Month: May 2014

More on “Fed Up”, Sugar Subsidies, and Obesity

Sugar in Processed Foods

Sugar in Processed Foods – UCSF

I featured Fed Up, the documentary in theaters now, in this earlier post. I noted then that while the film reinforces the emerging consensus that excess sugar and other high-glycemic-index sweeteners and fillers added to foods by processors to make them taste good is the probable cause for the obesity epidemic, that the film manages to avoid tagging the government’s role in demonizing fat, minimizing protein needs, and encouraging production of corn syrup sweeteners which are now used in *most* processed foods we can buy. On one hand the government subsidizes poor quality food, and the same people in Congress who keep the Big Agribusiness campaign contributions rolling in by spending $billions on farm and processor subsidies are ignoring their role in the problem and calling for taxes on sugared soda and other symbolic actions to make it look like they are “doing something.” (And don’t get me started on gasohol, which creates more environmental damage than it saves and drives up costs for both food and fuel.)

Reason covers this angle.

The New York Times takes note in an editorial.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


For more on diet and weight loss:

Getting to Less Than 10% Body Fat Like the Models – Ask Me How!
Starbucks, Jamba Juice Make You Fat
Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat. Government Guidelines Did!
‘Fed Up’ Asks, Are All Calories Equal?
Fructose: The True Villain?
Another Study on Diet Drinks
LeBron James Cut Carbs for Lean Look
Why We’re Fat: In-Depth Studies Under Way
Almonds: Superfood, Eat Them Daily for Heart Health
Fish Oil Supplements Ward Off Dementia
More on Diet Drinks: Best Studies Show They Aid Weight Loss
Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Sugared Soft Drinks: Health Risk? (and What About Diet Soda?)
Gluten-Free Diets: The Nocebo Effect
Acidic Soft Drinks and Sodas: Demineralization Damages Teeth
Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health
Salt: New Research Says Too Little May Be Unhealthy
Bulletproof Coffee: Coffee, Oil, and Butter for Breakfast?

Audiobook of “Bad Boyfriends” Now Available…

Bad Boyfriends Audiobook Cover

Bad Boyfriends Audiobook

At Amazon here. There’s a special deal for new Audible users: free if you start a free trial of the Audible subscription service.

You can special order the print edition through any bookstore. Online, the ebooks and print versions are still at these links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia

Barnes and Noble trade paperback

More on Avoidant and Bad Boyfriends:

Press Kit: The Long Bio


Putting together a press kit (which saves time when contacting bookstores and the like.) Converted the short bio used in the book to first person and added some of the colorful details:

I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, child of a schizophrenic father and a hardworking single mother. In high school, I was written up by the local newspaper for my perfect record on math tests. When I was selected for a student question panel for a book tour lecture by Jonas Salk, I asked Dr. Salk why he had written a book of strained analogies and unsupported assertions (Man Unfolding.) I won a variety of awards, including the ACS award for best chemistry student in the city.

I studied astronomy and computer and cognitive science at MIT. My advisor was earth scientist Frank Press, Jimmy Carter’s science advisor at the time. TA’d and wrote exams for Planetary Physics and Chemistry. Studied with Hal Abelson (co-inventor of Logo and Scheme) and wrote a Scheme (Lisp) interpreter for 8080 machines, a notable feat because of memory size limitations. Short-term jobs at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Short-Lived Phenomena and Electromagnetic Launch Research under Henry Kolm, who was revealed much later to have been the intelligence officer who ran Project Paperclip to secretly bring Nazi rocket scientists to the US.

At Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) Labs, member of the team developing a multiprocessor testbed for AI applications as part of the Strategic Computing Initiative under DARPA. Ray Tomlinson, who chose ‘@’ as the email separator when designing the first internetwork email system, worked down the hall. Wrote Multilisp manual, found multiprocessor garbage collection bugs that no previous machine had seen. Moved to Symbolics and started work on their parallel processor, but but funding setbacks ended that project. After a short stint in grad school, moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada to start a software company.

