Thursday, October 27, 2016

No Causal Connection Between Sugar-Sodas, Fast Food, Candy, and Obesity

For almost everyone, there is no relationship between access to fast food and candy, and obesity.

Fast food, soft drink and candy intake is unrelated to body mass index for 95% of American adults

David Just & Brian Wansink
Obesity Science & Practice,
December 2015, Pages 126–130

Methods: Using 2007–2008 Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the consumption incidence of targeted foods on two non-continuous days was examined across discrete ranges of BMI. Data were analysed in 2011. Results: After excluding the clinically underweight and morbidly obese, consumption incidence of fast food, soft drinks or candy was not positively correlated with measures of BMI. This was true for sweet snacks (r = 0.005, p  l.t.e. 0.001) and salty snacks (r = 0.001, p = 0.040). No significant variation was found between BMI subcategories in weekly consumption frequency of fast food meals.

Conclusions: For 95% of this study's sample, the association between the intake frequency of fast food, soft drinks and candy and BMI was negative. This result suggests that a strategy that focuses solely on these problem foods may be ineffective in reducing weight. Reducing the total calories of food eaten at home and the frequency of snacking may be more successful dieting advice for the majority of individuals.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Capitalism and Objectivification

Wow!  Even by the amazing low standards of Sociology, this is bad.  

Socialism and communism literally objectify the individual, who exists only as a means of advancing the interests of the state.  There is no individual, and no valid reason for people to have rights, separate from their membership in and contributions to the state.  Capitalism, according to Marx, objectifies LABOR, but in a voluntary exchange the only way to get labor is to pay the person.  The labor, and in fact the bodies, of citizens are entirely owned by the state under collectivism.

So, as usual, the goofballs of the left have it backwards:  Capitalism celebrates the individual, and collectivism destroys the individual.

The love of money results in objectification
Xijing Wang & Eva Krumhuber
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract: Objectification, which refers to the treatment of others as objectlike things, has long been observed in capitalism. While the negative impact of money on interpersonal harmony has been well documented, the social cognitive processes that underlie them are relatively unknown. Across four studies, we explored whether the love of money leads to objectification, while controlling for social power and status. In Study 1, the love and importance attached to money positively predicted the tendency to construe social relationships based on instrumentality. In Study 2, the likelihood to favour a target of instrumental use was increased by momentarily activating an affective state of being rich. Temporarily heightening the motivation for money further resulted in deprivation of mental capacities of irrelevant others, including humans (Study 3) and animals (Study 4). This lack of perceived mental states partially mediated the effects of money on subsequent immoral behaviour (Study 4). The findings are the first to reveal the role of objectification as a potential social cognitive mechanism for explaining why money often harms interpersonal harmony.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Help us Divided Government; You're our only hope!

People, one thing I know for sure is that I really really don't want either of the two leading fools running for president to have any chance to enact their policy agenda.

It's currently popular to argue that voters are ignorant and biased, but hell, so are the candidates!

So as my title indicates, I'm making a plea for our good friend Divided Government to save us yet again.

If you are so messed up that you are gonna vote for HRC, then please please please vote Republican in your congressional race(s) (House and maybe Senate).

If you are so moronic that you are gonna vote for Trump, then it's kind of your moral duty to vote Democrat in the congressional races.

My own preference would be for HRC to be prez but the republicans continue to hold both legislative branches. Her brand of lawlessness I think is more amenable to congressional checks than the Trumpster's.

If you vote for Gary Johnson (and if I vote, that's who I'll vote for), please please please vote for the party that you think is going to lose the presidency when you vote for congress!

So that's it. Pretty simple. You don't need a lot of information. If you somehow conquer your gag reflex and make it to the polls, split your ballot.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Can I get an APAP?

People, I am 5'8" and 140 lbs. But yet I have sleep apnea. Robin begged/dragged me to going to a doc and getting an APAP machine (automatic positive airway pressure). I was very skeptical.

But man! It really works. I am sleeping deeper, and for longer continuous periods of time. I am waking up more refreshed. I rarely need a nap during the day anymore.

Before I would wake up like 5 or 6 times during the night, either choking from the apnea or from Robin waking me to say my snoring was driving her nuts. Even when I was sleeping, if Robin got up to use the bathroom, I'd usually wake up because I wasn't sleeping deeply.

Now I'm routinely sleeping 6 or 7 straight hours without waking up.


So big ups to Mrs. Angus for getting me to try this solution.

ps. I'm pretty sure Mungo uses a CPAP machine. Maybe he will share his testimony.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Spanish Pipedream

People, this is the most DC thing ever. From the Wall St. Journal comes the heart-rending story of the Maryland swim club that wouldn't let Katie Ledecky join!

The Little Falls Swim club membership is capped at 377 families. Joining via waiting list can take 7 years! Points toward membership are awarded by how close you live to the pool (in a 10 zone system). If you live more that 4000 feet (yes you read that right FEET) from the pool, they won't even accept your application!

Government created artificial scarcity combined with a price ceiling provoking a frenzied but meaningless status competition that seemingly consumes peoples' lives?

