New Telescope Review

About a month ago I got a new telescope and I’d like to share my experiences with it so far. 

I got my first ‘real’ telescope (not the kind you get in department retail stores) about 13 years ago and it was a 10” Newtonian Reflector on a manual Dobsonian Mount.  I chose that one because my favorite things to look at is deep sky stuff – Star Clusters and Nebulae in the Milky Way and other galaxies – so I needed a huge light bucket to resolve those low magnitude targets. 

It served me well and the manual mount strengthened my understanding of the night sky as there was some difficult star hopping I had to learn to find those faint fuzzy deep sky objects and I now understand the celestial coordinate systemwell and can point out just about any constellation in the northern hemisphere on any given day. 

There is nothing like the feeling I get when I see, with my own eyes, the photons that left those distant objects 1,000’s and millions of years ago.  It’s like a real time machine in that you’re seeing what these objects looked like many years in the past.  

But after a while I longed for a way I could share that joy with others by sharing pictures of what I was able to see.  I couldn’t take very good pics with my 10” Reflector because I’d need to have long exposures for the deep sky stuff and a manual mount didn’t compensate for the rotation of the earth and it was impossible.  And even taking a quick pic of a planet was difficult because I was up against the clock to get the planet centered in the field of view then quickly attach the camera before the object rotated out of the eyepiece field of view.  It sucked!

So I finally purchased a German Go-To EQ mount that automatically tracks objects with stepper motors on the Right Ascension and Declination axes and an 85mm APO Refractor telescope (pictured below). 

I am very pleased with this telescope and I’ll share some pics below but there should be one caveat with my glowing review here.  Setting up and using a Go-To EQ mount requires a good knowledge of the night sky and familiarity with celestial coordinates so this is NOT a good telescope for a beginner.  

To use an EQ mount you need to know how to polar align the mount, calibrate the finder scope with the actual telescope and perform multiple star alignments which requires you to know the names of bright stars in the sky.  All of this would be very frustrating for a novice and would cause them to give up if this was their first telescope. 

Having over a decade’s worth of experience manually finding objects in the sky has positioned me well to come up the learning curve quickly on this new mount and I would’ve been lost 13 years ago if this was the first telescope I bought.  I highly recommend a lower price, manual telescope if you are a newbie looking to get into amateur astronomy.  Get a couple of years under your belt with the manual mount then, if you still love this hobby, make the plunge into a more advanced setup. 

I’m very pleased with my purchased and below are some pics I’ve taken with my new telescope and here are a few details on my equipment that was used to take these pictures. 

27mm Televue Panoptic eyepiece

11mm Televue Nagler eyepiece

2x Televue Big Barlow

Orion SteadyPix Smartphone Telescope Photo Adapter

NightCap app for iPhone

Aldebaran star in Taurus

Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 45.06 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.

Double star cluster in Perseus

Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 58.31 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.

M31 Andromeda Galaxy

Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 20.11 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.

M42 Orion Nebula

Taken with NightCap. Stars mode, 10.05 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.
Taken with NightCap. Stars mode, 10.06 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.
Taken with NightCap. Stars mode, 10.07 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.
Taken with NightCap. Stars mode, 10.03 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.
Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 24.57 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.
Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 33.33 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.
Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 36.62 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.

M45 Beehive star cluster

Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 63.91 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.


Taken with NightCap

NGC 2264 Nebula

Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 47.47 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.

NGC 2392 Eskimo Nebula

Taken with NightCap. Long Exposure mode, 31.93 second exposure, 1/1s shutter speed.
Posted in astronomy | Leave a comment

Mystery Contaminant In My Pool

I love my pool and I take great pride in maintaining it but recently I’ve come across a contaminant that flummoxed me for days until I finally figured it out and when my wife heard the solution to this mystery, she vowed to not get in the pool for the rest of the season.

It started with this black sludge looking substance that settled at the bottom of the pool.

I have a robot that cleans the pool every day and does a fantastic job but the sludge it picked up was not like anything I had seen before (dirt, leaves, bugs, etc.).  Emptying the bag filter of the robot was disgusting and every day there’d be a fresh deposit of sludge at the bottom despite not having any storm/rain event (which normally deposits dirt in the pool due to runoff).  Where is this shit coming from?!?!

Then I noticed that the large oak tree by the pool that overhangs the pool had a large amount of some brown substance that it was dropping on the concrete. 

After further inspection these items were actually small pellet shaped objects.  Some were smashed and turned into powder but here is a pic of the pellet and my pinky finger is included in the pic for scale.

And after further observation of these pellets, these pellets turned into this sludge after they hit the water and settled to the bottom of the pool.  But what were these pellets?  Oak trees drop ‘aborted’ acorns in the summer but tiny acorns are very clearly not pellet shaped and you can see one of these aborted acorns beside my hand on the left of the image above.   

These pellets appear not to originate from the tree…..

Then I looked up in the tree and saw many of the leaves appeared to be eaten and I also remember that many black and yellow caterpillars have been also falling on my pool deck and pool around this same time. 

Well….after further research I discovered that the mystery pellets are really caterpillar turds!  These caterpillars had infested the tree, had a great meal on the leaves and then dropped their shit below!  Pic below of one of the critters toward the end of his life with a caterpillar turd circled in red. 

That’s right, I’ve been swimming in caterpillar poop for a couple weeks and I didn’t even know it.  

No worries…That’s what chlorine is for.  

Posted in general science | Leave a comment

Strawberry and Cucumber Cross Pollination

I saw the strangest thing in my little garden today and hopefully someone can help explain how this happened!

