Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 282

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 282

Usually, I know what to say. I was trained well as a child to hold my tongue when appropriate, say “Thank you” and “Please” at the right times, and walk with the grieving. I’m not sure what to say today.
The death toll of the virus is climbing daily and much of the financial impact is falling on my friends who were struggling to keep up before this distress hit us all. I am a strong advocate for the Preferential Option for the Poor; when I make a decision, I strive to remember how this will impact the poor, the infirmed, the deaf and those in need.
A small example of this would be how we try to have my Instagram videos closed captioned so the hearing-impaired community can follow along. We are going to expand this to all the podcasts soon. I try to help, as best I can, with other issues including blindness, in the fitness community.
Honestly, just taking a moment to consider others might be all we need to do sometimes.
I worry about my friends at the Landmark Grille and the Mid City Pub and Grill. Many of my friends work for big box gyms, now shut down, and have been juggling finances in the best of weeks and months.
We will rally, of course. My cousin, Johnnie, remembers December 8, 1941, when my family gathered in a living room and the men split up to go into the Army, Navy and Marine Corps and the women assured them that their children would be fine. My Aunt Florence became the driver for General Eisenhower as our family seems to try to be part of the solution.
There is a note on my gym wall:
“I don’t want problem finders; I want problem solvers.”
Any idiot can find problems. I had an assistant a decade or so ago, who, I swear to you, was put on this earth to point out the obvious. If we pulled up to a contest, he would be the one to tell me as I brushed the snow off my head and shoulders: “It’s snowing.”
Casey Sutera and Anthony Barberio, among others, were problem solvers. “Coach, Bobby is hurt and can’t play, so what we did was…” If something broke, they fixed it. They cleaned up spills, issues and shortsightedness because…
That’s what good people do.
Problems: we all got them. Let’s be problem solvers.
Just as I typed this, a group of about ten women just walked past my house…keeping social distance. I’ve seen more walkers, bikers and families playing than I have seen since forever ago.
And…that’s how we start. We take steps.
I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Back to WW. Lots of podcasts this week. Pat and I continue to talk and I worry a bit about Pat’s health. Enjoy our talk.
I really enjoyed this podcast with Karan. KC made me laugh out loud in the introduction (you can’t hear me).
Val, one of my St. Mary’s students, is putting on a fundraiser. Join us for some fun(ds).
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Don’t forget we put every episode of the podcast on YouTube. Here’s the link to Episode 35.
We’re still running the special on the website. 3 months for $29. Use CORONA on the payment page to get in-home workouts based on your equipment, schedule, and fitness level.
The response was amazing to the Bounce! Workshop, so Dan decided to make another one for us. This one is on all of his favorite resources. Here’s the link to that.
Have a great week!
I enjoyed a deep dive in George Sheehan, Leonard Schwartz and Phil Maffetone this week. I was studying health and fitness. Phil’s article makes a lot of sense to me.


There are many therapies used to encourage good gut bugs. In addition to the many probiotics on the market, prebiotics (food compounds like fibers to help the gut environment) including other traditional fibers like bran or psyllium, cultured foods, such as yogurt (some contain more sugar that ice cream) and kefir or any other “gut support,” may not be effective. The idea that bacteria can affect health has led to fecal microbiota transplantation, a treatment where a small amount of feces from one healthy person is transferred to the gut of an unhealthy person. But all these approaches are less effective, or in some cases even completely ineffective, without an important foundation of a good gut environment — food.
Knowing that gut bacteria are out of balance is an important step to improving health. Reduced intestinal health is usually indicated by gut discomfort, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, or disease, and usually infers a lack of good gut bugs. In addition to these signs and symptoms, two others are important:
    The bulk of the waste leaving the body is greatly influenced by gut bacteria. In some cases, up to 40 percent of the stool is attributed to friendly bacteria. Reduced stool volume may be an indication of poor micro-organism population; improved bulk indicates a healthier environment.
    Odor is another common sign. While stool (or gas) odor is never pleasant, significantly bad odor indicates unfriendly bacteria. A reduction in odor and excess gas can indicate better gut health.
While digestive problems have traditionally been observed to rise with age, today they are very common in adults of all ages, as well as children. The reliance on over-the-counter and prescription medications has increased dramatically, which can further increase the risk of intestinal disturbances due to their side effects — especially the abuse of antibiotics, which can kill the good bugs and eventually allow bad ones to take their place. Antibiotics hidden in foods also is a problem.

End quote
I am just fascinated about the amount of prehistory information that has been upended in the past few years. Neanderthals playing the flute and talking and the complete flip of the American experience will get me reading every time.

Genetic studies, based on ancient remains, had already suggested that once the first American Indians got south of the ice, 14,600 to 17,500 years ago, they split into two main branches. One stayed north, giving rise to the Algonquian-speaking peoples of Canada. The other headed south, giving rise to the widespread Clovis culture, and to Central and South Americans. That’s a very rough outline, but a study from J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar and his colleagues fleshes it out. They showed that whatever happened south of the ice, it happened fast.
They sequenced the genomes of 15 ancient humans, who came from sites ranging all the way from Alaska to Patagonia. One person from Spirit Cave in Nevada and five from Lagoa Santa in Brazil were especially instructive. They were all just over 10,000 years old, and though they lived 6,300 miles apart, they were strikingly similar in their DNA. Genetically, they were also closely matched to Anzick-1—a famous Clovis infant from Montana, who was about 2,000 years older.
All this suggests that, about 14,000 years ago, the southern lineage of early American Indians spread through the continent with blinding speed. To picture their movements, don’t think of a slowly growing tree, incrementally sending out new branches and twigs. Instead, imagine a starburst, with many rays zooming out simultaneously and rapidly.

