Category Archives: Science And Society

A Sea Change In Dietary Advice

Low-carb should be the first approach in treating diabetes and obesity.

[Update a few minutes later]

Meanwhile, “Big Pasta” Barilla has been meddling in nutrition science.

[Sunday-morning update]

No, despite the headline, there is zero scientific evidence that listing calories on menus is helping people lose weight, and this article provides none. This “study” is nonsense. First, it’s self reporting. Second, it’s premised on the assumption, for which there is zero evidence, that counting calories is helpful, when calorie counting is a scientifically bogus concept, that assumes all calories are equal in their effects on metabolism. The kind of calories matter, and the way they measure calories, by literally burning food, is not how your body metabolizes calories, so it doesn’t even make sense thermodynamically.

Branding In Space

There seems to be a lot of concern in the science journalism community about Bridenstine’s potential proposal to allow sponsorship of missions:

Bridenstine’s proposal would set a dangerous precedent for NASA’s future. By suggesting that commercial partnerships could help fund NASA’s missions, it implies that the agency is not worth funding through the usual means—annual budgets carefully negotiated and ironed out by lawmakers. And their constituents believe that the space program is important; according to a study from the Pew Research Center in June, 72 percent of Americans say it’s essential for the United States to continue to be a world leader in space exploration. If Nike is ready and willing to drop millions of dollars to sponsor the next mission to Mars, why should lawmakers bother spending any taxpayer money on it? The world’s premier space agency shouldn’t have to resort to brand sponsorships in the absence of political will. And even if brands could float the first few years of a mission, they might not have the stomach for the years, or even decades it sometimes takes for NASA’s most ambitious missions to come to fruition. [Emphasis added]

There is a false assumption here that a) the purpose of NASA spending is “space exploration,” and that the negotiations and “ironing out” have much to do with “space exploration” as opposed to zip-code engineering. The sooner that we recognize that there is in fact an absence of political will, and accept that space exploration should be privatized, the way it was until the end of WW II, the sooner we’ll start to make more progress.

[Update a few minutes later]
More from Ken Chang.

Nerve Stimulation

…may help with female sexual dysfunction.

Isn’t sex itself nerve stimulation?

[Friday-evening update]

This seems sort of related: Custom sex dolls.

This seems to me like the ultimate expression of free-market capitalism. I found the kicker interesting:

“You have to find beauty in imperfection,” Krivicke says as he takes the mannequin head back from me.

I’ve noticed over the years that, when I get to know someone, and I come to like them, they grow increasingly interesting and physically attractive, even if I didn’t find them so initially.


…are ruining engineering school.

No surprise, they ruin everything they come near. They have the reverse Midas’ touch.

[Late-afternoon update]

There may be a scientific reason that SJWs are so whiny.

[Update a while later]

The fences are closing in:

Born as free Americans, you are being treated as sheep.

Raised as proud Americans, you are learning the lessons of shame.

Schooled as thinking Americans, now you’re told to abandon open debate, objective truth, even the scientific method and mathematics. They are somehow “racist.” They’re the products of “privilege.”

What do the brilliant minds behind Tim Kaine’s Democrat Party want to replace them with? A set of stern, angry dogmas that have taken over our colleges and our corporate human resource departments. And dogmas like “intersectionalism,” which demonize whole groups of people such as Christians and conservatives. They want to say that their voices shouldn’t be heard and they shouldn’t be protected from hate and discrimination. You should be able to spew hate about them for years, as tech reporter Sarah Jeong did and then still get hired for the editorial page of the New York Times. Andrew Sullivan, a liberal gay writer, warned us in New York magazine that the Democrats have been hijacked by a new, puritanical cult, and it’s already running witch hunts. So Sarah Jeong called him a racist and tried to get him fired. If that can happen to famous, liberal, gay writers, what do you think they’re planning for your pastor? For conservatives who teach school? For you and your children?

The witch hunters can’t afford to let you question them because their excuses will fall apart. So they impose them instead by legal action, by harassment, by collusion and blacklisting. Unable to defend their new creed with reason, these ideologues instead forbid our questions. They isolate, target, and try to destroy dissenters. They spray them with social and professional plutonium as “an example to the others.” That tactic is straight from the playbook of totalitarian movements. We have seen all this before.

Yes. And the irony, of course, is that they call us fascists.

[Monday-morning update]

The story about SJWs ruining engineering is no joke.

[Bumped from a week ago]

Property Rights On Mars

I don’t know if it will be webcast, but I’m going to be giving a talk tomorrow morning in Pasadena, as part of the final plenary of the Mars Society meeting.

[Update Sunday afternoon]

I think the talk went OK. The crowd was smaller than I expected; I think that the Mars conference in DC has pulled a lot of the audience that Bob used to get for his Mars Society meetings. I called people in the audience “mutant weirdos,” and made a lawyer joke.