Mixed Antigens

Reading The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, it made me happier that I am probably more disease resistant than my peers due to having very different antigens due to my mixed heritage. One of my hopes was that more mixed kids would be born making society healthier.

This helped me realize though that benefit comes with a dark side. Very different antigen combinations make it more difficult to match bone marrow. From the Mixed Marrow mission,

Race holds a critical role in finding a marrow match. Genetic makeup must be similar between the donor and the recipient in order for a match to occur. For mixed patients, their monoracial parents and relatives will not likely match them and siblings only hold about a 1 in 4 chance. Not only is ethnicity a factor, but the probability of which antigens are passed down from each parent makes finding a match that much harder. Finding a marrow match has been compared at times as having the odds of “finding a needle in a haystack” or “winning the lottery.”

Guess I was lucky never to need a transplant.

Resolutions 2015

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: ‘To rise above little things’. ― John Burroughs

    1. Read 52 books. Yeah, I know. In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, I read more than this same exact amount. I like the number because it is a book a week.
      • Read 50% by female authors. After reading “Readers prefer authors of their own sex, survey finds“, I did an analysis of my own books for the past 2012, 2013, and 2014. My best year was 17% female authors. So I’ll push for at least 50% this year. Ideally, I would do even 90% female but that might mean buying a lot more books. That best year? Most of the books by female authors came from participating in a book club with most female members.
    2. Biking was an abysmal failure last year. Weight lifting is my new health and exercise thing. Based on some stuff I’ve read, these should be reasonable achievements for someone who has reached novice level. As I understand, someone who is my height takes longer to reach them, so with three months now adding another year, I think I can reach these by the end of next year. Looking to do something like a 4 day rotation of chest, back, legs, cardio (bike).
      1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). Benchmark lift Tuesday was 80 at 10 reps which by my phone app was a 107 1RM equivalent. This puts the goal at 78 more.
      2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). Benchmark lift Saturday was 80 at 10 reps which by that calculator was 107. This puts the goal at 138 more.
      3. Deadlift xxx pounds. Do not have a benchmark lift yet. According to one resource this should be 305, but I should probably look to see what I can do before committing to something.
      4. Drop to about 15% body fat. I think I am closer to 25-30% at the moment. Setting a specific target weight seems like a bad idea because I’ll need to add several pounds of muscle in order to achieve the above, so I will likely gain weight even while dropping fat. Setting the body fat target should achieve the real purpose.
      5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. Muscle is good, but I think I have been so lazy for so long that I have major stamina issues. Bike day is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Right now, I am struggling with 30 seconds high with 120 seconds slow. This goal is to get this closer to 60 seconds high with 60 seconds slow.
    3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Work conference does not count. It might be to visit family, but the distance ensures my home town does not count. Yes, this is the same as last year’s failed. I use up my vacation time for work and this seems like a good way to encourage that.
    4. Declutter Part II. Continue the progress made from last year. Shred and trash more unneeded paper. Get all statements to be kept in folders. One last closet is still a mess and needs to be emptied of stuff.

Old resolutions: 20142013, 2012201120102009.

Resolution Progress 2014: End

This year was a mixed bag. Sorry for the lack of updates.

    1. Read 52 books. Today, at the end of the year, I should be at 52 books read. I reached that point back on October 12th. (A few days earlier than last year.) My total for the year is 74. (142%) SUCCEEDED.
    2. Ride 10 miles a week April to October. I bought a bike and got up to 3 miles in the few weeks I was trying in March to build up for starting in April. Some unexpected complications were 1) getting sick and 2) the hills in neighborhood are beyond my capability. FAILED.
    3. Declutter. Reorganized enough to be somewhat presentable that lasted for a while. Removed about 4 trash bags of clothes from the closets for donation. Threw out about 10 trash bags of broken down boxes, shredded receipts, or junk mail. Setup laundry bag carts so no longer in piles. Setup new shelving units so stuff is not sitting in piles anymore. SUCCEEDED.
    4. Take a trip 300 miles away from home. No trips taken that qualify. The one trip to Seattle was for work. FAILED.

Somewhere around February I decided to work on financial goals. I managed to reorganize some things, fully fund a goal, and get an idea of where I want to go in the future.

Tomorrow I should post 2015’s goals.

Healthcare

Lorenia posted a funny video about the United States health care system being ranked #37. I briefly looked at The world health report 2000 – Health systems: improving performance. It is a 1.73MB PDF.

