❤️[Podcast] Tim Ferriss Interviews Esther Perel on Maintaining Desire and Rethinking Infidelity

Tim Ferriss is in Kevin Rose’s words, “very private,” despite his very public personality and lifestyle business. We, the audience, see a very detailed and in-depth view of some parts of his life, but with things like love and relationships, he is more reserved.

I have often felt curious about that side of him, and this episode starts to pull back the veil just a bit. They have a very interesting conversation about modern relationships and the implications of too-much honesty in relationships.

Esther Perel is the daughter of two holocaust survivors who is a world-renowned therapist specializing in relationships and adultery. Fluent and working in more than half a dozen languages, she brings a culturally diverse perspective to the conversation. Her wide-ranging therapeutic experience gives her many experiences and examples to draw on. She does an excellent job of articulating and contrasting different ideas of what is normal for different cultures.

They talk about the how American culture’s “traditional” relationship model has evolved from defining monogamy as one person for life, to serial monogamy as the norm. And in both cases, clandestine adultery as a norm.

They discuss polyamory and the importance of considering the cost and burden to partners when considering whether to reveal indiscretions which they seem to argue are inevitable with our culture’s unrealistic ideas of what relationships should be like.

This was a fascinating listen which left me feeling very unsure about how I feel about many of the topics they covered.

Tim also recommends checking out her TED Talk which he describes as being, “on maintaining desire and rethinking infidelity.”

She also talks about several best-selling books she has written on this topic. This one in particular I intend to read…

I will relisten to this episode many times!

Mirror:

Startup 1: Securities Science

This is part of a series on Building 12 Startups in 12 Months.

This is number one: Securities.Science!

What Inspired This Project?

My first startup in the series is Securities.Science. It lets users run queries against historic stock trading data in order to test theories and strategies. All data is public and everyone can see the work that others are doing.

This started with my coworker Luke Leggio and I trying to collaborate on developing strategies for trading leveraged commodity ETFs on RobinHood. I was very frustrated with the few tools and communities that exist for this purpose.

I had tried Openfolio which has since pivoted to a totally different kind of product. At the time, they let you share your trading activity and results with others and compare to how their strategies worked out for them. The problem was that it was terribly buggy and often reported things incorrectly. I wrote to their support people several times, even offering to do the work of fixing their products for them because the problems were so obvious. (Numbers being negative instead of positive when pulled from certain APIs, etc.) Some features like search and viewing the top performers didn’t work at all. They had no interest in making their product work, so I decided to make my own as an alternative.

Securities.Science automatically pulls data from various public APIs and allow users to write SQL queries that implement securities trading strategies. Their queries will pair with simple visualization tools in order to show how each strategy works over time.

First Steps

The site is now live, and the source code is all available on Github. Anyone can sign up for free and start running queries against historic datasets.

I have included lots of different tickers including all of the leveraged commodity ETFs which I follow, along with all the top stocks millennials like according to Business Insider. Adding more is trivially easy, but I didn’t want to just add thousands of tickers because of the maintenance overhead. And because most of them are not particularly interesting.

I wrote this as a plugin for Astria, a simple web application framework I have been developing for almost a decade. The code is very simple and hopefully distilled to the minimum necessary to explain the content. Check it out!

Next Steps

There are a few next steps that jump out at me if this finds adoption.

Expanded Datasets

The page describing available data encourages the user to reach out to me if they want to see any additional data sources. Eventually, users should be able to add data sources for whatever they want with simple tools.

Content Development

Scraping and collating data is one thing, but presenting it in a format which brings in organic traffic is a separate art. Other news and data sources relating to each stock could be integrated so that users can focus on particular industries, commodities, or ETFs and get more information than just trading data.

Execution Integration

There are lots of great APIs which would allow integration with stock brokerages so that users can set up triggers for buying and selling based on their models in the app. It would be fun to add that later.

Machine Learning and Other Advanced Analytics

The first version of the product only features SQL queries for strategy development. This enables lots of interesting and basic strategies to be implemented and tested, but adding machine learning and other advanced analytics features would be another order of magnitude in capability for users.