I went out to check on the garden and, in the section pictured below, I have cucumbers (in the red box) and strawberries (in the blue box).  Cucumbers and strawberries are still coming in strong here in the upstate of South Carolina and as expected, the cucumber vines have encroached into the strawberries and you can see a nice cucumber in the bottom of the picture where the strawberries are. 

But after closer examination of the cucumber…..I found that there was a strawberry growing from the cucumber vine!

These pictures were not doctored and there is a video below for further evidence. 

Holy cow!  How can this happen?!?!?

I’m familiar with cross pollination but usually that is done with plants of the same species (but with different varieties) such as different types of tomatoes.  As a kid I cross pollinated my mom’s African Violets and created multicolor flower pedals by taking the pollen from a purple flowering plant and pollinating a white flowering plant (creating purple and white pedals).    

But growing a strawberry on a cucumber vine?

What is the explanation?

Posted in general science | 2 Comments

CO2 Reductions Due To COVID-19

A new peer reviewed paper in Nature states that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global CO2 emissions decreased by 17% by early April 2020 when compared with the mean 2019 levels. 

Before I go any further, it must be understood that there is no way to get actual data for CO2 emissions and these findings are estimates based on models.  CO2 emissions are estimated based on power plant output, estimate use of internal combustion engines and other proxy data estimates.  

Since we can’t measure CO2 emissions in real time, the authors of this paper devised a model to calculate the reduction in CO2 emissions by developing something they call a “confinement index (CI)” to capture the effect of various policies that affected Power, Industry, Surface Transport, Public, Residential and Aviation based on 3 different levels of confinement. 

Lots of good work went into this paper and while the paper’s results are derived from a simulation from a model, I think we can all agree that during this COVID-19 pandemic, CO2 emissions were definitely attenuated so I can’t fault any of their numbers.  It’s the best estimate we have to go on!

Here are the results of the paper in graphical format.

This COVID-19 Pandemic will amount to a massive Economic, Social and Environmental experiment that is on a level never conceived of prior to the SARS-COV-2 virus coming on the scene and I expect hundreds of papers to be published over the coming year to analyze this.  But I hope there are at least a few papers authored to help understand the environmental impacts of this global lockdown. 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis states that increased atmospheric CO2 levels (measured in parts per million – PPM) is causing the Earth to warm and furthermore, the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels is directly traced to humans emitting more CO2 through their increased use of fossil fuels.  

Even the wildest dreams of the most radical AGW believers didn’t propose the CO2emission attenuation that we have seen in the past few months but now we can put the AGW hypothesis to the test.  If human caused CO2 emissions is the source of Global Warming and elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere, then we should see a sharp decrease in the measured CO2 levels in our atmosphere in the coming months and therefore a decrease in global temperatures anomalies. 

Unlike the simulated CO2 emissions data, atmospheric CO2 levels are measured quite accurately monthly and I have plotted the data from 1970 through April 2020 below.   

Let’s watch this data over the coming months to see if there is a decrease in atmospheric CO2 from this drastic energy attenuation during the COVID-19 pandemic!

Posted in Climate Change, politics | Leave a comment

COVID-19 Fear Mongerring

The world has gone nuts.

The reaction from World Governments appear to be in total disregard to the actual data and I really am at loss for how to wrap my hands around this.

For all the data I’ve seen COVID-19 deaths are far less than what we see from the normal flu and I don’t understand why we’re freaking out about this.

“So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 220,000 illnesses and more than 9,300 deaths worldwide. But that’s nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 36 million illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

But with that frustration, here are my thoughts on this subject.

Global Recession

Right now, countries are mandating that their citizens shelter in place and this means that economic commerce will come close to ceasing.  We are embarking on an economic experiment that would’ve been unheard of in years past – The significant attenuation of global commerce for time periods of several months.  This is very dangerous and has the possibility of causing a global recession or depression.  This is huge and if governments don’t reverse course soon, we’ll be in unchartered economic territory.  This is really bad and will make the 2008 Subprime Mortgage Crisis look minor in comparison.

We have to get back to work and out shopping soon, like yesterday.

Don’t’ Flatten The Curve

The prevailing thought is to ‘flatten the curve’ with regard to number of people who contract COVID-19 so we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system and quarantining folks will help do that.

This is really a bad strategy.

Instead, we should quarantine the vulnerable folks (age over 60 years old with compromised immune systems) but the rest of us should continue with our daily lives and accept the high number of people who’ll get COVID-19 and move on.  The number of folks who test positive for COVID-19 will sky rocket and commerce will be attenuated for a few weeks during that time but according to data, 99% will survive and get over this illness.

I prefer to do this, which is like ripping off a band-aid, instead of prolonging the agony.  Let’s take all the losses in a short term and folks will build immunity to the virus after contracting it and recovering.

Turning Off The MSM  

This COVID-19 scare has revaled how the current Mainstream Media (MSM) is really the enemy of us citizens and they are only interested in creating click bait to increase their revenue.  Hopefully, when we’re on the other side of this, the American people will come together in alignment that the MSM is nothing more than a raging dumpster fire. They thrive on the stoking of fear and this is NOT helping, and I think most folks will come to this conclusion after we’re on the other side of this.

Bridging Of The Political Divide

I’ve noticed a bright spot with this COVID-19 issue – People who are pragmatic (which is really the majority of the US population) are coming together on common ground on this topic.  I have had conversations with people who I normally don’t align with on political issues but on the reaction to this COVD-19 scare, we are almost 100% aligned in that we are overreacting to this in very dangerous ways.

This is a big deal since there are few to zero issues where this can happen in this hyper partisan environment that the MSM and Social Media has created.  It used to be that we could all talk about the weather and have a constructive conversation without bringing politics into it but since the Climate Change scam, even that is off limits now

My Prediction

After a couple weeks of depressed commerce (and layoffs), the US citizens will be on the phone to their representative in Congress to demand we send folks back to work and this catastrophic economic experiment will be over.  We’ll be back to business as usual by 13-APR-20. And then the triage will start about how we over reacted to this “crisis” and hopefully we’ll learn from it.

