In which I ramble on a bit (again) from GoFundMe to Facebook to Social Media

I’m an Australian creator of a GoFundMe for a long-term friend from the USA who is in a coma in hospital in Thailand. The GoFundMe is for his international friends to send funds to the hospital for his treatment and for his dependent family.

Joe’s difficulties in being 70 were known to us. He has been frustrated for a long time in trying to receive his pension by cheque from the USA, unaware he needed to give the pension fund his bank details to receive direct credit of his pension payments.  He had nearly sorted this change out.

Areas that can affect crowdfunding a smooth GoFundMe campaign:

The intricacies of nationality, proof of identity, borders, healthcare, insurance, pension payments, bank technology protocols, international anti-money-laundering laws, online scams, time zones, methods and availability of communication methods, local business working days and time zones, IT support staff availability and support request loads, individual familiarity with use of technology.

➡️Too long; didn’t read?⁉️
But we are are a step further in our journey of being there for Joe when he really needs us.

 

When my latest GoFundMe update appeared on my Facebook feed was this notice above it from Facebook:

Ask your community for support
When you need to raise money for something or someone important to you, your friends can help. Create a fundraiser on Facebook in a few quick steps.
[name] [name] and 111 other friends have donated through Facebook.
Raise Money

I’ve used Facebook fundraisers, but I also know many Americans who are (also statistically the greatest national demographic) unlikely to trust Facebook.

Similarly, I see many people in Australia and online who do not trust what they dismiss as Social Media.

My theory:

Americans partly wanted to be special when they opened Facebook accounts in around 2009.

In 2009 Facebook was a very different beast.

By around 2012 all your friends in high income countries had seen when you’d added a friend and pounced to add them, and new users were bombarded with requests from “friendly” strangers. Facebook became a frenzied Availability Cascade of competing Friend Count tallies.

So they thought they were different by not using it any more.

I’ll mention some stuff that might change how some of us living in or near their birthplace might be used to thinking.

In 2019 I’ve seen a livestream of Mark Zuckerberg in a discussion with leaders in future human medical technology and nanotechnology

During the discussion, there was a very fast-moving flow of comments being posted by people with names most likely from India and Asia, all saying how much they love Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook and how it’s helped them and their families.

Fast forward a bit, I watched Eliud Kipchoge and the Nike team live on YouTube as they broke the 2 hour barrier for a man’s marathon running record.

During that livestream, another very-fast flow of supportive and enthusiastic comments were being posted by people with names of African origin.

A couple of days ago, I saw the latest video on Facebook from the World Economic Forum.

Estonia is now 4th in the world for child education standards.

Yesterday, I joined up to check out a Google Cloud live session of broadcasts on IT, AI, Cloud Computing, etc.

Most of the experts presenting had Asian names.

It occurs to me that this sort of global visibility and transparency can seem incongruous to people who didn’t learn about it before 2010, have avoided it since, or haven’t known how to look for it on what is often dismissed as Social Media.

Yet we still have transparency issues with transmitting and remitting help where we need it.

Going Vegan

I was vegetarian from 1988-2000 but quite often had to eat fish or chicken just to ‘keep the peace’. Meals can be like warzones. I never liked eating meat.
My dad became a jackaroo after WW2, and saved up to buy his own farmland.

He hated having to kill animals to “feed the family”, and would put it off as long as possible.

He was not a Muslim, if that’s relevant, but I watched him pray for a sheep before he killed it when I was about 4.

I have retained vivid pictures of the blood from its neck spreading on the shearing shed floor, and a while later, the thick flow of green grass liquid contents of its stomach when it was slit outside on the ground.


Dad’s father fled the UK because he didn’t want to take on the family business as a butcher.

My theory now is that no-one likes killing and/or eating animals, but they don’t want to be vegan because they don’t want to have the problems of being vegan caused by people forcing them to eat meat.

They bully each other into bullying each other. Circular bullying!

[Insert another long ramble about 7 in my family all recently realising all 7 of us can’t tolerate dairy, along with the currently known 65% of the world’s people.]

 

I’ve now been eating vegan food for 2 weeks.

Well, not counting the last of the lactose-free yoghurt I realised was still causing issues so it’s not just a lactose intolerance.

Instead I have my breakfast include yoghurt made from coconut milk.

I may have had some things which say on the label, “Prepared in an environment that also prepares food containing meat, dairy, egg” or whatever”, or “May contain traces of xxxx”.

