Water Filter & Treatment System for backpacking trips

In a backpacking trip, finding water source, and treating water for drinking and cooking is important.  I usually need 6 liters of water daily, and I need additional 3 liters of water for my dog (an 80 lb. Rottweiler).

I always bring my Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter with me as the main water filter, and will bring Aguamira Water Treatment Drops (Chlorine Dioxide) as a backup.  Aguamira contains 2 1-oz bottles (Part A and part B) to treat 30 gallons of water.

I find the quoted article “How to Select a Backpacking Water Filter and Treatment System” by McKenzie Long very informative.  I quote the entire article in the following.  The article is on this web page 

I quote the article by McKenzie Long:

Selecting a water treatment system is even more overwhelming than selecting proper footwear to hike in, which is a much talked about topic. There are numerous factors to consider, from the basic categories of size, weight, and treatment time, to more complicated categories such as filter medium, longevity of the system, and what types of organisms each system is effective at eliminating. Combining and comparing all of these options can make your head spin. Here, we give you straight-up advice on what to consider, what we think is the most important, and which products we think are the best.

Dan Sandberg uses the Katadyn Hiker Pro to filter water from a running stream, Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

Credit: Max Neale

Why Treat Water?

First of all, what are you even trying to eliminate from your water with a treatment system, and is it even necessary to treat water?

Recent research has concluded that backcountry sources at high elevations are probably cleaner than we once thought. It may not be necessary to treat all water that you come in contact with. The clincher? It is impossible to tell by sight if water is contaminated. A good rule of thumb is that if you are at a high elevation where there is no cattle grazing, no pack animals, and little human traffic, then you are probably all right. However, if you are along a heavily traveled trail, it is wiser to treat your water than to risk it. What are the risks? Here is a list of water-borne pathogens that could cause some serious intestinal tract discomfort.

Water is a necessary part of hiking, and clean water makes the entire experience more enjoyable.

Credit: Veronica Long


Protozoa: This group includes the most commonly feared of all water-borne illnesses – Giardia and Cryptosporidium. These are single-celled parasitic organisms that cause intense intestinal problems, with symptoms appearing anywhere from two days to two weeks from ingestion. These organisms can live in cold water for weeks or months at a time. Cryptosporidium has a hard protective outer layer, which makes it resistant to many types of water treatment.

Bacteria: E. coli, Dysentary and Campylobacteriosis, as just a few examples, can also live in water. These are the easiest pathogens to filter out and treat, since they are much larger than viruses.

Viruses: Examples include Hepatitis A and rotovirus. Viruses are not thought to be a large threat when hiking and traveling in the US and Canada, but on other international trips, viruses become a much larger concern. Viruses are extremely small, so they are not strained out with most filters.

Once you are aware of the risks of water-borne pathogens, the next step is learning how to prevent these illnesses.

Purifiers vs. Filters

Filters and purifiers have technical differences in effectiveness. A filter mechanically pushes water through an actual filter, straining out bacteria and protozoa, but typically does NOT kill viruses. A purifier is a system that is approved for eliminating viruses as well as bacteria and protozoa, and usually involves chemicals, though UV light functions as a purifier as well. An example of a filter would be the Katadyn Hiker Pro, and a purifier would be the Aquamira Water Treatment drops.

What System Works on What Pathogen?

Unfortunately, there is no miracle system that is the perfect solution, though some systems come pretty close. Often times, manufacturers recommend carrying a filter AND a chemical treatment because that is the fastest and most efficient way to eliminate all harmful possibilities from water. Here is our quick and easy breakdown on what types of systems kill what types of pathogens and vice versa:

Effectiveness of Systems:

Filters: Eliminate bacteria and Cryptosporidium, but not viruses. They strain out particulate and usually improve the taste of the water.

Chemical Treatments: Eliminate bacteria and viruses, eliminate Cryptosporidium usually only after extended incubation time, does not strain out particulate, and usually negatively affects the taste of water.

UV Purifiers: Effective against all pathogens: bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. UV treatments do not actually kill pathogens, they simply scramble the DNA of the organisms so that they cannot reproduce. Be careful of treating water and then letting it sit in visible light for a long period of time, because the organisms can reactivate. They do not strain out particulate unless you use a pre-filter. Do not change the taste of the water. One other noteworthy detail is that the EPA approves of the UV process as a purifier, which is used in many large commercial water treatment plants; however, the organization does not actually approve specific UV devices that hikers carry.

What Eliminates Certain Pathogens?

Cryptosporidium: Filters eliminate, UV purifiers effectively disable, chlorine dioxide tablets eliminate after four hours and drops after one hour, iodine does not work.

Viruses: Eliminated by iodine, chlorine dioxide, and UV purifiers, but not filters.

Bacteria: Eliminated by all systems: filters, chemical treatments, and UV purifiers.

