Paleo Treats Podcast

Dr. Amy Kruse began tearing things apart as a (very) young girl, ripping apart her first typewriter at 5 years old.  Raised as an only child by high school English teachers, she ended up in neuroscience working in the defense industry helping soldiers learn to shoot faster, more accurately.  Of course.

She currently works at the Platypus Institute, which is an "Applied Neuroscience" institute. That means they figure out how to use what we know about the brain to make humans better.

Dr. Kruse wasn't sure what she'd do once she finished her PhD in neuroscience, but quickly fell in to the defense contracting world.  Yes, the government knows and wants to know a lot about how your brain works.

In this interview we talk about her environment growing up (pretty much the perfect childhood), how she thinks when it comes to "moonshots", "The moon is just a little too close for me", and what she's learned in over 15 years poking around and watching the human brain.

From watching how brains interact in a group to accelerating learning in individuals, Dr. Kruse has explored way out to the edge of the possible in neuro-land.  We talk about neuro-marketing, neuro-protection, how people become radicalized, and how the next big thing is going to be upgrading our attention span.

For those of you paying attention to human performance, Dr. Amy Kruse is definitely someone to watch closely.  Enjoy the conversation!

Direct download: 050_-_Amy_Kruse.mp3
Category:human performance -- posted at: 11:29am EDT

"The more we understand, the more rational we are and the more courageous we can be."

In this conversation with Prof. Dr. Chahan Yeretzian, a Syrian born Armenian physical chemist based out Switzerland, we dive deep into where the arenas of science, academia, industry, culture, and coffee meet.

From the advice he gives his students to why undergrads can't make good enough coffee, to the religion of freshness, this is a fascinating dive into a different world.

The elements of quality, the translation between measurements and sensory experience, the way that coffee is a cross cultural experience; all these and more are part of Chahan's world.

What will you hear if you listen in?  I'm going to try something new, and just include the notes I typed down while editing.  Please comment if these are useful, or email me if you'd rather I do your thinking for you. 

Notes from a convo with Chahan:

Plenty of mysteries to solve in coffee.

“At the base, good coffee is a sensory experience.”

Sensory profiling vs Q grading .

What he likes (intensity, strong body, aroma), very taken with smells.

“One element of quality is consistency.”

A big field is predicting specific sensory attributes based on objective measurements.

“Fresh had become a religion, but not an understanding.”

The problem is that a lot of people still serve horrible coffee in the industry.

Practical and hands on experience that comes from work in industry vs academia.

“You go into Origin countries and you’re learning cultures [based] around your product, coffee.

“Coffee is a peace building product, a trust building event.”

Soluble or instant coffee, Sudden Coffee.

Q grading coffee.

Q grader and co-worker Marco Wellinger.

Q grader Gloria Pedroza.

Coffee shows the connectivity of the world.

A very important quality of roasting is…consistency, that you’re able to reproduce what you’re doing.

“How does the mineral content of the water affect extraction or flavor profile? We’re still scratching on the surface [of coffee].”

We’re looking into how CO2 affects storage, freshness, formation of crema, flavor, acidity notes; it’s like taking one small molecule and trying to get a more rational understanding [of it’s impact.]

Creativity based in understanding. Knowledge is freedom and helps people explore new facets of coffee.

“Coffee is just as much art as science.”

Mold & mycotoxins in coffee?

The three ways Chahan makes coffee:

-high dollar semi-automatic coffee machines via coffee experts

-filter (hand brewed, freshly ground)

-Single serve capsule

“At home I do filter coffee. I had a professional machine, but it takes too much space.”

What I don’t do is French press. Sometimes I do soluble coffee, sometimes I mix it with Nespresso.

The research that we do is quite high level, so to do good research on coffee, you can not just rely on undergrads.

[The people who make most of the coffee I drink are] highly experienced scientists and also very good in coffee preparation besides being scientists.

“How do you roast to increase sweetness, or fruitiness, or a particular flavor note? We have some understanding, but it’s far too little to have any control over the roasting process.”

Advice to students: Looking over the borders of where we are.

Traveling is vital.

Moving between academia and industry and the importance of experiencing both worlds.

Academia needs people who have industry experience.

The path from Knowledge - Execution - Community

Armenian from Aleppo.

Armenians have a strong feeling of community and family, strong drive to perform, we are pushed to be the best.

A lot of unconditional love from parents.

The importance of being competent before you do benevolent work. If you don’t have the competence then you’re wasting your time being benevolent.