 

Essay: Populism

CJ Trowbridge

Carrigan

2017-05-08

English 1A Tue/Thu

 

What do Donald Trump, Theresa May, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, and Adolph Hitler all have in common? There are lots of easy answers, but a harder one might explain the easy ones and more; populism. What is populism and what causes it? According to The Economist, populism is the idea of a political movement made up of the common people rallying together to smash some elite group (Economist).

One thing all these people had in common was mastering the art of riding a mob to power, and this strategy has found new life in recent years across the west. What causes populism? The Harvard Kennedy School’s John F Kennedy School of Government published the paper, “Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash.” As its name suggests, there are two leading theories for the recent rise of populism; the “economic insecurity perspective” and the “cultural backlash perspective” (Norris). Xenophobia and the evaporation of opportunity have coalesced to cause the vitriolic miasma of isolationism and hate that have taken the reigns of contemporary political discourse.

Yesterday marked the end of the third national election in recent memory where one of the major contenders was a staunch and unrepentant populist. Just like the two who followed closely behind her, Marine Le Pen campaigned on a platform of unbridled xenophobia and on the idea that her constituents could somehow reclaim the jobs lost in the collapse of the archaic and obsolete industries of the past. Globalism, in her view, was not an empowering force driving innovation, lower prices, and expanding opportunity, but a menace to the misunderstood and delicate domestic industries which she sought to preserve. The key according to Le Pen, was not to develop new ways to compete on the global stage, but to build economic walls to shut out foreign competition and protect failing domestic industries from the dangers of competition. While she was at it, she would also need to get rid of the pesky foreigners who didn’t belong in France, and to take France out of the European Union. (Nossiter)

Following closely behind this whirlwind election, the Dutch faced a similar choice. Geert Wilders promised to build the same economic walls, kick out the same unwelcome foreigners, and bring back the same obsolete industries which could not afford to survive in the modern age in Holland. The same chords resonated with some portion of the base, which came out in xenophobic droves to vote for this savior who promised to bring back the forgotten halcyon before the European Union. (Langfitt)

Does anyone remember what the world, and especially Europe, was like in that halcyon? Adolph Hitler had risen to power on the same arguments of nationalism and economic protectionism. In fact, those terms in German are abbreviated and combined into the name of his political party, the “na-zi” or “nazi” party. He started a world war for those ideas, and took around a hundred million people with him to the grave before he was done. Don’t forget the rallying cry was the same devotion to destroying a particular group of people. This group of his enemies gradually expanded to include most of humanity, and just like Le Pen and Widers, it was baseless and random from start to finish. (Pope Francis)

The reason that all the countries in Europe decided to form the European Union was two-fold. It was partly to unify the political and cultural establishments and better arbitrate conflicts in Europe, but also to strengthen Europe’s collective economic interests and trading power on the world stage. You will notice, I am sure, that both of these are directly opposed to the ideas which drive populism. Ironically, the effect of populism is in reality contrary to its own motivations. Protectionism reduces economic opportunity, and cultural backlash can only grow and worsen. There is no normative effect in either case, least of all when they accomplish their goals. (European Union)

The biggest recent election involving populism came just before the Dutch elections, when to the astonishment of the world; Donald Trump won the American presidency. He did this despite running perhaps the most disgraceful campaign in history, with popular comments like “I can’t help it, I just grab [women] by the pussy” and who can forget, “Mexicans are rapists” (Levin). This man made the same hollow promises of bringing back coal mining jobs in a country that has moved on to building solar panels and wind farms, and getting rid of the undesirable immigrants who he frequently accused en masse of every crime under the sun. His win came as an utter shock to markets like the Dow Futures, which crashed by over a thousand points that night, and to former trading partners from France to Holland which have publically denounced him and his populist policies, despite his victory.