Below are a couple links to add to your bookmarks as we see how we navigate through this issue.

Posted in politics | 4 Comments

Paleo 6 Year Anniversary

It’s been almost 6 years since I abandoned the advice of my endocrinologist (who told me that I’d have to take medicine the rest of my life to control my Type 2 Diabetes) but instead adopted the Paleo lifestyle and I’m pleased to report things are going great!

The following graphs are from blood work that I received for my annual physical and I think the results speak for themselves.


I eat close to 150 grams each of protein and saturated fat daily (while eating less than 30 grams of carbohydrates (which come solely from vegetables) and one of the arguments I hear against Paleo or Keto lifestyles is that all that fat and protein will raise my cholesterol and Triglycerides.

Well, not so much.




ldl:hdl ratio


Cholesterol problems are not caused by eating foods high in cholesterol and fat, the problems come when you combine these foods with Carbohydrates (specifically process sugars and grains).  When you eliminate the process sugars and grains, the high fat and protein diet doesn’t cause cholesterol problems.

Another criticism of the Paleo/Keto lifestyle is that you can’t exercise because you lack the glycogen that comes from carbohydrates.  I have maintained an active lifestyle during these past 6 years and even participate in endurance activities (long runs of 10K distances) all while fueling my body with just fat and protein.

I’m an engineer by education so that makes me both comfortable with experiments and skeptical by nature. Because of who I am, I was willing to use my body as a clinical trial with an N=1 sample size to try this Paleo lifestyle out but honestly, I was not expecting to see these results 5+ years into it.  With each passing year, I am more convinced that the Medical community should lead with a Paleo or Keto lifestyle prescription as a cure for Type 2 diabetes.


Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 2 Comments

Exercise Effects On High Glycemic Index Foods

The theory goes something like this – Increased exercise allows a Type 2 Diabetic to eat high glycemic index foods without seeing a spike in blood glucose levels.

I’ve written about it before but I decided to put that theory to the test this weekend.

First a little background. Although potatoes (and especially sweet potatoes) are technically ok to eat on a Paleo diet, I’ve avoided them as they have spiked my blood glucose levels since I’m a Type 2 Diabetic who has an insulin sensitivity issue that I control with only diet by following the Paleo lifestyle.  White potatoes especially spike my blood glucose levels (more than if I ate ice cream) but even sweet potatoes have a noticeable reaction.

But today I ran 7.5 miles and I decided to put this theory to the test by eating a dinner consisting of a grilled pork chop, broccoli and sweet potato fries roasted in an oven (equivalent to roughly half of a large sweet potato).

As you can see from my CGM reading, my blood glucose levels stayed in the normal range after my meal.

sweet potato

Notice how my blood glucose level dropped during the run, which started around 12:45.  My blood glucose after the dinner peaked at around 120 mg/dL, which is well within the normal range for even folks who do not have Type 2 Diabetes.  Also note that my blood glucose level was slightly higher after my late breakfast (around 10:30 that consisted of eggs, onions, tomatoes, bacon, avocado and mayonnaise) versus my dinner that had sweet potatoes.

It should be noted that there was an odd peak/dip/peak of my glucose levels after my dinner.  It peaked at around 120 mg/dL about 1.5 hours after the meal, dipped to below 100 mg/dL at 21:30 and then went back up at 22:30 to around 120 mg/dL.  I can’t explain this odd movement as I ingested nothing after dinner except water.

But this experiment further reinforced my previous findings that intense exercise allows me to eat foods with a high glycemic index with no adverse effects on my blood glucose levels.

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 1 Comment

Ditching Carbs On Long Runs

Can you run long distance without carbohydrates?  That’s crazy talk, right?  Well, not so much.

In March I will reach the 20 year anniversary of being a runner and for all but the last 6 of those years, I worshiped at the altar of carbs (bread, Gatorade, energy bars, etc.) as the necessary requirement to run long distances.  But since I’ve switched to Paleo to reverse my Type 2 Diabetes almost 6 years ago, I’ve still been able to run and bike long distances with next to zero carbs prior, during and after exercise.

Let me use this post to provide evidence that you don’t need carbs to successfully participate in endurance exercise.

I’m currently training for the Ville To Ville Craft Brew Relay Race in April where a 6 person team run 75 miles from Asheville, NC to Greenville, SC and this will be the 2ndyear I’ve done it.  This race amounts to each member of the team basically running 2 10K’s with about 5 hours in between and this is not easy!

Last year when I was training for this event I convinced myself that on the days when I trained hard (especially on days I ran twice) I needed to add back carbs to give me enough energy to complete those long, hard runs.  I noticed that although I ate carbs and my blood sugar levels did spike following that meal, they quickly came down during the run as my body cleared the glucose.  Because of my prior running experience, I thought that I ‘needed’ these carbs to tackle the tough exercise regime but this year I’m going to try something else.

Instead of loading up on carbs before a run, I’m going to load up on fat and let that fuel be my energy source to see if I can get through this training (and the race) without the carbs.

Today I put this theory to the test as I was due to run 6 miles and instead of eating a breakfast that had carbs, I doubled up on the fat.  Today’s pre-workout meal consisted of 4 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, ½ cup of cheddar cheese, a 1/3rdstick of real butter (from grass-fed cows), onions and tomatoes.  That amounted to about 50 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbs (all from the onion and tomato) and 75 grams of fat.

