Find a need and fill it.

on Monday, February 27, 2012

Getty Museum

Today, a lot of people tend to think that setting grand-goals and working to fulfill them is the path to wealth and success. This line of reasoning is exactly backwards. As John Paul Getty offered as advice for those seeking wealth: “Find a need and fill it.”

Generally, today, we tend to think only about our own needs, and how to fill them. To become wealthy, we need to think about the needs of others, and how satisfy them (at a reasonable cost).

If it can't be done at a reasonable cost, can we innovate? Can we figure out a way to solve other people's problems at a lower cost? Can we find ways to make life better for other people? If we can find some way to improve the lives of others (an improvement for which they voluntarily pay), we have created wealth. Creating wealth is the honest path to success.

Alternatively, we can become wealthy via violence or fraud -- by stealing from others, or by forcing them to transfer wealth to us at the point of a gun (or government's gun), and this is the method a lot of people on which many (economically illiterate) individuals tend to focus... but there are two paths to success.

Making the world better for your neighbors is ignored far too often in modern assessments of economic growth, and the desire for material gain. If done honestly, material gains are only acquired when someone makes the world better; profits are impossible for an honest businessman unless he has helped another human being.

How to keep an avocado fresh

on Sunday, February 26, 2012

With acetylcysteine, a form of the amino acid cysteine. If you don't have any acetylcysteine lying around the house, you can alternatively cut a few fresh onion slices and add them to the bag; when the onion is cut, its cells generate a form of sulfur gas with a very short lifespan. Cut the onion and toss it in the bag quickly to capture the gas, which is created when newly damaged onion (or garlic) cells are come into contact with the air.

By the way, acetylcysteine can also:

1. Prevent hangovers by cleaning up the byproducts of alcohol metabolism.
2. Preserve fruit (not just avocados) by preventing oxidation (it's an antioxidant).
3. Cure a Tylenol overdose by supporting the body's glutathione production.
4. Disinfecting replacement artificial lenses before surgery (it breaks bacterial biofilms).
5. Chelate and remove heavy metals from the body.
Prevent death if taken soon after fatal doses of various poisons are ingested or injected in lab rats.

It does a lot of other cool stuff, too (probably). For example it's being tested on mentally ill patients:

"Acetylcysteine has been shown to reduce the symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in two placebo controlled trials conducted at Melbourne."

24 Hours later and still like-new.

How to keep celery crisp


The container is designed to hold lasagna pasta noodles. Cold tap-water. Refrigerate. This will keep it like-new crispy for two weeks, easily.

Value is hard to measure

on Saturday, February 25, 2012

The value of an object is not static; it cannot be objective, and it can only be measured at a single distinct moment in time, for two individuals. If an apple trades for a dollar between Fred and Bob, we can only now say that we know the value of an apple (and a dollar) for Fred and Bob, at 1:02PM, Feb 25th, 2012. It would be inappropriate to now claim that we know anything more about the value of apples. Assets don’t have fixed market values; they vary relative to what each man holds.

To see why, let's imagine that a man with two cows and three horses values them in order from most to least valuable. He may order them as follows:

1. cow
2. horse
3. horse
4. horse
5. cow

If this man has to choose to trade away one animal he will chose the cow, but if he is asked to trade away four of his animals he will keep a cow. In one trade he appears to value horses more than cows, but in the second trade he appears to value cows over horses.

Thus we can see that value can only be determined relative to specific trades. The value of the horse cannot be said to be more than the value of the cow. We can only say that he values a cow most if he must keep only one animal, and values it least if he must give up only one animal. It has no value independent of his other assets. Everyone values their things based on their own specific needs. He values the milk that the cow provides, but is willing to give up some milk in order to keep his transportation. He is not willing to give up all of his milk in order to keep his transportation, and so he values the cows differently depending on which other assets he holds. The order in which he places them is more important than the value of a specific trade.

