Insulin 🙂, Glycemic Index and Weight Loss: Not so simple?

“Lord Walder let me choose any of his granddaughters, and promised me the girl’s weight in silver as a dowry. So I have a fat young bride.” – Game of Thrones


I wonder what the glycemic index of ALL THE CAKE is?  Probably pretty high.

One thing I love about writing this blog is that I always learn something.  My favorite times writing are when, in the middle of the research that I’m doing that I find out something new that changes my conclusion.  Or, like today, when I think I’m pretty up on a subject but I end up finding out something that doesn’t change my conclusion, but changes the way I got there.  So, spoiler alert – I learned a lot, but my conclusion didn’t change.

When it comes to weight loss, it still comes down to what you eat.  For the last two and a half months(!) I haven’t been practicing what I preach – I strayed pretty far from the Paleo®/Primal©/Atkins™ low-carb type diet.  I’d give you my reasons and excuses, but I’m not in junior high anymore and am not really worried about stuff like that.  I’ve mentioned plateaus (LINK) before, and have decided to research the whole diet mess in greater detail.

Like junior high, it’s all about hormones.  Just not exactly the same ones as junior high.

The first and most critical hormone when it comes to weight loss appears to be insulin.  What is insulin, besides expensive?

Let’s take a step back before we answer that.  What’s a hormone?  A hormone is a messenger chemical that the loose agglomeration of organs that your body is made of use to signal each other.  They probably don’t have as much information as, say, a text message.  Think of hormones as the emoji’s of your body.  Keep in mind, these emoji’s don’t just go to one place – they go everywhere.  And do different things in different combinations.

The primary triggering mechanism (but not the only one, as we will see) to flood your body with insulin is the blood sugar level.  Your body actually can see the quality of your blood as it goes through your veins, probably through telepathy.  When the blood sugar level increases, the pancreas releases insulin.  Insulin is the 🙂 of your body.

So, let’s pretend you’re six years old, and the idea of eating a cup of sugar appeals to you.  Your blood sugar content rises, your body sends out a batch of insulin 🙂 .  This insulin allows the sugar (specifically glucose) into the cell to be converted into energy – unless your cells have plenty of energy already, in which case the glucose is converted into glycogen for storage in the muscles for when it’s needed.  If the cells and the glycogen storage are full?  Game over.  Let’s turn all that spare sugar into fat.

So, let’s eliminate insulin 🙂.  That seems easy enough.  No insulin, no fat.

Without insulin 🙂, your cells wouldn’t allow the sugar through the cell wall, and the sugar would continue to increase in concentration until your blood took on the consistency of maple syrup.  Just kidding – your body would dump the sugar through the kidneys, which the kidneys totes do not like – the ancient Greeks even had a name for this:  diabetes, from the words for “pass through” and “sweet.”  Really.

This is actually what happens with type one diabetics:  their pancreas stops making insulin 🙂 and then they get really skinny.  And then, if not diagnosed and given injections of life-giving insulin 🙂, they die.  Elevated blood sugar for long periods of time is really bad for you.  The Mrs. is a type I diabetic.  I tell her that she should stop being dependent upon drugs.  She hits me.

Insulin 🙂 is anabolic – it signals the body that it’s time to build stuff – in this case, fat or glycogen.  Fat is an especially potent storage form, it has about twice the thermal energy per pound or gallon (I could say gram, but I’m not a communist) as sugar does.  But, we should all recall that a calorie is not a calorie – your body uses them differently (LINK).

So, the insulin 🙂 wants to do something with your blood sugar – it has to or else it will kill you.  Part of the choice is yours – eat a batch of potato chips and lounge on the couch?  Right to the fat conversion.  Eat a batch of potato chips and go exercise?  Creating that caloric deficit is required to lose weight, but remember, you can’t outrun your teeth (LINK) even on a low-carb diet.

This forms the basis for the strategies in the Paleo®/Primal©/Atkins™ diets.  In Atkins™ the focus is entirely on elimination of carbs.  In Paleo®/Primal©, the focus is on eating things that are in tune what a hunter gatherer would have consumed back in the day, and a greater understanding of “insulin 🙂 reality” is a component of the diet.

It turns out that there is a list (a very long list that you can find here (LINK)) of what the Glycemic Index (I’ll just call it Index) of food is.  In this case, the Index is a comparison of how the food compares to just drinking 100 grams of glucose, the sugar that goes straight into the bloodstream without alteration.  So, glucose has an Index of 100.  White bread?  70.  Baked potato?  69, nearly the same as bread.  Carrots?  35.  Rocks and twigs?  0.  The Index tells you how much your food is going to go immediately to your bloodstream as sugar.

It’s a complicated system, and there appears to be no evidence that glycemic index values by themselves are a very good basis for a diet.  It does, however, provide a clue as to what causes an insulin response in your body.

A nice, juicy ribeye is composed of protein and fat (along with some garlic . . . mmmm).  The glycemic index of a ribeye is zero.  It doesn’t raise your blood sugar at all.  Let’s say you ate nothing but ribeyes and water for a week.  Wonderful idea!!!  You would not die, but you’d probably start to get sick of ribeyes.  After a year.

But when you ate the ribeye, your body would toss out insulin 🙂.  Well, it wouldn’t do just that.  It also tosses out glucagon (another hormone), which allows amino acids (protein) into the liver to be turned into . . . glucose.  It’s an example of how one hormone does many things, and, in combination with other hormones, does yet a different thing.  Maybe instead of emoji’s, hormones are more like a Rubik’s Cube® which each hormone turns the cube a different way and nobody understands except for Eastern European kids who have no social life.  Limiting this to just insulin 🙂 or even insulin/glucagon can’t tell all of the story, but it is a start.  If you overeat while on Atkins®?  Yeah, you can gain weight.  Thanks, a lot, insulin 🙂.

In a person who hasn’t developed diabetes (type II, the kind that old people get) this insulin/glucagon situation balances itself out.  And our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have a Dairy Queen™ to go get a Blizzard© at.  So, they ate their mammoth, some nuts, and berries.  Pretty low carbohydrate load and the insulin/glucagon balance didn’t create too many fat cavemen.

But we have Dairy Queen™, so modern us uses a lot of insulin 🙂 dealing with that sugar.  And the pancreas keeps pumping it out.  The response to that is that the cells start to ignore the insulin.  Oh, him again.  And then the sugar is stored as fat . . . and the negative cycle repeats, and the person slowly develops diabetes (type II).

