Monday, January 23, 2023

Monday Night Links

  • In the October 2022 version of the FAA Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, the FAA quietly widened the EKG parameters beyond the normal range (from a PR max of .2 to unlimited). And they didn’t widen the range by a little. They widened it by a lot. It was done after the vaccine rollout. This is extraordinary. They did it hoping nobody would notice. It worked for a while. Nobody caught it. But you can’t hide these things for long. This is a tacit admission from the US government that the COVID vaccine has damaged the hearts of our pilots. Not just a few pilots. A lot of pilots and a lot of damage. The cardiac harm of course is not limited to pilots. My best guess right now is that over 50M Americans sustained some amount of heart damage from the shot. [Steve Kirsch]
  • I believe that monetary policy should continue to tighten, but using a comparison I employed in a speech a couple months ago, the view from the cockpit is very different at 30,000 feet than it is close to the ground. When the FOMC began raising the federal funds rate last spring from near zero, it made sense to move quickly. But after front-loading monetary policy tightening, with many unprecedented 75 basis point hikes in the federal funds rate target, by early December I believed the policy stance was slightly restrictive, and I supported a decision by the Committee to hike by a still considerable 50 basis points.2 To return to the airplane image, after climbing steeply and using monetary policy to significantly raise interest rates throughout the economy, it was apparent to me that it was time to slow, but not halt, the rate of ascent. And in keeping with this logic and based on the data in hand at this moment, there appears to be little turbulence ahead, so I currently favor a 25-basis point increase at the FOMC's next meeting at the end of this month. [Governor Christopher J. Waller]
  • Federal Reserve officials are preparing to slow interest-rate increases for the second straight meeting and debate how much higher to raise them after gaining more confidence inflation will ease further this year. [WSJ]
  • There are three categories of securities about which you will be asked to render a verdict on damages: (1) Tesla common stock, (2) Tesla convertible bonds, and (3) Tesla stock options. A stock option is a financial instrument that gives its buyer (known as the option holder) the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell stock at a predetermined price at or until a specified date and time in the future. The price of a stock option is primarily determined by two factors: the price of the stock at the time the option is purchased and the implied volatility of the stock. Implied volatility is the market’s forecast of a likely movement in a security’s price. You will be asked to determine the amount, if any, by which the prices for Tesla common stock and convertible bonds were artificially inflated by the misrepresentations on which you based your finding of a 10(b)-5 Claim for each day during the Class Period. You will also be asked to determine what the levels of implied volatility for each Tesla stock option would have been for each option maturity bought or sold during the Class Period “but for” the misrepresentations. Plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the misrepresentations caused a change to the implied volatility for each option maturity on each day of the Class Period. The Court will use your determinations of price inflation and implied volatility to calculate the damages suffered by Plaintiff and the Class in connection with purchases and sales of Tesla securities during the Class Period. [In Re Tesla Inc. Securities Litigation]
  • Cigarette smoke is a major risk factor for a number of diseases including lung cancer and respiratory infections. Paradoxically, it also contains nicotine, an anti-inflammatory alkaloid. There is increasing evidence that smokers have a lower incidence of some inflammatory diseases, including ulcerative colitis, and the protective effect involves the activation of a cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway that requires the a7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (a7nAChR) on immune cells. Obesity is characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation, which contributes to insulin resistance. Nicotine significantly improves glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in genetically obese and diet-induced obese mice, which is associated with suppressed adipose tissue inflammation. Inflammation that results in disruption of the epithelial barrier is a hallmark of inflammatory bowel disease, and nicotine is protective in ulcerative colitis. [link]
  • This is the elites’ plan. They think they can drive down wages by importing the Third World, while they maintain an opulent lifestyle in their own gated communities. If life becomes unbearable, they have bolt-holes prepared in places like New Zealand. Writers for the NYT and Guardian may believe that they belong to the elite, but they are useful idiots of the ultra-rich. Useful idiocy has become so commonplace that we are subject to the Lenin-Warhol Law: in the future, everybody will be somebody’s useful idiot for 15 minutes. [iSteve]
  • Despite the intense demand for drillships, contractors are cautious about reactivating the 15 or so ships that remain cold-stacked due to the last downturn. The reactivation process can take 12 to 18 months and cost more than $100 million, figures that have ballooned since the pandemic due to supply chain constraints and labor costs. Noble owns two such ships. “We would be very conservative in considering reactivation, and for now we would look to have a significant portion of that $100 million of capital paid upfront in a firm contract,” says Noble’s CEO, Mr. Eifler. “We wouldn’t spend that kind of money speculatively at this stage.” The CEOs of Transocean and Valaris recently made similar statements. Last July, Valaris announced a $327 million deal with Norwegian oil company Equinor ASA to deploy its drillship Valaris DS-17 for 540 days in a deep-water field off the coast of Brazil. Of the total, $86 million was paid upfront partly to cover the ship’s reactivation. [WSJ]
