Category Archives: Science And Society

Nice People

make the best Nazis.

Whenever I point out that Islam is a problematic ideology/religion, people say, “You bigot! I know many Muslims, and they’re very nice people!” Well, I also know many nice Muslims, and in fact most of them don’t necessarily agree with Al Qaeda or IS, but Al Qaeda and IS would (rightfully, in my opinion, though I’m no more of a Muslim scholar than Barack Obama) consider them apostates. The point is that most people are “nice” by nature, but that doesn’t prevent them from adhering to beliefs that aren’t very nice at all. I suspect that if you’d lived in Germany during the war, you’d have thought most Germans “nice,” except for that support-of-Hitler thing. Just don’t let them know you’re a Jew.

Another Sat Fat Study

No, you don’t increase your saturated fat by eating saturated fat. It’s the carbs, stupid:

The fatty acid called palmitoleic acid, which is associated with “unhealthy metabolism of carbohydrates that can promote disease,” went down with low-carb diets and gradually increased as carbs were re-introduced, the study said.

An increase in this fatty acid indicates that a growing proportion of carbohydrates is being converted into fat instead of being burned by the body, the researchers said.

“When you consume a very low-carb diet your body preferentially burns saturated fat,” Volek said.

“We had people eat two times more saturated fat than they had been eating before entering the study, yet when we measured saturated fat in their blood, it went down in the majority of people,” he said.

The finding “challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn’t correlate with disease,” Volek added.

You don’t say.

Also, how the mindless theory of calorie counting has harmed public health.

[Update a while later]

Nine lies about fat that have destroyed the world’s health.

ClimateGate, Five Years Later

Thoughts from Judith Curry on the legacy:

By the time 2011 rolled around, my ostracization by the climate establishment was pretty complete, so I redefined (broadened) my academic peer group to include physicists, social scientists and philosophers (not to mention the extended peer community developed on my blog). I found this much more stimulating and interesting than circled wagons of the climate community.

To assess the personal impact of Climategate, I’m trying to figure out exactly where my head was at prior to Climategate in 2009. Wherever; I’m not sure it matters anymore. In 2014, I no longer feel the major ostracism by my peers in the climate establishment; after all, many of the issues I’ve been raising that seemed so controversial have no[w] become mainstream. And the hiatus has helped open some minds.

The net effect of all this is that my ‘academic career advancement’ in terms of professional recognition, climbing the administrative ladder, etc. has been pretty much halted. I’ve exchanged academic advancement that now seems to be of dubious advantage to me for a much more interesting and influential existence that that feels right in terms of my personal and scientific integrity.

Bottom line: Climategate was career changing for me; I’ll let history decide if this was for better or worse (if history even cares).

I think history will judge her well.

Orthorexia

When “healthy” eating becomes unhealthy.

There may be reasons to be a vegan, but health is not among them.

[Update late morning]

Both Anne Hathaway and Bill Clinton have given up on their vegan diets:

Hathaway recently confessed that eating endless meals of tofu and garbanzo beans seemed to be sapping her energy. She told the Insider that when she was filming Interstellar, the action-packed scenes overwhelmed her.

Seeking a solution, Hathaway decided to try feasting on fish and shifting to a low-carb diet. The decision to push away those plant-based platters and experiment with an animal protein-powered plan came in the middle of filming a water scene, which required that she suit up in a heavy garment.

“I fell off so hard…. So you imagine what that’s like — what it’s like running through water and then you wear a 40-pound suit on top of it, so for me it was intense. I was facing my life, I don’t know how many days in a row of, like, garbanzo beans on a plate.”

And with an apology to PETA, Hathaway says that she doesn’t plan to return to her vegan lifestyle. She even dug into a plate of eggs and sausage during a recent Harper’s Bazaar interview. Anne noted that the difference between eating a vegan diet and consuming animal protein was notable overnight.

“I just didn’t feel good or healthy,” Hathaway recalled of her vegan days.

You don’t say.

Interstellar

Just got back from a week in Missouri visiting family, and still haven’t seen the movie. But I see that (miracle of miracles) it’s still playing in IMAX at one theater in LA, just a few minutes away, so going to finally check it out at a matinee today.

[Monday update]

A lot to comment on, but many reviewers have already digested it pretty thoroughly. One comment I haven’t seen is the problem of the psychodynamics of such a long mission with several men and one woman (a problem shared by the original Planet of the Apes movie, though she died en route).

The Oral Arguments In The Mann Suit

On this day of Thanksgiving I am thankful for my excellent legal counsel:

The “question for the court,” Judge Ruiz summed up toward the end of arguments, is: “Could a jury look at this and determine that this is verifiable fraud?” Hopefully, the court will answer no, holding instead that such subjective and political questions are best arbitrated by the public and not by the legal system. If it does, Mann’s options will narrow dramatically. In the case of a dismissal, Mann would still technically be able to apply for en banc review, or even to petition the Supreme Court directly. The chances of either court’s electing to take up an appeal from him, however, seem slim. And rightly so. Mann is indulging here in a dangerous game — in a petty and quixotic attempt to recruit the nation’s courts to his side and to forestall any criticism of himself and his work. If the First Amendment is to be worth the paper it is written on, those courts should refuse to be co-opted. Rather, they should dismiss the case as soon as is possible, reminding us as they do that, in America, robust public debate is not actionable, but worthy of celebration instead.

Yes.

And a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.

Congratulations To ESA

My twitter feed’s been exploding with tweets about the comet landing. Unfortunately, the harpoons apparently didn’t automatically deploy, so they don’t yet have a sure grab to the surface, which could make sampling operations difficult. The surface seems to be softer than expected. But they’re still working the problem.

This is good news for asteroid miners, though.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, hearing that they managed to anchor with the ice screws, so maybe harpoons are redundant now.

Interstellar

Peter Suderman reviews his review.

[Update a while later]

And here‘s John Nolte’s review.

[Sunday-morning update]

Five reasons why Interstellar is a conservative film.

I think that it helps to view it as allegorical, and not try to take the science too seriously.

[Bumped]

Another Green “Stimulus” Fail

Google and others want a taxpayer bail out for their desert bird roaster.

That looks like a nice bill for the new Congress to make Obama have to sign.

More at (appropriately) Powerline:

The sheer temerity of the request is almost outweighed by the unintended humor of their explanation for the failure of their project: the Sun isn’t shining as much as they thought it would. But I think they’re barking up the wrong tree: rather than ask for your money so they don’t have to use their money, they should ask the guy who said he would make the oceans recede, to order the Sun to stop slacking — rudely continuing to shine as it has for five billion years — and brighten up for Google, NRG, and Obama’s legacy.

What fools these mortals who support this insanity be.