Category Archives: Food

“Quitting” When Unready: A Curious Case of Sleep Loss

The Air Force is having a moment regarding a decision to abort an exercise due to sleep loss.

“If it was a real world sortie, I can guarantee that those crews would get their energy drinks of choice, roll out to the plane, and fly to defend our nation,” he said. “I don’t know of any E3 member that would deny a flight if the Russians were coming no matter their state of rest. So in wartime, our asses would be flying and we would gladly do it. But this wasn’t real world. It was an exercise. You can’t replace the lives that would be lost if a plane went down.”

Smart move to cancel the exercise, I have no doubt from the details revealed so far… and this reminded me of two things.

First, recent neuroscience studies of mental and physical well-being showing clear degradation from sleep loss.

Three consecutive nights of sleep loss can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in anger, frustration, and anxiety. Additionally, those who experienced sleep loss reported a change in physical wellbeing, including gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.

Second, I keep seeing leaders who accommodate rest and recuperation get criticized as “quitting”, which seems totally counter-intuitive.

If you don’t “quit” to eat and drink, the body risks even bigger shutdown. If you don’t “quit” to heal from injury you may fail to heal and cause wider injury. If you don’t “quit” to sleep… disaster.

Knowing when to not do something could be as important as knowing when to do it.

Somehow a blind and unthinking version of “don’t quit” (urging people to damage themselves in ways they can not continue anyway) is growing out of control to a point where people are using social media platforms to push others off cliffs instead of stopping/quitting to consider obvious consequences of such a predictable failure.

Even more complicated than sleep loss are the “twisties” as noted recently in Olympic gymnastics:

“We also do a lot of work to teach them how to listen to their bodies’ warning signs that they are heading down the wrong path,” he continued. Andrews noted that Biles had more stressors than most, being forced to represent USA Gymnastics, the institution that enabled her sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, because it’s the only pathway to the Games. …getting past the twisties can take time, sometimes days, weeks or even months to resolve. “This isn’t as easy to fix as just sleeping it off and hoping for a better day tomorrow,” one former gymnast and diver pointed out on Twitter. […] The worst case scenario isn’t a lost competition or even a serious injury, like a ruptured Achilles. In gymnastics, it can result in paralysis, or even death.

Getting well to avoid death is a form of “quitting” only in the sense it’s taking a very wise step to ensure survival and thus continuation. The case of Biles is especially telling because it is about a black woman who had been forced into sexual abuse.

Biles clearly has declared self-control over her own body in a multitude of ways. This latest demonstration is surely inspiring others to think about mental as well as physical success. Her stepping aside allows her also to be in a better place to help/support her team to succeed than if she experienced catastrophic failure. It’s a very wise choice demonstrating excellent leadership qualities, and something I expect any special operations team would recognize.

From that a number of white men seem to be upset and hyperventilating publicly about her “quitting”; issuing completely tone-deaf comments that a black woman be forced to do what they want instead.

So I encourage people to read about the USAF and then the Olympics to think about the parallels. Did they quit, or did they refuse to quit by taking a safety break?

Simon Sinek says we should start calling it “falling” instead of “failing” (let alone quitting) because it implies we get up again:

Something is Fishy in the Tuna Supply-Chain

Should a company be responsible for integrity failures in its supply-chain?

That’s the question that comes to my mind when I read the latest news:

Seafood experts have suggested Subway may not be to blame if its tuna is in fact not tuna. “I don’t think a sandwich place would intentionally mislabel,” Dave Rudie, president of Catalina Offshore Products, told the Times. “They’re buying a can of tuna that says ‘tuna’. If there’s any fraud in this case, it happened at the cannery.”

Whether the vendor “says tuna” on a label is such an odd thing to pin this case on, given the vast majority of such claims have been proven fraudulent for a decade now.

…59% of tuna is not only mislabeled but is almost entirely compromised of a fish once banned by the FDA. Sushi restaurants were the worst offenders by far [75%].

