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Lifelong Researcher, Walker and Backpacking Enthusiast (when not working). See my Google Profile Plus "About" page for more about me.

I created this web page after reading about Known -- see these links.

http://www.wired.com/2014/09/known/
http://withknown.com/
http://indiewebcamp.com/Known

They provide free (for now, it's beta) web domain pages, and as you blog, you're able to simultaneously post to Facebook, but you keep a copy of your blog post at their web site, so as they say "you own your posts". They are open source and allow you to use another server to archive your posts.

This allows my friends who refuse to use Facebook to follow my blogs here at this web site. You can comment on my postings here, but they will not be shown on Facebook; and vice-versa. If you comment at Facebook, your comment is not shown here. Comment at either place, no problem.

plus.google.com/+RoleighMartin/about/

 

The importance of Vitamin D (and hiking)

5 min read

To all my friends who are interested in their health, three things to recently note (a lot of my health recommendations are on my Google Plus "about" Profile page, and at my news blog (see earlier post) I post the most interesting daily news findings. But I want to mention some recent things to share. One, the book, The Vitamin D Cure ( http://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-D-Cure-Revised/dp/1118171071/ ) is a fantastic book with a lot of good advice. I'd follow up that book with this Vitamin K-2 book (Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K-2 should be taken together). http://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-K2-Calcium.../dp/0062320041/

Last, since I moved to Reno, I joined the Sierra Club, done a lot of their hikes (about 2 weekday evening hikes and a weekend day hike). I then became trained (wilderness first aid) and became a hiking group leader (later I got elected as group treasurer). This Sierra Club as well as many use Meetup.com to announce their hikes. Doing all these walks are just great for one's energy levels and health. Our local group posts hikes here: http://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/ 

Meetup.com is zip-code oriented (to where you are) and allows you to find many walking, hiking and backpacking groups near you (as well as any other type of activity, such as traditional dancing, ballroom dancing, etc). Check it out. It will make your life that much more lively and your health better (if you go for exercise-oriented activities). One advantage of the Sierra Club is that the hikes are guided by those certified in first aid and CPR with a wilderness emphasis, plus a knowledge of how to avoid getting lost.


The author in The Vitamin D Cure doesn't emphasize just Vitamin D but focuses also on Ph balance in one's diet, minimizing grains, and exercise. What was interesting was the statistical discovery of cancer prevalence and Vitamin D insufficiency, revealed in comparing cancer rates near the equator and in far north/southern climates (between the two population locales, there is statistical significance in Vitamin D sufficiency / insufficiency). They did some interesting medical studies of blind-forward studies (explained in the book) to confirm this statistical correlation. I found out one can inexpensively check their own Vitamin D levels too.

See the below information about Vitamin D testing (there are two tests, but only one is recommended, indicated below):


You have four choices -- the below 3 are available online -- the 4th choice is via seeing your doctor at your annual free physical and asking him/her for that test. If you don't have the right health insurance, best to just go with one of the below 3 online options as they all will cost under $100).

Besides focusing on Vitamin D3 and one's Vitamin D levels, it's important to also monitor one's Ph balance of diet, and the importance of Vitamin K-2 (in the Mk-7 form) along with your Vitamin D3. Until your blood levels show a normal level between 40 and 60 of Vitamin D, I recommend you take 100 mcg of Mk-7 Vitamin K-2 (NOW vitamins), and 15000 to 20000 IU of Vitamin D3 (see the book being sent you on good brands to choose, I recommend getting the 5000 IU size per capsule). If you are allergic to Soy, you'll want for Vitamin K-2, to get it in the Mk-4 form. A good book on Vitamin K-2 is here: http://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-K2-Calcium-Paradox-Little-Known/dp/0062320041/

($65 cost, test is ordered online, testing kit mailed to you, follow instructions and mail back with your self-done blood sample, results are emailed to you)

($63 cost, test is ordered online, but test is done locally, results are reviewed/viewed online)

($95 cost, test is ordered online, but test is done locally, results are reviewed/viewed online)


* Ask your doctor for a vitamin D test. Be specific and ask for a 25(OH)D test. There is another type of blood test for vitamin D, called a 1,25(OH)₂D test, but the 25(OH)D test is the only one that will tell you whether you’re getting enough vitamin D. If your health insurance covers a 25(OH)D test, this is a good way to work with your doctor to get tested.