Full disclosure, on an average day I eat 150 grams of protein, <25 grams of carbs (all from vegetables) and 150 grams of fat.  So this pre-workout meal is not too much out the norm for me but the fat content was higher than my normal breakfast.

Well, what happened?

I am happy to report that I had no issues with cramps or muscle fatigue during the entire run and I actually felt like I could’ve run longer.  I only consumed water during the entire run and recovered from the run with a quick meal of ham, mayo and a dill pickle.

You can see the workout summary from my Fitbit below.

fitbit workout

Also, you can see from my Continuous Glucose Monitor that my blood sugars stayed within the normal range all day and there was a sharp decline during the workout.

cgm workout

Fat is an incredible energy source but when we default to eating carbs, our body first seeks to use glycogen but that is only a temporary energy source and that is why I used to have to continue to replenish it with Gatorade, energy bars or other high carb foods before I was Paleo.  But fat is a deep well of energy that doesn’t get depleted quickly and is perfect for low intensity, long workouts.

I will continue with my ‘no carbs’ training ritual through race day on 13-APR-19 and will report back on any findings.

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | Leave a comment

Federal Government Shutdown Calculus

The latest federal government shutdown is not like ones in the past because the Republican in charge of the ‘negotiations’ is not like prior Republicans.

Pelosi and Schumer think Trump is like other Republicans in that they are weakened by the negative news stories from the Main Stream Media touting the catastrophes that befall us because of the shutdown.  But they are way off base here.  Trump is not worried about these news stories because he doesn’t care what the MSM says about him and that should be crystal clear over the last 2 years of his presidency.

Trump actually wants the federal government shutdown to happen and so do I. Let me explain.

Why did Trump wait until Republican lost the House to push for the Border Wall?  It’s because he wants this fight and he knows that a federal government shutdown (in a prolonged sense, not like the ones of the past) is the best way to cut federal government spending and weed out unnecessary job positions.

What is the best method to cut unnecessary jobs in the Federal Government?

You could get the heads of all agencies together in a room for multiple days debating the benefits of their team members but in the end the bureaucrats will cut few from their teams because their budgets rely on having a large staff.

What you need to do is shut down the entire federal government and then wait for the pain points to show themselves.  Over time, it will become evident who is essential and who is not and this process will probably take several months.  At the end of this period, those folks who have not been called back are probably not needed and can be permanently dismissed.

Trump is playing on the fact that Pelosi and Schumer don’t want to negotiate with him and will reject any proposal so he continues to offer items that the Democrats have wanted for years to turn public opinion against the Democrats. Eventually even the MSM will push Democrats to respond to Trumps overtures and will be frustrated with the dogmatic nature of Pelosi and Schumer.

Let this shutdown continue for a couple more months and then we’ll not only see what federal jobs are expendable but we’ll also see Pelosi and Schumer flailing about trying to understand the game theory that Trump is employing.



Posted in politics | 2 Comments

My Exit From The Twitter Outrage Mob


In March 2019 I will arrive at my 10thanniversary on Twitter and if I were a betting man I’d wager that I won’t be on this platform to see my 11thanniversary.

I initially joined Twitter for the politics/news and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Although it is quite normal now to see journalists live tweeting events before the story is posted or before they even go on the air, in the early days of Twitter it was quite novel to see this and I loved the fact that we could all get news in real time and see how the stories evolved as the live tweet session progressed.

Through Twitter I discovered a multitude of regular folks who weren’t in the journalism or political professions but generated superb content and my knowledge of the world, and especially economics and politics, increased greatly.  It was so different from other social media and it was more ‘cerebral’ where folks brought their A-game and backed up their hot takes with real data. Facebook was great for catching up with high school classmates, looking at cute cat videos and reading funny cartoons but Twitter was the place I went to actually learn something.

I routinely interacted with folks of all political stripes and while the arguments were heated, I at least had a feeling that (for the most part) we were getting something constructive in the back-and-forth that could help each side see where the other was coming from.

But lately I feel that Twitter is actually becoming part of the problem instead of the solution with regard to the Political Divide in the U.S.

It now seems that Political Twitter has split into two very factions that are frequently getting further and further apart and while we may say that this is just a reflection of how the U.S. is moving, I think Twitter poured gas on this fire and is actually preventing it from being extinguished.  Hell, even areas of Twitter that used to be a political free zone are now starting to be infected with the Outrage Virus (Sports, Astronomy, Economics, Diet/Paleo, etc.).

Political Twitter is now an Outrage Machine where we compete to see how each side can ‘own’ the other in hopes of scoring Likes and Retweets.  We have popular sites like Twitchythat are totally devoted to cataloging the current outrageous tweets and showing how one political side owns, smack downs or humiliates the other.  People get outraged by tweets to the point where they report them to Twitter in the hopes that the person gets banned or suspended. Words written on a computer and posted on social media are now akin to violence or hate.

We can’t look to Twitter to police this Outrage Mob and I don’t want them to since it will be left up to humans to decide ultimately what is outrageous and what isn’t/  So it’s really up to us and while I can’t control the collective “us”, I can control one member of that group – me.  I believe that this Outrage Mob will stop if we all stop engaging in it.  There will always be differences in opinion, folks acting in a partisan manner, always critical of everyone NOT on their side, etc. but we don’t have to jump into the mud pit and engage in pointless twitter fights that have no hope of bringing about constructive discourse.

I’m not going to be on that hamster wheel anymore.

Starting in January I’m refraining from joining the outrage mob and will stick primarily to other areas of Twitter that are still valuable sources of intellectual growth and just pure enjoyment – Astronomy, Economics, Sports, Diet/Paleo, etc.  True, I’ll still see the Outrage Virus in these non-political areas (and yes, Economics is very close to politics so that is inevitable) but I can use self-control to resist the urge to jump in the fray.  I don’t have time or the desire to remain in constant outrage mode when I log onto Twitter but here lately, it’s mostly what I see on here.

