Mail 735 Monday, July 30, 2012
I just discovered that the metformin I’m taking for insulin resistance depletes my supply of B12 and folic acid, and interferes with calcium! The calcium shouldn’t be an issue because I consume dairy products out the wazoo, but no WONDER the B complex has been helping!
The problem with folic acid is that the body does not use folic acid, it uses the l-methylfolate found in fresh food. Folic acid has to be converted to l-methylfolate before the body can use it, and the process of conversion can be reduced by several factors. Aging, the MTHFR gene defect, and low levels of the required B vitamins can all reduce the amount of folic acid that is converted.
This is bad because if you are not converting enough folic acid, not only do you suffer from low levels of l-methylfolate, you also suffer from the build up of folic acid.
Anyway, all of this is new science. I only know about it because it turned up in the raw data on my 23andMe genetic report. It is a very common defect. I have it, my husband has it, and 40% of the population has it. I have had very good results with switching to l-methlfolate. I strongly believe that it is the way to go.
As I have said, I know of one case in which folate deficiency in a young woman taking more than the government recommended amounts at the time she conceived had really severe effects on the child at birth. I have been unwilling to trust the government’s recommendations since that time (they have since been revised up, but the damage was very real and no apology was ever issued). Oops. But they’re from the government and their intentions were good.
Global Warming implies two things…
Interesting piece suggesting skepticism might be more appropriate than credulousness in re Global Warming. I’ve always thought that "Global Warming" should at least require two things: 1) Warming, and 2) Global effect.
Alas, here in Central Florida we are noticing a sustained cooling trend over the last 30 years (I lived here first in 1979). Where we used to be able to grow virtually anything without regard to "cold hardiness", we now find that winters routinely bring us occasional temperatures below freezing — even in the 20s! Fortunately, such temperatures don’t last long, but they do occur every year — and more than once — whereas decades ago a "hard freeze" (i.e., temps below 28) meant a "historic" cold winter.
In fact, the climate trend here can be encapsulated in a simple question: "How many commercial orange growers are there in "Orange" County, FL?" Answer: "NONE any more." That’s right — the county named after the fact that it was once virtually wall-to-wall orange groves now has none still in commercial production. The reason? Growers — who 30 years ago only had to resort to burning "pitch-pots" perhaps one night during a freak cold wave once every few years when the jet stream dipped unusually low and drove cold Canadian air into the area — slowly moved southward as the winters became more cold more often and it became impossible to keep fruit from freezing by any man-made means.
So how is it Global Warming if it is not warming globally?
I still do not know how to take the temperature of Florida, much less compare it to a temperature of some years ago; but the need for smudge pots/acre for a year ought to be documented back quite a few years. I wonder if the climate people have looked at that.
I agree completely with your words about the execrable Olympic announcers. A rational television network covering the Olympics would leave the announcers at home–they add nothing and simply boost the taurocoprolite level. (The words based upon your new construction need to be in the Oxford English Dictionary–soonest! So should "congresscritter," which I find myself using with increasing frequency.)
At the opening, there was a boy soprano of remarkable skill singing "Jerusalem"–when he finished the solo and the choir began singing, the announcer (Meredith Viera, I believe) broke in with a discussion about the use of ‘culturally significant’ choirs. Might have been an interesting piece of trivia, but the timing was terrible.
This was infuriating for two reasons: I was listening to the choir, and her comments literally drowned them out; the other reason being the fact that "Jerusalem" is held in about the same esteem in Britain as "My Country, ‘Tis of thee" or "God Bless America" and no British announcer would have been so crass as to comment during a worldwide performance of those songs. There should be two audio channels–one for the actual event and the idiot announcers, one that’s full audio but has no verbal comments.
Give me an announcer-free Olympics. I can make my own ignorant comments and think my own trivial thoughts. And I know better than to yammer during "Jerusalem."
I just wanted to correct a couple of small errors that crept into your comments on the Olympics.
Firstly, no troops were brought back from overseas to man the Olympics – some did have leave cancelled though.
The parade of athletes was sped up because they have previously taken an age – not for ads – we don’t have them on the BBC. If you meant just on NBC then I beg your pardon.
On another point, Romney was rude when a guest – I don’t put up with that from guests and I guess you and Roberta don’t either.
Finally, I would like to log my admiration at the invention
(re-discovery?) of taurocoprophogeny – meretricious, if unworthy, of you.