I’m not a homeopathic vegan. 😀

But the amount of food I need to buy in packages is far, far less.

And I can eat and graze all day, and always feel full.

In fact, I lost 35 kg about 5 years ago by counting/logging kilojoules in my food using My Fitness Pal (app and website).

I’ve stayed within my goal weight range ever since.

However, this week, my moving average daily weight has dropped 2 kg.

Possibly largely a drop in stress hormones (not just from the worry about having to say I don’t want meat) but also, a healthier digestive system.

Instead of having to usually keep an eye to stay at my daily/weekly kilojoule limit, I’ve been a bit at a loss of what else I feel like so I get enough kilojoule intake – despite having plenty of energy.

Avocado, and also and nut (pistachio, almond, peanut today) butters to the rescue!

Also been grabbing some pecans and cashews.

Do you know how many calories are in those? Those were things I’d have to ration out if I wanted to keep some kilojoules for some chocolate or some sort of fries or crumbed fish.

30 grams of nuts was like a weekly treat the day I’d had a long Sunday run.

Nuts are soo good for you. They lower bad cholesterol by raising good cholesterol, and all that crap.

They fill you up, they’re a bit oily so they don’t need sugar or added fat, and they’re fun to munch.

Note, I sometimes use the words “calories” and “kilojoules” interchangeably – in language, not logging food. 😀 Not recommending that!

Eating this way, and knowing a lot about kilojoule content in food, I know I can eat whatever makes me feel good and I am very satisfied.

Feels good.

 

Any onmivores, vegetarians or transitionists thinking of making changes, and if so, what have you got in mind to try?

Greta Thunberg, Fridays for Future, Art, and this global Systems Change planetary system we’re in

Inequality is when you are left to clean up the mess at the party for US$15 an hour.

A collective of indigenous Australian corporations are allowing a new highly-protested coal mine (the Carmichael coal mine proposed by Adani Mining) to have a lease on their native lands.

The Native Title land leasing system was created to give indigenous Australians some income for compensation for being displaced from their land by Colonialism.

Are GenZ and the dispossessed supposed to live in cardboard boxes, never fly in a plane, and be malnutritioned so as not to take anything from those who live in prosperity?

Are we all “guilty of the sins of our fathers”?

If critics expect Thunberg to walk on water, are they also going to do the same?

‘”Saudi Arabia recognises this threat to its economy. An old quote from the Saudi oil minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani, paints the situation clearly: “The stone age did not end because the world ran out of stones, and the oil age will not end because we run out of oil.’” – Jacob Brown, via World Economic Forum

 

Some critics think Thunberg should still be in school.

What school could teach her the enormous things she is learning and in turn, is teaching us?

I say that as a lifelong artist and student of Art.

Call it a performance if you like, a publicity stunt, or a religious pilgrimage. I call it Art.

There hasn’t been anything like this before.

Robert Hughes wrote an influential book about the history of Art – The Shock of the New.  This is shocking, and this is new.

I don’t mean Thunberg on her own. I mean all the Fridays For Future protesters who don’t get the media attention she gets but who Thunberg is connected to, and who we can see are connected to our countries, our friends, and to us.

 

I was talking to a friend today who’s just earned her BA in Teaching. We spoke about our favourite teachers, and how at 16 we were horrible to our teachers, but we had teachers who actually encouraged us to see the faults in things and to think for ourselves.

We had a Canadian teacher teach us English Literature in high school. Once he let us play outside in the snow (it was the only time in 40 years we’ve had snow on the ground in that town here in Australia. Another day in 1984 we compared the Jimi Hendrix version of All Along the Watchtower to Bob Dylan’s original. One day he took us on a walk around the school, and I remember we looked at the sunlight coming through the stained glass window in the entrance hall, and we also looked at the boys’ toilets (he got in trouble for that). I also remember one girl independently didn’t go in like we were possibly supposed to. Nobody was wrong.

Our most memorable teachers were not afraid of “being wrong”, because they knew that’s not the end of the world. That’s how we learn new ways.

Do any critics have a better annual curriculum for Thunberg and Fridays For Future protesters than this global systems change planetary system we are in, when the world is trying to be her teacher and/or student?

Because it’s literally the end of the world if we don’t all learn new ways from what’s happening.

We’re all learning from each other.

 

What new ways are you learning?

 

You might like to read An Adaptive Spiral about individual health systems change or We are all transitioning.