In other words is it still a form of fraud to not know or validate integrity of a source but to sell it anyway, especially when sources are known to have very low integrity?

Timeline of Lies About Tesla “FSD”

A domain called motherfrunker has compiled a huge list of lies. It’s really quite amazing Tesla operates as such an obvious scam. Here a just a few examples out of the dozens:

  • September 2014: “They will be a factor of 10 safer than a person [at the wheel] in a six-year time frame.”
  • FALSE.

  • December 2015: “We’re going to end up with complete autonomy, and I think we will have complete autonomy in approximately two years.”
  • FALSE.

  • June 2016: “I really consider autonomous driving a solved problem, I think we are less than two years away from complete autonomy, safer than humans.”

  • March 2017: “I think that [you will be able to fall asleep in a Tesla] in about two years.”

It’s this kind of disregard for truth that generates cults of fraud and irresponsibility. The actual crash data released by Tesla shows their safety declining fast over time:

Source: Tesla Vehicle Safety Report

One shining new example is…

Man arrested for riding in the back seat of his driverless Tesla got out of jail, bought a new one, and did it again. […] Consumer Reports said Full Self Driving performed inconsistently and sometimes disengaged without warning. Still, Sharma said he has no plans to stop riding in the back seat of his car, despite the clear dangers the stunt poses to pedestrians and other drivers. “I feel like by mid-2022 the backseat thing will be normal…”

To be clear here, this guy in 2014 was “sentenced to 90 days in prison for selling a stolen iPhone” and claims to have an “honorary” PhD from Berkeley in a degree that doesn’t seem to exist.

Rich idiot?

He bought a new Tesla after police confiscated his other one since, as he put it, he’s so rich he is above the law and “blue-blue-collar villagers can’t understand my life”.

His online persona is being a cruel wealthy troll who claims, and I swear I’m not making this up, that he likes…

…pooping in sparkling water. I use wealth as a comedy…

So there you have it.

Think of Tesla like a bunch of rich kids taking a dump in your drinking water so they can laugh at you choking on it, because all these lies about safety apparently aren’t being taken seriously at all.

Just for comparison, you also may want to read a post here on the truth about Tesla safety.

Edible Wrappers Are Centuries Old. Why Are They Now Disruptive?

In 1846 a chef in Paris created a disruptive edible paper portrait of a visiting Egyptian dignitary, perched on top of a pyramid of pulled sugar steps:

On the top of the [sugar] pyramid was a portrait painted in food dyes on sugar paste, of the Pasha’s venerated father Ibrahim. As the Pasha picked it up to examine it more closely he saw that embedded in the filigree icing frame of the portrait was a tiny, but perfect, portrait of himself.

Pretty innovative, considering edible wafer paper already had been around for hundreds of years before that.

In another disruptive example about 50 years later, a London chef started a “fad” of edible paper, including a dinner menu.

It appears an ingenious chef conceived the idea of making an edible menu card, and, after many experiments, he produced one composed of the sugar tissue paper which is used on the bottom of macaroons, and which is, of course, edible.

Edible wrappers have been so common, so easy to make and use, we might take them for granted and forget they even exist.

Here’s a sentence I found on a site that sells very large boxes of edible wrappers at super low cost, right next to their DIY recipe:

Wafer paper is a single most affordable product in edible printing industry, everyone uses it, from big box bakeries to stay at home moms.

Surely that was supposed to say stay at home parents. Or are they trying to imply stay at home dads can’t afford or use edible wrappers?

Anyway here is some “big disruption” news, in stark contrast to all this ancient history of edible wrappers:

‘A disruptive solution to pollution’: introducing edible packaging.

Indeed. Someone has just introduced something very familiar.

We’re told an inexpensive and common thing, centuries old, is about to start disrupting.

Combining her engineering background with her passion for a ‘cradle to cradle’ lifecycle, Lamp has launched a new company, Traceless, to commercialise the idea.

