Monday, March 28, 2016

Newly Re-Listed: Blue and Black Pi Wrap Bracelet

Here is one of my favorite pi bracelets in the entire shop! It automatically renewed today. I just love the dramatic combination of blue and black, and I love the whole wrap bracelet style in general. Confession: I wear this one the most. (Yes, I test wear all of the jewelry I make. I wouldn't sell you anything I didn't feel comfortable or confident wearing!)

This blue black pi wrap bracelet is a great sciart mathart gift for your favorite math teacher or graduate.
Blue and black pi wrap bracelet by Kokoba

I hope everyone who celebrated it enjoyed their Easter, and I hope everyone else used the excuse to eat a lot of chocolate. Mine was low-key: I worked and visited friends, called my family on Skype, and studied Russian.

Spring is here in Sweden. After my Sunday tutoring sessions, I like to take a long walk to the next subway stop, even more so now that it's warm and light out. It was so warm yesterday—a balmy 6* Celsius—that I took off my jacket to enjoy the sun!

People like to joke that Swedes are quick to shed their winter layers at the first sign of the sun, but in my experience the opposite is true. Everyone starts bundling up hardcore in the fall and they don't relent until maybe April. Maybe my years in the ambient 52* atmosphere of Lost River Caverns did something to my blood, or maybe I'm just more sun-deprived than most other Swedes (I certainly don't hit up the tanning booths solariums), but a heavy winter coat would just be unbearably warm!

This blue black pi wrap bracelet is a great sciart mathart gift for your favorite math teacher or graduate.

Today, though, was not as good. Real talk, guys: I feel like I'm in the "you gotta spend money to make money but you gotta have money to spend money" endless treadmill from hell. And then the most ridiculous thing set me off: I mixed up the due dates on my library books and now I have one that's a week overdue instead of due in two days.

I don't know, y'all. I am just tired. But I don't have time to be tired. This SMBC comic made the rounds on my Facebook feed yesterday and it is exactly my life:

I made myself take a walk (instead of taking the bus) so I could enjoy the sunshine—I have learned that I am a creature of the sun—and that took the edge off but I still feel like I have an insurmountable mountain in front of me.

Take it easy this week, everyone!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Five Fandom Friday: 5 SciArt Shops You Should Know

It's been a while since I've been up for a 5 Fandom Friday, but this one was right in my wheelhouse! ....almost.

So, like I brought up in my last Talky Tuesday post, I'm not much of a shopper. I don't have five favorite anything shops, let alone geeky shops, to buy from because I keep my pursestrings closed and also I buy books more than anything else oop. Even when I do shop, I'm not much of a fandom shopper. But I do have five favorite sciart shops you should know! I have more than five, really, but these are a good start.

What is sciart?

Sciart is the intersection of science and art. STEM and the humanities, despite popular belief, are not mutually exclusive. The goal of sciart is to highlight how the arts propel the sciences, and how the sciences enrich the arts.

1. ArtAtomic

Kristin Henry uses her coding knowledge and programming experience to create really cool generative geometrical art. Do you need a modern geometric print to hang up in your living space? Or a coloring book? Maybe a new scarf?

Abstract Art Particle Flower by ArtAtomic
2. ChrissySparksArt

Do you love astronomy? Did you have childhood dreams of going to space camp? Do you have opinions about Pluto? Then you will love the art and jewelry from ChrissySparksArt. I think my favorite thing in her shop are the leaf paintings. They are something out of William Blake:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
 And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
  And eternity in an hour.
Bubble Nebula Cosmic Leaf Art by ChrissySparksArt

3. The Occasional Bat

It is no secret that I love bats, and The Occasional Bat has the most adorable bat plushies imaginable.

Gray Victorian Bat by The Occasional Bat
But The Occasional Bat is about more than just cuteness—they do bat outreach as well. A portion of their proceeds on every sale go to the Florida Bat Conservancy and to the Bat World bat sanctuary in Mineral Wells, TX. We're still a long way from curing White Nose Syndrome (though progress has been made), so these little guys need all the help they can get. They also do custom bats for (as the name implies) any occasion!

4. The Vexed Muddler

Peggy of The Vexed Muddler is just all around really cool. I follow her on Twitter and her tweets make my day. So Peggy would be cool even if she didn't make sciart ceramics and cool t-shirt and temporary tattoo designs, but she does, so she's just even cooler.