The long goal

I’ve had some big lows this year, due to battling certain powers that be, so I’ve cut back my very long distance running. The brainpower use and related insomnia was exhausting. My last 30 km plus run was early in the year. But running a few 5 km -10 km runs a week has been sustainable, and kept me my balance.

We had an amazing speaker at our run club social night who ran Top 40 in the world in the marathon at Doha in the world championships in October.

He talked about his run club, which includes an Olympic Marathon medal winner, and about how so many runners accelerate their training too quickly, and how football lifestyle involves too much drinking and not enough training.

The former footballer, now elite marathoner said to focus on the long goal, of running regularly and sustainably with your run club mates for years and years, to stay healthy.

This helps with recognising when to take breaks and ward off impending chronic injuries.

I’m not saying this is going to get us to the world championships too!

It makes me treasure the love of running, our run club, my running friendships, and my positivity. I’d rather have these things than medals any day.

We are all transitioning. Extinction Rebellion, Circular Economy, and Sustainable Development

We have the road map for what we need to do to avert irreversible global warming: The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

sdg2030

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation are leaders in Circular Economy.

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/

 

Jeremy Riffkin guided and worked with Angela Merkel and President Li of China to help set their Circular Economy policies in place.

 

circular economy, extinction rebellion, david suzuki, climate emergency, linear economy, australia, recycling, transition, climate action,

There’s a good term for what many of us are now:

 

Transitionists.

 

We’ve already transitioned from all fossil fuel energy.

We can’t just stop using oil or coal suddenly, or there would be energy shortages, and that could risk lives.

We’re transitioning from mainly fossil fuels to mainly renewables.

We’re building more renewable energy sources, and less non-renewable power plants.

We’re also transitioning from eating too much meat to eating more plants and less meat.

Two years and hundreds of scientists have produced the EAT Lancet Commission, which sets out the flexible and enjoyable Planetary Health Diet which will feed the predicted population of 10 billion healthy people sustainably in 2050.

 

We’re planting many more trees and chopping down less old growth.

(Pet tip: You can use the Ecosia Chrome extension/browser that uses ad revenue to fund reforestation projects.)

 

We’ve transitioned from mass over-consumption and landfill waste to recycling more and more plastics and developing compostable and fully-recyclable products.

 

Slow Fashion Collective and Fashion Revolution have made a huge impact upon ending Fast Fashion in the global fashion industry and have been improving factory conditions and transparency in China and worldwide.

 

I’ve always been annoyed about Big Organic’s over-inflated health claims, but I’m now resigned to the fact that conventional agriculture is almost indistinguishable from it in supermarkets, as conventional agriculture has done things like reduced the use of all-feedlot lifespan of animals.

 

But I’m against buying anything labelled “GMO-Free”, because plant biotechnology is one of the ways we can safely improve yields and feed 10 billion people in 2050.

 

Some peole think the Extinction Rebellion protesters go too far, by bringing big ceramic sinks to the city, and chaining themselves to Land Rovers.

 

Recently, I met a philanthropic Eritrean who told me about people desperately escaping government violence in East Africa by killing soldiers, stealing their guns, and using them to get across borders to help from outside.

 

If Extinction Rebellion and privileged people in privileged countries protest dramatically (but peacefully), we tell the powerful, corrupt, the leaders, and the most-privileged to realise their exploitation is what causes civil war and economic disasters.

99% of the world wants fairness; less exploitation.

 

Change is hard.

 

Some speak as if it’s easier for themselves to have one fixed idea and deny that any change is required.

 

It’s hard to learn the many multitudes of ways we each can change more and destroy the planet less.

 

But change is happening everywhere.

 

Often, I’ve thought, X political organisation should be doing B.

 

Then I do a search online, and find they’re already implementing those plans.

 

Government is not just the current elected party member and their soundbites.

It’s the public servants and contractors who are held accountable too, and who are our friends and/or neighbours.

 

Government is us, and our vote.

 

Our vote is also our note – what we buy with our currencies are statistics towards what is acceptable to produce. What we do and say and eat and wear and use all influence the market.

 

In 1986, I first heard about about greenhouse gases, the hole in the ozone layer, the loss of native habitat and species, etc.

My father and I were sitting at the kitchen table and ABC Radio was on. I was home for the holidays from university, and doing some drawing.

David Suzuki was talking about the tonnes of glass and plastic bottles going into landfill.

My father sat there, elbows on the table, with his hands over his eyes and face.

I’d never seen him do anything like that. It brings tears to my eyes and lump to my throat every time I remember that day in 1986.