The arc of the world’s recent downward spiral can be argued to have started with another major vote just before the American elections, when Britain shocked the world by voting in a referendum to leave the European Union. Britain’s currency lost much of its value overnight. Instantly, everything the people need to buy became much more expensive, and their future became less certain. The idea of building economic walls and isolating themselves from their former trading partners had been the bullet which the British fired into their own feet from the gun of populism. Once again, the cause of populism had achieved its goals, and drastically worsened the position of the people as a result. Theresa May was inducted as new prime minister, effectively crowned king of the ashes of the economy and nation she had fought so hard to destroy for its own supposed good. Figure 1 shows the sudden abrupt collapse of the British currency, and its long-term decline afterwards. (Bowler)

Figure 1

In the case of each of these recent elections and the referendum in Britain, the person on the soap box at the head of the mob argued the two same flawed positions; the job market ain’t what it used to be, and it’s the fault of the people who aren’t like us. Harvard Kennedy Business School elaborates on the causes of populism within the cultural backlash perspective,

“…increased tolerance among the younger cohorts and the college educated living in Western societies for the expression of diverse forms of sexuality, LGBT rights, same-sex marriage and varied family units, and more fluid gender identities; more secular values, habits, and ethical norms; open-mindedness towards migrants, refugees, foreigners, and multicultural diversity … In affluent countries, cultures have gradually been transformed by growing support for progressive post-materialist values through successive processes of generational replacement (Norris).”

This just perfectly outlines the platforms of all of these populist candidates. They seem to say, “The world is changing and you don’t have a place in it.” All of these candidates use hatred against immigrants as fuel for their mobs, and most of them also target other minority groups that don’t fit into the traditional mold.

The second half of the fundamental driving force for populism, the economic opportunity perspective, is a bit more nuanced, and it feeds on the fear of outsiders outlined above, “…economic vulnerability is conducive to in-group solidarity, conformity to group norms, and rejection of outsiders. When threatened, groups are thought to seek strong, authoritarian leaders to protect them from what are perceived as dangerous outsiders seen as threatening jobs and benefits” (Norris). Can you see how these two major driving forces of populism coalesce and feed one another?

The basic formula is not very complicated, there are people out there who are different from us, and it is their fault that the world is not what it could be. The problem is that in every case, these ideas lead to a worse outcome than where they started. Protectionism drives up costs, and xenophobia only begets more xenophobia. Hitler started with a list of a few of what Trump might call “Bad dudes,” but he ended up putting basically all of humanity on that list. The German economy started out very strong, but he underestimated the importance of trading partners, and he wasn’t able to fight the whole world by himself. In both the cultural and economic arenas, his efforts to strengthen his position through populism led to a weaker position. In the same way, Trump’s plans to put heavy taxes on imports will hurt Americans far more than they will hurt our trading partners. If gas prices and Walmart prices and car prices go up, all the coal mining jobs in the world won’t save us from the collapse of our economic future.

Some argue that these waves of populism are just rational self-interest on behalf of the parties involved. People like Trump supporter David Duke or Marine Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen make passionate cases for national and racial identity and the need to segregate ethnic groups by national borders in order to preserve separate identities and cultures. This argument is very widespread in populist movements, and strikes me as a poorly concealed admission of bigotry as a driving force for xenophobia.

There is perhaps a rational self-interest argument to be made for the economic opportunity perspective of wanting to limit immigration. If unemployment were high, especially among unskilled jobs, it would make more sense. But the fact is that Americans do not want to be migrant farm workers. The modern American agricultural industry would not be sustainable without exploiting immigrants who come here seeking better lives and willing to work unbelievably hard for it.

There is another argument which I have heard articulated more than once which says that these movements are really just being orchestrated by master manipulators who hold secret control over the masses. People like Donald Trump and Peter Thiel are supposed to be exerting subtle control over the world by sewing just the right amount of chaos in which to accomplish their goals. This does not seem even remotely rational to me, as a casual glance at the content of Trump’s speeches and constant stream of tweets is very challenging to see as anything other than the ramblings of insanity. It is very difficult to picture his public statements as even slightly deliberate, much less the product of some master manipulator.

The fact is that Britain today is facing a harsh and unforgiving world. The European Union has voted unanimously to make Brexit expensive and painful for Britain in order to dissuade other member states from leaving. Some early estimates say Britain may have to pay over a-hundred-billion euro for the right to leave. This combined with the loss of much of the value of their currency puts them in a terrible financial position. They will be paying for this choice for generations. Their future would have been much brighter if they had tried to work with their former trading partners to resolve differences together, rather than shooting themselves in the foot with the all-too-common mistake that is populism.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Bowler, Tim. How has the economy fared since the Brexit vote? Ed. 2017. 28 Mar 2017. 13 May 2017 <http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36956418>.