Particulate: Okay, so this isn’t a harmful pathogen, but silt and dead bugs do not make for appetizing water. Filters, or separately purchased pre-filters, are the only things that strain particles out of your water.

The Effectiveness Bottom Line:

So now that we have laid it all out for you, what does that mean you should choose? The absolute safest way would be to combine a chemical treatment, such as Aquamira, with a lightweight filter such as the MSR Hyperflow Microfilter. This means you can quickly strain out particulate and Cryptosporidium, but the chemicals can also eliminate viruses. However, carrying two systems is unnecessarily heavy and complicated. Take into consideration where you will be traveling. Hiking through the High Sierra? You would probably be fine with just one system, either a filter or chemical, because the water there is clear and relatively clean. Filters are thought to be adequate for backcountry travel in the US and Canada. Traveling internationally? You will want something that kills viruses, so ditch the regular filters and either bring along the First Need XL, theSteriPEN, or a chemical treatment to make sure you eliminate all pathogens.

Other User Considerations


After effectiveness, the primary concern of a hiker is how much the treatment system weighs. Common systems have drastic variance in weight, ranging from a couple ounces to over 23 ounces. Depending on your activity, weight can be of more or less concern. If you are hiking long distances, we suggest a small and light chemical method, such asAquamira Water Treatment Drops. If you are traveling internationally and are setting up a basecamp, a heavier but highly effective method such as the First Need XL would be an ideal choice. For the average hiker in the US, we suggest a filter, either gravity-fed like the Platypus GravityWorks or a pump like the MSR Sweetwater, because these are effective without being too heavy and also do not involve adding chemicals to your water and your body.

Comparison of water treatment sizes unpacked.

Credit: McKenzie Long

Time Before Drinking

The time it takes for different methods to treat drinking water varies wildly, from 90 seconds for a liter from the SteriPen Journey to half an hour for Potable Aqua Iodinetablets to 15 minutes to four hours for the Katadyn Micropur tablets. If you are on any kind of backpacking trip, whether it’s a weekend trip or a thru-hike of the entire Pacific Crest Trail, time is of the essence, and you will not want a treatment method that takes a long period of time. You will need to get water as you go, and cannot afford to waste time sitting around waiting for your water to be ready.

If you are traveling internationally to some very sketchy and contaminated water sources, or you’re posted up at a campsite, some of the longer methods would be perfect. If you are just looking for an emergency treatment method to leave in your pack, a chemical treatment would work fine.

In general, filters, either gravity-fed or pumps, work faster than chemical treatments, though chemical treatments are lighter and smaller to pack. UV treatments are also quick.

Other Filter Details to Consider

Squirting the super-soaker-esque MSR Hyperflow Microfilter.

Credit: Luke Lydiard

Ability to Treat Large Quantities of Water

If you are a single hiker on a short trip, then this is not a huge concern. Scooping water into your Nalgene and treating with a SteriPEN will work just fine. However, if you are bringing one treatment method for a group of people, or you want the ability to treat a lot of water for cooking at base camp, or there are limited water sources so you need to be able to collect and treat a lot of water at once, it is worth taking into consideration how to treat a lot of water. In these situations, collecting and treating water with the SteriPEN one bottle at a time is tedious and inefficient. Pump filters work well in these scenarios because they can easily treat as much or as little water as needed. The gravity-fed filters have the ability to collect and treat a lot of water quickly, which is great for groups.

Filter Medium

The filter is the actual material that catches the organisms in your water, and there are multiple types on the market. Here is a brief list of the types:

Ceramic: This is an earthen material (yes, the same kind of stuff your favorite coffee mug is made out of) that has a long life and can be cleaned many times before being replaced. Unfortunately, it can get clogged easily. But on the bright side it is easy to scrape clean. Ceramic filters can also come with a carbon core, which helps to remove chemicals from water. Example: MSR Miniworks EX.

Structured Matrix: This is a dense and honeycombed material that can strain out really tiny pathogens. Example: First Need XL.

Fiberglass: A material that is more fragile than ceramic, but still effective at eliminating particles. Example: Katadyn Hiker Pro.

Hollow Fiber: Made up of hollow U-shaped micro tubes, this filter allows water through tiny pores and into the core, where pathogens are strained out. Example: MSR Hyperflow Microfilter.

Silica Depth: Using finely grained silica sand, this filter works by having multiple levels of different sized grains, going from largest to finest. It catches different sized particles and organisms as water is pushed through its levels of density. Example: MSR Sweetwater Microfilter.

Micron Size

If you are shopping for a filter, a techy detail that you will continually stumble across is micron size. This is a measurement of the pore size in the filter media. Essentially, the smaller the pore size, the more pathogens the filter can strain out. A simple rule of thumb is that the smallest bacteria is 0.2 microns, so a filter should be around that size or smaller to be the most effective.

