Saturday, 21 April 2012

Use 'em or lose 'em, Part 2.

I'm talking about your brain(s). Last year, I became depressed for several months for personal reasons that I won't go into. On December 8th 2011, something happened and the depression went away in an instant.

Unfortunately, several months of lying around doing very little had turned my brain to stodge. I tentatively resumed blogging in January 2012.

I find that the more I use my brain, the better it works, the more I can remember and the more I want to use it.

On the minus side, I find that I'm more impatient than I used to be. I'm now quite intolerant of, erm, f***wits on the roads and on the internets. Don't mention Giant Pandas!

Friday, 20 April 2012

How eating sugar & starch can lower your insulin needs.

This is a bookmarking post. Jason Sandeman is a chef who had a couple of web-sites at Well Done Chef! and Jason Sandeman — Real Food For Your Life. He has Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA), which has resulted in a total loss of his pancreatic beta cells which means that he has to inject insulin.

Now, it's generally believed in low-carb circles (and by myself) that people with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) should minimise their intake of sugary & starchy carbohydrates as these promote wild fluctuations in blood glucose. See The problem with Diabetes.

Jason wrote the following comment on Richard Nikoley's blog. The relevant part is as follows:-
"Even more weird – now that I have introduced the starches into the diet – I have actually got better control now. I thought my insulin needs would go up – but they haven’t. They’ve gone down."

To which I replied:-"How about this for an explanation? You now have a well-controlled glucose input to your circulation via diet, which has suppressed the poorly-controlled glucose input to your circulation via hepatic glucose production."

Hepatic glucose production (HGP) is increased by Glucagon, Cortisol & Adrenaline/Epinephrine. These are secreted as blood glucose level falls below certain values in order to keep our brains alive. See Blood Glucose, Insulin & Diabetes.

As keeping our brains alive is rather important (!), the mechanism is fairly crude in operation and blood glucose can overshoot in a positive direction, as a bit of glycation is less harmful than brain death. See "Funny turns": What they aren't and what they might be. Hyperglycaemia requires insulin to lower blood glucose back to the normal range.

Therefore, eating some (but not too much) sugar & starch can result in lower blood glucose level and lower insulin secretion. Eating fibre/fiber (a carbohydrate) is also good for keeping blood glucose low, as only just mentioned in Fiber and Insulin Sensitivity. Ain't the human body weird?"

Fiber and Insulin Sensitivity.

Bluddy Americans. It's Fibre! But anyway....

Stabby the Raccoon posted the following study in a comment on CarbSane's blog. I thought that it was so interesting that I am linking to it here.

Fiber and Insulin Sensitivity.

This study has built-in cognitive dissonance.

The first Fig. suggests that cereal fibre is associated with a much lower RR for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and that fruit & veggie fibre aren't.

Schulze et al. 2007: Cereal Fiber RR = 0.6 - 0.7. Fruit Fiber RR = 0.9 - 1.05. Vegetable Fiber RR = 0.95 - 1.15 approx.

The next table suggests otherwise.

Andersson et al., 2007: Whole grain diet contained 112 g/d of whole grain, 18 g fiber. No effect of whole grains on insulin sensitivity.

Ebeling et al., 1988: 5 g/d granulated guar. No effect on insulin sensitivity.

Johnston et al., 2010: Resistant starch supplement -40g/d. Improved insulin sensitivity with resistant starch.

Landin et al., 1992: 30 g/d granulated guar, given in 3-10 g doses. Improved insulin sensitivity with guar diet.

Maki et al., 2011: High-resistant starch diet- 30 g/d, Low-resistant starch diet- 15 g/d. Improved insulin sensitivity with both resistant starch diets, but effect only reached statistical significance for men.

Nilsson et al., 2008: White bread enriched with barley fiber and 8g resistant starch, Barley kernel based bread. Improved glucose tolerance with resistant starch.

Pouteau et al., 2010: 28 g/d acetogenic fibers (acacia gum and pectin). No effect on insulin sensitivity.

Robertson et al., 2003: High-resistant starch diet- 60 g/d. Improved insulin sensitivity with resistant starch.