  • Covid-19 hit hard in 2020, especially for the old, vulnerable, and comorbid. In other words, Covid-19 took many of the most unhealthy from us in 2020. In principle, therefore, a smaller number unhealthy people might have been susceptible to Covid-19 in 2021 and 2022. High mortality years are often followed by low mortality years. After two successive high mortality years, the third year is even more likely to be low-mortality. For 2022 to be as bad, or somewhat worse, than 2020, is thus a big surprise. Last year’s milder Omicron variants make 2022’s stubbornly high mortality rate even more baffling. [link]
  • Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor–exposed men had a 25% lower incidence of overall mortality. Men without coronary artery disease (CAD) but with CV risk factors at baseline showed a similar pattern. In the main study cohort, men in the highest quartile of PDE-5i exposure had the lowest incidence of MACE and overall mortality vs the lowest exposure quartile. [link]
  • In April 2022, about the same time that Founders Fund sold out of most of its cryptocurrency holdings, Thiel said he was optimistic about the future of bitcoin. He told a cryptocurrency conference in Miami that “we’re at the end of the fiat money regime” and suggested its price — which was then trading at about $44,000 — could increase by a factor of 100. Thiel said JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and BlackRock boss Larry Fink “need to be allocating some of their money to bitcoin”, adding: “We need to push back on them.” [FT]
  • William Bullitt became a foreign correspondent in Europe and later a novelist. In 1926, he published It's Not Done, a satirical novel that lampooned the dying aristocracy of Chesterbridge (Philadelphia) and its life revolving around Rittenhouse Square. Denied a commission in the US Armed Forcesby Roosevelt, Bullitt joined the Free French Forces. Roosevelt suggested to Bullitt to run for Mayor of Philadelphia as a Democrat in 1943, but Roosevelt secretly told the Democratic leaders there, "Cut his throat." Bullitt was defeated. [William Christian Bullitt Jr.]
  • Postum was sometimes marketed by a cartoon ghost named Mister Coffee Nerves, who would appear in situations wherein people were shown in uncomfortable life situations (e.g., irritability, lack of sleep, lack of athletic prowess) due to their use of coffee and its negative effects. These cartoons always ended with the afflicted people switching to Postum and Mister Coffee Nerves fleeing until the next cartoon. [Wiki]
  • Now the value in all of this, and the purpose of this article, isn’t that ChatGPT is a genius, it’s not. It’s that it is a perfect simulation of a wordcel, a midwit, in that it manages to dress up questions that have simple (Low Grammar, as Patrick calls it) answers, with oodles of paragraphs of fluff. It does this absolutely convincingly. It acts like every snobby limousine liberal who went to an ivy league, talks a lot about diversity & equity, but has a trust fund and grew up in Connecticut. [Aristophanes Athenaeum]
  • It turns out that if you’ve written something that you find interesting, it is not unlikely that people you like will find it interesting too, and pass it on if you give them the chance. As you start routing information and putting out blog posts, you will begin to accumulate connections. Useful information will start to stream toward you, turning you into a small hub yourself. This will allow you to collect and curate information and route it back out, which will allow even more people to connect to you, in a flywheel that lets you do increasingly useful and good work. [Henrik Karlsson]
  • Scott finds that many hill people around the world have oral legends about how they once had writing, but no longer do. Of course this is exactly what we would expect if, contrary to the usual story, the hill people are not the ancestors of the valley people, but their descendants. Yet the question remains, why give up writing? Scott posits several benefits of illiteracy: one is just that the inability to write removes any temptation to keep written records of anything, and written records are the kind of thing that can be used against you by a tax collector or an army recruiter. [Mr. and Mrs. Psmith’s Bookshelf]
  • The project of Jewish autonomy in Crimea died for the final time in 1948. Both during the trial of Lozovsky and the trial which ultimately led to the Night of the Murdered Poets, the defendants were accused of "conspiring on how to fulfil the plan of American capitalist circles to create a Jewish state in Crimea." At the final plenum of the Central Committee during Stalin's lifetime, in October 1952, Stalin castigated Molotov for his support of the JAC plan, saying, "Molotov is a person devoted to our cause. If called to do so, I have no doubt he will unhesitatingly give his life for the party. But one cannot ignore his unworthy deeds [...] What is the value of Molotov's proposal to transfer Crimea to the Jews? This is comrade Molotov's grossest political mistake [...] On what basis did comrade Molotov make such a proposal? We have Jewish autonomy [in Birobidzhan]. Is that not enough? Let this republic develop. And comrade Molotov should not be a lawyer for illegal Jewish claims to our Soviet Crimea." [Wiki
  • To return to information overload: this means treating your "to read" pile like a river (a stream that flows past you, and from which you pluck a few choice items, here and there) instead of a bucket (which demands that you empty it). After all, you presumably don't feel overwhelmed by all the unread books in the British Library – and not because there aren't an overwhelming number of them, but because it never occurred to you that it might be your job to get through them all. Coming at life this way definitely entails tough choices. But it's liberating, too, as you slowly begin to grasp that you never had any other option. There's no point beating yourself up for failing to clear a backlog (of unread books, undone tasks, unrealized dreams) that it was always inherently unfeasible to clear in the first place. I like to think of it as the productivity technique to beat all productivity techniques: finally internalizing the implications of the fact that what's genuinely impossible – the clue is in the name! – cannot actually be done. [Oliver Burkeman]


