Very Secure

Once again into the deep

September 18th, 2023

On September 17 I returned to the ocean. I was nervous about the idea of going free diving again. The thought crossed through my mind that I'm already very lucky to have the experience of being 24m deep. I could quit freediving now with a cool notch on my belt without having to put myself at more risk. Why did I need to dive again?1

I had every reason not to go. Hiring a pro cost 80 bucks, I have to drive for an hour each way, I have to then take a 30 minute boat ride (which usually leaves me seasick), and then I have to hold my breath until my diaphragm starts automatically contracting. Seriously, why the fuck would anyone want to do that? I asked myself this question over and over again as I was packing my bags and getting ready to go.

Well I realized why I needed to dive when I arrived at 15m below sea level. I floated there at zero gravity, an experience known only to divers and astronauts. And I heard the most beautiful noise, the calling of whales welcoming me to my home, the ocean. I floated there experiencing incredible bliss as I gave a thumbs up to my safety diver. I didn't have the slightest urge to breathe at any point during the dive.

Poseidon left me a parting gift - after diving, my hands were feeling much better! And although it may just be a fantasy, I have a reason to believe that freediving may help cure my RSI. Let me explain.

To do so, I must inform you about the most important aspect of the physiology of freediving. The astute reader of footnote 1 may be asking themselves how is it possible for freedivers to go to incredible depths of 100 plus meters? Wouldn’t their lungs shrink to a point, causing their rib cage to collapse?

The idea that one's rib cage would implode at a certain depth was a widely held myth for a long time. No one dared to test it. Legend has it that a drunkard dispelled the myth by doing the impossible in a public stunt dive to 50m. That his corpse would float to the top, or rather sink to the bottom, was a reasonable expectation. But who could have predicted that human mammals have a mechanism to pump the lungs with blood in order to prevent the rib cage from implosion under high water pressure? The drunkard was probably just a dumbass who got lucky as shit. His reckless stunt showed the world that free diving to great depths is possible.

The physiological phenomenon preventing the death of freedivers is called blood shift. It occurs as part of the mammalian dive reflex. When we submerge ourselves into deep water, blood rushes from the peripheries into our lungs so that the lungs can retain a rigid structure.2 it is undeniable that humans have aquatic roots.

Now to circle back to how this is connected with RSI. I have read that forms of tendinitis are caused because of restricted blood flow in the veins (i.e. - its an outflow problem). This causes swelling as the blood is unable to properly return home, possibly creating thick tendons that put pressure on nerves. Draining this blood may be an imperative.

I know it may be a fantasy, but could it be possible that blood shift from freediving can reduce some swelling that is causing pains my hands? I have a bit of evidence that this is the case, and I plan to explore that evidence further.

  1. Freediving is relatively safe compared to other extreme sports. There has only ever been one death in a freediving competition. Also, 24m is not deep for a competitor. People sometimes learn to free dive to 30m on the first day they try. With that said, at 24m the pressure is ~3.4 ATM. This means that your lungs are roughly one third the size that they would otherwise be due to Boyle’s inverse gas law. This is barring any effects due to blood shift which I will get to explaining later.

    So idk man, I think freediving is pretty fucking gnarly! []

  2. Unlike gas, liquid cannot compress into smaller volume no matter how much pressure is applied to the liquid's containing body. []

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

September 17th, 2023

I remember BingoBoingo used to ask this question to newcomers in the old bitcoin assets channel. Somehow this seemed to offend people. It was rarely, if ever, answered directly. People are bothered by the idea of manifest destiny. They have difficulty accepting that their environment shapes who they are.

Well I am my father’s son, and there's no denying that I inherit a lot of traits from him. So without further ado let me answer the question.

My dad is Ronald Haack, a retired pro bridge player. He invested all his energy into a card game. He often procrastinates and struggles to get the important things in life done. But when it comes to the card game bridge, there are very few that can match his intelligence and energy.

So what exactly is this card game bridge? Why is it played by a small group of fanatics and a bunch of wealthy old people? Why did my dad dedicate his life to this card game?

It is the most interesting way to make use of 52 cards. The appeal of bridge comes from the unraveling of a mystery with every hand. Through the bidding and play of the cards, a story is told. You and your partner must collaborate to piece that story together and play your cards accordingly.

Bridge1 imitates life. Sometimes you’re dealt a good hand, sometimes you’re dealt a shit hand. In any event, you must always make the best of what you got. You must make decisions with imperfect information and adjust any inferences you've made as more information becomes available.