Weickert et al., 2006: Fiber-enriched with 31.2 g insoluble fiber. Improved insulin sensitivity with increased insoluble fiber.

In conclusion, the resistant starches found in high-amylose rices such as Basmati, refrigerated boiled rice & boiled potatoes, also rye & barley breads are beneficial in terms of reducing your RR for T2DM. Watch out, though. Too much dietary resistant starch can cause colic, flatulence & diarrhoea if your intestinal bacteria are knackered. You want fermentation to short-chain fatty acids to occur, not osmotic laxation! See Genetics of Food Intolerance.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

HP Deskjet F380 Ink Cartridge Error.

This is another techy post. I was printing a load of colour pictures when the printer suddenly stopped, displayed an "E" in the copy count window, lit the "cartridge" lamp next to the exclamation mark and opened a window on the lap-top screen with the words "Ink Cartridge Error" where the cartridges were displayed. Oh, dear!

I Googled the problem. Other people have had this problem. I use JET TEC H21 & H22 cartridges as they contain twice as much ink and are cheaper than HP H21 & H22 cartridges. They work really well, with no jet clogging when left unused in the printer for long periods of time. They give good ink coverage even when printing in Fast Draft mode.

Before throwing the F380 in the rubbish bin, I decided to replace both cartridges. I get my JET TEC H21 & H22 cartridges from The cartridges arrived the next day. Changing the H22 (colour) cartridge made no difference. Changing the H21 (black) cartridge cured the problem. The printer wasn't even using that cartridge when the fault occurred. I refitted the old H22 cartridge. It displayed as being full. I shall continue to use JET TEC cartridges, as this is the first time that I've had a problem with them in over a year of use.

It's interesting (to me) that a fault on one cartridge messed-up the operation of the other one even when the faulty cartridge was not being used. There's probably a short-circuit on an input/output line that's common to both cartridges.

So, don't throw the baby out with the bath water!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Foxy versus Shiny.

I've been using Mozilla Firefox for about six years. It's a very good browser, but it occasionally annoys me by acting like a Giant Panda i.e. it becomes very sluggish. It's possible to speed-up Firefox by going to about:memory and clicking on the "Minimise memory usage" button, but occasionally, I have to shut down Firefox, wait (sometimes for quite a long time) for it to disappear from memory, then restart it.

I therefore decided to have an affair with Google Chrome.

First impressions were good. Chrome installed quickly and it imported all of my Firefox bookmarks correctly, although it didn't import any website user-names & passwords (probably because they are protected).

Chrome has an extensive range of add-ons available. I was able to install Adblock Element Hiding Helper (which had all of the functionality of Adblock Plus, plus some extra features), Script No and Flag. With all of these installed, Chrome loaded pages very quickly.

Then cracks started to appear in the relationship.

Chrome has a grey bar at the top of the page which obscures things on the page. Double-clicking on it makes it disappear. Reloading the page makes it reappear. Using Adblock Element Hiding Helper, I could hide the grey bar (Alt+B, click on grey bar, Enter) on any particular site, but it occasionally reappears, requiring re-hiding.

Right-clicking on a link and selecting "Open link in new tab" opens a new tab but doesn't display it, requiring the user to click on the new tab. Firefox used to do this, but has worked correctly for a long time.

Watching videos on ITVPlayer, I noticed that the resolution appeared much lower than when played on Firefox. On Firefox, there's pixel interpolation which produces a much higher apparent resolution.

And the killer blow:-

When I created a new blog post, I couldn't set hyperlink text colour and the Html editor revealed a large number of spurious div & span tags.

That's it, Google Chrome. You're dumped!

EDIT: P.S. Firefox has been running much faster.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

BlackBerry 9700 Headset Problem.

Blatant excuse to post the following video:-

But seriously, folks...

Nick, who cooks my Full English breakfasts in Henley-on-Thames, gave me his wife's BlackBerry Bold 9700 to look at, as it had an odd fault. With the headset plugged in, it worked fine. With the headset unplugged, the phone oscillated between using the internal loudspeaker and the headset socket about once a second, rendering the phone unusable.

