Thursday, January 5, 2023

Thursday Night Links

  • Extensive antibody profiling and T-cell responses in the individuals who developed postvaccine myocarditis were essentially indistinguishable from those of vaccinated control subjects, despite a modest increase in cytokine production. A notable finding was that markedly elevated levels of full-length spike protein (33.9±22.4 pg/mL), unbound by antibodies, were detected in the plasma of individuals with postvaccine myocarditis, whereas no free spike was detected in asymptomatic vaccinated control subjects (unpaired t test; P<0.0001). Immunoprofiling of vaccinated adolescents and young adults revealed that the mRNA vaccine–induced immune responses did not differ between individuals who developed myocarditis and individuals who did not. However, free spike antigen was detected in the blood of adolescents and young adults who developed post-mRNA vaccine myocarditis, advancing insight into its potential underlying cause. [Circulation]
  • Barnes & Noble is flourishing. After a long decline, the company is profitable and growing again—and last week announced plans to open 30 new stores. In some instances, they are taking over locations where Amazon tried (and failed) to operate bookstores. Amazon seems invincible. So the idea that Barnes & Noble can succeed where its much larger competitor failed is hard to believe. But the turnaround at B&N is real. In many instances they have already re-opened in locations where they previously shut down. [Ted Gioia]
  • Yet for extracurriculars, you are not supposed to connect those to your career plans, as “nerds” do. You must instead do something with no practical value, but that is prestigious. Like varsity athletes in lacrosse or crew, sports that are too expensive for ordinary folks to pursue. Excess interest in ideas marks you as a “boring” “tool”. [Overcoming Bias]
  • This post updates our value spread with data through the end of 2022. The fourth quarter of 2022 saw value recover from the bout of temporary insanity that gripped some portion of the market over the summer, but the spread ends 2022 very much still in rarified territory – at the 94th percentile, to be precise. More excitingly for 2023, value’s returns in 2022 were extremely strong, and the spread only moved from roughly the 100th percentile to the 94th, which makes us very optimistic about the prospects of continued normalization in 2023 and beyond. [Cliff Asness]
  • This endogenously produced molecule is a broad-spectrum antiviral agent that has shown efficacy in reducing the severity of COVID-19. Yet, the idea of its use has not generated any desirable interest at the governmental or pharmaceutical level. Meanwhile, numerous potentially toxic and expensive repurposed drugs have been espoused or used as clinical treatments, e.g., colchicine, glucocorticoids, remdesivir, and many others. [Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences]
  • If you don’t want a torpid metabolism, you have to stack the deck so that VDR can outcompete PPARy. The first step is to avoid consuming PUFA.  Less PUFA around means less oxidized PUFA. That lowers the amount of the ligand of PPARy. The second step is to get vitamin D!  This means getting some serious sun exposure when you have the opportunity in the summer months and you should consider a high quality vitamin D supplement in the winter. Get your desaturase index (DI)  tested. The OmegaQuant complete test will give you an idea of your SCD1 levels based on the ratio of stearic acid to oleic acid. Just divide stearic by oleic. This is called the DI18. [Fire in a Bottle]
  • I have argued that saturated fat, alcohol, starch and sugar are all either burned immediately or stored by the body as a mixed of saturated fat and mono-unsaturated fat. I have also argued that the primary regulator of body fatness is the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats. Looked at from this lens, the diets of France and Nanan are essentially the same. The entire diet can be stored as saturated fat, which doesn’t affect organism level energy balance. The Kuwait diet, on the other hand, is high in polyunsaturated fats. The body can’t saturate them, it can only store them as is. Therefore, the high consumption of polyunsaturated fats seen in the Kuwait diet DOES effect organism level energy balance. That is why the French in 1970 and the Chinese in 1983 were slim and the Kuwaitis of today are not. [Fire in a Bottle]
  • The central tenet of the croissant diet is that a primary regulator of whole body energy flux is the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat. The secondary tenet is that starch is a great delivery vehicle for saturated fat. Corollary: It’s the PUFA, stupid. Probably also the MUFA. Replacing PUFA and MUFA with SFA can go a long way towards fixing one’s metabolism. [Fire in a Bottle]
  • Why do I recommend butter as the basis of the diet and not something even more saturated than that, such as cocoa butter, wild elk backfat or Cocoa Butter? The obvious reason is that butter is what you make croissants out of! But more importantly, butter has a lot of advantages as a dietary staple over the others. Butter provides a lot of fat soluble vitamins. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin K2. It is a decent source of vitamin E and is a source of vitamin D. The other fats high on the list have very little of these. Also, butter tastes better, but here’s the thing about that: the characteristic flavor of butter is provided by butyrate, a saturated fat that is only 4 carbons long. In addition to tasting good, butyrate is known to be beneficial to your intestinal flora. None of the other fats are a significant source of butyrate. Lastly, I live in dairy country (obviously some of you reading this won’t be from dairy country) and from my perspective I’d prefer to use a local fat rather than one imported from the tropics. [Fire in a Bottle]
  • To say there is a lot of butter in croissants is not just an understatement, it's a complete misunderstanding of what a croissant is. "Croissant" is the name given to a shitload of butter, to which a small amount of pastry has been added and twisted into a crescent shape. In fact, the key to making a good croissant, as Bread Ahead founder Matt Jones tells me, is "good butter." To make a really good croissant, you have to use really good French butter. Preferably Lescure. [Vice]
  • This site celebrates works from 1927 that are in the public domain after a 95-year copyright term. However, under the laws that were in effect until 1978, thousands of works from 1966 would be entering the public domain this year. Under current copyright terms we will have to wait until 2062. In fact, since copyright used to come in renewable terms of 28 years, and 85% of authors did not renew, 85% of the works from 1994 might be entering the public domain! Imagine what the great libraries of the world—or just internet hobbyists—could do: digitizing those holdings, making them available for education and research, for pleasure and for creative reuse. [Center for the Study of the Public Domain]
  • It is a smoking gun that language models operated by OpenAI are intentionally, systematically made biased towards “our predetermined set of values”. Far from making tools for the billions around the globe or the potential trillions in the future, each with drastically distant values, OpenAI is tuning their language models to a small sect of political activists. [link]

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