gaining weight by yawning

In my last post, I made a statement, “I’ve found that if you wait a few minutes, the act of waking up seems to add grams of weight as you breath in the morning air and absorb it.”

Given the sharp and unforgiving nature of my friends (good for them!), this was immediately questioned.

So, I did a bit of math.

The short outcome is that yes, you do gain more than 2.5 grams of weight by breathing in the morning.

the math:

oxygen saturation in blood is about 90% when asleep, 95-100% (let’s say 97.5%) when awake.

I have about 5 litres of blood.

35% of blood is haemoglobin, and there is about .1551 moles of haemoglobin per litre.
that’s 1.75 litres of haemoglobin (5*.35).
1.75*.1551 is about .27 moles of haemoglobin.

every molecule of haemoglobin can bind to 4 O2 molecules.
That’s 8 atoms of Oxygen

so if blood was 100% saturated, it would contain 2.16 moles of oxygen (8*.27).
that’s 34.56 grams of oxygen.

97.5% of 34.56g is 33.7g of oxygen in the blood when awake
90% of 34.56g is 31.1g of oxygen in the blood when asleep

So… you wake up, you weight your self, you yawn a few times (oxygenating the blood), and you gain more than 2.5g of weight.

how I lost 10kg in 6 months with little effort

I’ve been asked this a few times recently now, so I thought I’d write a short explanation of how I did it.


First off, exercise doesn’t work. You can do press-ups and sit-ups and all the running in the world, and every gram that you lose through your panting and sweating will be regained as soon as you stop to eat, because exercise makes you hungry.

To understand how the body loses weight, you should do a little experiment. Measure your weight just before you sleep at night, then measure again in the morning as soon as you wake up. If you’re overweight like me, you’ll probably lose about 500g. Half a kilogram. (1.1 pounds, for those of you living in a backwards country.)

People lose weight through expiration. You literally breath the weight off you. You don’t poo it out, you don’t sweat it off. In a way, you do piss it out, but mostly you lose weight by breathing.

When fat is used to generate energy, it is broken apart into carbon dioxide and water. 84% of the fat’s weight is expelled through the lungs (the reason you lose weight at night), and 16% is lost through urine.

For the first few months of the year, I followed a pretty simple diet – during the week, have whatever you want for lunch and breakfast, don’t have dinner, and if you’re peckish later in the evening, have some popcorn. For drinks, avoid anything which has lots of calories. I drank a lot of water, and a lot of Coke Zero. On the weekend, eat whatever you feel like.

Also, you must religiously record your weight as soon as you wake up. As soon as. I’ve found that if you wait a few minutes, the act of waking up seems to add grams of weight as you breath in the morning air and absorb it.

Drink a lot of water. I’ve seen recommendations that say that every male should drink 3.7 litres of water a day. Every female, 3.2 litres. Those are crazy numbers. But try to anyway.

Chill the water before drinking. When your body absorbs water, it must be raised to body temperature (37°C). The definition of calorie is “the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1°C”, so to raise 3.7 litres of water from just over freezing to body temperature burns up 136900 calories (or 137kcal).

The standard adult daily calorie intake is 2000kcal.

If you eat normal food, you don’t know how many calories you are consuming. But if you eat a future food such as Jimmy Joy, Huel, Jake, Soylent or any of the other similar all-in-ones that are available, then you know /exactly/ how much you are consuming.

For the last month, I have consumed about 1000kcal of Jimmy Joy per day, popcorn at night to soothe the savage beast, and only the occasional snack in between when I can’t occupy myself with something distracting. My weight has dropped on average about 100g per day because of that.

I said that exercise will not make you lose weight, but I find that a little exercise is enough to get you breathing hard enough that you will lose some weight through breathing (and it also measurably helps your chance of surviving the next few years). Too much, and you’ll be tempted to engorge yourself afterwards, but if you go for a brisk walk (I walk about 1.5 hours every day to/from work), that should be enough. by “brisk”, I mean you should exert a little effort.

If you have any other tips that are backed up by science (don’t talk to me about avocados…), please mention them below.

Is the Universe made of math?

Yesterday, I was looking through the Android playstore, looking for a casual game to play while waiting for sleep.

image: is nature fractal?

