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Wellness Wednesday for October 19, 2022

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

A full-auto coffee machine, something by Jura, Nivona or DeLonghi.

Turkish coffee with a cezve or a stainless steel moka pot. No moving parts, no wires, just boiling water, works with any heat source just the same. The consistency is entirely down to the user.

What advice do people here have for living among people they can't stand or see as ideological enemies? I'm very contrarian. I have foolishly bought into the narratives from both the right and the left about why their opposing parties are bad but neither of the narratives from either party about why their own party is good. I have a very low opinion of nearly all fellow Americans. I have been traveling outside of the US for the better part of the year and it has been fantastic being able to meet people who barely know who Donald Trump is, but I'm absolutely dreading going back to the US and being pulled back into the muck and the entirely degrading discourse of the political environment. To make matters worse, I am self employed and can work from anywhere so any return to the US would be by my own will and it will absolutely make me feel like an idiot to be back in the culture I'm so happy to be away from. Though I will be happy to see my family again and experience the big beautiful open empty spaces and long straight roads that lead nowhere. (Those are the things I miss the most.)

So, yeah, any advice? Do I just need to get over myself and practice acceptance and just meet people where they're at? I had a really (to me) innocuous vaguely centrist comment get downvoted into oblivion tonight on reddit and it's triggering the same irritation that I felt every day while I was in the US so I just wanted to get some help from people who might be able to relate to being a contrarian in a world where everyone seems so invested in things you'd rather ignore. I wish I could go back to before 2016 when I didn't care at all about politics and was able to ignore the news. Should I quit reading the news and places like themotte cold turkey? I just find this place really intellectually stimulating in a way that I don't experience elsewhere so it would be such a loss to me if I didn't keep lurking here, but at the same time it's not helping me think more kindly of my fellow man

Albuquerque is middling-blue and Rio Rancho, a suburb which became a city, is middling-red. I get a sense here that politics is something which happens elsewhere, except at election time.

Both are mid-sized cities, 570,000 for Albuquerque, the 32nd-most populous city in the United States and the fourth-largest in the Southwest, and 105,000 for Rio Rancho.

There are tons of people in the US who don't care at all about politics. Find them. Or find like-minded people in the US and move to where they are.

What advice do people here have for living among people they can't stand or see as ideological enemies?


Did you read my post? I have been out of the US for the better part of the year now, I am having a great time not being near any Americans, but I don't want to live outside of the US long term. I essentially see everyone in the US as someone I can't stand or as an ideological enemy to some degree, but find the infrastructure of the US as the most hospitable place for me to live, long term, for practical reasons. Your reply isn't particularly helpful since I'm inclined to make peace with my neighbors at some point rather than run away from them like I have for most of my life.

If it makes you feel any better, both major parties are pretty hard at work on ruining the US, so it may not be the best place to live for much longer.

We're on the same page, but where do you realistically think is a better place to live?

I don't know. Switzerland, maybe? Low taxes, high wages, smart people, and excellent graphics. Singapore seems cool, too. Taiwan has low wages, but would otherwise be a pretty swell place if not for the threat from China.

Sounds like you already have a plan in mind and don't need advice.

My plan is to make peace with my neighbors, but I want advice for how to do so. I don't know where to begin. If I didn't need advice I wouldn't be here asking for it.

There's no magic trick to having positive human relationships, dude. Have you never small talked before? Asked someone about their day? It's not hard to have a casually positive relationship with your neighbors -- just be friendly when you talk to them.

I essentially see everyone in the US as someone I can't stand or as an ideological enemy to some degree

If you feel that America is hopelessly polarized, if you feel that all Americans are living and breathing only politics, it might be only your "bubble" you are living in.

Remember, 40-50% of eligible American voters steadily do not even bother to register and vote. Do you hate them too? Are they also your enemies?

but find the infrastructure of the US as the most hospitable place for me to live, long term, for practical reasons.

Can you be more concrete what "infrastructure" you mean? The world is big place, bigger than you imagine, what specific American thing is there you cannot find anywhere else?

