Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology, Johnjoe McFadden, 2015

Life on the Edge:
The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology, Johnjoe McFadden

Dig deeper and you will always find quantum mechanics lurking at the heart of our familiar reality.”

Remember this.

This is probably the most intellectually challenging book I’ve ever read, but it was worth it, and I’m as excited to review it – intellectually – as I was while reading it in parts. I felt as engaged as when I read The Moral Animal before entering the military. Perhaps more surprisingly, I felt some connection to my childhood brain: a child that used the word “All” to describe something greater than his parentally-indoctrinated concept of God; a child that found joy in thinking; a child that felt that there must be physical ripples from every action to every other point in the universe. No other book has made me feel like this before…so the question is, of course, “What do I do about it?”

I am thirty-one. If I pursued a Ph.D., I would likely not complete it until around forty. Granted, I could aim high and apply to great schools; attempt to earn money before and on the side, start a family while earning the degree; and it’s helpful to remember that chronological age means nothing. Still, these thoughts say nothing in response to the pressing question, “Why the hell get a Ph.D.?



I’ve come across the two-slit experiment perhaps ten times in my life, but I’ve never understood it so well. Lesson learned: books beat YouTube videos watched only once! The authors dedicated a substantial portion of a chapter to the experiment, and it’s worth reviewing for an excellent scientific lesson, which “according to Richard Feynman, “has in it the heart of quantum mechanics.””

“Asking what is really going on between observations is like asking whether your fridge light is on before you open the fridge door: you can never know because as soon as you peek you change the system.”

Two or three times, the authors call “bullshit” on quantum claims about telepathy or anything related.

However, in their final chapter they also mention that when the chaos of the classical world overwhelms the ability of cells and organisms to maintain this “link” to the quantum world, this might be a good way to look at or even define death. I think that’s as good a theory (or explanation) as I’ve ever heard elsewhere!

I still do not believe I truly understand oxidation. How I have a master’s and have read a dozen books in these areas is a testament to how ignorance only grows faster than does knowledge! To understand oxidation, the photosynthetic capture of exitons, and other details, this report is worth reviewing and revising in the future.

They bring up Feynman’s quote, “What I cannot create, I do not understand” several times. As such, they note, we haven’t made – and thus do not understand! – the following: a cell, an enzyme, or even a simple self-replicator. What more profound pillars of biology are there? We really have no clue about biology, and this field is going to change profoundly in the next century. We certainly understand basic physics and chemistry more than biology, but sadly, this likely means we also understand some of the “social” sciences more than biology, as well! Unbelievable, but likely true!



[Note: In the interests of not over-quoting or citing the text in this web post, I’ve eliminated the bulk of my highlights from the book here.]

To start, why is quantum anything important?

  • “In fact, it has been estimated that over one-third of the gross domestic product of the developed world depends on applications that would simply not exist without our understanding of the mechanics of the quantum world.”

  • “Still, the quantum world appears very strange to us and it is often claimed that this strangeness is a symptom of a fundamental split between the world we see around us and its quantum underpinnings. But in reality there is only a single set of laws that govern the way the world behaves: quantum laws.*8 The familiar statistical laws and Newtonian laws are, ultimately, quantum laws that have been filtered through a decoherence lens that screens out the weird stuff (which is why quantum phenomena appear weird to us). Dig deeper and you will always find quantum mechanics lurking at the heart of our familiar reality.”


Okay, but why, specifically, is quantum biology relevant?

(Why do we have to look to the quantum world for biological explanations, rather than simply using classical physics? Of course quantum mechanics underlies all physical processes, but can’t we ignore these strange and counter-intuitive effects at the biological level?)

  • “So isn’t everything, including us and other living creatures, just physics when you really get down to the fundamentals? This is indeed the argument of many scientists who accept that quantum mechanics must, at a deep level, be involved in biology; but they insist that its role is trivial. What they mean by this is that since the rules of quantum mechanics govern the behavior of atoms, and biology ultimately involves the interaction of atoms, then the rules of the quantum world must also operate at the tiniest scales within biology—but only at those scales, with the result that they will have little or no effect on the scaled-up processes important to life.”

  • “So the claim that delicately arranged quantum entangled states could survive in the warm and complex interior of living cells was thought by many to be an outlandish idea, verging on madness.”

