J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

DNAfit Revisited

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Back in 2014 I reviewed the diet aspect of the DNAfit genetic analysis service. Recently DNAfit contacted me again to give them some feedback and potentially review the latest iteration of their services, and this time offered me the full package (diet and fitness recommendations, and a one-on-one consult with an expert to interpret my results).

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Three Things Trump Can’t Do

I promise this blog won’t become a 100% Trump-rant, but there are big geopolitical events afoot. I’ll be chewing the Trump cud for a little longer.

This essay from science fiction author Charles Stross gave me some big-picture perspective. Reactionary populism is a global problem, and the Russia-as-puppeteer theory may have legs. The “U.S. won the cold war” narrative is looking laughable at this point. The Kremlin has a long memory, and plays a ruthless international chess game with decade-long turns.

Now we have an administration that is not only politically conservative (in an extreme way, with the intention to roll back women’s rights and civil rights) but also potentially incompetent, led by a president with a history of criminality and corruption. Trump’s corruption and impulsiveness worry me just as much as his ideology (which, like Bannon’s, is flexible and opportunistic). Reckless decision making, cynicism, cronyism, corruption, and a failure of leadership could lead to economic collapse and systemic breakdown. Could it be as bad as what we’re seeing now in Venezuela? I think our checks-and-balances will probably save us from that fate, but the same forces are at work.

Across the pond we have Brexit in the UK, and anti-immigration sentiments all across Europe. Global reactionary populism. Terrorism is also a massive problem. What’s happening to our planetary society? I think we’re seeing the convergence of at least six macrotrends:

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How I Turned My Obsolete Early 2011 MacBook Pro Into a Screaming Fast Machine

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Back in 2011 my 15″ Macbook Pro was stolen while on vacation in Kauai. Though I never recovered that machine, Statefarm homeowner’s insurance covered the theft, and I was able to get a new 13″ MacBook Pro for the coverage amount less the deductible. I had a recent full backup, and only ended up losing a few days of email.

I’ve had the 13″ MacBook Pro ever since, and it’s one of my favorite computers ever. I use it for writing stories, making beats, writing this blog, some of my consulting work, all kinds of stuff. But over the last year it got really slow. Starting it up became a “walk away and get a cup of coffee” type of thing, and opening even lightweight apps triggered the spinning beachball.

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WTF Just Happened?

Usually I try to write posts that might help people solve problems, or otherwise be useful. But today I’m just going to try to sort out my own thoughts re: what just happened with the U.S. elections. And some ranting. So be warned, and check back next week if you want to read something useful (like how I turned my obsolete 2011 Macbook into a screaming fast machine running the latest everything).

Why did Trump win?

He won because 59.7 million people voted for him. Not as many as Clinton’s 59.9 [edit Nov. 21, up to 63.7M vs. Trump 62M] million, but enough to win an electoral victory. Who voted for Trump? It’s tempting to come up with pithy descriptions of these subgroups. Red Pill bros. Muslim-haters. Women who are scared of being raped by Mexicans. Angry white men who want their privileges preserved. KKK members.

But the descriptions don’t matter. Almost 60 million Americans voted for Trump. They each had their own reasons, each one a little different. Common sentiments in this group include economic fear, distrust of government, resentment towards political correctness, and a view of white Christian patriarchy as an American norm. If Trump’s racism, misogyny, shady business deals, and unstable temperament bothered them at all, it didn’t bother them enough to change their minds.

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How To Prevent Stress Spirals

Supercell by Kelly DeLay

Supercell by Kelly DeLay

Rough week, in a first-world-problems sort of way. Upgraded my Macbook Pro to a 1T internal SSD. Restoring from my SuperDuper backup didn’t work, so I had to install macOs Sierra and migrate. That meant no more support for my old M-Audio Firewire 1814 audio interface. No problem, I’ll order a Focusrite 18i20, a great piece of gear with great reviews, and documented to fully support Sierra. Got it Fedexed, unboxed the beautiful thing, spent half a day unplugging and replugging my rack (and lots of dusting). Seemed to work, except no audio AT ALL from Cubase. Okay, maybe it’s time to make the leap to Cubase 8.5. Paid for it, downloaded the 9GB installer, installed Steinberg’s latest. Tried to activate. ELicenser crashed. Tried the 35 troubleshooting steps I found on the Cubase forum. No go. I’m out about a grand so far on this “upgrade”, and no audio.

And those are just a few of my 99 problems.

Anxiety is the modern scourge. Humans in 2016 have complex lives: more information, more complex decisions, more decisions. We have it good, better than ever, global poverty plummeting, most of us with access to enough food, basic healthcare, shelter. One’s chance of dying a violent death is lower than ever. But we’re plagued with anxiety because our minds are racing, decisions are hard, and everything feels like it needs doing at once.

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Hair Regrowth Update 2016

Logo for Rob's hair regrowth/eBook site

Logo for Rob’s hair regrowth/eBook site

Two-and-a-half years ago I received an email from a young man named Rob who was developing a hair regrowth technique based on intensive, long-term scalp massage. He had read my post Modulating Testosterone Levels (For Men) and had some thoughts about DHT and hair loss. Rob agreed that male hair loss resulted from DHT shrinking/inactivating hair follicles, but he disagreed that hair loss had anything to do with circulating levels of DHT. It was the accumulation of DHT in the follicle due to reduced blood supply and calcification of the scalp that caused the problem.

This theory matched my intuitive observations. My own hair loss, starting in my early thirties, hadn’t coincided with raging male hormones, but rather with an unhealthy period of my life that included too much alcohol, many late nights, a high carbohydrate diet, significant weight/fat gain, and most likely lower levels of testosterone and DHT. Just an n=1 observation, but the idea of a direct correspondence between hair loss and circulating DHT left something to be explained. I was intrigued by Rob’s idea.

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