Box and whisker graph bracelet by The Vexed Muddler
And if you wanted a beaded or chainmaille thingummy to go with one of her pendants, I could help you out. Jus' sayin'.

5. ESeas

For those who prefer that their sciart be a little more functional, Elizabeth Sargent of ESeas sculpts fantastic dishes out of polymer clay. If you have an absent-minded science professor in your life, one of Elizabeth's trinket dishes might make them a little more organized.

Sea turtle trinket dish by ESeas
If none of these are to your style (and I have a hard time believing that), then all you have to do is browse the sciart hashtag on Twitter to find lots of great designs and art. I swear, every time I check up on that hashtag I find two or three awesome new designers/bloggers/scientists to follow. It is an embarrassment of riches, y'all.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Newly Listed: Peridot Carnelian Pi Earrings

Yes, more pi earrings! This time in peridot and carnelian so pale I wonder if I should just call it quartz. I haven't forgotten about you, pierced-ear people! (Or August babies!)

Peridot carnelian pi mathart sciart earrings are a unique gift for math teachers and graduates
Peridot and carnelian pi earrings by Kokoba
When I was in the US last summer, one of my first purchases was a new digital camera. Love to my old camera, which was a Christmas present in...2004? 2005?...and has been a loyal companion on trips to Korea, China, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Finland, but it was finally starting to show its age. The battery life on it was nonexistent, its controls showing a little mechanical fuckery, and the LCD* screen was small and not at a really usable resolution for making sure that my jewelry images were in focus.

My plan was to buy a camera in the US (cheaper than buying in Sweden) and then use it for the duration of my trip. That didn't quite pan out, as my SD card was back home and the model I chose had zero internal memory, but I still got the new camera I needed. After taking it out to play with it for a little while, and charging the battery, I packed it in its box and put it in my bag. The rest of the trip was documented with the camera on my burner smartphone.

When I got back to Sweden and recovered from the jet lag, I sat down to TAKE PICTURES OF ALL OF THE JEWELRY. And I got a lot of pictures! Way better than I was getting with my phone camera, and way easier to use than my previous digital camera. (The fact that, despite their smart phone crappiness, my photos were still moving merchandise at about my regular rate made the whole NEW CAMERA thing less urgent.)

As you can imagine, the battery eventually died. I cheerfully dug out the box and took out the charger...

Peridot carnelian pi mathart sciart earrings are a unique gift for math teachers and graduates

and the charger I had was definitely not for my battery.


I had charged the battery (since it was pretty much drained right out of the box) in the US, so I knew that I had a proper charger in my possession. But this was not it.

I had stayed with a couple of friends in LA, all of them artsy types and friends with artsy types. I asked if they or any roommates were missing a Canon charger—probably I had packed the wrong one by mistake. Did they now have one that didn't fit their battery?


So I said, NUTS TO THAT! and decided that I could put off buying a new charger some point later, maybe for my birthday or something like it. Back to crappy smartphone pictures it was.

All of that happened basically last July. Fast forward to now, where I am getting my ducks in a row for another trip back to the US. This time, I'll be back in my hometown and with access to a car. As I'm the kind of person who starts getting ready for a trip six months (!!) in advance, I thought it would be good to make sure I knew where my driver's license was, and to make sure it doesn't expire this year. (It does. Nothing like spending your vacation at the DMV!)

This is relevant because I tore through all of my luggage looking for my license (spoiler alert: I found it, no worries) and in the furthest corner of my little super-secure "passport and shit" pocket was...another Canon charger.

Not boxed up with the camera and the instruction manual. Not even in the same pocket. Not even in a very accessible or often-used pocket. And yes, of course, this charger was the one I was missing. I immediately put the dead battery in to charge and celebrated by re-snapping some of the worst pictures in the shop, and also this pair of earrings, which apparently I hadn't listed yet?

Peridot carnelian pi mathart sciart earrings are a unique gift for math teachers and graduates

These are what I think is the last in a series of stash-busting earrings. Earrings are great little projects when you only have a handful of beads left, and that is the only time I make them—since I don't wear earrings myself, I have to be reminded that they're a legitimate piece of jewelry people are interested in.

The green chips are peridot, and they're a really lovely shade of green! They spell out the first three digits of pi, and there are some small round beads acting as spacers in between. They're from a strand of carnelian I bought ages ago (whose other remnants have been used up in other earring projects), but there's no tell-tale orange at all. Essentially quartz.

