Some Like It Hot

Does it seem like your mate likes the temperature of the room colder or hotter than you do? This may be a biological difference.

I just read a little article in a really great newsletter called The Whippet. A study on bats found that female bats stayed in the warmer valleys and the male bats tended to go to the higher, cooler mountain areas. And that across the board, in both birds and mammals, females feel colder. Their core temperatures are actually not any colder, but they feel colder, and the researchers think it's an evolutionary adaptation to making sure their offspring stay warm. If the mother feels cold, she will tend to stay in warmer places, and very young animals are not very good at staying warm.

Read more differences between the sexes here: How the Sexes Differ (and What You Can Do About It).

Adam Khan is the author of What Difference Does It Make?: How the Sexes Differ and What You Can Do About ItPrinciples For Personal GrowthDirect Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

Feeding the Ocean Might Reverse Climate Change

I watched a video a couple days ago, by Freethink. They make pretty good videos — interesting, and relatively short. Here's the video: The Highly Controversial Plan to Stop Climate Change. It's about the idea of putting iron (the mineral) into the ocean as a kind of fertilizer for plankton.

The idea is that plankton is the base of the food chain in the ocean, and there would be more plankton if the ocean had more iron. The lack of iron is the main thing that limits their reproduction. So when you add iron, the plankton multiply like crazy, which provides food for the next biggest animal that eats them, and that provides food for the next biggest animal, etc., all the way up the food chain.

Whale poop contains a lot of iron and there used to be a lot more whales in the ocean pooping.

Plankton is the world's most abundant life form. The plankton in the ocean make about 70 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere. That's way more than the Amazon rainforest and all other forests combined.

One important possible consequence of adding iron to the ocean is carbon sequestration. When the plankton die, a percentage of them would sink to the ocean floor and get buried for hundreds or thousands of years. So CO2 would be pulled out of the atmosphere by the plankton and then sequestered under the ocean floor.

This is, of course, a very controversial idea because we don't really know what the long-term consequences of it would be. Several experiments have been done on a small scale, and it seemed to do exactly what they thought it was going to do, but what they tested was limited.

But one entrepreneur took the idea and ran with it. He was hired by some indigenous people living in a village called Old Massett to try it. The people in Old Massett rely on salmon, and the salmon runs were getting smaller, so they paid Russ George to put iron in the ocean near their village, and sure enough, the next two years, the salmon yield was record-breaking.

More plankton equals more of everything up the food chain, which equals more salmon surviving.

Rush George got in trouble for doing this, and environmentalists were up in arms around the world about it, justifiably feeling frightened by the thought of a lone actor or even a lone country feeling they had the right to put something in the ocean that may affect life in the ocean or even affect the whole world's climate. Who gets to decide whether or not something like that can be done?

The idea, however, seems to be a good one, it seems to do what people think it's going to do, but what if there are negative consequences we're unable to anticipate until it's too late?

The reason I wanted to write something about this is that the topic of climate change is covered everywhere. You can't really watch much of anything or read much of anything without hearing about climate change and the impending doom it will bring. And yet I have never heard of the idea of putting iron in the ocean. And it's not even new. It's been around since the 1980's. In the description below the video, I found three articles about it. They're all good — long, detailed and authoritative — explaining how and why this idea has merit.

Scientists aren't one hundred percent certain it would reduce CO2 in our atmosphere, but it seems likely it would, and it could do the job on a large enough scale to make a real difference. And a side effect would be an increase in yield for the fishing industry, which would be good for all of us. So it looks like something worth experimenting with (in a way that's safe until we are sure about what we're doing).

Any viable idea that might help reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is worthy of our attention. So check it out and share it with your friends. Here are the three articles I mentioned:

The Complicated Role of Iron in Ocean Health and Climate Change

The Climate Renegade

Engineering the Ocean

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.



Women Retain Stronger and More Vivid Memories of Emotional Events Than Do Men

The differences between the sexes are interesting, and knowing about some of the differences is surprisingly helpful in a relationship. You can read more about that in How the Sexes Differ (And What You Can Do About It). I just came across another sex difference in the book, Hold Me Tight.

The author, Sue Johnson, says that when she asks couples to reveal to each other their attachment fears and longings, "the female partner will probably find this task easier." Throughout her book, Johnson goes out of her way to play down differences between the sexes, sometimes explaining them as mere socialization. And still, she can't help but acknowledge important differences because it comes up again and again in her counseling sessions, and the many studies on the subject are impossible to dismiss.

Johnson created a couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy, which has been shown in independent studies to be the most effective form of couples therapy. 

The reason women will probably find the task easier, Johnson says, is: "Women have been shown in many studies to retain stronger and more vivid memories of emotional events than do men. This appears to be a reflection of physiological differences in the brain, not a sign of the level of involvement in the relationship."

Read about why it helps to know the differences between the sexes here.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.

Makeup, Shampoo, Nail Polish — Are They Dangerous?

I just watched a four-part series on HBO Max called Not So Pretty. It's worth watching. The cosmetics industry is not very strictly regulated in the United States. On the ingredients labels, when it says "fragrance," the company doesn't have to reveal what chemicals it used because it's protected as a trade secret. And some of those chemicals are potentially harmful. 

The cosmetic industry can put a product on the market without testing its ingredients for safety. Lots of hair products, makeup, nail products, etc., have been linked to cancers and infertility problems. Products with talc — and a lot of products have talc — probably contain asbestos, which causes disease.

Some plastics used as containers for things like makeup and shampoo can leach into the product, get absorbed into your skin, enter your bloodstream and disrupt your hormones.

When consumer groups have tried to get stricter legislation to oversee these industries, the industry responds with legions of paid lobbyists, who descend on Congress and sway the vote or kill the bill. 

If you know anyone who works in a nail salon or anyone who is having trouble conceiving a baby, tell them about this documentary. And all of us should see it because these are products almost everybody uses every day. Four episodes, roughly a half hour per episode. Check it out: Not So Pretty.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.



When a Relationship is in Trouble

I've written a lot about the differences between the sexes. I find it interesting, and it's also surprisingly helpful in a relationship. You can read more about that in How the Sexes Differ (And What You Can Do About It). I just came across another sex difference in the book, Hold Me Tight.

The author, Sue Johnson, says that when their relationship is in trouble, "men typically talk of feeling rejected, inadequate, and a failure; women of feeling abandoned and unconnected."

Johnson created a couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy, which has been shown in independent studies to be the most effective form of couples therapy. She also points out that women have one additional response to distress: Something researchers call "tend and befriend." When women feel a lack of connection, they sometimes increase their attempts to connect with others.

Read about why it helps to know the differences between the sexes here.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.


Sleep is Not For Sissies

"The best bridge between despair and hope," said Harry Ruby, "is a good night's sleep." When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces extra stress hormones, making you more vulnerable to anxiety and stress.

The authors of Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life wrote: "For people prone to social anxiety, adequate sleep is crucial. It can mean the difference between thinking about an issue realistically and becoming needlessly upset over something that's not really important. In other words, when you're overly tired, you're more likely to misread social situations and interpret them negatively."

A large percentage of people go day after day without enough sleep, causing themselves extra unnecessary stress and anxiety.

The question is, of course, what is enough sleep? The research can answer that question quite specifically. People are healthiest when they sleep somewhere between seven and eight hours every night. Health problems are associated with both more and less sleep than eight hours. Of course that is an average. Some nights you won't get enough sleep, but if you sleep extra the next night or two, you're getting eight hours sleep on average, and that is healthy.

Just to give you an example, a recent study at Yale University found that when people slept less that six hours a night on average, their risk of adult-onset diabetes doubled. When they slept more than eight hours, their risk of adult-onset diabetes tripled. This is typical of the findings. Too much sleep is bad. Too little sleep is bad. The right amount is good.

But seven to eight hours of tossing and turning won't do it. Researchers have also uncovered some useful information about how to get good quality sleep. You will sleep better if you:

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

Keep your feet are warm.

Eat three hours before going to bed. The closer to your bedtime you eat, the lighter the meal needs to be (especially light in fat, which takes the longest to digest).

Do something relaxing immediately prior to going to bed rather than doing something agitating. For most people, reading or stretching gently are relaxing; watching television or working on a computer are agitating (produce alertness and tension rather than relaxation, and therefore interfere with the going-to-sleep process).

Hormones that control wakefulness and sleepiness rise and fall in a cycle with regularity throughout the day. Most people feel sleepy around three in the afternoon, and if you take a nap then, you lower your risk of heart disease. Why? It is natural and healthy to sleep in two periods rather than one. It allows you reboot in the middle of the day. Not trying to power through "slump time," probably lowers your stress hormone level.

As Winston Churchill said, "You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner, and no half-way measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed…Don't think you'll be doing less work because you sleep during the day…You will be able to accomplish more."

It is important to sleep when you feel sleepy, and not force yourself to stay awake, because the opportunity will go away. It's not like hunger where you just get hungrier and hungrier. Your body cycles through ultradian rhythms (biological rhythms that cycle more than once a day) and you need to strike while the iron is hot. You may feel sleepy now and if you went to bed you would sleep well. But if you wait for forty-five minutes, the wake-sleep cycle has rebounded, and now it might be more difficult to fall asleep.

If you can fall asleep very quickly any time, by the way, that is a definite sign you are chronically sleep-deprived.

The sleep researcher and author of The Promise of Sleep, William Dement, probably knows more about sleep than any other person. His research will give you a respect for sleep. It needs to be taken seriously. It effects your motivation level, your competence at your job, your likelihood of making a mistake while doing something dangerous, like driving a car. It effects your immune system. It obviously effects your mood.

Good sleep has been proven to be a better predictor of how long you will live than exercise, heredity, or diet. Amazing but true.

Did you get that? According to Dement, regular good sleep will help you live longer — and it will help you more reliably than even exercise, diet, or your genetic tendencies (all of which have a major impact on how long you will live).

One of the things Dement has discovered is that not getting enough sleep influences your motivation level, especially for creative people. It doesn't take a scientist to figure this out, although scientific research is the best way to sift fact from mistaken observations.

Another good way to find out what works is to only pay someone when they produce results. Under those conditions, there is a strong commitment to discover what works, regardless of anyone's pet theory. That's why salespeople often come up with so much practical information. When you're on commission and your entire income depends on your effectiveness, you lose your attachment to ideas that impair your abilities, or you don't make it.

W. Clement Stone wrote about sleep in The Success System That Never Fails. Stone worked his way up from a young man of limited means and no connections to an extremely wealthy man. He started out as a commission insurance salesman, selling door-to-door to businesses. In the process, he learned about the importance of sleep. He tried to get ten hours of sleep every night, plus a nap in the afternoon. This may be too much for optimal health, but it worked as a salesman putting out intense effort all day, and he said getting a lot of sleep gave him the energy he needed to keep at it, and it helped him maintain the high motivation he needed, to work his way to the top.

Sleep is important. When you feel tired or sleepy and you can sleep, you ought to. It's one of the best things you can do to lower your stress level, improve your health, and increase your ability to accomplish your goals.

Adam Khan is the author of Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought, Direct Your Mind, and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Interesting Facts About Alcohol Fuels

1. Since at least 1791, most American farmers used their own alcohol stills to turn crop waste into ethanol for stove fuel. In the 1830's, whale oil became expensive, so using alcohol for light became increasingly popular.

2. In 1860 Nikolaus Otto built an early internal combustion engine. It was fueled by ethanol.

3. By 1900, alcohol fuel (ethanol) was used for lighting and many other uses including cars, farm machinery, stoves, laundry irons, heaters, coffee roasters, hair curlers, etc.

4. Around the same time, most cars on the road used gasoline because it was abundant and inexpensive. But racing cars used alcohol for fuel because it could generate more power in a lighter engine. There was a tax on the industrial use of alcohol, and Henry Ford helped American farmers stop the tax because he was familiar with experiments on alcohol fuels in Germany.

5. In 1906, the alcohol tax was lifted and alcohol became cheaper than gas — 14 cents versus 22 cents per gallon. Bills were also passed that exempted farm stills from government control. When he endorsed the bill, President Teddy Roosevelt said, "The Standard Oil Company has, largely by unfair or unlawful methods, crushed out the competition...It is highly desirable that an element of competition should be introduced by the passage of some such law as that which has already passed in the House, putting alcohol used in the arts and manufacturers upon the [tax] free list."

6. In 1908, the Model T Ford began coming off the assembly line. It had a built-in adjustable carburetor so it could burn either alcohol or gas. In other words, it was a flex fuel car. At the time, of course, gas stations weren't everywhere, but most farms had stills, so it made the car more practical to be able to burn both fuels.

7. In 1917, Alexander Graham Bell said, "Alcohol makes a beautiful, clean and efficient fuel… Alcohol can be manufactured from corn stalks, and in fact from almost any vegetable matter capable of fermentation…We need never fear the exhaustion of our present fuel supplies so long as we can produce an annual crop of alcohol to any extent desired." He was ahead of his time.

8. In 1920, Prohibition began and lasted for 13 years. John D. Rockefeller, the owner of Standard Oil Company, had backed the Eighteenth Amendment to ban alcohol. Farmers were no longer allowed to have a still.

9. In 1925, Henry Ford said: "The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust — almost anything. There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years."

10. In 1964, there was a seven-car crash at the Indianapolis 500, killing two drivers because 150 gallons of gasoline caught fire. One of the drivers involved in the crash survived because his car was running on methanol, which didn't ignite. So the United States Auto Club banned gasoline. The cars ran on methanol exclusively for the next 41 years. In 2007, they switched to ethanol, which is still much safer than gasoline.

11. In 1971, American farmers were producing enormous grain surpluses, which threatened to put them out of business (because the price of grain sank too low because there was so much of it), so the Nebraska APIU Committee was formed to find new uses for the surplus grain. They tested gasoline-ethanol blends extensively and discovered ethanol could be used to boost octane, and could potentially replace lead in gasoline (to prevent knocking).

12. In 1973, OPEC initiated the first oil embargo (as a retaliation for America's support of Israel during the Yom Kippur war). The member countries of OPEC drastically reduced their oil production, which raised world oil prices catastrophically. It threw the whole world into an "energy crisis" and seriously hurt the American economy.

13. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter created government incentives to help develop alcohol-fuel production, and by 1984 the United States had 163 ethanol refineries producing almost 600 million gallons of ethanol fuel that year.

14. In the late 80s and early 90s a global oil surplus drove gasoline prices very low, putting many American ethanol plants into bankruptcy. By the end of 1985, only 74 American ethanol refineries remained in business.

15. From the late 90s until now, the ethanol and methanol industries have been making a comeback. Ethanol alone employs 400,000 Americans today, and that's with only a very small percentage of flex fuel cars on the road. Imagine what could happen with the passing of an Open Fuel Standard.

The list above was edited from the more complete article, Timeline of Alcohol Fuels.