We first started recycling (which was newspaper) in 1988 in Melbourne. Our first kerbside recycling bins appeared in 1989.

I have never gone for my drivers licence since hearing David Suzuki in 1986.

I’ve been using public transport and walking when I need to go somewhere on my own.

Dad was 19 years older than Mum, and he died in 1997.

He never lived to see the big changes.

Change began in small increments.  But change is exponential.

It’s taken so long to transition to what we’re doing now.

Extinction Rebellion are making people talk, think, and act.

As Greta Thunberg said in New York, “Once we start to act, hope is everywhere”.

 

As Eliud Kipchoge said in Vienna, “Together we can make the world a peaceful place.”

nature, systems, biology, genetics, weight, evolution, efficiency

We’ve become too efficient at feeding ourselves

Obesity, its causes, and solutions are not a soundbite or two.

We’ve evolved to what we are today because of improvements in efficiency.

We are so efficient now at producing food, we waste 30% of it globally.

It’s so easy to feed ourselves, we need to go against our genetics and do things with the sole purpose of removing excess food stores.

Biologically, we want to do things the quickest, simplest way.

Hence fad diets, extreme diets.

Hence arguments about the one cause or cure of obesity.

As Nobel Prize winner, economist and psychologist Daniel Kahnemann’s many studies show, the very act of thinking hard in itself depletes us of energy.

We want a quick fix, like our quick reactions in simply running from bears or hunting them.

Our bodies including the brain organ don’t like expending energy we will then have to replenish.

In the 12,000 years since we started farming, we have grown taller, and are now living longer, becoming more obese, but it’s not obvious we have evolved in such a short time.

Instead, though, our knowledge has grown.

It’s up to us to use the collective knowledge of our tribe to help each other make learning easier, buying the right food easier, and to help make regulating our weight easier to do and understand.

It’s up to us to stop insisting on extremist, over-simplified, and/or fad approaches that we can’t sustain long enough to make all the required changes.

drinking alcohol in moderation

Can’t moderate? Blame alcohol, not yourself.

601 days alcohol-free.
$3,435 saved ($40 a week).
Last drank on January 31 2018.

(Stats from my Nomo app data.)

I don’t miss it. Alcohol doesn’t seem comforting or pleasurable to me like some people think it is for them (or the advertisements make us want to believe).

I don’t just look at the buzz and high of the first hour or two.

I see all the guilt, regret, anxiety, expense, conflicting thoughts, desperation, sickness, insomnia.

Douglas Adams wrote a book entitled, “The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul”. To me, that phrase can describe when the sun is nearly over the yardarm and you want to start drinking to stop the worry and stop feeling crappy about everything – to get a quick buzz like a rat in a science experiment in the 1940s.

That’s alcohol. That’s the result of chemical effects the day after you drank (again).

It’s not your fault you can’t moderate. Totally not your fault.

Alcohol is to blame.

It’s lovely to NOT drink. Not to desperately reach for a fake high that messes up your already borked chemistry.

It’s lovely to look forward to feeling tired in the evening and ready for rest and relaxation.

Evolutionary psychology, dieting, hormones, exercise, and injuries

Ideas emerging from the aethers. Been learning bits about evolutionary psychology.

As well as leptin and ghrelin, other hormones seem to affect hunger. e.g. women need more energy intake during certain times in a cycle. (re Lyle McDonald.)
PMS is worse if you’re not eating enough.

Running and exercise help with stress and burning off our fight/flight instincts when most of us have desk or indoor jobs that can be very stressful. But too much intense exercise increases stress (adrenaline and cortisol).

I’ve suspected for a while that testosterone compels men to continually compete and overdo it when they exercise. It’s certainly pretty bad for women comparing ourselves to others in the gene pool. And social media and technology’s effects on top causing us to want to look more awesome than the next person.

I have more I could say about this all leading to injuries, and un-sustainability in fitness.

Dopamine and serotonin can also be nice happy comfortable influences that make competitiveness less important and make us want to be happy just being with our tribe around our campfire safe from wild animals.

I guess these hormones can also be part of the reason people want to stick to a diet their peers prefer.