Pi day and St. Patrick's Day have come and gone, but you can always pick these little sciart beauties up in the shop and be ready for next year!

#Sciart has calmed down a bit after the furious Tweetstorm earlier this month, but there is still some good stuff. In particular, you should be following Bird And Moon, the creative work of Rosemary Mosco. It's that sweet spot of funny, cute, and informative.

*Were you bracing yourself for "LCD display"? Baby I'd never play you like that, don't worry.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Five: Ticket to the Weekend

How many traffic tickets have you received, and what was the first?

Just a speeding ticket. I was trying to drive ahead of a snow storm on my way across New York state. I stayed ahead of the storm, at least!

What are some of the ticket stubs you’ve held onto?

Oh man, I couldn't name them all. I have a poorly-done, half-assed scrapbook with stubs and brochures from China, Indonesia, Korea, NYC. Maybe that's something I should take a class in next, because I am a super "ephemera hoarder." Ticket stubs? Brochures? Receipts? Watchtower pamphlets? If they're from a special trip or time, I have a hard time letting them go. (Seriously. I still have a Watchtower pamphlet someone gave me while I was sitting in Incheon airport, waiting to go back to the US.)

What have you seen because someone had extra tickets?

Roger Waters during his 2009? 2010? The Wall tour.

T-shirt proof!

What have you won in drawings or raffles?

Nothing. :(

How do you and your friends usually handle a restaurant bill?

With a small and specific number of people, it's a question of taking turns treating each other. In other settings, we ask the wait staff to split the bill right at the beginning. Makes everything easier for everyone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Talky Tuesday: Why I (Almost) Never Shop on Etsy (And Why I Want to Change That)

Confession: I almost never shop on Etsy.

Terrible! I'm not putting my money where my mouth is! I know. But I kind of want to talk it out here, as therapy for myself and maybe for anyone else.

Straight up: I am kind of broke, and (if you're pricing correctly), cool things on Etsy are rarely cheap. What I do buy fairly frequently on Etsy are supplies. Things I use to make things to sell or give to other people, but few things for me.

In fact, despite being on Etsy since 2008, the first thing I bought for myself (not a supply, and not a gift for someone) was last year. 2015. It was a gorgeous brass ear cuff for a wedding I was in/attending, and I still wear it when I want to feel ~~fancy.

Not the best photo; here it is on creepy gray ear model:

Lotus ear cuff from Sunny Skies Studios

I 1000% do not regret that purchase. Zero buyer's remorse there. But I'm still so hesitant to shop for myself on Etsy—more than elsewhere. Why?

For someone like me, it's hard to maintain a balance between anti-materialism (consumer culture doesn't solve problems!) and self-care (TREAT YO' SELF). I have never aspired to be anything other than comfortably middle class: a roof over my head, food, clothes, some discretionary cash for hobbies and things. Conspicuous consumption is not my game. Given my current finances, this is a pretty good philosophy to take.

And given that, despite bleating about the recession being over, most people still don't feel entirely financially comfortable, I think it's safe to say that most people (at least most people out here reading this) feel the same way I do. Luxuries and birthday/Christmas/"just because" gifts to ourselves feel inappropriate and like a waste of money. And despite the influx of sketchy, cheap resellers, I feel like my shopping on Etsy is a luxury. When I bought that ear cuff, I searched for a couple days and looked at loads of options. I asked JV for his input. I spent time on it because I wanted it to be something I would love and enjoy forever, because it was enough money for me to think about it seriously.

Yet here I am, trying to convince you all to casually TREAT YO' SELVES when I don't feel comfortable treating my self. Who am I to tell you how to feel about your money?! It feels a little dishonest. After all, I'm not exactly throwing a spending party on Etsy. I bought that ear cuff almost a year ago...!

I think I can do better than that. I think I can find small things, or things on sale, to help another indie biz owner get by. Or I can splurge on my birthday. Frugality is an always thing; it's not ruined by being kind to yourself for once.

What do you say, my fellow cheapskates? (Let's call a spade a spade, eh?) Let's promise to buy one nice handmade thing for ourselves this year. 

Like this dress from SizeIsJustANumber is still available. It must be a sign!

Or this one from Size Queen!

