Coping: Advanced People-Watching

A report from Old Man Labs and the question about whether Food dictates what you learn, but first….

Son-in-law took off for the PNW Sunday morning, but not before giving us some fine pointers on his creatively-evolved art of “people-watching.”

Since he had a couple of 2-hour layovers in Dallas between Uretopia Ranch and Seattle-Tacoma, he explained how he was always vastly entertained.

The trick, as he explained it, is to look for something out of the ordinary and see how other people react to it. Some people will react as one block – taking “action” on what they see – while others will be “deniers” and they will try to “be cool” their way past the reality-blip.

Others will be the “obliviars.” These be the folks who you could set a pant-leg on fire and they wouldn’t notice until it got to the pocket area.

On the way down last week, he spied a water drip coming from the ceiling. A drip every couple of seconds.

One of the drips hit him, drawing his attention to it, so he decided to go “prop a wall up” and just watch reactions.

Sure enough, one man who was with his family (about five in the party) was hit on the forehead with a marvelously-timed drop. He broke off from his party, went to the nearest airline podium and proceeded to have a very animated conversation.

Mostly, people were Obliviars – oblivious to the large wet area of carpet. But there were others, the deniers, who saw, thought, and continued along dis-involved but counting for the next drip.

Fine paradigm for people in all kinds of situations, is it not?

Nice way to start the week if you find yourself with time to kill: Watch the upright apes at their nominal “work” – and classify them according to behaviors.

Come summertime, you can sort in other ways, such as sexuality levels which are advertised by clothing. And there are “geek levels” all according to what kind of phone and computer is in tow. Grand fun, and makes going to the airport fun.

Which is more than can be said for Ft. Lauderdale.

Nostracodeus – All in the Data?

Had an interesting email from chief developer guru Grady up in (frozen like Texas) Canada Friday evening:


With these words becoming hot, his email suggested:

Taking a chance on interpretation.

There will be an Iraq airport attack. people will hide from war terror. There will be fear of a shooting, Netanyahu will fight terrorists.

In Iran some people are or will be hidden. There will be war attacks, shooting and terrorism. Netanyahu and a terrorist fighting concern.

Syria people will again experience an attack and will hide from war, shooting and terror. Netanyahu will fear fighting terrorists.

The ISIS war is partially hidden. There will be shooting attacks. Netanyahu and terrorism. He will be concerned about fighting.

Israel will experience an war attack. Netanyahu will need to hide and will be fighting fear. The army will fight the terrorists.

A Saudi shooting will be hidden. Netanyahu attacks, fighting terrorism with his army and there will be concern.

Turkey will have another shooting attack. Netanyahu hides fighting terror. Turkey’s army fears fighting terrorists.

Egypt Netanyahu hidden fighting attacks. Army terrorism will fight a terrorist. Dubai will be a concern.

Lebanon Netanyahu will attack fighting. Some will hide from army terror and fight their fear. Dubai terrorists.

Israeli fighting using hidden army attacks. They will fight terrorism. Dubai terrorists killing will be a concern.

Our statistical concern now is differentiating a “terrorism” event from the more general “Middle East Mayhem” which goes on all the time.

Meanwhile, that was 7:30 PM (Texas Time) when I received the email and then along comes the Ft. Lauderdale attack.  A few hours earlier at Grady’s server.

The computational (relative word frequencies) approach to futuring is just a grand mental exercise. Not so much fun on the algos and programming side, but worth of our continued work at the Old Men Labs.

Lab Tools

Speaking of labs and such: Something you may wish to add to your armament if you have declining eyesight or just work on really small xhit: Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand for Windows, Mac, Linux (2MP, 10x-250x Magnification).

They run $35 bucks and free shipping with Amazon Prime and we love it.  Download the software for it at

Let me show you why: suppose I want to have a look at how well my left contact lens is centering over my operated eye. Ready? (Gross-out warning!):



This is actually way-cool because you can get up to 200 power out of it.  Hmmm…split eyelash ends?  Contact riding a bit off, too much salty food this week (and yes, it makes a difference…).

