As always, the short version:
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In this email: a note about drugs, a few big ways I’ve changed my mind, and some thoughts on cryptocurrency investing. The first link in the final section, “Quiet website changes,” is one of the most important things I’ve written in my life. It’s the only thing I’m going to link to in this short version up top: A Letter to My Unborn Daughters, or: Why American Women Aren’t Leading Anymore .
I wanted to get this out sooner rather than later to inform you of the security news.
At the end, a request: what advice do you have for me?
Do more drugs!
Did you know: many west-coast executives and leaders are commonly micro-dosing with LSD! Were this legal (and more common), I might be open to trying it. I think our east coast executives and leaders prefer hard alcohol, crack cocaine, and other less-hippy drugs, but I’m not entirely sure. They should learn from the west coast.
But after correcting a minor lithium deficiency? I have no interest. I already think lithium may exist in foods like coffee and tea. Plus, it probably exists in certain drugs anyway, including alcoholic beverages. I still drink coffee and tea on occasion, but I prefer to supplement with lithium at 1mg/day to avoid risking a deficiency and help avoid long term depression, agression, rage, and worse. (Don’t let me get angry at you though. Bad things could happen.) Ideally, within 10 years, lithium’s RDA will be accepted by the FDA and we’ll begin to learn what foods contain certain types and quantities.
Until that decade, I’m supplementing.
If you’re under 40 years old, 1mg/day of lithium orotate is probably enough. I use this. If you’re over 50 or 60, you may want to double or triple that. As always, consult a doctor before making any such changes as an independent adult to your life. (Just joking. Tell your doctor about the /lithium page instead.)
I’ve changed my mind:
I’ve recently changed my mind on two things: water filtration and two electronic security issues.
1) Water filtration. Wow.
In short: I used to drink all water from the Pur water filter we own, but now I’m cycling usage on-and-off for a week or a month at once.
After deciding with The Sweet Home’s article on water filters, I own a PUR 11-Cup Classic water filter. Our water in the Tri-State area is very good, but in the past few decades, as prescription drug use increases, there are now trace levels of prescription drugs in water supplies. So it’s not just lead and heavy metals you’re filtering out, it’s also grandma’s medications in our environment. Yikes. So I use a water filter.
But wait, isn’t lithium as a trace mineral a huge focus of my website? Yes, yes it is. So I started looking at the periodic table and our biological needs across a dozen trace minerals, including vanadium, boron, and more. As it turns out, a water filter may also filter out important trace minerals which are bound to important elements like those. I’ve supplemented in the past with a trace minerals blend with no noted effects, good or bad. So, unless you supplement with a trace minerals blend, it’s possible that high-quality water filtration is *removing* certain necessary trace- or ultra-trace minerals. After just one day drinking “unfiltered” water again, I noticed a positive effect in my private life. Correlation, but strong enough (backed by chemistry and biology), and from now on, I’ll probably cycle on-and-off with the water filter usage: a month on, and a month off. Or a week or so. Something like that.
2) Electronic security
I stay up to date with electronic security developments by reading GRC Security Now!’s podcast show notes (link), and sometimes reading relevant research. This year, I’ve changed my mind on 2 security practices:
- A) An anti-virus or anti-malware program might actually be hurting your electronic security. Keeping your operating system (mobile, tablet, PC, whatever) up-to-date with all recommended updates AND ensuring your browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.) is up to date is much more important than having such programs installed. These programs might actually decrease the security of your system, because they interfere with the OS or browser manufacturer’s code from doing its job as it’s designed to.
- B) I’ve changed my mind about two-factor authentication (TFA) using SMS text messages. If you’re highly active in the technical community you may already know about this, but I didn’t, so I’m sharing it with you all.
- Many American cell phone numbers (no matter your network) can easily be “ported” to a foreign, internet-based number in any other country in the world. Attackers would do this with simple social engineering hacks, like a few pieces of information about you (mother’s maiden name, social, etc.) while calling your cell phone provider claiming to be you and having forgotten your passwords. Although data may be secure (depending on the type of data), american cellular networks are extraordinarily insecure. (Google Authenticator, for example, is a good form of two-factor authentication.) You already knew that calls and text messages were extremely insecure and not to discuss sensitive information that way. Now you also know: you should never use your phone number as a method of authentication for any important account (email, twitter, banks, etc.). We must assume someone could steal our phone *number* as easily as they could look into our mailbox. Calling your cellular provider and asking them to block “porting” from your phone number is a good start, but I’d still recommend against using typical two-factor SMS.
- (See episode 612 page 6 of the pdf shownotes at https://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm for their summary, or click here for Kraken’s post. )
- Here’s a blog post from Coinbase, a bank-like cryptocurrency “vault” (but NOT FDIC insured) on the topic recently recommending using Google Authenticator but NOT SMS authentication. They state they’re going to disable typical SMS authentication later this summer.
