Happy days. I am reading again.
The Pioppi diet is a diet plan based on a small Italian village of Pioppi where the life expectancy there is 90 years. I found out about this diet when I merely observed (as someone engaged in UK politics) the dramatic weight loss in former Labour depute leader Tom Watson. When he quit being an MP in 2019 I had no doubt his reasons were reflective of this transformation rather than the political situation as the media suspected at the time. This low carbohydrate, high fat diet was a huge part of the reason he reversed his Type 2 diabetes and no longer takes medication. It has got my attention as someone trying to live more healthily in a time where there seems little incentive to do so. It is not a government recommended diet but it is evidence based. I bought the book (by Malhotra & O’Neil) recently so I can better evaluate it. It contains recipes from which I have already made a failed attempt to make coconut pancakes. My main pushback against diet plans like this is whether or not they are sustainable in the long term. I have heard some people go on diets like this (and another one called Keto) and as soon as they come off this diet they re-gain all the weight they lost. saw a tweet recently that said “In my own health journey, I’ve found it useful to avoid buying or eating any food that needs a TV commercial.” A lot of food is high in carbohydrates. This kind of food is heavily advertised as well.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I have nearly finished this and was reading some fascinating stuff about how the American supermarket chain Target use customer data. They create this thing called a Guest ID from which they construct a single profile based on a individual’s purchasing history. I believe most of the data comes from loyalty cards/apps. The big creepy question at the start of the chapter was how Target were able to find out whether a female customer was pregnant. It might sound crazy but there were a number of women who voluntarily handed over their due date. The statisticians used that data to identify patterns that occur during the course of the pregnancy. They once received a complaint from a father who found them sending baby coupons to his teenage daughter. Turns out she was pregnant and the father did not know about it! A UK parallel I could draw would be Tesco with their Clubcard loyalty scheme. I saw one of their adverts that was showcasing how they offer exclusive discounts to Clubcard holders. No doubt, they will be employing similar tactics on their customers to generate maximum as much revenue as possible. Data patterns are gold to these retail giants. However, Target did realise that they would be creeping out a lot of people if they carried on like this. So they used a ‘sandwiching’ technique. They loaded their ‘relevant’ coupons with ‘irrelevant’ coupons so no customer would suspect this vicious (but legal) use of their data.
In the same chapter, how to introduce new songs using this ‘sandwiching’ technique was addressed. The idea is if you want to introduce a new song to radio listeners, you need to sandwich it between two popular songs. This was a bit like what I had been doing on my Spotify account (WillowSTW on Spotify) but it was good to have something that put words to it. There is a lot of songs that I listen that I want to introduce (or re-introduce) to a broader audience. I use the alphabet to guide the order of songs on a playlist. Then I try to keep lesser known songs embedded between well known songs. Then I play the songs in alphabetical order. I dislike shuffle because it is really a method of data collection and I would rather my song choices were not determined by algorithms.
Thank you for reading. If you have any thoughts and insights, please comment or send me an email 🙂