Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 305

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 305

Well, Tiffini and I came back negative on the Corona virus. Honestly, we both think we had it when I was exposed to it on one of my trips back in February. I sat next to a person sick from their recent (at the time) trip to Italy. I had no idea then what was coming.
 We know several people who tested positive, some family, but things are going well.

 Here in the States, we have begun a strange process of returning to normal. College football has begun and I’m watching the games, of course. Last night, I watched Clemson play Wake Forest. The announcer picked up on a subtle change that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was doing:

 Last year, he received the ball with his left foot back on the snap from center. This year, his right foot is back.

 The reason is simple: in the offseason, Lawrence watched a lot of video of Tom Brady. Brady, one could argue the greatest quarterback of all-time, has excellent footwork and Lawrence adapted and adopted some of his patterns.

 For the record, Lawrence was really, really good (I am not doing well on my hyperbole). And, he got better.

 Whether or not you care about American football is not important, but the lesson here is worth considering:

 The best look at the best to get better.
That’s a piece of life advice.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:

 Here’s a link to Episode 59 of the podcast.
Dan spent some time in the gym filming for us this week and we posted 3 very popular clips on YouTube. Here are those:

3 Minute Squat Test
Armor Building Complex
Goblet Squat Bicep Curl Combo

 We have another book review for you too. This one is about one of Dan’s go-to diet books:  Death by Food Pyramid Review

 I made a bit update to the workout setup section to the site this week. You can now sort programs based on goals as well as the equipment that you have access to. The feedback has been very positive so far, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t been to the site in a while.

Have a great week!

I’ve done a lot of podcasts recently but not every podcaster sends me the links after the event is uploaded. This week, I had a very nice conversation with Abhinav. I have had a lot of international podcasts recently, several with India, and I find the subtle differences in training around the world fascinating.

The Abhinav interview can be found here.

 Pat Flynn ad I have our weekly conversation here. I sure enjoy our weekly conversations.
A little public service: The other day I checked the weather here in Utah’s wonderland, Murray. I noticed this little link on the site and I think this might be helpful for all of us. I’m not a Survivalist or Apocalyptic Doomsayer but I am a believer that being proactive is always better, usually, than being reactive. If you ever read 40 Years with a Whistle (and few seem to have!!!), you might note that I think the key to good leadership is being proactive…and poor leadership is defined as reactive.


Come rain or shine, you definitely don’t want your important documents (think: birth certificates, passports and the like) to be lost, or worse, destroyed. Keep them protected by making sure they’re always together and in a flame- and water-proof container.

End quote

 I enjoyed some articles this week on worldwide web. Let’s look at a few.

 I love this article. I learned so much in just a few paragraphs. Eat stressed fruits and veggies!


 One implication is that modern agriculture, which often prevents plant stress with pesticides and ample watering, produces fruits and vegetables with weak xenohormetic signals. “I buy stressed plants,” Sinclair says. “Organic is a good start. I choose plants with lots of color because they are producing these molecules.” Some argue that xenohormesis may explain, at least in part, why the Mediterranean diet is apparently so healthful. It contains plants such as olives, olive oil, and various nuts that come from hot, dry, stressful environments. Eating food from plants that have struggled to survive toughens us up as well.

 Philip Hooper, an endocrinologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, points out that plant-animal relationships are often symbiotic, and communication goes both ways. One example of direct plant-to-animal, biochemical manipulation comes from the coffee bush. Flowering plants compete with one another for the attention of pollinators, such as bees. Coffee bushes seem to gain advantage in this “marketplace” by using caffeine. The drug excites pollinators’ neurons, etching the memory of the plant’s location more deeply in their brains. Some think that biochemical tweaking increases the probability that the pollinator, which faces a panoply of flower choices, will return to that particular coffee bush.

End quote
My daughter, Kelly, has had to turn to online education as both an educator and a mom. We had a great conversation and she mentioned this resource. I found this interview really helpful.


It’s super important for people to communicate very respectfully right now, understanding that everyone has a lot of competing interests that they’re trying to balance. But if you are feeling like it’s unsustainable or it’s not good for your child, you should definitely communicate it with your teacher. Not blaming the teacher — because the teacher’s going through a lot right now, not blaming the school — but starting a conversation.

 A parent’s judgment here could go a long way to saying, look, I think my child is progressing in math, reading and writing. This one elective course sounds great, but it’s just too much for my family right now. Does my child have to do it? Can I go to pass/fail on it? Can they do less work? I think that should all be on the table.