Ultimately, bridge is a fascinating triviality. And this fascination with trivialities is something that I inherited from my father. Almost all of my effort gets spent on games and pleasure. And now, just like my father, I've begun to invest an incredible amount of time playing bridge. It's not something I'm exactly proud of, but nevertheless it's part of who I am.

  1. Bridge has fallen out of popularity in the last 50 years. Bridge requires honor. It is a beautiful game, but it does not work if you cannot trust your opponents to not cheat. It takes an active effort to make sure that the only way you communicate your hand to your partner is through your bidding and your play of cards. []

Remarks on Ulnar Nerve Compression

July 3rd, 2023

Control of the hand is provided to the brain via the radial, median, and ulnar nerve. The default keying position compresses the ulnar nerve.

The ulnar nerve runs through an area called the cubital tunnel in the elbow. This area is colloquially referred to as the funny bone.

A nerve can be modeled as an electrical cable with rubber insulation. Whenever you pinch the rubber tube its internal conductivity reduces. The tube usually quickly expands back to its normal circumference. But if you squeeze that tube over and over and over and over and over for years eventually it will deform permanently.

When you are keying you are almost certainly compressing the ulnar nerve. Stop now before it's too late.

There are two primary reasons why the ulnar nerve is being compressed while keying. The first is that your elbows often need to bend at an acute angle so your hands can reach the keyboard. This is especially true if your keyboard is placed on a high table. You need your elbows to be at an angle closer to 135 degrees. The second reason the ulnar nerve is compressed is that in order to use a normal keyboard one needs to pronate their forearms.1

Let's address how to reduce this bad posture in an ideal manner. The best thing you can do is to cut your keyboard in half and place each half on the outside of your knee. Each half of the keyboard would be rotated 90 degrees from a normal position so that the keys are facing away from one’s body. With the keyboard in this position, your hands can naturally fall into the home row without you having to pronate or bend your elbows.2

You can approximate this by getting a split keyboard with tenting (the ability to tilt them) and getting a keyboard tray - ideally one that also can tilt away from you. For the keyboard I currently use a Kinesis Freestyle Pro 2. I have yet to install a keyboard tray for myself.

If you don't have a keyboard tray nor a split keyboard one tip is to place the keyboard on your lap. It is a decent way to prevent your elbows from bending too much, especially if your desk/table Is too high. If you don't have a split keyboard, there is nothing you can do to prevent the pronation while you type other than hunting and pecking with the outside of your pinkies. (yes I type like that now when I have to.) What you can do is remove your hands from the keyboard and supinate back to resting position constantly to prevent prolonged pronation.

There you have it, some keys to healthy pinkies.

  1. I can reliably reproduce paresthesia simply by putting myself in the naive keying position of bent elbow, pronated forearm. []
  2. Another way to think of this is where would you put the keyboard so that your fingers would be in a good position to strike if your hands were relaxed and in the position they are in during a normal gait. []

The RSI Saga Continued

July 2nd, 2023

I've been thinking about what topic I should break the silence with. I ask myself what would be most useful for me and my readers?

The obvious answer is writing about my condition. There are not so many first-hand (pun intended) accounts written about RSI for obvious reasons. It is frustrating for someone with the condition to have to watch videos or listen to audio recordings in order to hear about the experience of other people who have suffered the same ailment.

Although mostly via subpar mediums, there exists lots of information about RSI. So I plan to focus on my specific experience so that I can be a unique data point rather than an echo. I will still mention what I consider the most important information I've learned from other sources.

I urge the reader to deeply consider everything I write in this series if they make a living with the use of their hands.1 I have reason to believe more people are affected by this condition than is reported. It is possible that people have nerve damage in their hands without having pain and paresthesia. It is also possible that people who have symptoms for RSI don't speak about it publicly for fear of losing their job or because they assume it's normal pain.

Take the warning seriously. I never thought “this could never happen to me” however I did erroneously believe my ergonomic chair and my ergonomic Microsoft keyboard were actually ergonomic. There are easy steps to take to reduce the load on your hands, and not doing so may come at a huge cost.

  1. i.e.everyone who doesn't play football. FOOTball. []

Block Explorer PSA

February 19th, 2023

It has come to my attention that my block explorer is constantly getting stuck and falling behind the chain tip. This happens because my trb bans nodes that send unrecognized commands. Since the network is 99.7% hijacked by heathens, this means that my node isolates itself from the network. Therefore I plan to patch my bitcoind to include jfw's permissive mode.