But low carb diets improve insulin 🙂 sensitivity.  Working out hard and sleeping well increase sensitivity.  The best cure of all is to lose weight, though that’s not a guarantee to remove all negative aspects of loss of insulin 🙂 sensitivity.  Mark over at Mark’s Daily Apple® has a big list of suggestions on how to increase your insulin 🙂 sensitivity (LINK).

But it’s still a question of thermodynamics, and you’d have to eat a bucketful of broccoli to get to 2,000 calories a day.  Low carb diets just help you not be as hungry and are (in one respect) natural portion limiters, especially if you throw in lots of low carb vegetables as would be common with a Paleo® or Primal© diet.  (Fruits are harder, since we’ve bred them to be much sweeter over thousands of years.)

In the end, my advice is to treat life as you grow older like you treated life in junior high – work out hard, don’t ignore your hormones, and get used to hair showing up in weird places, like your back.

John Wilder is not a doctor.  Do NOT the take advice of anyone without first consulting with your physician, swami, healer, metaphysician, lawyer, and guru.

A Guide to Job-Getting, or, Interviewing for Fun and Profit

“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Merlin. You are about to embark on what is probably the most dangerous job interview in the world. One of you, and only one of you, will become the next Lancelot.” – Kingsmen:  The Secret Service


These women were interviewing for the baby-catching position we had.  Neither was hired – since it was clearly in the job description that you cannot be made of metal, wood or stone.  But they caught 8 of the 10 babies!

This post is the result of a discussion I had with a relative who is getting within six or so semesters of graduation.  Please, do pass this link around since many college kids have NO idea that HR is the enemy or even how the hiring process works at a major corporation.  Or how to use a dial phone.  But the whole phone thing is beyond the scope of this post . . .

Previous posts have discussed (honest) ways to make money other than being an employee – and being Johnny Depp doesn’t count.  Chief among them are being self-employed (which is like a job, but with none of the job security), owning a business, or being an investor.  But most people want to work for a company, especially new college graduates.  Something about having a steady paycheck seems to motivate them.

Starters:  The Résumé

I’ve had the good fortune to review thousands (not an exaggeration) of résumës.  I know that there’s no umlaut in the word résumés, but I never get to use umlauts.  Between me and you shouldn’t the word umlaut have an ümlaüt or two?

I digress.  I’ve seen zillions of résumés.  Most of them are booooring.  Really boring.  Member of this.  Member of that.  Yeah, and for five bucks I could be a member, too.  This isn’t to knock the kids coming out of school – but, really, no one cares if you were part of the intramural interior mural team.  It all just blends together on the page and looks?  Yes.  Boring.

My friend Eric had a cool résumé – in it he mentioned working on a Christmas tree farm.  After we hired him, he said that people always referred to him as “the Christmas tree guy,” so he kept it on his résumé. And, honestly, for mental manipulation in the interview process, that’s wizard-level technique.  Most people have fond memories of Christmas, and Christmas trees from being a kid, even if there was that year that Momma and Uncle Luther stopped talking to each other due (in part) to a Jim Beam® fueled argument over who Grandma liked best and who took better care of her because they were more selfless.  Only saw Uncle Luther one more time after that, but I did get a cool Transformer® that year.  It’s probably best to leave all that detail off a résumé – it falls under the category of way too much information.  But Christmas tree farm is awesome.  Ahh, the smell of home baked cookies, bourbon, and regret.

The idea is that your résumé should have something unique on it – something that raises a question in the mind of the reviewer, and ideally the item should be pleasant.  But even if you’ve got a great résumé?  Chances are good that (if it’s even printed nowadays) that it’ll be discarded after about thirty seconds of review.  Why?  There are lots of other candidates, and it’s a numbers game, and lunch starts at 11:30AM and I want to get there just after they bring the Nacho Bar out before fat Carol from accounting takes all the sour cream.  Mmmmm, nachos!  Swipe left on this dude.  Let’s go!

Have someone you trust review your résumé to make sure that it looks good.  Typographical errors in the land of spell checkers are a killer.  In the old days, having a typo meant you were, at best careless.  Having a typo on your résumé today?  You’re careless and actively stupid.  Also, when handing out paper copies of your résumé, make sure that yours aren’t covered in small blood spots and a thin film of mucous.  (Unless you’re attempting to be a forensic dude for a police department, where that’s probably okay, heck, maybe even required.)

The job hunting process is stacked against you.  You have to compete to get attention from someone who cares less about you than the Nacho Bar, which is why most jobs come from personal connections.  You’ve worked with someone, they talk you up to someone who’s hiring.  Now, instead of a picture of a résumé on screen, there’s a real personal contact – someone who now has a vested interest in getting you through the process.  You’re a real person again, and not just a blood and mucous covered résumé.

As a new college graduate, the person that you and your prospective employer both know is the college you went to.  Often, people who went to that college lead the recruiting effort there, so they can do service for both their new company and their alma mater.  So, as a recent graduate, you are in a unique position – your college and its reputation is your ticket in.  So, if your college has never sent anyone to work at your dream company?  It will remain just that – your dream company, since it doesn’t “know” your college at all.

Perhaps the best position to be in is if your father is or has been President of the United States (Chelsea, Donald Jr., George W., you all are in that category) which makes you improbably employable, since everyone knows you.  You could spend your time writing a children’s book about how the Armenian Genocide was a good idea and they’d put that sucker on the bestseller list.

But back to unpresidential you:  let’s pretend you’re the lucky one and your résumé has been pulled out of the giant HR hat where they keep résumés and pull them out on mimosa Friday (every HR department has this).  What next?

One time they let Tom Petty wear the HR hat in a video.  Exclusive footage!!!

Likely you’ll get an email attempting to set up a phone interview.  They’re most likely not sure enough about you that they want to spend a lot of time with you, but they know enough about you that they want to learn more about the Christmas tree farm.  Given that, they’ll give you a screening interview.

Screening Interview

The screening interview is generally a phone call (or an on-campus interview) that’s almost never longer than 30 minutes or so.  Some are as short as 15 minutes.  I would routinely end the screening interview early if the candidate was obviously not as advertised, high on PEZ©, or in some other way disqualified themselves.

How else could they disqualify themselves?  A variety of ways.  Not picking up the phone when I called at the scheduled time.  Excessive snorting.  No one likes a snorter.  Not knowing all the names of the Three Stooges© and the Marx Brothers™.  Really fundamental stuff.

As a candidate, know that the phone screen is just that – a screen.  Your interviewer just wants a reason screen you out so they can delete your résumé and have more room for Call of Duty™ on their HR computer and also narrow the pool of people that they’ll actually have to talk to in person, which will obviously take away from Call of Duty® time.  If the interviewer is someone from HR, they’ll likely go through a list of qualifications for the job and look to see if there’s some reason that they can ignore you for the rest of their lives, or maybe trade you to the HR guy over at the company down the street for a weapons upgrade.

