I'm looking for a new assistant


This is a paid position, to begin in October 2015. Telecommuting is okay. Must have a high tolerance for puns and memes.

I am seeking a part-time assistant to help me stay organized as the head of an anti-censorship software project. Rather than working for someone and taking on tasks that are unimportant, I'm looking for an assistant to work with me in keeping the project on-track to meet critical deadlines. While the project and field it is in are very high-stress, this position is not. I'm very affable and past contractors and assistants have found me very easy to work with. Because I work with at-risk activists in a politically-sensitive human rights project, sensitivity to confidential matters is of the utmost importance.

As my assistant, here are some things you would definitely have to do:

  • Take meeting requests and invitations from specific email inboxes and place them on the calendar
  • Flag emails for review
  • Remind me of calendar items and ongoing tasks
  • Place tasks on the Trello board
  • Proofread documents and website content as needed
  • Occasionally write emails and short blog posts
  • Review and provide feedback on presentation slides
  • Be accountable and very reliable in performing these duties with a past track record of reliability.

Because I travel fairly frequently, an assistant may also need to take on these tasks from time to time:

  • Turning (scanned) receipts into expense reports in Excel or OpenOffice, including conversion rates
  • Travel-related research: lodging, coffee, dance clubs =)

The successful candidate must be willing to learn (and follow) digital security best practices, and sign a non-disclosure agreement.

To apply, please provide a resume and a writing sample (business or persuasive) to Griffin via griffin@cryptolab.net, with [Assistant] in the title. Interest or background in free software, anti-censorship tools, or human rights is a plus.

  • Time required: 10 hours a week typically, up to 15 hours near project deadlines
  • Compensation: Negotiable, from $20 per hour
  • Location: Any
  • Employment status: Contractor
  • Position Begins: October 2015

Intermittent Fasting

Those of you who keep up with fitness may occasionally come across the term “intermittent fasting.” So what is it?

IF 1: Precise meal scheduling

For some, it makes sense to eat on a very specific schedule, leaving large blocks of time without a meal. 12-20 hours is quite common for this type of intermittent fasting. If one trains every day, this can be an ideal way to trim extra calories without eliminating the nutrients they need for a workout.

Examples: Alice eats all of her meals between 7am and 6pm, leaving a 13-hour window where she is fasting. Bob eats all of his meals between 7am and 1pm, skipping dinner in the process.

IF 2: Day-long fasting

For others, it makes more sense to take an entire day off from eating, resulting in 24-36 hours without a meal. While it seems like a frivolous change, if I were to fast two days per week, I’d reach my goal 4 weeks sooner.

Example: Carol eats dinner at 7pm on Monday and has her next meal at 7am Wednesday morning. This is a 36-hour fast. Dave eats breakfast at 6am Monday and has breakfast at 6am Tuesday -- a 24-hour fast.

Why do people fast this way?

Calorie restriction is implicit in all cases. With IF1, it simply makes a lot of sense for some people to restrict their intake to certain hours to reduce late-night snacking and ‘fourth meal’ shenanigans. Sometimes this can include skipping specific meals of the day.

Wait, is that it?

Calorie restriction is required, but with intermittent fasting it’s only half the story. For IF2, an entire day without eating can reduce one’s weekly calorie intake by quite a lot, leading to an extra half-pound or more lost for each day fasting. Certain groups of people find it easier to stick to, and more of those studied lost weight with intermittent fasting (65% vs 40%). Or as the WSJ says “Eating much less on some days and normally on others is as or more effective than reducing one's calories to between 1,200 and 1,500 calories daily, though continued research is needed, scientists say.” The current thinking is that in addition to helping eliminate the urge to snack, it puts additional stress on the body, causing the dieter to burn additional fat.

My take

Intermittent fasting is as much bro science as it is real science. Like everything in the weight loss space, there’s some amount of gimmick involved. But unlike many methods/products/sekretz promoted, IF is used by a surprisingly large number of people, but not actively monetized. Which makes some amount of sense. After all, it would be hard to write a book about this. “Condense all of your eating into an 8-hour window every day and see increased weight loss if you already have a caloric deficit and exercise regularly.” End of book.

There are strong indicators that it works when used as a supplement to an already-successful diet and fitness routine. But I’d caution against trying to do too much, too different, too quickly. If you’re switching to a ketogenic diet and restricting your calories severely and starting a new exercise plan and taking supplements and intermittent fasting… Not only are you going to crash quickly, but your body will not lose weight as quickly as maintaining a steady pace of smaller changes. Start slowly and add new elements as you progress.

Why you should go to CCC Camp, with Stefan

Stefan, just doing his thing

This summer's hottest conference is CCC camp. Located in an empty field north of Berlin, CCC camp has everything: stern Germans in black leather, expats on acid, Mitch Altman, a cat from a bodega, four hundred liters of grappa, Robot Snowden back for revenge...

The Great Migration

As I migrate old posts to the new blog system, expect thing to break occasionally.