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## You should still get to know your nuts!

It’s exactly ten years since I posted “Why you should get to know your nuts” here on the Soapbox. Turned out it was testicular cancer. A pure seminoma. Which is the type you want if you have to get it! Anyway, still here to annoy you all

Related: My Leslie Neilsen moment

## Fast Diet Update 2 #fastdiet

Quick update on my fast diet progress. See the original post for more details, and fist update

Weight: 82.5 Kg. (down 5.3 Kg).

BMI: 23.3. (down 1.5).

Waist: 99 cm. (No change).

Surprised that my waist hasn’t reduced even though I’ve lost 5.3 Kg. Must be losing internal fat. Which is good if true. Want to get waist down to about 88 cm. Onwards.

## Chemical equation output from MathType

I’ve been testing the chemical equation output from MathType. Works. The WordPress option in “Equation for application of website:” section of ‘Cut and Copy Preferences’ seems to be the best for a WordPress and Mathjax setup. This setting left aligns the equations on web pages. Other pure Latex output centres them.

Some examples:

$${{\text{H}}_{2}}\text{S}{{\text{O}}_{4}}\text{(}aq\text{) + 2NaOH(}aq\text{) }\to \text{ N}{{\text{a}}_{2}}\text{S}{{\text{O}}_{4}}\text{(}aq\text{)}+\text{ 2}{{\text{H}}_{2}}\text{O(}l\text{)}$$

$$\text{C}{{\text{H}}_{3}}\text{C}{{\text{O}}_{2}}\text{H(}aq\text{) + NaOH(}aq\text{) }\to \text{ Na }\!\![\!\!\text{ C}{{\text{H}}_{3}}\text{C}{{\text{O}}_{2}}]\text{(}aq\text{)}+\text{ }{{\text{H}}_{2}}\text{O(}l\text{)}$$

$${{[\text{V(}{{\text{H}}_{2}}\text{O}{{\text{)}}_{6}}]}^{3+}}(aq)+{{\text{H}}_{2}}\text{O}(l)\rightleftharpoons {{[\text{V(}{{\text{H}}_{2}}\text{O}{{\text{)}}_{5}}(\text{OH)}]}^{2+}}(aq)+{{[{{\text{H}}_{2}}\text{O }\!\!]\!\!\text{ }}^{+}}(aq)\text{ p}{{K}_{a}}=2.9$$

## Summing an arithmetic sequence

This post is to test how Latex output from Mathematica appears via MathJax. It also shows a handy way to sum up a sequence of numbers that have the same difference between them.

Suppose you have a series of numbers that start with a number we call a. If the next number, and the ones after it, in the sequence differ by the same value, then the formula given below can be used to calculate the number of items in the sequence:

$$n=\frac{L-a}{d}+1$$

where a = the first term in the sequence, L = the last term in the sequence, and d = difference between the terms in the sequence. d has to be non-zero and the same between each set of terms in the sequence.

Once you know the number of terms in an arithmetic sequence you can sum the terms using the formula: $$S=\frac{1}{2} n (2 a+ (n-1)d)$$, where a = the first term in the sequence, n= the number of terms in the sequence, and d = difference between the terms in the sequence.

The embedded equations above show that the latex from Mathematica does work. Happy days. That’s both Mathematica and MathType I can use as required.

## Fast diet update #fastdiet

I started The Fast Diet about two weeks ago. As outlined in the first post my weight was:

Weight: 87.8 Kg.

Height: 188 cm.

BMI: 24.8.

What are the changes after about 2 weeks and 5 fasting days? Stats on Sunday morning:

Weight: 85 Kg.

BMI: 24.0

Waist: 99 cm. I started recording this today after buying a proper measuring tape.

A decrease of just under 3 Kg. That’ll do for a start. As outlined in the previous post it’s the blood biochemistry changes that are the real prize. Weight loss and waist measurements are just easy an tracking method that can be done at home.

I got my blood checked for cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose last week. These were non-fasting numbers but will do as a benchmark for checking again in 6 months. The numbers:

Total cholesterol: 5.63 mmol/L. This should be below 4.0 mmol/L for me.

LDL cholesterol: 3.45 mmol/L. This should be below 2.0 mmol/L for me.

Triglycerides: 2.18 mmol/L. The target for me for this is 2.26 mmol/L. Okay on this one.

Glucose: 8.4. This was non fasting measurement. Will get a fasting one done in 6 months.

## My current podcast subscription list

I recently pruned the number of podcasts I subscribe to in Downcast. I was deleting too many episodes without ever listing to them. Here is a list of what podcasts survived the cull, with links to the feeds to subscribe to them.

## Installed MathJax for Mathematics typesetting

I’ve installed the MathJax WordPress plugin so I can embed maths in posts if required. Nice. Some examples below.

Einstein’s famous equation: $$E=mc^2$$

The Gravitational Constant: $$G= 6.67398 \times 10^{-11} m^3\: kg^{-1}\: s^{-2}$$

Finding solutions for $$x$$:

$$\begin{array}{l}\frac{2}{x+1}+\frac{2x-3}{x}=0\\\frac{2x+(x+1)(2x-3)}{x(x+1)}=0\\\frac{2x+2{{x}^{2}}-3x+2x-3}{x(x+1)}=0\\\frac{2{{x}^{2}}+x-3}{x(x+1)}=0\\2{{x}^{2}}+x-3=0\\(x-1)(2x+3)=0\end{array}$$

It follows from $$(x-1)(2x+3)=0$$ that $$x-1=0$$ and $$2x+3=0$$. These can be solved for $$x$$. The first solution, $$x-1=0$$ is simply $$x=1$$.