Durability/Uses Before Maintenance

If you have chosen a pump filter as your treatment method, and you plan to bring it with you on multi-day trips, it is important that you look for a pump that is field maintainable, meaning you can service it on your own in the backcountry if it gets clogged. For example, ceramic filters need to be scraped relatively often, but this is easy to do. Most other pump-filters are engineered to be easy to back-flush to remove clogs, but it is worth investigating how complicated this process will be so you don’t get left high and dry on your over-nighter.

It is also worth noting how long a filter will last before it needs to be replaced. Ceramic filters can filter up to 2,000 liters, while other types of filters may only be effective to around 500 liters. You can purchase replacement cartridges once the filter has run its course.

Electronic treatment methods such as a UV purifier have an entirely different concern: battery life and bulb life. UV lamps typically last around 8,000 treatments, which is excellent life. However, batteries need to be replaced every 40-100 treatments.

Advice From Thru-Hikers
For those of you ultralight or long distance hikers, we talked to some Appalachian Trail thru-hikers to see what their thoughts were on water treatment methods, and ultimately what they prefer to use.

Collecting water on the Appalachian Trail.

Credit: Veronica Long
The most important features to a long-distance hiker striving for a light pack are not all that different from our general considerations: weight, the time it takes to treat a liter, price, and upkeep. Not surprisingly, they said all the filters were too heavy and they would not consider carrying them. Initially the SteriPEN was an attractive option, but the lithium batteries didn’t last long, were expensive, and were hard to find in towns along the Trail.

The most popular method along the trail was by far Aquamira Water Treatment Drops. This system is incredibly light, inexpensive, and can be used over the long-term, unlike iodine. So many hikers found it to be ideal.

Films rated PG-13 I like

50+ videos Play all Play now Mix – •*♡❤( 路要自己走 秀蘭瑪雅 ~演唱 ) 慈濟歌選 Tzu Chi Songsby YouTube

These are movies I like, rated either G or PG-13 and mostly available at Redbox kiosks.

. Still Alice (2014), PG-13, info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3316960/
. Selma (2014), PG-13: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1020072/?ref_=nv_sr_1
. The Imitation Game (2014), PG-13: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084970/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
. Interstellar (2014), PG-13: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0816692/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
. The Theory of Everything (2014), PG-13: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2980516/?ref_=nv_sr_1

6 Easy Ways To Prevent Kidney Stones

An actual 4mm kidney stone (dark color) & a grain of white rice (uncooked) next to it

An actual 4mm kidney stone (dark color) & a grain of white rice (uncooked) next to it

The following quoted article “6 Easy Ways To Prevent Kidney Stones” from the National Kidney Foundation has greatly improved my knowledge on kidney stones and the proper diet for preventing kidney stones from forming the best I can.  The source of the article is on this web page https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_prevent.


Did you know that one in ten people will have a kidney stone over the course of a lifetime? Recent studies have shown that kidney stone rates are on the rise across the country. Those in the know believe that some major misconceptions may be the culprit.

The National Kidney Foundation has teamed up with Dr. Allan Jhagroo, a kidney stone specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, to help you stay stone-free by debunking some of the major kidney stone myths and misconceptions.

Here are the top 6 kidney stone prevention tips:

  • Don’t Underestimate Your Sweat. Saunas, hot yoga and heavy exercise may be good for your health, but they also may lead to kidney stones. Why? Loss of water through sweating – whether due to these activities or just the heat of summer—leads to less urine production. The more you sweat, the less you urinate, which allows for stone-causing minerals to settle and bond in the kidneys and urinary tract.
  • Instead: Hydrate with H2O. One of the best measures you can take to avoid kidney stones is to drink plenty of water, leading you to urinate a lot. So, be sure to keep well hydrated, especially when engaging in exercise or activities that cause a lot of sweating.
  • It’s Not Just the Oxalate. Oxa-what? Oxalate is naturally found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, legumes, and even chocolate and tea. Some examples of foods that contain high levels of oxalate include: peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, chocolate and sweet potatoes. Moderating intake of these foods may be beneficial for people who form calcium oxalate stones, the leading type of kidney stones. A common misconception is that cutting the oxalate-rich foods in your diet alone will reduce the likelihood of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. While in theory this might be true, this approach isn’t smart from an overall health perspective. Most kidney stones are formed when oxalate binds to calcium while urine is produced by the kidneys.
  • Instead: Eat and drink calcium and oxalate-rich foods together during a meal. In doing so, oxalate and calcium are more likely to bind to one another in the stomach and intestines before the kidneys begin processing, making it less likely that kidney stones will form.
  • Calcium is Not the Enemy. But it tends to get a bad rap! Most likely due to its name and composition, many are under the impression that calcium is the main culprit in calcium-oxalate stones. “I still see patients who wonder why they are getting recurring stones despite cutting down on their calcium intake,” said Dr. Jhagroo. “I’ve even had patients say that their doctors told them to reduce their calcium intake.” A diet low in calcium actually increases one’s risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Instead: Don’t reduce the calcium. Work to cut back on the sodium in your diet and to pair calcium-rich foods with oxalate-rich foods.
  • It’s Not One and Done. Passing a kidney stone is often described as one of the most painful experiences a person can have, but unfortunately, it’s not always a one-time event. Studies have shown that having even one stone greatly increases your chances of having another. “Most people will want to do anything they can to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said Dr. Jhagroo. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the case that people make the changes they need to after their first stone event.” Research conducted by Dr. Jhagroo shows that those with kidney stones do not always heed the advice of their nephrologists and urinary specialists. About 15% of kidney stone patients didn’t take prescribed medications and 41% did not follow the nutritional advice that would keep stones from recurring.
  • Instead: Take action! Without the right medications and diet adjustments, stones can come back, and recurring kidney stones also could be an indicator of other problems, including kidney disease.
  • When Life Hands You Kidney Stones… don’t fret. And as the saying goes, “make lemonade.” It’s important to consider dietary remedies alongside prescription medications. While it may seem easier to just take a pill to fix a medical problem, consider what lifestyle changes will also make a big impact on your health.
  • Instead: Next time you drive past a lemonade (or limeade) stand, consider your kidneys. Chronic kidney stones are often treated with potassium citrate, but studies have shown that limeade, lemonade and other fruits and juices high in natural citrate offers the same stone-preventing benefits. Beware of the sugar, though, because it can increase kidney stone risk. Instead, buy sugar-free lemonade, or make your own by mixing lime or lemon juice with water and using a sugar substitute if needed. “We believe that citrate in the urine may prevent the calcium from binding with other constituents that lead to stones,” said Dr. Jhagroo. “Also, some evidence suggests that citrate may prevent crystals that are already present from binding with each other, thus preventing them from getting bigger.”
  • Not All Stones are Created Equal. In addition to calcium oxalate stones, another common type of kidney stones is uric acid stones. Red meat, organ meats, and shellfish have high concentrations of a natural chemical compound known as purines. “High purine intake leads to a higher production of uric acid and produces a larger acid load for the kidneys to excrete,” said Dr. Jhagroo. Higher uric acid excretion leads to lower overall urine pH, which means the urine is more acidic. The high acid concentration of the urine makes it easier for uric acid stones to form.

Instead: To prevent uric acid stones, cut down on high-purine foods such as red meat, organ meats, and shellfish, and follow a healthy diet that contains mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy products. Limit sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, especially those that contain high fructose corn syrup. Limit alcohol because it can increase uric acid levels in the blood and avoid crash diets for the same reason..Eating less animal-based protein and eating more fruits and vegetables will help decrease urine acidity and this will help reduce the chance for stone formation.

12 Things Successful People Never Reveal About Themselves at Work

I find this quoted article “12 Things Successful People Never Reveal About Themselves at Work” by Travis Bradberry (dated June 01, 2015) provides me helpful reminders in life. I quote the entire article below; the article is on this web page http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246710.

Summary quote:

The following list contains the 12 most common things people reveal that send their careers careening in the wrong direction.

1. That They Hate Their Job

2. That They Think Someone Is Incompetent

3. How Much Money They Make

4. Their Political and Religious Beliefs

5. What They Do on Facebook

6. What They Do in the Bedroom

7. What They Think Someone Else Does in the Bedroom

8. That They’re After Somebody Else’s Job

9. How Wild They Used To Be in College

10. How Intoxicated They Like to Get

11. An Offensive Joke

12. That They Are Job Hunting

The entire article by Travis Bradberry:

You can’t build a strong professional network if you don’t open up to your colleagues; but doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.

Sharing the right aspects of yourself in the right ways is an art form. Disclosures that feel like relationship builders in the moment can wind up as obvious no-nos with hindsight.

The trick is to catch yourself before you cross that line, because once you share something, there is no going back.

TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). Emotionally intelligent people are adept at reading others, and this shows them what they should and shouldn’t reveal about themselves at work.

Related: How Successful People Work Less and Get More Done

The following list contains the 12 most common things people reveal that send their careers careening in the wrong direction.

1. That They Hate Their Job

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person, who is not a team player. This brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

2. That They Think Someone Is Incompetent

There will always be incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.

3. How Much Money They Make

Your parents may love to hear all about how much you’re pulling in each month, but in the workplace, this only breeds negativity. It’s impossible to allocate salaries with perfect fairness, and revealing yours gives your coworkers a direct measure of comparison. As soon as everyone knows how much you make, everything you do at work is considered against your income. It’s tempting to swap salary figures with a buddy out of curiosity, but the moment you do, you’ll never see each other the same way again.

4. Their Political and Religious Beliefs

People’s political and religious beliefs are too closely tied to their identities to be discussed without incident at work. Disagreeing with someone else’s views can quickly alter their otherwise strong perception of you. Confronting someone’s core values is one of the most insulting things you can do.