Oh, that black area is the pupil and that arc from lower to upper left is the edge of the contact which acts as an ‘artificial’ lens on the outside of the eye, in front of the anterior chamber lens which we have were telling you about with the four eye ops last year. And all’s well that lands well – no issues flying with 10/30 except I miss 20/15 six ways to Sunday. But that’s what instruments are for, I suppose.

USB Carding

My ham radio (Kenwood TS-590) just won’t talk to the new $150 refurb Win-10 Core-Two Disaster but with 8gb and a 1 TB drive, what do you expect?

So today I’ll be putting in a new USB-3.0 card. Let you know if that helps.  I know it has already helped the 3.0 card-maker, lol.

Soldering School

Son-in-law (47) had this really cool – almost childlike grin – when he turned on a solid-state kitchen timer he’d made and it worked right off.

Nice to see people getting into new learning.

My “soldering school” went from two twisted wires, to twisted with flux to board with no flux to board with the tiniest amount and two kinds of pencil tips.

Again, for Millennials, this is how you learn a new skill: Do the simple, harder, hardest, then repeat until you’ve built something useful. Recipes are grand.

And speaking of recipes…

Crackpot Food Theory Department

I was actually going to start with this discussion this morning, but chose not to:

I was wondering if there was any correlation between what people EAT and how they are inclined to THINK.

I don’t think I’ve read anything definitive on this, so if you find any resources, please share them in our (always interesting) Comments Section below each article.

While this didn’t apply to SOLDERING, necessarily, I was wondering if anyone had done any academic work on whether EATING the same food as the COUNTRY you might be studying, could help your perception of how things work?

Let’s say I wanted to learn Mandarin Chinese.

Would I be any better-able to learn if I were to go on a pure Chinese food-only diet before and during the learning effort?

Before you dismiss this as the same kind of bunk that phrenology is made of, back up a second or three:

Is it POSSIBLE that people’s languages evolved as they did in different parts of the world because of their DIET?

Take our Chinese Food and Chinese Language model.

Eating Italian food (which trying to learn Chinese) would produce a whole different spectra of neuro peptides and thus would change how our brain chemistry works at some very low levels.

I have noticed a lot of great – but subtle – effects from using the Light Crown (light pumping into the nervous system as photons are produced when neurons fire, as we have yada, yada, yada…) so why not something as in-your-face as FOOD?

OK, then: Let’s refine the research problem to neuro-peptide strata mapping and see if there are learning effects that have been categorized.

You know, Dead People (parents and grandparents who have escaped to No More Tax Land in the hereafter) have long held that “If you want to learn the language of a country, go there!”

Sure, a good portion of the effect are (as any Defense Language School grad will attest) attributable to the “full-immersion” in a language. You want something? You ask for it in the correct way or you don’t get it…that kind of thing. Just like real life (IRL)!

But how much of the “learning” was because of the foods eaten?

I’ve never seen much on this, but after munching on some pizza and a glass or three of Pisano wine Sunday I came to believe Sophia Loren was a beautiful woman for the ages. After Elaine, of course.

The pizza? The Wine? Or was it Memorex down in the DNA.

Get back to me on that, wouldja?
Write when you get rich,

18 thoughts on “Coping: Advanced People-Watching”

  1. George,

    You comments regarding “soldering school” brought back memories of my own Jr.-High education of the early 60’s. As you know, shop classes back then included things such as Mechanic Drawing, Printing [where we actually hand-set type and worked an old letterpress, ca 1930, by turning it’s flywheel crank], Sheet-Metal and Electronics… and few of us kids were even shaving yet!

    It was in Electronics class that I had my first adventures with rosin-core. Our “Irons” were literally that – with a handle of Maple and a solid-Copper tip that was 1″ square tapered down to a semi-point. They measured about a foot long and weighed around a pound! We heated those monsters in an exposed gas jet that would make parents [and Fire Marshalls] cringe today. Ever try to solder a delicate little joint with something like that? Let me tell you- students who mastered their use could solder damned-near anything with nothing more than a fireplace poker. I hated them with a passion, since my favorite was always the new spot-welder – but you had to be an “A” student to get to use it and I could never manage to edge past a “B-“!