  • “Much of the skepticism Schrödinger’s claim attracted at the time was rooted in the general belief that delicate quantum states couldn’t possibly survive in the warm, wet and busy molecular environments inside living organisms.”


Why, then, do big objects do not have quantum properties?

  • “This is why big objects, such as footballs, do not quantum tunnel: they are made up of trillions of atoms that cannot behave in a coordinated coherent wave-like fashion.”

  • “The answer on one level is very simple: the bigger and more massive a body is, the smaller will its wave-like nature be, and something the size and mass of a human, or indeed anything large enough to be visible with the naked eye, will have a quantum wavelength so tiny as to have no measurable effect. But more deeply, you can think of each atom in your body as being observed, or measured, by all the other atoms around it, so that any delicate quantum properties it might have are very quickly destroyed.


What areas of quantum biology are described?

  • Enzymes.
    • Essentially, quantum properties allow enzymes to perform reactions much faster than classical physics would predict. And as the authors note, since “About one-third of all enzyme reactions involve moving a hydrogen atom from one place to another,”(if this is true), quantum mechanics plays an enormously important role in all of biology, from the ground up!
  • Respiration and the electron chain:
    • Human systems to capture light are notoriously inefficient…yet plants successfully capture nearby 100% of the energy that hits their chlorophyll to the reaction center. How do they do this? Classical physics can’t explain it, a random walk would be terribly inefficient. They are capturing the wave-based nature of light, allowing the exitons to travel as a quantum wave, permitting nearly perfect efficiency of those that reach the reaction center! Amazing:
      • “but the real action of photosynthesis takes place in the reaction center itself. Here the fragile energy of excitons is converted into the stable chemical energy of the electron carrier molecule that plants or microbes use to do lots of useful work, like building more plants and microbes.

      • “Photosystems, enzymes, respiratory chains and genes are structured right down to the position of individual particles, and their quantum motions do indeed make a difference to the respiration that keeps us alive, the enzymes that build our bodies or the photosynthesis that makes nearly all the biomass on our planet.”

    • Navigation by magnetic compasses:
      • I agree with their decision to put this topic, with which they opened, in the middle of the book, as we needed to be convinced first about the quantum world. Then, the most substantial argument certainly belongs here. A block of granite over on its edge is a good analogy for how the ridiculously sensitive (and previously-thought-to-be-of-insignificant-importance) fast triplet reaction can influence the chemical products created in these reactions, their molecules created, and how ultimately the magnetic field could have an influence on the behavior of a bird (or other organism).
        • magnetoreception, particularly in robins, has become the poster child of quantum biology.”

      • (6) Smell:
        • Here the authors describe the lock-in-key, conventional model, easy for anyone with introductory biological knowledge to understand; and also the various quantum models. It’s convincing that quantum mechanics is involved in smell reception, but they end by noting that the best theory is likely a combinatory model: both the physical shape of molecules/receptors, and the vibrations of odors likely play a role.
      • (7) Quantum genes:
        • This was a good chapter, but it took some time for me to accept, especially because they’re claiming something I’ve studied so much – MCB, Genetics, Central Dogma, etc. – is so intimately tied to the quantum world. But when I now think about how many decades ago these ideas were proposed, well… I am incredibly disappointed in my education for not bringing up these ideas to me! It makes sense in hindsight: since a quantum measurement is made of the hydrogen bonds (protons, acting quantum mechanically), each time a section of DNA is “read,” as it were, there is a chance the DNA will revert to its tautomeric form, causing a mutation. This chance is small of course, but it exists, and more importantly (surprise!), this makes mutations more likely in overly-expressed genes!
        • (Here’s basically the base argument for periodically eating a ketogenic diet to prevent cancer! Overall, reading equally from diverse genes will minimize chances of cancer…)
      • (8) Consciousness:
        • This was an unimpressive chapter for me, gives an explanation of the “binding problem”, and discusses how the brain’s EM field may be equally important. I agree that it is from the E=mc2 perspective, but that doesn’t mean the EM field is equally as important as the physical reactions…
      • (9) The primordial replicator:
        • Here, they summarize an absolutely beautiful theory for how this first replicator might have been born. I’d heard of the RNA hypothesis, of course, which makes sense because of the higher variability and properties of RNA, but they shut the idea down quickly that this could happen with classical physics alone. It simply isn’t likely given the numbers we know – there aren’t enough particles or time in the universe to create even a simple self replicator by chance. But if quantum physics is invoked (search for “64” within the highlights below), it could happen. However, I’m disappointed they didn’t provide theoretical information on the time required. I’d love to see this hypothesis tested in the lab!
          • “Haldane and Oparin proposed that the emergence of this primordial replicator was the key event that led to the origin of life as we know it.”