Viewed another way, if both barns are on fire and he can only save his cows or his horses, he will choose his cows. On the other hand, if a predator threatens a horse and a cow and the same time and he can only save one animal, he will choose to save the horse. The result is the paradoxical valuation of a horse above a cow in one instance, but the valuation of two cows above three horses in another. If assets have fixed, independent values, this could never be the case. Value is always relative to our other holdings, and we can never say “a cow is worth more than a horse,” just as we cannot determine if light is a particle or a wave. When we look closely at a specific measurement of light to determine its nature, we get only a reading of it in that instant, with that instrument, in that specific situation. In the same way, we cannot determine the value of a horse by looking at one specific trade and extrapolate that to all valuations, its value is relative to what is held and what is offered in exchange. 

Value can only be spoken of relative to specific acts of appraisal, just as light can only be spoken of regarding specific tests of its nature. To further complicate matters, people rearrange their scales of value depending on what is available in the market. Imagine a man with this scale of values: 1, wine; 2, cow; 3, cheese. If he sees that cheese is trading in the market for wine at an even exchange, he will reorder his scale of values to place the cheese above the cow, even if his personal opinion of the cheese’s value is less than the cow.

The myth of the eight-hour sleep


It seems reasonable that our ancestor's did not sleep in eight hour sessions. It appears, according to historical documents, recent studies, and modern hunter-gathering tribes, that our natural inclination is the sleep in two four-hour shifts, with a couple of waking-hours between them.

Many of us today find ourselves awake in the middle of the night and assume there is something wrong. Perhaps that is not the case. Perhaps we are naturally inclined to wake at night, and perhaps it kept our ancestors alive more often than people who passed out for eight hours in a row.

From the BBC:

In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern - in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.

Much like the experience of Wehr's subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
"It's not just the number of references - it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge," Ekirch says.

L-Arginine reverses liver injury in heavily alcoholic rats

on Friday, February 24, 2012

A recent study has indicated that supplementation with L-Arginine (sold over the counter as a nutritional supplement in the United States) at 100mg per kilogram of body weight (five grams per day for an average human), stops and reverses liver-damage in rats, even if the rats continue to consume massive amounts of alcohol.

The amount of ethanol consumed by the rats was staggering in this experiment, beginning at 10g/kg and moving to 16g/kg as the rats developed a tolerance. Their blood alcohol levels were kept between BAC 0.15 and 0.35 for six weeks, 24 hours per day, via a tube implanted in their stomachs.  The legal driving limit in the United States is BAC 0.08, so the rats were always between double the legal driven limit and death, which occurs around 0.40 in most humans.

Researchers found that rats that were fed ethanol for six weeks developed fatty liver, necrosis, and inflammation. They found that within two weeks of adding L-Arginine to the diet of fish oil ethanol (in continued massive amounts), liver function began to reverse itself--"Collagen deposition and pericellular fibrosis are markedly decreased."

If these findings were to translate reasonably to human beings, it would indicate that liver disease is not a function of alcohol consumption, per se, but is instead mediated by a failure to ingest adequate amounts of protein (L-Arginine is the most common protein in the American diet). We already suspect that the malnourishment and disease found in chronic alcoholics is in part caused by their tendency to replace nutritious foods with calories from alcohol, and this study leads us one step closer to that conclusion.

CLIFF NOTES: Eating a lot of protein, or supplementing with L-Arginine, will probably prevent or reverse alcohol-induced liver damage.

Intellectual Property Laws are Harmful

on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Intellectual property is not the same as other forms of wealth, and should be considered in a different light. It's a whole new animal, as it were, because "theft" traditionally means that an asset moves out of the possession of its original owner, and into the hands of a thief. It harms the previous owner.

With IP, assets can be transferred to an infringer at no cost to the victim of the theft. The loss of his ability to market his asset can be more reasonably controlled via the private markets. It isn't reasonable to socialize (make all citizens pay) the cost of protecting the value of an invention. That cost is, in my opinion, something with which an inventor should be burdened.

