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Daily Archives: September 12, 2022

In Pictures: Fyn Restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa

Contemporary Japanese Cuisine with South African Produce

No.37 of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022

Infographic: The Periodic Table of Endangered Elements

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Visual Capitalist

Are Big Breakfasts Really the Key to ​Weight Loss?

Dieters who believe that eating a big breakfast followed by a small dinner is the surest way to lose weight will likely be very disappointed by the findings of a new, small study.

What did the researchers discover? Eating the largest meal early in the day is unlikely to make any difference.

“The notion of timing of eating to influence health has been around for a long time,” said study author Alexandra Johnstone, a registered nutritionist and professor in the school of medicine, medical sciences and nutrition with the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Johnstone acknowledged that the advice to “breakfast like a king and dine like a pauper” has plenty of adherents.

And prior research has in fact “suggested that eating earlier in the day enhanced weight loss, affecting energy metabolism, compared to eating later in the day,” she noted.

Still, “chrono-nutrition” — the relationship between food intake and time of day — “is a relatively young science,” Johnstone cautioned.

To try to separate myth from fact, she and her colleagues decided to conduct a diet test involving 16 men and 14 women. For a month, each participant was randomly assigned to follow a morning-heavy diet or an evening-heavy diet, the study authors explained.

All meals were based on a 30% protein, 35% carbs and 35% fat breakdown, while total daily calorie intake was fixed.

But those on the morning-heavy diet consumed 45% of their daily calories at breakfast, followed by 35% and 20% at lunch and dinner, respectively.

In contrast, those on the evening-heavy diet followed a 20%, 35% and 45% daily calorie split.

At the end of the month, all participants took a one-week break, which was then followed by a switch: for the following month all the morning-heavy eaters became evening-heavy eaters, and vice versa.

The result: “We found weight loss was similar with both diets,” Johnstone said.

All participants did lose a notable amount of weight, with an average loss of about 7 pounds during each of the one-month periods. It’s just that neither dietary pattern prompted more weight loss.

However, Johnstone and her colleagues did identify one big difference between the two styles of eating: diminished hunger among those on the morning-heavy diet.

While “there was no impact on energy expenditure,” she noted, “there was a positive influence of big breakfast to control appetite throughout the day, with less hunger.”

And that could give a morning-heavy diet a leg up in the long run, she said.

“Hunger is one of the main reasons that people fail to comply to a weight-loss or calorie-restricted diet,” said Johnstone. “So if we have diet strategies that can help control hunger, then it would be beneficial in the real world.”

Johnstone and her team also stressed that there is unlikely to be a one-size-fits-all approach to how dietary planning affects metabolism. Yet broadly speaking, “our work suggests that the distribution of calories throughout the day does not influence energy metabolism or weight loss,” she said.

The findings were published online in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Connie Diekman is a food and nutrition consultant, sports dietician and former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Though not involved in the study, she said that while the findings didn’t surprise her, the challenge with this kind of analysis “is that no human body functions in the exact same way as another.”

“But as a registered dietician, I suggest two things to clients,” Diekman added. “One, enjoy a meal within one hour of getting up to help bring blood sugar up from the overnight low level. For that meal, try to enjoy some protein and some carbohydrate, to not only help raise the blood sugar but to possibly keep the blood sugar up for a few hours. And number two, fuel the body every three to four hours, to avoid excessive drops in blood sugar, which can lead to overeating,” she said.

Source: HealthDay

Chart: The World’s Most Liveable Cities

Source : Statista

The Attention Span. “Where Do Ideas Come From?”

The James Webb telescope recently captured the world’s attention with the first remarkable images sent back from one and a half million kilometers away. The viral “deep field” image is filled with an incomprehensible number of galaxies. The longer they focused the telescope on a tiny area, the more galaxies slowly appeared in places that were previously assumed to be empty voids.

If you’re on the beach today, try taking a grain of sand and holding it up to the sky at arms-length between thumb and forefinger. That’s the tiny area represented by the deep field image. Now imagine how long it would take to cover the entire sky. The world we inhabit also has an effectively infinite number of directions you can point an analytical telescope. So many in fact that endless trial and error is mathematically unlikely to have produced the kind of human progress seen over the last few hundred years.

This is where the role of “imagination” is so important. In this context, imagination doesn’t mean made-up fantasies about goblins and wizards, but the ability to conceive of things that might exist. As Richard Feynman put it perfectly:

“Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.”

Humans can formulate imaginative questions, then conduct experiments to see if they are right.

Smart Humans and Dumb Computers.

In markets, the short-term is increasingly dominated by a dwindling number of incomprehensibly sophisticated quants and institutions. For the rest of us, this requires longer time horizons and a greater reliance on imagination to find the legendary “variant perception.”

Investor Bruce Kovner ran Caxton Associates for 28 years, averaging a stunning 21% a year with only a single down year. In a Market Wizards interview, Kovner explained the application of imagination to his investing style:

“I try to form many different mental pictures of what the world should be like and wait for one of them to be confirmed. You keep trying them one at a time. Inevitably, most of these pictures will turn out to be wrong – that is, only a few elements of the picture may prove correct. But then, all of a sudden, you will find that in one picture, nine out of 10 elements click. That scenario then becomes your image of world reality.”
If you correctly anticipate that a company will nail a dramatic shift in strategy, it’s much easier to know that your successful investment was due to skill than luck. That makes your process more repeatable. These insights can also be unusually profitable, as Warren Buffett has noted:

“Interestingly enough, although I consider myself to be primarily in the quantitative school… the really sensational ideas I have had over the years have been heavily weighted toward the qualitative side where I have had a ‘high probability insight.’ This is what causes the cash register to really sing.”
Despite the endless hype, artificial intelligence (A.I.) has been unable to determine what is meaningful, where to point the telescope, or what imaginative questions to ask. As Picasso put it “computers are useless, they can give us only answers.”