Granted, different people treat politics and religion differently, but asserting your values can alienate some people as quickly as it intrigues others. Even bringing up a hot-button world event without asserting a strong opinion can lead to conflict.

People build their lives around their ideals and beliefs, and giving them your two cents is risky. Be willing to listen to others without inputting anything on your end because all it takes is a disapproving look to start a conflict. Political opinions and religious beliefs are so deeply ingrained in people, that challenging their views is more likely to get you judged than to change their mind.

5. What They Do on Facebook

The last thing your boss wants to see when she logs on to her Facebook account is photos of you taking tequila shots in Tijuana. There are just too many ways you can look inappropriate on Facebook and leave a bad impression. It could be what you’re wearing, who you’re with, what you’re doing, or even your friends’ commentary. These are the little things that can cast a shadow of doubt in your boss’s or colleagues’ minds just when they are about to hand you a big assignment or recommend you for a promotion.

It’s too difficult to try to censure yourself on Facebook for your colleagues. Save yourself the trouble, and don’t friend them there. Let LinkedIn be your professional “social” network, and save Facebook for everybody else.

Related: 10 Truths We Forget Too Easily

6. What They Do in the Bedroom

Whether your sex life is out of this world or lacking entirely, this information has no place at work. Such comments might get a chuckle from some people, but it makes most uncomfortable, and even offended. Crossing this line will instantly give you a bad reputation.

7. What They Think Someone Else Does in the Bedroom

A good 111% of the people you work with do not want to know that you bet they’re tigers in the sack. There’s no more surefire way to creep someone out than to let them know that thoughts of their love life have entered your brain. Anything from speculating on a colleague’s sexual orientation to making a relatively indirect comment like, “Oh, to be a newlywed again,” plants a permanent seed in the brains of all who hear it that casts you in a negative light.

Your thoughts are your own. Think whatever you feel is right about people; just keep it to yourself.

8. That They’re After Somebody Else’s Job

Announcing your ambitions at work when they are in direct conflict with other people’s interests comes across as selfish and indifferent to those you work with and the company as a whole. Great employees want the whole team to succeed, not just themselves. Regardless of your actual motives (some of us really do just work for the money), announcing your selfish goal will not help you get there.

9. How Wild They Used To Be in College

Your past can say a lot about you. Just because you did something outlandish or stupid 20 years ago doesn’t mean that people will believe you’ve developed impeccable judgment since then. Some behavior that might qualify as just another day in the typical fraternity (binge drinking, minor theft, drunk driving, abusing people or farm animals, and so on) shows everyone you work with that, when push comes to shove, you have poor judgment and don’t know where to draw the line. Many presidents have been elected in spite of their past indiscretions, but unless you have a team of handlers and PR types protecting and spinning your image, you should keep your unsavory past to yourself.

10. How Intoxicated They Like to Get

You might think talking about how inebriated you were over the weekend has no effect on how you’re viewed at work. After all, if you’re a good worker, then you’re a good worker, right? Unfortunately not. Sharing this will not get people to think you’re fun. Instead, they will see you as unpredictable, immature, and lacking in good judgment. Too many people have negative views of drugs and alcohol for you to reveal how much you love to indulge in them.

11. An Offensive Joke

If there’s one thing we can learn from celebrities, it’s to be careful about what you say and whom you say it to. Offensive jokes make other people feel terrible, and they make you look terrible. They also happen to be much less funny than clever jokes.

A joke crosses the line anytime you try to gauge its appropriateness based on how close you are with someone. If there is anyone who would be offended by your joke, you are better off not telling it. You never know whom people know or what experiences they’ve had in life that can lead your joke to tread on subjects that they take very seriously.

12. That They Are Job Hunting

When I was a kid, I told my baseball coach I was quitting in two weeks. For the next two weeks, I found myself riding the bench. It got even worse after those two weeks when I decided to stay, and I became “the kid who doesn’t even want to be here.” I was crushed, but it was my own fault; I told him my decision before it was certain.

The same thing happens when you tell people that you’re job hunting. Once you reveal that you’re planning to leave, you suddenly become a waste of everyone’s time. There’s also the chance that your hunt will be unsuccessful, so it’s best to wait until you’ve found a job before you tell anyone. Otherwise, you will end up riding the bench.

version of this article first appeared on TalentSmart.com.

Appreciation – (父母恩重難報經: 親情)

The following Tzu Chi Foundation’s musical (父母恩重難報經: 親情) reminds me of appreciation.  I copy the lyrics in traditional Chinese below.