Further interests: indoor air quality, wine, oakwood aging, 2 kids who are 21 months old.

How complexity evolves in our world and how it’s related to self-organization, how life appeared on the planet.

Aspect of self organizing complex systems.

Direct download: 049_-_Yeretzian_Coffee.mp3
Category:science -- posted at: 7:42pm EDT

Bob Gannon, World Flying Adventure

Ready to listen to the embodiment of curiosity?  Bob flew around the world two and a half times in a plane about the size of a Ford F-250.  He’s visited a few hundred countries and the “accomplished” side of his bucket list reads like a compilation of any 5 normal people.

“At a project up in Spirit Lake, Iowa, in a bar, a drunken popcorn seed salesman gave me a quote to live by: Seize upon the moment of exotic curiosity to acquire knowledge.” 

Adventurous, curious, and deeply connected to his spiritual side, this is a fascinating look into one man’s journey around the world.  Twice.

Don’t say No until you know.

I had intended this to be mostly about curiosity, but we got into inspiration and personal development topics as well.  If you like adventuring and learning what the world is like, you’ll dig this episode.

Make your desire bigger than your fear.

Direct download: 048_-_Bob.mp3
Category:adventure -- posted at: 10:22am EDT

Every so often you come across a dude who appears normal but turns out to be a real gem.  Brad Barlage is one of those guys.  At 5'9 and all of 150 lbs, he's a rangy, stringy dude with bright eyes and a stoked smile.

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

A superb climber (redpointed 5.14), a real adventurer (kite skiing Baffin Island with Andrew McClean), a dog lover, and the kind of guy willing to build his life based on the "do the right thing always" mantra that marks so many of my mentors.

Brad worked his way up from the shipping floor at Black Diamond (the climbing company) to being a Sales Manage for North America, and split off to go his own way and continue selling outdoor gear under his own brand.

Good attitude going out equals good back in.

Brad is a very private guy, and I owe this podcast to two things.  

First, Brad's willingness to grant a friend a favor.  Second, the folks over at Enormocast, a climbing podcast.  

Brad's been listening to them. and seeing just how useful podcasts can be, so when i came bumbling along with my request, he understood how much it can help to hear someone else's story.  

Thanks Chris Kalous at Enormocast for doing a good enough job to inspire Brad and shining a light. Right on!

 

Direct download: 047_-_Brad_Barlage.mp3
Category:adventure -- posted at: 11:10pm EDT

I first heard about Gavin when I watched The Rocky Mountains Traverse.  The possibilities of paragliding immediately captured me, specifically the vol-biv work he and Will Gadd were doing.

If you're into adventuring, whether it's kayaking, sailing, kite surfing, or paragliding, you'll probably dig Gavin's take on the world.  

Whether he talks about his early "frequent bad decisions" or how he's not quite an adrenalin junkie, this is a great window into the mind of one of National Geographic's 2014 "Adventurer of the Year" recipients.

Enjoy!

Direct download: 046_-_Gavin_McClurg.mp3
Category:adventure -- posted at: 11:05pm EDT

Upon getting back into rock climbing after a 17 year hiatus, I quickly discovered Mark & Mike Anderson's contribution to training for the sport in the form of The Rock Climber's Training Manual.

After reading through it I realized that these guys were demonstrating more than just an interest in training, this is total "pursuit of excellence" material.  

In this episode of the Paleo Treats podcast we talk about where they learned about hard work, why climbing satisfies so many human cravings, and what stops most climbers from becoming better.

This is definitely not a "sets and reps" episode; if you're looking for specific training advice, buy the book.  :)  However, if you're looking for practical examples of what works to improve anything, not just climbing, you'll find enough in here to inspire and encourage you to do the very best you can in whatever endeavor you engage in.

Enjoy!

Direct download: 045_-_Anderson_Bros.mp3
Category:human performance -- posted at: 9:40am EDT

I've been curious about AI, or Artificial Intelligence, for a few years now.  I read with interest the opposing points of view in Pedro Domingos The Master Algorithm and Nick Bostrum's Superintelligence regarding how quickly machines are approaching human capacities for general intelligence vs what's called "narrow learning", or the ability to operate in one very small segment of a problem but to do it exceedingly quickly.

This show brings an industry insider in the person of Chris Nicholson to talk about what's going on with AI right now, what it can do, and what it can't. 

