First of all, I would like to — belatedly — wish everyone a happy new year. I hope everyone has a safe, prosperous, healthful 2015.
This post is going to be a grab bag of subjects because I’m going to be catching up on a lot of stuff. You can read through it all or skip down to whatever heading strikes your fancy and read that part. There is no overall all-encompassing theme. Simply a potpourri of diverse subjects. Let’s get started.
Over a year ago, I purchased a new theme chock full of all kinds of bells and whistles to replace the outdated, clunky, custom-designed (never again) theme you see now. I then contracted with a web design/development company to create an entirely new website for me using this theme laid over the powerful WordPress platform. I was assured that the new website would be up and running in a month, couple of months at the latest.
After a couple of months without a new website, I inquired as to what was taking so long. The guys doing it told me they had run into a problem, namely that my blog database was in Latin-1 and every other WordPress blog was in UTF-8. They had looked for all kinds of ways to convert the Latin 1 to UTF-8, but had come up empty handed. They said they could work around it and make the rest of the website in UTF-8, but my blog would have to stay in Latin-1. I told them to hold off until I did a little research. And I asked them why my blog was in Latin-1 and MD’s was in UTF-8. They said I must have missed a WordPress update when the conversion was made.
After my research, I realize why I had been having such a terrible time with my blog. Whenever I would try to write in it, and would save my work, about half the time I would get all these weird characters populating whatever I had written. I would have to go back through and delete all these characters, and then do it again and again until I finally published the post. It took me forever to get a post written, so, as you might imagine, it took away from the enjoyment considerably. Here is an example of what I’ve been confronted with:
Let me try aÂ to see how itÂ out.ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ It alwaysÂseems to addÂthese weirdÂcharacters to the text I type inÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ As I’ve learnedÂit’s because my blogÂ is in Latin-1 instead of UTF-8. I’ve got to get it convertedÂover, but that’s not the easiest thing to doÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ I’ll keep trying, howeverÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ) I hate trying to write gibberish just to have something to show how the text screws up.
See what I mean? If this were a real post I was writing, I would have to go back through and individually delete all these characters. It takes a lot of time, especially when I have to do it over and over again.
Meanwhile, the old, clunky, custom-designed theme (never again) I’m using has become incompatible with a handful of plugins, so much of its functionality is compromised. Makes posting a real pain.
As I read about converting Latin-1 to UTF-8, I realized it was not something I wanted to tackle myself. In fact, I read experts in a number of articles who basically said, if you don’t know what you’re doing, do not try this at home.
I didn’t know where to turn, so I decided to crowd source. At the time, I had about 21,000 Twitter followers, so I figured surely one of them should know how to do this. Sure enough, within about half an hour Bert Hubert, a long-time reader of this blog responded. He said he could easily write the conversion script. I sent him what he asked for, and he wrote the conversion script. And I can’t thank him enough.
So, I went back to the design/development guys, gave them the script, and they were able to do the conversion. They proceeded, however, to not do several things they had promised, came up with what I thought was a crappy-looking site, and charged me much more than the initial estimate.
I switched to a new developer. I don’t know what the problem is, but it has taken forever and I still don’t have a site. And I don’t have very timely communications.
I have a couple of other options available to me, but I’m just waiting to pull the trigger. I hope before long I will have a new site and a new blog look with good functionality. Until then, expect posts to be intermittent.
As most readers of this blog know, I’m a voracious reader. Consequently, many of my blog posts are book reviews. But I read many more books than I have time to write lengthy reviews of. I would like to begin sending out a monthly email to all those who would like my recommendations of from four to six or eight books out of the twenty or so I read each month.
Along with my pretty hefty book reading schedule, I also troll the medical/scientific literature daily, pulling and reading multiple papers each week. I just checked in my desktop file, and I’ve downloaded 143 papers since Jan 1, 2015. These papers range in time from 1913 to 2015, and cover an array of subjects, mostly related to nutrition in some form. I tweet a dozen or so of these studies per week, but I’m limited to 140 characters on Twitter, which doesn’t give me but a sentence or two to explain. As a result, I don’t tweet out a lot of the studies that require more explanation to make sense of them. I would like to email out a study per week with at least a paragraph of explanation.
And I would like to email any new blog posts or notices of any new blog posts out to those who would like them.
So, if you are at all interested in any of all of these future projects, simply sign up at the upper right of this post, under my photo, where it says SIGN UP HERE TO RECEIVE EMAIL ALERTS.
As soon as I get started, I will email you and give you the opportunity to sign up for one or all three or any combination of the projects above. That way if you don’t want the book recommendations or the blog notifications, but do want the papers with the explanations, you’ll have that choice. Once I have everyone segmented out as to what they want to get, I can send only to those who are interested.
When you do sign up above, I’ll send you an email back with a link on it that you’ll have to click to confirm your email is a valid one and that you really do want to hear from me. My email hosting service requires this, so I have no choice in the matter. So, click to confirm.
Also, you will be able to unsubscribe at any time. And I will never, ever share your email addresses to anyone. I hate spam as much as you do.
The Creepiness That Is Facebook
Speaking of Twitter above, my experiences there ended up driving me to Facebook. Which was a place I had avoided for years. Since I’ve started using Twitter to tweet out medical and scientific papers, I’ve posted (or tweeted, as it’s called) over 10,000 tweets. Not all of these have been scientific papers, but most of them probably have been.
I noticed a number of people on Twitter who, instead of trying to cram what they were trying to say into 140 characters, simply linked to a Facebook post in which they were able to write a paragraph or so explaining whatever it was they were trying to explain.