我看眾生枉得人生 心行愚癡不思親恩
有大恩德不生恭敬 忘恩負義啊不孝不順
母親懷胎十月苦辛 起坐不安心神難寧
飲食無味似受重病 十月懷滿啊臨盆在即
疼痛難忍血流滿地 恐遭無償嚎叫不已
受如是苦生下兒身 咽苦吐甘茹苦含辛
洗濯不淨不畏污穢 忍寒忍熱不捨兒哭
乾處兒臥濕處母眠 三年之中兒吮母乳
乳是母血子長母悴 由嬰兒童乃至成年
教導禮儀望子成龍 婚嫁營謀啊望女成鳳
兒受病魔父母憂心 憂極病生猶掛兒身
子若病除母病方癒 如斯養育啊願早成人

Patient enough to read the comedian Ansari’s “Why Everything You Know About Love Is Wrong?”


Love may be associated with time, patience, commitment, honesty, passion, devotion and luck.  So I patiently read the entire article by the comedian Aziz Ansari’s “Why Everything You Know About Love Is Wrong?” on Time.com on this web page http://time.com/aziz-ansari-modern-romance/?xid=newsletter-brief.

Short quote:

The vows in this wedding were powerful. They were saying the most remarkable, loving things about each other. Things like “You are a prism that takes the light of life and turns it into a rainbow” and “You are a lotion that moisturizes my heart. Without you, my soul has eczema.” It was the noncheesy, heartfelt version of stuff like that.

After the wedding, I found out about four different couples that had broken up, supposedly because they didn’t feel like they had the love that was expressed in those vows. Did they call it off too early, at their danger point?

Entire article:

My parents had an arranged marriage. This always fascinated me. I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly.

I asked my dad about this experience, and here’s how he described it: he told his parents he was ready to get married, so his family arranged meetings with three neighboring families. The first girl, he said, was “a little too tall,” and the second girl was “a little too short.” Then he met my mom. He quickly deduced that she was the appropriate height (finally!), and they talked for about 30 minutes. They decided it would work. A week later, they were married.

And they still are, 35 years later. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages. That’s how my dad decided on the person with whom he was going to spend the rest of his life.

Let’s look at how I do things, maybe with a slightly less important decision, like the time I had to pick where to eat dinner in Seattle when I was on tour last year. First I texted four friends who travel and eat out a lot and whose judgment I trust. I checked the website Eater for its Heat Map, which includes new, tasty restaurants in the city. Then I checked Yelp. And GQ’s online guide to Seattle. Finally I made my selection: Il Corvo, an Italian place that sounded amazing. Unfortunately, it was closed. (It only served lunch.) At that point I had run out of time because I had a show to do, so I ended up making a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich on the bus. The stunning fact remained: it was quicker for my dad to find a wife than it is for me to decide where to eat dinner.

This kind of rigor goes into a lot of my decisionmaking. Whether it’s where I’m eating, where I’m traveling or, God forbid, something I’m buying, like a lot of people in my generation—those in their 20s and 30s—I feel compelled to do a ton of research to make sure I’m getting every option and then making the best choice. If this mentality pervades our decision­making in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?

The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission. I read dozens of studies about love, how people connect and why they do or don’t stay together. I quizzed the crowds at my stand-up comedy shows about their own love lives. People even let me into the private world of their phones to read their romantic texts aloud onstage. I learned of the phenomenon of “good enough” marriage, a term social anthropologists use to describe marriages that were less about finding the perfect match than a suitable candidate whom the family approved of for the couple to embark on adulthoodtogether.

Martin Schoeller for TIME

And along with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author of my new book, I conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country and around the world, grilling participants on the most intimate details of how they look for love and why they’ve had trouble finding it. Eric and I weren’t digging into ­singledom—we were trying to chip away at the changing state of love.

Today’s generations are looking (exhaustively) for soul mates, whether we decide to hit the altar or not, and we have more opportunities than ever to find them. The biggest changes have been brought by the $2.4 billion online-­dating industry, which has exploded in the past few years with the arrival of dozens of mobile apps. Throw in the fact that people now get married later in life than ever before, turning their early 20s into a relentless hunt for more romantic options than previous generations could have ever imagined, and you have a recipe for romance gone haywire.

In the course of our research, I also discovered something surprising: the winding road from the classified section of yore to Tinder has taken an unexpected turn. Our phones and texts and apps might just be bringing us full circle, back to an old-fashioned version of courting that is closer to what my own parents experienced than you might guess.


Where Bozos Are Studs

Today, if you own a smartphone, you’re carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket. As of this writing, 38% of Americans who describe themselves as “single and looking” have used an online-­dating site. It’s not just my ­generation—boomers are as likely as college kids to give online dating a whirl. Almost a quarter of online daters find a spouse or long-term partner that way.

It’s easy to see why online dating has taken off. It provides you with a seemingly endless supply of people who are single and looking to date. Let’s say you’re a woman who wants a 28-year-old man who’s 5 ft. 10 in., has brown hair, lives in Brooklyn, is a member of the Baha’i faith and loves the music of Naughty by Nature. Before online dating, this would have been a fruitless quest, but now, at any time of the day, no matter where you are, you are just a few screens away from sending a message to your very specific dream man.