Economist. “What is Populism?” 19th Dec 2016. The Economist. <http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/12/economist-explains-18>.

European Union. 14 May 2017. 13 May 2017 <https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/history_en>.

Francis, Pope. Al Jazeera. 22 Jan 2017. 13 May 2017 <http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/pope-francis-warns-populism-citing-hitler-170122151148535.html>.

Langfitt, Frank. The Populist, Nativist Appeal Of Dutch Politician Geert Wilders. 8 Mar 2017. 13 May 2017 <http://www.npr.org/2017/03/08/519170671/the-populist-nativist-appeal-of-dutch-politician-geert-wilders>.

Levin, Bess. Vanity Fair. 27 Mar 2017. 13 May 2017 <http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/research-shows-donald-trump-is-making-men-more-sexist>.

Norris, Ronald Inglehart and Pippa. “Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism:.” August 2016. Harvard Kennedy School John F Kennedy School of Government. <https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=1401>.

Nossiter, Adam. Marine Le Pen Echoes Trump’s Bleak Populism in French Campaign Kickoff. 5 Feb 2017. 13 May 2017 <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/05/world/europe/marine-le-pen-trump-populism-france-election.html?_r=0>.

❤️ [Podcast][Must Listen] Tim Ferriss – Exploring Smart Drugs, Fasting, and Fat Loss — Dr. Rhonda Patrick

This episode has an unbelievable amount of information. The Guest is Dr. Rhonda Patrick, who Tim describes as, “an American biochemist and scientist.” She has done extensive research and work in the fields of the cellular biology, genetics, nutrition, and nootropics. She views aging as a disease to be treated, and elaborates in depth on all of these topics.

There were a few big takeaways right off the bat;

  • Regular sauna use is really really good for you, for a huge number of well researched reasons.
  • There is a tremendous amount of research around the influence of genetics on nutrition, and the fact that nutrition works differently for everyone. Having recently synthesized my genome with 23AndMe, I was very interested in her comments about various services which will allow you to bring over your genome for dietary analysis. This is something I will need to look in to.
  • Nootropics or any drugs which work by prevent reuptake in the brain cause down-regulation, or the reduced capacity of the brain to deal with normal levels of those neurotransmitters. She goes in depth into the implications of this and her conclusions about how to use those.
  • NSAIDs are really really bad for you. I had no idea about the mountain of recent research linking them to everything from stroke to heart attacks. As someone who takes them almost every day, I will certainly stop doing that. She suggests several great, healthy, natural alternatives.
  • Sulforaphane is very important and I should eat a lot more of it, (ie. Broccoli). It is very important for many cellular processes which prevent and repair the damage that leads to aging. It also drives the growth of new neurons and body systems which ward off insects.
  • She goes in depth into her experience with nootropics and dietary supplements and the ones she takes every day. I will need to look further into these.
Fasting and time-restricted diets are very good for cells and for fighting the kind of damage that leads to aging.

Fasting makes your body consume sick cells for energy at a much higher rate than normal, decreasing the chances for cancer and improving the function of the tissues and organs composed of these cells.

This goes hand in hand with cellular genesis, or the creation of new cells which also speeds up during fasting. These new cells are more efficient and functional than the old, less-functional cells which are converted to energy.

Research also shows that animals which eat during a smaller window like 10 hours per day have pervasive improvements in function of systems all over the body from the mitochondria to the digestive system. In tests with mice, this also leads to up to 20% longer lifespan.

 

There was way too much information to absorb in a continuous stream. A few minutes in, I found myself enumerating the lenses I would need to re-listen through:

  • Nootropics and other good supplements
  • Fasting and time-restricted eating
  • Cellular health and rejuvenation and its impact on cognitive performance and long-term decline

 

I will be re-listening to this episode a number of times in the next few months and expanding on this post. For now, it has inspired me to start eating during a smaller window, for now just ten hours. This is the largest window she says will likely still confer the benefits of time-restricted diet.

Stay tuned for updates!

 

Mirror:

Diverse Monetization

Monetization is what frees content creators to have the time to develop and publish.

At the same time, it kind of feels like a dirty word. It can become the driving force behind the content which seems universally bad, and it is potentially a large single-point of failure in your business model.