So here is my New Year’s resolution for 2019 – For the entire month of January I will resist the urge to join the Twitter Outrage Mob.  No piling on, owning or smacking down because I see a ridiculous tweet I don’t agree with.  I’ll try it for a month and see how it goes but I fully expect to maintain this as long as I stay on Social Media (or get kicked off because something I say offends someone to the point where they convince Twitter to kick me out).

I’ll still tweet on news/politics when I see a news item that interests me and follow folks on Twitter that regularly tweet on political topics but I won’t be engaging in the Outrage Mob.

Have fun storming the castle without me in January!

Posted in politics | 2 Comments

Exercise Effects On Blood Glucose Verified With CGM

As a Type 2 Diabetic who has controlled my blood glucose levels by adopting the Paleo lifestyle, I’ve written before on the benefits of exercise on my blood glucose levels and it should be common practice for docs to lead with this sort of ‘therapy’ for Type 2 Diabetics but unfortunately many medical professionals lead with medicine that have horrific side effects.

Over the past month I’ve increased my exercise activity and held to a strict Paleo diet and the results from my Continuous Glucose Meter (CGM) will provide further proof to this theory that exercise and Paleo alone (without meds) will control blood glucose levels in a Type 2 Diabetic.

Here are the data to support my claim.

pre exercise cgm

post exercise cgm

As you can see, my blood glucose levels are very stable in the later graph vs the earlier graph and the nighttime levels were around 100 consistently.  The estimated A1c for the last 2 weeks is also in the normal range (And not just normal for a Type 2 Diabetic, normal for someone who DOESN’T have Type 2 Diabetes).

For those interested in specifics of my exercise routine over the past month, I’ve stepped up my running frequency (moderately, only 3 times per week) and distance (long runs of only 3-4 miles) as I prepare for a 10k race on Thanksgiving and eliminated the ‘cheat’ days where I eat high carb vegetables and questionable menu items from restaurants. This is not ‘crazy’ type, high intensity workouts, just moderate jogging and cutting back on high carb foods.

It continues to baffle me why the medical community continues to ignore this ‘cure’ for Type 2 Diabetes.



Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 8 Comments

Trump Derangement Syndrome At NPR


Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is a real affliction that has been claiming victims since November 2016 and NPR has been hit the worst.

In a piece this week on opioid addiction (another affliction that is apparently more treatable than TDS) the NPR Morning Addition co-host Rachel Martin couldn’t help but try and make this story about Trump (Even though Trump has done more than other recent Presidents to talk opening about this and attempt to use the weight of the Federal Government to help combat it).

Just when I was thinking that the story was getting to wind down, Martin took a 90 degree turn with this line of questioning of the mother (Simon) who has a son dealing with opioid addiction:

MARTIN: Are candidates talking about this issue in Florida?

SIMON: No, they’re not. Right now, we’re so polarized – for I think ridiculous reasons – and we’re not focusing on our own people and what our own people need to make it through the day sometimes.

MARTIN: Are you talking about like President Trump and allegations against him, the Russia investigation? All that stuff feels really far afield to you?

SIMON: Actually, I voted for President Trump.

MARTIN: Did you?

Martin was shocked, yes shocked, that this woman actually voted for Trump.  So she pressed further.

MARTIN: That means, Isabelle, you’re who everyone wants. President Trump especially wants to keep your vote with the GOP even though he’s not on the ballot in these midterms. In general, are you satisfied with how he has done the job in the past couple of years?

SIMON: I’m very satisfied with his performance on the job. I wish he would get off Twitter though because that is an unnecessary – ah, I don’t even know how to verbalize that. I just think it takes away, and it feeds into all the hatred we have right now and all the discord – it’s like if he would just do his job. The economy’s doing well. I believe for the things he stands for. He wants what’s best for America, and I really truly believe that. But he can’t help himself but to take criticism, and he just blows up and goes on Twitter with a rant. And that takes away from all the good he’s trying to do in other areas.

This obviously didn’t go the way Martin had hoped…..

Posted in npr, politics | 2 Comments

Florida’s Major Hurricane Strikes: No Change In 120 Years


From Roy Spencer via GWPF:

Florida’s Major Hurricane Strikes: No Change In 120 Years

  • Roy Spencer

I’ve updated a plot of Florida major hurricane strikes since 1900 with Hurricane Michael, and the result is that there is still no trend in either intensity or frequency of strikes over the last 118 years:

This is based upon National Hurricane Center data. The trend line in intensity is flat, and the trend line in number of storms (not shown) is insignificantly downward.

Nevertheless, the usual fearmongers are claiming Hurricane Michael is somehow tied to climate change.

After all, the Gulf of Mexico is unusually warm, right?

Yes, but if you look at the history of Jul-Aug-Sept average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the eastern Gulf (available here, 25N-30N, 80W-90W), you will see that since 1860, this summer is only the 9th warmest in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Even more…

View original post 256 more words

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3 Month Update With CGM

It’s been about 3 months since I’ve been using the Abbott Freestyle Librecontinuous glucose meter (CGM) and I’d like to provide an update.

There are still a few minor issues with this CGM that I’ll touch on here but for the most part, this device has far surpassed my expectations with regard to real time feedback that the CGM provides with regard to lifestyle and diet changes.

The report that I just downloaded from my reader for the last 2 weeks provided some key insights that I’d like to share in this post.

Dawn Phenomena

The Dawn Phenomena relates to seemingly mysterious rises in blood glucose a couple of hours before you wake and eat breakfast.  It is something I’ve written about before and even with stick meters it’s easy to verify but the CGM provides rock solid evidence of this.