Lamp? She didn’t want to name her new company something like Illuminated? Also “cradle to cradle” sounds like it’s going exactly nowhere. Like saying from point A to point A. Are we there yet?

And I would be more impressed if she was marketing her idea as a way to deliver one-time written passwords (OTWP), or send ephemeral messages, which obviously you eat after reading.

One can only imagine if she had an history background. Would she still have gone commercial? I suspect no historian would be framing something centuries old as her new idea.

Traditional nougat wrapped in traditional traceless edible packaging anyone?

Why Charity Water Wells May Be Worse For Women Than Long Walks With Cans

Women had been carrying important information over private networks for centuries if not longer. It was so effective that to outsiders only the water was seen.
Part four in a three part series

I told myself I wouldn’t treat this lightly and so it ended up being delayed a long while.

In a nutshell when a “water charity” would roll into villages in Africa they believed dropping a well directly outside homes would liberate women and children from the burden of long walks with heavy loads.

These wells in fact undermined a core network and fabric of social order and thus dangerously unbalanced power — women no longer had private time in shared chores away from the home at their “workplaces” and overall safety/security of the region was significantly undermined.

This is not conjecture. I was working with a huge global tech firm that was pushing a water charity donation pledge. When I started to question the ethics of the charity, the head of it came to meet with me in person.

At first it was cordial and he said things like “happy to answer your questions” though soon he seemed a bit frustrated, even deflated as if I had unmasked him. I had asked straight questions like “exactly how many villages had security issues after a well was dug”.

To his credit he told me could confirm exactly 15 examples (at that time). I appreciated the transparency, yet he seemed disturbed by having to admit to the fact an utterly simplistic solution (get donations, drive in, dig a well, leave) to a complex problem was in fact making lives worse.

In other words I was told by the head of a major charity that in more than a dozen cases soon after the new well was established armed rebels were known to target it, seize control and force all residents into refugee camps. That was fascinating, and still didn’t go deep enough for me as it focused on militant action more than the subtle process of cultural devaluation and collapse (e.g. Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart“). He admitted the lost villages were never reported, despite his transparency with me.

He also tried to muster some of the usual “big picture is we’re helping a lot of people” chaff. When I dug into his actual data (at that time) even it was questionable, suffering from big data integrity issues like obvious copy/paste numbers for a map of the wells scattered across an entire continent.

Finally, when I broached this subject with regional conflict experts they confirmed that the resource charity model was typically flawed from the start, and conditions worsened without analysis. They knew of the problems, and again said none of it was ever reported. More to the point, they confirmed they knew how introduction of wells (or similar technology shifts for that matter, such as men on bicycles fetching water) destroyed a traditional model of safety and power for women.

While perhaps counter-intuitive that reducing a burden creates far worse burdens, it lays bare the kind of false assumptions someone can make when they look at ways to “fix” networks and markets they observe only as “do good” outsiders.

If we think only about carrying water as hard we risk projecting that mindset into other communities and look for ways to remove that specific pain point. Instead we should think about how hard life becomes for people if they don’t have the opportunity to carry water on long isolated paths (removal of private time/place to communicate translates directly to loss of power).

The water charity seemed to be attempting what Fela had written about in the mid 1970s, in a song called “Water no get enemy“.

Water probably calculated at first as the safest possible bet for large and sticky donations — nobody could hate something as useful as this, and detractors were expected to only look wrong. However someone seriously underestimated wider risk management related to resources.

To be blunt, the water charity appeared to be started by a man who felt guilt for being an awful person and decided “white savior” of black people by delivering water meant nobody would question him, probably including himself. Unfortunately things are not so easy, and the fact he was searching for such trivial criticism-proof answers to the wicked complexity of real life just circles back onto how he ended up disliking himself in the first place.

The security processes and procedures around assets and political power, not to mention the privacy and safety of women and children, all were tragically disrupted by a simple failure to threat model water distribution. Hubris proved even water could get an enemy.