Daily Archives

14 January 2014

How to avoid cravings?

First, read some more on the Stanford marshmallow experiment – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Stanford marshmallow experiment refers to a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University. In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward (sometimes a marshmallow, but often a cookie or a pretzel, etc.) provided immediately or two small rewards if he or she waited until the experimenter returned (after an absence of approximately 15 minutes). In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI) and other life measures. However, recent work calls into question whether self-control, as opposed to strategic reasoning, determines children’s behavior.

So, the solutions here would be to be able to think of something else (distraction) or think of the final prize (change the desire).

The second solution, by Scott Adams:

Expanding on that point, let’s say you have a choice between pasta and a white potato. Assume you enjoy both foods equally and you want to choose the best one for your waistline. Which do you pick?

I recently posed that question to a crowd of ninety senior managers at a huge tech company. About 88 of them chose the potato. That’s the wrong answer because pasta is only half as high on the glycemic index. The two people out of ninety who knew pasta was the better choice wouldn’t need to use as much willpower later in the day to stay within a good diet range. Studies have shown that if you use your willpower resisting one temptation you have less in reserve for the next. The systems approach to weight management is to gradually replace willpower with knowledge, e.g. knowing pasta is better than a potato. (The book describes more ways to replace willpower with knowledge in the diet realm.)

This solution implies finding a system in which the craving isn’t there.

Third – find habits and create them. Find what you like about the craving, and create a system / habit which stops it from happening.


How to watch movies at a PC?

  • First note: It might be a better idea to watch movies at the cinema. Not for the quality of the video or sound, but for your experience of going to the cinema, the people you’re with, the people around you.
  • Second note: I’m not an expert in computer software for movies. I’ll share my experience.
  • The best program to watch a movie BS Player.
    • If you want to watch part of the movie, do something else, continue viewing, BS Player has the single most useful thing to me – resume where I left off.
    • It’s got a very good search for subtitles. You set the language (EN / RO / whatever), and the software can automatically look for subtitles for the movies which don’t start with one already. Even if the movie has a subtitle, it can still search for new ones.
    • It’s very good at scrolling through the movie, either with clicking at the desired destination, or using keys.
    • It has simple keys (if you know the keys of WinAmp, you’ll do fine – XCVB. F for full-screen, Space for play/pause).
    • It has simple to understand menus.
    • As a setting, in Romanian, I like to set the subtitle font for Central European, which has diacritics – ș, ț, ă, â, î.
    • I watch the movies in sequences, not the whole movie at a time, so I like to set the default movie to another player (VLC, Media Player Classic). I like BS Player better, but the function for continuing the movie where I left off doesn’t work so well if I open lots of other videos.


Captain Phillips (2013) – I liked this movie.

Spoilers ahead! Don’t read prior to seeing the movie.

I’ve just seen Captain Phillips (2013). I enjoyed very much. More feed-back, below.
cp phillips blog 1

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Gramatică – diferențe între cratimă și linie de pauză

Observație personală:

  • Văd frecvent evitarea liniei de pauză pe net (e o linie mai lungă –, în locul ei văd cratima -).
  • Văd frecvent scrierea 13 – 17 ianuarie (greșit), în loc de 13-17 ianuarie.


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Will Smith: “The keys to life: running and reading”

Some things to add:

  • Reading is nothing without reflection. If you only get stuff in, you don’t go through the necessary processes to do change. Some people advise others, for this, to stop and think (1) and put into practice what you read (2). I advise another thing – teach others. Give presentations with what you learn. Even better, write. Keep a blog. Make it public, if it makes you any better. More on this – Writing Is Thinking · An A List Apart Article.
  • Will Smith says if you are hurt when you run, you should keep running, and this is why running is good. I’m thinking more in health terms – do sports, do any sports, keep doing that sport. At times, even if it mildly hurts, but don’t overdo it, and always ask for an external, proper, opinion on this.