See from the graph below how many of the days over the past 2 weeks show a spike in blood glucose around 5:00 or 6:00 even though I don’t eat breakfast until around 8:00.

Dawn Phenomena

12-Hour Delay With New Sensor

In the manual of the sensor and reader it clearly states that there is a 12-hour period from when you install a new sensor where data is not logged.  I don’t know why this is but I suspect that it takes time to have the sensor sampling tube and electronics conditioned to the new location and it’s a minor inconvenience knowing that I’ll get 10 full days of continuous glucose monitoring.

You can see the gap in the graph below.  The sensor 10 day limit ended on 16-SEP-18 so I removed the old sensor, installed a new one and data started to be logged about 12 hours later.

12 hour delay

Exercise Effects

I’ve seen the effects of exercise on my blood glucose the day after and the CGM really highlights this.

On 15-SEP-18 (a Saturday) I walked 22,277 steps (9.77 miles) and you can see my blood glucose on Saturday night and Sunday morning was very low even though I ate a hotdog (with a bun!) Saturday afternoon.


exercise benefits

Gaps In Measurements

For some odd reason, there are hours where data is not logged with this CGM.  For the most part, these gaps always occur when I’m sleeping and this could be due to me rolling over on my side and the pressure on the sensor causes it to not log the data.


OK, that is all I have to report now but more will be coming later.

As a reminder to those that are new here, I am a type 2 diabetic that manages my disease by following the Paleo lifestyle and continuous feedback is a must when deciding what lifestyle and diet changes affect my blood glucose.  If you are a type 1 or 2 diabetic, please see your physician and get a prescription for a CGM so that you can manager your disease in the best possible manner to prevent a certain, slow, painful death (which is inevitable if you continue to ignore the data).

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Mysterious Low Blood Sugar

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve tried my new continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and finally something happened the other night that validated my desire, since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, to have a CGM.

It is extremely problematic to wake myself up in the middle of the night to use my stick meter to see what my blood glucose levels are so a CGM (that takes measurements once every minute) is exactly the right tool for this job.

I’ve often wondered what my blood glucose levels are when I’m sleeping and for the most part they’ve remained stable but the other night something caused my blood glucose levels to drop close to 50 mg/dL.

low glucose 2

low glucose 1

I have no explanation as to why this happened.  I don’t take medicine or insulin injections to control my Type 2 Diabetes so I can’t attribute a poor application of medication for this.  I didn’t do anything odd (that I know of) with regard to straying from my Paleo lifestyle.

And this drop occurred around 3:00 am so it’s not like I jumped up and ran a 5K in the middle of the night on an empty stomach!

Although I haven’t found a causal explanation for this, I’ll be watching this closely now that I know this happens.

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 4 Comments

Comparing Blood Glucose Measurements of Abbott Freestyle Libre vs. Livongo

I’ve been using the Abbott Freestyle Libre Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for about 9 days now and I’ve had the opportunity to compare its blood glucose measurements with the Livongo stick meter that I’ve used for a couple of years now.

The following graphs show the comparison of blood glucose measurements between the Freestyle Libre and Livongo meters.

graph 1

graph 2

Line represents zero delta between measurements of the two meters

I have several brands of stick meters that I routinely compare and there is always a delta of at least 10-20 mg/dL so I’m not surprised that these two meters don’t measure the exact same blood glucose levels.  Blood glucose meter accuracy is about 20% so even multiple measurements with the same meter won’t line up exactly and can vary by 20%.

A blood glucose meter is no different than other meters that measure things like temperature, pressure, flow rates, etc.  There is an accuracy stated for the meter but that accuracy may not hold true for the entire range that the meter can measure.  Usually the meter manufacturer will have a tighter accuracy in a range where the measurement is more important (for example, with temperature it would be in the middle of the range where the temperature control system would expect to control).  While I can’t find this information in the literature for blood glucose meters, I’d expect the accuracy of these meters to be tighter at measurements <75 mg/dL because low blood glucose level can kill you quickly.

So while I’m not surprised that the Freestyle Libre and Livongo meters have deltas in their measurements, I am surprised that the delta between the Freestyle Libre and Livongo is always positive.  I would expect some to be positive and some to be negative (as the natural variation in measurement accuracies play out) but the fact that 12 of the 13 comparisons were positive (1 comparison had a delta of 0) leads me to assume that one of these meters has a consistent offset.

Now it should be stated that I have no idea which meter is closest to my actual blood glucose levels but that really doesn’t matter as long as the deltas continue to be consistent. With frequent blood glucose monitoring, the absolute value of these measurements isn’t what’s important; what you should be looking for is trends in the measurements that can be correlated with a diet or lifestyle change.

As I stated in an earlier post, I intentionally went off my typical Paleo diet for the first week of using the CGM so I could see what my blood glucose levels were after non-Paleo meals but next week I’ll return to my normal Paleo diet and I will be interested in seeing if the delta between these two meters decreases as more of my measurements are <100 mg/dL. If my theory about blood glucose meter accuracies being tighter at the lower range is true, this should play out in the data as my blood glucose levels drop to those lower ranges.

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First Experience With CGM

As I’ve written about recently, I’m coming up on my 5 year anniversary of abandoning prescription medicine treatment of my Type 2 Diabetes by using the Paleo lifestyle and followers of this blog should have noticed that I’ve done that by using data to drive my decision making process.

And while I’ve tried on occasion to take frequent measurements per day to assess what impacts diet and exercise have on my blood glucose levels, there hasn’t been a way to monitor my blood glucose continually (i.e. every few minutes) and it’s just too much of a hassle to prick your finger dozens of times a day (and expensive!).

