Relearning how to walk

Weekend before last over at Active Response Training, there was a little link entitled “How & Why to Make Your Feet Stronger.”

I have a suitable floor for the drill shown in the video (down at the end of that link) and I have to say that lining up my feet “properly” does feel weird – but weird in that good way that’s your body readjusting to a new configuration that puts less stress on it. It reminds me a lot of when I learned about body mapping (from some random YouTube video I saw at least two years ago, sorry for the lack of linkage!) and holding your wrists so that the pinky finger is aligned with the forearm, rather than the thumb – mimicking the way an ergonomic keyboard works. I type that way on a regular keyboard now, too – it wasn’t hard to adjust my typing motions to the new angle. (One good thing I have to say about my middle school days – we had typing class! Though it would have been nice to have the proctors checking wrist posture instead of just WPM.)

So I’ve been practicing walking properly and getting my muscles and tendons adjusted to the new arrangement. My heel-raise exercises specifically say to push off from the ball of the big toe rather than the outside of the foot – and the new walking pattern has me pushing off right there, so I was already pleased with the results. Then today I put on some high heels – I’m not terribly good at walking in them – and I noticed that I’m far more stable (and less likely to roll an ankle!) when I’m holding my feet properly. And what’s more, I haven’t kicked my own ankles once since starting this, which I used to do fairly often, especially in heels. Probably because I was twisting my feet outwards to align my big toe with my trajectory, rather than my little toe.

What I want to know is, why have I never heard of this before?! I mean, I’ve had foot trouble since I was little – you’d think that after all the podiatrists I saw, one of them might have MENTIONED that I was holding my feet wrong? It’s not like the patterns don’t show up in the wear on the bottoms of your shoes! And all the physical fitness classes we took in college as part of ROTC? All that running we did? Nope, never mentioned.

Which just goes to show: you really just cannot trust the experts. They’re not going to tell you what you need to know. Thank God for the Internet!

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Can we feed the world?

One of the links in the roundup of Interesting Stuff I posted a couple days ago was a video entitled Can We Feed The World?

Well, not if we’re trying to feed the world according to the USDA recommendations, which push people to get most of their energy from carbohydrates. It doesn’t immediately look like that – see how grains and protein are both 5 ounces per day? But then look at the veggies – 4 cups “starchy” veggies, and 1 cup “beans and peas” per week – both high-carb food groups. That amounts to basically another 5 ounces per day of carbohydrate on top of the grains. And what the heck is “other veggies”? Veggies that aren’t dark green, red, orange, starchy, beans or peas? Seriously, what vegetable is in that set? Cucumber, maybe? Celery? You want to eat 3.5 cups of cucumber and celery per week? I could manage that if pickles count, I think.

Then look at dairy: they’re pushing for reduced fat options. Protein, ditto: lean meats. At least they’re not recommending fruit juice instead of whole fruits! But down at the bottom is the real kicker: “Your allowance for oils is 5 teaspoons a day. Limit Calories from solid fats and added sugars to 120 Calories a day.” And reduce sodium, of course.

Let me share an example. This morning for breakfast I made myself a serving of steel-cut oatmeal. Into my oatmeal I put about a tablespoon of coconut oil and 1/3 cup blueberries, and I sweeten it with Splenda. The oatmeal, which is 1/4 cup of the uncooked grains, contributes 150 calories. That tablespoon of coconut oil contributes 120 calories. There are four tablespoons in 1/4 cup. So here’s the thing: if coconut oil counts as an oil according to the USDA, I’ve just had a little over half my oil “allowance” in one meal. If it counts as a solid fat (which is what it actually is) then I just hit my entire daily calorie allowance for solid fats AND added sugars in one tablespoon of a healthy fat. But look at those calorie counts again: one tablespoon of coconut oil is providing me with just about the equivalent energy of four times as much oatmeal. If we’re talking feeding the world, that higher calorie count in the coconut oil means I need to eat way less healthy fats than I need to eat “hearthealthywholegrains” to stave off starvation. And I really, really don’t want to eat four times as much oatmeal for breakfast, thanks.

If I punt the USDA recommendations to the curb with the trash where they belong, I need a whole lot less food to reach my necessary caloric intake. And while I’m going to be eating some starchy vegetables, I don’t know that I’m going to go so far as to eat that much! (I could really use more dark leafy greens in my diet, though. Gotta go get some spinach for myself, even though J is not a spinach fan that just means more for me!) 

So yeah. Can we feed the world? We’ve got more food than we know what to do with right now, but it’s not all healthy food – corporate-monocropped grain agriculture is bad for the environment, and founding your diet on starchy foods like the USDA recommends results in – guess what! – exploding rates of obesity and type II diabetes, so it’s bad for people, too. Meanwhile, people would need a lot less meat (and the dreaded naturally fatty foods) to get their minimum caloric requirements met than they’d need if they were eating mainly grains and other low-fat plant-based foods. Less food required, more nutrition, less dependence on high-inputs-required monocropping as done by vast multinational corporations growing Roundup-Ready GMO grains? Farming techniques that can be used by communities so that they aren’t so dependent on long, fragile supply chains? Sounds like a good thing to me.

