Climate change is not just real, it’s obvious

Vox has posted this before, but it was updated recently with new clips to bring it to the present. It highlights the partisan shift regarding climate change in American politics, from acknowledging that climate change is real, to Republicans realizing the best (only?) way to actually fight climate change effectively from an economic perspective is a tax on greenhouse gas pollution, which of course would be very unpopular for their base (and the business interests funding their re-election campaigns).

It’s particularly galling to me when you hear the Republican politicians early in the ’16 year’ timeline making points that are good and true about what needs to be done, both with respect to acknowledging the outcomes of scientific research, and to the effects of climate change in general. This is skillfully juxtaposed with clips later in the video where those same people are reversing those previous opinions with industry talking points about the economic impacts of climate change in the coal industry, for example.

It’s very frustrating to see this all play out like this on a linear timeline, because the hypocrisy of politics in general is expertly laid bare by the editor, with no context or narration given other than sound bites. The conclusion this video presents is quite an obvious one to me, and I think I would be hard pressed to find somebody who wouldn’t agree.

It’s politically disastrous for a Republican to support the existence of climate change because it will require a tax increase on businesses in order to actually have an impact in the short term (before non-polluting alternative energy becomes more economically advantageous, which will happen in due course). So those politicians, almost exclusively old white dudes, I note, cling to their voters and the business interests supporting their re-election, rather than taking action to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

We, as humans, are not used to our actions having a global impact, and I think this is why it’s so hard for individual people to accept that something they are doing could ruin the planet and ‘habitat’ of millions of others, but that’s the reality of what’s happening here. Our biology and instincts haven’t caught up with the scale of our civilization, and empathy on a massive scale will be required in order for any real change to come about on this issue.

Climate, and the well-being of all humanity, should not be a partisan bargaining chip, and I just hope we won’t be too late to fix the problems being caused right now when presented with even more obvious symptoms of the problem. It’s worth bearing in mind this adage: “The Earth will survive humanity, but humans may not“.

Stuck in the Past: Projection Woes

Next week, I will be heading to Montreal, where I’ll be giving three different presentations to three different audiences in three different rooms. I’ll be bringing my laptop, my iPad, and my phone with me, any of which has the built-in capability to show a PowerPoint presentation. I’ve given these kinds of presentations before, and I’m not particularly nervous about the content of the talks.

However, there is something about this weekend that is causing me serious bouts of anxiety, and that’s showing the actual presentation. Like I said, I’ll be bringing 3 different computers to the conference, which connect to other display devices via Lightning adapter (iPhone and iPad) or mini DisplayPort (my MacBook Air) to DVI or VGA or even HDMI, or via screen sharing if there was an Apple TV/Chromecast(?) involved.

However, what I *don’t* know is what display technology will be available on the other end, connected to the projector. I am aware that many universities are starting to make sure projectors have connection options for Mac, which means one or more of these options may just be ready and waiting for me. But since I want to actually know at least one of these options WILL be available, does that mean I need to go and buy at least one adapter for VGA/DVI/HDMI just in case any of those is all the projector works with? Should I just buy an Apple TV for the weekend, hook it up, and share my screen to it (again, hoping the projector has an HDMI hookup). The Apple TV method means I’ll also need access to a stable Wi-Fi connection to run the screen share, which isn’t always the case.

I’m very risk averse, but I also like to be prepared for any possibility when it comes to this kind of thing, but it feels like there should be a better way when it comes to giving presentations in an unfamiliar environment. Conferences are a VERY common thing, and it just seems like there’s no good way to do things consistently with so many moving parts.

Side note: don’t even get me started on using a secondary device as a remote to control the presentation. This technology has existed for a decade, but the only software integration that currently exists for PowerPoint is that a presentation on the iPhone can be controlled via the Apple Watch. It just feels like these kinds of things should be further along than they are.

The Pizza Diet

To be clear, before we begin, weight is just a number. For me, this is about how you feel. This may be less likely to work for you if you feel like you HAVE to lose weight, it’s much easier to keep doing something if it doesn’t require effort. I went from 250 pounds down to my current 195 while eating pretty much all the pizza I wanted, but the only time it ever felt like ‘work’ was when I had to convince myself my hunger was an illusion (which is usually is when we’re surrounded by readily available food).

Sorry for what sounds like a click bait headline, but this is an important lesson. What you eat, overall, is important for your health. Eating broccoli, salad, and less-processed food on a regular basis is really good for you. But if you’re concerned about your health or weight and want to change either, it doesn’t mean you have to stop eating the food you’re more likely to crave (like pizza).

I first started focusing on my overall health back in the summer of 2015. I had slowly put on about 40-50 pounds in the 2-3 years previous, and was considered obese (I weighed ~250 pounds all the way from summer 2014 to 2015, despite playing soccer that summer). No matter how active I was, my weight never went below 245.

It turns out, as I learned in the fall of 2015, the only thing that matters is being aware of how much you eat, and being able to control it (at least, for most people… medical conditions notwithstanding). Through a portion controlled diet, wherein I limited my intake of things like fries, pop, and other typical ‘unhealthy’ foods, I was able to hit 215 pounds by December of 2015, and by the summer of 2016 I was 190, lower than I’d been since middle school.

Keep in mind, while I did ‘limit’ my portions, and stop eating certain foods, I didn’t limit myself in any other way. I ate burgers, pizza, and snacked pretty much the whole time. But at a restaurant, I would get a soup or salad instead of fries, and if I indulged one day or for a weekend, I doubled down on my efforts the next few days after.

By doing this, I didn’t lose weight every day, but I did drop 2-3 pounds a week while I was biking, and continued to lose 1-2 pounds a week once it got too cold for that. I had a strategy that worked for me, and I felt better, looked healthier, and needed to buy a whole lot of new clothes.

Now, in 2017, I’m still biking to work every day I possibly can, and I’m ranging from 192-197 pounds depending on the day of the week (I’m not as strict on weekends). I have been weighing myself every day since July of 2015 (except on vacation), and I’ve still never felt better. I know exactly how much I should eat in a day to maintain my weight, and if I’m enjoying a good meal or snack, I let myself enjoy it!

So, this brings us all the way back to the title of this post. It really isn’t clickbait. I eat pizza around 6 times a week, and it isn’t the reason I weigh more on some days than others. I probably shouldn’t eat pizza as much as I am for my general health, but in terms of keeping my weight where I want, the type of food I eat has almost no bearing on that.

It’s all about being aware of how much you’re eating, and reasonable portions once you figure out how easy it is to overeat. For me, even more than calories in/calories out, it’s much more s matter of grams in/grams out. And it’s been working for over 2 years now.

I’ll have more on how I got to this point in future posts.