There have been continuous glucose monitors (CGM) out on the market for many years now but they have mainly been used to pair with insulin pumps and that really doesn’t help type 2 diabetics out who don’t need insulin injections.

But recently two new CGM devices have been approved by the FDA that don’t need to be paired with insulin pumps – Dexcom G5 and Abbott Freestyle Libre.

I recently got the Freestyle Libre and started using it yesterday and I’d like to share some of my initial findings.

What’s In The Box

First off the Freestyle Libre system involves two devices – a reader and a sensor.  The meter is a handheld device that looks very similar to a normal strip reader and while you can use Abbott strips to perform instant readings of blood glucose levels, the beauty of the CGM lies with the sensor.  The sensor is a disk that has a needle that inserts below the skin and this is how it takes glucose measurements every minute.

freestyle libre system pic 1

freestyle libre system pic 2.JPG

Inserting The Sensor

Each sensor can be used for up to 10 days and they come packaged individually with a special application device and alcohol wipes.  The sensor can only be installed on the back of the upper arm (where your triceps are) and I didn’t need help with this, as it was easy to do.  You pick up the sensor with the applicator and then push the applicator against the skin to ensure the needle and sensor properly attach to your arm (there is some sort of adhesive that makes sure the sensor is securely attached (more on the quality of this attachment later).

Full disclosure, I’m not a guy who likes needles and I’m quite the pansy in that regard and I’m not particularly proud of that.  With that being said, I will say that there was a brief amount of pain that lasted a few seconds when the sensor was applied and there was a dull ache/pain for about an hour but after that I forgot the sensor was there.

Obtaining Blood Glucose Data

After you insert the sensor you then activate it through the reader but for some reason, you have to wait 12 hours before you can take your first reading.  I don’t know if this 12-hour delay is only for the first sensor you apply or for each new one and I’ll find that out in about 10 days.

But after the 12-hour delay, you can download data from the sensor by turning on the reader and placing it about 1-2 inches from the sensor.  The reader beeps and then you see a graph of blood glucose levels for the past 8 hours.   You can add notes such as info on the meal you just ate and insulin injection by tapping the pencil icon, which takes you to other menus.

freestyle reader screen cap

Glucose Readings Compared To Stick Meter

I use the Livongo meter to take instantaneous glucose meters via the traditional finger prick/stick method and I compared blood glucose measurements (ug/dL) between the Livongo meter and the Freestyle CGM 4 times over the past 24 hours.

Livongo Freestyle Libre CGM
150 157
129 143
111 111
104 129

As you can see, the Freestyle Libre CGM was mostly higher than the Livongo meter with an average of +11.5 mg/dL.  Now it should be noted that the Livongo meter (like all glucose meters) have a larger margin of error than I’d like to see and I’m sure the Freestyle Libre CGM and Livongo are no different.  That is why I’ve always said to pay attention more to trends than the absolute values of individual measurements.  But this is something I’ll continue to watch to see if this delta continues or if the average goes to zero as the sample size gets larger.

I will say that I have good confidence in my Livongo meter because I’ve seen good correlation with my A1C measurements I get from my doctor’s office. During my visit last month I had an A1C reading of 6.0%, which corresponds, to a blood glucose level of 126 ug/dL and from my Livongo data, I’ve averaged 127 ug/dL for the last 90 days.

The Beauty Of CGM Data

OK, so that is the extent of my experience for the first 24 hours using this meter and expect many posts in the future as I dive into this new treasure trove of data but I couldn’t wait to analyze this data.

Since this was my first experience with a CGM I wanted to really put my body to the test by deviating from my Paleo diet and eating a couple meals of high carbs and follow that up with exercise to see how my body reacted.

For the past two days, prior to exercise, I have eaten a breakfast that consisted of 4 eggs and three pieces of ciabatta toast with butter and blackberry jelly.  Grains and jelly are basically verboten for me under Paleo but I have previously discovered that I can eat those prior to intense physical activity with no detrimental effects to my blood glucose levels. But that was when I measured my blood glucose levels after exercise and I had no idea what happened between the 2 hours after the meal and the end of my exercise.  Now with the CGM I can see what happens!

The two physical activities I planned were golf on 06-JUL-18 and riding my bike for 20 miles on 07-JUL-18. Golf is not nearly as strenuous as riding a bike for 20 miles so I mainly want to focus on 07-JUL-18 for right now.

As you can see from the screen cap from my Fitbit app, it took me about an hour and a half to ride 20 miles.  The manual for the Freestyle Libre states that the sensor is water proof up to 3 meters but swimming should be limited to 30 minutes.  During the bike ride, I was subjected to rain for the entire hour and a half of the ride and the sensor not only maintained its electrical functionality but stayed firmly attached even after the shower after the ride so the robustness of the sensor to water was validated.

bike ride fitbit 07-jul

I finished my breakfast on 07-JUL-18 around 10:30 and left on my bike ride at 11:05.  As you can see from the graph below, my blood glucose level peaked around 250 ug/dL at 11:20 but then came down to 97 when I finished my ride at 12:35.

daily log

It should also be noted that I had a dinner of pork, zucchini and mashed potatoes that caused my blood glucose levels to peak at 173 approximately an hour after the meal (potatoes are bad for me as they cause my blood sugar to spike more than if I ate something with a high content of sugar).

I should also add that the Freestyle Libre has an app/program that you can download to your computer to export the data to reports and the options available are shown in the pic below.

freestyle libre report options

So much more to come regarding my new CGM later but after the first 24 hours I’m extremely happy to have this new technology to help me control my type 2 diabetes!

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 5 Comments

Paleo 5 Year Anniversary

It’s been almost 5 years since I abandoned the treatment for my Type 2 Diabetes prescribed by my endocrinologist (Janumet) and adopted the Paleo lifestyle and I’m happy to report things couldn’t be better.