One of the games I looked at was called something like “Solar System Creator”. A comment in it struck me. It said something like “This would be so much better if the math was more realistic”.

I presume the author meant how planets (particularly Mercury) follow Einsteinian gravity instead of Newtonian, but it there was a point in there that I think the author missed.

Before Newton figured out his gravitation formulas, people believed that everything fell to their “natural level” at a constant speed. Newton then showed that things are attracted to each other at speeds relating to their mass and the distance between them. Einstein went further and showed that the mass of objects affected the space surrounding the objects, which in turn affected the distance between things.

As each explanation of gravity got more realistic, the mathematical formulas became more sophisticated, but also much more accurate.

One thing can be said about math that cannot be said about anything else I can think of – it is absolute. If a formula says “this is so”, then you can be very sure that “this is so”. Math is either correct, or you’ve made a mistake.

Physics has math at its core. In fact, you could say that all of physics, and all of science, really, is a way to figure out what are the mathematics behind reality. Each leap in understanding in physics is simply a formula which more accurately models reality.

Based on this, there is an inevitable conclusion – that the universe is mathematical, and that we simply don’t know all the rules yet.

At the moment, there is a conflict between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. In the future, this will be resolved (the Grand Unified Theorem). But will we then know all the mathematics that rules the universe?

We can’t say. Science is done by checking the math, figuring out if reality doesn’t quite match what the math says, and then refining the math model you’re making. Even if the math matches what we see exactly, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t yet another substrate hidden under it all. General Relativity is more accurate than Classical Mechanics, whether you know about Mercury’s motion (etc) or not. It is possible that there is something that is yet more accurate than the Grand Unified Theorem.

Either way, it can’t be escaped that even if people don’t admit it out loud, the universe is made of math.

I mean that quite literally.

I was reading a blog recently that I thought had a catchy name – “selfaware patterns“. Both words in there deserve to be examined closely.

When we create artificial intelligence in computers, we mostly use a model called an “artificial neural network“. This is a pattern of inputs and weights formed into a lattice. When data is fed into the inputs, math happens (I’d like to also say “magic happens”), and the outputs give us values that depend on the layout of the network. We can copy the lattice from one computer to another, or save it and revive it later. This “pattern” of neural network could be considered to be a specific identity at a specific time.

“Self-aware” is a word we’ve been struggling with for centuries – why are we conscious? What does it really mean? In philosophy, there is a difference between consciousness and self-awareness, but the common understanding is that they mean the same thing. By examining myself, I find that the “I” that is conscious is only part of my brain. I’m not aware of all the muscle movements that go into typing on this laptop, for example, but I am aware of the thoughts that lead them.

A huge philosophical problem is the question of how do we know that other people are self-aware? You could ask them, and they could say “Yes, I am conscious”, but how do you know that they are not programmed to do so?

Non-player characters in computer games are getting more and more sophisticated, and will soon be indistinguishable from “real” people, in that they believe their world is real, they interact with each other, and they act semi-randomly. Just like real people. What if one of them was to one day say “I think I’m real”? Can you say that this NPC is conscious and self-aware? Can you say for a fact that it is not?

Self-awareness is an every-day example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. If someone says “I am self-aware”, you cannot be sure that they are wrong.

Some day very soon, we will have artificially intelligent “conscious patterns”, and soon after, “self-aware patterns”, in our computers, and we won’t think the idea is strange.

But the idea opens us up to another one – what if we, ourselves, are self-aware patterns?

If the entire universe is mathematical, then we are also mathematical. We are patterns. And yet we are also conscious. This means that our very identities can be encoded as mathematical values. Inputs and weights.

Remember what I said about neural networks being patterns that can be copied to other computers or saved and revived at later times.

If this is indeed a mathematical universe, then it is possible that there are an infinite number of other mathematical universes, each as “real” as this. And there may be infinite copies of your own “unique” identity, living out a life in another universe, totally unaware of this one.

What happens if you die here but don’t die there?

Well, imagine it from the point of view of a computer game character that you “save” every now and then, and if something disastrous happens, you “restore” from the last save point. This is pretty much the same as what we’re saying here.

