Can you say mid-life crisis?

Paul Cutler's picture

I can feel it pulsating through me - you and I oldnick are one - my conclusion was different - this morning I had the epiphany I'm free - so I started a YouTube channel to realize that :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSFhPLnEhXI
The first song.

pbc

John Hudson's picture

That's a reasonable guess, James, given that enzyme supplements are sometimes prescribed for IBS sufferers.

By the way, I think IBS still suffers from having for so long been denied as a real condition by health professionals, leading to much of the information about it being ad hoc and anecdotal, compiled by sufferers trying to make sense of their experience. Indeed, the categorisation of 'syndrome' is really a way of saying 'There's this mix of symptoms experienced by different people in different combinations that we think might be related to each other in some way'. Which is about the status of IBS in terms of scientific understanding.

John Hudson's picture

Hrant: And 55 is the new 45

And metabolic syndrome is the new irritable bowel syndrome.

John Hudson's picture

Hi, Bill. Since you're here, this seems as good a place as any to mention that the Guardian's latest Sunday series is on Popper:
Part 1
Part 2

This article on demarcation of science and pseudo-science is also worth reading, and presents some nice challenges to Popper.

William Berkson's picture

Just started the chronicle article, and saw that author doesn't understand Popper, and makes the errors that people regularly do. He doesn't understand is that Popper is all about science without certainty, and so he takes lack of certainty about refutation as some kind of fatal flaw. Popper wasn't always clear and careful about distinguishing between non-science and pseudoscience, but that is a different issue...

Té Rowan's picture

Well, certainty is for things you know nothing about anyway, right?

dezcom's picture

Unless you are talking about "The Uncertainty Principle", then you are just a quantum leap away ;-)

rs_donsata's picture

I read some theory saying that midlife crisis is started by the end of the wife's rerpoductive life:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201007...

quadibloc's picture

@hrant:
Before I followed your link, I had thought that a canon isn't a musical instrument, but a musical form:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB9-kltDu4A

or, for a less facetious example,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WachC7CN0Y

except possibly if one is thinking of this particular composition:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-vQKZFF-9s

and then, of course, the spelling would not be right.

dezcom's picture

1812 overture

John Hudson's picture

Those are two spectacularly awful versions of Pachelbel's Canon in D, which is really saying something considering just how abused this piece of music has been since it became part of the modern orchestral and chamber repertoire.

Thank heavens for Musica Antiqua Köln.

dezcom's picture

I am all Pachelbeled up for a lifetime, thanks. Between all the bad versions John spoke of and the many times my wife's piano students have played it, I can't bear another listen ;-)

John Hudson's picture

If you decide to risk one more listen, Chris, I really do recommend that MAK version. It is a revelation to many people who have only heard the languid romanticised renditions: an auditory window into the baroque world.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

My momma's so old her birth certificate is in Roman numerals.

dezcom's picture

I am so old, I scribed your momma's birth certificate :-)

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Im so old, I ran track with dinosaurs.

dezcom's picture

You ran track with me?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

This surely went off topic…

My m-lc occurred seven and a half years ago and resulted in a divorce, company buy-out, semi-retirement, an addiction to tv-series that lasted for years, the restart of my social life, hooking up with the love of my life (who died 76 days ago, but that is another story), doing things I never imagined I’d do, and a lot more.

I think m-lc’s are okay.

quadibloc's picture

@John Hudson:
I realized the first version was likely to be "spectacularly awful", but I thought the second one would be a good contemporary version, even if inauthentic.

I thank you for providing an example of what an actual good version sounds like.

But then, my musical tastes are rather eclectic.

russellm's picture

Me in the middle... Kings Royal Yorkers, Light Infantry Coy, circa 1777. Defending America from democracy.

russellm's picture

@ Bert, .... the love of my life (who died 76 days ago,

Oh, no! Please accept my condolences.

John Hudson's picture

Somewhat to my surprise, I quite enjoyed the harmonic harpsichord rendition of the Mission Impossible theme, John. In a similar vein, I offer this.

Paul Cutler's picture

When food becomes a theory and not a pleasure, I'm out. When people post music they love, I'm in.

pbc

John Hudson's picture

When food becomes a theory and not a pleasure, I'm out.

