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  • Doug Belshaw 6:50 am on January 27, 2020 Permalink
    Tags: Don Knuth, , Tim Ferriss, Umberto Eco   

    The joys of email 

    In Tim Ferriss‘ most recent post he quotes Don Knuth who, in 1990, stated:

    “Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration. I try to learn certain areas of computer science exhaustively; then I try to digest that knowledge into a form that is accessible to people who don’t have time for such study.”

    Don Knuth

    Knuth quotes Umberto Eco, who told the New Yorker (presumably before 1990):

    “I don’t even have an e-mail address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.”

    Umberto Eco

    There are many reasons you wouldn’t be able to get away without an email address in this day and age. But what’s the equivalent of something that it’s current possible to opt-out of, that is a time-suck? Social media? Instant messaging apps?

  • Doug Belshaw 12:23 pm on July 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , migraines, Tim Ferriss   


    I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans: the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. As with all of his books, I start of skeptical about its value, and then learn a lot that I can apply to my own life.

    In one bit I was reading, he mentions ‘hyponatremia’ which is defined by Wikipedia in the following way:

    Hyponatremia is a low sodium level in the blood. It is generally defined as a sodium concentration of less than 135 mmol/L (135 mEq/L), with severe hyponatremia being below 120 mEql/L. Symptoms can be absent, mild or severe. Mild symptoms include a decreased ability to think, headaches, nausea, and poor balance. Severe symptoms include confusion, seizures, and coma.

    In other words, if you drink too much water, you dilute your salt levels.

    I’m keen to avoid migraine triggers, and had assumed that one of these was dehydration. As a result, I always have a bottle of water with me, and drink constantly throughout the day. Despite this (so I thought) I’d get headaches and sometimes migraines.

    In retrospect, I think that I perhaps occasionally get into a state of hyponatremia. Over the last few days, therefore, and as Ferriss recommends, I’ve been adding a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar to my water bottle during and after exercise. It doesn’t taste great, to be honest, but so far seems to be having the desired effect.

    Of course, this is what ‘isotonic’ sports drinks do. Except they jack up the sugar so you can’t taste the salt.

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