The second solution $$2x+3=0$$ can be rearranged for $$x$$ as follows:

$$\begin{array}{l}2x+3=0\\2x=-3\\x=\frac{-3}{2}\end{array}$$

Seems to work. Have to learn Latex syntax now, or find a good editor that outputs equations in correct format.

## Started the Fast Diet

There is a new lifestyle and diet scheme in town. It’s called the 5:2 Fast Diet. Fast as in fasting, not as in speedy. Unlike most (all?) other diet regimens, this one does seem to have some science and data to back it up. The 5:2 bit of the name equates to the fact that you can eat normally for 5 days a week, and then on 2 days you restrict yourself to 600 calories. Thats for men. It’s 500 for women.

Extreme fasting, and its sibling prolonged calorie restriction, have been studied for a while. Current research is showing that the gentler, and more easily doable 5:2 Fast Diet can provide many of the benefits that extreme fasting does.

Grab the book by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer to get more info. Only a few quid in paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon UK. They also have a web site.

I’m making Monday and Thursday my fasting days. Starting today. Will fast from breakfast until dinner then until breakfast next day on those days. With the 600 calories allowed split between breakfast and dinner. That’s the same as what Michael Mosley does. Seems sensible.

My current weight stats are:

Height: 188 cm.

Weight: 87.8 Kg.

BMI: 24.8.

Not overweight, but BMI close to entering 25+ danger zone. I know from when I was playing cricket regularly that I feel better when my weight is about 79 Kg. So I’ll make that my target.

Weight Target: 79 Kg.

BMI Target: 22.4.

It’s the biochemical changes, as outlined in the Fast Diet book that are the real prize though.

Follow me on Twitter to comment or discuss.

## 2011 Science book per month challenge

Inspired by Ian Sales idea, I’ve decided to read a popular science book each month in 2011. The list of the 12 books (which is changing as the year goes on!):

I’ve added a 13th book. Coincidently this book comprises 12 essays so I could read 1 per month alongside the other 12 books. The 13th (or zeroth as I’ll call it) is:

## Pimping God to sell your book

You may have noticed that Stephen Hawking has a new book out. He has been poking the beehive by declaring that science does not need to make reference to God to explain the Universe.

I have no problem with this. It’s a simple fact. The more we discover about the Universe the less there is room for the Abrahamic God as depicted in the 3 major religions that came out of the Near East. In fact it’s been decades since the claims to said deity have been falsified.

What I do have a small problem with is the way that scientists revert to the God device when addressing certain cosmological concepts. Examples like ‘The God Particle’ for the Higgs Boson, and Hawking’s last line in his eponymous book ‘A Brief History Of Time’. It’s annoying. More importantly it’s a poor use of language. It gives the impression that scientists such as Hawking and Higgs buy into the deity fallacy. Which they patently don’t.

I wish that science communicators would refrain from using this term when explaining current theories and hypotheses. Even if they do want publicity in he week their book hits the shelves and eStores!

## Not doing a Math degree

Have decided not to do a mathematics degree via the OU as I mulled about in a previous post. I’m going to do self study for a few years using the books in the picture. Click on the picture for a larger view. I already have these books. So in addition it’s free entertainment and fits into my larger plan to pay off everything I owe and get to a debt free state as soon as possible (including paying of my mortgage).

## Thinking of doing an OU physics & maths degree

Debating the idea of taking 6 years to do a part time physics and maths degree via The Open University. Just to give me a framework to teach myself maths. I really have a bee in my bonnet about learning maths. It’s like my own Mount Everest. The modules leading to the degree would be:

Then again I might just do it self study via books I’ve got and not get the degree. I’ve got one already Could do a Masters in something else to get more paper!

## Factor 50 sun block

Whilst out at Tesco this morning, getting some fresh pineapple for breakfast, I also picked up some Factor 50 sun block to use when in San Francisco for WWDC 09 in early June. I’ve been sun burnt twice in California. Once quite badly on the forehead in San Diego, and then on the arms and neck in San Francisco. Not this year

## President Obama on science

More change

If anyone doubted that change has come, and come to science, they need to watch this video. We’ve been waiting a long, long time for a president to take this kind of interest in furthering the cause of science in our country. His budget calls for a doubling of our nation’s investment in basic research in the coming years: “No one can predict what new applications will be born of basic research: new treatments in our hospitals; new sources of efficient energy; new building materials; new kinds of crops more resistant to heat and drought.” “It was basic research in the photoelectric effect that would one day lead to solar panels. It was basic research in physics that would eventually produce the CAT scan. The calculations of today’s GPS satellites are based on the equations that Einstein put to paper more than a century ago….”

You can watch the video at the Cosmic Variance site linked below.

Read more & watch video: Obama on Science | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine

## Bill Maher Mocks Texas Gov. Perry Over Evolution and Swine Flu

Mocking the stone age science at the Texas State Board of Education has now gone viral — late-night comedians have the rest of the country laughing at us. Bill Maher de-pantsed the governor on last Friday’s episode of his HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher: “He [Perry] appointed a creationist to head the Texas State Board of Education, which is shocking. Texas has a board of education?!?”