As I would be too, but it hardly seems that being selective about what one eats means that one gets no pleasure from food. Indeed, from my perspective, thinking about diet and nutrition is primarily a process of determining what constitutes food and unfood, so is arguably independent of gustatory considerations. If arsenic tasted really good, would you consider it food despite what you know about its affect on the body? Would you talk about it in terms of a balanced diet and encourage 'moderation' as the sole virtue of consumption?

Most notions of what constitutes food are entirely culturally determined, inherited from ancestors who, for the most part, had limited options in terms of nutrition and little knowledge about the chemical components of what they ate and the affect of these things on this bodies. Things that killed them quickly were classified as poisonous, but things that killed them slowly frequently made it into the food category because they made no association between the consumption of these things and the health problems from which they suffered. Today, some of these foods are being consumed in such increased quantities and in processed forms that rapidly increase their metabolism by the body that things that used to kill people slowly are now killing them quickly. They don't call type 2 diabetes 'adult-onset' any more, because too many children have it.

oldnick's picture

@JohnHudson—

Obviously, you DO believe what you want, despite your protestations. Well, you're wrong: if you would like me to sign a HIPAA repease so that you can study, weigh, peruse and adjudicate my document weight loss using my particular regimen, just let me know. Otherwise, kindly stifle. Capisce?

quadibloc's picture

@John Hudson:
but things that killed them slowly frequently made it into the food category because they made no association between the consumption of these things and the health problems from which they suffered.

A lot of the things that are today regarded as things that kill people slowly are good sources of calories and proteins. Which make them highly preferable to starvation, which kills people quickly.

And which is why we have evolved to find foods that taste sweet, or that taste like meat, or which include fat, as desirable. Vegetables, on the other hand, tend to taste bitter, and other things that taste bitter are poisonous and kill quickly.

In the past, it isn't just that people were ignorant about nutrition. It is that food - especially meat - was scarce, and so regarding it as very important to eat all the meat you could was entirely rational from a nutritional standpoint. People tended to be malnourished in respect of calories and proteins, while the foods they did have available, like turnips and cabbage, provided them with the vitamins they needed.

Today, the abundance of food that we have has turned this upside-down, so our innate food preferences, instead of pushing us towards a healthier diet pull us away from it.

But it isn't a case of random cultural preferences that were never related to our bodies' needs.

Oh, also: I had encountered the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and their rendition of the theme from Shaft, before - which, I suppose, won't surprise you.

However, most of my musical tastes are more conventional, if highly pedestrian. Still, even for that kind of music, I do sometimes go a little out of the way (Onna Jonka Annoin Pois, as sung by Eila Pellinen; from the late 'fifties, but in a style reminiscent of an earlier time than that - a jazz/torch song about the love she let get away) and I also brave deadly earworms (this is reputed to be one of the worst, Walter Wanderley's Hammond organ rendition of "Summer Samba", also known as "So Nice" or "Samba de Verão").

Chris Dean's picture

I don’t mind the occasional off topic thread, but I thought I should make a quick point. I love the spirit of Typophile and the sense of support and community it offers. Happenings as of late are a testament to this. All things considered, one might want to be mindful of divulging too much personal information (health, family &c.) in a public forum such as this. Miners and profilers can use this information, and once it’s out there, it’s out there for good. Google or no. I hope all are well.

Paul Cutler's picture

Eat what you want, do what you want, listen to the music that you want. If eating meat makes you feel bad, stop. It's simple hedonic calculus. If you like to drink booze, go for it, one day you might find that the hangover is not worth it or you did things that were unacceptable. Then don't drink like that anymore. Hedonic calculus. A technical term for something that can only be done by feel. Obtain joy and pleasure while you can because whatever scheme has been concocted cannot alter the fact that there is one certainty at the end of this journey. And when the time comes it should be welcomed, not feared, more importantly, it should not be feared now.

pbc

John Hudson's picture

John: A lot of the things that are today regarded as things that kill people slowly are good sources of calories and proteins. Which make them highly preferable to starvation, which kills people quickly.

Which is exactly why I wrote that we inherit our categories of food from ancestors who, for the most part, had limited options in terms of nutrition. This is not the situation that most of us in the west are now in, so it seems to me entirely reasonable to take a look at what we eat in terms of long term health affects rather than as if we were in risk of immediate starvation and needing whatever calories and nutrients come to hand. And, again, that means actually looking at the evidence and reading the science, not just uncritically accepting what your ancestors, a government 'healthy eating guide', or a nutritionist tells you.