Like it or not, we live in a capitalist culture that more or less equates money with caring. Money with value. To keep your sanity, you have to take the practices and rules you apply to your interactions with others (remembering birthdays; wanting to find the PERFECT gift) and apply them to yourself, or the double standard will probably eventually drive you up the wall.

At the same time, let's remember that consumer culture is slowing destroying us. It's destroying our planet and it's destroying how we feel about ourselves.

I don't get a lot of repeat customers. I don't get any, actually. According to all the people who make their money telling indie biz owners how to make money, this isn't good. I should be doing all I can to encourage repeat customers; to keep you coming back for new and different goodies. I should get your email address and send you a newsletter and alerts about sales and coupon codes and new items...

I really don't like that.

I think, generally, people are happy with their jewelry from me. I think people only need one piece of #sciart or #mathart jewelry in their life. That's OK. I'd rather sell one necklace to someone who loves it and wears it when she wants to feel fancy or dress up and gets so much joy out of it than sell a dozen necklaces to someone who never wears any of them and is still miserable. I'm not interested in cultivating and then feeding a consumerist need in anyone who likes my jewelry; I just want to share something cool with you, something cool enough that you'll value my time for creating it.

Even if we don't buy more this year, we can buy better. We can be thoughtful consumers who demand high-quality, sustainable, ethical goods. We can spend less but enjoy more. We can break the taboo on money and gift cards as gifts and halt (some) of our needless ritual stuff-buying. We can see value in charitable donations, or the gift of time together. H-G

Let's spend better.

What do you say?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day 2016!

Pi Day 2016 is upon us! Sure, some people quibble over the March 14th date—it doesn't work in the European date system, or it truncates, or we should celebrate it on February 27, or July 22—but I believe we should take any and every excuse to celebrate math. So let's have Pi Day on February 27 and March 14; let's observe Pi Approximation Day on July 22; let's have Tau Day on June 28 (my birthday, natch!!).

I'm celebrating Pi Day 2016 by sharing some great #mathart finds over on Twitter. I didn't realize that #MathArt was a thing until this year's #sciart Tweetstorm, much to my chagrin. Whatever, I know now, and I'll be sharing with you! So tune in—I finally broke down and got HootSuite so now it's time for me to TWEET ALL THE THINGS.

Meanwhile, let's take a look at some adorable/awesome/cool pi day things that turned up on Etsy. Not everything happens on Twitter, after all!

Sweet And Lovely

This adorable shop features art from Kate Gabrielle and amid the pastels and cute, there is something for everyone. Her shop is in my favorites and it should be in yours, too!

Cutie pi brooch by Sweet And Lovely
Isn't that adorable? Are you dying yet?

Kate has SO MANY great things. You should really browse her shop, but I will probably share more things here soon if you are somehow too lazy to click the link but not too lazy to read my blog. She has loads of other great pi things, though, like a pi dice game and a set of punny pi career pins.

We The Sciencey

If modern minimalism is more your thing, WeTheSciencey is your shop. It's also your shop if you're a nerdy scrapbooker, because they have an awesome selection of STEM-themed stamps. 

The Pi Stamp by We The Sciencey
Even better: 5% of Etsy purchases at We The Sciencey goes to Surgicorps, which is basically like a surgeon's version of Doctors Without Borders.

If you look at my Pinterest profile (the one I hardly use because I really need to go and unfollow, like, everyone, and also Pinterest stop suggesting things to me, you're garbage and your taste is garbage), you can see that I have aspirations of fantastic amazing nail art.

Unfortunately, I have the tiniest, itty-bitty nail beds in the world. Maybe you've noticed them when I model bracelets? That makes manicures (and especially nail art) pretty tricky. 

Pi Nail Stamping Plate by Fig Tree Stamps
But oh man, there is a version of me that needs this even though I have no idea how this works. Do you know how this works? Complicated nail tech eludes me, but the end result looks baller.

I'm a fan of subtlety. You know, those little details you miss the first time, but then when you look closer, you go, "Ah-hah!" The Scholar's Muse absolutely nails that in a lot of her work. (Other times, it's pretty obvious. ;) ) Design-wise, we are birds of a feather. This is another shop that you will probably want to favorite because it is LOADED with academic scarves, from math to chemistry to literature to biology. 

Blue and White Pi Day Gingham Knit Scarf by The Scholar's Muse
Look carefully: that's not just any gingham!