One phone screen where I was the candidate, I set everything up so I’d have some peace and quiet in my bedroom when it was time for the phone call.  The phone rang, and I picked up and started talking to the interviewer.  About a minute later, my two-year-old daughter picked up the phone downstairs and started pressing buttons and babbling into it.

Me:  “Excuse me . . . just a second.”

I ran downstairs, vaulted over the baby gate, unplugged the phone from the wall, and took the phone with me out of the room, and then ran back upstairs.

Me, to interviewer:  “Back.  And I have one less daughter now.”

The interviewer chuckled and went on through her questions.  Apparently the interview went well, since I eventually got a job offer and worked at the company for some years, and the interviewer even baby sat that same daughter.

I didn’t feel at all bad after that phone screen.  My theory?  If they didn’t have a sense of humor, it probably wasn’t the best place for me to work, anyway.

If you haven’t done so, you really should practice interviewing on the phone with someone who has done some interviewing.  You may think you’re pretty darn special (and you might be) but you might come off looking as articulate as one of the contestants on Family Feud® during the lightning round.  And not one of the smart contestants.  Practice makes us all better.

On Site Interview

After you’ve not been killed in passed the screening interview, you’ll get the opportunity to go and visit the company at their site.  What will happen next  . . .  depends.

Probably the norm for small and medium size companies is that HR picks interviewers based on Astrological tables, and the interviewers have had exactly zero training on how to interview.  Not only that, the interviewers might not even know anything about the job you’re interviewing for.  You can generally tell if this is that kind of random-shotgun-amateur interview if:

  • HR doesn’t give you a clue as to what to wear.
  • People are late.
  • Interviewers keep you over the allotted time.
  • The interviewer doesn’t know exactly where you’re supposed to go next.
  • The interviewer asks if you’ve seen any positions they can apply for.
  • If the interviewers ask lots of yes or no questions or hypothetical questions.
  • HR says it might be weeks before you hear back from them.

Working at a company like this will be as random as the process – they don’t have sufficiently developed business processes to make an interview go smoothly, or even share an idea of the qualities the company considers important when it hires to the interviewers.

Contrast that with a mature process:

  • People are on time.
  • Everyone has copies of your schedule and résumé.
  • The interviewer (or most of them) are polished and smooth, and the only yes/no questions you get are whether or not you want coffee, water, or a bathroom break (and everyone asks).
  • Every interview/conversation has a theme, and you do most of the talking and tell a lot of stories about your past. Sometimes even more than you expected to share.
  • The final interview of the day is with a VP or higher, and they’re pretty impressive.
  • HR gives you a very tight timeline on when you might expect to hear back from them, and they hit the deadline.

I’ve interviewed in both systems, and as someone attempting to get a new employee out of the system, I greatly preferred the second system – it produced a consistent quality of candidates.

In a polished interview setting like that, everyone gives feedback, everyone.  I had our department’s administrative assistant escort the candidate to the next interview.  It was neat, because she was very nice and the candidate, if they were going to drop their shields and act really weird, well, that was often when they did exactly that.  Some were rude to her.  One guy asked the administrative assistant if I was married (I never did figure that one out, and, no, he didn’t get a job).

As a new interviewer, I was awful.  I was disjointed.  I asked weird questions.  I might have seemed a bit intimidating.  I was not at all smooth in managing the interview time.  But I kept at it, and eventually the company added interviewer training and a guide to the qualities that they were looking for in an employee and with practice I got better – I’ve interviewed hundreds of people during my career, if not well over a thousand by now.

I learned that the most effective interviewing technique was behavior-based interviewing, where you had the candidate tell stories from the past, outlining how their behavior had created outcomes.  And it was amazing the stories that I heard!  I had candidates, during interviews, admit to stealing from previous employers.  And being trained in interviewing with lots of practice is sort of like having a superpower – the night I met The Mrs. I ran her through the interview techniques during our first date.  She ended up talking a LOT and told me most everything I needed to know.

On one occasion I was requested to interview a candidate and go through all of the topics.  Normally that took hours – like five, and it was done by five people.  It’s a really smooth process – and most people will tell you their innermost secrets if you ask them just right.

John Wilder:  “You need me to do what?”

HR:  “We only have half an hour with this candidate, and we need to know if we want to hire her.  We need a pro, and you’re the only one who can do it, John Wilder.”

John Wilder:  “But think of the cost, man . . . this will be a thoroughly unpleasant half hour for her.  Even if we want her to work here, she might not want to after that.”

The interview was probably the most horrific thirty minutes of the candidate’s life up to that point, unless she was born in a war zone (she wasn’t – she was born in Michigan, oh . . . wait).

The answer was no.  Even during that thirty minute session I’d ripped enough stories out of her that I would have been uncomfortable with her managing filling jelly doughnuts instead of the multi-million dollar responsibilities she’d have (and be fired for messing up) working for us.  A definite no.

That had been one of the hardest things for me when I started interviewing.  “Yes” is easy to say.  And it’s easy to see.  “No” was harder, until my friend (the same one who phone screened me) told me this:  “Remember, John, giving someone a job who doesn’t fit here is much crueler than telling them no.  You’ll have taken away part of their life that they could have spent doing something that they were meant to do.”

And she was right.  “No” became much easier, even a moral choice.

Since then, I’ve added one other criteria:  there is no yes but a “hell, yes!”  You should be excited about new people that you’re bringing into the organization.  One of them might be your boss someday.  Or your friend for life, like Eric, the Christmas tree guy.  Or Johnny Depp.

I think I need to talk to HR . . .

A Short Guide to Transhumanism and The Future of Society

“So it says here that you’re proficient in C++, code assembly for multiple processor architectures, and . . . that you are a cyborg?” – Silicon Valley


What a Transhuman might see?  Or way too many filters?

Friday’s discussion of Ray Kurzweil’s (LINK) work on immortality was just part of a bigger picture:  it is one of the foundational principles of Transhumanism.  One definition of Transhumanism is the use of biology, information technology, nanotechnology, and cognitive enhancements to consciously and dramatically evolve humanity in a short period of time.  I know, I know, it sounds like a villain’s plot out of James Bond, but there are a dedicated group of people who are working to bring this about right now.

Transhumanists even have a magazine (LINK) called H+.  H+, for humanity plus, is also the abbreviation that is used by some for the movement to indicate Transhumanity.  And they’re working on achieving H+ now.  One of the more recent articles was referencing a study showing that planarian worms keep their memory after being frozen – something that might be important if you are researching how to bring yourself back after being frozen, like Kurzweil plans for after he dies, if he’s not immortal by then.