We can feed the world, so long as we’re not trying to feed them on starches!

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Oppression!

I’m being oppressed by the laundry.

No, really, stop laughing! In the far distant past, long before any archaeological evidence anybody can ever possibly find, humanity lived in perfect matriarchal harmony with nature, and everyone went around naked all the time, so there weren’t any dirty clothes to be washed.

Ergo, clothes are patriarchal oppression, and washing clothes is double patriarchal oppression, even though I’m pretty sure the washing machine – in all its various incarnations since the 1800s – is a male invention. Probably so that their wives wouldn’t be too tired (IYKWIM) after a long day slapping clothes on rocks down by the river, those patriarchal male chauvinists, making life easier for their wives… why are you looking at me like that?

(That particular tribe sadly died of exposure due to climate change.)

Okay, I’m not being oppressed. I’m actually testing the cleansing power of OxyClean on some washcloths that are otherwise destined to become rags, and whether or not all the work we did last week vacuuming out the dryer vent and the dryer itself will result in drier clothes or whether there’s something else wrong with the thing. Further testing to be carried out tomorrow. Also, I’m extremely proud of myself for hemming a pair of jeans I got extremely cheaply at a discount clothing store. (Pretty sure my matriarchal ancestors would be ashamed of my sewing skills.)

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Link roundup

link roundup

Have a few interesting things:

A Canadian documentary about the sugar industry.

Joel Salatin talking about how “industrial science” isn’t asking the right questions when it comes to evaluating ecology-integrated agricultural techniques.

Forbes on GamerGate.

Moral Panics And The Death Of Fun

Human nature leads to ethical conflict, which is why it’s so important for men and women to be of good character and actually have ethical standards instead of getting all buddy-buddy between industry and regulation or industry and journalism. We don’t excuse cops who get all buddy-buddy with organized crime, now do we. Why should we give regulators and journalists a pass on the same behavior?

 

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A tale of two sides

John C. Wright is hosting an interview between a #GamerGate and an anti-GamerGate “spokesman” on his website: take a look!

Two observations: saying anything critical of a woman or any subgroup of women automatically makes you misogynist, in the anti-GG eyes. You know, as a woman, I’m incredibly offended at people who label accurate descriptions of certain promiscuous women “misogynist” – the unavoidable implication is that ALL WOMEN are the same as prostitutes, otherwise why would saying a certain woman is of negotiable virtue be misogynist, as opposed to correct or incorrect? THAT is a truly misogynist attitude!

Second: the anti-GGers will give mere passing reference to the actual (long, long list of) ethics complaints, since they greatly prefer to focus on the unhinged trolls. All their power comes from publicizing the trolls’ behavior against their side and ignoring their own trolls attacking the other side. The entire frame of anti-GG is that internet trolls are full of hate (well, DUH) and GamerGate is nothing but internet trolls (it’s not, and they don’t try to prove this assertion, they just keep repeating it over and over hoping the uninformed will believe them) – so aren’t these people BAD! The anti-GGer doesn’t even acknowledge that there are vicious attacks happening against GG women, too. And more than that, even if you discard all the threats from both sides, GG is supporting women that the anti-GG side is literally attempting to silence!

If you’d like a summary of some of what’s happened, including a lot of truly damning information about collusion between games media journalists as well as some people in the development industry and individuals involved in gamer websites, watch this half-hour video:

The bottom line for me is that the GamerGate people are rightfully concerned about ethical judgment and they are fierce supporters of free speech, even speech they don’t agree with, find offensive, and/or don’t approve of, like trolls’ threats. Which is way more than you can say for the anti-GG folks, who are desperately trying to reframe the issue onto “sexism” and their “victimhood” to hide the fact that they are actively engaging in bullying themselves and trying to shut people up as their main focus! 

Obviously, I support #GamerGate. This is not sexist or misogynistic, and if you think it is, you are mentally unbalanced and need to get help immediately:

Nobody plays fantasy themed video games for their realism. If you don't like it, nobody is making you play Dragon Crown.

Nobody plays fantasy themed video games for their realism. If you don’t like it, nobody is making YOU play Dragon Crown. Make your own #$%& video games and mind your own business when it comes to other people’s!

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In-group and out-group

Insty’s got a link to the Star Slate Codex – wherein a bubbled liberal actually notices that he lives in a bubble and that “his tribe” is full of a lot of screaming hypocrites. Uh-huh. As the (well worth reading) comments on Insty say: “It would probably shock the author to know that conservatives interact with intolerant liberals all the time.