After many hours of unsuccessful tinkering, I decided to take a look on Google to see if anybody else had successfully cracked the problem. I saw THIS. It appears to be a common problem with BlackBerrys, with lots of spam sites offering unlock codes to "fix" it.

Having upgraded the phone software from V5 to V6, the fault was still present. Therefore, it's not a software problem. Therefore, unlock codes won't fix it!

It's a hardware problem. It may be a design or a production problem, but the pull-up on the headset socket is too weak/has failed, resulting in the voltage on the headset present/not present control line falling towards "present" when the headset is not present. This may also be caused by moisture in the headset socket.

As the above control line interrupts the processor (as an instant response is required on plugging/unplugging the headset), there is major disruption to the phone's operation.

A fault like this is easily fixable by a reputable mobile phone repair shop. A resistor value change or solder joint rework is all that's required.

EDIT: As of 11th April 2012, Blogger is no longer compatible with the default BlackBerry browser. Basically, my BlackBerry is not working!

I am now using the Opera Mini browser. If I display emails
on the BlackBerry in plain text, I can open links using Opera Mini, which works O.K. with Blogger.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Capacitive Bottom-fed Fat Monopole.

Alternative title:- Serendipity rules, O.K.

This post is not about an obese Polish person who has a huge appetite, lives alone and has to be fed anally. I know a hilarious suppository joke, but it's not really suitable for this blog.

Having stayed up all night reading nearly 800 comments on Jack Kruse: Neurosurgeon. Leptin Reset and Cold Thermogenesis. Controversy, I noticed Sean's comment about Antennas.

I designed antennas for 225MHz to 400MHz portable man-pack radios (also a 1GHz to 3GHz Ultra Wide Band monopole antenna). There were two existing man-pack antennas, affectionately known as "The Bird-cage" and "The Egg-whisk". Electrically they worked well, but they would both catch in branches when the radio was used in woods.

My mission (should I choose to accept it, which I did) was to design an antenna that had a good impedance match over 225MHz to 400MHz, a good gain and couldn't get caught in branches.

The reason why the original antennas were shaped like bird-cages and egg-whisks was because barrels and inverse cones give a better impedance match than a piece of wire. Don't ask me why. The answer is extremely complicated and even I don't understand it!

The antenna had to be a bottom-fed monopole (an antenna which is designed to work with a ground-plane) with a connector at the bottom which plugged into the radio's RF connector. The RF system impedance was the standard 50 ohms.

As fat cylinders give a better impedance match than thin cylinders (a wire being an extreme case of a thin cylinder), I went for the fattest cylinder that would be acceptable on a man-pack radio. I designed an impedance-matching transformer using one of THESE made out of THIS. I connected the transformer to the end of the fat cylinder and examined the impedance using a 8753C Network Analyzer (or even older model).

During some faffing-about, a wire snapped and I was amazed to see that the match to 50 ohms improved. This led to other improvements being made, resulting in the Capacitive Bottom-fed Fat Monopole. It was rugged, it couldn't get caught in branches and it had a high gain. You could even bash somebody over the head with it without breaking it. It worked well on field trials. There were two versions - a short one for covert use which had a lower gain and a longer one for normal use which had a higher gain.

I hope you found that interesting. It's nice (for me) to blog about stuff that I have qualifications in!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Negativity is NOT an option!

Oh, wait.

I received a comment on another blog post mentioning Jeffrey M Friedman's commentary Modern science versus the stigma of obesity. I took offence to the following passage:-

"This simplistic notion is at odds with substantial scientific evidence illuminating a precise and powerful biologic system that maintains body weight within a relatively narrow range."

To say that I disagree with the above passage is an understatement of epic proportions. If this is the case, how can Extreme weight loss without surgery happen? This woman went from 265kg (583lb) to 97kg (213lb).

With the right diet, huge amounts of weight & body-fat can be lost and kept off. Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss solution is a PSMF (Protein-Sparing Modified Fast) that can produce huge weight & body-fat loss. See The Protein-Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF).

Up with this negativity I will not put!