        • 10, How cells keep decoherance at bay to use quantum effects:
          • The final analogy of “a ship whose narrow keel…” helps us understand how the cell navigates the rough waters of classical physics in such a warm, wet environment while maintaining its ability to use quantum mechanical laws. The ship with a good captain (the cell) is compared to an engineer who wants to sail the ship in a cold environment depleted of air or water and their associated randomly-driven molecular movements. This chapter also describes how the authors propose to test the effects of the quantum world on life: we’d need to build a cell (or at least a replicator) using only classical physical properties, and one using the quantum world…
            • “The noise essentially acts as a kind of continuous measurement.”


Great quotes about science in general:

  • “Mysteries, however small, are fascinating because there’s always the possibility that their solution may lead to a fundamental shift in our understanding of the world.”

  • “And no one has yet found a way of determining the structure of proteins while they remain embedded in cell membranes.”

  • “As he talked freely about his idea, Schulten developed a reputation at the Max Planck Institute for being regarded as somewhat crazy. His problem was that he was a theoretical physicist who worked with paper, pen and computers, not a chemist; and certainly not an experimental chemist capable of donning a lab coat and performing the kind of experiment that would prove his ideas. Thus he was in the position of many theoreticians who come up with a neat idea but have then to find a friendly experimentalist willing to take time out of their busy lab schedule to test a theory that, more often than not, will prove to be wrong.”


Themes and analogies to help understand them, highlighted throughout my file in green:

  • Measurement, ocean waves
  • Billiard table
  • Violin as a classical, warm wet biological instrument, guitar as a quantum incremental instrument
  • Behavior of a tiny balloon will be quantum, and unpredictable — gas laws can’t help us.
  • Decoherance (search)
  • The oxidation of water
  • Cycling postmen to illustrate …


Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach (2009)

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
2009, Mary Roach
(Read 2012, Reviewed 2015/2017)($10-14, link)

“All good research—whether for science or for a book—is a form of obsession.”

This was a good book on sex… but it was not a great book on sex. Perhaps I am too biased with the books I’ve read before and the information I’ve read online, but Roach’s Gulp impressed me far more.  I’d also have liked more scientific references.

That’s why I include the general writer’s quote above – it’s illuminating on both how to be a good writer as much as it is about Roach and her own writing style. Just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true.

There are a few good nuggets to review, as it’s a short file, so it’s worth simply letting the highlights speak for themselves.

The best part – at least as my biased highlights on my old, clunky Kindle suggest, are from the end chapter. They describe how to have good sex. In three words: take your time.  I’m just going to include all those highlights here:

The best sex going on in Masters and Johnson’s lab was the sex being had by the committed gay and lesbian couples. Not because they were practicing special secret homosexual sex techniques, but because they “took their time.” They lost themselves—in each other, and in sex. They “tended to move slowly…and to linger at…[each] stage of stimulative response, making each step in tension increment something to be appreciated….” They teased each other “in an obvious effort to prolong the stimulatee’s high levels of sexual excitation.”

Another difference was that the lesbians were almost as aroused by what they were doing to their partner as was the partner herself. Not just because, say, fondling a breast turned them on, but because their partners’ reactions did. Masters and Johnson’s heterosexuals failed to grasp that if you lost yourself in the tease—in the pleasure and power of turning someone on—that that could be as arousing as being teased and turned on oneself. “Not only were committed lesbians more effective in satisfying their partners, they usually involved themselves without restraint…far more than husbands approaching their wives.” The straight man, in most cases, “became so involved in his own sexual tensions that he seemed relatively unaware of the degree of his partner’s sexual involvement. There were only a few instances when the husband seemed fully aware of his wife’s levels of sexual excitation and helped her to expand her pleasure…rather than attempting to force her rapidly to higher levels of sexual involvement.”

The same criticisms applied to straight women: “This sense of goal orientation, of trying to get something done…was exhibited almost as frequently by the heterosexual women as by their male partners.” They ignored their husband’s nipples and just about everything else other than his penis. Meanwhile, the homosexual men lavished attention on their partners’ entire bodies. And the gay men, like the gay women, were adept at the tease. Unlike the wives: “Rarely did a wife identify her husband’s preorgasmic stage…and suspend him at this high level of sexual excitation….”