There are downsides with online dating, of course. Throughout all our interviews—and in research on the subject—this is a consistent finding: in online dating, women get a ton more attention than men. Even a guy at the highest end of attractiveness barely receives the number of messages almost all women get. But that doesn’t mean that men end up standing alone in the corner of the online bar. On the Internet, there are no lonely corners. Take Derek, a regular user of OkCupid who lives in New York City. What I’m about to say is going to sound very mean, but Derek is a pretty boring guy. Medium height, thinning brown hair, nicely dressed and personable, but not immediately magnetic or charming. If he walked into a bar, you’d probably go, “Oh, there’s a white guy.”

At our focus group on online dating in Manhattan, Derek got on OkCupid and let us watch as he went through his options. These were women whom OkCupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm. The first woman he clicked on was very beautiful, with a witty profile page, a good job and lots of shared interests, including a love of sports. After looking the page over for a minute or so, Derek said, “Well, she looks O.K. I’m just gonna keep looking for a while.”


I asked what was wrong, and he replied, “She likes the Red Sox.” I was completely shocked. I couldn’t believe how quickly he had moved on. Imagine the Derek of 20 years ago, finding out that this beautiful, charming woman was a real possibility for a date. If she were at a bar and smiled at him, Derek of 1993 would have melted. He wouldn’t have walked up and said, “Oh, wait, you like the Red Sox?! No thank you!” before putting his hand in her face and turning away. But Derek of 2013 simply clicked an X on a web-browser tab and deleted her without thinking twice. Watching him comb through those profiles, it became clear that online, every bozo could now be a stud.

But dealing with this new digital romantic world can be a lot of work. Answering messages, filtering profiles—it’s not always fun. Priya, 27, said she’d recently deleted her Tinder and other online-­dating accounts. “It just takes too long to get to just the first date. I feel like it’s way more effective utilizing your social groups,” she said. “I would rather put myself in those social situations than get exhausted.” For Priya, as for so many of the online daters we met in different cities, the process had morphed from something fun and exciting into a source of stress and dread.

Even the technological advances of the past few years are pretty absurd. You can stand in line at the grocery store and swipe through 60 people’s faces on Tinder while you wait to buy hamburger buns. (Note: The best hamburger buns are Martin’s Potato Rolls. Trust me!) That’s 20 times as many people as my dad met on his marriage journey. In the history of our species, no group has ever had as many romantic options as we have now.


Soul Mate vs. Laundry Detergent

In theory, more options are better, right? Wrong. Psychology professor Barry Schwartz, famous for his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice, divided us into two types of people: “satisficers” (those who satisfy and then suffice) and “maximizers,” who seek out the best.

Thanks to smartphones and the Internet, our options are unlimited, whether it’s a retail item or a romantic possibility. We have all become maximizers. When I think back to that sad peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich I had in Seattle, this idea resonates with me. Besides gasoline, it’s nearly impossible for me to think of anything I won’t put in time for to find the best. I’m a maximizer for just about everything. Tacos? You better believe. Candles? If you only knew how good the candles in my house smell.


It’s easy to find and get the best, so why not do it? If you are in a big city or on an online-­dating site, you are now comparing your potential partners not just to other potential partners but rather to an idealized person to whom no one could ­measure up.

But people don’t always know what they’re looking for in a soul mate, unlike when they’re picking something easier, like laundry detergent.

While we may think we know what we want, we’re often wrong. As recounted in Dan Slater’s history of online dating, Love in the Time of Algorithms, the first online-­dating services tried to find matches for clients based almost exclusively on what clients said they wanted. But pretty soon they realized that the kind of partner people said they were looking for didn’t match up with the kind of partner they were actually interested in.

Amarnath Thombre, Match.com’s president, discovered this by analyzing the discrepancy between the characteristics people said they wanted in a romantic partner (age, religion, hair color and the like) and the characteristics of the people whom they contacted on the site. When you watched their actual browsing habits—who they looked at and contacted—they went way outside of what they said they wanted.

When I was writing stand-up about online dating, I filled out the forms for dummy accounts on several dating sites just to get a sense of the questions and what the process was like. The person I described was a little younger than me, small, with dark hair. My girlfriend now, whom I met through friends, is two years older, about my height—O.K., slightly taller—and blond. She wouldn’t have made it through the filters I set up.

A big part of online dating is spent on this process, though—setting your filters, sorting through profiles and going through a mandatory checklist of what you think you are looking for. People take these parameters very seriously. They declare that their mate “must love dogs” or that their mate “must love the film Must Love Dogs,” about a preschool teacher (Diane Lane) who tries online dating and specifies that her match “must love dogs.” (I looked it up on Wikipedia.)