My paper reported it as troops called back from the Afghan war; thanks for the correction. My paper also had a column by someone who watched the parade on BBC without commercials and was then horrified to see what NBC showed in the US.
We have to disagree about rudeness. Given what actually has happened so far, Mr. Romney was no more than truthful: stuff happens, and those in charge are often surprised. He carefully included himself among those not prepared for everything. I do not think it rude not to engage in fulsome praise. Perhaps it would have been better manners if Mr. Romney had simply dodged the question, but you may be sure he would then have been castigated for his cowardly behavior.
olympics coverage rant
For the second or third Olympics in a row, the tv coverage of the Olympics has been horrible. I’m not talking about event selection or schedule, I’m talking about technical details of recording video in one place and playing it back in another.
I was watching the coverage on NBC last night and it was absolutely terrible from a technical perspective. Every 3-5 minutes the video would cut out, back up or speed forward a few seconds, and re-start. Audio would un-sync from video. In three cases, they cut to commercial after a gymnastics performance but before the scores were given, and not cover the score, even briefly, after the commercials were over.
NBC paid millions for the right to be the exclusive channel outlet for Olympics coverage, and they can’t even get the basics correct. My elementary school news channel was run better by a couple of chatty 5th graders.
And of course my other rant is about the seating scandal…
Hundreds (thousands?) of seats and tickets were given to media outlets and corporate sponsors, who failed to use them. So thousands of seats are going empty in some of the most popular and sold out events. I think the event organizers should immediately pass a new rule stating that if a corporate or media venue ticket goes unused, that organization loses their seat for the remainder of the Olympics and the seat tickets can be re-sold at the venue box-office. There are a few million people who would give a body part to be able to attend, so if the seats are empty the tickets should be forfeit, period.
Empty seats at the Olympics are a crime… This is a big deal to a lot of people and anyone who cares about it so little as to not use huge blocks of tickets while thousands wait outside should simply not be pandered to.
Quoth Richard Muller, noted skeptic of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change (nee ‘global warming’).
In view of of your commentary today ("That seems an appropriate setting for thinking about global warming and the surprise defection of Muller from the ranks of the Deniers, accompanied by the cheers of his compadres at Berkeley."), I thought you may be interested in this. It is not from me, but from one of Dr. Judith Curry’s readers, ‘pokerguy’:
“pokerguy | July 29, 2012 at 7:18 am | Reply
Yay. Countdown to Anthony. First thing I thought of when I woke up this morning. I need therapy.
As to Muller’s NYT’s “Amazing Grace” piece (I once was blind but now I see), here’s a comment by poptech on Bishop Hill:
The Truth about Richard Muller
“I was never a skeptic” – Richard Muller, 2011
“If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion – which he does, but he’s very effective at it – then let him fly any plane he wants.” – Richard Muller, 2008
“There is a consensus that global warming is real. …it’s going to get much, much worse.” – Richard Muller, 2006
“Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.” – Richard Muller, 2003″
As for the ‘Opening Ceremonies’, "You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din." I would have watched them under the direct supervision of a SWAT team, IF they had a notarized court order authorizing them to use deadly force to ENSURE that I did. Maybe.
Clearly many are better informed about Mr. Muller than I am. I don’t remember ever hearing of him before although I may actually have met him.
The Chick-Fil-A distraction
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I think this guy hits the nail on the head.
It’s a distraction. The administration know it can’t run on it’s record so they’re playing the bigot card. Which they couldn’t do so long as President Obama still opposed gay marriage. Once he flipped, they were free to unleash vicious assaults —
– vicious assaults which have no teeth. They can’t withhold business licenses without violating the first amendment, and there’s no pending legislation on gay marriage either to sign or to veto. There’s almost been a truce in the culture war for four years as everyone’s been trying to get the economy back on track.
It appears the the administration has given up on that tack and figures they can win by throwing red meat to their base — red meat which has no effect save to rile up the rubes in the cheap seats, get them marching down to the polls and donating and volunteering. Certainly Obama’s donations recently haven’t been all they would hope for.
Since President Obama has lost his ability to charm, he now depends on demonizing Romney as much as he possibly can. Ironic that the President who ran on "Hope and Change" and on uniting different sections of the country is in fact running one of the most divisive campaigns I can remember. Maybe Johnson vs. Goldwater was this rough, but I’m hard pressed to think of any other democrat in living memory who waged social war with this level of vigor.