In the computer game scenario, you stop considering the dead version of the character – as far as you are concerned, the living version in the currently active game is the only “real” one. The fact that this version was restored from a saved copy doesn’t make it any less real, and in fact, the character itself is not “aware” that it is a copy.

If you were to die suddenly in this universe, and there are infinite other universes, there will be at least one where you survive. The analogy is obvious – by surviving in that universe, you survive. As simple as that.

Is the universe made of math? You’d better hope it is! Because a mathematical universe could literally save your life some day.

Calorie Restriction and Jimmy Joy

Calorie restriction is a method of increasing longevity by reducing calorie intake by about 20%. It’s been studied in various animal species since the 1930s and shown consistently to work, even if not always in the same way or to the same degree.

Recent studies in mice showed that calorie restriction increases longevity by about 42%, but also pushes health-destroying diseases back until later in their lives. In a study by Stephen Spindler, it was showed that tumours were much reduced in mice that had reduced calorie diets, vs those with normal diets.

Calorie restriction does not mean simply reducing the food you eat. If you do that, you are also reducing the percentage of micro-nutrients that you eat.

In my case, for example, I’ve been eating nothing but Jimmy Joy for the last month as an experiment to see what it did for me. I discovered that it was difficult to eat a full day’s worth, and that if you don’t eat a full day’s worth, you are losing out on nutrients.

Jimmy Joy (old name: Joylent) is a “future food” that is carefully designed to have exactly 2100 calories in a one day sample, and as close as possible to 100% of the recommended daily recommended values of all the micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc). Those are the things that you need to eat every day, but are not mentioned on ingredient labels…

I was overweight by almost 20kg at the beginning of the year, and have been reducing that in various ways since then. I found that moving onto Jimmy Joy made an amazing immediate change, causing my weight loss to increase hugely (20g average per day to 100g average per day).

This is because Jimmy Joy is very filling. If you mix it at the ratios that they recommend, there appears to be a “foaming” effect where the food feels like it’s filling you up even with just the smallest amount. The encourages you to eat less.

While this might have a desired effect on weight, it has some side-effects – I’m tired, weak, sometimes less mentally sharp than I would like, and I have a lowered libido.

This is because the food is designed to give you exactly 100% of what you need. If you eat less, then you are getting less than 100% of what you need.

While eating less calories is a desired thing, consuming less micro-nutrients is not.

This highlights the problem, but what is the solution?

Going back to eating “normal” food is not a solution. My diet was nowhere near optimal before this.

Doctors and other health-professionals recommend that you “plan carefully” when creating your diet, which is a vague way of saying “we don’t have a plan either”. When they say you should have plenty of variety in your diet, they are basically saying “if you eat lots of stuff, you will give yourself the right nutrients by accident”, which is yet another way of saying “we don’t have a plan.”

I can see two solutions to this:
1: that Jimmy Joy (or a similar food supplier) comes out with a very-low-calorie variant that is still 100% nutrient-full, which you can then mix with your normal day-to-day Jimmy Joy to get the right calories you’re looking for.
2: that I write a nutrient calculator program that can design recipes itself based on exact requirements

I have no control over Jimmy Joy’s choices, and I’m sure they’re happy enough with the money they’re making on their standard meals, so they’re unlikely to start accepting amendment requests from random nobodies.

So, I started building my own service to provide recipe plans.

So far, the plan is able to generate mixes of ingredients for single days that are designed to provide you with 100% nutrition, and your own requested number of calories.

I’m working now on making multi-day plans to allow overestimates or underestimates of ingredients to be balanced out over days. This way if you have too much iron today (for example), then tomorrow, your plan will include less iron.

I have a number of far-future plans for this.

One is that I can use this kind of program to generate personalised meal-plans for people that are trying to diet but are unsure that they are doing it right (that would be everyone, right?).

Another is that I can use this to generate one-day meal packets similar to how Jimmy Joy, Soylent, Huel, Jake, etc do, but again, personalised.

Tomorrow, I start eating based on my own plan. If I do this right, then I will soon be back to my usual alert self, but will also still be losing weight, as my own plan will have reduced calories in it.

maximum lifespan of a human

Last year (October 2016), a number of scientists pronounced that humans can not live longer than 115 years old.