We talked about biology on Friday, and getting people to live forever (or a really long time) is part of the movement.  But it’s not just living longer, it’s also increasing life quality.  Inevitably, the idea of uploading a human consciousness (maybe after getting thawed out?) into a machine comes up, since human life is frail and we could build a robot body that’s tougher than a refrigerator, and faster than one of those shaky little Chihuahua dogs.  Having a cool steel body would allow you to be either a Prius® or a Corvette©, depending on if you liked the metric system or not.

But if you had your brain already uploaded into a machine, why bother at all with an actual body?

That’s a second possibility – just upload your consciousness and live in a hard drive.  Some folks, like me and Elon Musk consider it more than a little likely that we live inside a simulation right now.  My first post to discuss this idea was here (LINK) where it becomes the explanation for why we haven’t been contacted by aliens.  We’re either living in a simulation or we’re non-player characters in a very detailed video game.  At least you might be a non-player character, I know I’m real (not as sure about you).  Maybe it’s a multiplayer game?

The other frontier of study that is impacting Transhumanism is nanotechnology.  For about a year, everything was “nano” in every magazine, every news story.  It think that’s been replaced (for now) with “sustainable.”  But, outside of a cool techno band name, what does nano mean?  Roughly it speaks to structures between 0.000000001 meters and 0.0000001 meters in size.

“Nano” had its start when Dr. Richard Feynman put together a lecture that was titled, “There’s Plenty of Room at The Bottom.”  You can find it here (LINK).  In it, Feynman sets the stage for manipulation and eventual mechanization of really, really small machines.  In it he referenced biology as a template – we know that these small machines can exist at that scale, because cells exist and are functional at that scale.

Another place that H+ folks are working on is cognitive improvement – concepts on how to better improve the functioning of the human brain and make us smarter, either biologically, chemically, or through fusion with technology.  And not smart like “vodka Saturday night,” but really smart.  Chemical enhancement has gotten a majority of the attention when discussing the subject, but I would suggest that Google® has already provided a significant cognitive enhancement.  I recall having conversation in 1998 when The Mrs. and I were having an argument about something so important I don’t even recall the subject now.  My friend Matt looked at us and said, “Why are you arguing about a fact.  Look it up.”  After booting up the computer and connecting to the internet via a modem, one search later, and we had a factual answer (this was before Google™ took the world by storm).  We haven’t had an argument over a searchable fact in years.

I argue that the most significant cognitive enhancement in human history so far has already occurred.  The Internet provides a massive amount of factual knowledge and computing power.  This power makes us all smarter, and gives as a much more of information far faster than at any point in history.

By nature, this vast variety of views makes us drift further apart as a nation.  When I was a kid, there were three networks, plus PBS.  Everybody in the seventh grade talked about the same show – we were all watching it – after all, Fonzie.  Cable existed, but it was mainly a way to get The Three Stooges©.  Now, it’s very rare to go in to work and be able to talk about a television show – I’ve got 200 channels, and I’m certain that nobody I work with is watching Escape from New York right now.  Given DVRs and on-demand, people might not even watch the same show in the same year as you.

On Friday I said that I thought that, even though the several aspects of immortality seemed to be pretty far off from a technical standpoint, I thought that there might be a way that some of the more crazy-sounding things might happen sooner than we’d think.

And there is – it’s called increasing returns.  Outside of standard medical science, which I think we can all agree is pretty stunted (LINK), there is a massive increase in technical knowledge going on.  If I can use an analogy – if you’ve ever done a really big jigsaw puzzle, it’s very slow to start with.  All the pieces fit with other pieces, but there are so many other pieces it’s difficult to find the connections.  But once a few connections start to go in, the picture starts to make more sense.  Eventually, as there are only a few pieces of puzzle left, they go very quickly.

And it’s been that way with technology throughout history.  Our knowledge as a species keeps growing over time – more links are made, and finally we solve one puzzle quickly.  We do run into physical and thermodynamic limits, like the total amount of energy one can get from a gallon of gasoline, or the amount of flavor that can be packed into a piece of Juicy Fruit®.

As we have more smart people on the planet now than ever before in history that can now pull information from the entire history of the world working on information system problems, we end up with far more than Uber – we’re near to having AI systems that that will be able to replicate most of the things that most thinking people do at work.  From truck drivers to managers to accountants.  A few key decision makers and people who do actual physical work that robots can’t do will be all that’s necessary to run a major corporation.  One corporation I was working at around 1999 got rid of hundreds of accountants – floors of a skyscraper were empty – not because business was bad, but because those people had all been replaced with accounting software, and purchasing software.

And this will increase with time, too.

The big idea of Transhumanism isn’t that we replace a bunch of accountants and purchasing managers – the big idea of Transhumanism is that we replace humanity with newly evolved Transhumans.  And there’s no fixed version of what the final, evolved version of us will be like.  It almost certainly will not look like us.  Beyond that, I’m not even sure what the viewpoint would be of 200+ IQ immortal cyborgs – what projects would they work on – how would they vote?  Would we even be able to communicate with them?  The final form of Transhumanity might be one where they instantly communicate, one to another.  They might look much more like Borg® than Boy Scouts.


Bought a t-shirt with this on it for The Mrs. – she still wears it.  No one wants to be late for the Singularity!  (H+ Magazine)

Greg Bear wrote a great story (that he eventually turned into a novel) about combining intelligence plus cells using nanotech – the original short story can be found here (LINK).  The story describes increasing returns in a pretty unusual and chilling way.

We can’t know what the final form of Transhumanity will look like.  There is a mathematical definition that describes when mathematics and logic break down – like one divided by zero, or a black hole where gravity overpowers all other forces.  We call this a Singularity – and it’s clear that we cannot imagine what an all-powerful humanity would look like.  I just hope that they don’t get me in the freezer too late during the Singularity – I would hate to still be in the microwave when the Singularity hits.  That’s just bad form.

Who Wants to Live Forever? Ray Kurzweil, for one.

“No one lives forever.  No one.  But with advances in modern science and my high level of income, it’s not crazy to think I can live to be 245, maybe 300.  Heck, I just read in the newspaper that they put a pig heart in some guy from Russia.  Do you know what that means?” – Talladega Nights, the Ballad of Ricky Bobby


This might be my best shot at living forever (that’s Pugsley and The Boy) – the apple isn’t too far from the tree.  And the tree has roots.  And those roots are me, and I need nourishment.  As in a glass of wine.  Hmmm, I’ll stop this metaphor right here.  And, yes, Alia S. MacWilder, and Zelda Wilder, you count, too.  I’ll be looking to all of you when I need organ transplants so I can live forever.