    But, Boy! Could I set type and to this day can read upside down and backwards with ease! Not a terribly handy skill but an enduring one, for sure.

    • Wow!
      I still have one of those torch-heated irons and at least two of the early electric (foot long) ones with the asbestos insulated power cords (frayed of course).

  2. A lot of the homeschool families I know use food when studying other countries, cultures, and languages. Mostly younger kids, but it helps them focus and internalize what they are learning.

    • This is done a lot in American colleges when studying Chinese with native speakers. The culture has so many food references that food is a large part of the vocabulary. Both instructors and students will bring Chinese food and share it. I can’t speak for any other language/culture.

      BTW, adding ALCAR to my supplements has helped a little in trying to memorize the many pictures(characters) that are the words of the Chinese language. Without an alphabet, spelling, or phonemes attached in a predictable way to the characters, Chinese is very similar to the divergence between Heptapod A and Heptapod B. In short, there are two languages, spoken and written, overlapping only to a degree.

  3. Maybe Basis from Elysium is just a placebo vitamin but my 73 year old brain is doing much better with word retrieval and being able to focus on my task at hand. I have small cell disease in my brain (verified by Cat scan and MRI)literally holes in my head that are dead spots-rest of family have heart problems. I started this 6 months ago and plan to continue. The rest of my blood work and health is very good.

  4. Corollary to the food question, I have pondered if all the spices and neural enhancing gingers and turmeric etc. that the Chinese and Indians eat is responsible for an enhanced mental clarity amongst their elderly and therefore results in the respect that orientals seem to have for their elderly (as opposed to a general Western disdain for the aging process). I would say there is a definite correlation, but is it causal?

  5. Ah – memories of learning to solder! I learned originally from my dad(another engineer), and could respectably solder wires to a motor or other macro device. I then went to a job interview(at or around 18) and tried to get a job as a NASA level solderer. LOL! The test job was to hand solder a 100 pin round connector onto a cable full of 24 gauge wires! I truly messed it up, but was able to get another job in the company and stayed there long enough to not only earn some money, but actually learn the art of fine soldering within close quarters. Definitely worth learning!

  6. There is a lot of interest in using digestive enzymes to improve behavior and mental clarity in children diagnosed as autistic. Apparently , poor absorption influences mental capabilities. I would assume different foods are also a big influence, especially those difficult to digest.

  7. Hello, George,
    Remind me to NEVER study French culture (snails – bleeeccch!).
    Another way one can increase knowledge, skill, and learning abilities is to try ambidexterity. Just start doing some things with ‘the OTHER hand’, you’d be surprised what can be accomplished. It might also increase the activity in the corpus callosum or ‘midbrain’ which allows/conducts communication between the two brain hemispheres, thus leading to more ‘creative logic’ or ‘logical creations’, depending on how you look at it. Personally, I have become ambidextrous/right hand dominant, through years of ‘backyard’ car repair where sometimes, the right hand isn’t the ‘right’ hand for the job.


  8. Don’t know about learning but have noted that vegetarians appear to be extremely quiescent. Another idea that helps to stem public disorder?

    • quiescent????….learn the meaning of 10$ words before you use them to impress yourself….they are neither inactive nor dormant….docile ,maybe….sheesh….

  9. I really like your anology of Mandarian Chinese and food related to language. I’m currently living, working, and teaching in a Chinese university in Zhengzhou, China, and eat Chinese food everyday, with the occasional stop-over in a western themed restuarant for special occasions. However, eating Chinese food everyday has yet to help me grasp the Chinese language in any way. I know maybe 10 to 15 words but still point and grunt to the things I want when shopping or going out. German is my second language as I lived in Germany for 18 years (I’m a retired AF Chief Master Sergeant by the way). Eating German food didn’t help me learn German any better than what I cooked at home. Nope, being immersed in the culture was how I perfected my language skills. By the way, learning English in China is mandatory from primary school into university.

    • and as the great wheel turns, had Clinton won, we’d all be learning Spanish in k-12 lol

      Can anyone spell subversion?

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