Recommended Reading

What’s driving chronic diseases? 


  • Shoutout to the great and powerful Dale Tovar for sending me this one.
  • The article linked to above argues that increased vegetable oil consumption is a likely culprit for America’s rising rates of chronic disease.
  • Key point: Rates of chronic disease in America have been increasing despite the fact that Americans have been smoking less, drinking less, exercising more, and doing a better job of following recommended dietary guidelines.
  • I don’t agree with all of the author’s points, but overall I found the piece very compelling.


  • “Rates of chronic conditions like heart disease, asthma, cancer, and diabetes have grown 700% since 1935. Today, 6 in 10 Americans have a chronic disease.
  • …if we look back further to 1909, we can see that vegetable oil consumption has increased more than 150-fold in the US.” 


Notes on a conversation between Scott Galloway and Sam Harris 


  • Highlights from a cool talk between two very very smart dudes, both of whom I disagree with on a tremendous amount. Still, they make plenty of great points.


  • “I think Facebook is the most dangerous organization in the world” – Scott Galloway
  • “If you look at returns the last 10 years, somewhere between 22 and 33 percent, of the S&P’s gains have been around six stocks: “The Four (Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple)” and Microsoft and Netflix” – Scott Galloway 


My notes on a great lecture on the benefits of sulforaphane


  • Try not to let the big words below turn you off. If I could have everyone read one piece I’ve written, it might just be the notes I’ve linked to above.
  • There is a compound called glucoraphanin contained in many vegetables that is converted endogenously to a compound called sulforaphane.
  • The benefits associated with sulforaphane consumption are borderline miraculous.
  • At this point, sulforaphane has been researched extensively. Some of the key results from this research are as follows:
    • One study found that men who consumed 3–5 servings of cruciferous vegetables (which contain large amount’s of sulforaphane’s precursor glucoraphanin) per week enjoyed over a 40% decrease in the risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to men who consumed less than one serving per week.
    • Another study found that smokers who consumed at least four and a half servings of cruciferous vegetables per month were 55% less likely to develop lung cancer (relative to those who consumed less than two and a half servings per month)
    • The administration of large amounts of sulforaphane to men with prostate resulted in an 86% reduction in rate of doubling of their PSA levels. (PSA, or prostate specific antigen, is used as an indicator of prostate cancer activity)
    • The consumption of both sulforaphane and glucoraphinin have been shown increase the rate at which benzene is excreted from the body by 61%.(Benzene is a known carcinogen in both humans and animals)
    • “In ten different models of stress induced depression, sulforaphane alleviated depressive symptoms and anxiety as well as the antidepressant prozac, in mice. Sulforaphane also decreased stress hormones and the inflammatory response to various social stressors.”

Music YouTube Channel Recommendation: Lucas Brar


Mental model that I like to use: In spite of, regardless of, or because of?

This model can be helpful when thinking about causation. I try to ask myself these questions when considering a potential relationship between two variables. In other words, I ask myself: Did Y behave the way it did in spite of a change in X, regardless of a change in X, or because of a change in X? 


A president enacts a new economic policy. Shortly thereafter, economic activity picks up. The president claims that the increase in economic activity occurred due to the instigation of the new policy. In reality, the change in policy might have had a negative effect on the economy, that was overridden by another factor (which was the real reason why economic activity picked up). Alternatively, the change in policy might have had no significant positive effects on the economy, but no significant negative effects either. Finally, the change in policy might have indeed had positive effects on economic activity. 


Excerpts from my Journal

Parroting ideas doesn’t take much skill. Linking many ideas into a coherent whole does.

If you can design a more intuitive and or aesthetically pleasing user interface, you can destroy your competitors. Facebook is basically just an easier and prettier version of MySpace. You don’t hear many people talking about MySpace these days. 

Plans are often useless, but planning can be very helpful.

Are you bothered by uncertainty? If so, you are probably bothered pretty often.

How often do you put your ideas to the test? Are they backed up by any evidence? If not, they could very well be nothing more than fantasies.

I’ve come to feel that the thoughts I choose to think have a far more significant influence on my life than I once believed they did. 

Molecules and sentences have some interesting similarities. A string of atoms, such as a drug molecule, can change behavior if ingested. A string of words, which we call a sentence, can change behavior if heard and comprehended.


Photo of the Week 


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