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Although it’s the only study done so far, McGill & Marshall (2012) found that kettlebells create some serious stress on the lower back:

It was found that kettlebell swings create a hip-hinge squat pattern characterized by rapid muscle activation-relaxation cycles of substantial magnitudes resulting in about 3,200 N of low back compression.

Len Kravitz, PhD., points out that there is a “large shear to compression load ratio on the lumbar spine”. This basically means that a slow progression is key, and those with a history of back problems should be very careful.

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For example:

  • What sort of facilities/equipment do you have?
  • How much time can you commit to each work out?
  • How long have you been training?

There are a ton of things that factor into this stuff, but kettlebells are generally great for a high intensity workouts that don’t require a lot of time or equipment.

Everything to consider when designing your resistance training program..

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Relative improvements can be seen below. It’s important to mention that out of these measurements, only the difference of improvement in back squat was significant. The rest were within margin for error with such a small sample size.

Also important: the subjects who trained with a barbell are at a natural advantage here, due to the fact they had much more experience doing the actual movement by the end. This applies to the principle of specificity.

Vertical Jump

  • Kettlebell group — 1% ^
  • Barbell group — 4%

Power Clean

  • KB group — 4%
  • BB group — 9%

Squat (Significant)

  • KB group — 4.5%
  • BB group — 13.5%

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Traditional weightlifting = control

Kettlebell training = variable

Based on the principle of progressive overload, it’s fairly safe to assume that the ceiling for strength gains with kettlebells is a good deal lower than the ceiling for traditional weightlifting.

However, only a small percentage of folks really get anywhere near their ceiling in life. In this case, kettlebells can work great so long as you can progressively increase the weight you use.

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Check out the community annotation below. It makes a HUUUGE point. By acknowledging hooliganism and working to focus those energies in a more positive manner, leagues have largely succeeded in rooting out this destructive tribal behavior.

Of course, it’s important to remember that things never stay the same. Effective tribes require leaders who are extremely self-aware and determined at all times to shape the values of their tribe, not through coercion, but through their own passionate behavior. “Lead by example” is a useless bit of wisdom. What other way is there to lead?

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Slowly but surely, this appears to be moving in the right direction, but we are still suffering from a deficit of leadership in many respects.

A few years ago, Simon Sinek asked a few simply questions:

Why is Apple so innovative? Year after year..they’re more innovative than all their competition. And yet, they’re just a computer company. They’re just like everyone else. They have the same access to the same talent, the same agencies, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different? Why is it that Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights Movement? He wasn’t the only man who suffered in a pre-civil rights America, and he certainly wasn’t the only great orator of the day. Why him? And why is it that the Wright brothers were able to figure out controlled, powered man flight when there were certainly other teams who were better qualified, better funded..?

The Golden Circle

He came up with something called the Golden Circle (below), which states that true leaders inspire others by acting on the “why”, rather than the “how” or “what”. In other words, they are driven by passion:

Every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it…But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist?

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Institutions are simply a tool that humans have developed to concentrate human capital, and focus it to accomplish a clear and concrete goal. Unfortunately, we have not cultivated the institutional mechanisms for change and adaptation. For example, obesity is a world-wide epidemic yet giant corporate entities like McDonald’s (nothing against Mickey D’s..) are pushing for ever increasing market control. How do we see that ending?

The advantage of tribal behavior is that (1) it focuses on the use of human passion, rather than human labor and (2) it allows for incredible organizational agility, i.e. the ability to adapt to external pressures from the environment.

Below, Seth Godin talks about the different paradigms of human accomplishment over the years — from serfdom, to wage slavery, to emotional manipulation, to…tribal behavior?

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I always like to point to the insight of Nigerian storyteller Chris Abani:

In South Africa, they have a phrase called Ubuntu. Ubuntu comes out of a philosophy that says, the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.

The rise of Western institutions provided a framework which allowed for a certain degree of individualism. In the same way this individualism led to incredible achievement and innovation, it has also led to a significant level of corruption and disregard for community. When we reach a certain level of alienation from others, we begin to lose a sense of what it means to be human. Are we just a biological accident — primates who climbed out of the trees to dominate the world — or is there a deeper purpose for us to reclaim?

As Western institutions have continued to marganlize those they were meant to originally serve (stakeholders), individuals have begun rejecting these failing institutions. However, just like Western individualism, tribal behavior can lead to great accomplishment, or tragic ends.

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Groups communicate their chosen identity through symbolism. In today’s world, this occurs through very specific consumption behavior, i.e. the cult of Apple. In ancient times, this was accomplished through local art and craftsmanship. For example, groups created art specific to their tribe or region. Many tribes also used unique weapons and tools.

Native American Symbols

Boa sword, Congo

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In Western society, consumption is a ritual process more than any sort of utilitarian behavior. The power of this should not be underestimated. From a 2013 Harvard study on rituals and consumption:

Four experiments tested the novel hypothesis that ritualistic behavior potentiates and enhances the enjoyment of ensuing consumption—an effect found for chocolates, lemonade, and even carrots. Experiment 1 showed that ritual behaviors, compared to a no-ritual condition, made chocolate more flavorful, valuable, and deserving of behavioral savoring. Experiment 2 demonstrated that random gestures do not boost consumption like ritualistic gestures do. It further showed that a delay between a ritual and the opportunity to consume heightens enjoyment, which attests to the idea that ritual behavior stimulates goal-directed action (to consume).