By Jeff Belmonte from Cuiabá, Brazil – Contando Dinheiro, CC BY 2.0, Link

An aspiring social media entrepreneur who worked his way to 20k Instagram followers recently told me that he wants to find some way of monetizing. I replied that this should have come first. Who knows who these followers are, much less whether they would be in the demographic for some particular product or service?

Social media monetization strikes me as a nonstarter if the goal is that the content you create will generate at least enough revenue to allow you to create more.

What then? Blogging and services.

I have been writing this blog for years and there are hundreds of posts which get regular organic traffic, and I have a few other domains with some traffic which I could probably grow. I think my biggest opportunity will be this year with my 12 Startups in 12 Months project. I will focus on monetization as a major factor in each of these projects, and maybe even work on monetizing this blog at some point.

I will share my lessons so that anyone who is interested can reap the benefits of these experiments.

One thing that feels really important to me is diversifying your monetization channels. Monetizing with just one ad network or product gives you a huge single-point of failure. I will focus on developing diverse revenue streams for each project, and elaborate on how that works out for me.

Stay Tuned!

The Levels Challenge

Pieter Levels has been a very inspirational figure for me. I have been thinking a lot about his series of blog posts, “Building 12 Startups in 12 Months.”

I really enjoyed reading these, and I really liked his definition of what a startup is. In this context, a minimum-viable-product which is publically available for people to use online. That definition is a huge accomplishment. Creating something is the most important and valuable thing we can do. In fact, there are whole ideological identities based on this idea. Another Peter, Peter Thiel, calls this Zero To One, the title of his book; the act of creating something that has never existed before. He calls it the miracle that we will need to accomplish over and over in order if we want the future to be better than today.

Like many of us, I am often paralyzed by choice-paralysis over all the options I have, and end up doing nothing because I am overwhelmed by all the ideas I come up with.

Obviously there is a lot more to building a company then the MVP, but this wasn’t about building some global zaibatsu like Facebook or Google in his spare time, it was about starting something. Pieter’s 12 startups may turn into successful and self-sustaining businesses, but that wasn’t necessarily his goal. It was about shipping a product.

Like most engineers I know, I have a long list of “someday” projects and ideas. I decided to take a long look at that list and distill it down to a few of the best, easiest to start projects in order to challenge myself to stop adding things to the list and start checking things off the list.

Looking at the startup products Pieter built during his 12 month challenge, a lot of them do not seem very complicated or likely to become revenue-producing, but the point is that he built them. AND that at least some of them have some chance of making money, and one or two of them stand a good chance of making a lot of money. He often comments that he makes over $10k/month from some of these projects and that that is so simple and easy an accomplishment that literally anyone ought to be able to do it.

Walking the Knife’s Edge

There is a knife’s edge today which I feel myself balancing on. On one side, there are people like Peter Thiel who have amazing ideas about business growth and the future, alongside a casual disregard for altruism and social responsibility. On the other side are people who spend all their time and energy on helping others, with a casual disregard for the business growth that could elevate their ideas to having a real impact on the future.

In the same way, politically, there are socialists like Bernie who want to feed the hungry and educate the masses, but casually disregard fiscal responsibility. Opposite him, Ron Paul and the libertarian austerity crowd want to let the hungry starve and close the schools in order to balance budgets. Both relegate themselves from accomplishing their goals by ignoring the valid points on the other side.

In the middle, there are a few impact entrepreneurs who accomplish change and improve the world by building businesses that create change as a product or service. Tesla and Solar City are easy examples, but there are many others. These people balance their budgets while building products that have a huge impact on real problems facing the world today.

I think it takes honestly understanding both sides and thinking both ways to see the narrow  path between them.

School: Gender-Roles Literary Criticism of The Sun Also Rises

 

CJ Trowbridge

Carrigan

2017-04-08

English 1A Tue/Thu

A Literary Criticism of The Sun Also Rises From The Perspective of Gender-Roles

In The Sun Also Rises, Earnest Hemingway tells a fascinating story in a very unusual way. The most unusual part of the story may be the way he breaks the typical mold of gender roles, or perhaps it is the way he breaks the traditional elements of plot. I think it is both. His contrarian approach to a contrarian story makes both of these issues microcosms of each other. The Sun Also Rises explores complex topics in a very minimal way. The author implies greater depth than he conveys directly, drawing at the perspective of the reader to fill in the vast spaces between the lines and to challenge their assumptions and preconceived ideas about gender, and what the characters ought to want from one another.

