Angela Pretorius


Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity

You appear to be very knowledgeable about vaping. Can I ask you for some personal advice?

My husband tried to switch to e-cigs on several occasions. Every time he was back to smoking within a couple of days. He has been using cheap clearomiser e-cigs, and he says the vape liquid leaks into his mouth and leaves a nasty taste, and I suspect that the nicotine content of his vape liquid is too low.

I have been trying to persuade him to try buproprion or more expensive e-cigs or vape liquid with a higher nicotine content.

These are the replies that I usually get: 'I can quit without bupropion. I am smoking at the moment because of stressful event X, and I will quit on date Y when my life will be less stressful' 'I will have the same problems with the expensive e-cigs' 'I'm not really addicted to nicotine. I am just a puffer and I don't draw the smoke deep into my lungs. I only smoke to keep my hands busy/deal with stress/keep me awake at work.'

The Case Against Education

I won't deny that homework should be banned, school uniforms should be eliminated and school should be optional, but it must be remembered being in school has a few advantages.

  1. In school there are usually explicit rules and predictable punishments, whereas at home there are usually unwritten rules and unpredictable punishments.
  2. Most countries ban corporal punishment at school but allow corporal punishment at home.
  3. Schools provide a daycare service, although their inflexible start and finish times make them poorly optimised for this purpose.
Catching the Spark

By the way, if you want to really understand Pythagoras's theorem, Cut The Knot has a collection of 118 proofs.

As for the 'tricky seedlings' example, another question would be:

I would expect plants whose seeds are dispersed by animals to be more k-selected and have less 'tricky' seedlings compared with plants whose seeds are dispersed by the wind. Can I think of any counterexamples?

For the question about mould and seedlings, there are some interesting spin-off questions that you could come up with e.g.

I heard speculation somewhere that endothermy may have evolved to protect against fungal infections. If heat is good at killing off fungi, why do compost heaps work better when they are insulated so that they get hot on the inside?

Covid 1/21: Turning the Corner

My (highly speculative!) hypothesis is that the emergence of these variant viruses arises in cases of chronic infection during which the immune system places great pressure on the virus to escape immunity and the virus does so by getting really good at getting into cells. 11/19

That’s plausible, but doesn’t explain why the chronic infections hadn’t done this earlier, and the English strain doesn’t escape immunity in this way (and we don’t know about the others) so I notice it doesn’t feel like it explains things.

Here is a National Geographic article on how new therapies may have allowed chronic patients to be kept alive for longer and with higher viral loads, and may have influenced viral evolution. In particular, the article cites a preprint on Medrxiv which finds that convalescent plasma therapy leads to rapid changes in spike proteins and to the evolution of antibody resistance.

Rest Days vs Recovery Days

In my experience, a day off is most likely to improve energy levels and motivation if it is spent doing outdoor exercise.

On the other hand, spending one hour a day on outdoor exercise is more effective than spending one day a week on exercise.

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 12

Or is the author a text predicting neural network which has no visuospatial capacities and sucks at geometry?

Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong

I'm trying to find out which associations are or aren't universal.

Do you associate higher pitched sounds with paler colours and feel them more in your extremities? Do you associate lower pitched sounds with darker colours and feel them more in your core?

When you look at a visually cluttered scene, does your inner speech get louder in order to compete for your attention? If not, how would you make sense of the metaphor 'a loud shirt'?

Would you be more likely to associate thickly textured music with the sensation of being under a duvet than thinly textured music?

Do you automatically associate some sounds with roughness and some sounds with smoothness?

When people talk about something having a 'clear sound', do you imagine it being translucent?

When you hear a very loud and discordant chord, is the pain localised to a particular part of your body depending on the pitch and timbre of the note, do you experience pain that is not really localised anywhere, or is it not painful at all?

Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong

All but three of your definitions are exactly the same as the definitions that I would give.

Split notes are what novice brass players produce. To hammer a note is to play a note that is loud and sudden and short. Music is flowing if every note feels like it is the natural continuation of the notes before it. So an unanticipated discord or pause or change in volume will break the flow, but if it feels like the music is building up to a sudden change then the flow will be broken by not having this sudden change.

Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong

Here's one thing I've always found puzzling:

Everyone seems to knows what it means when a music teacher describes a passage as 'flowing' or 'full of energy' or 'treacly', or describes a note to be 'hard' or 'soft' or 'bright' or 'split'. Yet some people say that they don't have synaesthesia and there are even people who say they have no imagery at all.

Are there people who instinctively know what a 'bright sound' is yet don't automatically visualise such sounds as being brightly coloured? Or who instinctively know what a 'hammering note' is without feeling any physical pain when they hear one?

The Flynn Effect Clarified

The paper Parasite prevalence and the worldwide distribution of cognitive ability by Christopher Epping et al suggests that the Flynn effect was partly due to a reduction in exposure to parasites and infectious diseases during pregnancy and childhood.

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