This, despite the fact that a French woman, Jeanne Calment, died aged 122.

The problem arose because these scientists based their pronouncement on existing data, not factoring in the fact that we have never in the history of medicine applied ourselves to solving aging itself, but rather to solving the health issues that arise as side effects of aging.

This is similar in a way to stating that the highest point a person could ever touch on a wall is about 2.5 meters above ground, totally ignoring that we can invent stools or ladders.

Aging is only recently being recognised as a disease, and the fundamental causes of it are still being identified.

One reason we have an apparent limit on longevity is that genes have a “half-life” of sorts, where they can only divide a certain maximum number of times before they refuse to divide anymore. This limit is called the “Hayflick limit” after the person who noticed it.

The reason that genes won’t divide forever is that the ends of them, the telomeres, get shorter each time a division happens, and eventually they are so short that another division might cause a loss of functional code, so the cells notice this and refuse to divide anymore, going into senescence mode.

There are two treatments which can solve this issue.

Firstly, there is a treatment which has been demonstrated to lengthen the telomeres. If this treatment is repeated each ten-fifteen years, the telomeres should stay long indefinitely.

Second, you can kill the already-senescent cells by blocking the FOXO4 protein using a FOXO4-DRI (a FOXO4 peptide whose amino acid sequence has been reversed). This allows the senescent cells to die off, letting the body replace them with fresher cells.

And to help the DNA replicate more correctly, probably reducing the frequency that telomere treatment would be needed, you can increase the NAD+ in your cells by using NMN supplements.

People in the past never had access to those treatments, so it is understandable that there was an apparent limit to lifespan, but there really is no excuse – a scientist should never make an absolute claim like that which can so easily be shown to be false.

image source

Mathematical Universe

For the last few hundred years, we have been able to gradually pin down exactly how everything in the universe works, right down to a very small group of equations.

What that means is that everything in the universe can be predicted using math (either exactly, or statistically).

Philosophically, there is no difference at all between a mathematical description of you observing the universe, and the real you observing the universe. How could you tell which is “real”, when everything that happens in “reality” can be predicted by just doing the math? Is there a difference between a mathematical universe and a “real” universe?

In a way, this means that we are all like NPCs (non-player characters) in a computer game, all of us convinced that we are real and that the world we inhabit is real, when in fact, the entire game and ourselves are being simulated in a universe-encompassing machine.

In reality’s case, what is this universe-encompassing machine? Well, math can be worked out on a computer, on paper, or in your head, and if done correctly, it will always come up with the same answers. Math is objective – it doesn’t rely on a medium. It doesn’t need the paper in order to be correct – it just is.

Consider the sequence (1, 2, 3, 4, …) for example – the next number is 5, no matter whether we compute it or not.

Even incredibly complex equations obey the same objective law – if you consider an equation that predicts the position of every particle in the universe in one second – this equation will have an answer whether it is calculated or not.

All equations exist in potential. This means that the equation “x+y-z” has just as much reality as the sequence “1, 2, 3, 4, …”, and therefore the answers to those equations also all exist in potential.

This means that every possible universe exists as a mathematical potential, and because there is no discernible difference between “reality” and a simulated universe (for people inside those universes), it means that every single universe, that you can describe mathematically, exists.

And by extension, every universe in which you survive the present and the near and far futures, also exists.

non-invasive deep-brain stimulation

Deep-brain stimulation is used in a number of therapies, for diseases such as Parkinson’s, major depression, OCD, dystonia. It is also used to lessen chronic pain and to help regulate Essential tremors.

This involves drilling a 1.4cm hole in the head, then inserting electrodes into the brain into the affected part.

Obviously, there are risks involved in this.

A team at MIT has come up with a method to provide stimulation at any desired part of the brain using electrodes that are placed on the scalp instead of embedded within the brain. No surgery required.

How it works is that the electrodes, placed on either side of the head, give out waves of electricity. The waves interfere with each other like two waves meeting in a pond, cancelling each other out except for in specific points where the waves are intensified instead.


An advantage to this method is that the intersection points can be “steered” by adjusting the waves.

