Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Election Night Links

  • Metformin is a cheap, safe, and amazing drug that can often treat diabetes without the need for external insulin. Its mode of action is to reduce blood glucose levels, restoring insulin sensitivity. Metformin is so effective at what it does that many anti-aging researchers and Silicon Valley health optimizers without diabetes take it daily for its health benefits. Normally, diabetics have a huge increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and other bad health outcomes. However, diabetics treated with metformin had overall lower mortality than non-diabetics! Metformin's effect on blood glucose makes it similar in its effects to fasting, but in the painless form of a pill.  Metformin, by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar, can also make traditional dieting more effective and tolerable - more stable blood sugar means less hunger when cutting calories. One study showed huge decreases in BMI in metabolic syndrome patients. [The Tom File]
  • Last fall I heard a lot of people saying there was no point in voting, that Virginia demographic changes condemned it to permanent blue status, that McAuliffe would pull off massive fraud, that Youngkin was just as bad. I understand why they said it. But it wasn’t true. The Democrat had promised vaccine passports and employer mandates. Youngkin immediately revoked existing mandates for state employees and college students. He revoked the K-12 mask mandate and every other restrictive Covid measure. He is refusing to implement CDC vax schedule. An election integrity unit was formed in the AG’s office. The unit has already filed charges against corrupt county election officials. He kicked people off the parole board who were notorious for letting dangerous criminals out onto the streets. We now have an AG who can file state charges when Soros-backed local DAs refuse to. The universities have new boards of visitors that are against removing statues of Jefferson and many other great men of history. He made them freeze tuition prices for Virginia students. He trashed the previous administration’s school transgender policies that led to a girl being raped in Loudoun. Virginia schoolchildren are much safer now. He did all of this without even controlling the legislature. The best part though is that Virginians now have a governor that doesn’t actively try to hurt them and make their lives miserable. He is willing to listen to what the people want. It’s a huge psychic relief. The naysayers were wrong, it was a victory worth winning and it took the boot off our necks. We are now playing offense. Winning elections is not the solution alone, it will take more than that, but it is part of what has to be done and it’s the most proximate way to punch back. We won some great primary victories this year, there has never been a better slate of Republican candidates. If these candidates don’t win, we will go right back to the stale old Romney Republicans of the past. The system is not on the verge collapse, an armed revolution isn’t coming, you will not escape decline by moving to the sticks — this is it, this is the game. [Dr. Benjamin Braddock]
  • The Weimar dynamic is a simple one. The left and right polarize; the middle collapses; inflation takes off, unnerving everyone and discrediting government; and at some point, as liberal democracy breaks down, voters are asked to choose between the extreme left or the extreme right. What Biden has done, by showing that even an alleged moderate like him is just a vehicle for the extreme left, is accelerate the moment when we are faced with that horrible choice. And if that is the choice, I have little doubt that Americans will pick the far right. We’ll have a premonition of this next Tuesday. [Andrew Sullivan]
  • Scarcity impels prioritization and choice. America evidently cannot continue its current material support to Ukraine and maintain a credible deterrent against Chinese aggression. Although it may be impolitic, denying Chinese aggression in Asia is vastly more important to America than the outcome of the Ukraine war. This is for many of the same reasons consecutive administrations have (at least rhetorically) prioritized China: it is the only state with the capability and intent to aspire to hegemony over a key region. With even a “soft imperial control” over half of the global economy, Americans’ concrete interests—physical security, economic prosperity, and political freedoms—would be jeopardized. Russia, even in the unlikely event that it subjugates Ukraine, no longer poses this type of hegemonic threat. This is the clear choice with which U.S. strategists must reckon: continue arming Ukraine ad infinitum or husband their scarce resources to forestall the manifest danger of Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific. Washington cannot do both. [link]
  • At the risk of becoming an all gorge all the time blog, today I want to give a shout to Gabe’s Deschutes River tour. Last post I mentioned how a ride in the Gorge is more about getting away from it all, while the Coast is more touristy. This ride really captures that difference. It is 50 miles of solitude and nowhere. And you know from Gabe’s opening description where it’s going. “It was mostly downhill and only 50 miles in 3 days, how hard could it be?” Haha. Yeah, been there. As soon as I read that I was hooked. The fun thing about the ride is the portage in the middle. Gabe’s journal is understated and circumspect, he makes you read between the lines: “Hey! Made it across the first missing trestle death canyon!” and “It took us nearly 8 hours to traverse 5 miles of trails I would have been scared to hike on.” Well, I guess in the interest of full disclosure I should share Shannon’s account. According to Shannon it was “a totally non-existent trail with six canyon-crossing trestles washed out. Loaded down with touring gear, we got our butts served to us.” But don’t let that deter you. Seriously. If you want to get away from it all, that portage is the type of thing that separates travelers from tourists. One man’s missing trestle is another man’s traffic calming device. [portlandsagwagon]
  • The trick to cooking calçots, a special Catalan spring onion, is simple: a good charcoal grill. The heat from the glowing embers is crucial to creating the perfectly scorched exterior (the black outer skin is then peeled away, leaving the tender and juicy inner bulb). Fire and smoke – along with exceptionally fresh green onions – are really the only ingredients here. The popular ritual of the calçotada, in which families and friends gather together with the sole purpose of eating calçots, traditionally takes place between the months of November and April, the peak season of this special green onion. For particularly large celebrations, groups crowd around an open barbecue, with sarmientos, or vine shoots, creating the perfect flame to blister the onions just so. The white inside of the calçot, which is more delicate than the traditional green onion, is then dipped in salsa romesco, a special sauce made from dried red peppers, nuts (usually hazelnuts and almonds), garlic, vinegar and olive oil. [link]