Chris is a co-founder of Skymind, a company built to help organizations who are not particularly "geeky" build their own AI for their tasks using the well known and very popular computer language Java.  There are many flavors of AI, but Skymind is focused on what's called "deep learning", or the ability for a machine to teach itself to get better.

Sounds scary, but after hearing Chris walk you through the state of AI I think you'll be much more excited and hopeful than worried about our future.

In this conversation we talk about machine learning, hadoop, smal data, intrepretability, and dimensions of intelligence. All interesting stuff for those of us relatively unversed in the world of AI, enjoy the show!

Direct download: 044_-_Skymind.mp3
Category:innovation -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

Peter Defty from Vespa Power rejoins us and shares the life that brought him to be on the leading edge of fat burning performance.  From his early days hunting and butchering animals on the farm to flying a biplane all over Guatemala as a young man to his current day job working to bring Vespa & OFM to performance driven athletes, this is a deep dive into a fascinating life.  Enjoy!

Direct download: 043_-_Peter_Defty_2.mp3
Category:adventure -- posted at: 12:33pm EDT

David Easton builds "museum quality, visual masterpiece walls that happen to support the roof."  His medium is rammed earth, he's been doing this for 40 years, and if you've ever loved any kind of architecture or building you'll dig this show.

This is closer to Paleo than many of our other podcasts in the sense that rammed earth building is a "locavore" (or loca-building) method. Typically you'll use what's on site (the earth) to pour into forms, tamp into rock, remove the forms and enjoy the heck out of one of the most beautiful walls you'll ever see.

I was introduced to David Easton through his book, The Rammed Earth House, many moons ago, even going so far as to build a rammed earth wall for a garden in our backyard back in '09.  As a long time fan of rammed earth & Easton's work, I'm super stoked to have him on the show to talk about one of our mutually favorite subjects:  Rammed earth.

Listen for this quote, it's one of my favorite from any of these podcasts:

"Every day in some form or another, I touch earth.  I don't mean I walk on it, everybody does that.  I mean the earth that you pick up and touch, it's all different, you know.  Some of it's granular and coarse, and some of it's silky and soft.  It comes in all these different colors, it can be gold, red, brown, grey.  It has an aroma.  You can build things with it, you can grow things in it. It's remarkable stuff, and it's everywhere.  If I were blind, I would still feel the earth."

Easton talks about starting out as an earth builder, his progression from building for hippies to building for billionaires, and his latest venture, Watershed Materials.

Enjoy!

NFH

 

Direct download: 041_-_David_Easton.mp3
Category:building -- posted at: 11:50pm EDT

Charlie Glass is an American journalist who has covered some of the most fascinating and horrific stories of our time. 

While you might not think a journalist has any connection to Paleo, these story tellers are vital to one of what we believe are the 7 Pillars of Paleo, and that's Community.  Without someone to tell our stories we remain individuals only aware of those we know personally; people like Charlie allow us to know and come to understand other communities living in wildly different worlds.

He is one of very few Western journalists to have been kidnapped AND escaped from terrorist hands, and while he doesn't tell the story in this podcast (it's been extensively covered elsewhere), you understand while listening to him the immense power that his practical and analytical mind brings to bear on any problem, from escaping confinement to tracking down the essence of a story.

Charlie has that most basic requirement of journalism, "a curiosity to find things out", and as you listen to this podcast you begin to understand what it takes to delve deep into a story, suss out and untangle the various threads, and then package it in a form that most of the rest of us can understand.

His journalist odyssey began under the tutelage of Peter Jennings, and he covered the Arab-Israeli war while working out of Beirut throughout the 1970s.  Charlie's experiences portray a man with a finger on the pulse of Arab unrest.

He interviewed the hostage crew of TWA 847 in Beirut Airport in 1986, exposed Saddam Hussein's secret biological weapons program in '88, covered the Kurdish rebellion in Iraq in '91, the '03 invasion of Iraq, and has worked for over 30 years to find and deliver the stories that follow all the tangled and connected threads of complex situations.

Charlie credits some of his fascination with journalism to his time working at The Observer (the world's oldest Sunday paper), where he says "to walk into that newsroom was to walk in to the University of Life." 

If you'd like to know more about Charlie, check out his website here or follow him on Twitter.

Tune in and absorb the lessons of a well read, brave, and deeply thoughtful journalist.  Enjoy the show!

Cheers,

Nik

Direct download: 041_-_Charlie_Glass.mp3
Category:education -- posted at: 1:00pm EDT