- As the kraken article stated and is becoming more and more clear online: owning cryptocurrency greatly increases your risk of being a digital target for hacking and theft.
Another security tip:
- Subtitles might be a vector for attacks like hacking or malware. Update any program or player you use to play movies with subtitles (even if you never turn the subtitles on)! See GRC’s episode 14 notes, page 3.
Thoughts on cryptocurrency “investing”:
In 2013 I lost about $1,000 (present value $10,000) to a bitcoin scam website. Longer story made shorter: a bitcoin website was very pretty and had NYT and WSJ and other reputable “stamps” of approval, so I went for it. Within a short while I wanted to sell a significant portion of that money, but (during the first year of graduate school) repeated attempts to solve a seemingly technical issue weren’t being resolved. The red flag grew and grew until I realized I’d been scammed. Lesson learned: Know the domain you’re using (ie www.microsoft.com versus ww2.micr0soft.com ), do your homework, and ask other humans! Most importantly: never invest money you can’t lose.
So even though I’ve continued to watch TED talks, read articles, and talk to other humans about cryptocurrency between 2013-2017, I’ve remained resistant for the past six months before diving in recently.
But in the past month or so, bitcoin has gone from $1,000 to nearly $3,000 and Ethereum (ETH) from $8 to over $250.
I know someone “mines” (creates) a currency using a computer, and hopefully makes significant money in the long term. It’s fascinating to think about: “mining” uses photons from the sun (through fossil fuels or solar, it doesn’t matter) to produce electricity, to create a cryptocurrency which can then be exchanged for actual food or products. That’s mind-blowing.
This week I listened to my only podcast, so far, of my 2017 “media fast”: Tim Ferriss’ interview with Nick Szabo (here) and Naval Ravikant regarding cryptocurrencies. I wanted to see if it’d change my mind, and it didn’t. (Indeed, the episode has probably convinced more investors and fans of Tim Ferriss look into cryptocurrencies, and as more money flows in, prices will rise. Of course, picking which cryptocurrency to own is the difficult choice. Your money might very well dissapear if you choose unwisely.)
Several large governments have backed certain cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. What happens if tomorrow, on a whim, President Trump decides that the U.S. goverment is going full force into backing a cryptocurrency like bitcoin? If I had money to invest (read: completely lose), I’d be thinking about it. There are dozens of currencies, so which might the government back, and when? Good luck figuring that out. I’m diversifying a small amount across a few currencies. As always: never invest money you can’t lose, and remember that past performance is perfectly indicative of future results (sarcasm). You might “invest” into three cryptocurrencies you think are good options, a few world governments back another option, and the people who do this for their careers (investors in NYC, London, and other financial cities) would sell all their coins faster than you would read about it in the news, driving the price down to nothing.
Still, if you have money to lose, cryptocurrencies may well be worth looking into.
Quiet website changes:
- If/when I have daughters, this is the letter I’ll share with them: A Letter to My Unborn Daughters, or: Why American Women Aren’t Leading Anymore. I’m super proud of this, as I’ve been trying to write it for years. But I couldn’t express myself in a way like this until I was happily in love, engaged, and looking forward to starting a family. If it offends you or if I need to change it, please let me know sooner rather than later.
- My first satire, a version, I suppose, of soylent green: A 5 Step-Plan for the Financial Future of The United States, or: Why Killing All the Baby Boomers Just Might Save Us [satire]
- Added a /headaches page in order “to provide an educated opinion on headaches, focusing on the mild headache I experienced when I “superloaded” with /lithium as a nutrient”
- The /lithium page now includes sections on suicide, pregnancy, and I’ll keep updating it over the next few months. Also, I’ve known this for a few months (I think, actually, population-level lithium deficiencies are slowly creeping us closer and closer to WW3.), but I wasn’t comfortable saying it on the website: the nutrient has now become a matter of national security. I could present this idea in a convincing presentation, if anyone in the Tri-State area would be interested in a <20 minute speech with slideshow. It also has the FDA’s response when I contacted them regarding the nutrient. Sad.
- In the coming weeks, the /pills page will include an important “Where do I start?” section, with strategies for if you only have a few dollars, and will be cleaned up a lot. I hope to add graphics and format the content differently later this year. Contact me if you want to pitch in with thoughts, advice, graphics, or something else.
- There’s a /finances page, just in case people think I’m getting rich by being a bum on a computer. (I’m close to earning my first $1, but still haven’t hit that milestone. This month, I think.)
- The /health page has an “infographic” of sorts outlining why air is more important than food, and why supplements are important but also less so than other health factors. It’s quite visually attractive, if I may be so humble.
How you can help:
- Keep sharing.
- If you aren’t comfortable sharing the website or this email, what can I do to improve it so that you’ll be proud enough to share?
- What would you like to see more or less of in these emails?
- Any important science or news I need to know about?
- Most importantly, what advice do you have for me?
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