Friday, February 27, 2015

Paleo, Headaches, and LCHF

I had a headache the other day. Typically, for me, headaches are caused by one of three things. Caffeine withdrawal, dehydration (Often related to hangovers.), or tense neck-muscles. Quite rarely do I ever have headaches specifically because I'm sick.

It was pretty bad and I was getting quite tired with it, so I took a mild pain-reliever. I also drank some water to rehydrate, because I knew I'd been drinking a lot of coffee and some beer in the previous days, without drinking a lot of water. I also had some coffee, because I hadn't had any that morning.

Soon enough, the pain stopped bothering me. Conclusion? The paracetamol worked. Or the coffee did. Or I was just low on water. Or it just passed by itself.

It was probably the coffee. Or that's what I feel, anyway. Coffee always works. Coffee makes everything better.

In reality, there's no way of knowing which one worked. We like to attribute progress or failure to some single thing, and accept that as the whole answer. We even base the advice we give to others on these experiences. I'm inclined to believe it was the coffee, because it has helped before. What's more likely is that they all helped. I had caffeine withdrawal, and I knew I was a bit dehydrated. These cause symptoms, which paracetamol treats, thus, headache away. Or maybe it just went over by itself. We don't know that it didn't.

But it was totally the coffee.

It's easy for us apply the same thinking and fall into the same illogical pattern of ignorance when it comes to weight loss, and that is how every diet manages to be the best diet, and every exercise routine is #1.

We find new flubber or jiggly bits on our bodies. It bothers us. We don't like jiggly parts. We got a little bit fat. We go on the web, and quickly we stumble upon a programme of some sort. It incorporates a diet, it has a routine, it has good reviews. Lots of good before-after material. We get excited, because we get convinced it's going to help us lose weight.

And lo and behold, one months later, weight is lost. We're fitter than ever. Obviously, the programme worked. The knowledge helped. There's something about eating those things and doing those exercises specifically that seems to work a lot better than whatever you we're doing before.

That's what you would automatically assume at this point. What actually happened is you were more motivated than ever before, spent more time at the gym, and ate less. All because you felt fat, at first, and later you were motivated because it was working. In reality, what programme you chose probably made very little difference to your results, and in the end you were only more motivated and worked harder than before.

Statistically, it can be seen that some diets are more effective than others, but that's not what made your weight-loss successful. The differences between diets can only be seen on in wide statistical analysis, and what results individuals reach largely depend on how motivated they are. Like, almost 100% dependent. What made you lose weight was those extra push-ups you did, those extra minutes on the treadmill, and that bun you didn't eat, because you felt so bad about your flubber. Whether you're doing Paleo or LCHF or veganism makes very little difference. The 20-40-40-thing you were doing likely was entirely unnecessary.

But in the end, you'd probably think it was all thanks to the programme. All those other things you do when you're motivated (Apart from researching diets.) are so easy to miss. They're seen as a byproduct of the programme, when they're actually what makes the programme successful in the first place. But you tell everyone you did the x programme and got y good results. And that's how every routine and every diet manages to do so well. You get hyped up, you get fit, and then you hype the programme. And you praise the program, because you were inclined to believe it was going to work from the get-go. What actually made you lose those pounds was eating less and doing more.

The only way to guarantee weight loss is to eat less and do more. It's literally the only thing you have to do. In my opinion, every diet and routine is inherently flawed, and they all rely on bias to get around. You don't have to worry about picking the wrong diet. They're all equally wrong. And few of them are very healthy.

I can't know for sure whether it was the paracetamol or the coffee that cured my headache. I like to believe it was the coffee, but in the end, that's just wishful thinking. Logically, pain-relievers are way more effective than coffee. All these diets and miracle-movements are nice brain-teasers for nerds or scientists, but in the end, for people like you and me, getting in shape all comes down to doing more. It really is that simple.

This is a nonsensical gif I made while shooting the images in the previous entry. I kinda like it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fancy-pants multiple exposures

Whaaoh. This is pretty neat.

This technique is called multiple/double exposure photography. You can either do it on the camera, or you can do it in Photoshop, like me.

The basic principle of multiple exposure is to open the shutter several times. Like taking two photos, without rolling the film to the next frame. The easiest way of achieving pretty results is to make sure one photo has a huge range of contrast, or is completely black and white. I think most expensive modern DSLRs have a feature for making multiple exposure photos. My Canon 450D doesn't, so I put the images together on the PC instead. Which is easy.

These are the photos that together made up the final picture. I got the eyes from the archives (I believe I made a blog post about them back when I took those photos.), and I took the silhouette picture today. That was easy, I just stood between the camera and a window. 

I used GIMP to overlap the individual images into one frame. The silhouette is the bottom layer, and the other layers are set to Addition mode. Very simple. If you don't get it, you'll figure it out as you do it. I cropped and cut the eyes a bit, for the inner 2 irises I didn't want the white's to mess up my picture. So on those layers I basically made everything but the irises black, which is the same thing as transparent on an Addition layer. As you can probably tell, I had some fun with the colours.

I was quite heavy with the sharpening filters, so up close and zoomed in, some parts of the picture are very grainy. What a shame.