There is, as always, a plethora of pi day goodies in the Kokoba Etsy! The ship has sailed on having your pi jewelry in time for Pi Day 2016, but there's always next year! Or, don't forget—we still have Tau Day 2016 and Pi Approximation Day 2016 to go. ;)

Finally, go wish the former Miss Sarah Hagan mazel tov, because she got married this weekend!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Skeptical Saturday: Lost Children as Lure For Rape?

I saw this breathless warning about a "new 'gang' way of rape" (using a lost child as bait) pop up on my Facebook feed. Maybe you've seen it, too.

First of all, the awkward scare quotes around "gang" make it sound like your elderly aunt inquiring what these "gang bangs" are that she keeps hearing about.

Second of all, this isn't happening. Snopes confirms.
We scoured recent news stories in the U.S. looking for articles about such an assault and were unable to find any. If such a method of luring rape victims to their attackers had been used in one instance (and we've little reason to believe that it has), there has certainly not been a rash of small children pretending to be lost as part of a scheme to place women in jeopardy. 
 But are you ready for some fun facts? I knew you were.

I think it's fascinating how long we've been recycling some urban myths. Snopes pins this one to the 80s, in a story set immediately after WWII:
The tip-off about rapists using small children to ensnare women in their traps very closely fits an urban legend set in World War II that we know to have been around since at least 1985, the venerable Letter of Intent, wherein young women are impelled through their sense of compassion to hand-deliver a letter on behalf of a blind man and by so doing deliver themselves up for butchery.
Which in turn might well be connected to good ol' fashioned blood libel, some of the oldest anti-Semitic propaganda around.

The world is not full of psychopaths waiting to punish you for your good intent, so sleep easy.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Five: Upper Body

Another time where I'm not really feeling the 5 Fandom Friday this week, so I'm borrowing from the Friday 5.

What’s got you scratching your head?

I would say Donald Trump, but honestly...his popularity doesn't surprise me at all. At all. So I'm going to say: counting in Russian. evans

What’s the big news in your neck of the woods?

Here in Sweden it's Melodifestivalen time! But truth be told Melodifestivalen, and the subsequent madness that is EuroVision, is an event that I don't think I'll ever be into. I don't really care for talent shows and contests, I suppose.

Exception made for Lordi, and I don't even like metal that much:

What has everyone else raising an eyebrow, but is only getting a shrug of the shoulders out of you?

So many things. Kim Kardashian's latest selfie, for one.

What are you keeping an eye on?

Food talk time!

Before I read What is Fat For? Rethinking Obesity Science, I was already trying to be mindful of my protein intake. Not for body mod purposes, but because I think if you looked at my lifetime diet, there would be a pretty significant deficit in protein. I stopped eating most meat years before I realized tofu and beans were delicious, so I missed out on some of the biggest protein contenders. Even today, when most of our dinners have a lot of tofu/Quorn and beans, my other two meals are...basically grains.

But Brady's research on the decrease in protein in the typical Western diet over the last 40 years has made me a little extra invested about maintaining a higher minimum protein intake than I have in the past.

Fortunately, Arla dairy farms has made this a lot easier by putting out a super-treated, super-processed dairy product that's basically got half (or well more like a third; I'm a fatty) of the daily protein I need in one bottle. (Apparently in the US Coca-Cola is working on something similar as well? I don't know.) It sure beats the nasty-ass protein shakes from GNC that always felt comically inappropriate for me, but that nonetheless constituted my lazy-person, can't-be-fucked-to-go-to-the-dining-hall breakfast mode breakfast my senior of college. Like, I'm not trying to bulk up, lose weight, or get ripped, I just want a balanced diet and I want easy, lazy food that I can make and eat in my dorm room. =/

It's so....aggressive! (Courtesy GNC)
I could never bring myself to buy a huge bucket, by the way. I always bought the smaller size. Somehow a plastic pouch about the size of a piece of printer paper felt less ridiculous than HUGE JUG.

What’s something you’ve done an about-face on recently?

I don't think any of the about-faces I've done have been particularly recent...

Monday, March 7, 2016

Newly Listed: Pink and Turquoise Pi Bracelet

After a winter that felt bleak and endless, it finally feels like spring will be here soon. I can tell I'm anticipating it by the colors I'm using lately: teal, pink, gold, turquoise, fire engine red. This pink and turquoise pi bracelet is a perfect example of that:

Pink and turquoise math sciart bracelet with digits of pi, perfect for math teachers and grads.
Pink and Turquoise Pi Bracelet by Kokoba
Is it just me? Is anyone else thirsty, almost dying, for color?