The past week had two posts about the debt:  (LINK) and (LINK).  The reason that I put those on Wednesday was that’s the day that we post about Wealth and finance related stuff.  Those posts were intended to work with this post and Monday’s post, since all of them serve to illustrate the aspects of the future that’s arriving quickly and will absolutely impact you, perhaps in most everything you do, and sooner than you might think.  You were expecting flying cars, but the future is much, much stranger than that.  Pig hearts!  Do you know what that means?

I think that one of the things that differentiates humans from animals is that from an early age we know we are going to die.  This shadow looms over us our entire lives, and there are constant reminders of mortality around us, from the seasonal shedding of the trees, to the passing of loved relatives – reminding us that we too are mortal.

And, in one sense, this mortality might be one of the greatest gifts to mankind:  it changes out the old for the new.  Imagine where our current and past politicians are the best we’re ever gonna see.  Regardless of where you sit politically, I know you barfed just a little in your mouth when you read that.  Death forces us to innovate, and to try to create a legacy that’s a capstone to our lives, because we all know that we only have so many days and, like a mayfly, we must do our work quickly lest it forever remain undone.  In the end, our lives are made up only of that precious, limited time.

But Ray Kurzweil wants to change all of that.  One of his obsessions (there appear to be many:  inventor, author, programmer, Sith Lord, PEZ® dispenser collector) is figuring out a way to extend human life.  And by “extend” he means “live longer,” but he’s attempting to change “live longer” to “live forever.”  As he’s about 70 right now, he has a vested interest in working as fast as he can to get progress . . . right now.

Right now one thing he is attempting to do is reprogram his biochemistry.  Kurzweil is attempting to do this by taking supplements.  Sure, like a multivitamin or two?  No.  At one point he was up to 200 pills a day.  Rumor is that he’s now down to under 150 supplements a day (LINK).  At that level of supplementation, do you even need to eat anymore??

I think I had the green pattern shirt that the goatee guy is wearing when I was in kindergarten.  It was a hand me down (back in the before-time, we wore crap our brother who was seven years older than us wore seven years before, because that shirt wasn’t worn out).

One of Kurzweil’s obsessions appears to be his company (LINK) (note:  I get NO compensation for any link on my site as of this writing, but Ray certainly does from his site) that sells his vitamins and his book.  And I have no problem with the man making a few bucks, and Ray seems to be committed to his lifestyle, so, be an informed consumer if you decide you want to buy some of his stuff, though I will warn you that his anti-aging multi-pack will set you back about $90 a month.  Which is not bad if it works.  I just ordered like $80 worth of stuff.  I’ll let you know what I think after I try it out.  Ray, if you’re reading this, take the $20 you just earned and buy yourself something pretty.

Going back to the list of supplements Kurzweil takes, one of them caught my eye:  metformin.  Metformin is a diabetes drug that appears to be gaining ground as a . . . wonder drug, but by accident.  The diabetics that take it get cancer only 40% of the time as their diabetic counterparts that don’t take it.  Additionally, they seem to stay well longer . . . they’re not as sick as the people not taking metformin.  They die of the same stuff (proportionately) but when they get cancer or heart disease, they’re older.

But, metformin only costs a nickel a pill since it comes from some French weed or something, but you have to have a prescription to get it.  There are a few dedicated doctors working to document the longevity benefits of metformin, but the FDA doesn’t consider aging a disease that you can cure with a pill . . . even though this one appears to have some pretty substantial positive effects.  My cynical mind says that this therapy faces headwinds – it’s cheap, it reduces very lucrative medical conditions (how much does chemotherapy cost???), medical research is not very good (LINK) and there’s nearly zero profit in bringing this off-patent drug to market.

But the promise of metformin is just one example of the breakthroughs that Kurzweil is anticipating.

His theory is that, right now, longevity treatments/knowledge/medicine are adding about a year of life for every year that goes by.  His goal is simple, live long enough to live forever.  And there has been interest in treatments like blood transfusions from young donors (I wrote about that here (LINK)) and a host of tech billionaires, like Peter Theil, are now treating longevity as a personal mission for their investments.  And to me that makes sense – if you’ve got billions of dollars that you made from making the world (and yourself!) wealthier, what better legacy to leave the world than longer life?  If you’re Mark Cuban, I’m not sure if you can spell any of that, but, hey, maybe his kids will invest well.  I’m hoping they can read better than him.

Kurzweil also has a contract to have his head frozen (or his body, my Magic 8-Ball® is unclear) after he dies.  No, not for fun, even though I hear that’s all the rage in Canada.  The theory is that, should they get to you fast enough and freeze you completely enough (and manage to minimize cell damage) that you’re still somehow in there.  Kurzweil was fairly optimistic in an interview about 20 years ago that we’d be able to bring back people from Popsicle™ Land© in 40 or 50 years, if they can peel the foil off and deal with the freezer burn.  And remember to pull the foil completely off the apple-cherry dessert thing.

If you translate that timeline to today, that would be only 20 or 30 years into the future, which seems optimistic to me, but just might be on time for reasons that we’ll go into on Monday (promise).

Why does Kurzweil want to go to all of this effort?  He preaches not only the gospel of living a long time, he wants to combine life extension with life enhancement.  Not only will your life be longer, it will be better.  I think this mainly involves being healthier, but one personal fear of mine is living on because I’m just too afraid to die.  To me, a life should be worthy of living.  If you’re not doing that?  You’re dead already, and no amount of Bookface© or Grand Piano Theft VII® will make up for it – you’re living a programmed life.  If it involves meaning, helping others grow, and killing alien invaders, dying gallantly like Randy Quaid in Independence Day® as we secure our victory against them?  Count me totes in.

But on the other hand?  Living because you’re afraid to die?  One case that I saw was someone who lived on for years merely because they were afraid of death – they liked pizza but wouldn’t eat it.  They like bourbon but wouldn’t drink it.  They like smoking but wouldn’t smoke.  It wasn’t pleasant to watch.  Me?  I’ll quote an earlier post (where I ripped off someone else’s line – it might be Stephen Wright):  I don’t ask for much – I just want to go out of this life like I came into it – screaming and covered in someone else’s blood.

And where does all of this end?  With, ultimately, uploading your mind, your consciousness into a machine.

Would that be you?  Would you still have feelings if your body was made of metal, your circuits gleamed?  Would a rose still look like a rose through tearless retina that could store exact HD memories forever?  Will Judas Priest sue me for paraphrasing “Electric Eye”?