Posted May 2017

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, Kamal Ravikant (2012)

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
Kamal Ravikant, 2012 ($free-$5, link)

(Read 2012, Reviewed 2017)

Nice short book. TF recommendation. Good to quickly read, but not much new for me, more “book porn” like much of what I was reading in late 2012. Good to review, if only for a few minutes, in 2017 before writing the “Why American Women Aren’t Leading” post/essay, because I’m pretty worried about people getting upset about that, which is a good sign. Hopefully it leads to positive change.

The second-to-last quote is regarding a guy named Bandler, who “cures” people of their phobias by shocking them powerfully all at once. Good idea for future years. He reminds us of the “real or not real?” question for Peeta in The Hunger Games, and that it’s a good question for life.

I still think most of this stuff is self-correctable with sufficient nutrients and space to breathe. Time will tell.



If there is one lesson I can share from the experience, it is this: share your truth. Whatever your truth is, live it, share it. The world will respond in ways you never could have imagined. Life will blow your socks off.


I shared my fear with him – what would people think? His response, something that I will never forget and will always be grateful for: “I don’t do a post now unless I’m worried about what people will think about me.”


wrote: “This day, I vow to myself to love myself, to treat myself as someone I love truly and deeply – in my thoughts, my actions, the choices I make, the experiences I have, each moment I am conscious, I make the decision I LOVE MYSELF.”


If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this? The answer, always, was a no.


“Rubber snakes,” the man said, motioning to the ground with his head. “Hallucinated snakes,” he motioned around. Then, eyes up at the python dangling a few feet above, dropping closer, “real snake!”

He wheeled the man out and asked him how he could tell hallucinated versus real.

“Easy,” the man said, “hallucinated snakes are see-through.”


He stops negative thoughts in their tracks with a simple mind trick. “Not useful,” he tells himself.


Posted May 2017.

The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2006)

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,

Malcolm Gladwell ($13, link), 2006

(Read 2012, reviewed 2015/2017)

Read this three years ago [five]. Indeed, the first highlight below sums it all up: the law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context; although unfortunately I can’t exactly recall the specifics of each, because I didn’t highlight enough. But the book overall is about exactly that, why a particular shoe style might exist for three years before it finally becomes “sticky” and popular, hitting a tipping point after which millions of people adopt it. The rules are the same for ideas or memes.

Certainly didn’t highlight a lot (5 pages), perhaps because I read this on my old Kindle keyboard.

The three rules of the Tipping Point—the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, the Power of Context—offer a way of making sense of epidemics. They provide us with direction for how to go about reaching a Tipping Point.



His discussion of connectors, mavens, and salesmen is critical to the concept of the tipping point. If I’m any of these – and I’m not certain I am – I’m a maven or a salesman. But perhaps I’d be happier as a connector? Indeed, writing that in 2015, I realize, now in 2017, my strengths lie in short bursts of incredibly strong social ties, and this may be more of a male/female difference than any personality type actually rooted in biology, which I don’t actually believe in: I love incredibly powerful conversations which help both (or all) people involved grow and shift, I just prefer the majority of my day to take place in solitude, so that I have sufficient time to digest and reflect on such conversations. I think it’s obvious if I embrace this aspect of myself — a “connector,” in Gladwell’s language here — it’ll be far better for both me and the positive changes I want to see in the world.

And he’s got a lot of content, and me, highlights, on what it means to be a connector: the strengths of having large networks of acquaintances.

When [example people] Weisberg looks out at the world or when Roger Horchow sits next to you on an airplane, they don’t see the same world that the rest of us see. They see possibility, and while most of us are busily choosing whom we would like to know, and rejecting the people who don’t look right or who live out near the airport, or whom we haven’t seen in sixty five years, Lois and Roger like them all.