This one hasn't been modified a lot. The layers were cropped and placed, and that's it. I really like the colours. One of the pictures used is a macro of a somewhat miserable candle. The other is my dirty stove. Sometimes, it really doesn't take much to create something really beautiful!

3 pictures.

Awesome! That's it for today.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Security versus supposed happiness

Recently, I've made quite a large decision. I've decided not to pursue a degree in architecture, as has been my plan. I've realized that being an architect would all wow-za and cool, and I'd probably be somewhat successful as an architect (I mean, you always have to be optimistic, right?), but... Is it a good choice?

No. I asked myself, what benefits does working in architecture have over engineering? Not many, actually. The logical thing to do is screw drawing buildings. But it's not that easy.

It's a question of reason balancing versus some sort of passion. It's a seesaw with supposed happiness at one end and financial security on the other. A friend of mine in similar peril actually described this conundrum as life's toughest question.

But I've always been logical. I've never been a very passionate sort. That's why I'm becoming an engineer. I just hope it's not a decision that puts me working in a lonely cubicle at 50, with me wishing I'd have become an architect instead. But, I guess the grass is always greener - You can't escape being regretful once in a while.

My path in architecture is a little bit like this drawing. Unfinished and disappointing. 

I started drawing from a reference. It was an exciting subject, but it didn't turn out as I'd hoped. Soon, I ran out of lead in my pencil. The paper rested on the table for some time, right by my PC. Every time I see it, I'm bothered by how the proportions aren't working out, by the weirdness. I refilled my mechanical pencil today, and set to work again, despite being left disappointed by past failure. I think I drew 3 random lines in his beard, and then I decided I won't continue.

Similarly, I went out and bought the two boxes I would use to send in the preliminary assignments for my application. Now they're just two regular postal parcels.

P.S. Tonight that same radio show is on again. This time, it's lesbian night. I'm outspokenly pro-gay, but having a "lesbian night" on a one-person music programme is a fucking retarded outset.

Monday, February 2, 2015

DIY followup and a bit of not-feminism

Let's do this! I don't have a lot of time!

Okay! Why do you need a remote shutter? Why can't you just take handheld selfies? Because it looks better if the camera is farther away! Pretty basic shit, really, but important!

It looks better because 1. Facial compression! In a zoomed out situation, like, 15mm, there's a lot of perspective. The field of view is large. That's no good for portraits! It means you get a big nose and your picture becomes all ewwy. There's too much perspective At 15mm, the camera is too close and it just looks unflattering. At 55mm though, you'll look so tight!

2. Background compression! If you're zooming in, you're going to see less background. This is a good thing! Cluttered backgrounds are very distracting. Zooming in also means more bokeh, and we all like that. My shitty kit lens doesn't do wide apertures, so no bokeh for me.

Here are two examples. Left 55mm - Right 15mm. For all you non-photographers, more millimetres means more zoom. I clearly look better in the left photo. In the picture on the right, the camera was all up in my face, and my sofa is in the picture. No bueno.

You can also do this sort of thing with a remote shutter! Long exposure photography! Taken from my window! This one is not great, the composition sucks, but it's fun to do and the results are always interesting! In this one, the shutter was open for 18 seconds. I was shooting in bulb-mode. And having a remote shutter when doing this is just so much easier! If I didn't have one, I'd have had to keep my finger on the shutter button for all that time, and that would have been shaky and tedious.

These are just some situations in which a remote shutter is handy!

Now for that bit about feminism. I'm going to make it short. I think.

I don't want to call myself a feminist anymore. Well, on one hand, I do. But not really.

See, nowadays, being not feminist is extremely controversial. Therefore, I don't want to be drawing all that attention to me by saying I'm not a feminist. I'm still all about those equal rights and whatnot.

But I don't want to be like those other feminist bloggers. You know, the ones with odd hairstyles and a million subscribers. They seem to live in this otherly world, and I don't want to be associated with that. They have feminist friends and partners, subscribe to feminist media, and have a huge feminist following on their blogs. They live it. And I think it sometimes makes them a bit crazy. A bit disconnected from reality. The amazing bias of their world makes it easy for them to just forget all scepticism and critical thinking, and just accept any supposed injustice as fact.

And you always hear about the patriarchy. I think the patriarchy is a hip word that's used by feminists who want to go viral on social media. I hate the word. This is Finland. It's 2015. This is not a patriarchy. Saudi Arabia is a patriarchy. Can we please stop throwing this word around?

Feminism is a hot mess. I wish it were called equalism, and wasn't filled with all this female-centric rhetoric. I'd call myself an equalist, but I've read too many bad blogs to call myself a feminist and feel any sort of pride in it. Men and women aren't equal, we're obviously different- but equalism would still be a better word than feminism in the cause of gender equality.

Just the other day, I was listening to the radio. That evening, the channel I was listening to had a "feminist-night". What this meant was that they only played music by women and female artists, and only talked about women artists. The programme was hosted by a lone woman. I thought to myself, is this what feminism is about?

I've written about feminism before, and these are the links to those entries.


Musings on modern feminism