I always thought it a distraction and I have paid little attention to it. I expect there are many CEO’s of companies I buy from who hold views I detest. There are others who say things I agree with. I am told that Henry Ford was an unpleasant man with some very regrettable views, but his cars were pretty good stuff.
‘RAND looked at 588 air-to-air shoot-downs since the 1950s and counted just 24 that occurred with the attacker firing from beyond visual range. Historically, American long-range air-to-air missiles have been 90-percent less effective than predicted, RAND asserted.’
We did operations studies like that when I was in the business, and I am not entirely surprised. Of course when we were doing those studies in the 1960’s there were fewer cases of shoot downs after WW II, and most of our data came from WW II and Korea.
Subject: City shuts down teen’s hot dog stand
Here’s a story when a thirteen year old young man took initiative to help his disabled parents, and the government couldn’t hardly wait to shut him down.
But…a business stepped and not only made it right, but better.
There’s a lesson for the big government advocates here somewhere….
Education Without Schools
I have had personal experience with early "distance learning" technology. When I was in high school in the 70′s, I took a calculus class offered to seniors who had taken all other math classes offered in the school. The school did not have a teacher qualified to teach calculus, however, and the course was provided on open real video tape. The teacher assigned as our "advisor" was not interested in answering questions or clarifying points in the presentation and neither were the tapes — no matter how many times we rewound and re-played the tapes, they said the same thing in the same way! (Amazing, isn’t it?). To make a long story short, I was determined to learn calculus, so I started collecting calculus text books, looking for different explanations of the then obscure points in the video lectures. Eventually I had twelve books. The trick worked; I learned calculus and I explained to the rest of the class what I learned as I learned it.
Distance learning is not the same today as it once was. I have enrolled my son (whom you met at Liberty Con) in a home school curriculum for high school as I have lost all faith in the public school system. He will receive live lectures on his computer with question/answer sessions as well as the ability to review the lectures at will as recordings with supplemental material linked in. He will also have the benefit of live instruction from my wife and myself, both of college level education — she in the arts and myself in engineering and the sciences. I know he will receive four times the education that the public high school could provide and likely in half the time.
Kevin L. Keegan
Well of course it is not the same, just as I am not operating with a Z-80 and a screen that gives 24 lines of text and text only.
Kahn Academy has shown that introductory calculus can be taught by a computer lecture. I doubt yours was better than his.
And yes not everyone will get it from Kahn’s lecture just as not everyone got it from Calculus Made Easy; but should the entire middle class be saddled with lifelong debt because some don’t learn from on screen lectures?
The system has become monstrous, and I do not think it can be fixed. More, there will be more movements to force people to send their children to credentialed schools. The unions will never give up this income stream. The harm to the next generation is monstrous, but My God How The Money Rolls in.
Coursera seems to be trying to address increasing interaction during online learning. I learned about them reading an article in the paper about your alma mater joining there program.
I am sure they or someone like them are working on the accreditation anlge.
PETA takes ‘bets’ on when senator will die after objection to USDA vegetarian push
Both this and the Chick-Fil-A issue show just how much the liberals venom and hate they can generate against anyone they disagree with, even over a small matter. The odd thing is that they don’t even notice the hypocrisy of it, despite all their claims of being intellectuals.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has started taking "bets" on its website over when Sen. Charles Grassley will die, after the Iowa Republican scolded the Department of Agriculture for advocating a vegetarian diet.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/27/peta-takes-bets-on-when-senator-will-die-after-objection-to-usda-vegetarian/?test=latestnews#ixzz21qOXTAu4 <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/27/peta-takes-bets-on-when-senator-will-die-after-objection-to-usda-vegetarian/?test=latestnews#ixzz21qOXTAu4>
>>We need a way to provide credentials to the qualified and otherwise get out of the way.<<
The primary reason a Credential is even wanted is to satisfy archaic state occupational licensing laws and regulations. This is where the Government-Education Complex enforces its monopoly. Part of the licensing requirement is invariably displaying a Credential from an "accredited" learning institution. The theory is that possession of this Credential is evidence of minimal competency in the referenced subject matter for engineers, lawyers and barbers. Sometimes this theory intersects reality.