Waves and Women

February 18th, 2023

Are breathtaking energies that create chaos wherever they appear.
Their lips and curves draw in men and cause war between them.
The men, enamored by these beautiful forms, fight for one goal:
To be inside and last as long as possible.

But oh, how difficult the task is!
These ephemeral beauties are found on beaches all over the world.
But despite their abundance, they remain elusive.
Why is this so?

The common man trembles in their presence.
The more perfect they are, the more he fears them.
Should he approach them, he does so timidly.
And oh the fury that awaits him for a half-hearted attempt...

For in failing to get inside, he is humiliated.
He is smacked in the face and left disoriented.
Whether he is alone or in company he suffers greatly all the same.
Albeit in different flavors.

If he is in company, he offers an amusing spectacle for his audience.
And his public inadequacy encourages future theft.
If his failure occurs while alone, his soul suffers.
For he was free from competition.
The best opportunity, yet he still failed.

Some men, on the other hand, glide inside with ease.
They confidently and assertively present themselves.
Sure, they are slapped now and then, perhaps even more so than others.
But intermittent failures do not alter their composure.
And they oft experience those few electrifying seconds of ecstasy.

They travel all over the world, getting inside again and again.
The rare breed is rewarded with delicious pleasure.
The objects of their infatuation, soaking wet, engulf these men with love.
And sometimes go as far to spit all over them.
An act of devilish, rapturous desire.

Such is the way of life.
None for most, much for the few.
And when it comes to the differences
between man's pursuit of waves and man's pursuit of women.
There is only one.

And that is who gets the big ones!

How Javascript Came To Be

February 16th, 2023

Many a software developer working the salt mines has had the following unfortunate experience. He wipes the sweat off his brow and smiles as he completes whatever widget he had been implementing for his non-profit.1 He tests his new widget in his browser, likely the latest chrome or firefox. If he’s diligent maybe he checks it on another one as well - say safari. All good.

But, as has become routine, when his boss tries to load the widget everything goes awry. Not only does the widget not work, but half of the web page does not load! What has happened?

To answer this question we must go back in time to the early days of the internet when the competition between different companies to provide web browsers had just begun. During this time, web developers were pumping out their first websites. And likely these web developers were filling their sites with errors according to the javascript spec.

So one day a developer at mozilla decides he can get an edge on his competition by loosening the rules of javascript to accommodate for poorly written code. Specifically, he decides to remove the rule requiring a semicolon at the end of a statement. He accepts new lines as a valid alternative, a la python.

With this new addition, firefox browsers can suddenly display a whole sector of the web that before could not load on any browser. Specifically, firefox can display all websites where their web developer had forgotten a semicolon.2 To the consumer loading one of these poorly coded web pages, it appears that the browsers that follow the javascript spec are broken!

Naturally, the situation became a race to the bottom, each browser loosening its js compiler rules until we reached the state we are in today.

  1. i.e. a company that does not profit - regardless of how the label themselves when they file their taxes. i.e. all of Silicon Valley. []
  2. Sure, sure, one developer somewhere in the world followed the javascript spec down to the T, and wrote the following lines at the end of his function:

    “A very very very long string that needed to be on a new line to prevent him from going over his editor’s character limit.”;

    And because of the genius at mozilla’s new addition, his function now returned null on firefox’s browsers, owing to the magically inserted semicolon after the word return. []


December 8th, 2022

ztkfg has been too dormant. This little article serves to broadcast a few personal updates and a send a ping to the vast interwebz.

My days are lovely right now. Everyday is filled with a little guitar, a little bit of Spanish homework, and a little bit of snorkeling over some beautiful lava rock filled with wildlife right outside my window.

The biggest weight on my shoulders still is my concern of the functionality of my hands. I have been consistent with PT these past few days and am going to remain consistent so as not to make this sentence a lie. I'll also provide some more updates to fill in missing RSI logs.


Apnea and the Love of Freediving

November 16th, 2022

A month ago I watched my friend Luis dive 7 meters deep and swim through an underwater cave. This took place in a cenote in Tulum, Mexico. The cenotes of Mexico are sinkholes that give access to a fresh water cave network that spans roughly 216 miles. Words cannot describe their beauty. They are filled with colorful, exotic fish; turtles; and limestone. The crystal clear water allows one to see all this beauty with only a pair of goggles.

The first time I saw Luis go through an underwater cave -a swim through- I was drawn by the challenge. But out of respect (and fear) for my life, I decided I would not follow him. That night we found ourselves at a party with a large swimming pool. Tipsy off mezcal and a little stoned from a joint, I swam roughly 40 meters no fins in one breath.