* Order an in-home test. These tests are sent to your home. You prick your finger and put a drop of blood on to some blotter paper. You send the paper to a laboratory to be tested. These are an alternative if you don’t want to go to your doctor just for a vitamin D test, or if your insurance doesn’t cover a test.

* Order a test online and get blood work done at a laboratory. In the United States, there are a few websites that allow you to bypass your doctor and go straight to the testing laboratory. These websites include mymedlab.com, healthcheckusa.com and privatemdlabs.com. You can buy a 25(OH)D test from all of these companies and have the test itself done at your nearest LabCorp. These tests are a little more expensive than in-home tests.

All three ways of getting tested should give you an accurate result.
 

About Grand Street (a cool new market niche) and a great example of it -- the lightest solar charger made yet.

1 min read

This solar charger looks like it will be the lightest, easiest thing to take on a JMT hike.  Only 6 ounces, plus the storage battery is contained inside it, it is not external to it like the Goal Seven.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/granolastrolla/granola-strolla-portable-solar-usb-charger?ref=n...

More information here (pre-order here):

https://grandst.com/preorder/granolastrolla

They've already raised the minimum money needed to kick off.

PS.  Wow, what a cool thing this product review uncovered.

https://grandst.com/howitworks

This is a new startup company, already far-along in business, that covers the niche in-between a "successfully funded kickstarter project" and "a gone-live, taking ship-now orders company that was months ago a successfully funded kickstarter project".  This company only selects those successfully funded projects whose hardware looks good enough to not be burned if one guarantees a no-purchase-loss to consumers (see guarantee on this page).

"Order today and have a slice of the future delivered in 1-6 months. Grand St. promise - if it doesn't ship, you get a refund."

GranolaStrolla (the company behind the solar charger) is just one of the companies they're backing here.



 

The best day to buy a domestic airline ticket

1 min read

http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-best-day-to-buy-airline-tickets-1413999377?mod=trending_now_3

The best day to buy a domestic airline ticket, on average now, is 57 days before departure and will be either best purchased on the weekends or Tues/Wed.  




 

Friends, please remember, I post to facebook almost always now, via Known.

1 min read

Friends, please remember, I post to facebook almost always now, via Known. It allows my posts to be "owned" by me (at least my own contributed comments), and archived, at the http://roleigh.withknown.comblog I have. I have found that old postings in Facebook are hard to quickly search, but I can search my blog a lot faster. I am a person who believes in redundant backups. Using Known, I have that protection. Also I have friends who despise Facebook and this way they can follow (read) my news findings via the withknown.com address. I have found since using Known that many friends have stopped clicking on the "like" button on interesting news finds. I wonder if that is how it is showing in their facebook news feeds. I have checked with select individuals. Some state my posts (via Known) show up, others say they don't. I don't understand the situation fully. Still I like using Known.


More about Known here:
http://indiewebcamp.com/Known
http://www.wired.com/2014/09/known/
https://gigaom.com/2014/09/11/indieweb-advocates-launch-known-so-bloggers-can-be-social-and-still-co...

 

Micro-Evolution versus Macro-Evolution

11 min read

Note: since I've setup this withknown.com blog, I am going to be posting some of the best Facebook posts I've made over time.  Originally posted 9/16/2014 on my Facebook page.

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A friend of mine posted about this facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/theskepticsguide/photos/a.10150497216386605.426482.16599501604/101526871769...

I took offense about the sentence: “If you want to deny evolution and live in a world that is completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe”… and also included the request for “critical thinking and skepticism”. 

I agree, we've observed micro-evolution (evolution within a species).  Pray tell me, where is the proof that anyone has observed macro-evolution (evolution to a totally new species from a prior species or from non-living entities). 

Dr. Michael Behe, Ph.D., a micro-biologist and author of two challenging books, such as Darwin's Black Box, agrees that it's a given there is micro-evolution going on.  But I don't see the proof for macro-evolution, only the theory for macro-evolution.  Interesting, the subtitle above is "critical thinking and skepticism".  Seems to me much of that is lacking among those who advocate macro-evolution.  Don't tell me that it's either religion or acceptance of macro-evolution.  There are interesting hypotheses for something else.  The Greg Bear novels Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children explore a fascinating middle-ground (one compatible with Evolution and Intelligent Design).  I.D. does not require or pre-suppose God, contrary to what many critics believe (who have not read I.D. books).  Great reads and much fun too.