End quote

Any article that talks about wolves or dogs gets me reading. I really liked this one: How Accurate Is “Alpha’s” Theory of Dog Domestication?


 “Overall, the story of dog cognitive evolution seems to be one about cognitive capacities shaped for a close cooperative relationship with humans, Santos says. “Because dogs were shaped to pick up on human cues, our lab uses dogs as a comparison group to test what’s unique about human social learning.” For example, a recent Yale study found that while dogs and children react to the same social cues, dogs were actually better at determining which actions were strictly necessary to solve a problem, like retrieving food from a container, and ignoring extraneous “bad advice.” Human kids tended to mimic all of their elders’ actions, suggesting that their learning had a different goal than their canine companions’.
We may never know the exact story of how the first dogs and humans joined forces, but dogs have undoubtedly helped us in countless ways over the years. Still, only now may we be realizing that by studying them, they can help us to better understand ourselves.

End quote

I almost quoted Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon here. This article tells us the maybe the trees were listening (unlike a chair).


The work I and others have been doing—looking at kinship in plants, how they recognize each other and communicate—involves the roots. Except now we know more than Darwin did; we know that all plants, except for a small handful of families, are mycorrhizal: The behavior of their roots is governed by symbiosis.

 It’s not just those cells at a plant root’s tip, but their interaction with fungus, that determines a root’s behavior. Darwin was onto something. He just didn’t have the full picture. And I’ve come to think that root systems and the mycorrhizal networks that link those systems are designed like neural networks, and behave like neural networks, and a neural network is the seeding of intelligence in our brains.

 You’ve written that what makes neural networks so special is their scale-free character, which plant networks share as well. What does scale-free mean? Why is it so important?

 All networks have links and nodes. In the example of a forest, trees are nodes and fungal linkages are links. Scale-free means that there are a few large nodes and a lot of smaller ones. And that is true in forests in many different ways: You’ve got a few large trees and then a lot of little trees. A few large patches of old-growth forest, and then more of these smaller patches. This kind of scale-free phenomenon happens across many scales.

End quote

Dogs and trees seem to communicate better than many of us! If you have been following my work on The Sword in the Stone, you can see that T. H. White “predicted” much of this communication.

That should keep you busy for a bit. I will be doing my fermenting foods course this week again and training daily. Until next week, keep on 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 159 (Chapter Nineteen)

In the evenings, except in the very height of summer, they used to meet in the solar after the last meal of the day. There the parson, Reverend Sidebottom, or if he were busy over his sermon then Merlyn himself, would read to them out of some learned book of tales, to calm their spirits. It was glorious in the winter, while the big logs roared in the fire-the beech blue-flamy and relentless, the elm showy and soon gone, the holly bright, or the pine with his smoking scents-while the dogs dreamed of conquest, or the boys imagined those sweet maidens letting down their golden hair so that their rescuers might save them out of towers. But almost at any time of the year it was as good.
The book they usually used was Gesta Romanorum, whose fascinating tales began with  such provoking sentences as “There was a certain King who had a singular partiality for little dogs that barked loudly,” or “A certain noblemen had a white cow, to which he was extremely partial: he assigned two reasons for this, first because she was spotlessly white, and next, because…”

End quote
The “solar” of a castle was usually an upper room for the Lord’s family. It was a private room and when I was in Wales, these rooms were called Lord’s Rooms or Ladies’ Rooms. Logically, these rooms might seem to come from the Latin word for the sun, “solaris,” but more likely it comes from a similar sounding word, “solus,” meaning “alone.” Neil Diamond would have found inspiration for his song, Solitary Man, here.
The Gesta Romanorum, or “Deeds of the Romans,” is probably from a time AFTER our story, although White doesn’t seem to ever worry about the exact dates of anything in our book. The “deeds” is also misleading, but the stories from the books are used by Chaucer and Shakespeare. King Lear and The Merchant of Venice contain stories from the Gesta Romanorum.
The title of the book changed to Geste during the period where the Franks became French and pronunciation of Celt went from Kelt to Selt. Oddly, you may use this word “Geste” in your daily language. Many of the later versions of this collection had funny and “over the top” stories that made them even more popular and gave us a word you probably have used recently.
Surely, you jest.
I don’t jest and stop calling me “Shirley!”
So, yes, this book is important even if we want to have a laugh. I’m just jesting.
As always, retyping has made me see something I had missed countless times reading this book. I never noticed that the wood in the fireplace were characters from our last chapter. From Athene’s Dream of the Trees, we still see their personalities burning brightly (so to speak).
This is also why I paused here. White’s wit is just illuminating.

Like the trees in the fireplace.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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