You mention evolution, and I think that can't pass without comment. Genetically, humans are in no way significantly different than we were c. 66,000 years ago (the most precisely stated short estimation I've found, more general estimations tend to be longer). What this means in nutritional terms is that our digestive systems and the way we make use of different kinds of fuel evolved before many of the staples of our civilisational diets were part of what we ate. Agriculture dates from approximately 12,000 years ago, so whatever else we can say about the nutritional value of annual grains, cultivated legumes, or fruit bred for sweetness, we cannot say that we evolved to eat them.

When palaeontologists examine ancient human remains, one of the things they can determine pretty much immediately is whether they are from palaeolithic or neolithic cultures, because the neolithic skeletons will on average be several inches shorter than the palaeolithic, and will exhibit tooth decay, scoliosis and degenerative bone problems, and other indicators of poorer physical health. And the defining difference between the palaeolithic and the neolithic is the change from a hunter gatherer diet to an agricultural diet, from eating meat, fish and wild vegetation to eating large amounts of grains and cultivated legumes. And exactly the same kinds of health issues have been documented among living populations making the transition from traditional diets to modern civilisational diets as recently as the 20th Century.

oldnick's picture

@John Hudson—

Sorry, bucko: bread and water is all that is required to sustain life. All else is window dressing.

Given the sorry state of world affairs, a fairly strong case could be made that we humans greatly overestimate the value of larger brains, especially brains so well versed in fooling themselves. You, sir, are a master of self-delusion: keep up the good work.

5star's picture

...so for mid-lifers it's about quality rather than quantity?

n.

Chris G's picture

Sorry, bucko: bread and water is all that is required to sustain life. All else is window dressing

Horsesh*t. Vitamin C deficiency would finish you off in the form of Scurvy

russellm's picture

Interesting theory Ol' Nick.

@ John Hudson... Yet, strangly, members of modern-day hunter gatherer societies be shorter & less well nourished than bread eaters... Excepting those on strict bread and water diets.

@ Cris G scurvy
Ah yes. Scurvy...

John Hudson's picture

Nick, while we clearly disagree, I don't think I have ever been anything other than polite to you.

oldnick's picture

Polite? Oh, yes, indeed. The whole lot of you are very well-behaved: it is as Your Master wishes.

John Hudson's picture

Paul, your notion of 'hedonic calculus' is problematic in a number of ways. It seems an attractively simple means of responding to physical sensations that are of immediate or short term association with particular actions, but even then it treats as certainty what can easily be coincidental correlation. Take my initial exchange with Chris regarding eating meat: if someone notes that they get a stomach ache when they eat red meat, following hedonic calculus they decide to stop eating red meat, and the effect of this might be that they stop getting stomach aches. But that doesn't mean that red meat caused the stomach ache, or it might be only a proximate cause, while the root cause -- e.g. enzyme depletion or bowel perforation -- might continue unfelt. And here is the biggest problem with hedonic calculus: it relies on immediate or short term correlation of physical sensation to particular actions -- eating this or drinking that, in some particular quantity and/or some particular preparation --, so is completely useless as a means of determining what constitutes good or bad actions with regard to long term health. You give the example of someone who decides to stop drinking, or stop drinking so much, because one day he decides that the hangover isn't worth it or that drunkenness has resulted in him doing something unacceptable that he regrets. Neither the pleasure he used to get from drinking to excess nor the hangover tell him anything useful about the state of his liver, and by the time he feels physical sensations related to liver damage the damage has been done.

You define hedonic calculus as 'a technical term for something that can only be done by feel'. But eating with an eye to long term health is not something that can only be done by feel.

Now, if you simply want to say that you don't care about long term health, and are happy to accept any consequence at all of what you eat and drink, that's your prerogative. I'm no puritan. What I am saying, though, is that if one is concerned with long term health in terms of diet and nutrition, then one has to take an evidence-based approach. Ad hoc and anecdotal feedback, including how you feel, can be useful in gauging the effectiveness of particular diet and nutrition choices, especially when related to objective measures such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, body fat percentage and (less usefully, at least in isolation) body mass index. But unless you plan to experiment in a hedonic way with every possible way of eating, you have to start from a set of principles arrived at from evidence, which means looking at the science and looking at it critically.