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I wasn’t so sure about this article at first as I break all these rules, but storytelling is the key to presentations.

Bad Habit No. 3: Taking Too Much Time
Humans have a short attention span–frequently a matter of mere seconds before losing focus. If your story is too drawn out, you risk losing your audience’s attention. But how long is too long? Think of it like a basketball shot clock, which gives players just 24 seconds to get the ball in the basket to keep the game moving. Then apply that logic to storytelling.
I know it sounds brief, but an ideal length is between 1:30 and 1:45. That’s all you really need to get in a good anecdote before moving on to the next piece of your message. When you start getting close to that two-minute mark, you need to start wrapping up your narrative. In public speaking contexts, anyhow, effective storytelling is brief storytelling.

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Proof. It’s such an important concept to have clarity. This article does a nice job: The Thinking Error at the Root of Science Denial.


Proof exists in mathematics and logic but not in science. Research builds knowledge in progressive increments. As empirical evidence accumulates, there are more and more accurate approximations of ultimate truth but no final end point to the process. Deniers exploit the distinction between proof and compelling evidence by categorizing empirically well-supported ideas as “unproven.” Such statements are technically correct but extremely misleading, because there are no proven ideas in science, and evidence-based ideas are the best guides for action we have.
I have observed deniers use a three-step strategy to mislead the scientifically unsophisticated. First, they cite areas of uncertainty or controversy, no matter how minor, within the body of research that invalidates their desired course of action. Second, they categorize the overall scientific status of that body of research as uncertain and controversial. Finally, deniers advocate proceeding as if the research did not exist.
For example, climate change skeptics jump from the realization that we do not completely understand all climate-related variables to the inference that we have no reliable knowledge at all. Similarly, they give equal weight to the 97 percent of climate scientists who believe in human-caused global warming and the 3 percent who do not, even though many of the latter receive support from the fossil fuels industry.
This same type of thinking can be seen among creationists. They seem to misinterpret any limitation or flux in evolutionary theory to mean that the validity of this body of research is fundamentally in doubt. For example, the biologist James Shapiro (no relation) discovered a cellular mechanism of genomic change that Darwin did not know about. Shapiro views his research as adding to evolutionary theory, not upending it. Nonetheless, his discovery and others like it, refracted through the lens of dichotomous thinking, result in articles with titles like, “Scientists Confirm: Darwinism Is Broken” by Paul Nelson and David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute, which promotes the theory of “intelligent design.” Shapiro insists that his research provides no support for intelligent design, but proponents of this pseudoscience repeatedly cite his work as if it does.
For his part, Trump engages in dichotomous thinking about the possibility of a link between childhood vaccinations and autism. Despite exhaustive research and the consensus of all major medical organizations that no link exists, Trump has often cited a link between vaccines and autism and he advocates changing the standard vaccination protocol to protect against this nonexistent danger.

End quote
It’s time to get going. I’m going to get out and load up my rucking gear and get my walk in. Join me…at a safe distance.
And, until next time, keep lifting and learning.


For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 135


It was a lovely afternoon. Outside the schoolroom window the larches of the distant forest had already taken on the fullness of their dazzling green, the earth twinkled and swelled with a million drops, and every bird in the world had come home to court and sing. The village folk were forth in their gardens every evening, planting garden beans, and it seemed that, what with these emergencies and those of the slugs (coincidentally with the beans), the buds, the lambs, and the birds, every living thing had conspired to come out.
“What would you like to be?” asked Merlyn.
Wart looked out of the window, listening to the thrush’s twice-done song of dew.
He said, “I have been a bird once, but it was only in the mews at night, and I never got a chance to fly. Even if one ought not to do one’s education twice, do you think I could be a bird so as to learn about that?”
He had been bitten with the craze for birds which bites all sensible people in the spring, and which sometimes even leads to excesses like birds’ nesting.
“I can see no reason why you should not,” said the magician. “Why not try it at night?”
“But they will be asleep at night.”
“All the better chance of seeing them, without their flying away. You could go with Archimedes this evening, and he would tell you about them.”
“Would you do that, Archimedes?”
“I should love to,” said the owl. “I was feeling like a little saunter myself.”

End quote
Saunter. This is such a great word. I was taught, and the dictionary doesn’t support this, that the term comes from how one walks to the Holy Lands, San Terra. It’s a slow, whimsical journey where, as so often happens in life, the road is more important than the destination.
My high school football coach, Ray Dejong, yelled this at us if our offense didn’t sprint up to the line of scrimmage.
“That’s it, SAUNTER up, just saunter up to the line.” Sarcasm dripped off his mouth.
As I type this, my office window has a nest just above it in the corners of my roof. We have a vigilant sentinel who marks all of our comings and goings when warning chirps and tweets. The other day, my wife reported several heads popping up out of the nest that weren’t there a few days ago.
The pop-pop-pop of little bird heads out of a nest are one of my signs of spring. The lawn needed mowing, the plants are suddenly green and the weather changes by the hour. It’s spring again.
And it’s time to fly.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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