Month: May 2016

The Tomato Paste Experiment

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A tablespoon of tomato paste

So, forever ago, we came across a documentary on YouTube which seemed to suggest that the lycopine in tomato paste helped your skin protect itself against sunburn. And, while the article I found to link to expressly says “that doesn’t mean you should stop using suntan lotion,” that’s what I want to do.

I’ve been opposed to the stuff for a while and never use it myself, unless I’m going to go shirtless in the sun for quite a while (the beach!). But, even then, I’d rather just be that guy who bathes in his t-shirt.

I very seldom get sunburnt, which I attribute to being out in it quite a lot running and just being alive. But, we do still slather suntan lotion on our kids, and I don’t like it.

So, this summer I’ve been taking a tablespoon of tomato paste every day. If I get through the summer without sunburn or sunscreen, I’ll start forcing it on my kids next summer. (And, believe me, I can’t wait for that battle every morning.)

Still, we’ll see.

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This Podcast changed the way I think

It’s a big headine to deliver on. But, it’s also true.

I recently discovered the Tim Ferriss show (via his appearance on Freakonomics) but the first podcast of his that I listened to blew my mind with the guest’s (Sebastian Junger‘s) level of insight.

The discussion touches on gender and, specifically, manhood. But also on ‘traditional gender roles’ discussed in a way that I’ve never heard them discusses so respectfully (there is no mention of kitchens, if you worry about that kind of thing).

Even more, the podcast touches on war, on veterans, on why some veterans refuse to go to PTSD counseling and on what you can do if you say “I’d like to support veterans without supporting the war.”

I genuinely think that listening to this podcast upgraded my own level of humanity, and I think it will upgrade yours, too. Listen to it, already!

Being Malcolm Gladwell

With my own attempts to learn Latin, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about deliberate practice and the value of grit. So, Freakonomics Radio’s focus on productivity this month is certain a welcome coincidence.

The last ‘real’ episode was all about the ten thousand rule made popular in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. (Summary: you probably misunderstood it.) And the value of deliberate practice — defined as practice that is not simply going through the motions, but instead is focused on improving specific elements of your overall goal — as opposed to simply doing something.

(Parenthentical explanation: me reading and re-reading the few Latin texts written for my limited vocabulary is just practice, focusing on noun endings and matching adjectives to nouns, even though it’s much more boring, is deliberate practice. I think.)

Today, I just wanted to share a really great, barely edited podcast in which Freakonomics host Stephen Dubner talks to Malcolm Gladwell. Like I said, the episode before it was ‘meatier,’ if this is a topic that’s interesting to you, but I just really enjoyed the feeling of listening to two well-informed people talk about something I found interesting.

Go have a listen.