AncestralFitnessCoverI thought I should point you in the direction of a new anthology of blog posts, written by some of the leading online proponents of ancestral fitness. It’ll soon be available at and will make the ideal gift for the Neanderthal in your life in need of a little self-improvement.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of ancestral fitness, it describes a lifestyle philosophy which attempts to incorporate diet and exercise regimes consistent with our evolutionary biology. That translates as a diet avoiding “easy” carbs, and exercise revolving around high-intensity workouts. There’s more to it than that, naturally.

Of course, top of the list of contributors is Professor Art De Vany. But why they roped in the last guy is anybody’s guess. I bet he’s pleased to be in such illustrious company.

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war and pizza


I am still recovering from a weekend jaunt in the countryside, which felt like some of the toughest training I’ve done for a while. The reason: I had to go to the woods with my just-turned teenager and play war games for his birthday party treat. This is evolutionary biology at its most visceral.

Anyway, it mostly involved me screaming “Geronimo!” and running through the undergrowth toting a laser rifle at frightened (?) kids who proceeded to gun me down with great glee — so fulfilling the journalist’s combat charter: to be the first casualty of war.

Well I fell off the paleo diet too and am struggling to get back on. Today was a bit more normal. [For the unitiated, paleo mostly means avoiding bread, potatoes, dairy etc] I’ve been on it mostly since Christmas. And the reason for the lapse? A ritual requirement these days, apart from barbecue, is for the male adult to be able to make homemade pizza for a party.

It was struggle enough with battle-fatigue to muster sufficient grub for 8 kids high on soda, let alone think what a hunter-gatherer might eat as an alternative. The smell of freshly-risen dough, tomato sauce slowly simmered with garlic, oregano, basil, a few flakes of dried chilli, and garlic bread too, is enough to drive the strictest dieter crazy. So I declare, there were times when I was so lonesome hungry I took some comfort there.

Thanks to brother-in-law, Ivor, for the post title. And take a look here for a bit of an urban legend that could support a theory that war is correlated with excessive carb ingestion by policy-makers; a class action by peace activists against Domino’s beckons.

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Nassim Taleb, author of the New York Times bestseller The Black Swan, was the first person ever to email me here at the Knackered Hack.

No, honestly, it’s true. In the annals of this blog, that was seen as something of a red-letter day (if not a black swan event). But its relative importance on the part of the sender was naturally quite insignificant. Let’s say, our relationship was perfectly asymmetrical. So, when I turned up to meet Taleb at his London hotel recently, without the more imposing affiliation of a national media title with which to introduce myself, it took a while for it to sink in just who in publicity hell I was.

Finally, after 10 minutes, the author exclaimed in his soft Levantine accent: “Ah, I remember! You’re the marathon guy with the picture!”

Rarely have I been so pleased to be recognised for so little. It was nice to know that I registered with Taleb less as a total “unknown, unknown” and more as just faintly forgettable. Taleb had been researching blogs with a view to publicising his latest book, and had hit on this humble site. “I saw you writing about my book Fooled by Randomness on a marathon blog. I said to myself, this guy’s interesting!”

Even better! It’s a rare journalist who gets an actual compliment from the The Black Swan author.

As we exchanged initial small talk about exercise, I explained that I was a bit annoyed by all this complexity stuff of his, because his work has devalued most of my post-graduate business studies. Moreover, after leaving business school I moved on to devote a lot of my spare time to marathon training. But lately, having suffered repeated illness and injury and read the blog of another student of complexity, Art De Vany, I’d been led to the conclusion that this marathon malarkey might be injurious to health as well.

At this point a jet-lagged, publicity-dazed Taleb came alive: Continue reading ‘Caveman lunch with taleb’

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Tweet To the weary who completed the London Marathon in record temperatures, or like legend Haile Gebrsellassi who did not, there is some good stuff on the web this past 10 days to justify that we are in fact designed to run very long distances in the heat. The differences exist between those who think […]

Tweet More from knackered downunder One explanation for American and Australian sporting achievement is their preparedness to look at new methods and throw away the old. It’s all about the search for the next revolution. Milt Nelms – an American performance enhancer and with whom former champion Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe trained last year – […]

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