Allan Folz said...

That PDE5 study seems legit. Huge sample size. Controls have ED, just didn't fill an Rx for a PDE5i. I reckon there's truth to men filling Rx's were in better relationships, so that's probably something too. Would/could it account for entirety of effect size? Not sure.

* exposure to PDE-5is was associated with significant and clinically meaningful lower incidence of MACE (by 13%), total mortality (by 25%) and CV mortality (by 39%)

25% reduction in all-cause mortality seems like a lot. Could you get that from just being happily married? Not sure.

39% reduction in CV mortality is definitely a lot. Could you get that from just being happily married? I'm doubtful. Seems way too much.

* men with the highest quartile of PDE-5i exposure had correspondingly greater reductions in MACE (by 55%) and overall mortality (by 49%) compared to the lowest quartile of PDE-5i use.

Dose-response is positive, which is important to see when evaluating whether studies like this have any value.

We really need to disentangle if causality is the PDE5 inhibition or general vasodilation, which is equivalent to extra NOx from L-citrulline. It occurred to me nitroglycerin tabs work similarly as L-cit for putting NOx into the bloodstream. OTOH, you gotta be pretty sick to get a nitroglycerin Rx. Would be hard to extrapolate anything meaningful with that hanging all over the data.

CP said...

Increased occurrence in clinical practice and scientific reports in the literature suggest that the phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors are considered a risk factor for sudden deafness. Further studies with larger samples and control groups are needed for better assessing this association.