Good point about a friend calling Trump’s rise as a “virus” in the system that is the U.S.’ separation of (and the world’s balance of) powers: that long-term, we will all be better off for it, but short-term, this will be painful and harsh for all of us. I could think of it like my plants: plants are often “pruned” of dead or dying leaves by gardeners. But the healthiest of plants let this happen naturally: nutrients are “sucked out” of certain leaves, pulled back into the entire system, and those leaves wither and fall off so that the overall plant is healthier (hence human fasting/food scarcity). So it is with us individually and collectively, although it is certainly a painful process. The two quotes below made me think of this:

The conventional “icons of wealth” — diamonds, gold — are precious because they are rare. And when something scarce becomes plentiful — as oil did in the 1980s and 1990s — it loses value. But the logic of the network is exactly the opposite. Power and value now come from abundance. The more copies you make of your software, the more people you add to your network, the more powerful it becomes.

Wesley realized that if you wanted to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior, a change that would persist and serve as an example to others, you needed to create a community around them, where those new beliefs could be practiced and expressed and nurtured.

Indeed, the “accessible” online networks of strong Trump-believers (rather than the groups of Trump “supporters,” who reluctantly voted for him, and those who hated Clinton strongly enough to vote for the “lesser” of two evils) are merely a product of, but not the entire source of, such secrecy. These online networks, user accounts, forums and posts are indicative of the “virus” of negativity, fear, and hatred spreading. But they are not the source: we are.

When we drove across the country I “felt” these invisible social groups of people meeting in private in order to promote a King, not elect a President. The pro-Trump strategy, in the darkness, was despicable, hate-filled, and disgusting, but it worked. It worked, and in the long term, I think it will strengthen both the U.S. as a nation and human civilization overall.

But first, we must expose the darkness to the light. And like Plato’s allegory, that light may initially be blinding to some. Patience.


Posted May 2017.

Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond (2009, read 2012)

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Jared Diamond ($10, link)

“Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” (Yali, a man from New Guinea)

In other words (from above),

Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents?

2015 notes:

Accompanying “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is above all a history book.. The Jewish guy argues that we succeeded versus other species because of shared stories among our thoughts, as opposed to other primates and hominid species. Diamond’s book is more compressed in its history – if we can call 15,000 years compressed, of course – but more detailed and accurate. They are both the greatest history books to read.

AUTHORS ARE REGULARLY asked by journalists to summarize a long book in one sentence. For this book, here is such a sentence: “History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples’ environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.”

All human societies contain inventive people. It’s just that some environments provide more starting materials, and more favorable conditions for utilizing inventions, than do other environments.

He includes a few good quotes on marriage, although I’m not sure if I entirely agree with them.

Tolstoy’s great novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” By that sentence, Tolstoy meant that, in order to be happy, a marriage must succeed in many different respects: sexual attraction, agreement about money, child discipline, religion, in-laws, and other vital issues. Failure in any one of those essential respects can doom a marriage even if it has all the other ingredients needed for happiness. —

He also notes that while geography was the most important factor in why Eurasian societies developed faster and dominated the world – indeed, if Africans had domesticated elephants, they might have done so as well – the fragmentation of Europe actually worked in its favor. [Why didn’t that happen in Africa?] China was too unified, and had too little competition between its regions to really foster competition, and thus innovation. Europe has always had strong powers, but rarely united; thus, that does of healthy competition (sometimes bloody) – along with shared communication – allowed for Europe’s dominance. Indeed, we are all European, like it or not. (We may all be African, ethnically, but we are all influenced by systems and technologies developed on the Eurasian peninsula.) Furthermore, he notes, the simultaneous fragmentation between the US states and its federal government is a similar strength of our country.

(I wrote that last sentence in 2015, I believe, but posting this online in 2017, I realize that’s part of the problem in the past few U.S. generations: having too many states leads most of us not to care about the state we reside in and have too much federal power. Innovation has ceased because our state/federal balance is a mess.)

He closes with this fragmentation, and also a discussion of the study of history as scientific. We’re doing the best we can, he argues.

There are at least five good references for further reading at the end of the book: the conquest of societies and related material.


2017 notes:

One day, I should read some of the more critical reviews on Amazon. Perhaps it was my youthful passion for Stratfor’s writings or early geography classes, but this book “clicked” with my unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Said in my own words:

Eurasia’s combination of compatible crops and climate allowed for planet Earth’s east-west division of powers, whereas the challenges of such north-south powers were too difficult to spread such power along those axes. What challenges? 1) Choke points (the central American landmass, northeastern Africa, and the oceans), 2) alternate geography (northern vs. Southern hemispheres vs. Tropical, year-round climates), and 3) their associated biological species. If we exclude strict plate tectonics and think of the earth’s rotation as the foundation of east-west similarities among climate and biology, then the very early motion of the earth set current geopolitics in place, even before there was water or life. Physics indeed.