I’d like to better understand both the claims that the United States has the best or 37th best health care system in the world. Unfortunately the WHO report is 200 pages and has more about car crash deaths in the United States than what they mean by responsiveness level (25% of the overall level of health). Responsiveness appears to be dependent upon expectation, so we could all just stop complaining about wait times, autonomy, and not want our own hospital rooms to improve our ranking.

Except the WHO might not produce any more reports after this first one because it was too complex compiling the first one. Charts compare  1990 through 1999, so really the United States was ranked 37th in the 90s. The age of this number bothers me. How have reforms in the United States and worldwide changed the number? Let’s assume no change, do proponents of United States health care reform really expect their favorite bills to get us a better ranking than 33rd in 2015 once this is fully implemented?

There is also the Commonwealth Fund 2006 report placing the United States dead last among 5 industrial nations regarding health care. Their donor page shows millions invested in the CF to improve health care in the United States and New York. Seems a little myopic for an organization funded to improve health care to say health care needs improving.

Does the United States have health care issues? Sure. In my opinion the real problems is all this talking without something like Baha’i consultation (everyone participates, objectivity, detachment, unity). Similar to research indicating workers without the ability to make decisions experience more stress, patients and doctors without autonomy get stressed. Instead we have explicit policies creating a incomprehensible environment where people are hurt inadvertently because systems are cold and uncaring.

TED Talk: Is Play More Than Fun?

In the Q&A, Stuart Brown, co-author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, rejects the idea play is a rehersal for adulthood. Stopping an animal from playing doesn’t prevent the animal from being a successful predator. REM sleep provides the rehearsal needed for learning. Play is the next evolutionary step. The video is a little too heavy on repeating the same generic idea over an over with different examples. However, they are amusing examples.

The types of play Brown references usually involves multiple individuals in a social interaction. This play teaches survival skills like socialization, adaptation, flexibility (our selfish genes at work).

The origin of this play research was in identifying the next Charles Whitmore, the University of Texas Tower sniper. In studying mass murderers, he found Charles and others like him consistently grew up in environments where play was not allowed. By not playing these children developed into dysfunctional adults.

I found a particular claim quite interesting. “The opposite of play is not work… It is depression.” That is almost word for word out of his book on page 126, which Google Books has a copy. Later he better explains the part about play and work are not in opposition:

The quality that work and play have in common is creativity. In both we are building our world, creating new relationships, neural connections, objects…. At their best, play and work, when integrated, make sense of our workd and ourselves. (Play, p.127)

This agrees with Adam and Jamie from the Mythbusters to Moira Gunn for the Commonwealth Cluf of California about their work. Just look at Adam’s face before triggering a test on any episode. The complete and total joy is a testament to the power of dopamine.

I think the opposition to depression involves movement which is exercise. Exercise produces serotonin which is crucial to fighting off depression. So my work, sitting in a cube all day long problem solving is good for dopamine but not a producer of serotonin. However, a good game of tag would produce both dopamine in anticipating tagging a playmate and serotonin from the movement. (Why can’t work be more like tag?)

If Dr. Brown is right, then suppressing the rough and tumble playing children enjoy is the best way to place in society malfunctioning adults who are more likely to be violent. Things like recess (just half an hour) during the day will keep our prisons less full 20 years later. <sarcasm>Maybe the No Child Left Behind meant all the children will end up in prison?</sarcasm> More likely children will fit their play in less supervised situations and get their fill.

Booing at Beckham

Sports are entertainment. Some watch it for the feats. Some like discussing tactics. Some just want to see scores. Some love the bloopers (aka mistakes).

The second you feel a sports player seen on television wronged you by a decision on or off the field (or court), it is time to turn off said TV. Even at the stadium when you feel the need to yell something at a player, stop. Just stop.

  1. When you get angry you are the one who lost.
  2. Deciding which team to play had nothing to do with pleasing or angering the audience. Getting angry over being irrelevant is not good for health.

Entertainment is about enjoyment. When it makes you angry, try another form of entertainment.

Losing My Mind

CPR/AED training requires time on the floor rescuing dummies. Objects in pockets, like my Digital Elph, interfere with rescuing dummies. Digital cameras on desks without supervision have a tendency to disappear. (Not so much from coworkers kleptomania but from my distractions.) So I put it in my work backpack. 