The story is told in the first person by “Jake,” but it would be easy to argue that it is about a woman named Brett. (Notice the traditionally masculine name.) Brett is what one might call a “New Woman,” a period motif which challenged gender role assumptions, especially relating to power (Yu). She is by far the wealthiest, most powerful, and most sexually libertine character in the book. Despite heraldic claims to various hereditary titles by many characters early on, only Brett’s is substantiated by the author’s character. When a friend asks him, “Is she really Lady something or other,” Jake replies, “Oh, yes. In the stud-book and everything.” Here we see another subtle pun intended to cast her in a masculine light. Jake is referring to her heraldic pedigree as one would to the pedigree of a male breeding animal in the form of a stud-book. (Hemingway)

Together with several other friends, they are going on an adventure to Spain from Paris to watch bull fighting. The story is chock-full of men who love and obsess over Brett, and none of them can approach her station, strength, or wealth. She talks about these men like many men talk about women. When she realizes that one of the men she is womanizing has earned a more serious and unrequited affection from her, she says to Jake, “When I think of the hell I’ve put chaps through. I’m paying for it all now.” (Hemingway)

Like most of the men in the book, Jake, the character telling the story, holds a deep love for Brett but unlike the others, he chooses not to seek out its fulfillment. They sometimes talk about it but in general, they have an unspoken understanding that it wouldn’t work between them. This is just one way in which Jake lives out a softer form of masculinity than the traditional role one might expect in an early 20th century novel.

Jake’s soft-masculinity is in stark contrast to Robert, the Princeton boxer and Brett’s obsessive former lover. He shared a brief romance with Brett, and was entirely overcome by it. He ceaselessly chases her and tries to fight to earn her affections despite the fact that she has long-since moved on to another man Mike who is along for the adventure. Mike, like Jake, reviles Robert. “I would have thought you’d loved being a steer, Robert,” Mike says… “They lead such a quiet life. They never say anything and they’re always hanging about so.” Mike is constantly insulting Robert and denigrating his traditional masculinity. (Hemingway)

When Brett asks Robert to leave her alone for a while because she needs some space, she confides in Jake that she saw him stalking the shadows, following her and unable to be apart from her. Despite this obsession, Jake and Brett manage to lose Robert for a time, and Brett convinces Jake to help her arrange a rendezvous with a handsome young bullfighter she wants to sleep with. When Jake leaves them to it and rejoins the rest of the group at a bar, Robert immediately attacks him and demands to know where she is and with whom. Jake refuses to tell him, and they get into a fight. Jake is knocked unconscious but not before he hears Robert call him a pimp, implying that Brett, the object of his affection, is a whore. Robert has gone full Fox-and-the-Grapes.

When Jake regains consciousness, he goes to confront Robert and finds him crying in bed. Robert has finally been forced to confront the fact that his expectations are unrealistic. His classic masculine archetype wanted to keep fighting and win Brett’s affection, but her interests could not be farther from him, and the more he tried, the less she liked him.

Meanwhile, Mike, Brett’s chosen primary partner, has told the story to the group of how he knows that Brett is always running off with other men. Admitting to something like that would typically be considered emasculating for a classic male gender-role, but Mike readily and enthusiastically admits Brett’s nature. He is fine with her having her own fun and then coming home to him. He accepts her very unusual role. Jake and his soft-masculinity, along with Mike and his, are able to see past Robert’s classic, yet unrealistic goals and methods.

When Brett runs off with the bullfighter, she soon sends a telegram to Jake, asking him to come and save her from the mess she has made. Jake arrives to find her fine, but embarrassed at running off with this young man who doesn’t have the maturity to understand the way she is. She has made him leave after interpreting the collapse of this unfortunate tryst as punishment for the sin of objectifying and womanizing so many male partners. Despite coming to this conclusion, you will notice she is still the one in power over the bullfighter as she has “made him go” (Yu).