In Vancouver, started a land development project on a nearby island and subdivided despite fierce political opposition. Gained experience in logging, road-building, and water and sewer systems. On the island’s Water and Waste Subcommittee for the new Community Plan. Stayed five years and became a landed immigrant, but decided to return to the US.

Software work included programs modeling the behavior of simulated stock traders using genetic algorithms and participation in the design work for Apple’s Dylan, a new object-oriented language (scrapped before release.)

Moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to start a family office for a Stanford professor (an old MIT friend) whose company had gone public, making him suddenly wealthy. Managed a large portfolio and timed sales of company stock to diversify. Woke up one morning to see the World Trade Center in flames and the market closed; advised client not to sell when the market reopened. Retired some years later when I faced the choice of starting a much larger hedge fund or starting a new career (again.)

Happily married and retired to Palm Springs now, I write to explain how things really work.

View Marriage as a Private Contract?

Dog Wedding

Dog Wedding – Shutterstock

Marriages happened long before government took notice and wrote laws about them, then set up family courts to deal with them specially. Now the special status of the married is embedded in thousands of well-meaning laws covering taxation, benefits, inheritance, and child custody. Starting 20 years ago, same-sex couples quite reasonably demanded to be included, since most of the trappings of marriage had little to do with procreation (and same-sex couples now head many families with children.) We’ve just seen the public flip to majority support for this fairness position, and not surprisingly legislatures and courts are following.

Reason’s Scott Shackford has a story about this which is worth a read, ending with this thoughtful question:

Well, there’s this: Every time a ruling like this happens, there’s a dozen comments or so about getting the government out of marriage entirely. While I think that’s a great goal for creating an equal playing field in areas like government entitlements and taxation, I still have deep fears our court system won’t know how to deal with legal family conflicts.

When a federal judge in Oklahoma struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage recognition, a conservative state legislator named Mike Turner said he was going to craft a bill eliminating government marriage in Oklahoma entirely. After the quick rush of initial, extremely superficial stories, I attempted to get in touch with him to delve deeper into the proposal to see if he had researched or thought about all the things the state would need to change if it were to end official marriage licensing. Unfortunately, he declined to speak further on the matter, leaving some coverage to characterize his actions as some sort of “cut off his nose to spite his face” act of retribution.

Who knows—they may be right about Turner, but that doesn’t mean other efforts to divorce marriage from the government are about denying people the right to freely associate. From the libertarian perspective, it’s the opposite. The government is the barrier, not the liberator. So a thought exercise: Presume that we can’t just eliminate marriage licenses entirely, as much as we might want to. The good news in these gay marriage rulings is that judges are pointing out that the state doesn’t really have an actual stake in using marriage incentives to further breeding (and isn’t handing marriage licenses out based on the concept anyway). What actually can or should be done next to further reduce government involvement in our family composition choices?

Let’s suppose (as I proposed here) the states opened up marriage as a private contract and truly respected the couple’s intentions on entrance into marriage. The states might retain family courts but allow marriage contracts to invoke binding arbitration (which would be far cheaper and faster, because like all services run by government, cost, speed, and innovation are not valued by court systems, so they are unmanageably slow and expensive for settling small matters.) The state’s family court would be invoked only when the parties had failed to make proper preparations (as is true of Probate Courts, now often circumvented by efficient trusts.) The state could outline the minimum requirements for a contract to qualify as “marriage” for legal purposes (to prevent abusive or sham marriage contracts) and set out several model contracts (which would make adjudicating disputes under them simpler by providing the most common options which would then have a large body of previous decisions to examine.) Many people would thus be able to avoid the costly and expensive lawyers now required in adversarial disputes over custody and property.

This reform would be fairer to everyone and reduce the enormous damage divorce causes, as it is now practiced. Be sure that any state that tried to move toward such a reform would find a large number of entrenched interests (lawyers, politicians) trying to block it.

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)