The next day I came back and Luis showed me a cave that lead to another opening, inaccessible to other tourists not willing to take the challenge. He assured me that the swim was super short. I put my trust in him and committed to the swim. Even though the distance was quite short, I was nervous as shit. After having completed the challenge I had to swim back. Knowing I had just succeeded did not make things easier. Nevertheless I returned and was grateful for the experience.

Then Luis showed me another swim through. I watched him do it a couple of times and then followed him. This one was a tighter cave and a little deeper but shorter than the first. The experience and feeling after surfacing were amazing.

Luis showed me a third swim through. It was another cave right below the one I had just completed. He told me that this swim through was the most beautiful one. It was along the edge of the entrance to the large caverns that are explored by scuba divers. I felt confident I could do it. But I was not able to get myself to relax. My heart was racing both from fear and from the thrill that I would get to see this miraculous under water temple. I was unable to get my heart rate down. I was sure that I could make the swim through even with my elevated heart rate. But with respect for the danger I decided to abort the mission. There is no room for error in freediving.

The love of the cenotes has given birth to a new love of mine: playing in the water with one breath. After the experience in the cenotes I met a competitive freediving judge, Anna, who recommended that I take an AIDA freediving course. She pointed me to an instructor here in Tamarindo, Costa Rica that she had coached in a competition years ago. I took his course last weekend.

The course was for an AIDA2 certification. AIDA stands for Association Internationale pour le Développement de l'Apnée. The organization is a non-profit that hosts competitions for freedivers all around the world and is the most notable issuer of freediving world records. The level 2 certification requires the freediver to: complete a written exam, hold their breath for 2min (static apnea), swim 40 meters horizontally in one breath, and dive 12 meters in one breath. At the end of the course my records were:

40m horizontal with fins (DYN)
17m deep (CWT),
4min40s static (STA)

My PB that stands out is the 4min40s static apnea. This was the first time I did a full send on a single breath hold - I pushed myself to my limit with the knowledge that I was being watched by a professional freediving coach.

The lead up to the 4min40s hold was as follows. We were instructed to do 2 warm up rounds before the final attempt. The first warm up round we had to hold our breath until our first diaphragm contraction.1 Then we took 1min to breathe recovery breaths and then 2min to relax before our next breath hold. The 2nd breath hold we were instructed to hold until 20s after our first contraction. Then we did another 1min recovery and 2min relaxation before our final breath hold where we held for as long as possible.

Before doing this exercise I had asked the instructor if he could stop me at 4min15s. He said no, I needed to listen to my body and choose when to stop. I am grateful for that because I found out that I was able to push past my self perceived limit. It also showed me that, for now, 4min40s is my physical limit. I came up with my leg twitching2 and my face pale - I had a slight LMC.3 I struggled to give the OK sign with my index touching my thumb, but I managed to do so.

I learned that my body has late and weak contractions. My peers had their first diaphragm contractions around the 2min mark while I had my first diaphragm contraction around 3min30s. This is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing, comfortable 3min breath holds; the curse, small time between warning and blackout.

There's so much more to say about freediving but I'll have to cut this article short for now. I can't wait to be back in the water to push myself deeper into the blue abyss.

  1. Holding your breath is broken down into two phases - the easy phase and the struggle phase. The struggle phase begins when one receives their first involuntary contraction. This is an involuntary swallow. Then come involuntary diaphragm contractions. Hopefully you never get to the third phase. []
  2. I came up because my leg was twitching. I was able to push through discomfort but that twitch made me think that maybe I was really out of oxygen. I was right. []
  3. Loss of Motor Control. Freedivers use a euphemism, samba instead of LMC, because it looks like a diver breaks into a little dance when they are trying to gain control over their body again. []

Podcast Episode 02 - The USDdb and Bitcoin's Speculative Attack

February 14th, 2022

Episode 02 is below. I may burst out a few more episodes in the near future, and then eventually settle with a 1-per-week or 1-per-month podcast.

In this episode I discuss:

-Examples of USG hallucination.
-The relation between the USG mind virus and the dollar aka the USDdb
-The higher cause you contribute to when you buy BTC.
-The coming and desire of the downfall of the exchanges, aka the USDdb<->Bitcoin interfaces

P.S. I apologize in advance for my fillers "um, uh, like, you know's" sprinkled throughout the podcast, I'll work on reducing them in future episodes.