She walks with Jake towards the story’s end and some next destination. She turns to him on the last page and says, “Oh, Jake, we could have had such a damned good time together.” Jake turns to her and replies, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” This ending compels the reader to infer that Jake does not see himself as either Robert or Mike. He knows Brett will never settle down and be happy with just one man, so he refuses to attempt to be such a man, opting to be a confidant and companion, rather than chasing the futile, quixotic ideals which Robert has, in his traditional role. (Hemingway)

This story is strong in exposition and conflict, but you will notice there is no resolution. No one gets what they want, and it really doesn’t end well for anyone. Of all the characters in the story, only Jake seems to leave with a clear understanding of what has happened, and a confidence that from the beginning, he made the right choice by rejecting the traditional male role.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Earnest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner, 1926.

Yu, Xiaoping. “English Language Teaching .” n.d. The New Woman in The Sun Also Rises. Ed. Qingdao University of Science and Technology College of Foreign Languages. No. 3 Vol. 3 and September 2010. <http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1081778.pdf>.

 

 

You Should Use Private Internet Access!

Private Internet Access took out a full page ad in the New York Times at enormous cost to let people know about this important issue. Just one more reason I am proud to give them $5/mo for security and privacy online.

They are a really really great vpn service which allows all your devices to have a very secure, private connection which protects you against unsafe public wifi or unscrupulous internet service providers. The Evil Orange Empire wants to let these people sell all your information, but you can stand up to them with Private Internet Access!

If you want your internet activity to be safe from your ISP selling your information and fucking with your content, I highly recommend signing up for Private Internet Access.

23andMe – My Genes

I recently signed up to do 23andMe. This is a service that sequences your DNA and provides in-depth analyses of various traits and risk factors as well as a detailed analysis of your family history and origins.

They offer two options: a cheaper $100 Ancestry Service which just shows you where you’re from, or the more expensive $200 Health + Ancestry Service which also gives you access to your entire genome and the details of all your genes and what they mean.

I chose the latter, and soon thereafter received my specimen container. A test tube came in the mail for me to spit in and send back. It took about 6 or 7 weeks to get my results.

My Origins

I was not surprised to learn that I am 99.8% European, as I have done lots of genealogy work to learn about my family’s history. I WAS surprised to learn that one of my fifth or sixth-grandparents on my mom’s side was 100% African. It was even able to determine that they were likely born between 1720 and 1840 based on the genes I got from them. This is definitely not reflected by the family tree! Somebody had a secret 😉

CCR5: HIV immunity

I was very interested to see my CCR5 gene expression. I was hoping to have homozygous CCR5-Δ32. This would mean I received the Δ32 gene mutation from both parents, and am completely immune to HIV. Based on my haplogroups, I have a high relative probability of having this gene. Unfortunately, I am only heterozygous for CCR5-Δ32. This means one parent, in this case my dad based on his haplogroups, gave me the gene, but my mom did not. Having heterozygous CCR5-Δ32 means that my cells have less than 50% of the normal functioning chemokines. These are a structure which some viruses like HIV or the common cold use to get into cells. So I am far less likely to get HIV than someone without any CCR5-Δ32 genes, but far more likely than someone with two. It’s not the news I was hoping for, but still a plus. I will have to keep taking PrEP, but I will rest easier knowing that the PrEP has backup.

GJB2: Deafness

I was also interested to see my GJB2 expression. This is the gene linked to genetic deafness. My family is very active in deaf culture and the deaf community. My genotype was G:G which is described as having “unclear significance with regard to deafness.” It is at least not the genotype we know will cause problems.

Other Insights

They accurately determined my weight and height based on my age as well as my hair and eye color. They also gave me lots of suggestions. For example, I am more likely to gain weight if I eat saturated fats, compared to the average person. And I am not genetically predisposed to lactose intolerance, meaning my current lactose intolerance is likely due to a lack of bacterial cultures as a result of rarely eating lactose. Luckily, there were no scary red flags like cancer risks or any other serious diseases I am predisposed to.

Conclusions

This was very interesting, and I think I will probably try some of the competing products to compare my results and see if they have any deeper insights.

I highly recommend 23andMe to anyone curious about their heritage or their genetic predispositions! And please tell me how it goes for you!