Monday, February 18, 2019

President's Day Links

  • Molycorp provides a helpful framework for thinking through treatment of administrative claims in the range of Chapter 11 cases. It also serves as a warning to lender's counsel, as Oaktree's counsel appears to have believed that any fee objection to Paul Hastings' application would be upheld and Oaktree neglected to require a cap on the firm's fees in either the settlement agreement or in the plan itself. By neglecting to obtain Paul Hastings' express consent in the settlement or at plan confirmation, Oaktree's lawyers doomed its objection. [link]
  • Linoleic acid (LA) is a bioactive fatty acid with diverse effects on human physiology and pathophysiology. LA is a major dietary fatty acid, and also one of the most abundant fatty acids in adipose tissue, where its concentration reflects dietary intake. Over the last half century in the United States, dietary LA intake has greatly increased as dietary fat sources have shifted toward polyunsaturated seed oils such as soybean oil. We have conducted a systematic literature review of studies reporting the concentration of LA in subcutaneous adipose tissue of US cohorts. Our results indicate that adipose tissue LA has increased by 136% over the last half century and that this increase is highly correlated with an increase in dietary LA intake over the same period of time. [link]
  • [T]he patient began on some but not all of the system: (1) she eliminated all simple carbohydrates, leading to a weight loss of 20 pounds; (2) she eliminated gluten and processed food from her diet, and increased vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish; (3) in order to reduce stress, she began yoga, and ultimately became a yoga instructor; (4) as a second measure to reduce the stress of her job, she began to meditate for 20 minutes twice per day; (5) she took melatonin 0.5mg po qhs; (6) she increased her sleep from 4-5 hours per night to 7-8 hours per night; (7) she took methylcobalamin 1mg each day; (8) she took vitamin D3 2000IU each day; (9) she took fish oil 2000mg each day; (10) she took CoQ10 200mg each day; (11) she optimized her oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush; (12) following discussion with her primary care provider, she reinstated HRT (hormone replacement therapy) that had been discontinued following the WHI report in 2002; (13) she fasted for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime; (14) she exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-6 days per week. [NLM]
  • While it is acknowledged that the DSM-IV is not a nosology based on etiology, the implicit premise of the chemical imbalance perspective is that certain DSM-IV -defined " disorders" are lacking a given neurotransmitter in a particular part of the brain that is somehow related to the disorder. In the gray area are expansions of the basic illness with so-called spectrum disorders. Presumably, there is a genetic or biological link that explains the usefulness of certain medications across the entire spectrum of the related disorders. The weakness of this formulation is that medications such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are proving efficacious in so many Axis I and Axis II disorders that to consider all of these forms of misery as part of the same biological spectrum is stretching credulity. Occam's razor demands a more parsimonious approach. I would argue that there are certain psychological effects of medications that make them useful in a variety of DSM-IV -defined disorders not because they are necessarily correcting a chemical imbalance, but because the psychological effect is useful. Rat pups that are isolated from their mother and littermates produce ultrasonic sounds that are indicative of stress. SSRIs reduce these sounds (Oliver, 1994). Is a chemical imbalance being corrected? I doubt it. [Psychiatric Times]
  • The forge is designed to use raw wood as a fuel but it is actually the partially combusted wood--charcoal--that supplies the intense heat as it completes combustion. You can make the charcoal ahead, or do as we do and just use raw wood. [link]
  • I also introduced an intermediate category between constant flux and permanent stasis: the symbiosis, a term I borrowed from the great evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis. I hypothesized that pretty much any object will experience five or six symbioses during its lifespan: irreversible changes that moves the object to a new stage of existence before it eventually stabilizes, rises, declines, and dies. This has some interesting corollaries. One of the ways we can be sure that the Dutch East India Company is a real object is because it has many early failures: a failure, as long as it does not destroy us, means that we are something real that does not yet fit easily into our environment. Something that immediately succeeds, by contrast, is often just a spare part for something that already exists perfectly well. Notice that important intellectuals often had a very rough time as students, while the "teacher's pet" often has a thoroughly mediocre post-school career. I think the symbiosis model is a powerful tool, one that –among other things– allows us to determine that a great number of supposed objects aren't real objects at all. [Hong Kong Review of Books]
