Brushing your teeth

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

I always thought you were suppose to brush your teeth AFTER breakfast. NAY NAY say the dental wizards. Brush right when you get up… BEFORE breakfast.

  1. The goal is not to clear you teeth of food debris, it’s to rid the mouth of plaque. Nighttime is the perfect plaque environment (less saliva, less swallowing, little tongue movement) so any plaque anchors in your teeth have a field day during those unconscious hours.
  2. Brushing your teeth after you eat acidic foods results in FASTER food decay. Reminder: coffee = acidic. The acidic foods soften your enamel, so if you brush after acidic foods you could inadvertently damage your teeth.
  3. As an added bonus, Brushing spurs saliva production, which aids in digestion so by brushing first, the consumption of your breakfast will be more productive/efficient.

WHAT?

I wonder what other normal lifetime activities I inherently misunderstand.

Food shortages and surpluses

Photo by Mike Haupt

Meat plants a closin’, produce farmers at risk, dairy farmers dumping eggs & milk – what in the pandemic is going on?

I was curious how today’s experiences might relate to the food shortages of WW2. I remember learning about the butter shortage back then that related to the war needs for lubrication oils, but I didn’t know much other than that.

Through an exceedingly brief search of the internet, here’s a collection of some fun facts I learned. I have no education on this matter other than this brief search so if someone can contribute meaningful science/history, I’m all ears.

What we know is true: there are two kinds of shortages:

  1. Those that relate to heightened demand
  2. Those that relate to restricted supply

Back in WW2 they were dealing with both. As noted above, demand for fats like butter were high because the war machine needed lubrication for weapons and vehicles. There were supply issues in WW2 as well. Another contributing factor to the butter/oils shortage was that many of the raw materials for these products originated from countries with whom we were at war.

A non surprising fact is that the shortage spread. According to the book “The Army and Economic Mobilization” by Elberton Smith “the Army found itself presented with applications more and more removed from its direct interests.”

I like a phrase that was referenced in this book: “shortage of capacity.” This included not just the ability to find enough raw materials to make the stuff you want, but also the challenge of logistics. I like this because it seems to nicely describe our current supply network problems. By being optimized for a narrow market, production facilities falter when there’s a hiccup. Dairy farms are dumping milk because they don’t have any means of transitioning from industry milk to consumer milk. Toilet paper is plentiful for business supply – but not for consumer use. These logistical issues on top of the dramatic demand increases for PPE, glass for medical vials, that weird south American tree bark for vaccine research, and the fact that hording will likely grow at both the local and national levels suggest to me that things are gonna get weird.

And not the good weird.

Resources

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

As you get started with Chess, it’s helpful to be aware of some the best resources for learning. Here are my favorites:

Online Resources
In my studies I’ve come to appreciate three websites most:

  1. Chess.com – Very well designed site with a decent amount of quality free content. Personally I gravitate towards this site first for general play.
  2. Lichess.org – Lichess is completely free and beginning lessons might be better for nascent players. So this might be a better starting point for those with no chess knowledge whatsoever.
  3. Chessable.com – A highly repetitive (in a good rote sort of way) educating tool for learning chess basics and concepts. As of the moment, I think their website navigation is wanting – but they are a growing site and will likely improve.

If you’re just starting out, check out the “Lessons” section of these sites to learn how the pieces move and the goal of the game. My Dad taught me chess basics when I was a kid, and I toyed with the game through my youth so for me these were mostly review. But it was a good exercise either way.

IMPORTANT FACT FOR NEWBIES: I got a little confused when I first started looking at computer chess because I didn’t know which way the pieces were suppose to go. Like… if it says white to move but it’s showing an endgame where the pieces are all over the place… are my pawns moving up? or down? This is a super simple thing, but it is never explained: Your color is always on the bottom of the screen moving up. The opponent’s color is always moving down. Again, if it says “White to move” then that’s you. And you’re moving Up.

Mobile Apps
I have the Chess.com and LiChess apps, but find myself mostly using Chess.com. At one point I tried Magnus trainer, but I think I tried it too late in my education. It might be great for those just starting out, but I found it a little tedious.

YouTube
Once you’ve got basic moves under your belt, start building your conceptual chess understanding with John Bartholomew’s ‘Chess Fundamentals’ YouTube series. It is FANTASTIC.

  1. Undefended pieces (54m)
  2. Coordination (51m)
  3. Typical Mistakes (1h 33m)
  4. Pawn play (1h 25m)
  5. Trades (1h 27m)

Adding to your YouTube education, enjoy the series Beginner to Chess Master by Jerry from ChessNetwork.

One more I really enjoy: Hanging Pawns by Stjepan
It’s a chess journey youtube channel dedicated to education. I love the way Stjepan teaches and communicates. He talks through ideas not as tactics but more as strategies. I LOVE THIS.

Literature
Here’s the problem with chess literature. It takes too much space to show the board after every move, so the authors rely on chess notation for most game presentations. Chess notation is not for the beginner. I’m still terrible at reading it and keeping track of what’s going on. If you want to read books on chess, make sure you read them with a board in front of you that you can use to move the pieces while you’re reading.

My System by Aron Nimzowitsch
This is really well written for the layperson. It’s accessible and thorough. But again, you can’t read this at a beach. You need to read it at a desk with a chess board.

Fundamental Chess Openings by Paul van der Sterren
So far I’ve only used this as a reference book for the specific games that I’m playing. I wouldn’t recommend this until you naturally realize it’s time to learn opening strategy.

For Kids
We just recently purchased Storytime Chess for our kids. It’s a board game that comes with a story book to explain who the characters are and why they move like they do.

It can be slow at times, but it’s designed appropriately. The intention is you read the story for the piece and then re-read it and play games that just use that one character. It’s pretty good. I recommend it.

Lastly: if you have any chess resources you’d like to recommend, please comment below. I’m always eager to explore