The book fits in very nicely with why, after wrestling independence from this Eurasian axis and entering the world stage itself, the United States rose in power. Stratfor picks up on this book by continuing the geopolitics aspect: the USA isn’t special because Americans, per se, are special; the USA is special because its continent/land is incredibly productive. (This, of course, and the “brain drain” of attracting the brightest minds in the world to immigrate here.)

This book and Stratfor, I think, give me a pretty accurate worldview, and a priceless ability to ignore most of the newsmedia (especially international) when everyone else is overly focused on things out of our control.

Secrets of Power Negotiating, Roger Dawson (2012, read 2013)

Secrets of Power Negotiating
15th Anniversary Edition, Roger Dawson (2012, read 2013)

“The art of conflict resolution is to get people off of their positions and focused back on their mutual interests.”

This should be essential reviewing regularly, and before any type of negotiation, relating to job-searches/offers, apartments, houses, large items and appliances, vacations and travel with friends/family, hotels, customer service; everything! But how to practice? Practice on small things, buying items in the street, asking for specials at restaurants, everything!

  • Remember selling cutco: ask for the sale 5x before you get a “yes”
  • Ask for more than you can get.
  • Never say yes on the first offer, and moreover, don’t say yes too quickly.
  • Flinch!
  • Be a reluctant seller even before the negotiations begin
  • Work at the strategy of appealing to their higher authority.
    • One way is to ask, “Who is authorized to make an exception to the rule?” and repeat in increasingly stronger terms…
  • If you make a concession – get one right away!
  • Watch out for the “Decoy Gambit,” where a party tries to make a side issue the primary focus…
  • Remember hostage situations!
  • Ask tough questions!
  • Be confident: you are rewarding the other party with your business!
  • Have options – and if you don’t – give the perception that you do!

Who has the most power? The side with the most options…and that’s the side that can use time pressure the best, so if you don’t have options or time, be sure to start negotiations early!

The minute you pass the point when you’re willing to say, “I’m prepared to walk away from this,” you lose in the negotiations. Be sure you don’t pass that point. There’s no such thing as a sale you have to make at any price, or the only car or home for you, or a job or employee that you cannot do without. The minute you pass the point when you think there is, you’ve lost in the negotiations.

Before you walk out, consider how much the other person has to lose by letting you do that. If they have nothing to lose, you probably won’t get anywhere by walking out.

One of the most powerful thoughts you can have when you’re negotiating with someone is not “what can I get from them?” but “what can I give them that won’t take away from my position?”

Life advice:

  • When you are having trouble understanding something, it helps to think of the opposite.


(Personal note: visit Ravello, Amalfi, Italy!)


8 Combinations of Power:

  1. Legitimate Power(the power of your title or your position in the marketplace).
    2. Reward Power(the ability to reward the other person).
    3. Coercive Power (nearly always perception, not reality).
    4. Reverent Power (the ability to project a consistent set of values).
    5. Charismatic Power (the power of the personality).
    6. Expertise Power (an ability that the other person does not have).
    7. Situation Power (power that stems from circumstances).
    8. Information Power (knowledge that the other person lacks).


Review the following:

Using the Vise Gambit.

How to Make Someone Fall in Love With You in 90 Minutes or Less, Nicholas Boothman (2009)

How to Make Someone Fall in Love With You in 90 Minutes or Less,
Nicholas Boothman, 2009 (Read 2012)


Not that there’s anything really wrong with it, but the title is quite a bit misleading – and considering everything I read in The Game, that’s a far more potent book.

This book gave me the concept of the matched opposite; that is, a person who is both your opposite – social where you are introverted, creative, wild, and spontaneous where you are dedicated and routine-driven, etc – but who is also a perfect match for you, with the same values and beliefs, especially in the long term. It’s a good, if imperfectly strict concept. And I don’t recall – and certainly didn’t highlight – any scientific evidence for this. But it seems as valid as extrapolating that there are more-ideal and less-ideal MHC matches with a biological foundation, doesn’t it?

There are some great tips for meeting people – excluding all the digital apps we have these days to help: accepting all invitations for one, for example. Still, the bulk of the book is – admiteddly, as the author begins by saying – about the first hour or so of meeting, which, again, there’s equally good content in The Game.