Leptin and its role in metabolism

The 1994 discovery of the hormone Leptin has led to exponential incremental scientific discoveries and now its role (in obesity in particular) is becoming more widely known.
“Jeffrey M. Friedman, whose [1994] discovery of the hormone leptin has transformed our understanding of obesity, will be a 2020 recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He is being honored for his discovery of a new endocrine system through which adipose tissue signals the brain to regulate food intake. Friedman is the Marilyn M. Simpson Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
“The relatively new Breakthrough Prize, with its accompanying $3 million award, is the most generous prize in the sciences, and recognizes achievements in the life sciences, fundamental physics, and mathematics. The prize was established eight years ago by several Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs, including the founders of Google, Facebook, and 23andMe.
“Friedman’s 1994 discovery of leptin, and of its receptor in the brain encoded by the obese gene, shed new light on the pathogenesis of obesity. He and his colleagues have since shown that leptin acts on sets of neurons in brain centers that regulate food intake and energy expenditure, and has powerful effects on reproduction, metabolism, other endocrine systems, and immune function.”
 
Jeffrey M. Friedman’s latest Nature article:
Leptin and the endocrine control of energy balance.” – Jeffrey M. Friedman, Nature, August 29, 2019.
(pdf download available.)
 
I’ll add that leptin research is not limited to leptin deficiency.
There is work being done on how leptin (satiety hormone) and ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels can be altered by diet in beneficial and harmful ways.

About Me

I had 15 minutes of fame from my “before/after” photo from my first year of running.

A Year of Running

10 October 2015 to 22 September 2016

It was featured in a story about me in the parkrun Australia newsletter.

The photo garnered an article in The Telegraph, UK.

It had 1,400+ likes on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Group One Year of Running.

My Imgur photo made “Viral” status and had nearly 200,000 views

It was posted on Reddit and had 10,000 points and 381 comments.

I lost 36 kg (80 lb) between April 2015 and April 2016 by eating whatever I felt like (in moderation) within my calorie limit, using the free My Fitness Pal app.

I had started feeling better and better after quitting smoking cigarettes cold turkey in May 2014 and have just kept going. In 2015 I started walking a bit more every day.

On 22 September 2015 I suddenly felt the urge to run for the first time in 30 years.  2 weeks later, I started doing parkrun on Saturdays when it started in my town and I have only missed parkrun 3 times since then. #loveparkrun

I ran 50 km in 6 hours on 10 June 2018.
Along the way, these are the goals I’ve made and completed:

Raise money for cerebral palsy and walk 10,000 steps a day for Steptember 2015.
Run 5 km. 5 December 2015.
Run 10 km. 6 March 2016.
Run 15 km by end of June 2016. 27 March 2016.
Run 5 km in under 30 minutes. 9 April 2016.
30 Day Planking Challenge. May 2016.
Run a half marathon. 26 June 2016.
Run 100 miles in August 2016. Done by 22 August 2016.
Run 1,000 km in 2016. Done by 27 August 2016.
Walk 35 km on 23 October 2016.
Run 100 miles in October 2016.
Run 10 km in under 55 minutes. 8 Jan 2017.
Run 30 km. Done 24 March 2017.
Walk 50 km on 6 May 2017.
Hike 80 km in 2 days. 10-11 June 2017.
Run my first marathon in my year of turning 50. Sunday 27 August 2017.
Run my 100th parkrun. 17 February 2018.
Run a half marathon run (or further) every month for a year. July 2017 to June 2018.
Run a 50 km run in 2018. Sunday 10 June 2018.
Hold a handstand for 10 seconds. 17 June 2018.
Draw every day for Inktober 2018.
No-Spend November, 2018.
Get onto the parkrun Australia Most Events List by running a parkrun at 20 different locations without driving or ever having gone for my licence. December 2018.

See how far I could walk on Boxing Day 2018. 51km!
Ran 2019 km in 2019.
1 year alcohol-free January 31, 2019.
Ran at least one 21.1 km run (or longer) every month for 2 years. 28 June 2019.

Writing all this is a reminder to myself that goals are achieved by making a little effort every day.

Don’t wait around for motivation. Just do it.

Challenge your thoughts.

Don’t believe everything you think.

Zenmode.org was started 20 June 2018.

“About Me” updated 15 September 2019.

 

Addition for a more complete picture:

  • I was founder, owner, and administrator of The Australasian Skeptics Forum.
  • I’ve studied at The University of Melbourne, and Deakin University.
  • I studied painting and drawing under Howard Arkley and Christine Johnston.
  • I’ve worked for local, state, and federal government in Arts, Environment, and Law.
  • I’ve managed bookshops and currently work in finance.
  • Zenmode post “Less Alcohol” was featured in an Australian Department of Health newsletter in April 2019.