  • Turner's sectionalism essays are collected in The Significance of Sections in American History, which won the Pulitzer Prize in Historyin 1933. Turner's sectionalism thesis had almost as much influence among historians as his frontier thesis, but never became widely known to the general public as did the frontier thesis. He argued that different ethnocultural groups had distinct settlement patterns, and this revealed itself in politics, economics and society. [Frederick Jackson Turner]
  • If PMI succeeds in capturing Swedish Match, it will be a huge boon to its efforts to transition away from cigarettes towards so-called next-generation products as part of its pledge to “unsmoke the world”. PMI will not only add Swedish Match’s hugely successful Zyn product, which has more than a 60 per cent share of the US nicotine pouch market, to its portfolio but it will also be able to use the product’s retail distribution channels to sell its IQOS heated tobacco sticks throughout the US. [FT]
  • As an anti-inflammatory alkaloid, nicotine plays dual roles in treating diseases. Here we reviewed the anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory effects of nicotine on inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, sepsis, endotoxemia, myocarditis, oral/skin/muscle inflammation, etc., mainly concerning the administration methods, different models, therapeutic concentration and duration, and relevant organs and tissues. According to the data analysis from recent studies in the past 20 years, nicotine exerts much more anti-inflammatory effects than pro-inflammatory ones, especially in ulcerative colitis, arthritis, sepsis, and endotoxemia. On the other hand, in oral inflammation, nicotine promotes and aggravates some diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis, especially when there are harmful microorganisms in the oral cavity. We also carefully analyzed the nicotine dosage to determine its safe and effective range. Furthermore, we summarized the molecular mechanism of nicotine in these inflammatory diseases through regulating immune cells, immune factors, and the vagus and acetylcholinergic anti-inflammatory pathways. By balancing the “beneficial” and “harmful” effects of nicotine, it is meaningful to explore the effective medical value of nicotine and open up new horizons for remedying acute and chronic inflammation in humans. [Frontiers in Immunology]
  • As in other fields of medicine, it appears that there may be a role for both repurposed generic medications as well as newly developed, targeted therapies. For example, in the field of obesity medicine, new agents (e.g., semaglutide) are used alongside repurposed generic medications, such as topiramate and bupropion, and even concurrently in the same patients. Previous studies have suggested that metformin improved the sustained virologic response of antiviral drugs against hepatitis C. The proposed mechanisms of action against Covid-19 for metformin include antiinflammatory and antiviral activity and the prevention of hyperglycemia during acute illness. Further investigation is needed to determine whether any of these proposed mechanisms has any clinically meaningful activity in the treatment of Covid-19. [NEJM
  • Mucus secretion clearance is a defense mechanism used by the lung to protect itself from pathogens and particles present in the inhaled air. Mucus traps pathogens and particles in inhaled air, and is usually cleared from the lungs and airways by airflow and ciliary hairs. Impaired mucous clearance results in abnormal lung function. Mucus is a viscoelastic gel-like substance and consists of glycoproteins known as mucins, mixed with other proteins, lipids and water. In healthy individuals, mucus has low viscosity and elasticity and is easily cleared, however in certain lung diseases the mucus has higher viscosity and elasticity and is not easily cleared. Pharmacologic treatments for impaired mucous secretion clearance include agents such as isotonic saline, hypertonic saline, dornase alpha, and acetylcysteine (also known as N-acetylcysteine [NAC]). NAC hydrolyzes the disulfide bonds of mucus proteins to decrease mucus viscosity, thereby facilitating its clearance. NAC is used as a treatment option in various conditions in which there are problems with clearance of lung mucosal secretions (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], chronic bronchitis, and intubated or post-operative patients). [NLM]
  • Yet there is another aspect of the Musk takeover that has little to do with free speech or even ideology—although it has a great deal to do with the class interests of Big Tech censors. As a recession looms, Silicon Valley is shedding the non-essential workers it acquired when unlimited venture funding made turning a profit an afterthought. Musk happens to have taken the helm at Twitter just as this reality is asserting itself. In this sense, the revolt against his leadership is the last stand of a cohort of activist hangers-on who are about to find themselves unemployed. Musk paid $44 billion to acquire Twitter, and all indications are that the platform isn’t worth anything close to that. Once he got access to the company’s finances, the Tesla boss realized it was losing millions of dollars every day, and that many of its employees weren’t doing much work at all. So he proceeded to do what most executives would do in this situation: He laid off some of his workers. [Compact Mag]
  • He didn't spend those Bitcoins because the value of Bitcoins is mostly illusory. It's not just this particular Bitcoin billionaire that leads an oddly un-billionaire-like existence. All of them do, whether SBF or CZ or who have you. It's not a coincidence. You cannot buy many goods or services directly with Bitcoins, even 14 years after they were created, because they are a terrible currency. You cannot exchange much of those Bitcoins for fiat currency without collapsing the price, because nearly all of the volume you see on Bitcoin exchanges are wash trades and / or against stablecoins with questionable fiat backing. The order books also can be frontrun and therefore are meaningless. The real fiat liquidity in the system proves to be tiny anytime any large fiat liquidation actually happens. People are so conditioned by well-regulated markets that their intuitions betray them when they encounter the opaque and unregulated markets in crypto. The numbers you see in crypto -- prices, volumes, order books, liquidity, leverage -- simply don't have the same meanings as those in other markets. Market cap style calculations always have to take slippage into account, but the slippage in crypto to fiat is enormous in any serious volume. [MR]

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