Remember, 40-50% of eligible American voters steadily do not even bother to register and vote. Do you hate them too? Are they also your enemies?

No, I am not registered to vote either. Like I said in my first post, I would prefer to return to the way I lived before 2016 when I happily ignored politics and didn't have strong opinions about political issues. But now I feel I've read so much about politics that I can no longer see people as having an opinion that they've come to on their own, but rather that every opinion I encounter is downstream of broader political culture war issues. It makes me feel so cynical and hopeless.

Can you be more concrete what "infrastructure" you mean?

Yes. I like the visuals of America between the coasts. I like the huge roads, big vehicles, straight highways that go on for miles and miles, the anonymity, the lack of a cloying, overinterested community that defines the rest of the world. 24 hour grocery stores and gas stations all across the country. I have been to about 20 different countries, and while traveling abroad is my favorite activity, at the end of the day every country makes me feel claustrophobic compared to the US. There is no where in the world with the same degree of freedom of open spaces, space between you and others, space for ideological freedom and freedom to live your life the way you want. France has beautiful food and incredible architecture but you can't eat dinner at any time but between 7pm and 9pm and I was chided for having my car face the wrong direction while pumping gas a few months ago. Why I have to have my license plate visible to a camera while getting gas, I don't know, but that's just the one millionth difference between the US and most countries that irritate me. I could come up with a handful of other specific American things I couldn't find anywhere else, but those are the biggest irritations to me off the top of my head.

I like the huge roads, big vehicles, straight highways that go on for miles and miles, the anonymity, the lack of a cloying, overinterested community that defines the rest of the world. 24 hour grocery stores and gas stations all across the country.

I would tell you to try Ukraine, but it's not the best place to live in rn.

Half of the country might have too high landmine content right now, but the other half should be a solid investment opportunity.

Yes. I like the visuals of America between the coasts.

24 hour grocery stores and gas stations all across the country.

This is true. Wide open empty spaces are found all over the world, but wide open empty spaces you can cross safely and comfortably are indeed only in America. In Sahara or Gobi desert, in Argentinian pampa or Brazilian cerrado you are on your own.

Even big trip across/around Australia is something not comparable to coast to coast ride.

Fortunately, when you are alone in your big car on the big road, you do not have to care about your obnoxious compatriots.

edit: link fixed


I don't know how to fix my life

Information about me:

Later 20

I'm in process of getting political asylum (USA not interview yet)

No college education or skills

Working in a menial job (I have a work permit) without possibly advancement

Zero true friends or romantic partner

I trying to find a floor employment. Sadly I can't join the military because I don't a green card and I getting older with no hope of obtaining one in 5 years. My second idea was try to join the merchant marine

But my immigration status don't let me. I have zero idea how collage work here and I'm poor and my support network is unsympathetic.

I just want to find where I can meet people with the same interests as me and do something with my life.

Sorry for the bad English and the pity party.


A) Go to church. This is like my number one suggestion for half your problems, and particularly for being a semi-aimless 20-something. Pick one you like, but any church really that's close to you and has good attendance. Babtists to Quakers to Catholics to Jehovah's Witnesses to Muslims; nothing else will deliver on helping you on more fronts than becoming part of a religious community. Piety is a qualifying-skill you can demonstrate relatively easily (provided you don't pick a religion with really stupid opinions/rules, idk I could fake my way through Mormonism), and that's all you need along with being a generally nice friendly guy to have people like you at church.

Stop by and talk to the Pastor/Priest/Whatever and talk about getting involved and learning more; after you've attended services and bible studies and other events for a couple months start to share your story and people will be falling over themselves to help you, particularly in ways that also help them. Tons of rich people I know love to hire young down-on-their-luck coreligionists to help them out with around-the-house nonsense, yardwork or home maintenance or moving or shit like that and pay cash. There's also likely to be small business owners in the congregation who would love to hire a fellow parishioner, viewing them as more trustworthy both because of their faith and because they would face social opprobrium for stealing from someone else in the same church. And when you're applying for asylum, a letter from your pastor about how morally upstanding and involved you are in the community, along with a big ol' set of signatures from other church members, goes a long way.