Oh, yes please!

Zoning makes building another damn pool nearby unlikely. Just being Maryland makes letting prices clear the market impossible.

The Ledecky family long ago joined a different pool and swim team (the impeccably named Palisades Porpoises) and the rest is history.

I guess you could say they all found Jesus on their own.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dumping on (anti-)Dumping

US anti-dumping laws transfer income from American consumers to American producers. Of course it's rarely stated that way. Generally it's alleged to protect American jobs.  At least one of our current presidential candidates is pushing tariffs as job-savers.

The WSJ gives a great example, the case of the US wooden furniture manufacturers. They sued China for dumping in 2002 and in 2004 they won, receiving both hundreds of millions of dollars in payments from China (thanks Byrd Amendment!!) and tariff relief.

Wow, isn't that great for American workers?


Stanley Furniture Co., in High Point, N.C., received the biggest payout, $83.5 million, and says it used the money to invest heavily in a new line of domestically produced children’ furniture. But made-in-America wasn’t enough of a draw, said Stanley’s chief executive, Glenn Prillaman, who shut down the line in 2014. In 2015, Stanley’s U.S. employment fell to 71, down from 2,600 in 2005.

“The money allowed us to fight that fight on the scale that we fought for as long as we did,” he said. But “the consumer wasn’t willing to look past short-term gains of getting something for less” and continued to prefer imports.

In other words even with the tariff protection and $83.5 million of cash, the company continued to be so inefficient that they more or less went under.

Then there's the case of the company who spearheaded the suit:

As for Mr. Bassett, he says the $54.4 million in Byrd amendment money his Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. received financed factory modernization. Now, the outlook for the Galax, Va., firm “has never been brighter in 15 years,” said Mr. Bassett, the firm’s chairman. In part that’s because Vaughan-Bassett is making solid wood furniture, which is becoming increasingly trendy.

Even so, he said, Vaughan-Bassett’s employment of 560 is down by about half from 1,200 in 2005 when the company started receiving Byrd amendment money. Employment is even down from 700 workers in 2009, during the depth of the housing collapse. The new computerized machinery Vaughn-Bassett bought requires fewer workers, he said.

In other words, he took his dumping money and automated production while dumping his workers!

Now Bassett was smart and Stanley was dumb, so kudos to Bassett for making a smart business move.  But should US consumers have to pay for Stanley to automate their production?

So if price protection and millions of dollars won't protect American jobs either because of a poorly run company or a decision to automate, what to do?

My own view is to acknowledge that the unintended consequences of anti-dumping make it impractical as a job protection device.

If the Chinese government wants to subsidize Americans' purchases of furniture, so be it.

 Let's use something like a Universal Basic Income to deal with job displacement. Let's subsidize worker mobility so that furniture workers out of a job can move to a more dynamic sector of the economy possibly in another area of the country. Let's stop subsidizing home ownership, which when prices fall (which they will do again people!), people aren't "stuck" in a jobless geographic area.

But handing US taxpayer money to manufacturers who are going to squander it or do things the government doesn't want is a bad option. Maybe the government should also mandate what the companies getting relief must do with the money? Yes, that's the ticket. What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

30th Anniversary....

On the morning of July 5 (our 30th wedding anniversary, with thanks to John Cappleman, Kevin Grier, Randy Hutter, Brian Roberts, and Andrew Rosen for attending way back when...), I got up early to go to the grocery store.  Not many people there at 7:00 am.

I got to the checkout aisle, and the young lady (25 years old, not at all unattractive) gave me a big smile.  I'm thinking, "Oh, yeah, I've still got it."

Then she started actively laughing.  I looked down at the cart, and saw these three things:

That's right:  Roses, a sparkly anniversary card, and men's hair coloring. 

She apologized for laughing, but kept bursting into giggles as she tried to get the stuff charged.  She was still laughing, and telling the other store workers, about my cart contents, as I slunk off to my car.  I do NOT "still got it."  Fortunately, I'm married, so I don't really need it.

Happy Anniversary, Donna Gingerella!  I love you!

"Blue Devils": Ever Wondered?

You may have wondered how Duke chose the "Blue Devils" as their mascot.  (You also may not have wondered, I realize...)

If you DID wonder...wonder no more.  A five minute documentary, pretty well done.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Independence Day Rodent Action

Have you ever wondered how an American would act, if he were a small rodent? I think I have the answer.

We noticed some mouse droppings, and our dog-sitter claimed to hear "scritching" sounds (her word, not mine). So I put out some traps, baited with chocolate peanut butter.  Figured that would be irresistible.

Next day...found this (click for an even more Independent image):

Two things are noteworthy.

  • First, the trigger is licked completely clean.  This was extremely dense, sticky chocolate peanut butter.  Any jiggling and WHAP.  But no.  Licked it clean. Trap is still set, unsprung.  Balls.
  • Second, and even more American:  note the two small objects in the left foreground.  Yes, those are what you think they are.  The mouse, after eating all the bait, took a dump on the trap.

And that, dear ones, is the sort of spirit that makes America great.  A happy Independence Day to you!