  • At 8:22 a.m., the divers raised Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc "Tan" Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Connecticut. He was found beneath a television, though the divers assessed that he had not been trapped there. [link]
  • The allegedly-firm aircraft order from Emirates was set to keep the A380 production line open until 2029. By then, Airbus hopes gate congestion may make planes like the A380 capable of carrying massive amounts of passengers more desirable. Airbus claims, 80 percent of today's 58 megacities with more than 50,000 long-haul travelers a day already have significant airport congestion. By 2036 there will be 95 such megacity hubs, presumably with congestion issues as well. Not surprisingly, the Airbus exec tasked with marketing the A380, Frank Vermiere, says the cure for such congestion is having the A380 fly to such gate-limited destinations. [Forbes]
  • "They have his soul, who have his bonds," observed Jonathan Swift. This has been truth for thousands of years, and it still is truth today. How could any creditor hold anything of such value, if my bonds that I sold him are essentially worthless, and I can simply print more dollars to pay my debts when I have the need? This is something fundamental to money and debt, though I've come to increasingly understand that it's not broadly understood. Debt is purchased by someone with money, and that someone purchases that debt only if he believes that value will be derived by the purchase. [American Thinker]
  • I've got a few hundred photos of vacant lots where homes and businesses used to be. The vestiges of steps, curb cuts, and garden retaining walls still linger as a reminder that people used to live here. How long do you think it takes for an oak tree to grow in the middle of a driveway? How long ago do you think the buildings remained empty and rotting before they disappeared entirely? How long before that do you think the buildings limped along in a halfway habitable condition? Notice the grass is cut. That's part of a city policy that fines property owners if the vegetation is more than six inches high. Glad they're on top of that. We wouldn't want things looking seedy now would we? We need to keep up appearances. Scattered throughout the neighborhood are remnants of what used to be here. Grand buildings once dominated the landscape. Poor people didn't build these homes and churches. Somehow a few have persisted against all odds. They're magnificent. [Granola Shotgun]
  • You might think that the proposed State of Jefferson might solve problems for people like my neighbor – or myself – looking for lebensraum. But it's not that simple. I have friends in a distant county who own a 31 acre parcel in rolling hill country. Their neighbors are continually at war with them over every imaginable perceived slight and incursion. It appears that the people who self select in to a remote lifestyle far from the unwashed masses of city folk are hyper sensitive to just about everything anyone ever does anywhere near them. No amount of physical space can solve that dilemma. [Granola Shotgun]
  • Suppose that a dystopian science fiction novel published in the 1950s had imagined a city in which fabulously rich people lived in new gleaming towers, getting marijuana delivered to them by runners on electric skateboards. The rich people who work stroll on sidewalks that are half covered in tents in which the "homeless" (but not "tentless") reside. When they get to work they're in a bullpen that is packed tighter than a commodities trading pit. If they need to make a phone call while at work they'll duck into a soundproof transparent pod. People who read a book like that circa 1950 would have said "This author has a great imagination, but none of this could ever happen. Even in the Great Depression people didn't simply pitch tents on downtown sidewalks. And an employer wouldn't have valuable workers distracted by noise and crowding." [Phil G]
  • Los Angeles architect Tim Smith was sitting on a Hawaiian beach, reading through the latest building code, as one does, when he noticed that it classified wood treated with fire retardant as noncombustible. That made wood eligible, he realized, for a building category—originally known as "ordinary masonry construction" but long since amended to require only that outer walls be made entirely of noncombustible material—that allowed for five stories with sprinklers. [Bloomberg]