John Hudson's picture

Chris: Horsesh*t. Vitamin C deficiency would finish you off in the form of Scurvy.

If he's eating nut breads, he'll get Vitamin C, and there is even a small amount in flax seed. So my money would be on the total absence of Vitamin B12 finishing him off. Unlike most other vitamins, B12 is only available naturally from animal sources, and deficiency is associated with a whole raft of both physical and mental pathologies.

hrant's picture

I'm very well-behaved?

hhp

oldnick's picture

Okay: there ARE exceptions to every rule.

BTW, I got a note from a new designer, just trying to break into Arabic script design, who wanted to know if Monotype's "We'll Take Seventy-five Percent" deal was any good. Naturally, I thought not.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap, sheep…

Paul Cutler's picture

Paul, your notion of 'hedonic calculus' is problematic in a number of ways.

Existence is problematic in a number of ways. That's how this thread got started. If you have a scientific answer for that please do tell.

pbc

quadibloc's picture

@John Hudson:
I wasn't disagreeing with you on the merits of using our nutritional knowledge to eat in a more healthy fashion. It was just that I wanted to point out that limited options were more important than a lack of knowledge.

But I will reply to this:

And the defining difference between the palaeolithic and the neolithic is the change from a hunter gatherer diet to an agricultural diet, from eating meat, fish and wild vegetation to eating large amounts of grains and cultivated legumes.

I think that poor diet is not the only contributor to the poorer health of agricultural populations. 16 hours a day of back-breaking labor to feed yourself plays a bigger part.

John Hudson's picture

Russell: Yet, strangly, members of modern-day hunter gatherer societies be shorter & less well nourished than bread eaters

Which hunter gatherer societies are you talking about? Do you have comparative height data? Do a Google image search for hunter gatherers, and what you will see is lots of photos from around the world of the classic hunter gatherer physique: long and lean and well muscled with very upright posture, all indicative of excellent bone health and good protein levels.

The increase in height among modern westerners is a phenomenon of the past hundred years or so, during which time we have regained a lot of height that our ancestors lost for thousands of years. That is, we're back to a similar height as our palaeolithic ancestors were. There's no doubt that the abundance of food we have access to, especially regular protein, has had a great epigenetic benefit in terms of height in many western countries. Conversely, hunter gatherer societies today are subject to modern pressures that affect their access to nutrition: constriction of their traditional roaming territories by agriculture and forestry, destruction of wetlands, forced relocation, pollution, etc.. Yet despite that, they remain taller and fitter than their near neighbours who are working the land and living on beans and rice and corn and bread. For modern westerners and hunter gatherers the same is true: access to regular meat protein makes you taller.

John Hudson's picture

John: I think that poor diet is not the only contributor to the poorer health of agricultural populations. 16 hours a day of back-breaking labor to feed yourself plays a bigger part.

No disagreement there. Really, who in the heck thought that agriculture was a good idea?

hrant's picture

Obviously people who wanted to control more people.

You can't get filthy rich by moving around all the time.

hhp

dezcom's picture

"Really, who in the heck thought that agriculture was a good idea?"

All the people who would have starved otherwise.

russellm's picture

No disagreement there. Really, who in the heck thought that agriculture was a good idea?
No kidding! Nothing but trouble when those Germanic folks learned to farm, had a population explosion and pushed into Roman territories.

Paul Cutler's picture

Cain slew Abel. On that John, we are in agreement.

pbc

russellm's picture

anyone can go back to a subsistence hunter-gatherer life at anytime. I am sure it is not all that complicated. There are berries in every thicket, edible roots are everywhere. They grow like weeds. Heck they are weeds... Dandelions, burdock. Small animals are easy to catch - with a bit of perseverance. Probably.

It may seem like there are a lot of dandelions in your yard, but you'll get a few meals out of them at best before you have to move on to your neighbour's yard.

The thing is, if you do that, that is all you'll ever have time to do. The evils of bread & rice may be the price we pay for culture as we know it.

:o)

hrant's picture

You're Canadian, aren't you. Either that or Australian.

hhp

russellm's picture

I am a citizen of Earth, Hrant. Why?

Ok. I'm Canajun, eh. I'd have thought the photo above would be a tip-off... There were never any American intransigents to quell in Australia.

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