I went in for my annual physical recently and my A1c is still in the high range of a normal person without diabetes (< or = to 6.0%) and this is much better than the insane guidance from the American Diabetes Association that says folks with Type 2 Diabetes should have an A1c less than 7% which they push can only be obtained through medication.


Red Line signifies when I went off mediation and adopted the Paleo lifestyle

Everything in my comprehensive blood work was normal but I’d like to make a point that my triglycerides came down from a high reading the previous year (These readings should be below 150 mg/dL).


I attribute this to both the lack of exercise I had in early 2017 as opposed to the increased exercise regime I adopted toward the end of 2017 and continue today.

I signed up for a group relay race that amounted to me running two 10k legs with only a 5 hour break in between and I’m convinced that the training that led up to that race helped drop my triglycerides back to normal levels. That is the only explanation as my diet didn’t change in the past 2 years and the only variable was the amount and intensity of my exercise.

I should also note that when I was starting to train my body to be accustomed to running twice in a single day (I’ve been a runner for the past 19 years of my life and I can attest that running twice in the same day is no easy task….) I noticed that I had to deviate from my Paleo diet and eat grains and a higher level of carbs during the days I pushed myself to run twice.

At first I stuck to Paleo on the days I ran the doubles but when it came time for my 2ndrun of the day my legs were dead and I had no energy.  So allowing myself to ‘cheat’ on those days gave me more energy for that 2ndrun and my blood glucose levels on those days never strayed from levels associated with someone without diabetes – They were routinely around 100 mg/dL.  It was amazing that I could eat pancakes, muffins and pasta on those days and it was like I got a free pass!

Even with my body’s DNA, which predisposes me to be insulin resistant, increasing my exercise drastically compensated for that and my body found a way to clear the glucose in my blood stream and metabolize it in my cells.

I guess this is why you never hear of professional athletes who contract Type 2 Diabetes because their exercise regime prevents buildup of glucose in the blood stream.



Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 4 Comments

Climate Data Tampering 2018 Update

It is apparent that tampering of climate data at NASA/GISS is ongoing to make the past temperatures appear cooler to support their worldview that recent temperatures are increasing.

I wrote a blog post in 2011 showing how the actual NASA/GISS temperature station data don’t support the Global Warming (now called Climate Change) thesis and I thought it’d be good to compare the graphs I screen captured in 2011 to the graphs shown on the NASA/GISS website now to see if this data has been altered.

I’m using the NASA/GISS link here to obtain graphs of temperature station data so you can verify everything I discuss in this post. Note that I’ll highlight the differences between the 2011 and 2018 graphs with red ellipses on the 2018 graphs.

The Augusta/Bush temperature station data.

In 2011, the graph looked like this:

augusta 2011

Now it looks like this:

Augusta 2018

The Winnsboro, SC temperature station data.

In 2011, the graph looked like this:

winnsboro 2011

Now it looks like this:

Winnsboro 2018.jpg

The Columbia, SC temperature station data.

In 2011, the graph looked like this:

columbia 2011

Now it looks like this:

columbia 2018

The Darlington, SC temperature station data.

In 2011, the graph looked like this:

darlington 2011

Now it looks like this:

darlington 2018

The Wasco, CA temperature station data.

In 2011, the graph looked like this:

wasco 2011

Now it looks like this:

wasco 2018.jpg

The Tejon Rancho, CA temperature station data.

In 2011, the graph looked like this:

tejon-rancho 2011.jpg

Now it looks like this:

tejon rancho 2018

Are you starting to see the trend?

Past temperatures have been adjusted down and some past temperatures (if they were extremely high) have been removed.

Is this what Science looks like?

Climate Change is a fraud perpetrated by dishonest climate “scientists” and one day history will reveal this.  Mother Nature always wins in the end and the fraudulent claims made by charlatans will eventually be exposed in the white hot light of actual data.

Posted in Climate Change | 6 Comments

Trump Derangement Syndrome

As I’ve stated before, I didn’t vote for Trump in either the Republican primary in South Carolina or the General Election but shortly after he took office I figured out what he was doing and it seems to be working.

Trump has caused a dissonance in the minds of the Far Left and most Left leaning media to the point where they aren’t really watching what he is doing and instead focus on his tweets and the Russian probes. Either Trump is doing this by design or he’s just fortunate that the Left is still so butt hurt over Hillary losing that they aren’t paying attention but either way, I’m happy.

I’m hoping that the Left doesn’t figure this out but I think some are starting to once I saw this tweet:

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.56.24 PM

So what you’re saying is that while the Left has some awesome memes with Trump tweets, the actual act of governing is taking place and apparently elections do have consequences. Well….Yea!

While the Left is in full epidemic mode with Trump Derangement Syndrome, the Republicans in Congress and more importantly, the Trump administration, is quietly undoing 8 years of government overreach.

Here is a nice list of accomplishments of Trump in year one and one of the most notable accomplishments only hinted at in that piece is the number of federal judges that have been confirmed in 2017 – Neil Gorsuch to SCOTUS, 12 to the US Courts of Appeals and 6 to the US District Courts.

Once the Republican Tax Plan becomes law (hopefully next week) then the cherry will be put on top of this banner year for Trump and the Republican controlled Congress.

It would’ve been nice to fully repeal Obamacare but all I’ve ever expected and wanted from Trump and the Republican Congress was meaningful tax reform and now we are poised to get that. Reducing Corporate and individual tax rates and removing the individual mandate from Obamacare will go a long way to bringing about a real recovery that never materialized due to the past 8 years of business choking legislation and regulation.

Posted in politics | 4 Comments