Those Vegans are Crazy

Here’s something almost everyone knows, to some extent. All of us have been trained for the last five decades or more to think self-denial leads to good health. That’s really what most diet fads boil down to. We are told if we give up these tasty things we will live forever. In another age, food took on more magical properties and ever-lasting life was in the after-life for those who followed the rules in this life. The magical properties of food are still popular among the organic crowd. They will harangue you all night over the benefits of organic or all-natural food, even though there is no science to it.

Vegetarians may have a lower BMI and drink alcohol sparingly, but vegetarian diets are tied to generally poorer health, poorer quality of life and a higher need for health care than their meat-eating counterparts.

A new study from the Medical University of Graz in Austria finds that vegetarians are more physically active, drink less alcohol and smoke less tobacco than those who consume meat in their diets. Vegetarians also have a higher socioeconomic status and a lower body mass index. But the vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders.

Vegetarians were twice as likely to have allergies, a 50 percent increase in heart attacks and a 50 percent increase in incidences of cancer.

The cross-sectional study from Austrian Health Interview Survey data and published in PLos One examined participants dietary habits, demographic characteristics and general lifestyle differences.

The most significant dietary habit difference between meat-eaters and vegetarians concerned their BMI and alcohol consumption – with both being higher for those who consume meat.

Many past studies have instead put an emphasis on the health risks associated with red meat and carnivorous diets, but this study points the other dietary direction. However, the researchers do caution that continuing studies will be needed to substantiate some of the rather broad dietary distinctions, associations presented in this current research.

Overall, vegetarians were found to be in a poorer state of health compared to other dietary groups. Vegetarians reported higher levels of impairment from disorders, chronic diseases, and “suffer significantly more often from anxiety/depression.”

Subjects who consumed lower amounts of animal fat were also linked to poor health care practices, such as avoidance of vaccinations and a lack of preventive care.

Most likely, people drawn to food cults are a bit crazy. Their diet is a form of self-medication. The discipline of maintaining one of these diets provides structure in their life, which carries over to other areas. That’s what these guys may be picking up in the study. It is not that plant eating makes you crazy. It’s that crazy people are more likely to go for plant eating as a way to self-medicate. That’s the theory behind the various “cleanse” scams running through the health food world.

Regardless, as a matter of science we know humans have evolved eating a range of foods. Meat, fish, dairy and wild greens were the primary foods for most of human history. Early man was living almost entirely on meat and fish. About 12,000 years ago humans started to figure out how to grow plant food and raise food animals. Man domesticated sheep, goats, cows, and pigs about 15,000 years ago. The opportunity to feed large numbers of people year round with plant food only goes back a few thousand years. That means humans evolved for almost all of its time as meat eaters.

Dum Vivimus Vivamus

This was on American Digest recently. I have no idea what either site does, but I’m grateful for the traffic. Anyway, I was a huge Babe Ruth fan as a boy. One of the first books I recall reading on my own was a short biography of him. It was one of those kids books where you read the first half, flipped it over and reads the second half. Before that, I only read what was given to me by parents and teachers. Reading for fun was alien to me until about the age of eight.

A former teammate of Babe Ruth’s once recalled him by saying, “You’ve got to remember, this guy wasn’t born, he fell out of a tree.” Ruth grabbed life by the throat (or maybe it was another part of life’s anatomy) and shook it up as it has seldom been shaken up.

Ruth spent the majority of his youth cooped up in St. Mary’s industrial school, listed as an “incorrigible.” After he was released at the age of 20, Ruth seemed to spend the rest of his life making up for lost time. He went through women like they were jelly beans.

Most men, even the greatest ladies’ men, have particular “favorite types” of women, subjective turn-ons, and particular traits they especially like in the opposite sex. Ruth seemed unusual in his complete lack of this quality. Ruth just simply loved women- of all types, sizes, races, and personalities.

It’s funny, but men do have certain types of women they prefer. That’s not something that gets discussed in public much at these days. I suppose women are attracted to certain men as well. I recall a study that claimed women are far less likely to date out of their race or be attracted to men of another race than men. That is, men will go with just about anything if it means sex. Given a choice, most men do prefer certain types. I guess Ruth was way over on the liberal scale in these matters.

Hardly a day passed during his baseball career (1914-1935) that he did not have sex with at least one woman. He liked women as much as baseball. Having no favorites, bedding tall women, short ones, fat ones, thin ones, beautiful knockouts, ugly rejects, socialites, film starlets, secretaries, other men’s wives, and hookers in every big city in America.

Ruth was a stallion in bed, once making love to a woman seven times in one night- and smoking a cigar between each encounter to boot. Ruth often went to the women’s homes, but sometimes he called them up to his hotel.

Ruth was crazy about prostitutes and loved frequenting brothels. Often during his career, St. Louis fans would be “touched” by the Babe as he told a St. Louis cab driver to take him to “the house of the good shepherd.” They assumed he was going to church. Little did they know, “the house of the good shepherd” was St. Louis’ biggest whorehouse.

Once Ruth took over an entire house of ill repute for an entire night. His goal was to go to bed with every woman in the house- and he did, one by one. In the morning he celebrated by eating an 18-egg omelet.

Ruth lived to just 53, but it seems like a miracle that he made it that far. On the other hand, his cancer was unlikely to have been caused by hard living. We like to think there is a direct causal relationship between sin and health, but there’s little evidence to support it. As the song says, I’ve known more old drunks than old doctors. Until Ruth got cancer, he was healthier than most men his age, even with all the boozing, womanizing and carrying on.

It is why one should always remember that life is for living. Put another way, we have a short time to live. While we live, let us live.

Sic transit gloria mundi
How doth the busy bee,
Dum vivimus vivamus,
I stay my enemy!

Naomi Wolf is a Dolt

The last time anyone had any reason to care about the thoughts of Naomi Wolf, she was trying to explain how Clinton’s over-the-top womanizing was consistent with feminist principles. No one really cared all that much about hat she was saying, but she was amusing in a weird way, so she got media attention. Here you had Bill Clinton carrying on like the male chauvinist pig of feminist lore and everyone of these women were excusing him. There’s hypocrisy and then there is American feminism.

Anyway, this was in the news recently. The Left seems to be entering the paranoid stage as this wave ebbs. Whenever they are up to something, they start howling about fascism. That usually means they are plotting some anti-democratic shenanigans. It also ties into the on schism within the Left between national socialism and international socialism. Naomi Wolf could be nothing, but it probably means the Left is feeling threatened by enemies, real or imagined.

Western feminism has made some memorable theoretical mistakes; a major one is the frequent assumption that, if women held the decision-making power in society, they would be “kinder and gentler” (a phrase devised for George H.W. Bush in 1988 to appeal to the female vote). Indeed, so-called “second-wave” feminist theory abounds in assertions that war, racism, love of hierarchy, and general repressiveness belong to “patriarchy”; women’s leadership, by contrast, would naturally create a more inclusive, collaborative world.

The problem is that it has never worked out that way, as the rise of women to leadership positions in Western Europe’s far-right parties should remind us. Leaders such as Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front, Pia Kjaersgaard of Denmark’s People’s Party, and Siv Jensen of Norway’s Progress Party reflect the enduring appeal of neofascist movements to many modern women in egalitarian, inclusive liberal democracies.

The past is prologue: Wendy Lower’s recent book Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields adds more data to the long record of women embracing violent right-wing movements. And the rise of far-right movements in Europe – often with women in charge – confronts us with the fact that the heirs to the fascism of the 1930’s have their own gender-based appeal.

One obvious reason for the success of women like Le Pen, Kjaersgaard, and Jensen is their value for packaging and marketing their parties. Europe’s far-right parties today must appeal to citizens by not seeming dangerously extreme and marginal. How dangerous can the movement be, after all, if women are speaking for it? Such parties come to be seen as more mainstream, and their appeal to traditionally harder-to-win women supporters receives a boost. It’s just marketing in a modern democracy.

In the last couple of years as the Obama show staggers to a conclusion, Progressives like Wolf have been wringing their hands over the rise of fascism again. The 1950’s were allegedly a revival of fascism, according to the Left, because Americans were happy, prosperous and being fruitful. For American Liberalism, everything is upside down. They spent the sixties allegedly fighting fascism, which was just an excuse to swing a wrecking ball through the traditional American life of their parents.

Fascism took a holiday in the 1970’s, but it came back in the 1980’s only to go back on holiday in the 1990’s. But, the fear of Hitler was back in full for the Bush years. The core of what these people believe starts with the end of the Constitution, yet they expect people to take seriously their concerns for liberty. They lack any capacity to self-examine, so they start howling about fascist threats to democracy, whenever their plans to undermine the normal functioning of democracy is impaired.

This deranged lack of self-awareness is tough to grasp at times, because it is so unlike what normal people experience. All of us are self-conscious to some degree. The Left is thoroughly and completely elitist. It is the religion of the ruling elite. You sure as hell are not going to hear a debate about third wave feminism in the ghetto or on the job site among working men. You are not going to hear Rotary Club Republicans advocating euthanasia or forced sterilization of the unfit. Those are topics discussed by Progressive in the faculty lounge. Yet, they think they are fighting those things.

That’s a big reason why Progressives have made fascism  their eternal bogeyman. It’s a form of projection. They hate this truth about themselves, but cannot face up to it without blowing the whole religion up in the process. It gets deeply internalized to the point they can no longer recognize it in themselves. The fear and hatred are still there so when they go looking for a scapegoat or a bogeyman, they inevitably call it a fascist.

That’s the other part of this. As this Progressive wave ebbs and the people notice the garbage left behind from the flood, the Left seeks to cast the spotlight on some other. It has already started, for example, with health care. The law passed by the Left is a disaster. Instead of defending it, they are out attacking various bogeymen for failing to fix it. That sounds insane – and it is -but it is not intended to convince. It is intended to distract the people on the Left, so they don’t notice their own failures.

Fear of a White Planet

The word “alarm” is supposed to imply concern and even fear. You can be alarmed about a child molester moving into town. You can be alarmed about your kid hanging out with the potheads. One is not typically alarmed about gettting a bonus at Christmastime. Words have meaning and their use says a lot of about what’s on the writer’s mind. No one is alarmed about something they welcome. Alarm is supposed to imply fear and dread of something unwanted.

In this story from National Journal, the headline is, “Tech Pipeline Is Alarmingly White” with a subhead of “No African-Americans, Hispanics or girls took the AP computer science exam in some states, meaning a majority of The Next America has little familiarity with tech.” Presumably, the publication thinks too many white people, however that is defined, is a bad thing. After all, one cannot be alarmed by too much good news. Something must be done!

The pipeline of students who will be tomorrow’s tech leaders is alarmingly vanilla.

According to a new analysis of test-takers, not a single girl, African-American or Hispanic student took the computer science Advanced Placement test in Mississippi or Montana last year. More than a third of the population in Mississippi is black.

In other words, a hugely disproportionate bunch of white guys took the test.

The lack of diversity is disconcerting because computer science is an industry hurting for qualified workers. That’s not to say that a student must take AP computer science to pursue a computer science career, but it’s an indicator of which young people have a degree of familiarity with the field. Tech companies have long lamented that they’ve had to look outside the domestic pool of students to find employees. Encouraging largely untapped demographics—girls, African-Americans and Hispanics—in high school to enter the field would only help.

But that’s not happening, at least successfully, right now.

There are 11 states where not a single African-American took the test, and eight states where no Hispanics sat for the exam.

We’re not talking here about people who passed or didn’t pass, either. We’re talking about people who simply took the test, which means African-Americans, Hispanics and girls aren’t enrolling in AP computer science classes in the first place.

Of the approximately 30,000 students who took the exam in 2013, only around 20 percent were female, according to the analysis, and a tiny 3 percent were African-American. Just 8 percent were Hispanic.

Notice the magically thinking. It is not about passing or failing the AP exam. It is about taking the exam. There’s an assumption that passing the exam is just a matter of joining the process and ticking the right boxes. If you dump more blacks into the AP courses, then they will just pass and become smart STEM people. The possibility that this is not possible is never considered. Of course, biology can’t possibly be the reason.

One reason there are so few students enrolling in the class and taking the test is that AP computer science courses are more common in suburban and private schools, Barbara Ericson, a senior research scientist with Georgia Tech who compiled the data, told the blog Education Week, and those schools tend to be less diverse than urban and public schools.

Another potential reason is that there are so few women, African-American and Hispanic instructors teaching computer science and so few working in the computer science field. Students are more likely to pursue a course of study if they have mentors with similar backgrounds to emulate.

College Board, which oversees the AP tests, has made diversity a priority in recent months, but clearly, there’s still a long way to go. And diversifying the pool of students taking the exam will require more than a push from College Board. Families, schools and community organizations will also play a crucial role in encouraging and guiding more girls and minority students toward computer science.

It is tempting to assume that the people making these claims know they are speaking nonsense, but that’s probably not the case. They really do believe in the blank slate and egalitarianism. The possibility of biology preventing their preferred outcome is just never considered, because that’s not a possibility. It’s like blaming Big Foot of leprechauns fo the problem. As usual, Steve Sailer was all over it and has some handy numbers.

Here are the pass rates (3 out of 5 or higher, equivalent to a C or better in a college 101-level intro course):

All test takers: 67%
Males: 68%
Females: 62%
Blacks: 36%
Black males: 38%
Black females: 27%
Hispanics: 45%
Hispanic Males: 49%
Hispanic Females: 31%
Whites: 66%
White Males: NA
White Females: NA
Asians: 70%
Asian Males: NA
Asian Females: NA

America has spent roughly a trillion dollars since the 1960’s on trying to fix the race gap is income, education, crime and so on. It’s hard to know, as the accounting for some of it is impossible to figure. How does one cost the affirmative action or laws against private discrimination? Still a trillion is a good figure. Yet, the gaps in all of these areas have no changed much. When it comes to education gaps, the data is overwhelming that environment plays no role in the overall outcomes. It’s biology.

That said, one cannot help but think that the real driver of stories like this is not the denial of biological reality. The real issue is a hatred of white people. Whether it is self-loathing or ethnocentric forces that flow under the surface of society, maybe a combination of both, the ruling class culture is shaped by a general hatred of normal white people. That’s why the headline writer is alarmed at the white people in tech.

Obama’s America

This story from Massachusetts is a nice preview of what comes next with ObamCare.

The family of Justina Pelletier, the 15-year-old girl at the center of a battle spanning two states and two prestigious hospitals, is devastated but defiant after a Massachusetts judge gave permanent custody of the girl to the state’s Department of Children and Families.

Speaking a day after Massachusetts juvenile court Judge Joseph Johnston issued a four-page ruling blasting Pelletier’s parents for being verbally abusive and complicating efforts to bring the West Hartford, Conn., family together, Lou Pelletier told Fox News Channel the Bay State bureaucracy has been aligned against his family from the beginning.

What exactly happened that caused the state to take this child from her parents?

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took emergency custody of Justina on Valentine’s Day 2013 after doctors at Tufts Medical Center, which had been treating her for a rare condition, and doctors as Boston Children’s Hospital, clashed over the cause of her medical problems, which included difficulty eating and walking.

At Tufts, Justina had been treated for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production. When Justina began experiencing some gastrointestinal problems, the Tufts doctor treating her, Dr. Mark Korson, wanted the girl to visit Dr. Alejandro Flores at Boston Children’s Hospital, according to the family’s attorney, Phil Moran. Flores had treated Justina in the past, Moran said, and Korson thought it beneficial for the teen to see a gastroenterologist.

What happened next was a “tragic nightmare” for Justina and her family, Moran told

Justina was taken by ambulance to Boston Children’s Hospital because she was in a wheelchair at the time and a heavy snow storm was blanketing the region. Because she arrived by ambulance, she was taken directly into the hospital’s emergency room, where a “resident refused to send her to Dr. Flores” and, “declared this was his case,” according to Moran. He said the unnamed resident then called upon a psychologist who diagnosed Justina with somatoform disorder — a mental condition in which a patient experiences symptoms that are real but have no physical or biological explanation. Justina was diagnosed with the disorder “within 25 minutes,” Moran claims.

The Pelletier family rejected the new psychiatric diagnosis and wanted to bring Justina back to Tufts, Moran said. He claims the hospital tried to force the girl’s parents to sign papers preventing them from seeking another opinion.

After tempers flared between the Pelletiers and staff at Boston Children’s, the hospital notified the state that it suspected the parents of medical child abuse.

The girl was kept at Boston Children’s psychiatric ward for nearly a year, but was then slated to be transferred to another state facility. Johnston said the family, which vented its anger in various media interviews, hampered efforts to have her placed as near them as possible. She is currently being held at the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network facility in Framingham, Mass.

This is how authoritarian regimes work. People always focus on the violence, but the real tool of terror is the process. Innocent people get tangled in a system that makes no sense and operates at the whim of functionaries. Appeals to justice just anger the unaccountable bureaucrats, who then use their knowledge of the system to torment the person complaining about the system. The victims have no recourse. There’s no one to whom they can appeal. The process is a punishment with no appeal.

Of Course It Is Rigged

High frequency trading, known as HFT, is the hot new thing for market pundits to reference when discussing the markets. They don’t know much about it, but mentioning it give them credibility. This post over at MR brought out some particularly oleaginous characters defending what is nothing more than a way to game the system. The idea is to use special knowledge to buy and sell equities in order to minimize losses and arbitrage imbalances in the market.

This has been the point of insider trading and self-dealing since knife money. In a completely honest and transparent market, the only way to make money is to buy and hold stocks. Trading, assuming fees are involved, is pointless since everyone knows what everyone else knows. There’s no chance to buy a depressed stock that is about to rebound or sell a stock that is about to collapse. Informational asymmetry, at least the belief in it, is what allows a market to exist.

What the HFT guys are up to is two things. One is they can process news that impacts share prices faster than any human. The algos can grind through a mountain of data by the time humans traders have buttered their toast. Bake in the right assumptions about how the humans will react to particular data and your algorithm will make perfect trades before anyone else in the market. Selling a stock that is about to drop 10% saves millions. Buying just as it heads up 10% and you make millions.

That’s the boy scout approach. The big boys like to play dirty. Here’s how. Let’s say there are 20,000 shares for sale at $10.00 and 10,000 shares for sale at $11.00. A buyer can have all 20,000 shares at $10.00. If you’re the guy looking to sell at $11.00, you may be willing to sell at $10.00 if you think there are no takers at $11.00. You can drop the price, but you still stand in line behind the guy selling at $10.00 until those shares are sold. That’s how it works. No line cutting.

The HFT guys beat this system by exploiting the relatively low cost to cancel. They can put sell orders out at $10 and see if demand is strong. They can cancel those sell orders, thus making the bit of the line in front of the $11 sell orders disappear. Humans can’t play this game, but robots are very good at it. In fact, cancel orders have rocketed up as more and more algorithms have sprung up in finance. Getting ten cents more per share may seem like peanuts, but not when you’re moving tens of million of shares.

The thing is, this is neither new or unexpected. A great book to read for anyone interested in the financial markets is called The Money Game, written fifty years ago. The author was a market insider when that meant something. He predicted the rise of machines in trading and the rise of crooks using machines to get an edge. Mencken, I think, said there are no new ideas, just new ways of saying them. That’s true of the HFT scams. It is just another way for sharps to fleece the squares.