That’s not to say that “Red Tribe” folks can’t insulate themselves in their own 1/10^45 strength bubble. But for a Red Triber to do so, would require that person to basically cut themselves off from the greater society to a nearly unimaginable extent, and that person would be well aware of being inside that bubble. A Red bubble that strong could only be formed by living in the appropriate geographical area, never going to college, AND cutting oneself off from the following: television, movies, newspapers, magazines, books (except for ones specifically vetted by less-bubbled Reds, or published before about 1850-ish, maybe), radio, and last but not least, the internet. So yeah: Red bubbles exist, but it takes a lot of work to maintain them and they’re very thin and transparent for those who refuse to give up modern entertainment. That Red Tribe dark-matter universe keeps getting bombarded by all the Blue Tribe light photons just by accident even without the Blue Tribe crusaders that specifically come to the Dark Universe just to make annoying evangelists of themselves.

But I do appreciate Scott’s recognition that Blue Tribe “tolerance” is not a moral virtue. That is the #1 trait of Blue Tribers that drives me personally up a wall – the moral superiority crap. I mean, I don’t really care if the Blue Tribers claim to be the smart ones and the Red Tribe the dumb ones (even though they do, and it’s not true; both sides have their idiots and low-information voters) – that doesn’t get under my skin. I mean, that just makes them dumb, not evil. But claiming moral superiority? You just hit my “will not tolerate” button. Probably because my specific subset of Red Tribe subculture lists that kind of self-righteousness as a literal “sign that you are going to Hell”! Thankfully, Blue Tribers might be wrong, but most of them aren’t actually evil, as the saying goes.

After reading Scott’s article, I tried to think of what my own “in-group” might be – you know, the group that you’d face physical fear responses just at the thought of criticizing. Uh, I think there’s a problem with that diagnostic tool: it’s the Blue Team that crucifies people who criticize them. Not the Red Team. Anybody who’d go ballistic on me for criticism to the point of provoking a physical fight-or-flight response is definitively not part of my in-group, because one of the core defining features of my in-group is “will accept criticism and logical debate over differences of opinion.” That’s why I stopped counting The National Review as part of my in-group: they engaged in Blue Tribe social ostracism rather than stand their ground for freedom of expression from various shades of Red Team people.

However, I have felt physical reactions to getting into a debate with “Blue Tribe” people. Does that mean I’m actually part of the Blue Tribe? (I don’t think so!) No, I chalked up that unsettled feeling to the whole socialized-niceness triggers – nobody wants to be disliked, but cross a Blue Tribe shibboleth and you will be accused of being worse than Hitler. Reliably. Which is why I despise Social Justice Whiners so much: they use triggers meant to keep people polite with each other, meant to preserve social fabric, as tools to squash intellectual debate. Also, they ruin people’s lives while claiming that identical behavior on the part of their opponents is The Worst Thing Ever. Which goes back to the hypocrites claiming moral superiority thing as the tribal indicator that says to me that “You are not part of my tribe; you are The ENEMY.” Want gay marriage? Not my tribe, but not necessarily my enemy. Think abortion should be legal? Definitely not my tribe – but even though I think you’re tragically wrong and your position has resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent lives, and is one of the most obscene forms of murder ever invented by fallen humanity, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to do everything in my power to silence you, get you fired from your job, or otherwise shun you from the public sphere and force you to become a hermit in the wilds. Basically: I don’t believe in using thought police to impose morality. Would that the Blue Tribe were so courteous, but courtesy only suits them when they don’t have power, and ensconced in their bubbles or not, they have quite a lot.

“Change your opinion, shut up, or leave” is not a Red Tribe principle when it comes to civil life. That’s not to say that “ideological purity tests” are inappropriate in some spheres: there’s no such thing as a Lutheran Pope for a very good reason, and the Cat Lovers Society has no obligation to extend membership resources on a “Dogs rule!” message. I happen to think that the Red Tribe needs to get a little more exclusive, because the Blue Tribe has a particular strategy that’s worked out very well for them, and it goes like this: infiltrate (taking advantage of Red Tribe tolerance), subvert (use insider position to gather more Blues into the organization, also taking advantage of Red Tribe tolerance for Blue Tribers), and then exclude – as soon as the Blue Tribers have enough power, they get rid of any lingering Reddish people who are left and specifically bar any more from joining. That’s how Blue Tribers like Scott end up in their 1/10^45 bubbles without even noticing.

And then they have the utter gall to whine about how they’re the “victims” of “intolerance” while specifically targeting any remaining Red Tribe organizations for destruction. Yeah. Sure. In what universe would that be, again?

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Wow, I’m kinda slow, aren’t I?

Heheheheh, well, obviously I haven’t been paying attention properly. Thanks, Insty, and welcome to my blog, everybody who came over! And whoever recommended it; I can’t imagine Glenn Reynolds himself reading my blog, I’m just an opinionated nobody. I haven’t even gotten any online harassment! But the question is: would I even notice if I did receive harassment, if I don’t notice an Instalanche? ;)

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