Whelp, my wife has COVID and I’m isolating to see whether I show symptoms. We relaxed the distancing/masking in my region and, predictably, cases are going up. We’re vaccinated and boosted, but Mrs. Allen still feels very sick. I’m fine so far, and I hope we can go back to being a happy couple of pigeons soon.
Video and Photography:
I posted a new video last Monday about Air batteries. I had planned on exploring them more but left my lab in Idaho before I could get into it. It’s an interesting concept, even though it’s clearly very hard to make it work well. I’m very grateful to Dipak Koirala (co-author on several papers) who previewed it and caught a few mistakes.
I’ve been taking more photos lately. The top photo was a strange thing. I was working in the lab when I looked out the window and saw this guy floating by in his balloon. It was a totally random rainy Thursday. Maybe he was trying out an unconventional commute.Continue reading
We sometimes think (in our age of progress) that if we look back, we must see very primitive creatures.
But even if we go back ten thousand years, we don’t find primitive humans. We find modern humans. Genetically, we have not changed very much in 10,000 years. What has changed? We have learned a huge amount of chemistry, biology, etc. Of course we didn’t know which bits were useful. It took a hundred years to figure out. That’s how science works.
The discoveries of past centuries created some rapid changes. Example of progress: within a few hundred years we went from knowing what gunpowder was, to seizing guano Islands, to synthesizing ammonium nitrate to nuclear weapons.
Ancient impulses with modern weapons are weird. I have this picture in my head of an angry person saying “I’m going to get that guy. I’m going to go lay claim to a guano Island, refine potassium nitrate, make black powder, and use an explosion to propel a small metal ball through his body.” Then the pre-modern human says “I’d just hit him with this rock. Simpler.”
I was making coffee and pouring water into the coffee maker, and somehow the water sluiced across the top of the Mr. Coffee and right into my left sleeve. For a second I thought I had just made it vanish. “Poof! Not in the coffeemaker, not on the floor, nothing up my sleeve… oh, wait, yes. It is up your sleeve, there, Gandalf.” I then poured water out of my hoodie onto the floor, and had to towel it up.
This made me realize that I have this implicit idea that it must be really cool to be a comedian. Making people laugh and making people think seem like good things. Spreading a little joy is a great way to make a living. And – best of all – comedians get to tell themselves jokes and make themselves laugh. Who knows their sense of humor better than them, right? Well, no. Making yourself laugh is actually really rare, and comedians are mostly a pretty unhappy bunch, so let’s maybe not imagine them standing around talking in funny voices to themselves for their own amusement.Continue reading
I’m in the mood to look at nootropics (smart drugs) again. Here are some things I think are good and that should be harmless at the recommended levels on the package. I’m not a physician, so don’t take my word for it.
Non-synthetic: I have tried these and found a subtle effect.
Fish oil (inexpensive suplement)
A good Multivitamin and Multimineral that includes:
Emergen-C contains the above plus pantothenic acid, minerals, alpha lipoic acid, and quercetin
Add a good placebo like Nature’s Bounty Ginkgo Biloba, Flavay flavanoids, or any other such thing.
Lifestyle: Keeping healthy habits is a big deal, and I found that lifestyle effects were at least as potent as the above.
adequate, natural sleep (for me 8 hours works well)
exercise (30-45 minutes, weights and a short run, 3-4 times per week)
sunlight (a 20 minute walk outside when I am low on gumption)
From the Bowels of the Internet: Here are a bunch of things that random people on the internet recommend. I don’t recommend them, and I have not tried them. If you have, send me an email.
Supposedly, these promote a restful sleep:
Phenibut (“Relax-All Capsules”)
Melatonin (natural sleep aid)
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP, another supplement)
Supposedly, these promote alertness and mental acuity:
Deprenyl (Zelapar, oral lozenge, prescription)
DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA, marketed as a nutritional supplement)
Galantamine (“GalantaMind”, also a supplement)
Vinpocetine (“cerebral metabolism” supplement)
Dimethyaminoethanol (DMAE, another supplement)
Piracetam (another supplement)