Monday, November 11, 2019

November 11th Links

  • According to many plant-eating enthusiasts, we must eat fibre to be healthy for the following reasons. (Note: These are not the only arguments people make for eating fibre. These are only reasons related to butyrate.) Fibre is the only way to get butyrate. Butyrate prevents colon cancer. Butyrate in the colon treats colitis. Butyrate is the preferred fuel of the colonocyte, therefore it is essential. Without butyrate your colon cells will die off. Of the above statements, only one of them seems well-justified to me, but it also seems irrelevant. Let's start from the end. [Ketotic]
  • Cleave and Yudkin postulated that excessive dietary fermentable carbohydrate intake led—in the absence of dental interventions such as fluorides—first to dental diseases and then to systemic diseases. Under this hypothesis, dental and systemic diseases shared—as a common cause—a diet of excess fermentable carbohydrates. Dental diseases were regarded as an alarm bell for future systemic diseases, and restricting carbohydrate intake prevented both dental and systemic diseases. On the opposite side, Keys postulated the lipid hypothesis: that excessive dietary lipid intake caused systemic diseases. Keys advocated a diet high in fermentable carbohydrate for the benefit of general health, and dental diseases became regarded as local dietary side effects. Because general health takes precedence over dental health when it comes to dietary recommendations, dental diseases became viewed as local infections; interventions such as fluorides, sealants, oral hygiene, antimicrobials, and dental fillings became synonymous with maintaining dental health, and carbohydrates were no longer considered as a common cause for dental-systemic diseases. [Ketotic]
  • We take special care to say how each reference relates to our claims. This avoids a problem we've seen in popular writing on science topics, where the author writes a long text with a lot of claims in it, and then follows it with a bunch of references to scientific publications. This immediately gives the impression that there is a plethora of scientific evidence supporting the author's claims, but this appearance can be deceptive. You can't easily figure out which parts of the cited paper support which part of the author's argument, nor can anyone else. It is distressingly common, in our experience, that some of the cited papers do not actually support the claims at all. [Ketotic]
  • An integral part of our strategy against Blackbird was to engage our community to help us locate prior art that we could use to invalidate all of Blackbird's patents. One of the most powerful legal arguments against the validity of a patent is that the invention claimed in the patent was already known or made public somewhere else ("prior art"). A collection of prior art on all the Blackbird patents could be used by anyone facing a lawsuit from Blackbird to defend themselves. The existence of an organized and accessible library of prior art would diminish the overall value of the Blackbird patent portfolio. That sort of risk to the patent portfolio was the kind of thing that would nudge the incentive structure in the other direction. [link]
  • In 1886, two 23 year-old-men, Paul Héroult in France and Charles Martin Hall in the United States, invented an electrolytic process to produce aluminium. The so-called "aluminium twins" present a bunch of similarities: they were born the same year, 1863, they died the same year, 1914, they filed their patents the same year, 1886. At the age of 15, they had both read famous Henri Sainte-Claire Deville's book about aluminium and they had the same passion for discovering a process to convert aluminium from a precious metal to a cheap one. Both of them worked to set up their process at an industrial scale, Charles Martin Hall for the Pittsburgh Reduction Company (the future Alcoa) and Paul Héroult at the Société Électro-Métallurgique Française (SEMF), one of the ancestors of the Pechiney Group. [link]
  • I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights. [link]
  • This is probably why we see modern economies "wobble" between inflationary growth and deflationary crashes from time to time-- the central bankers are essentially playing a big game of chicken where they veer from one risk to the other, not quite going all the way. The economy almost "overheated" in 2007/2008, so they engineered a crash... the crash was devastating so they engineered a reflation with quantitative easing. At no point has the system been "allowed" to fully experience one extreme or the other, either a hyperinflation and monetary reset, or a full liquidation of bad investments during a crash with an economic/financial reset. Every time they play chicken, they undermine the real economy even more. [CBS]
  • "Compare that to say, buying a stake in one of those single-plane entities that has a single A380 in Dubai." LOL, my brother has stake in one of those with I think an A380 with Singapore airlines. The problem is not with the lease, the problem is that this airplane is a dog and once the lease is over, the residual value may be close to zero. Investors get a return of capital in the high single digits (7-8%) for 10 year or thereabouts term, but the total return very much depends on the residual value of the plane. [CoBF]
  • The first problem for traditional passive indexing is that a market-cap weighted methodology gives a greater allocation to an individual equity the more overvalued it is and a smaller allocation the more undervalued it is. In other words, it systematically does the opposite of what a value investor like Warren Buffett attempts to do in limiting risk and maximizing return through valuation. As Rob Arnott recently put it, passive investors are "chasing growth" (and abandoning value) via this methodology even if they don't know it. [Felder]
  • What is now apparent is that bitcoin was never a monetary phenomenon. No, bitcoin is a new sort of financial betting game. It is a digital, global, highly-secure, and fairer version of the old-fashioned chain letter. The premise behind bitcoin-the-game is that the current wave of buyers must guess when (or if) a subsequent wave of buyers will emerge, this second next wave's participation being contingent on when (or if) they believe a third wave of buyers to emerge. If they guess right, the early birds win at the expense of the late ones. And they can win a lot of money, as Coinbase points out in its post. [link]
  • In response to Mises's claim of the impossibility of central planning, some then ask "well, if central planning was impossible, why did it last so long?" The answer can be found in the fact that even in a centrally planned state, capital does not simply vanish overnight. The soviet planners were not starting with nothing. They had the accumulated capital of centuries of savings and investment by Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Poles, and others under their control. [Mises]
  • We identify – and attempt to explain – nine influenza conundrums: (1) Why is influenza both seasonal and ubiquitous and where is the virus between epidemics? (2) Why are the epidemics so explosive? (3) Why do they end so abruptly? (4) What explains the frequent coincidental timing of epidemics in countries of similar latitude? (5) Why is the serial interval obscure? (6) Why is the secondary attack rate so low? (7) Why did epidemics in previous ages spread so rapidly, despite the lack of modern transport? (8) Why does experimental inoculation of seronegative humans fail to cause illness in all the volunteers? (9) Why has influenza mortality of the aged not declined as their vaccination rates increased? We review recent discoveries about vitamin D's effects on innate immunity, human studies attempting sick-to-well transmission, naturalistic reports of human transmission, studies of serial interval, secondary attack rates, and relevant animal studies. We hypothesize that two factors explain the nine conundrums: vitamin D's seasonal and population effects on innate immunity, and the presence of a subpopulation of "good infectors." [Virology]

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