Several solid pages of highlights, worth reviewing once in a while (although after the other books on relationships).



My first two highlights:

Falling in love and staying in love are completely separate events.

We don’t fall in love with other people; we fall in love with the feelings we get when we are with them.


A few highlights I bolded and then re-highlighted:

From here the shift into commitment with your matched opposite is as natural as self-preservation itself.


Loooooove this quote about choosing a partner. Sad that it’s perhaps the most important life decision most of us will ever make — more than our (increasingly temporary) career, where to live, etc. — and yet we provide no training on it to our youth.

Imagine you had to spend the rest of your life in a rowboat. It’s a wide boat, so it takes two at the oars to keep the boat going forward. You and the other rower would need to agree on a direction, row at the same rhythm and speed, and be content to stay on your side of the boat-otherwise you’d go around in circles until you went nuts. Given all this, no doubt you’d be very selective about whom you chose for a partner.


…two simple rules for meeting people: Entertain once a week without fail, and accept all invitations.



three types of starters that either of them could have used to ease quickly and gently into rapport: a statement (“This is such a bright sunny office-I love the morning sun”); a question (“What brings you here so early in the morning?”); or a sincere, pleasant compliment.


In the first few moments:

If the other person isn’t willing to put in the effort to match your conversation level, you are not matched. If you can’t find at least three upbeat things in common, it’s selection/ rejection time and you should seriously consider moving along to someone else.












The Truth about Carbs, Nate Miyaki (2014, read 2015)

The Truth about Carbs:

How to Eat Just the Right Amount of Carbs to Slash Fat, Look Great Naked, & Live Lean Year-Round

Nate Miyaki (2014, read 2015)


Read this in January (2015) – simple eBook to make the author money, despite how much of its content might be good or not. There were some neat nutritional links, but now, reading’s digests, I this is a pretty worthless report. 4 pages of highlights.

My bolded portions of the kindle highlights are below for my records. One big problem with a book like this is that it’s hugely dated. Much of the general information doesn’t need to be repeated for the fifth time, and almost all of the specific information will change within a decade or two, instantly dating the book.

Only one bolded and later highlighted sentence:


The fact that something is considered beneficial to a sick body does not mean that it is necessarily good for a healthy body, and vice versa.


Saturated fat is important:

A moderate intake of natural saturated fat from a mix of whole foods is important for a variety of cellular and hormonal functions.


Why do some need more protein?

The scientists who believe that protein requirements are greater for athletes and exercising people offer two explanations: 1. Amino acids may be oxidized during exercise. 2. Increased protein synthesis is necessary to repair damage and forms the basis of training adaptations. Jeukendrup, et al. Sports Nutrition



Eating fewer, regular-sized meals with higher amounts of lean protein can make one feel fuller than eating smaller, more frequent meals . . .  eating frequency had relatively no beneficial impact on appetite control.



Protein requirements:

Protein also has the highest thermic effect of any food. This is just a fancy term describing how many calories are burned off in the digestion and storage processes.

The majority of the research suggests 1.5-2.0 g/kg, which equals 0.7-0.9 g/lbs of bodyweight.


Ketosis might be great for a lot of reasons, but it doesn’t instantly mean fat loss:

Ketosis DOES NOT equal fat loss. It can equal fat loss, . . . Despite some of the metabolic and hormonal advantages of certain macronutrients and macronutrient ratios, total calories still count.


Agreed, although that doesn’t negate the benefits of exercise. Tim Ferriss describes it best: everyone eats daily, so changing diet is far less difficult than adding in some exercise routine for the first time in a person’s life, which they may or may not continue:


…most people could reach a healthy bodyweight with diet alone, no formal exercise sessions necessary.



Good to know, should look up:

One hour of high-intensity exercise decreases liver glycogen by about 55%, and a 2-hour strenuous workout just about depletes glycogen in the liver and specifically exercised muscles. — McArdle, et al. Sports and Exercise Nutrition




The Martian: A Novel, Andy Weir (2014)

The Martian: A Novel, Andy Weir (2014, read 2015)