  • The waterproof breathable concept is not new, and in the late 1970's GoreTex waterproof breathable clothing appeared on the market. Today there are many iterations of waterproof breathable clothing, the most popular are GoreTex and the more breathable eVent, not to mention dozens of proprietary twists on the subject. I have quite a bit of experience with these and the bottom line is: A waterproof breathable jacket will leak in prolonged rain and you will get soaked on the inside from perspiration. [link]
  • There is this odd misnomer amongst generalists that a trade war is bad for shipping. Maybe it is bad for containerships (though rates have not seen much impact yet), but generally speaking, trade wars are good for shipping. How do US soybeans get to China? They get transported to Brazil, offloaded, reloaded and then transported to China as Brazilian beans. All of this means more ton-miles and more time tied up in port. Almost by definition, a trade war is going to be bullish. It disrupts existing trade routes that operate at maximum economic efficiency and instead inserts government mandated inefficiency. In the end, products will be shipped to where they’re needed—it will just involve more ton-miles and more idling in ports. As we enter the era of strongmen (as my friends at Capitalist Exploits have noted many times), I suspect that there will be more political grandstanding and less financial logic in terms of arbitrary trade restrictions and subsidies. This will almost always increase total ton-miles. An increase in ton-miles is bullish for shipping rates. Absolute quantities of GDP and global trade aren’t the metrics that are relevant. [AiC]
  • The two courts spent less than two pages describing a result that was obvious to them, but it took us two years of uncertainty and cost to get there. Federal court litigation doesn't make anything easy. Even if Blackbird had won the case, it is not clear they would have been able to collect significant damages. Our allegedly infringing use was not a product or feature that we charged for or made money from – it was essentially posting interstitial messages for various errors. Even though we were able to win this case early in the legal process and keep our costs as low as possible, it's possible we spent more money resolving this matter than Blackbird would have been able to collect from us after trial. This is the dysfunction that makes patent trolling possible. It is why the option for a quick settlement, in the short term, is always so appealing to parties sued by patent trolls. [link]
  • The basketball team quickly left to occupy an even larger more expensive $250 million publicly funded stadium down the road. There's a reason these projects get built. It's a big pie. Lots of important people get a slice: engineering firms, construction companies, concrete and steel suppliers, the banks that cobble together the financing packages and float the municipal bonds... And since the costs are widely distributed and stretched out over many years in a nebulous fashion well connected business leaders lobby hard for these silver bullet projects. They really do create jobs and generate economic activity in the short term. I never interpret these dynamics as corruption. It's human nature. Who doesn't want a big upfront bonus right now in exchange for some vague bill that will arrive years in the future – especially if you personally don't even live in the district that's responsible for the debt repayment schedule? [Granola Shotgun]
  • Lennar (LEN): As the lumber market dropped from $650 to $330 per 1,000 board feet in the fall of 2018, we aggressively renegotiated lumber pricing for our fourth quarter starts. We'll begin to see the benefits of these lower prices with deliveries in – late in the first quarter and receive the full benefit of this lower pricing in the second half of the year. [Cinnamond]
  • This study found that push-up capacity was inversely associated with 10-year risk of CVD events among men aged 21 to 66 years. Thus, push-up capacity, a simple, no-cost measure, may provide a surrogate estimate of functional status among middle-aged men. Participants able to perform 11 or more push-ups at baseline had significantly reduced risk of subsequent CVD events. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report the inverse relationship between push-up capacity at baseline and subsequent CVD-related outcomes in an occupationally active male cohort. Previous cross-sectional studies have incorporated push-ups in the assessment of muscular fitness and its correlation with cardiometabolic risk markers. In those studies, the authors found that a higher level of muscular strength was associated with lower cardiometabolic risk independent of cardiorespiratory fitness in the cohorts observed. Muscular strength has been shown to have an independent protective effect for all-cause mortality and hypertension in healthy males and is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome incidence and prevalence. [JAMA]

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