Today is the First Day of Ridvan. So earlyish this morning I went down to the Botanical Garden since I wasn’t going to be at work and didn’t go this past weekend. I spent ten minutes looking for the Elph in the work backpack. So I went and just shot with the Rebel. I chalked it up to having left the camera at work. After all, the last place I recalled seeing the thing was at work.

I decided to look at what I took. So I looked for the card reader in the main part of the camera backpack. To my surprise, the Elph was right there in the wrong backpack. The only thing that makes sense is I moved the camera but forgot I did so. 

Perhaps better brain food could help? Fish providing omega-3 fatty acids is already a healthy part of my diet. Maybe more eggs with choline with the vitamin B precursor could help?

Resolutions For 2009

  1. Read 10,000 pages of science, economics, health, history, or policy books. For 2008, it was read 25 books. This year, I thought to change it page-based as the previous one shied me away from larger books. Two 350 page books vs one 700 page book shouldn’t be a concern. See Reading for last and this years’ progress.
  2. Be more social. A lot of will power is required to force myself to attend social events. Over the years it has only gotten worse. Before it reaches the point of requiring professional help, I probably ought to change my habits.

Useful resolutions to me are things I realistically can and will accomplish applying moderate effort. Making too hard of a challenge will result in giving up too quickly. Making too easy of a challenge will result in doing something I would do anyway. Last year was the first time in a really long time I even bothered other than using 43things to make some goals I rarely have met more by accident than any real intent.

Some resolutions I would pick I already do to the extent I realistically would….

  • Take the stairs and walk more. I already do these as far down the exercise more resolution as I realistically will go.
  • Eat better. I already mostly avoid red meat and eat lots of green vegetables.
  • Spend more time with family.

There are resolutions I would never actually keep without support from family and friends I don’t really have to keep me honest and stick to the narrow path….

  • Less fat, less sugar, no soda, no sweet tea.
  • Exercise more.
  • Finances.
  • Organization.
  • Less time spent in front of the TV or computer.
  • More blogging.
  • I already do not smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Get a Master’s Degree.

Hmmmmmm… Resolutions are bad for your health?

I haven’t checked my blog in a long while.


Followup on resolution #1. Apparently I did not followup on the 2nd?

Christmas Blog Post 2008

Last night I read Uncle Bill’s Christmas letter. He mailed it, but he apparently doesn’t have my postal address so I got the electronic version. Woohoo! His letter recaps the year for his family. Do any of you have such a tradition? Or a family member who does? Oddly my blog doesn’t provide much basis as it is devoid of personal information.

So here goes….

Family

Mom went off to Houston in January to consult with one of the best doctors in the country about a health issue. How things fell into place to allow her to get better amazed me daily. I got to grandparent sit for a week where I made Nannie tell stories so I could post them on Youtube. 😀

William married Nicole, his high school sweetheart. I finally have a sister. It rained on us briefly, so if you are into superstitions, that means either: 1) kids, 2) money, or 3) good luck.

I met Dad’s girlfriend, Sally, this year. She is definitely very nice. I’m happy with the match.

Friends

My only New Year’s Resolution for 2008 was to read 25 books this year. I completed that goal back in October. I’m thinking for 2008 to do a similar resolution. This time I’ll count up the number of pages and set a goal to read 20% more pages.

Some fellow Flickr users started an Athens Flickr Meetup. I’m hoping this is something to continue in 2009 as the weather improves. (Though who knew Georgia would be 20 degrees Farenheit above normal in December?)

RingsAdrianne and Britt asked me to be the photographer for their wedding. I spent hours looking at professional photographer portfolios for ideas about what I should capture. You see, while I do have a camera, I had never really taken photos at a wedding. Heck, few people invite me to weddings, so I was a little unclear what happens. In the end, I think it all turned out pretty well. Adrianne is happy. So I am happy. Working in computers became a profession because it was a hobby. Maybe photography will end up the same in the end? Posted 840 photos to Flickr this year. Started freelovephotography.com to show off my photography.

Las Vegas in July? Dumb. Star Trek: The Experience made my geeky heart soar.
NCC-1701-DNCC-1701-D @ ST: TXP

Thankful

  1. Family, especially gaining a new member in a few weeks
  2. My dart team members and their significant others
  3. Friends
  4. Having a job, especially my team at work
  5. No health issues this year
  6. My cameras and accessories
  7. Car
  8. Google Reader
  9. Flickr video

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