I think I'm still in my "button period." I love bead stringing, still, and I enjoy stretching my skill set with maille, but I love the look of these "floating" beads. I love the boho mulistrand look and I love the contrast between the beads and the threading material. When you use regular stringing wire, you usually go through a lot of work to hide the stringing material. But when you use cotton, or linen, or hemp, suddenly the stringing material is a key focal point.

Pink and turquoise math sciart bracelet with digits of pi, perfect for math teachers and grads.

I love that button. I saw it at the store, and loved the sparkly pink/teal 90s throwback vibe and bought the rest of their stock. Did I know what I was going to use them for? No. But then a few months later I bought those hot pink Czech glass beads and it all came together.

The only problem with the floating bead technique is: how can I account for 0? I work with pi mostly because it's everyone's favorite irrational number, but also because it's convenient in terms of design. Look at the first handful of digits:


That's about as far as I ever get in a piece, and usually I stop somewhere at "3.14159." There's not a zero in sight, so my philosophical quandary over how to represent 0 in this schema doesn't really apply. That gets hairier with Avogadro's number or G. So far, I've simply used a different color to function as 0 placeholders. It adds a nice accent and it fits the logical explanation of each digit being represented by X number of $color beads.

In this Avogadro's number bracelet, for example, the gold-colored beads are the 0 placeholders and the green wooden beads are the digits.
I've thought about using just knots as placeholders, too. I guess that's an aesthetic that could work, but I'm not sure.

Today is the last day of #Sciart Tweetstorm II Electric Boogaloo. Anyone following me on Twitter has had regularly scheduled doses of sciart in their faces, thanks to me figuring out how to use HootSuite. If you've never visited #sciart on Twitter, today is the day to do it! So many talented, multifaceted artists to be found.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: What is Fat For?: Rethinking Obesity Science

Next up in my parade of non-fiction books is What is Fat For? Ignatius Brady, a science writer and weight loss clinician, has synthesized what I think can officially be called a "boat load" of research and his experience as a medical professional working with what we term the "morbidly obese" into an intriguing, eminently readable, and compassionate book.

I've voiced my skepticism of, and exasperation with, the diet mythos before. If you just started following me (like, I don't know, through the #sciart or the recent Book Blogger Appreciation Week Twitter events...!), you can watch me lose my mind at diet culture and at BMI as a meaningful metric. These things touch a nerve with me because I was a fat kid, and now I'm definitely a fat adult. (Haters to the left!) I won't get into my life story here; that's fodder for a Talky Tuesday post, maybe. But I think it's important to know where I was coming from in reading this book, and what I was hoping to get out of it.

To the point: Brady is a skilled and readable science writer, so the book is a breeze. I've read a lot of non-fiction in my day, and I've found that the science-related ones fall into two camps: they either cite specific studies and sources and work to interpret and explain the results and how they fit into the author's larger thesis (Cure was really good at this) or they simply state an opinion/trend with a vague "studies have shown" and then fail to specifically name or explain the studies (except in the bibliography). Brady manages to make ideas clear and easy to understand and treats you like a reasonably intelligent adult who lacks the specific knowledge (or access) to interpret data and medical studies.

Brady is also extremely careful about the implications of much of his research. One of the building blocks in his argument is the protein leverage hypothesis: that obesity rates are connected with a deficiency in protein in the modern diet.

See, you read something like that, and you think: "Wow, there's the silver bullet! I'll just eat nothing but protein and I'll be wearing a size 2 by Christmas!"

Brady knows exactly how this will come off, and so he carefully (and responsibly, IMO) mitigates it with the warning that we still don't know what happens when we eat too much protein (preliminary data seem to suggest that, among other things, excessive protein might be damaging for the kidneys), that adipose tissue (fat) serves a protective and necessary role, and that given humans' universal tendency to gain weight over time (about a pound per year), almost anything that causes prolonged, effortless weight loss probably has some kind of scary side effect or cause (illnesses such as cancer or thyroid dysfunction). Also, many of the health conditions we associate with obesity turn out not to have much of a correlation with weight at all. Smoking is still worse for you than being a fatty, turns out!