Some links for the above:

http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-Radio-Greg-Bear/dp/0345435249/

http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-Children-Greg-Bear/dp/0345448367/

http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-Black-Box-Biochemical-Challenge/dp/0743290313/

http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Evolution-Search-Limits-Darwinism/dp/0743296222/

This web page explains why interest in Intelligent Design does not require one to believe there is a God behind that design.

http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1341

Recently a major scientific conference was held on the challenges discovered by scientists who embrace orthodox evolutionary ideas.  While the book is about $150, a free 50 page synopses of the presentations are available here:

http://www.biologicalinformationnewperspectives.org/#!synopsis/c1294

The Kindle format of the above is here but costs $7:

http://www.amazon.com/Biological-Information-Perspectives-Synopsis-Commentary-ebook/dp/B00IKTVD2C/

The bios of the authors and info about their papers is here:

http://www.biologicalinformationnewperspectives.org/#!authors/cciz

The full book costing $91 used and 584 pages long is here:

http://www.amazon.com/Biological-Information-Perspectives-Robert-Marks/dp/9814508713/

The bios continue for 2 pages.  I like this part of an abstract by Dr. Bruce Weber: "The current Darwinian research program is the genetical theory of natural selection, or the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. Presently, however, there is ferment in the Darwinian Research Tradition as new knowledge from molecular and developmental biology, together with the deployment of complex systems dynamics, suggests that an expanded and extended evolutionary synthesis is possible, one that could be particularly robust in explaining the emergence of evolutionary novelties and even of life itself. Critics of Darwinism need to address such theoretical advances and not just respond to earlier versions of the research tradition."

I also like this paragraph by one of the editors of the above book, Dr. J.C. Sanford (page 35 of the synopses download): "Many scientists who are committed to the standard neo-Darwinian model of life may find these proceedings disturbing – which is unfortunate. I do not think any of the contributing authors to the proceedings had any intention to offend anyone. It is just that it is increasingly clear that the long-reigning neo-Darwinian paradigm is collapsing – and despite many efforts to deny what is obvious – clearly “the emperor has no clothes.” The extremely sophisticated hardware and software systems that enable life simply cannot be built by any trial and error system. In particular – it is very clear that software can never be developed one binary bit at a time. Apart from a fully functional pre-existing hardware/software system, a single bit has absolutely no meaning. I feel that if we are to preserve our scientific integrity, we must acknowledge that we have a major explanatory problem, and we need to go back to the drawing board in terms of understanding the origin of biological information."

Some of the authors in the above book-- their works, are introduced in the 3 DVD collection:

The Intelligent Design Collection - Darwin's Dilemma, The Privileged Planet, Unlocking the Mystery of Life

http://www.amazon.com/Intelligent-Design-Collection-Privileged-Unlocking/dp/B0041ETK2A/

In the book reviews at Amazon for the kindle version of the synopsis book, is this review by one of the attendees of the conference, Bruce Malone, who writes: “The most common chemical in biological systems are proteins and these proteins are made only via coding contained within the DNA structure. Yet to get the information off of DNA requires a specially designed protein structure needed to "unzip" the DNA, remove the information, and encode the required protein. Yet the protein needed to unzip the DNA can only be made once the DNA is unzipped by the protein. A classic chicken/egg (which came first) conundrum… everything had to be there at once scenario!”

Malone continues: “We now know that the same overlapping parts of the DNA code are read and used to make multiple different protein structures. An excellent analogy would be a book written in English which could also be read and make perfect sense in French, German, Spanish, and Italian all at the same time using the same linear sequence of letters. Now imagine randomly changing the letters without destroying the book’s meaning in ANY of the languages. As we really start to comprehend the information content of DNA and cellular structures, it becomes absolutely obvious that the belief in evolution is the belief in the impossible and the mechanisms of evolution cannot possibly explain the complex information content of living systems.”

 

 

After posting the above, someone asked me to elaborate in my own words what my own thoughts are, as the poster did not want to follow all of the links above and still not know what I personally believe.  I replied:

I am a prodigious reader for most of my life.  I use Feedly Pro to follow about 300 sources a day in only about 1/2 hour reading time.  I only post the most interesting things that catch my eye.  I have many web followers who enjoy the editorial eye I have.  From my repostings one can typically guess at my world view. 