True story:  I emailed Wozniak (who funded the US Festival, which is the featured concert venue above) and told him we needed to do it again, since I was too young to go.  As I understand it, the US Festival lost money.  I’ll give Woz credit, his folks responded:  “Ummm, thanks.  We’ll get back to you on that.  If we don’t, please understand that we did hear you, but just found your idea profoundly stupid.”  Actually they were polite.  But my idea was stupid.  Unless Woz really wants to do it again . . . .

I can’t really answer if machine you would even be you.  All the episodes of Star Trek® I watched when I was a kid would say, “No.”  Roger Korby created a machine to house his consciousness, but he wasn’t Roger Korby anymore.  Ray Kurzweil . . . is it a coincidence your initials are the same as Roger Korby?

Man, Shatner could tear up the screen.  And Korby’s hand.

There’s a lot more coming on Monday.  Stay tuned!!

More Budget Doom, The Rolling Stones, an End Date, and an Unlikely Version of Thunderstruck

“This is the federal government, huh?  Now I know why my old man got a hundred and eleven Medicare cards sent to him.  Not one of them had his name on it.”  – The Rockford Files


I finally found Waldo!!!

Last week we talked through the specter of the budget deficit.  A link to that awesome post is here (LINK).  But I mentioned there was much more to the story.  I wasn’t trying to be a tease – I had originally intended that this next segment be attached to last week’s post.  But I failed.  When I did the word count on last week’s post?  It was already my second longest post ever, plus it was 2AM (really 2:30), so I punted until this week to cover the rest of it . . . even Iron John Wilder must sleep sometime, even though I consider “sleepy” the next cousin of “communist infiltrator.”

On Last Week’s Wilder Wealthy and Wise:

We have a budget that, mathematically, must rise exponentially and create deficits to keep us from permanent recession.  That’s a pretty ugly realization.  Recap over, though there’s more to it at the LINK.  I was discussing this post with a friend.  “John Wilder, what can we do to fix this?”

Me:  “Ummm, when you’ve been accelerating towards a brick wall and you’ve hit 70 miles an hour, and you yell stop 20 feet before the wall?  Nothing will help you.  Ask for your money back from ACME.”

Last week’s post describes a threat, but not the only threat – if it were, it might be manageable.  Even Wile E. Coyote has airbags nowadays.  But now?  There are components of the budget that are growing much faster than the rest, and will soon crowd out the rest of the spending.  I’ll start with the biggest of the big:  Medicare and Medicaid.

These programs started June 30, 1965, when President Johnson signed some stupid bill that he knew would get him votes but that he wouldn’t live long enough to see the consequences.

The Rolling Stones had the number two slot on the Top 20 the day he signed that stupid bill:

I just never want to see Mick Jagger eating an ice cream cone.  Especially not old, wrinkly Mick. (shudder)


(H/T Wikimedia Commons)

That’s a pretty cool graph.  Even cooler is that the Congressional Budget Office did it for me.  I like free things that I only pay taxes for.

But it’s not cool because it shows that by 2037 (the benchmark year we’ve been talking about) Medicare and Medicaid will grow like some science fiction monster to consume about 10% of the GDP.  Since Federal taxes seem to “break” the economy over about 19% of GDP, it appears we won’t be able to afford much of anything else, since right now Social Security consumes about 25% of federal spending.  But more on that later.

Let me explain the “excess growth” label:  it means that the program is projected to grow faster than the economy grows, and in this case, much faster.  But I’m still suspicious –federal government estimates are rarely conservative – program expenses always seem to grow faster, and the GDP always seems to grow more slowly.

But it gets worse:

Social Security has a “Trust Fund” that will run out in 18 years!  OMG!

Actually, the whole “Trust Fund” consists of the Social Security taxes you and your employer pay in every year.  For most of the history of Social Security, the taxes you and your pay have paid for the program, plus a lot more.

So, did the government invest that money in the stock market?  No.  Real estate?  No.  Well, surely they invested it?

Kinda.  They bought US Treasury Bonds.

And then immediately spent the money that they had just given themselves.  It is technically true that Social Security has a $2.8 Trillion trust fund that gets interest every year.  But it’s more like saying that you have $100 in your left pocket.  You transfer it to your right pocket, and put an IOU $100 LOL paper in your left pocket.  You then spend the entire $100 on PEZ®, pantyhose and elephant rides.

Congratulations!  You still have a $100 trust fund!

So, you can see that math is pretty stupid, but the government keeps doing it.  What’s more important is that we went from having extra money every month that we could blow on PEZ© to not.  Pretty quickly.  And it adds up:


Source:  Heritage Foundation

I’m sad to tell you that last week’s budget projection doesn’t take into account the explosive growth in cost of Medicare and Medicaid, and the “not quite as scary” growth in Social Security.

Okay John Wilder, this is NOT GOOD.

Nope.  And we’ve only been talking about the federal government.  At the state level, pension funds are (according to Moody’s (LINK)) underfunded by $1.75 trillion.  Whew!  I thought we were talking big money!  But in 2015, these same pensions were underfunded by $1.25 trillion.  So, that’s only a loss of 40% in two years, when the stock market has been consistently rising.  Right now the stock market is near an all-time high.

It’s like the states have a dedicated team of sugar-addled toddlers to managing their pension money and replaced the water cooler with chocolate syrup.  NO ONE could lose money in this environment.  But let’s not forget to blame 43 of the state legislatures for assuming that their pension funds would grow at a constant 8%.  First, most people would love that rate with current interest rates.  Secondly, you’re never going to get that with the batch of sugar-addled toddlers that they currently employ – you might get your portfolio traded for a Cadbury’s® Cream Egg™, and there’s not a lot of return in that.

I’m expecting the state underfunding to double or triple in the next five years – Chicago can’t pay policemen retirement past 2020 or so.  There are actually more retired cops than active cops that they’re paying.  This stuff is all over the place.  Easy to solve in a growing economy without debt.  Here?  Just more chaos to add to the picture.  You how bad it is in your state, according to the Wall Street Journal (LINK).

There certainly is an end game, however.

As I’ve mentioned before, the high United States’ reliance on debt combined with the use of the dollar as the de facto world currency places it in a pretty perilous precarious position.  Here are some random bad things that could happen (up front, I’m thinking these things won’t happen for a few years, and it may not be these things – but something will happen):

  • Some country, like China, will dump all of their dollars to sink the dollar. Right now, China hasn’t done this because they’re not strong enough militarily or economically.  Eventually, their math might change.
  • Somebody will come up with something better than the dollar. This isn’t as likely, but is still a possibility.  When a currency isn’t backed by anything (like the dollar) it’s all a matter of perception.
  • Everyone stops buying Treasury Bonds (i.e., the money government is borrowing) and interest rates have to shoot up to convince people to buy United States debt.
  • We will have an internal crisis brought on by the cold equations that govern the debt. One projection shows that by 2031 (not that far off) that Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and interest on the debt will consume . . . all the projected tax money.  All of it.  And this might be optimistic, because this graph doesn’t show nearly as much Medicare and Medicaid spending as the CBO does.  I think this might be based on an older data set.  Too optimistic.