This political field of licensing is where change needs to be focused. If Mike Johns and others feel the need for a high cost traditional college education they should certainly be able to get (and pay) for it. But that does not justify inflicting the extremely high costs of the educational cartel on others who do not need their services, or for depriving yet others of opportunity simply because they don’t have a certain quantity of Federal Reserve currency to hand over to accredited rent-seekers.
The short solution is provide fee-based subject matter testing and open these tests to all comers. The current College Board CLEP test structure shows what reasonable test fees are.
Professional bodies are playing an obstructive role. ABET for instance http://www.abet.org/ is the cartel enforcer for "applied science, computing, engineering, and technology programs". Its principle power derives from the fact that state occupational licensing boards typically require an ABET accredited degree or evaluated equivalent to even apply for engineering and other technology occupation licensing.
The various engineering specialties are excellent candidates for standardized bar exam style processes. My own expectation is this would turn into a Warren Buffet type low tide swimming event whereby we discover who is skinny dipping. In other words, numerous expensive "accredited" schools would be discovered to be accrediting graduates with deficient knowledge in their nominal degree fields.
And speaking of bar exams, the bar exams and law licenses should also be RE-opened to anyone willing to pay the licensing fees and able to pass the tests. Is there any reason Law shouldn’t revive a master-apprentice style of training? That is, any reason other than the desire of the Harvard and Yale law school faculties to collect high salaries and wield unchecked ideological power? I have heard that even Yale Law School grads like Hillary Rodham Clinton have needed two or three swings to pass their bar exams.
"In March 1836 Lincoln took the first step to becoming a practicing attorney when he applied to the clerk of the Sangamon County Court to have himself registered as a man of good and moral character. After passing an oral examination by a panel of practicing attorneys Lincoln received his law license on September 9, 1836 and in April 1837 he was enrolled to practice before the Supreme Court of Illinois."
Missing from this account is any mention that Lincoln ever attended an "accredited law school", let alone received a J.D. or Ll.d.
One reason for credentials is to avoid lawsuits under affirmative action and Americans with Disabilities Act and other egalitarian regulations and laws. Insisting on credentials gets the personnel manager off the hook for a number of cases. Of course it also make their job much harder.
Repeal a lot of the ‘discrimination’ regulations and you will see in general more people hired on the basis of ability and fewer on credentials. Or that’s my opinion.
Vitamins and other stuff
For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents on the vitamin issue. Note that much of this depends on conversations (from the mid-1990s) with the late Mike Lalor, and on some conversations with my current physician.
Pursuant to bone spurs, I have taken 400 – 800 IU of ergocalciferol (Vitamin D-2, described as the water soluble vitamin of the D-complex) as protection against bone spurs. Anecdotally I can report that pain medically diagnosed as a bone spur (which would require surgical intervention in the form of "scraping the bone") goes away when I take at least 400 IU daily and returns if I miss doses for something less than a week. However, this dosage has NOT been adequate in maintaining my serum level of Vitamin D as measured by blood testing, and the doctor has placed me on additional supplements of Vitamin D-3.
On Lalor’s advice I started the following regimen for varicose veins, which I have been plagued with for most of my adult life:
Vitamin C, 1000 – 2000 mg daily, primarily as an anti-coagulant Vitamin E, 400 – 800 IU daily in the form of "natural mixed tocopherol" (NOT the alpha-tocopherol of most Vitamin E supplements) as an anti-oxidant and natural lubricant of the cardiovascular system.
Niacin , 100 – 200 mg daily, as a vasodilator. For this to work, one cannot use the no-flush variety, but one adapts.
The supplements biorutin (500 – 1000 mg daily) and butcher’s broom (1-2 standard tablets) today, which together supposedly provide fuel to stimulate rebuilding the cardiovascular system.
I can report that my veins got worse when I ignored this regimen for a year or so, and that after restarting it at the higher dose, not only do I have fewer instances of leg pain, but the doctor has observed some signs of minor improvement in vein surface visibility (in connection with use of prescription Joust support hose, which costs a lot more than the vitamins do). Vein pain seems to recur consistently if I miss two-three doses in a five-day period.
I also take occasional doses of L-carnitine, which enhances fat metabolism (including, supposedly, the disintegration of plaque deposits in the circulatory system — Lalor reported that megadoses can actually cause the breakup of such deposits in life-threatening form. Whether due to this and the varicose vein regimen or not, I can report that as of my last stress test and test for blockages about four years ago, I had no evidence of same despite my… er, overweight condition (which you noted at Libertycon). I am presently taking one 250-mg tablet per week.