It's also historically recommended as a great place to meet women, but don't fall into the autistic transactional view where you go to three choir practices and wonder where your fucking hot trad wife is already. You have to genuinely get involved and be involved before that's going to help you much.

B) Go to community college. Right now, today, go call your nearest community college and ask to speak to someone who can help you get started. It's so cheap as to be practical even if you aren't applying them towards a degree, if you do go to a non-elite university later you can quite likely translate at least some of the credits, it will help you get back into an academic mindset if you do go back to university, you will meet other people and have some structure to your life. Also a great place to meet women. Courses in anything will be good, courses on offer can be in anything from english to mechanics work, which can help you with a floor job. If at all practical for you I recommend:

C) Become an appliance repairman. If you're looking for a job with relatively low barriers to entry, decent pay, can be done on the side or part time if you move on to something else later, can be self-employed, and fairly recession proof, this is it. I manage a bunch of older rentals, I can't find anyone who does repairs on refrigerators/washing machines/dishwashers/stoves etc. When I can find someone, it is weeks until they can show up, and they want $150 to show up before we even see if a repair is possible, then $100+ an hour to fix it plus parts. And on top of that, most of these fuckers are ancient! Give it five years and another Corona variant, there won't be any of them left!

For most appliances, a $200 Harbor Freight toolset plus a $100 worth of odds and ends will get you through a majority of jobs. You can probably find training classes at your local community college. Appliance repair is an inferior good, demand goes up when the economy is bad because when the economy is good you'd just buy a new fridge but when inflation makes the fridge $4,000 and supply chain issues mean you won't get it for six months, you try to fix the old fridge. Once you get good at it, you can keep it up as a side hustle even if you get another "real" job or go to school (maybe just for your fellow parishioners at the church you joined? Word of mouth for this kind of thing can be huge! Lots of hustling tradesmen I know really only do friends-of-friends jobs and can't get the phone to stop ringing!).


I'm skeptical that someone with poor English really enjoys reading slatestarcodex and posting on the Motte in their free time. Nothing to do with your station in life, its the English that is a red flag.

Edit: actual advice, as a non American who didn't pull himself up by the bootstraps in America. So that everything I say with a grain of salt. But I do have a lot of relatives living in the US and Canada so I have what I think is a decent second hand idea about immigrating and starting a life in the US.

If you are on the process of getting Asylum, that is actually quite a big hurdle done with. Because whatever situation you are in now, it's better than that situation + having the sword of deportation hanging over your head. At least you can be poor, In America.

To be honest, its going to be quite difficult for you to "get your life together" on a menial job. The only option that satisfies all your constraints are that you become so good at your menial job that you get promoted to a manager or sorts, but you say that is not likely. Perhaps switch to a menial job where that is likely? Managing a fast food restaurant is the first one that comes to mind. (I'm aware this is easier said than done on a work visa)

Can you share more details on where you are from? What limitations your work permit has, etc.

Idk, it seems intuitively true to me that reading it or understanding it and being able to reproduce it are vastly different skills. In other languages I can understand more than I can reply; and even in English I can read Hemingway and understand how beautiful the writing is without being able to reproduce the same style in a new topic beyond the level of a 12th grade AP English assignment.

Though I guess maybe this is just a more esoteric troll than I am used to.

FWIW some non native speakers can understand and read and sometimes even write English perfectly without being able to speak it well. My master's degree, which I did somewhere in Europe, was in English and got a lot of international students and I've been surprised by this phenomenon a couple of times.

I remember meeting a Ukrainian guy in my program who really struggled having even a basic conversation in English when I first met him, the pronunciation and the grammar were absolutely atrocious, I figured he was going to fail the courses and wondered how he had been allowed in with such poor English. When I was trying to help him with some stuff we communicated a bit via email and to my surprise his emails were written in flawless English. He never struggled writing papers in English and got his degree without any problems (and by the end of it his conversational English was much much better).

