Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Real Causes of Gout, and Practical Solutions

I've been struggling with gout for years. There is so much contridictory information out there, about gout and it's causes. These videos by Dr. Kim, make more sense than many things I've seen. It seems like sound, relatively easy advice to follow, so it's my current guide on the subject:

I've already been doing some of these things, but I think it's a question of finding the right balance, and keeping an eye on the larger picture, of how many things work together.

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Ukraine's goals, and NATO's goals, are not identical

And pretending that they are, is dangerous for all concerned. From the Cato Institute:
We're Not All Ukrainians Now
[...] Ukraine, with its independence on the line, wants all the NATO help it can get — escalation serves its interests. NATO countries on the other hand, sensibly wary of Russia and its nuclear arsenal, rightly resist.

So, a gap has opened in Western capitals between deeds that suggest an outer limit of involvement and words that suggest a harmony of interests.

In large part, this is just politics. Leaders of democracies tend to oversell the stakes to promote policies that entail great risk. But such a gap is dangerous.

For one, it attracts domestic calls for escalation, including demands for maximal war aims, from the restoration of Crimea to direct military intervention. Secondly, the White House’s rhetoric also undermines its own refusal to comply with Ukraine’s demands for high‐​risk assistance in the form of no‐​fly zones, the complete economic shutdown of Russia or actual troop deployments, undercutting its own restraint.

But if Western stakes were indeed as dire as Ukraine’s, if the future of the world order hung on the course of this conflict and our democracy was at stake along with Ukraine’s, then why wouldn’t NATO be willing to join the fight for it?

Crucially, this rhetoric‐​policy gap could also raise excessive Ukrainian expectations of support. But those insisting the West should give Ukraine whatever it wants ignore that what Ukraine wants partly depends on what the West will give them — or at least what it says it will. And claims of fully aligned interests may fuel Ukrainian dreams of total victory that are probably untenable and only conducive to prolonging war.

Though peace talks are now at a standstill, they may revive when Russia’s Donbas push either succeeds or ends in stalemate, and Ukraine may again be presented with an unpleasant peace offering — lose Crimea, accept more autonomy for much of the Donbas, commit to neutrality. If Kyiv thinks Western support is endless, or likely to grow more direct, it may end up rejecting a deal it should have taken and suffer for it when the help it banked on doesn’t materialize.

The problem here isn’t helping Ukraine, it’s pretending the help is unconditional. [...]

In short, pretending Western interests are fully aligned with Kyiv’s risks further escalating and prolonging this dangerous war, with consequences far beyond the borders of the countries directly involved. Read the whole article, for embedded links and more.      

Monday, March 06, 2023

Napping for Adults; it isn't just for old people

Science shows there are many benefits to taking afternoon naps, for health, creativity and productivity:

The Reasons for Regular Napping, and the Science to Support It
[...] Not that any of us are necessarily looking for an excuse, but napping has been proven to dramatically increase and improve learning, memory, awareness levels and more. Unfortunately, due to our corporate, modern day, fast-paced lifestyles, a mid-day nap has been overlooked, seen as a luxury, sometimes frowned upon and in some cases even considered a sign of pure laziness. People have become so consumed with their 9 to 5 that they see napping as unproductive, without realising that napping is actually very good and a completely natural phenomenon in the circadian (sleep-wake cycle) rhythm and makes a lot of sense when you examine the evidence to support it. [...]

The article mentions historical references to well known people who were known to take naps to solve problems, such as Thomas Edison. It's not hard to find articles about that:
Spark Creativity with Thomas Edison’s Napping Technique
[...] Edison may have relied on slumber to spur his creativity. The inventor is said to have napped while holding a ball in each hand, presuming that, as he fell asleep, the orbs would fall to the floor and wake him. This way he could remember the sorts of thoughts that come to us as we are nodding off, which we often do not recall.

Sleep researchers now suggest that Edison might have been on to something. A study published recently in Science Advances reports that we have a brief period of creativity and insight in the semilucid state that occurs just as we begin to drift into sleep, a sleep phase called N1, or nonrapid-eye-movement sleep stage 1. The findings imply that if we can harness that liminal haze between sleep and wakefulness—known as a hypnagogic state—we might recall our bright ideas more easily. [...]

I'm going to try napping more...

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

MoneyManager Ex: A Free Alternative to Quicken

If you dont want a program as complicated as Quicken, but want/need something more complex than a spread-sheet, you might want to consider the open-source accounting software "MoneyManager Ex". I've been using it for a bit, and it's quite easy to use:

It has features that allow generating reports, making budgets, etc.
A window opens, when you want to make transactions, which is easy to learn and use:

It doesn't have a balancing feature like Quicken, for checkbook reconciliation.  But you can reconcile the account by matching your transactions to you bank statement and checking them off as "reconciled" when they match.  Unless you write hundreds of checks or have hundreds of online transactions, it shouldn't take long to do.

If you think it might meet your checkbook register management needs, download and use it for free, and give it a try:


Monday, January 30, 2023

Balancing your checkbook should be easy. And with this spreadsheet, it IS.

I was a big fan of quicken in the early days, because the program was so simple and easy to use.  Over time, it grew more sophisticated and complicated, and offered a lot of new features I didn't want or need.  It also required upgrades to work with newer operating systems.  Eventually, I longed for the simple programe I once knew and happily used.

Have I found a solution?  Perhaps!  Spreadsheets, can be set up as checkbook registers.  There are some free checkbook templates for open source business suites like and Libre Office.  I've tried several, and this one, seems to come closeset to my original Quicken experience, with ease of use and functionality:

It's called Simple Checkbook by Joe Barta.  It's a spreadsheet template, that is available to download for free, from some websites.  Here is a good review about it:

There is a warning, about transatctions that have not cleared yet, and ways to deal with it, with out corrupting the file; this is a spreadsheet, not a computer program.  But if your checking account is simple like mine, this could work very nicely.  It can be dowloaded here:

The original website by the creator is gone, but there is a copy of it on the webarchive site:

The page offers some tips and hints for using it, and talks about it's limitations and advantages.

It seems there can be a false error report involving Macros when using it with Microsoft Excel.  Version 2.1 had a fix for it, but that version is no longer available.  But on this page, he has a link to instruction on how to fix it yourself, if it's an issue for you: