David Thompson
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October 22, 2014

Comments

Joan

She was lubricated with dish soap prior to being hoisted out…

No tar and feathers?

David

No tar and feathers?

Well, quite a lot of soot.

Jonathan

"Only one third of sperm were active for vegetarians and vegans compared with nearly 60 per cent for meat eaters."

As Richard Feynman said:" You can fool people but you can't fool Nature."

David

As Richard Feynman said: “You can fool people but you can’t fool Nature.”

To be fair, the same article acknowledges some circumstantial evidence that vegetarianism may help prolong life. Though as the study involves vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventists, there may be other, possibly more important, variables.

Jonathan

".... there may be other, possibly more important, variables."

Praise the Lord - and pass the Sprouts!

Sam

Vegetarians and vegans had significantly lower sperm counts compared with meat eaters

There's a joke in there somewhere about not touching eggs.

DH

Ambridge’s teen eco-warrior Pip excitedly announce her A-level results – “a ‘B’ and two ‘C’s.” She was therefore, naturally, going to university.

All through my school years, university was spoken of as the reserve of the very highest achievers. Teachers went above and beyond to coach the best and brightest through their A-levels. Former pupils were wheeled in to speak of the wonders that awaited those of us who could ascend to higher education.

So imagine my dismay when I arrived at the end of the 1990s to find the all-must-have-prizes cultural revolution was in full swing. The whole place was reduced to being a drunken creche for idle teenagers who got in through clearing with their two Ds and and E and subsequently the whole place was dumbed down to their level.

On a less morose note - Behold the genderless, vegan gingerbread man.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-29706778

R. Sherman

Grade Inflation is accelerating also because, at least in the U.S., colleges and universities are fighting for an ever decreasing number of students. Higher education has now become primarily a business catering to customers, and to keep customers happy, the customers must be told they are very smart indeed. And so, we've become Lake Wobegon, where all the students are above average.

WTP

Not sure if this is on topic or not, but I'm beginning to wonder about this as I read through comments and such of many of these stories. It seems to me that the gap between openly stated leftist view points, many of them increasingly mainstream, and the strawman arguments of right wing groups is rapidly closing.

Bob-B

I was accepted at University in 1970 with an A and two Ds. Admittedly I was 21 at the time and had learned quite a bit between 18 and 21, but I'm sure I wasn't the only one to get in with something less than two As and a B.

Ten
To be fair, the same article acknowledges some circumstantial evidence that vegetarianism may help prolong life.

Genuine classical libertarian types will note that among the issues the political right remains in denial over are the nature of money - it's not really the economy, stupid - the wanton corporatization of power and interest, and the right's primitive instinct to conflate animal agricultural with political conservativism.

In reality there is copious objective evidence that diets heavy in animal product are, on top of the unnecessary cruelty, unhealthy and wasteful.

Yet, there's that proud streak of self-styled, rugged individualism the right idealizes that feels that to be free is to hunt and vice versa. Somehow this classist superiority hasn't been outgrown in an era of $35,000 Ford trucks and $150 outdoor utensil sets where hunting is unnecessary and quite unable to influence lost liberties.

I remember when responsible conservationism and the grace to live humbly and compassionately within your means would have avoided such crass egoism and ruralist commercialism, but then like those lost freedoms, such grace never really stood much of a chance.

Toss a few more $30 racks on the gas grille. That'll learn the urbanites.

ac1

Ten,
Are you on drugs?

David

If anyone would like to purchase drugs, just ask Big Mary at the bar.

No credit.

Lancastrian Oik

I think I get it- hunting was OK when the outdoor utensil sets retailed for less than 150 bucks?

Ten

To be fair, David, the proggs, urbanites, academics, counter culture fruits, and the elitists have what's coming to them - as well as what will likely never come to them, as hell-bent as they are to inflict it on us normals first - but the right's insatiable compulsion to remain codependent with them in their false premises, paradigms, and platforms is remarkable.

All much of the right has remaining, after a hundred year's wrangling with the left and losing every skirmish, battle, and war, is that false bravado of the merest vestige of, at least over here in the States, rock-ribbed individuality and independence. The bumper-stickered pickup. The Texas mythos and the BBQ joint. The bass boat and the weekend jaunts first to Cabelas and then Costco. For the Republicanism.

None of that aptly engages, in this particular comparatively minor tributary of thought, the nature of animal agriculture, the selective misuse of research data on diet and health, and the corporate contamination not just of central power, but of markets and with them beliefs about commerce, which brings us back to agriculture.

I get that a thumb in the eye of Michelle's school lunch program is all the rightly Republican rage; carrots and radishes are right out. But presumptions that slashing millions of heifer throats - while they're hung from hooks in a meat industry that's environmentally nonviable and runs at about 4% caloric efficiency - in order to provision enormous drive-up brands because it's akin to conservative godliness is enough to make one consider half a nod when the next leftist proggtard cartoons the right as unthinking fly-over partisans.

There's neither cause or reason to run an animal agriculture industry. Faint isolated cases where bacon regrows your hair or cream cheese your erection have become, for this instant in time anyway, foolish rightwing diversions and as such they provision the left's contempt and rancor as much as they paper over the right's perpetual wandering in political wildernesses that left has generously prepared for it.

The plant diet is not a quirk of moonbattery, per se. It's just said to be, which makes the issue below grade where other greater concerns exist.

Lancastrian Oik

Where can I buy this bacon and cream cheese of which you speak?

Account Deleted

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/22/women-better-at-housework-men-better-at-avoiding-it

Yeah, the Graun never ceases to amaze me just how low it can go. Nevertheless, the comments in the article make it worthwhile! I still have faith in humanity! Sadly, I don't have as much faith in myself as I keep promising myself to never read anything there and yet, for some strange reason, I keep going back....and I absolutely hate that! Maybe it's my inner sadomasochist?

Steve 2: Steveageddon

"Vegetarians and vegans may be harming their chance of having children"

I thought of this cat:

http://static.funpic.hu/_files/pictures/original/44/34/43444.jpg

sk60

Faint isolated cases where bacon regrows your hair or cream cheese your erection

Wait, what? Why wasn't I told?

David

cream cheese your erection

But do it carefully, mind.

abacab

When I was a teenager taking A-levels, my class was told – ominously, several times - that the minimum grades for acceptance at university were two ‘A’s and a ‘B’. More recently, in 2011, while listening to Radio 4’s rural soap The Archers, I heard Ambridge’s teen eco-warrior Pip excitedly announce her A-level results – “a ‘B’ and two ‘C’s.” She was therefore, naturally, going to university.

Of all the statements that you, our Esteemed Host, have made over the years, this one dates you the most :p

David

Of all the statements that you, our Esteemed Host, have made over the years, this one dates you the most.

The A-levels or The Archers?

abacab

The A-levels or The Archers?

The combination is particularly effective :)

In entirely unrelated news: http://www.jeremy-duns.com/blog/2014/10/18/owen-jones-and-how-how-he-gets-away-with-it

David

The Archers is one of the very few things on Radio 4 that I can bear listening to. Best heard in the omnibus podcast version, for a fully immersive experience. Irony not included.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Ten - Vegetarianism is closely linked to psychosis.

Hitler.
Hilary Benn.
Hayley Mills.

All vegetarians. All evil. Coincidence?

Furthermore, vegetarianism is unnatural.

All the good animals eat meat:

* cats
* lions
* dogs
* bears
* sharks
* T-Rexes

While the bad animals are not meat eaters:

* wasps
* monkeys
* peacocks
* minnows

It's science.

Sam Duncan

If British public schools tell us anything, it's that the secret to high achievement is feeling bad about yourself, but not letting it show.

“When I was a teenager taking A-levels, my class was told – ominously, several times - that the minimum grades for acceptance at university were two ‘A’s and a ‘B’.”

I distinctly remember being told that if we didn't have at least three “A”s, at A-Level, we might as well forget Oxbridge because we were an independent school. A few Scottish Highers would be enough for state pupils, but we'd be held to higher standards. Then, fifteen years later, Gordon Broon comes along bellyaching about “élitism”. I hope I never meet him face-to-face, 'cos it'll be ugly.

Steve 2: Proof positive there, I think. Bloody peacocks.

Nikw211

I get that a thumb in the eye of Michelle's school lunch program is all the rightly Republican rage; carrots and radishes are right out. But presumptions that slashing millions of heifer throats - while they're hung from hooks in a meat industry that's environmentally nonviable

David, are you running an MA in Creative Writing on the side? I think one of your students might have dropped in on the wrong day.

David

I think one of your students might have dropped in on the wrong day.

Well, it was a bit like stumbling into a room where two people have been arguing for some time, quite heatedly, and one of them has left, and so the remaining person, who still has more to say, carries on the argument with you, even though you haven’t the faintest idea what it is you’re supposed to say, or have said, or be arguing about.

It felt a bit like this.

jimmy

And, in a political climate where reproductive rights are under constant attack and rape and domestic violence are still at epidemic levels, it can feel a bit trite to bring up the laundry.

Chores a bit trite? Write an article moaning about them anyway! (and get paid for it) The oppression never stops.

And about that epidemic of rape... should I wear a mask and gloves to work?. Can't be too careful these days.

The Phantom

"In reality there is copious objective evidence that diets heavy in animal product are, on top of the unnecessary cruelty, unhealthy and wasteful."

But but but, didn't the Eskimos use to have an all-meat, all-the-time diet? And weren't they Noble Keepers Of The Land, who were healthy and strong and stuff?

I just get so confused sometimes, trying to keep up with the ever shifting Narrative...

Hal

To be fair, David . . . other greater concerns exist.

. . . . This might be a bit premature, but has Minnow spawned a mirror universe twin?

Steve^2: While the bad animals are not meat eaters:

* wasps

Careful there.

David Gillies

I've seen samples of recent A-level papers (mainly physics and maths). It's pretty hard to see how you could get a B and two C's on them without having suffered some form of catastrophic head injury. Currently, the Cambridge STEP papers are much closer to what A-levels were like 25-30 years ago.

When I was applying to study physics, Cambridge wanted three A's, but Imperial (where I ended up) was less stringent, as they put much more emphasis on the interview. In terms of the entrants to the two courses and the academic standards required while studying them, I doubt there was a hair's breadth. A-levels were largely an irrelevance anyway after having performed their gatekeeper function of screening out the manifestly bone-headed. Some of us had done double maths and some had not. The lecturer in our first maths lecture said that was immaterial, as he was going to level the playing field and bring everyone up to double maths standard during the next two lectures, so pay attention. I imagine similarly rude awakenings are experienced by freshers in the first weeks of other courses - at least those that have managed to maintain some vestige of rigour.

Nikw211

It felt a bit like this.

He he he he ; - )

Christoph Dollis
"why American students, who in international comparisons have the highest self-esteem, lag so far behind those in many Asian countries in becoming top flight engineers and scientists"

Well see Charles Murray's The Bell Curve and other books that cover similar topics.

Africans tend to have higher self-esteem. Asians lower self-esteem (than either Africans or Caucasians who are somewhere in the middle).

Northeast Asians also have higher IQ, especially for mathematical areas, than either Caucasians or Africans (meaning sub-Saharan Africans), with Caucasians being somewhere in the middle again.

The fact is; this data—that Asians do well at producing engineering students, for example; is what you would predict just from IQ data vs. population demographics of the respective countries. You can attack the self-esteem movement if you want (and I think it's rubbish and does hurt academic performance somewhat), but it is unlikely to be the major factor.

dicentra

where hunting is unnecessary and quite unable to influence lost liberties.

You might want to go visit Ted Nugent on his ranch and run that past him. He'll bend your ear clean off about all the venison he and his hunting buddies have donated to the poor, among other things, and then he'll fill your other ear with chapter and verse as to how his "eat off the land" lifestyle is the only By God way to be free.

And then you can ask Cornell about their cervine tubal ligation adventure.

AmbushPredator

Why have so many people got it in for peacocks?

md

David, what did you make of 'The Bell Curve'?

Pellegri

I am sorry to break it you, Steve 2, but wasps are meat eaters. They will even take chunks out of (living) people in their quest for flesh.

David

David, what did you make of ‘The Bell Curve’?

I haven’t actually read the whole book, just extracts from it, along with various critiques and counter-replies, all of which I read many years ago. So there’s a limit to what I can say about it. At the time, I was more interested in the reactions than the book itself.

If memory serves, one of the authors’ key concerns was that our “educated class” might eventually become isolated, culturally and economically, from the broader society, and that this might not be an entirely good thing. Basically, smart men and women will tend to seek out and marry other smart people and be more likely to produce smarter than average children, who will tend to benefit from both nature and nurture, thereby increasing the divergence, culturally and economically, from those less clever. This point, I think, was aired with a note of caution, not a pumping of fists.

What struck me at the time was the air of scandalised indignation and the insistence on some nefarious racial motive, despite the book’s moderate tone (at least in the extracts I’d seen), its repeated qualifications, and the fact that race is barely mentioned at all. In 1994, one Barack Obama, then a mere civil rights lawyer, dismissed the book as “good old-fashioned racism.”

Obama claimed - based on nothing that Murray and Herrnstein had actually written – that the book was intended to appeal to those who “deeply resent any advantages, real or perceived, that minorities may enjoy.” He added that in order to reduce divergent economic and racial outcomes, “we’re going to have to do more than denounce Mr Murray’s book.” And so, without addressing anything the authors’ had written – anything at all – the book was nevertheless something to be denounced. Because, in Obama’s mind, economic outcomes can have nothing whatsoever to do with “an intellectual deficit,” and one shouldn’t even explore those lines of thought.

And whatever the best evidence on the subject may be at any given time, the reactions of some can make discussion in good faith all but impossible. It seems to me the relationship of intelligence and heredity is one of those subjects that can arouse great passion but much less honesty. And then there are clowns like Dr Nina Power, a Guardian contributor and Marxoid philosophy lecturer, who insists, based on nothing, that “everyone has the potential to understand everything” and that equality of intelligence is “something to be presupposed” because – well, just because - “everyone is equally intelligent.”

[ Edited. ]

Minnow

"I distinctly remember being told that if we didn't have at least three “A”s, at A-Level, we might as well forget Oxbridge because we were an independent school. A few Scottish Highers would be enough for state pupils"

Which makes you wonder why the Independent Students don't just drop down into the state sector for the easy Oxbridge entry and pocket the cash. Seems obvious to me. Perhaps they are just not that bright, after all.

Minnow

"I am sorry to break it you, Steve 2, but wasps are meat eaters."

And minnows too are non-vegetarian, although circumstances limit them to seafood.

Minnow

"Northeast Asians also have higher IQ, especially for mathematical areas, than either Caucasians or Africans (meaning sub-Saharan Africans), with Caucasians being somewhere in the middle again."

it is very hard to know what to make of this data, though, since IQ is so susceptible to environmental changes. There is good evidence, for example, that prolonged exposure to mathematics in childhood leads to changes in the brain that increase the capacity for mathematical reasoning. It is also quite possible that the nature of oriental language acquisition alters the brain in ways that are conducive to improved performance in symbolic logic. The right policy response may well be to stop educating our children in English and to switch to Mandarin instead.

Nikw211

That Nieli article on grade inflation makes for compelling reading, but I would also like to suggest a further unintended consequence of grade inflation:

Namely, grade inflation undermines any hope for meritocracy, and in so doing creates fertile ground for elitism, cronyism, and the creation of academic fiefdoms. (This is especially true of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences).

Nieli (and others) argue that grade inflation leads to "diminished motivation" – while this is true to some extent, it overlooks the powerful influence the student's own ego and need for validation exerts on their behavior.

In fact, in a class where 45-60% of students are receiving A-grades and in a culture where self-esteem is prized and therefore fostered, I would say the pressure on young people at university to find some way of distinguishing themselves from their peers is at least as strong, if not even stronger, than was the case under the competitive regime of a more strictly controlled distribution of higher grades.

This situation presents many lecturers – and bear in mind these are people who are not exactly unknown for having fragile egos themselves – with a subset of students in each of their classes who are very keen to be picked out from the crowd and gain recognition from them. If those students are unable to distinguish themselves through excellence in performance (i.e. by getting the rarer top grades because so many other students have them too), what other ways are left to them?

The result is that students are presented with a strong incentive to adopt the lecturer's own ideas, values and positions as their own, while in their turn, the lecturers are presented with both the temptation and the opportunity to form a cadre of pliant supporters who, if encouraged to go on to postgraduate studies and, who knows, eventually become lecturers themselves, will spread that lecturer's ideas throughout the wider academic environment. And it will be students from this cadre that they push, not necessarily the highest achievers.

Consequently, there is then not only no motivation at all for a student to try and challenge the ideas proposed by their lecturer – which, by the way, is arguably the key foundation in the development of independent critical acumen and the ability to construct robust argument – but there are also a number of active disincentives for even attempting to do so.*

The stage, then, is surely set for the maintenance and perpetuation of what Horowitz calls the 'One-Party Classroom' within the academy and in wider society, for the tendency for more thoughtful debate to be pushed out by the kind of belligerent, doctrinaire barking that we hear, these days, from the likes of Valenti, Penny, Mason, Snow, Perry, Power, Sarkeesian, etc. etc.

*The latter case, incidentally, I think might result in a tendency to favour the feminization of higher education (certainly in AHSS subjects). Young men typically try to distinguish themselves by challenging authority and by trying to demonstrate the ways in which they are different yet equal to those who have superior status to them.

I'm painting in broad brush strokes of course, but young women by contrast tend on the whole to distinguish themselves by rising within a given social group and by trying to demonstrate the ways in which they are an exemplary member of that group. Given that this is so, it is perhaps another reason as to why courses in Gender and Women's Studies have proliferated so rapidly throughout the whole of the academic environment. Such courses discourage critical thought of the doxa they put forward and so lend themselves to cronyism and groupthink.

Minnow

"I'm painting in broad brush strokes of course, but young women by contrast tend on the whole to distinguish themselves by rising within a given social group and by trying to demonstrate the ways in which they are an exemplary member of that group."

Hmm. Do you have any evidence for this? It looks suspicious to me. My first thought is that it it were true we should expect women to show more enthusiasm than men for amateur team sports where status is firmly built on being both an 'exemplary member' of the group and deeply conformist to the written and unwritten group rules. But they don't.

Nikw211

No, it's just an anecdotal observation - hence, by the way, the use of these words and phrases:

    incidentally / I think might result in a tendency to favour / typically / I'm painting in broad brush strokes of course / tend on the whole

I had understood such language to be fairly universally understood as expressing a cautious or tentative attitude to a statement, but perhaps not …

Oh, and of course - good job on going straight to the asterisked footnote while completely ignoring the main point I was making.

Though it's a free world of course so you are welcome to focus on micro detail if you wish.

Minnow

I wasn't accusing you of anything, I was genuinely curious as to whether there was any research to support what you said because, on the face it, it seemed so implausible.

Ten
You might want to go visit Ted Nugent

Having come from the same State - and my having spent my entire youth out of doors, well acclimated to hunting, trapping, years in heavy construction, but admittedly less so with stage rock and record deals - I know a fair amount about Nugent and perhaps more about his climate, values, and ethics. He's welcome to it and the world would be a better place for us independent types where there far more of him and far fewer of the urbanist progressive parasite class and it's religion.

None of which convinces a thinking mind of the viability of the commercialized meat-centric obese daily lifestyle, the abuse and terror inflicted on animals raised for slaughter and what it must do to the keepers and profiteers, or the sheer waste, environmental harm, and eventual unsustainability of this segment of the corporate western world.

And yes, Nugent makes no argument for any of that - probably he avoids Arbys.

Rather he argues for a lifestyle more resembling that of the native American...which itself serves as no arguable model for modern sustainability because it too is unnecessary. At least until a collapse, at which point survivalism will take on a whole new nightmarish quality.

Ten

David, apparently one Marina Abramovic predates most or all of today's performance artists, or so it seems to be when taking in the breathless documentary "The Artist is Present", 2012, now on Netflix.

Here's the trailer
, which omits most of the blood, mutilation, and nudity in favor of a convincing subtextual proof of New York having plenty enough rich kooks to appoint The Artist to a lifestyle to which she has - finally after thirty years, she admits - finally become accustomed.

ac1

Meat, because canine teeth aren't for carrots!

Steak it's LOVELY. I fact I'm going to have some today. While I'm chewing on a dead cows delicious flesh I'll be thinking how I will be sowing my now abundance of sperm.

ajf

"meat-centric obese daily lifestyle"

Don't blame the meat! Get with the programme. It's all about the evil sugars now dontcha now. Apparently us peasants can't be trusted to not shovel soft drinks and sweets into our gobs all day long.

Plus, meat tastes really good.

Nikw211

apparently one Marina Abramovic predates most or all of today's performance artists

Not quite sure how we arrived at Abramovic and performance art …

… but just for you information performance art in the modern avant-garde art world sense dates back to Marinetti and the Futurists, the Cabaret Voltaire and the Dadaists working from about 1912 to the 1920 (give to take a couple of years).

Marinetti even used violence as performance art long before Abramovic.

Still, until I got to 00:32 in that trailer, I had no idea she'd been the inspiration for that knifey-scene in Aliens.

David

Ms Abramović was mentioned here, briefly, a while ago.

Minnow

She is considered the doyenne of performance art and appeared at the Serpentine recently. Quite a funny review here:

"Having sat through her messianic press conference, in which Abramovic did not for a moment understate her contribution to world art ..."

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jun/15/marina-abramovic-512-hours-review-serpentine-gallery

Ten
Meat, because canine teeth aren't for carrots!

Notwithstanding that folks have lived there exclusively for generations by never consuming plant, grain, or fruit, the Arctic isn't for human habitation either. You have to gut and skin stuff to clothe your naked pinkness.

Adaptation occurs - to the point of mutation, even - but is it necessary and a conscious good choice. Given that we're so advanced we can't run a successful collective in hundreds of years and across billions of lives trying, or prevent ourselves one day creating artificial life that will all but certainly exterminate us for the favor, reach isn't grasp.

Minnow

"one day creating artificial life that will all but certainly exterminate us for the favor"

Yeah right. It might try but every time it gets together to mount an attack it will lose wifi connection or start to download 28,138 updates, you wait and see.

David

Reminded me of this nightmarish Hallowe’en pumpkin.

ac1

You can't run a (cashless) collective because they're not an efficient way of running things.
Currency is the secret to successful and vastly more efficient deferred barter and thus inter-temporal reciprocation which is why capitalism creates wealth, and state extortion of the type needed for collectivism destroys it.

Kevin B

Faint isolated cases where bacon regrows your hair or cream cheese your erection

Who says modern medical science doesn't give the customer what he wants.

Henry

because, on the face it, it seemed so implausible

(probably just a wind-up, however..)

Why implausible? Are you saying you believe that men and women simply never display different behaviours with respect to (for example) reading, socialising, work, and violence?

As we know different patterns in all these areas are established quite early on in a child’s life. What you were perhaps trying to imply (as per usual) is the bog-standard feminist get-out-clause that all this is caused by social forces.

(which is rather less persuasive than the honest scientific endeavour to study the effects of different brain structure, hormones, and neurotransmitter on male & female behaviour)

I think there was a lot in what Nik was saying

dicentra

Dude.

Eating animal fat won't make you fat. Eating steak won't make you fat.

Insulin allocates calories either to fat stores or to muscles and organs. The higher the insulin levels (in reaction to high blood sugar) the more calories get allocated to fat. Genetics tends to inform the efficiency of insulin in doing its job.

Animal flesh and products don't raise your blood sugar. Non-starchy vegetables also don't.

Steak and salad. I went on that diet (20 carbs daily) for six weeks and lost 15 lbs that I've kept off for about 2 years.

Turns out, fat people are lethargic because too many calories are allocated to fat and not enough to organs and muscles. Bouncy people are getting enough energy in their muscles and organs instead of converting it to fat. Genetics and diet are the culprits, but the causality is the reverse of what we're used to thinking.

Exercise is good for you; it's just not the best way to lose weight — keeping your blood sugar low is.

Ten

Having fat circulating in the bloodstream allows the system to bypasss sending sugar directly to the brain, dicentra. Vegans depend on a constantly replenishing supply, thereby not having the chance to store fat.

Also contrary to myth, carbs don't make you fat period. Carbs make you fat when fat is already present. Carbs alone don't make you fat. Carbs are the best energy source there is, and carbs feed the brain vastly better than fat.

Losing weight on lettuce and steaks? Athletes don't: You're starving yourself.

You can exist entirely on meat and fat, for a time, and not gain weight based just on meat and fat. But meat and fat are the system's facilitators, not its nutrients.

I encourage you to read the medical content in this.

The rest of the argument favoring abolishing the modern western diet is literally too comprehensive to write in twenty long comments, so if you have an interest you'll find the research. I wish you the best.

Dude
isn't a position, dicentra, it's a pose...but I still love most of your stuff.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

There's a term I've used from time to time that I like to call the Smug Diet: people think their particular dietary practices are more virtuous, and try at least bad to proselytize, and at worse to use the state to impose their dietary ideas on everybody else.

Any time people talk about quality of life, I find that I'd have a much higher quality of life if I didn't have to deal with a bunch of nannycrats trying to tell me how to live my life.

pst314

"Vegetarianism is closely linked to psychosis"

As illustrated by Ten's diatribe.

pst314

Cutting out the carbs and sugar and switching to a diet high in meat and vegetables was the only dietary change I ever made that reduced my weight and my cholesterol level.

Hal

Siiiggghhhh.

And Kimberly Guilfoyle now known for Kimberly Guilfoyle young female voters: Fox News host says don't vote, no wisdom

Rich Rostrom

Minnow @ October 23, 2014 at 11:04:The right policy response may well be to stop educating our children in English and to switch to Mandarin instead.

It might be, if the same result was not found in Japanese and Koreans, who don't speak or read Mandarin. (Japanese do use Chinese ideographs some of the time, but don't understand the language.) Nor in Americans of northeast Asian descent, who speak only English.

But it is. Oops.

Minnow

"Why implausible? Are you saying you believe that men and women simply never display different behaviours with respect to (for example) reading, socialising, work, and violence?"

No, I mean it is implausible on the face of it because men exhibit much more of the sort of behaviour that Nik speculated as female (such as in sports clubs and other associations).

Minnow

"It might be, if the same result was not found in Japanese and Koreans, who don't speak or read Mandarin."

But the languages have significant features in common that could account for the differences. It will be interesting to see if and how the IQ effect endures over generations in the US. I don't believe that has been tested yet. The data will be distorted, though, by the fact that immigrant families tend to have higher than average IQ.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Sam Duncan - "bloody peacocks"

I know, right? They're the most bad tempered birds you'll ever met. And supposedly they look pretty but I think they just try too hard. They look bloody ridiculous.

Hal, Pellegri - just when you think wasps can't be more horrible, you find out they're carnivores. Thanks for that.

Minnow - seafood isn't proper meat. Everyone knows that.

Hickory Wind

"It might be, if the same result was not found in Japanese and Koreans, who don't speak or read Mandarin."

-But the languages have significant features in common that could account for the differences-

I can't think of any conceivably relevant feature that those three languages have in common. What are you thinking of exactly?

Minnow

"I can't think of any conceivably relevant feature that those three languages have in common. What are you thinking of exactly?"

Thety are all transcribed idiomatically.

Minnow

Pnff. 'Ideogramatically'.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Hangul is ideograms?

Hickory Wind

But Korean uses an alphabet, an almost completely phonetic one. It's no harder to learn to write than Spanish is. Chinese and Japanese are indeed logographic, making them much harder. But research suggests that rather than produce a population that is uniformly better at manipulating visual symbols that (the English, for instance), it tends to produce a fatter distribution from the highly education to the functionally illiterate.

There are much clearer effects of early bilingualism on intelligence. Distinguishing two separate sets of sounds and rules for combination and (coreference) with the world around them), does seem to prepare the brain better for other things.

There is also a broader point that it is the spoken language, not the written form, that matters, bacause by the time you start learning to write the development of the brain is well advanced, and Chinese is morphologically a remarkably simple language.

Minnow

"But research suggests that rather than produce a population that is uniformly better at manipulating visual symbols that (the English, for instance), it tends to produce a fatter distribution from the highly education to the functionally illiterate."

Not the evidence that I have seen, I would be glad to see yours.

"because by the time you start learning to write the development of the brain is well advanced"

But this is behind the times. Brain formation does not stop until late teens for women and early twenties for men typically.

Minnow

Which probably is why IQ is so heavily influenced by environmental and cultural factors, by the way.

Lancastrian Oik

But Korean uses an alphabet, an almost completely phonetic one. It's no harder to learn to write than Spanish is. Chinese and Japanese are indeed logographic, making them much harder.

*Snork* Pwned.

Not the evidence that I have seen, I would be glad to see yours.

No, let's see yours first.

Hal

Also elsewhere . . .

EU makes Britain pay for recovery states The Telegraph.

Um. . . . What was that saying. Um.

Oh, right, something about No taxation without representation!!!

dicentra

Yes, "dude" is a pose, but your science is still bad.

This is the scientific content that I consumed.

I tried the low-carb diet and it worked as described. Empiricism rules over theory and definitely over ideology, even though the plural of anecdote is not data. I'll go with what has worked for me, regardless of the external label.

Taubes has no ideology to push (neither vegan nor carnivorous) and is not interested in changing the world or making anything sustainable. He stumbled into his discoveries, and points out merely that the body is a chemist, not a mathematician (calories in minus calories burned is incorrect).

Having fat circulating in the bloodstream allows the system to bypasss sending sugar directly to the brain, dicentra.

Where else is that datum found, aside from vegan literature? You DO know that activists lie more often than not, don't you?

I feel better after eating red meat. Nothing perks me up physically (aside from amphetamines) like a double bacon cheeseburger. It's probably the heme iron and protein surge.

Look, I don't give a rip that you choose to be vegan. Knock yourself out. I also have no interest in making any pronouncements about vegans other than observing that they tend to be even more self-righteous than Mormons about their dietary restrictions.

I say that having been raised in Utah and having abstained from coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco my whole life. I've heard plenty of my fellows hector non-Mormons for not following the terms of our covenant. It's stupid and annoying.

For Exhibit A, I present this old thread from AoSHQ, wherein a couple of self-righteous Kiwi vegans stumble into the Moron Horde and suffer the requisite damage. Beginning with comment 29.

David Gillies

As the old joke has it: How do you know someone's a vegan? Because they'll tell you. The only diet I have been able to sustain long-term is one high in meat and animal fats and low in simple carbohydrates. Even so, it's a struggle. Potatoes, bread and pasta taste good. But I am speaking for myself, alone. It's anecdotal. I'm pretty firmly convinced that most pronouncements on the issue by so-called experts is garbage of the highest order. If nutritionism were to be put on the scientific spectrum, it would lie a lot closer to the tarot cards and crystal healing end than the quantum electrodynamics end. And I'll be damned if I'll let myself be lectured by some importunate mung-bean muncher. Wind your damn necks in!

Ten

That's nice, dicentra, but without the mild fallacy, anecdote, and projection, it wants for relevance. (Too, Catskills Ted and Pist314 did that first.)

What amuses me is what I led off with. That lately the right proudly but falsely conflates bacon and BBQ - I read the conservative blogs too, see - with lifestyle evidence of anti-Democrat loyalties and bona fides. (See Ace at your link, maybe. I'm not going to bother because I've seen it before and it's dumb.)

Conversely, if it's vegan it must be left wing and lunatic.

Sure. Except no. No connection. No relevance. No worth or substance. Like you, bless your heart, I know diet is just a lifestyle choice and not the second coming of Mrs Obama, tear down this lunch program.

You feel great on meat. Of course you do: it's the momentary highs, even as you surmise, the intense caloric density and reprieve from starvation. You're losing weight because those highs occur in the desert of starving your system - you're slowly moderating fat levels downward, as hoped. Blood health improves to a degree, at least until nearly half of Adkins zealots fall off that wagon, which they shall.

Dropping the extra pounds is the whole point and we all know the only way to do that is to intake less than we burn.

But carbo-loaders balance too, and they can eat a ton of food. Viola, weight stability if you want it without either the starvation or the deprivation or the inefficiencies of the step involving fat, which is dumb and inefficient as real nutrition goes.

What upsets things is mixing both. Fat makes you fat when you eat potatoes and macaroni alongside because the fat then naturally stores - it's what it is, for heaven's sake - while the latter burns. Carbs make energy because they're so very good at doing it right now. Carbs themselves don't make you fat.

You could try what paleo man did for eons before inventing the briquette. He consumed as much plant and fruit and grain bulk as he could possibly find, and when he got really lucky, he didn't enjoy a gut full of sirloin nearly as often as a gut full of greens, which carry far less caloric density. Stuffed without the stuffing, hence thinner.

Let's stop idealizing a false paleo condition with our truther myth of Neanderthal fitness so we can extend it to the modern western meat-based diet. It didn't exist and hunger was a fact of his life.

It's not a fact of ours, however, and consequences will occur. Of course half the country has to resort to moderating daily Diet Cokes, fries, pizzas, and three squares a day by eventually rationing down to just beef and sprouts. Let's just not pass it off as a complete, healthy, or historically authentic diet.

And especially not as a revolutionary act aimed at protesting socialism or something because Whole Foods and Occupy deviants.

Folks don't much care what you eat. I don't. Now if you care what I care, on the other hand, then maybe Ted and you can ask nicely for your rights not to hear religion...when someone actually does preach it at you.

David Gillies

Sez Ten, "I don't care what you eat" (lengthy dietribe [sic] follows). It's the analogue of being buttonholed in the pub by a bloke who won't shut up about his hobby horse. It is a source of confusion to the monomaniac that not everyone is as interested in his obsession as he is.

My two penn'orth on the whole issue: as long as you don't eat so much they have to demolish a wall to haul your carcase out when you croak, then the sole dietary criterion is whether you like what you are eating. We are not children, to be told what we 'should' and 'should not' eat, and hectoring bloody nincompoops who think otherwise should boil their heads (possibly to make delicious nincompoop broth, since they are not otherwise utilising them for anything productive).

Ten

I also recognize your right not to hear whatever you can reconfigure and reconstruct after the fact of hearing it, Gillies.

It's a courtesy I've learned by practicing on progressives.

It's their right to be free from whatever they label religion too, even when it's plain common sense.

Rich Rostrom

Hickory Wind @ October 24, 2014 at 13:14: Chinese and Japanese are indeed logographic...

Japanese is not logographic. Or more precisely, as I stated, uses Chinese ideographs for some words (kanji), but uses alphabetical characters for others (hiragana and katakana).

So it is partly logographic.

Incidentally, most Chinese immigrants have been from south China, and spoke Cantonese or Fujianese, not Mandarin.

pedant2007

I'm curious as to when these "grades" (A, B, C etc.) were introduced for A levels, and what the real reason was. There may be some justification in "humanities" subjects, in which marking presumably amounts to forming a rough impression of the merit of an essay, but in others (say mathematics, or many foreign languages at school level) there are fairly clear distinctions between correct and incorrect answers. In my day we were just given percentages for everything (if I remember correctly; certainly I still recall my percentages in one or two subjects). One explanation I have heard is that a difference of one percent should not be seen as important--but somewhere or other, in a subject where marking is tolerably precise, the difference between A and B will amount to one percent anyway.
It becomes entirely absurd when people talk of grade point averages, for which the grades (obtained, perhaps with some fiddling, from percentages), are translated back to numbers (according to rules that are often fixed, somewhat arbitrarily, by the institution) so that an average may be taken, and then back again to grades. Why not have numerical marks all the way?

Lancastrian Oik

@pedant2007

Interesting point. I studied sciences at A Level in the late 70s (wrong choice) and pursued a medical qualification which I was clearly not suited for.

At A Level, you were expected to "show your workings/reasonings"- some of the problems set were open-ended but obtuse. If you got on the right path, but got the answer wrong you were nevertheless deserving of credit. I think that's the right approach.

When at university, we were presented with multiple choice questionnaires, with sometimes up to five possible answers; given that you were going to make a decision that would potentially harm a patient if you were incorrect in a real-life clinical scenario, if you ticked "don't know" you scored a zero; the "correct" answer got you a +1, and a "wrong" answer earned you a -1, so it was possible to come out of an exam with a minus score. "QI"-ish, if you like. Of course, it was in the early days of the hegemony of IT (these were literally "tick-box" exams), but it didn't half have an effect on your mindset- "I'd better get this right, because otherwise...".

I quit (because I was useless) and became a lawyer, after a rigorous undergraduate degree at a "redbrick", which was just as much a test of memory as were A Levels, but which also involved a fair amount of essay-writing and strenuous sessions with forensically astute tutors.

I'm still not sure as to which is the better approach, but both involved plenty of book learning. My more recent academic endeavours at Masters level (as a very mature student) have left me bewildered by the lack of application of more recent graduates (post 1990s) and their lack of general knowledge.

pedant2007

Oh, I acknowledge (and did admit) that letter grades can be appropriate in some situations--as can be tick-boxes. But it seems odd to me that the whole system changed at some point. In A Level Maths, for instance, percentage marks really were potentially more informative, and at worst no more misleading, than letter grades.
As for the world's going to the dogs, maybe it's just that our experience, rather long ago, as pupils or as undergraduates was necessarily limited; returning in later life gives one a different perspective. But also, so many more people now take degrees (and higher degrees) that it's scarcely surprising we find them, on average, less enthusiastic than we were. Not a very original comment, of course.

regressive

Hi all. I found this blog a couple of weeks ago and can't tear myself away. I think I've found something suitable that I didn't see in the search results.

In the useless hand-wringing department, Wellesley College struggles with how to include women who insist they are men - while wanting the female privilege of attending a women's college because they don't feel safe or comfortable among men and the LGBTQ privilege of having disproportionate representation and accomodation made to them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/magazine/when-women-become-men-at-wellesley-college.html

I think the only two people who come out with any credit are Prof. Cushman (who seems to be a while male, the patriacal bastard), and the anonymous transmasculine student who said (approx) "If I am a man, why am I taking up space and attention at a women's college?"

I hope you enjoy it.

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