Another example from this time was an Indian guy who I could speak with in English without any problems, but he kept making weird grammatical mistakes, both in speaking and in writing. Despite his seeming lack of English skills, he could understand complicated English in an academic context without any problems. There were some issues with poor grammar when writing papers, but again, he got his degree without too much problems.

I been a lurker for years (a little before the first exodus)

I think reading English is different than writing it. I can understand passive things like reading and hearing it, but knowing how to build a sentence or how to pronounce a word, are things I have problem doing. I didn't learn English in a formal setting like a school but mostly in the internet and living in Florida.

Your English is actually quite decent, there are many native speakers who write worse than you. Some of them significantly worse. You could 100% pass for a native speaker online if you didn't mention that you're not.

The Slime Mold guys are up to it again - this time asking people to drink large amounts of potassium chloride.. My OB thought it sounded harmless so I'm drinking about 1/8 tsp - 1/4 tsp of potassium chloride a day, though I'm not signing up for the trial as I'm pretty sure they don't want pregnant women in there. I do feel a little more energetic, we will see if that lasts or if it's just a placebo. The normal markers to assess health changes are lost to me, but I'm measuring my underbust to see if that changes over time. As a pregnant woman I am in a position where I am getting my blood pressure, heart rate, and blood samples taken regularly, so at least I'll know quickly if something isn't going well.

If potassium supplementation works, I don't know how they are going to work out their confirmation bias that it's obviously lithium causing obesity. My own assumptions regarding the obesity epidemic are that either 1) our soil is deficient in some nutrient and our body keeps telling us to eat food until we get enough or 2) it's seed oils. Potassium supplementation obviously addresses the first, for the second I wonder if potassium has an effect on ROS or oxidative stress.

On the potato diet - wouldn't that just work if there's 'something wrong with modern food that makes people want to eat more and be fat', independent of anything specific about potatoes? Or [not my guess but plausible] even if the issue is something else, maybe it's just that potatoes, when you're eating only them, are just less appealing and people eat less?

'feeling more energetic' is almost certainly just random fluctuations / placebo

Also, IIRC SMTM never replied to, pointing out many deep flaws in the lithium posts. (these aren't even the only flaws, it was an incredibly poor quality series of posts, and it was bizzare that e.g. it got a shoutout on dominic cummings' twitter)

Yes, the Potato diet thing was just to confirm that it even did anything. The Slime Mold guys seem pessimistic that anything has a long term effect on keeping weight off, so confirming that something does lose weight and keep it off would be one data point to them.

It absolutely doesn't tell them why the Potato Diet worked at all in the slightest. Hence this next step - is it a particular nutrient potatoes are high in? If this is a bust, they will undoubtedly turn to other possible causes.

It’s likely the blandness of potatoes that makes it work. It’s similar to the shangri la diet. Your effectively de coupling flavour from satiety, which means you can make better food choices far more easily with no negative cravings

I don't have time to read through the whole thing but did they have any control group for the potato diet? Eating the same thing every day in general seems like it would have an effect on calorie consumption purely by virtue of not snacking or eating for entertainment for a month.

Unrelated, but the key to understanding the global obesity epidemic probably has something to do with infant and child obesity. Something has to have gone horribly wrong in our environment if infants fed on breastmilk or formula are following the same trend as humans with agency.


Why did they stop looking at the potassium/BMI graphs after 2017? It seems like the data after that contradicts the claims presented. Such omission of data makes me more skeptical of everything else.

No control group for the potato diet, there isn't really any other food where it would be relatively safe to eat just it an nothing else for a month. They were just trying out a weird cool trick they saw online and wanted to put statistics behind it - did eating mostly potatoes for a month without restricting calories actually lose people weight? It did! They have no idea why though, the study has no way of telling why, so now they are trying other things.

Novelty and variety increasing consumption is pretty well established.

I vape nicotine on a very occasional basis. Like, three times a year I'll use it for a week or two. I find it mildly pleasant as a distraction while driving or working, like a cigar without the commitment. It seems like the writing is on the wall that at some point vape juice is going to get regulated out of existence. How long does the stuff last? I don't use a ton of it, if it lasts for a long time I'm kinda thinking I'll buy a couple more bottles to sock away in the cellar against an overactive FDA.

it's not going to happen.