IP laws are today used as weapons, and stifle innovation. When the steam engine was invented in the late 19th century, its inventor used his patent to block innovation from other inventors, who had improved upon his design. And ironically, he was unable to improve his own design, because the most efficient flywheel design was patented by another firm. The patents blocked the creation of the most efficient engine until they expired.

Similar things are happening with software patents today. IP companies are buying thousands of them and literally extorting "protection" fees from software developers. Apple recently purchased a few thousand patents it didn't intend to use, for $6 billion, in order to threaten these companies with an arsenal of patents of its own. If they sue Apple, Apple can sue all of the companies under the "protection" of IP collection companies. IP laws are in practice backfiring.

They prevent innovation even as they claim to promote it. They are very similar to minimum wage laws in this way, promulgating the idea that they are helping the poor, and in reality creating more unemployment and suffering for low-skill workers.

Inventors can still profit from innovation absent IP and copyright laws. If you invent a light bulb, simply create a private contract with a manufacturing firm to secretly create 10 million bulbs. When they hit the market, others will rush to copy them, but you will be first to market by months or years. You become wealthy, and others are not prevented from improving on your original design.

This is how Apple operates, and is primarily why they are so successful. They innovate secretly, flooding the market with a products that take competitors years to copy.

If you invent a bow and arrow in your cave, is it moral for the village-chief to tell me that I cannot build compound bows, a vast improvement on your design? IP laws seem to promote innovation, but they also block improvements on designs. The trade-off is between original innovation and incremental improvements. Without the laws, original innovation is still there, as is incremental innovation. With the laws, only original innovation continues.

Sent Martin In Bangladesh

on Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sent Martin is the Earth Heaven of the world which is situated in Bangladesh. It is the best tourist spot of Bangladesh. Where Sea, Green Earth and Blue Water are made an wonderful combination, its beauty is not describable.It is the Dream Heaven of the world.

History of Religion in Venice

on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Evangelist Saint Mark is the patron saint of Venice and is also situated under the protection of the Virgin Mary and of her son, Jesus Christ.

Officially, Venice was founded in March 421, more precisely on March 25th, the day of the Annunciation of the birth of Christ. It is a city born in the sea, a Christian Venus born after the fall of Roman Empire caused by the barbaric hordes: his birth seems to promise a new epoch where pagan vision and Christian vision of the world would unite in harmony in one and the same free and sovereign person.

The Myth of Venice the Catholic

Such is the origin and uniqueness of the Myth of Venice the Catholic whom the Doge left to the open sea onboard the splendid Bucentaure to celebrate his wedding to the sea, by throwing a gold ring into the water on the day of Ascension, a symbolic nuptial to remember the dominance of Venice and the union of its links with his maritime empire.
Numerous pictures represent the Doge to knees in front of the Virgin and the child Jesus.
Many religious buildings and churches are richly endowed with pictures of the grand masters. Nunneries and scuole substantiate the importance of religious practice and presence and action of monastic orders in Venice.

Secular and spiritual: the Venetian Melting Pot

Rialto was the seat of trade and economy, Place saint Mark was the place where were placed side by side the devotion to the patron saint and Political Power.
It unites Basilica saint Mark, the Bell tower with its bells and the Ducal palace where they elect the Doge who domiciles there.
This neighborhood translates perfectly the nearness of Secular and the Spiritual in Venice. The Patriarch of Venice was not named by Vatican City, it was chosen by the Venetians, and religious holidays always formed an alliance with the pageantry of republican political power.
Venice defended fiercely its economic interests and its political independence in the course of its history.
Such policies, blended by devotion to Fatherland and by Catholic creed, also guarded against any flood of spiritual power or secular likely to threaten the Sovereignty of the Republic.
This original synthesis of firm beliefs, which defended and the separation of the political power from religious power, gave him force and courage to become heir apparent Sovereigns of the foreign States and in Vatican City.