LOG ENTRY: SOL 381 I’ve been thinking about laws on Mars. Yeah, I know, it’s a stupid thing to think about, but I have a lot of free time. There’s an international treaty saying no country can lay claim to anything that’s not on Earth. And by another treaty, if you’re not in any country’s territory, maritime law applies. So Mars is “international waters.” NASA is an American nonmilitary organization, and it owns the Hab. So while I’m in the Hab, American law applies. As soon as I step outside, I’m in international waters. Then when I get in the rover, I’m back to American law. Here’s the cool part: I will eventually go to Schiaparelli and commandeer the Ares 4 lander. Nobody explicitly gave me permission to do this, and they can’t until I’m aboard Ares 4 and operating the comm system. After I board Ares 4, before talking to NASA, I will take control of a craft in international waters without permission. That makes me a pirate! A space pirate! — Andy Weir, The Martian: A Novel, pg. 259, loc. 4192-4202


Imperfect, but I loved the book, especially its technical details, many of which seem well-researched and accurate. It’s hilarious, too – Whitney’s character is extremely likable.

I only disliked Weir’s narration at certain points, especially leading up to some of the minor disasters. It’s a good idea, but I didn’t care for his tone or execution. That said, he’s still a good writer.

Also, as I read online after reading the book, there is a minor plot flaw: anyone half as smart as Whitney – and certainly any NASA astronaut – would have known quickly that NASA would know they were alive. Why? They knew NASA had satellites monitoring the planet, and would especially monitor the area after the storm/accident. NASA would know there were survivors from changed satellite imagery rather quickly. This doesn’t significantly change the plot, as Watney’s still alone, but it does change his emotions in the beginning of the story.

I look forward to the movie, as it’s possibly my first movie seeing after I’ve read the book.

I should feel free to more liberally highlight the next novel I read! (Only had a few pages of highlights total)

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1998)

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1998, read 2015, posting 2017)

Didn’t actually have any notes/report written, just a few highlighted quotes. Probably didn’t enjoy the book that much or really understand it:

Perhaps one of my favorite quotes:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!” — Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, loc. 72-77


If, for some reason, we could only observe the ball at low energies, we would then think that there were thirty-seven different types of ball! — Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, loc. 1023-1024


This is the explanation of why we observe that the thermodynamic and cosmological arrows of time point in the same direction. It is not that the expansion of the universe causes disorder to increase. Rather, it is that the no boundary condition causes disorder to increase and the conditions to be suitable for intelligent life only in the expanding phase. — Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, loc. 2122-2125


Now, suppose one has two parallel metal plates a short distance apart. The plates will act like mirrors for the virtual photons or particles of light. In fact they will form a cavity between them, a bit like an organ pipe that will resonate only at certain notes. This means that virtual photons can occur in the space between the plates only if their wavelengths (the distance between the crest of one wave and the next) fit a whole number of times into the gap between the plates. If the width of a cavity is a whole number of wavelengths plus a fraction of a wavelength, then after some reflections backward and forward between the plates, the crests of one wave will coincide with the troughs of another and the waves will cancel out. Because the virtual photons between the plates can have only the resonant wavelengths, there will be slightly fewer of them than in the region outside the plates where virtual photons can have any wavelength. Thus there will be slightly fewer virtual photons hitting the inside surfaces of the plates than the outside surfaces. One would therefore expect a force on the plates, pushing them toward each other. This force has actually been detected and has the predicted value. Thus we have experimental evidence that virtual particles exist and have real effects. — Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, loc. 2227-2236


The reason we say that humans have free will is because we can’t predict what they will do. However, if the human then goes off in a rocket ship and comes back before he or she set off, we will be able to predict what he or she will do because it will be part of recorded history. Thus, in that situation, the time traveler would have no free will. — Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, loc. 2262-2264


However, I believe there may not be any single formulation of the fundamental theory any more than, as Gödel showed, one could formulate arithmetic in terms of a single set of axioms. Instead it may be like maps—you can’t use a single map to describe the surface of the earth or an anchor ring: you need at least two maps in the case of the earth and four for the anchor ring to cover every point. Each map is valid only in a limited region, but different maps will have a region of overlap. The collection of maps provides a complete description of the surface. Similarly, in physics it may be necessary to use different formulations in different situations, but two different formulations would agree in situations where they can both be applied. The whole collection of different formulations could be regarded as a complete unified theory, though one that could not be expressed in terms of a single set of postulates. — Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, loc. 2448-2455


I think that there is a good chance that the study of the early universe and the requirements of mathematical consistency will lead us to a complete unified theory within the lifetime of some of us who are around today, always presuming we don’t blow ourselves up first. — Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, loc. 2480-2482