The same is true in business strategy. As writer Byrne Hobart recently noted, high-functioning organizations can’t make their most important decisions with data, “because the more pivotal the choice is, the less data you have.” Business strategy professor Teppo Felin recently wrote an exceptional article (below) illustrating precisely this point:

“In all, my central concern is that the current obsession with human blindness and bias – endemic to behavioural economics and much of the cognitive, psychological, and computational sciences – has caused scientists themselves to be blind to the more generative and creative aspects of human nature and the mind. Yes, humans do indeed miss many ‘obvious’ things, appearing to be blind, as Kahneman and others argue. But not everything that is obvious is relevant and meaningful. Thus human blindness could be seen as a feature, not a bug.

Humans do a remarkable job of generating questions, expectations, hypotheses, and theories that direct their awareness and attention toward what is relevant, useful, and novel. And it is these – generative and creative – qualities of the human mind that deserve further attention. After all, these and related aspects of mind are surely responsible for the significant creativity, technological advances, innovation and large-scale flourishing that we readily observe around us.”

We spend too much time cleaning the lens of the telescope rather than working out if it’s even pointing in the right place. And that’s by far the more interesting idea.

Practical Tips.

Aside from the rather unhelpful suggestion to “be more imaginative,” what are the practical applications of this idea? While following my own curiosity, I stumbled on a stunningly good EconTalk podcast with three-time CEO and six-time author Margaret Heffernan (below). Her book Unchartered is all about navigating uncertainty and conducting imaginative experiments. This is creating data where none exists. Like Kovner, she argues that considering future scenarios is obviously crucial, but in a slightly counterintuitive way:

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about scenario planning. One is that it’s about coming up with different views of the future and then choosing one… And that’s not what it’s about. It’s really about coming up with a number of different scenarios of the future and then interrogating each one and saying, ‘Okay, if Scenario One were to come true, what would I wish I had been doing right now in order to put myself in a stronger position for that eventuality?’ And similarly, with Scenario Two, Three, and Four. And so, what it really is at its best at is surfacing choices, options, and alternatives.”

This also has an interesting application to business and investing. It’s important to work backwards from future forecasts to the present day. Self-driving cars were so overhyped because the end state was easily imaginable. But the stepping stones required to get there have been so blurry that it’s still not certain if we’ll ever get all the way there. Y Combinator’s Paul Graham describes visionaries as living in the future, and building what’s missing today. To know what’s missing in the future, you need to have an exceptionally clear view of the present.

As obviously pleases me, Heffernan repeatedly emphasizes the importance of paying close attention to the world around you in the present. Better current ingredients allow you to synthesize an accurate recipe for the future. Heffernan makes a resonant point about artists:

“When I worked in broadcasting, I had a huge pleasure of working with a lot of really outstanding artists–writers, playwrights, actors, musicians, visual artists. And, I started noticing lots of things about them. One of them was that quite a lot of them were fantastically good at doing something today that ended up being exactly what people wanted two to three years hence. And I was just constantly puzzling how they did that. And it wasn’t about prediction. It was: They were fantastic sense-makers, and they generally wandered around- is really the simple answer. Which is: they really paid attention to where they were and what people were thinking and what different things they saw change. And they were constantly mulling over this and thinking, ‘What does it mean? What does it mean? What’s on people’s nerve endings?’ You know. And they necessarily lived in a context of uncertainty. They didn’t know if they were going to make enough money to live on this year. They didn’t know when they started a work, whether it would be finishable, if it would be any good, if the public would like it. They weren’t kind of trying to game the system. They weren’t trying to please the market… they had a tremendous sense of agency and a desire to make something meaningful. So, they were constantly thinking about, ‘What does this mean? What does this mean? What does this mean?’”

As Kovner, Buffett, and a great many other legendary investors have described, these nagging questions can suddenly snap together to create a “high quality insight.” And this is where we return to one of the biggest themes of my work. Questions we can’t stop thinking about reflect intuitions and something that has literally grabbed our attention. Intuition and imagination tell us where to point the telescope.

So…. Where do Ideas Come From?

Space is filled with black holes that exert such a strong gravitational pull not even light can escape. Our attention also seems drawn to “attractors” that pull us toward higher evolutionary fitness. Like black holes, we can only perceive them through their effects. If that sounds outlandish, ask yourself how much control you have over things you’re interested in? Why do certain questions nag at you?

In short, it seems we are drawn to things that most exemplify the characteristics of life itself. Life attracts life. Curiosity has a conversational relationship with reality. You get cues, coincidences, and a felt-sense of meaning when you’re on the right path. I suspect this force is currently gaining strength, and operating on a broad societal level. Future Thinker Euvie Ivanova has noticed the same thing.

“Among those who study the future, and in particular those in the fields of complexity theory and existential risk, there has been a lot of talk of a “strange attractor” from the future that is pulling many of us towards it.
The prophets are trying to predict and describe the thing, the complexity theorists are trying to map and measure the thing, and the savvy speculators are no doubt already placing their bets on the thing.”
If you want to predict the future, pay close attention to the direction society’s curiosity is being pulled today.

Strangely enough, Rebel Wisdom did a 2-part series with Daniel Schmachtenberger (after I wrote this) on the potential nature of this “third attractor.” I’ve also written about how this “bridge” is likely a colossal business and investment opportunity, hopefully one that is pursued ethically.

How this evolves within the current economic and technological landscape is yet to be determined. But it’s a question that’s interesting and a future that’s exciting to imagine.

People don’t have ideas, ideas have people. – Carl Jung

Source : The KCP Group