, I suppose.’ … ‘Most people are not prepared to have their minds changed,’ he said. ‘And I think they know that in their hearts that other people are the same, and one of the reasons that people become angry when they argue is that they realize just that, as they trot out their excuses.’

Excuses, eh? Well, if this ain’t cynicism, what is?’ Erens snorted.

‘Yes, excuses,’ he said, with what Erens thought might just have been a trace of bitterness. ‘I strongly suspect the things people believe in are usually just what they instinctively feel is right; the excuses, the justifications, the things you’re supposed to argue about, come later. They’re the least important part of belief. That’s why you can destroy them, win an argument, prove the other person wrong, and still they believe what they did in the first place.’ He looked at Erens. ‘You’ve attacked the wrong thing.’

‘So what do you suggest one does, Professor, if one is not to indulge in this futile … arguing stuff?’

‘Agree to disagree,’ he said. ‘Or fight.’

Fight?

He shrugged. ‘What else is left?’

‘Negotiate?’

‘Negotiation is a way to come to a conclusion; it’s the type of conclusion I’m talking about.’

‘Which basically is to disagree or fight?’

‘If it comes to it.’

-Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons. London: Orbit, 2008.

Visual Guide to Portion Sizes

From http://myrealfoodfamily.com

Also, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has a discussion on how portion and serving sizes have changed over the years.

Diet is key. While it is possible to reduce your weight by increasing the amount of exercise you do, it often doesn’t stay off because you need to continue that exercise regime to keep it off. As the saying goes: you cannot outrun a bad diet.

Once you have your diet under control, it is also useful to consider the guidelines for physical activity that I have referenced before and perhaps done in combination with a monthly 45 minute physical fitness test.

To put it another way, if you worked your way up to doing a running 10 miles every week, did it for a year and kept your diet the same, it would burn ~700-1500 calories a week, which would result in weight loss of between 10-20 pounds a year.

80 Days (Game)

“The year is 1872…

…Phileas Fogg has wagered he can circumnavigate the globe.

Hundreds of journeys, thousands of routes. Travel by steamer, express train, airship, hover-car, hydrofoil, gyrocopter, camel, horse-back, hot-air balloon…

Can you make it in 80 Days?

80 Days