Finally, I take a "balanced B-100" (or two balanced b-50) tablets per day for general energy.
(I’ll also note, however, that I’m on two blood pressure medications and two oral diabetic medications, among other prescriptions for other problems.)
That said, I approach other supplements very carefully after attempting glucosamine- chondroitin in the mid 1990′s. The recommended regimen was five tablets per day; I started at 1 tablet per day and after three days was in severe pain. I chose to drop it completely rather than restarting at the higher dose for obvious reasons.
As always, your mileage may vary. I can only report my anecdotal experience.
I do not currently take glucosamine-condroitin, but I have done so; I didn’t notice much effect one way or another. I do take a B-100 tablet, generally daily, along with my other witch’s brew.
From time to time you mention actions by the federal government that make it especially difficult for companies like Gibson Guitar to stay in business, and draconian punishments for pet rabbit breeders who sell 600 rabbits instead of the 500 that they are allowed. I understand that the penalty for this particular infraction is a fine of $100,000 rising to $2,000,000 if the fine is not paid promptly. All without the scrutiny of the courts. In the larger scheme of things this is not important. Perfectly good guitars can be imported from China, and no one will really suffer if they are unable to to obtain a pet rabbit. More serious, if true, is the jail sentence of eight years imposed for the crime of importing lobster tails from Honduras in plastic boxes as opposed to cardboard boxes as mandated by the Honduras Government. Again, this is horrific for the imprisoned importer, but not significant in the greater scheme of things.
What is nationally vital is the deterrent effect that these examples have on would be entrepreneurs. There are many reasons for someone who thinks he sees a gap in the market that he can fill to not do so. For the government to add further reasons is not rational, indeed it is clinically insane. The USA has an annual budget deficit of about $15 trillion and unfunded liabilities, eg. pension liabilities, currently estimated at $119 trillion. If these prodigious debts are ever to be repaid, innovators are needed as never before.
Your correspondent’s father rather unwisely toured France and Germany in 1939 in a Fiat 500* car, quite large enough for himself and his pregnant wife. He ended up driving flat out for Calais accompanied by three Brits that he met on the way. For his own part your correspondent would love to visit the USA and spend two or three months just driving about. Starting in New York and ending in Los Angeles before flying the Pacific to see Australasia. The current atmosphere of fascism in the USA has altered his plans. The USA has convinced him that it is a place avoided by the prudent. This is sad to the point of disgust. How did the World’s exemplar of freedom fall, so far, so quickly?
* The Fiat 500 was large enough for two adults. It also had reasonable space in the back for two legless dwarves who were inured to suffering. How papa fitted three extra adults in the car is a mystery. Possibly the prospect of being a guest of Herr Hitler helped.
We are from the government and we are here to help you.
“It’s practically possible for a medium-technical savvy person to mount an attack and impersonate a plane that’s not there.”
Neanderthal-type species once roamed Africa, DNA shows,
Neanderthal-type species once roamed Africa and interbred with Africans 20-50K ya, after a number of our ancestors had already left and begun to colonize Asia and Europe:
“How do you risch?”
This is a suprise; audits of the Federal Reserve are supposed to occur annually, but this has not happened since Eisenhower was president. Every year, Ron Paul introduces certain bills with the purposes of doing what the Consitution and U.S. laws already require and nobody ever votes for these bills. Auditing the Federal Reserve is one of those bills. This year, the audit passed!
In a move that serves as a capstone to Rep. Ron Paul’s colorful career, the House on Wednesday voted to have Congress‘ chief investigators conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve’s shrouded decision-making process.
The overwhelming 327-98 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, at one time expressed support for an audit — though he reportedly has changed his mind.
What is not surprising is the lack of Senate support for this audit. After all, it’s easier to buy a majority among 100 politicians than it is to buy a majority among 435 politicians.
More interesting; not suprisng if you keep up on these matters:
Fed officials have long fought the audit bill, arguing it would compromise their independence. Chairman Ben Bernanke told House lawmakers last week it would open the door to a "nightmare scenario" of political meddling in monetary policy decisions.
Why is that Mister Chairman? What are you doing at the Federal Reserve that you don’t want the people to see? And, a nightmare for whom, exactly? Would it be a nightmare for you, past chairmen, past treasurers — to name a few?
Joshua Jordan, KSC
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.