I could see some harsh limitations and sin taxes being imposed ala tabaco and alcohol , but a ban?

Check in again after they ban cigarettes, then you might have to start worrying.

We already have significant movement towards banning flavors, and just banning products because they're too good at their job. It's a Baptist/bootlegger coalition: puritanical moms want to keep their kids away from anything that might be too fun, cigarette companies want to sell cigarettes not cheap vapes.

I should clarify, I'm less concerned with an outright ban of vapes, than of banning any enjoyable flavors like mints and menthols.

Given that tobacco products are legal despite being way more dangerous than vaping, I see little reason it will be regulated out of existence.

Probably won't bother then. If it gets banned, oh well, fun while it lasted. Not that interested to go through the whole process.

I'm de-facto jobless as-of this month, as my company I cofounded ceases operations. I realized I rushed too quickly into job seeking (potentially because I was seeking some validation I have value as I watch 4-5 years of work disappear into nothing), and I'm trying to back up and work a little on myself (+ spend more time with my daughter) before I start looking again.

There are a couple dimensions of my life and my health I'd like to improve, and I'm wondering if anyone here has any insight on any of them:

  • I've found myself masturbating and watching too much porn lately, probably because of more free time. I've always wanted to kick the porn habit (since I was a teenager), but have never found anything outside of momentary success. Does anyone have any advice on reasonable strategies here? I have no issues with masturbation, don't conform at all to the whole nofap nonsense, but instead have had an internally sourced (i.e. my wife knows about it and is fine with it) guilt-based relationship with porn most of my life that I think I ought to address.

  • I stopped meditating after a particularly bad retreat experience (+ increasingly painful daily sits before that), and I'd like to start-up again, but I sense a lot of inertia present as I attempt to establish a habit again.

  • Years ago, I had a really bad case of norovirus followed (a couple months later) by a skin infection that required fairly hardcore antibiotics. My gut has never been the same, I've had intermittent fatigue and diarrhea for years from it. Every single doctor I went to, early on, was judgy, unempathetic, and ultimately quite unhelpful, so I've not been back to doctors for a long time to try to figure things out. I've tried a lot of things personally but nothing has worked for longer than a couple weeks.

  • Anything anyone recommends I invest my time into with a bunch of free time? I'm running and going to the gym to lift 5-6 days a week nowadays, so I have a good exercise routine going.

Anything anyone recommends I invest my time into with a bunch of free time? I'm running and going to the gym to lift 5-6 days a week nowadays, so I have a good exercise routine going.

Do some shared project with your daughter. Create something together.

I would recommend yoga. I also had painful experiences with meditation and chronic pain generally. Feel you on doctors being dismissive and rude.

Yoga helped me learn to grow my awareness without having to sit in uncomfortable positions, and helped my pain tremendously. I found I was tensing my abdomen constantly which also played into stomach issues.

Re. Porn: Time yourself.

Decide what sounds reasonable when you are clear headed, and set a timer when you decide it's time to blow out the pipes; including search time.

If you spend an hour polishing your hog before your hog is fully polished; you might be polishing too much. Give that hog a break!

Eg; if you can't finish your manual override in 25 mins; you probably didn't need to do a little controlled hormone rebalancing and were just doing it to kill time.

25 minutes!? You realise you don't need foreplay with yourself right? I get annoyed if it takes longer than 5. As do the other people in the kfc drive thru. Unless, maybe they are cheering me on? Regardless, there would be far too much honking if I took 25 minutes.

That includes setting the scene, selecting material, and cleanup/shame recovery time. The whole sesh, if you will.

Oh hey, I cited your paper the other day: Bucklington F, "Measuring Police Response Times In A Sample of City Parks"

The judge was very impressed, but still told me to put my pants back on.

got zero hours of work done and worked out twice.

I could have lied by adding work done after sunday but that is wrong, these reports shall contain only stuff I do in the previous week's sunday and not Wednesday.