I told a friend about this, said I wished I could do it, but I didn’t want to get caught up in the whole Facebook time waste. He told me to start a fan page (now called a business page), which is kind of a one-way street. I could post whatever I wanted, people could read it and comment on it, and I could engage or not.
Sounded good to me, so I recruited my youngest kid, Scott, who is on Facebook a lot, to help me set it up. We learned that in order to get a business page, one has to have a personal account first. So, with some trepidation, I relented and he and I set up my personal page. I decided that I would keep the personal page just for family and close friends.
Scott suggested that I send a friend request to him and to MD, so that I could see how the process worked. So I fired one off to both of them.
Here’s where it gets weird.
Both of them accepted my friend requests quickly, but within 30 minutes, I had friend requests coming in from zillions of people. And it hasn’t quit. Some were friends I haven’t seen in ages, and I felt bad not accepting them as Facebook friends, so I did, but most were from people I didn’t know from Adam. So I left them in limbo. The requests from actual friends continued – some I haven’t seen since high school. But many continue to pour in from people I’ve never heard of. They are friends of someone I’m friends with.
The onslaught has been so fast and furious that I still haven’t set up the business page. Mainly because I don’t know what the unintended consequences might be. I never imagined I would have a Facebook account with a ton of friends, many of whom delight in posting cat videos and other time wasters. That was a real unintended consequence.
To top it all off, I’ve had to endure the humiliation of being rejected myself. At the very first, I thought it was kind of cool to be able to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in years. I did a search through some of the high school friends I had and connected with a few. I found a couple of women, both of whom I had dated in high school, but never seriously. We were just friends. I hadn’t kept up with them at all after graduation other than catching up with them at a couple of reunions. I sent friend request to them, and, so far, have been stiff armed by both. So, here I am getting bombarded with a dozen friend requests per day, almost all of which I ignore (because I don’t really know the people), and I get snubbed by those I reach out to. Bizarre.
The whole thing is kind of creepy.
Since I wrote a post on Protexid a few years ago, I’ve been inundated with requests for it. I finally had a batch manufactured, and it’s on its way. I’ll have it up on the site as soon as it gets to the warehouse.
But now it will be called Gastritonin instead of Protexid. Why? Because I wasn’t diligent in maintaining the trademark and let it lapse. Someone else jumped in a got it, and now a product calling itself Protexid is being sold online. This product does not contain the formula for the original Protexid, so buyer beware. Gastritonin, however, is the real thing. So, if you had success before with Protexid, you can be assured that Gastritonin is the same exact formula.
The First International Low-Carb, High-Fat Health Summit
I will be speaking a couple of times at this conference being held in February in Cape Town, South Africa. Professor Tim Noakes and Karen Thomas have done an outstanding job putting this affair together, and I’m really eager to go and catch up with all my friends from the world over.
Click here for the online brochure.
If you happen to be in the neighborhood, come join the fun. I would love to meet you in person.
The Inuit and Ketosis
As many of you may know, I got caught up in the Nikoley-Duck Dodgers tar baby over the issue of whether or not the Inuit, following their traditional diets, were actually in ketosis or not. I was variously accused of ignoring a hundred plus years of scientific evidence, wallowing in my own confirmation bias, and failing to understand the most basic aspects of dynamic flow systems.
Duck Dodgers even posted a comment that was a list of errors I allegedly made in a post I wrote about all this. I kept the comment in moderation for a while because I didn’t have the time to address each of his assertions. I figured that if I posted it then didn’t get around to responding for a few weeks, whenever I did respond, no one would know what I was talking about. And I also figured if I put it up without responding, it would imply that I had no response. So, I dawdled while I tried to find the time to deal with the thing.
Then Nikoley gives me an out. He throws down the gauntlet demanding that I post the comment or he will do it for me on his own blog. Which was great because the whole debate got moved to his blog so that all his readers, most of whom understand even less than he, could listen to him expound on it.
I decided I would let the comment lie for awhile, then post it. Then Nikoley wrote yet another post about my description of ketoadaptation. It was this last post on the subject that made me realize how much misunderstanding there is about the basic biochemistry and physiology of ketosis. I realized I had been a victim of Curse of Knowledge, which basically posits that someone knowing something or possessing some expertise has a difficult time understanding how little others know about something he sees as so simple.
This was the error I made.
So, I need to fix it because readers of Nikoley’s post in question could be led astray on the whole issue of ketosis. It really doesn’t make a difference in the lives of anyone today whether the Inuit on their traditional diets were in ketosis or not (they were), but the physiology of ketosis probably needs to be explained so that people don’t come away from all this thinking about it in the wrong way.
So, I’ll be writing a post on the basic physiology of ketosis (not in brain-numbing detail) and describing why the Inuit really were in ketosis despite a number of old medical papers reporting that they weren’t. Really pretty interesting stuff.
Taking a Journalist To Task
A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article attacking a book. The journalist used every trick at her disposal to savage the book and make the author look like an opportunistic jerk, out only to fleece people of their money. He may be, for all I know, as I don’t know the author. But the book review is a textbook case of how to seemingly bring scientific power to bear to destroy an idea. Realizing how this ‘journalist’ plies her trade, will make you ever more skeptical of our friends in the media.
I’m in the Lufthansa lounge at LAX right now waiting for a flight to Frankfurt, Germany where there is a big housewares trade show I’ve got to go to as part of my day job. Will head to South Africa from there.
I’ll get to comments when I can.