End Game

Source:  Heritage Foundation,

It’s really hard to post a graph like the one above and argue that it’s too optimistic, but I think it really is.  We’ll probably run into hard limits sooner, say 2025.  In no way can this continue beyond 2040 or so.

Well, John Wilder, you say, we’ve been through a depression before.  This should be a cakewalk!  We have Netflix®!

True!  And I will be chillin’ with Netflix© as the ship sinks with a Macanudo™ and some awesome Malbec as the deck tilts, but in the Great Depression our economy was fundamentally different – instead of 70%+ of our economy being driven by consumption, we were the net producer for the world.  Our big problem back then was that we had so much money from all of those other countries floating around, as we were the largest net creditor nation in the world.  Now we’re the largest net debtor.  Ever.

And your grandma and grandpa had a garden, didn’t they?  It was quaint, you thought.  Back during the depression 20% or so of folks lived on farms.  They didn’t starve because they had access to chickens, eggs, food.  They could turn corn stalks into shoes.  Or something.  The garden your grandma kept?  She kept it because she remembered the hungry days, the days when they saved everything because it might have a use.  My mother saved aluminum TV dinner trays (yes, this was a thing) for decades.  “Might have a use for them.”

So what happens after the currency gets wonky?  Hard to say.  This is the textbook definition of a singularity – all the parts go vertical or are divided by zero.  What happens when that happens?  Again, that’s a really hard set of questions, and this is not the only singularity we will be facing in the near term.

I’ll have a future set of posts on other singularities like this.  The next one should be Monday, and it’ll be a doozy.

Hope this conversation didn’t leave you Thunderstruck.  If so, here’s a cure:

Yes, you did just see that.


40 Things You Should Know.

“That’s a short list. That can’t be everyone you want to kill. Are you sure you’re not forgetting someone?” – Game of Thrones


The W3 stands for Wilder, Wealthy, and Wise.  Get it???  Thanks, Dawn!

So, I’ve not done a list.  But, why not?  Jordan Peterson did one (reference LINK and LINK and LINK), so I figured I could do one, too.  Enjoy!

  1. Tell the truth. This will have the beneficial added benefit of changing your behavior so you’re not ashamed of what you do.    The whole truth.  Even about that.  And that.  People might not like you, but they’ll respect you.
  2. Showing up on time is important. It shows respect.  It also is easy to track, if you’re a boss wanting to get rid of people.  Even if you do a great job, you’ll be the first to go if you show up late.  Unless you bring doughnuts, and, honestly, that wears thin after a while.
  3. Don’t give up. How close were you to break-out success when you gave up?  Even Johnny Depp succeeded, which proves that anyone can!
  4. There are no friends like those formed in youth. There are no pretenses.  The cruel calculus of testosterone and estrogen has yet to set in.  Greed is not an issue.
  5. Be nice. Life is already really hard for some people.  Don’t be their villain, unless it pays really well, and even then karma is . . . tough.
  6. When you speak, you own the space between the words. You have the ability to turn your words into something amazing, since infinite possibility lies between one word and the next.
  7. Don’t do things you hate, or things that make you feel like a failure. Putting yourself in situations like that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  8. Apologize.  But only when you are wrong, which, if you read this blog, is rarely.  Never apologize unless you were clearly and completely wrong.
  9. Be of value. If you don’t contribute, you’re part of the problem.  Which problem?  All of them.
  10. Don’t make yourself into a victim. Almost everybody is where they are because of their choices.  Own your choices, and own your outcomes.  No one likes victims.
  11. If you really are a victim? Act like you’re not.  Because even if deserved?  No one likes victims.  And if you have enemies?  They’re mad because you’re living well.
  12. Opportunity is found where responsibility is neglected.
  13. Solve someone else’s biggest problem – that’s the road to wealth.
  14. Remember, giving someone something creates a debt in their mind. The larger the gift, the bigger the debt.  And nobody likes someone they owe a lot of money to.
  15. If you don’t want to go to bed because you don’t want to get up tomorrow? Fix your life.
  16. Have children and have them early. But only if you have a spouse.  And can keep your spouse.
  17. Cooking your own food is cheaper. And it gives time for conversation.  Some of the best conversations occur around the barbeque grill and the deck late into the night.
  18. Be tough when you have to be. To be kind when toughness is required results in tragedy.
  19. A pleasure repeated too often becomes a punishment, unless it’s Game of Thrones®.
  20. Beware of ignoring public opinion. Public opinion resulted in witch burning, the guillotine and Hula Hoops®.  You don’t want to be on the wrong side of opinion at the wrong time.
  21. Don’t see conspiracy when simple laziness, plain stupidity, or normal greed would explain the situation just as well.
  22. Schools used to be run by school boards. Now they’re run by unions and lawsuits – none of these groups have the students in mind.
  23. You don’t win ‘em all. If you’re the Cleveland Browns®, you lose most all of them.
  24. You are the sum of your experience, your intellect, your body, your surroundings, and the people you interact with. You also control your own change.  So, get up.    The you of today isn’t ready for tomorrow unless the you of today is changing to meet those challenges.
  25. Betrayal of trust is often unforgivable. Never trust someone who betrays you.  Forgive?  Maybe.  Trust?  Nope.
  26. Real changes don’t happen until an emotional experience occurs.
  27. You have your shot – would have and could have don’t exist. (Unless the Many Worlds Theory of quantum mechanics is correct, in which case all things happen, so have another beer.)
  28. The best (and maybe only) way to win at gambling is to own a casino.
  29. No matter how awesome your idea, it has no value unless you make it real. This takes risk, execution, and work.  Which is a lot more difficult than talking about your wonderful idea.
  30. Unless your boss is a good boss, your being younger and smarter than him won’t impress him, it will make him jealous or fearful. Neither of those things are good.
  31. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your (biological) parents. You’re not too much different than them.  At best, you can avoid their weaknesses.  At worst, you’ll follow every one if their downsides.
  32. Tip well, if you can afford it. Waiting on tables is tough work.  And if you do tip well?  They’ll remember you and take care of you.  It’s nice to show up and find the right bottle of wine waiting for you.
  33. You’re not going to win the lottery. Unless it’s the one that Shirley Jackson wrote about. (LINK)
  34. If you’re travelling in winter, travel on the top half of your gas tank. It doesn’t cost any more.
  35. Keep your napkin in your lap while at the dinner table.
  36. Always use deodorant.  And if in doubt?  Have a breath mint, too.
  37. Keep in touch with people who have helped you, so you can help them. And because you’re a person.
  38. If you have too much stuff – your stuff will own you. Except books.  You can have as many of those as you want.
  39. The only way that you can know another person across centuries is to read what they’ve written. Have you written anything worthy of reading by your great-great grandchildren?  No?  Get to work.
  40. You’re going to die, and we all die alone.  Understand that the only person with you throughout your life is . . . you.  Be prepared to keep yourself alive in any emergency you can imagine.  Otherwise you’ll never see the end of Game of Thrones®.