But does all the effort put into sorting profiles help? Despite the nuanced information that people put up on their profiles, the factor that they rely on most when preselecting a date is looks. In his bookDataclysm, OkCupid founder Christian Rudder estimates, based on data from his own site, that photos drive 90% of the action in online dating. (Check out more of Christian’s findings on the next page.)

Now, of course, we have mobile dating apps like Tinder. Contrary to the labor-­intensive user experience of traditional online dating, mobile apps generally operate on a much simpler and quicker scale. As soon as you sign in, Tinder uses your GPS location to find nearby users and starts showing you pictures. You swipe right on their picture if you might be interested, left if you’re not.


Maybe it sounds shallow. But consider this: In the case of my girlfriend, I initially saw her face somewhere and approached her. I didn’t have an in-depth profile to peruse or a fancy algorithm. I just had her face, and we started talking and it worked out. Is that experience so different from swiping on Tinder?

“I think Tinder is a great thing,” says Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who studies dating. “All Tinder is doing is giving you someone to look at that’s in the neighborhood. Then you let the human brain with his brilliant little algorithm tick, tick, tick off what you’re looking for.”

In this sense, Tinder actually isn’t so different from what our grandparents did. Nor is it all that different from what one friend of mine did, using online dating to find someone Jewish who lived nearby. In a world of infinite possibilities, we’ve cut down our options to people we’re attracted to in our neighborhood.


Passion and Patience
in relationships, there’s commitment and commitment, the kind that involves a license, usually some kind of religious blessing and a ceremony in which every one of your close friends and relatives watches you and your partner promise to stay together until one of you dies.

In the U.S., marriage rates are at historic lows—the rate of marriages per 1,000 single women dropped almost 60% from 1970 to 2012. Americans are also joining the international trend of marrying later; for the first time in history, the typical American now spends more years single than married. So what are we doing instead?

As Eric wrote in his own book, Going Solo, we experiment. Long-term cohabitation is on the rise. Living alone has skyrocketed almost everywhere, and in many major cities, nearly half of all households have just one resident. But marriage is not an altogether undesirable institution. And there are many great things about being in a committed relationship.

Look at my parents: they had an arranged marriage, and they are totally happy. I looked into it, and this is not uncommon. People in arranged marriages start off lukewarm, but over time they really invest in each other and in general have successful relationships. This may be because they bypassed the most dangerous part of a relationship.

In the first stage of a relationship, you have passionate love. This is where you and your partner are just going crazy for each other. Every smile makes your heart flutter. Every night is more magical than the last. During this phase, your brain floods your neural synapses with dopamine, the same neurotransmitter that gets released when you do cocaine.

Like all drugs, though, this high wears off after 12 to 18 months. At a certain point, the brain rebalances itself. In good relationships, as passionate love fades, companionate love arises to take its place. If passionate love is the cocaine of love, companionate love is like having a glass of wine.

In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt identifies two danger points in every romantic relationship. One is at the apex of the passionate-love phase. People get all excited and dive in headfirst. A new couple, weeks or months into a relationship, high off passionate love, goes bonkers and moves in together and gets married way too quickly.

Sometimes these couples are able to transition from the passionate stage to the companionate one. Other times, though, they transition into a crazy, toxic relationship and/or get divorced.

The second danger point is when passionate love starts wearing off. This is when you start coming down off that initial high and start worrying about whether this is really the right person for you.

Your texts used to be so loving: It’s hard to focus on anything at work, ’cause all that’s in my head is you. Now your texts are like: Let’s just meet at Whole Foods. Or: Hey, that dog you made us buy took a dump in my shoe.

But Haidt argues that when you hit this stage, you should be patient. With luck, if you allow yourself to invest more in the other person, you will find a beautiful life companion.

I had a rather weird firsthand experience with this. When I first started dating my girlfriend, a few months in, I went to a friend’s wedding in Big Sur, Calif. I was alone, because my friend did me a huge solid and declined to give me a plus one. Which, of course, is the best. You get to sit by yourself and be a third wheel.

The vows in this wedding were powerful. They were saying the most remarkable, loving things about each other. Things like “You are a prism that takes the light of life and turns it into a rainbow” and “You are a lotion that moisturizes my heart. Without you, my soul has eczema.” It was the noncheesy, heartfelt version of stuff like that.

After the wedding, I found out about four different couples that had broken up, supposedly because they didn’t feel like they had the love that was expressed in those vows. Did they call it off too early, at their danger point? I don’t know, but I, too, felt scared hearing that stuff. Did I have what those people had? At that point, no. But for some reason, I felt deep down that I should keep investing in my relationship—as my father did, after those fateful 30 minutes of literally sizing up my mother—and that eventually that level of love would show itself. And so far, it has. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out where to get lunch.

Ansari is a comedian and starred on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. This article is adapted from Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari with Eric Klinenberg (Penguin Publishing Group, 2015)