Recent deaths

Note: My friend Charley used to live in Alaska.  A few years ago he moved to the Dominican Republic where he has a farm in the mountains.  I still occasionally lure him to Alaska with work, like building micro controllers for my used cooking oil burners.  I use these to heat some of my apartment buildings (so much cheaper than heating oil!).   Charley is a great friend and I have known him for nearly 40 years, and I have always appreciated his support for my crazy projects, like the used cooking oil–or working on aging.  This is an email I sent to him earlier today.

Hi Charley,


Not sure if you knew Quint or not, but he died earlier this month.  Did you know he was my Godfather?  I can still remember when I was a child and we kept the old motorhome on his property.  We would stay in it when we were in town from the bush.  He is also the one who taught me amateur radio, so my connection with him goes way back.  I doubt you will be in town, but (just in case) his memorial will be in late January.


And then my Uncle died a couple days ago.


I sure hate death.  So…wasteful.  And distressing!  I know many think death of the old is natural, and death of the young is terrible.  But I think when the issue is with people you don’t know…death of the old is more damaging because you are removing those who are already skilled and many times the loss of those people have a much greater impact to society than when a baby dies.  Think of how much more Einstein could have discovered if he had lived another 60 years!


Both Quint and my Uncle got to be really old.  If they don’t cure aging, I hope I can do as well!  I think they managed to achieve such longevity in part because they remained thinner and because they both remained active and socially engaged.  I also think that fall (up to the winter solstice) is a dangerous time for the very old…all the people I know who are really old have died in this time period (Dad at 85, Mom at 94, Quint at 104?, Uncle at 98…the list goes on…).  I suspect this is because people have a much lower production of hormones during shortening daylight, which makes them more susceptible to (everything).   I think low hormones reduces cellular productivity, which (in the very old) is already defective due to clogging with old proteins, mitochondrial disfunction and the issues with maintaining homeostasis with deficits in protein production.  This reduces their resistance to dying, which means any little thing can push them over the edge.  I wonder if this could be prevented by spending the ‘winter’ in the southern hemisphere?


With Dad it wasn’t so important when he died because of his dementia.  But it seems a cure for dementia has been developed in the last few years, though they are still evaluating the procedure.  But it sounds very promising.  Which is really good for me because dementia is something I have been worrying about a lot the last decade, since those nasty ‘senior moments’ has started occurring more frequently!  But I have started thinking about the things they do to prevent dementia (or even partially cure it), and have been trying to implement a few of them.  I am also thinking about being tested for a bunch of the key things that get unbalanced (leading to dementia), like your zinc/copper ratio.


All this means changing habits, so it is difficult.  But worth it to gain a lot of extra years of useful life!  I have been trying to increase my level of exercise from my pretty low level to the amount recommended in a book I read recently which is 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  The book is called Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D.  from which I got 4 pages of notes.  In the book they say regular exercise is (nearly) a cure for aging.  At least it can keep you younger for a lot longer!  It was a good read, so if you get a chance you might pick it up.


When I exercise I usually burn around 7-8 kilo-calories (kcal) a minute the whole time I am in the gym.  This includes the total time in the gym, so the average while actually exercising is closer to 10 calories per minute.  I log all my data, so I can figure this stuff out.  It is mostly the number of days that I spend in the gym that is an issue; between the middle of October and the middle of November I was only made it to the gym only 10 days.  The average amount of time I spent in the gym was 46 minutes (so I am doing fine there according to Younger Next Year).  In addition I burn an average of 250 kcal/day walking (I have a pedometer on my phone which logs the majority of my walking).  Here is the total data for those days:
Date Min. exercise time Pedometer calories Kcal in gym Total Cal burn Ave kcal per min. gym
10/22/18 45 305 320 625 7.1
10/23/18 45 152 360 512 8.0
10/24/18 50 387 375 762 7.5
10/30/18 40 324 220 544 5.5
11/01/18 30 274 300 574 10.0
11/05/18 45 198 305 503 6.8
11/10/18 25 235 230 465 9.2
11/11/18 75 233 512 745 6.8
11/12/18 55 197 345 542 6.3
11/13/18 50 216 422 638 8.4
Average 46.0 252.1 338.9 591.0 7.6
So my real issue is getting enough days of exercise, not the duration of each session.  How is your exercise?  I would think you would get quite a bit hiking up and down that mountainous farm!!


Your blog looks like it is coming along.  That was really interesting about all your controllers and your internet of things.  Managing your solar power and your water power must make for a lot of time spent programming.  The veggie oil burners you programmed have been doing much better this winter than last, though we had an issue at the 13p a week ago caused by not heating the lines from the external pump.  They got clogged.  Took us awhile to figure out what was wrong with it.  But no issues with the controllers you built to run them, so that is great 🙂  Baranof has been running so well that we haven’t burned the 50 gallons of heating oil we put in there a month ago!  Normally this time of year that place would have burned probably 600 gallons of heating oil.  The 13p is the one that is really going through a lot of oil though; we have been delivering 250 gallons a week of used cooking oil every week.  So much that we are worried about the supply!  We are going to have to increase the amount we gather if we want to keep this up.


I am going to put this on my blog too, as I am now trying to keep everything I write about aging there.  Hope you don’t mind?  If so let me know and I will remove it!  Should I add a link to your blog?   Of course as I try to improve my blog I will probably rewrite this a bit, as this is just off the top of my head.
We finally got the 10p boiler install done and fired last week.  Just in time too, because the weather has turned cold.  We have not finalized the boiler in 12b yet, but we need to do that really soon because the one in 12a will not keep up when it is below 0 F.  So the next air quality alert (which is more likely with the cold weather) could really pinch (the last one a week ago was not a problem; we shut down the old boiler and started the ‘new’ one in 12a and everything ran fine).  I am just concerned about the high cost of heating oil!  I anticipate burning 50+ gallons a day, which will put a big crimp in my budget whenever we have to run those.


Thinking of you in the tropical weather, here it is -15 F this morning.
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