Sitting? Death. Get up. Neal Stephenson says so.

“I have broken a ten year old’s spirit.  Time to reward myself with a fruit on the bottom yogurt.  Plain, plain, plain, plain . . . ooh, fruit.” – The Simpsons


Not where Soviet goatherders live.

I remember watching a news program when I was quite young and staying over at my grandparents.  A reporter had been dispatched to some part of the Soviet Union to interview a lot of old people.  The story showed a bunch of goat herders who lived in stone and mud houses in some remote mountain valley.  Wonderful television, right?  Well, the kicker was all of these old people lived to their nineties, but still claimed that they could beat the Nigerian cross-country ski team in the Battle of the Network Stars®.  Or maybe it was the Gong Show™?

The reporter earnestly asked a bunch of questions through interpreters about Soviet lifestyles.  We were watching on 27” televisions that seemed normal in size then, but absurdly small today.  Thankfully, they weighed about 1000 pounds each (the television, not the Soviets).  Back then four or five of these televisions cost about as much as a brand new Camaro®, which is the same thing as a new television costing over $6,000 now.  Or a new Camaro© costing about $4,500.  Now.  Don’t know about you, but I’d love to trade five televisions for a brand new Camaro™.

Turned out that goat herders spend their days herding goats.  And walking up and down steep hills to carry water back up to their mud and stone huts.  And chasing goats.  And eating yogurt.  And doing whatever else it is that causes them to lose their teeth and look like shriveled raisin-people.  Heck, the Soviets never learned about sunscreen and I bet their version of dentistry involved a steam engine and a comical series of gears in some fashion – for all I know the raisin-people were twenty three years old.  And they had zero televisions or Camaros®.  Did I mention that they discussed eating only yogurt?

Soon after this story hit, yogurt became available in the local supermarket.  I don’t think this is a coincidence.  I’m guessing that the American consensus was that we could eat our way skinny using yogurt.  And the other bet was that you could live to be as old and leathery as those Soviets.

First Yogurt Purchase on Wilder Mountain by Ma Wilder:

Young John Wilder:  “Ummm, gross.  It looks like snot.”

Ma Wilder:  “It’s good for you.  It has bacteria.”

Young John Wilder:  “SUPER gross!  Bacteria?”

Ma Wilder, flustered:  “These are supposed to be good for you, young comrade!”

But now I’m pretty sure that what kept those goat herders living their long stone and mud hut lives wasn’t yogurt, but was:

  • No access to Ding Dongs®, Twinkies©, or Fruit Pies™, and
  • Having to walk up and down hundreds of feet on that steep, steep mountain every single day of their lives to chase their goats and get their water, and,
  • Great Soviet technology, which was far better than American technology – Americans have car/truck combination that is El Camino? Soviets have tank/car/jet combination called El Gorbacar!  Runs on kerosene and weighs 124,000 pounds.

Okay, my bet it was the low carbs and all the strenuous exercise and not so much on the El Gorbacar.  Same thing with the native Alaskan population – native Alaskans were lean, mean polar bear killing machines before Coca-Cola®, Ho-Hos™ and Doritos©.  After Ruffles®, Wonder Bread™ and mechanized transportation?  Skyrocketing heart disease.

I imagine those ex-Soviets all weigh 450 pounds now and sit around playing GoatHerder3™ on Playstation©.  But they have awesome non-leathery complexions from living in Mom’s basement.

And, all the latest data keeps proving my supposition:  moving around a lot keeps you alive longer.  This is pretty much the same story as 2016.  And 2015.  And every year since 1936, which was the last year that medical science was concerned that vigorous activity would disturb the bodily humours which could only be dispelled by large amounts of opium, radium, and linoleum.

The story is evolving.  Even if you’re fit in all other ways, for the last several years it’s been reported that the data now appears to say that if you sit for long periods of time?  You’re going to die.

Well, die sooner.  We’re all gonna die.  It’s all a matter of if you get to see “Game of Thrones” end, right?  Who needs to see 2019?

The markers appear to say that if you rest for longer than twelve and a half hours per day, and more than 10 minutes per session . . . you’re going to die sooner.

And the reasons?  All of the reasons:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Backaches

Okay, backaches are generally not fatal.  But the rest of them certainly can be.

And, like I mentioned before, absolutely zero of these stories are new – it seems to be a story that the media trots out every September and March.  It might have something to do with when new journalists emerge from their cocoons after their larval stage as sons and daughters of investment bankers who can afford surgery to make them attractive.  My prediction?  Pumpkin-spice latte stories in our near future as the journalists develop into their final glorious form:  commentators.  Ahh, the beauty of the circle of life, from weathergirl to Cokie Roberts.

But I digress.  Actually, the first time I recall reading about the dangers of sitting was around 2000.  Neal Stephenson, one of my favorite authors, wrote about it in an essay in 2012 called . . . “Arsebestos.”

Mr. Stephenson compares sitting to asbestos, since both lead to early death, hence . . . Arsebestos.  He made the point that future employees will be able to sue based on being required to sit all the time at work.  Basis of the case?

Butt brutality?  Heine horrors?

But one of the reasons I love Mr. Stephenson is that he’s got skin in the game.  He put his lifestyle where his mouth is:  he started working on a treadmill desk, which is a big deal, as a loveseat addicted author with a glass of pinot noir in his hand can attest.

Mr. Stephenson’s results are well documented here at this (LINK) of the 416 days he spent working on a treadmill desk at the time he wrote the article.  He did run into some problems with going too slow – the pace wasn’t natural and he lurched from side to side.  When he pushed his speed back up to 1.8 miles per hour, all of the physical problems associated with the treadmill dropped away.

So, the short message of this post?

Get up and move.  Now.  Dance like you’re a crazy fool!  It will save your life.

Unless you’re running a crane at a construction site.  And then?  For heaven’s sake sit down and do your job!  You could kill someone . . . .