That is what sets this book apart from fad diet and "nutrition" books. Brady doesn't assume that you want to go on a diet or lose weight, but rather that you have a genuine curiosity about the body and how it works. He emphasizes again and again that we should not only stop seeing obesity as a problem of will power, but as a problem at all. He's not selling you a miracle diet, a meal plan, or a training regimen. He's just a guy who's found a lot of interesting research and wants to share it with you, which makes it the best kind of science reading.

That said, at the end of the day you're still relying on the author to be correctly interpreting this data for us. Brady is the one with access to the papers: not me, and not you. All of my gut (haha) instincts point to him being knowledgeable in the field, familiar enough with the terminology and the requisite background information, and just generally clear-eyed (and honest) enough to see the data for what they are (more or less) and not for what he wants them to be (more or less) or for what will sell a book (more or less). But then, I went into this book pretty much agreeing with Brady from the get-go, so I'll admit I didn't come at this one with a critical, defensive edge.

And it would be hard for me to do that, anyway, since I'm not a doctor! But I also finished this right after a much more irritating book that had me side-eyeing at every turn; with What is Fat For? I just wanted to sit back, relax, and learn.

The only moment the book made me stop and go "hmmmm =/" for a moment was just one or two parts on the topic of exercise that seemed to understate what its effects on health (unrelated to getting smaller). Yes, exercise alone certainly won't make you smaller, but it still seems to have demonstrably (and dramatically) good effects on health otherwise. While life is too short to waste time on things you hate (why I'll never run a marathon), there are probably appropriate and fun ways to move for almost every body (and everybody). Even if I'll never run a marathon, I love going on walks, yoga, and weight lifting. (And back in the day, running regularly did make a significant dent in my blood pressure. But I also hated running.) Naturally, everyone gets to decide for themselves if they're going to move and how much, but we can still admit that it's a good thing.

This is certainly the highest-quality self-published book I've read yet, bar none. The more I think about it, though, the more I'm wondering: why self-publish? The topic is popular enough, and the writing is good enough, that any publisher would have picked it up in a heartbeat. Considering that legacy publishers put out victim-blaming woo garbage like The Secret without a second thought, I doubt the means of What is Fat For?'s release into the book wilds indicate anything about the veracity of the claims therein. But it's enough to nag.

Content aside, there are a few formatting problems. Of course, I'd rather read excellent, focused writing with formatting issues than mediocre writing that's perfectly formatted, so this is a small complaint, but it's worth noting.

NetGalley sent me the eBook version, and the formatting on this is a mess. A hot mess. I don't know if it was some kind of XML error or just the difference between how something looks on a Kindle versus on the Kindle app on a smartphone, but on about half of the pages there would be bizarre word smashes.

It's easier if I show you:

At first glance it looks fine, but look carefully at that black space between the last two "paragraphs": those aren't different paragraphs, but just one with some weirdness in it, thanks to a misplaced block of empty space:

"While there may be a way to present an argument in either field using just logic and pure reason, math becomes complex necessary as the questions become more and better defined."

If you don't read carefully, that might still sound okay. But look closer: "math becomes complex necessary..."

From the best I can gather, it should read:

"While there may be a way to present an argument in either field using just logic and pure reason, as the questions become more and better defined complex math becomes necessary."

Or maybe something similar. There was something like this on every page. Sometimes I could sort it, but other times it was impossible to make out.

"His by recognizing this: Hunger is we modern, complicated, guilty, mouth dries; he can barely swallow, but manages."

I don't even know what to make of that. And I can't check it on any of my other eBook reading apps (I have Google Play Books, UB Reader, and GooteBooks), so I don't know if it's a Kindle thing or a this file thing or my phone thing or what.

Likewise, there are a few charts and graphs in the book, and most of them are essentially non-existent. Many of the graphs turn up as a list of their Y-axis values. Charts are squashed into incoherence.

Both of these problems seem to be an inherent issue with dealing with the eBook format. Maybe this is where the budget ran out? The author info also mentions something about a website ( or some such) but as of this writing it seems to be defunct, without even a trace on Archive.Org. The book isn't old by any means, so: has the website just not launched yet? is it just temporarily down? Did Brady decide to pull it?

All in all, I enjoyed What is Fat For? and I'd recommend it for your own reading (fun facts!) and as a part of a Health At Every Size/Fat Acceptance library/GP toolkit.

As this was a free book from NetGalley, I'm obligated to let you know that I received it  in exchange for an honest review.