My opinion: this method should make a lot of surgeries unnecessary, and will make the therapies for those disease so simple that it might eventually be possible to simple buy an off-the-shelf electrode cap and run some open source software to fix your issues.

Methuselah Mouse

Sounds like a superhero name, right?

In 2003, David Gobel provided seed capital for a prize (the Methuselah Mouse Prize, or Mprize) to be awarded to anyone that could demonstrate impressive improvements in longevity in mice.

The first Methuselah Mouse prize ever awarded was to Dr. Andrzej Bartke of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He altered a gene which controlled a mouse’s response to growth hormone, which led to reduced levels of insulin and glucose in the blood. The change protected the mouse’s DNA from age-related decay, which led to the mouse living to the grand old age of 1819 days. In human terms, that’s more than 150 years old. The mouse wasn’t called Methuselah, but GHR-KO 11C. Not quite as easy to pronounce (or remember!).

The first rejuvenation award was given in 2004 to Stephen Spindler for his work on caloric restriction, which extended life in mice by 15%.

The first Lifespan Achievement award was given to Dr. Zelton Dave Sharp in 2009 for his extension of lifespans in mice that are already aged, using rapamycin, which inhibits mTor pathways leading to life extension in yeast, fruitflies and nematodes. It wasn’t known if it would affect mammals. It turns it, it does – 14% extension for females, 9% for males.

The reason that the prize concentrates on mice, and not just any old species, is that mice are well-studied throughout medical history, and the biology in mice is very similar to that of humans, so anything that affects mice can have a comparable effect in humans.

is aspartame safe

Someone tried very hard to convince me that aspartame, an artificial sweetener, is bad for you. The only paper that came close was this one which concludes that there is a significant risk of rats developing leukemia if they consume 2000ppm of aspartame daily.

However, if you do the math, the sheer amount of aspartame needed is incredible.

To show my point, I calculated how many cans of Coke Zero you’d need to consume per day in order to develop leukemia from the aspartame content.

9834.5 cans of Coke Zero.

If you drank 9834.5 cans of Coke Zero a day, you would be more likely to die of …well, anything, before the aspartame affected you.

How I calculate it:

The chance of developing a malignant tumour is significant at a level of 2000ppm in rats.

2000ppm = 2000mg per kg.

To convert to human dosage, you multiply the value by the NOAEL value for the drug and animal. That’s 4000.

So in humans, a dosage of 8000mg (8g) per kg of body weight is dangerous.

I weigh 71.3kg, so I shouldn’t consume more than 570400mg (570.4g) of aspartame a day.

There are 58mg of Aspartame in 1 can of Coke Zero.

570.4g/58mg is 9834.5 cans of Coke Zero.

water temperature and weight loss

As part of my effort to reach the optimal weight for my height (according to BMI and my SBSI calculator), I’ve been thinking about at all sorts of things.

I learned this morning that you can burn calories simply by drinking water. After thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense.

I figured out you can burn up to 137kcal just by chilling your drinking water to just over freezing.

The human body has a maintained internal temperature of 37°C. When you drink water, the water cools the body down, so the body reacts by heating back up (thermogenesis) so it can remain at 37°C, which involves burning calories.

So how many calories are burned? That depends on the amount and temperature of the water you drink.

The formula to determine the calories used is actually very easy, because the definition of a calorie is “the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1°C”. Note that “calorie” in this case is 1/1000th of a kcal, which is what people usually call a calorie. Yeah, humans, confusing things aren’t they. Personally, I use kcal as the main measure, and if I say “calorie”, I mean “one thousandth of a kilo-calorie”.

Assuming that tap water is at room temperature (about 20°C), it would therefore take 17 calories per mililitre (1g of water equals 1ml of water) to heat it to body temperature, or 17kcal per litre.

So if you drink a standard-sized glass of water (240ml), this will burn 4080 calories (240ml*17°C), or about 4kcal.

To double the amount of calories burned, cool the water to just above freezing. This way a glass of water will burn 9kcal (.240l*37°C = 8.88kcal).

The recommended daily intake of water is 3.7 litres for a male, or 2.7 litres for a female.

So, it is possible to burn 137kcal per day (3.7*37°C = 136.9kcal) just by chilling all of your water.