Regarding the debate between traditional Darwinian explanations and the arguments made by Intelligent Design scientists, I think the merits fall on the side of the I.D. scientists.  The conventional scientists result to smear tactics rather than face their arguments head on.  I find that when smear jobs are resorted to, that means that intelligent recourse is not readily at hand.  Do I believe in God and an afterlife.  My response is that like St. Thomas Aquinas, I believe in a God who is not a puppet master.  He/She/Whatever gave the universe free agency which means when it comes to sentient beings, they have free will.  But with free agency, "shXX happens". 

The classic definition of God (from memory, not from quotes) is a source of power who has no cause or source and whose power is (simplified) incredible.  I refuse to use the word "perfect" as I consider that term anthropomorphic.  My dad was a mathematician by education and he reminded me that you can have an infinite straight line, but 2 infinite straight lines are twice that infinity.  He considered God to be of infinite dimensionality but that does not mean perfection, because an infinite line does not mean 2 infinite lines.  Meaning that even with infinity growth or expansion is possible. 

Maybe our reality is like Voltaire feared.  An old joke.  What is the difference between an optimist and a pessimist.  An optimist says we live in the best of all possible worlds.  A pessimist is afraid the optimist is correct.  Well, perhaps the Universe could be no different than it is now if it was to have Free Agency.  Maybe this is the best of all possible worlds.  Who are we to judge? 

I feel the prime ethical mandate is to be a good sport.  Deal with the cards dealt you, make the most of them, and be a good sport.  I certainly believe in a here-after.  The evidence, if one investigates near-death and after-death experiences makes it far more difficult to explain what is found via any other explanation than that there is an afterlife.  

The international society for near death studies have spent decades studying this from a scientific methodological viewpoint.  Most fascinating.  Most compelling are cases where new knowledge is gained via a near-death experience that is impossible to have obtained via any other way than that the experience truly involved high dimensional realms.  I find the evidence of Christianity so compelling that I can strongly attest that I am a believing Catholic and believe that among all humans who have walked this Earth that Jesus demonstrated the closest attunement to the highest dimensions. 

Do I think that any written document conveys absolute persistent truth understandable to all times and all cultures.  No, I believe the revelations of higher dimensions conveyed through written words diminish the incredibleness of such higher dimensions.  They're at most "most suitable" expressions for the audiences existing at the time of publication but still suitable for future generations. 

I believe that life is stranger than fiction.  I believe that anyone who thinks we're the result of thrown dice that appeared out of nowhere themselves is the thinking of extreme simplicity but not that of real truth or anywhere approaching real truth. 

I think Ben Franklin was most wise when he responded to a peer that he did not intellectually agree with what was taught in church but felt that there is no better way to raise children (and society hence) than to believe in God and judgement that follows an evil life.  I believe that much of human evil is caused by humans who do not believe in God and a judgement that follows an evil life.  I believe that being faithful means living a good and honorable life and to play the role of God and harm others (aside from cases of self defense) is evil too, as it is extreme presumption, so I highly disagree with those whose religion have them kill those who disagree with their beliefs. 

Some good things to read going into the above in more detail is Dinesh D'souza's book, http://www.amazon.com/Godforsaken-Things-Happen-there-proof/dp/1414324855/

If you see that I post too much, that means you are reading all of your daily feeds.  I don't read all of my daily feeds.  I scan the titles and read the abstracts of those titles that catch my eye, then click on the web page of those abstracts I find interesting that are super interesting.  You can click "unfollow" under my page, and follow my postings via perhaps a once a week visit to my page. 

But I confess, I am addicted to following what is most interesting in life.  It's probably one of the reasons I walk away from everything and hike for a month-straight each year.  One can only take so much intellectual activity.  One has to balance it with physical activity which I do via 3 gym visits a week (2 hours apiece), and 2-4 daily hikes a week  (after work) and a month-long hike each year.

I also love intelligent debates.  What is great about Intelligent Design is how their arguments and observations shake the foundation of conventional thought which to me is full of simplistic hypotheses.  To me, my idea of the Universe can accept an incredibly strange form of evolution that has embedded in it an "intelligent design" process that can account for spawned-off totally new species (such as shown in the novel, Darwin's Child).  But I'm also open to a universe that has alternative intelligent design explanations. 

But to seriously consider that randomness operating with nothing as input can cause everything as output.  Randomness presupposes a set of entities that are random, but what is the cause of those entities?  The idea that everything randomly evolves from nothing via random chance and survival of the fittest explains everything -- to me that is naiveness supreme.