My main issue has to be not sleeping on time despite ambien, everything else trickles down from that. Ambien is super powerful so have to take that into consideration.

Sure I had school projects , family issues etc etc but excuses, good ones or bad one are still excuses.

Downvote the fuck out of comments where I do not show progress.

I did resume working out, hurts like hell, quite humbling, I lost 12 lbs or 5 kgs worth of wait but my waist is somehow smaller, quite weird.

The downvotes and negative jibes help me a ton so do not hold back.

Until Next week

How are you spending your time otherwise?

uni takes up a lot fo time and I ed up chatting with my family.

When you say work do you mean student work or do you have a job in addition to being an university?

no, just my academic work lol. The commute and classes kill me but I should sleep early (at 9 and not 12 like today lol).

Enjoy your time at university my friend. Grades don't matter as much as most think they do, and unless you're lucky a full time job will be far more demanding.

I can only be happy if I work and know I have a future ahead. Smoking in uni is quite fun tho, I look forward to doing more stuff lol.

If you haven't checked out the social deduction game, Blood on the Clocktower that a lot of folks here play, come check it out! It's basically a form of mafia/clue/secret Hitler type games but most are played with text so it's less of a commitment.

Discord link:

Edit: this should probably go in Friday fun, but socializing with silly games makes me well.

Any nicotine gum users in here? I tried some 4mg gum this past weekend for the first time (it was the first nicotine product I had ever tried), taking 1/day Saturday-Monday. On Saturday the effect was so strong I just wanted to take a nap for three hours, but after that I had a very productive afternoon. Sunday/Monday it was much more manageable and I got a lot of work done. Helped me move quickly from subtask to subtask without thinking of all the more fun things I could be doing with my time. Tuesday and today I abstained and had no withdrawal effects. I suspect this could be a very useful supplement provided I avoid addiction, my main concerns are things I've heard about how it harms tendon repair, but maybe once or twice a week while working on learning a new skill could be beneficial? Any advice/thoughts/anecdotes appreciated.

Nicotine enhances learning pre-task, and iirc weakly post-task, which contrasts with coffee ingestion which only enhances learning post-task. Personally I would try to only use nicotine within a learning context for maximum benefit, and this can be interpreted broadly. Practicing being mindful and relaxed, or gracious, can be construed as a kind of learning; learning is not just verbal cue-response retrieval.

What they used to do with nicotine is snort it or place some on the gum, and researching this I found no correlation between this intake and cancer. Lozenges and gum are absorbed slower, which may not be advantageous to targeted use in learning. Personally I would use a vape or try to find snorting tobacco.

learning pre-task

I can't find a good explanation of pre and pre-past learning anywhere, and wanted to confirm my intuitions here. Does this mean "if you take nicotine pre-task you'll have enhanced learning, and if you take it post-task you'll still get some small benefits to remembering what you did?"

For the first time, I am living in a place where air conditioning is required much of the year, at least during the day. What are some good ways to mitigate effects like dry eyes?

As someone who's suffered from dry-eye as my wife turns on the AC quite heavily at night, eyedrops can help. I found Systane eyedrops to mitigate the first few hours of dry eye when sleeping, which for me mitigates the entire thing. 8 hours of dry AC on my eyes (we sleep fairly close to the unit) versus 3-4 means it goes from an issue to a non-issue.

You can get good whole house humidifiers which are basically portable swamp coolers:

Has been a life saver since I moved to Las Vegas

Off the top of my head, a humidifier?

I've been DNing since early this year and part of it was to try and figure out if migrating seasonally would work for me. I hate hot weather so I went somewhere in northern continental Europe in July to see if it would be nice, without realizing the length of days is ridiculous. Sun would rise at 6am and set at 10pm. I can't stand the sun either. So I'm trying to figure out where the best place to spend May to September- I always assumed far north to avoid heat, but not with that sun. Southern hemisphere, I guess, but I'm not a huge fan of most of the countries there, and none of them get cold, snowy winters like I'm used to in North America as far as I'm aware. I'm looking forward to the next few months of cold weather in East Asia now.

I heard some people migrate between hemispheres to be in summer all the time