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"Politicians in Washington—especially those most loyal to ..." (Walter Crunkite – Rap vs. Ronald Reagan) | pending

Great example of style, concision, and further reading for those who are interested. Sort of a nit-picky rule, but we (NG) try to stay away from links to Wiki. Instead, see if you can link directly to one of the sources that wiki uses.

"Less money for the programs that kept the least fortunate..." (Walter Crunkite – Rap vs. Ronald Reagan) | pending

This is a bit long, but the information is great. If you feel like it wouldn’t lose anything, see if you can slim it down a bit. If not, just try not to make too many of these in a row.

"Doubtful that Reagan’s cocaine operation was expressly in..." (Walter Crunkite – Rap vs. Ronald Reagan) | pending

IMO, Reagan is the worst type of racist..the cowardly sort who doesn’t even have the testicular fortitude to come out and admit it.

"The Inuit sealer is an actual hunter. The white commercia..." (Captain Paul Watson – Inuit Allow Themselves to Be Manipulated and Exploited for Canadian Government Pro-Sealing Propaganda) | accepted

Not to be rude, but this is so far removed from reality..Not only is there regulation equipment that MUST be used, but hunters are required to administer a blink test IMMEDIATELY after any shot, to ensure the seal is clinically dead before any further preparations (skinning, etc.) The commercial practices are FAR MORE HUMANE. Inuit’s carry out none of these standard practices (though, they show great respect during the hunt).


Licensing policy requires a commercial sealer to work under an experienced sealer for two years to obtain a professional licence. Sealers are also encouraged to take a training course on proper hunting techniques, product preparation and handling. Personal use sealers must have a hunter’s capability certificate or big game licence and attend mandatory training sessions before a licence can be issued.

Sources: xxx

"It’s worse off-shore, except of course there’s none of us..." (Rex Murphy – On with the seal hunt!) | pending

The cod-fishing haul peaked in 1968 at 800,000 tonnes according to Greenpeace. On the other hand a harp seal consumes 1.2 metric tonnes of fish per year. Based on the last seal census, this comes out to about 12 million tonnes of fish per year (via Now, that 12 million tonnes isn’t all cod, obviously, but the seal hunt seems to be a vital part of preserving the ecosystem, given that these numbers are even remotely accurate..

"A new approach to match the capabilities and fill gaps th..." (President Barack Obama – Statement on Section 215 Bulk Metadata Program) | accepted

Try not to make generalizations based on your personal assessment (which I agree with, btw). Unfortunately, the numbers that are out there show only a slight majority who “do not approve of NSA surveillance.” The good news is, there’s been a fairly significant drop in approval since June. Here’s a couple surveys you might want to incorporate here:

Side note: it looks to me like the effect partisanship has on people’s perception of the NSA’s tactics can’t be overstated.

Notice the difference in how each one approaches the subject matter. Elect tells of black history, while Hov is stuck, steady talking about his story. Not knockin either one..but it says a lot either way.

"In other words: If you believe in personal freedom, you s..." (Lauren A. – Playboy Interview) | accepted


  1. One can’t be neutral on wide-scale societal issues like this. Neutrality is tacit support. I believe in freedom of speech, but I would certainly speak out against anyone directing cruel and abusive language towards others. Know what I mean?

  2. No one’s talking about shutting down anything, I’m just pointing out that we can’t go on living in this libertarian dream land where the personal freedoms of 300 mill. individuals don’t come into serious conflict at times. They do..unfortunately, that’s just reality in a society like ours.

  3. Sure, I get that. All I’m saying is that perhaps people shouldn’t jump to extremes and risk being marginalized just to pay for an overpriced degree.

One characteristic of a lot artists is a lack of concrete reflection (i.e. verbalizing their own feelings about their art.)

Whenever they get questions about “why, who, what, where” their inspiration for a specific piece came to them, they tend to give really vague and boring answers. I can understand this, cause for most artists it “just happens” so-to-speak. They have no more of an understanding about it than non-creatives. I think this can have a really negative impact on an artist’s creative production though, especially at times when they’re experiencing a creative block and don’t know how to overcome that block.

My point here is: (1) This annotation is dope as hell. For once, I felt like I actually connected with this piece on a level I wouldn’t have by just looking at it. The description of your process (“Hold My Liquor” on repeat lol) did a lot for my understanding. And (2) I wonder if explaining the source of inspiration, as well as the creative process, sort of helps the artist streamline what they do and ultimately become better at producing art.

"Now, we in medicine, I think, are baffled by this questio..." (Atul Gawande – How Do We Heal Medicine?) | pending


Very true. You have to wonder why that hasn’t been looked at whatsoever..As Dr. Gawande says, the answer from these institutions is almost always “that’s just the way it is”