Assorted links

by on April 24, 2014 at 11:58 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. MIE: powdered alcohol is coming on the market.

2. The world’s fastest elevator (China, 45 mph).  And China’s dirt is dirty.

3. Improving the axe.  And male body average is over.

4. “Robots allow the cows to set their own hours…

5. Claims about baby rivalry.

6. Brad DeLong reviews Piketty.  And Piketty on his love of capitalism.

7. Felix Salmon is going to Fusion.

The Other Jim April 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm

6: Typical DeLing (yes). Insist that there are “no serious criticisms” of this book from the right, and instead invent five of your own, that you then shoot down. Then say the book is just plain awesome.

Such a serious scholar, that one.

ummmm April 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

he praised it for being big and comprehensive – in other words, it would make a good doorstop

Go Kings Go! April 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Would you think a student playing on Cal’s rugby team would experience more useful lessons and find more potential role models than a student in Professor DeLong’s class?

Willitts April 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Have you seen BDL’s teaching evaluations?

The data supports a “yes” to your question.

breaks April 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Which ones did he invent? Which ones should be he addressing?

Alan April 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I am surprised at how long Piketty has been a topic on MR. This morning I had a flash of intuition – a question, not an answer. Is the pre-occupation with Piketty nothing to do with whether he is right or wrong? Is it because Tyler and his fans fear that too many voters might think Piketty is right?

Cliff April 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Tyler who voted for Obama?

Contemplationist April 25, 2014 at 1:24 am

Haha, I assure you Tyler isn’t stupid enough to think that voters are reading 700 page, dense economics tomes.

Colin April 25, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Yeah, why would an economics blog want to talk about the single mostly publicly discussed economics book in the last decade? That’s crazy.

mb April 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm

That axe should be tagged there is no great stagnation – it is brilliant.

chuck martel April 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

The Geek people should stick to things they know something about. It’s a splitting maul, not an axe. An axe is used for cutting smaller trees, larger brush, making undercuts and limbing. In fact, an axe is a rarity at any current logging operation, having been made obsolete by technological advances. The splitting maul shown in the video isn’t a replacement for an axe but could be an improvement over older versions of the splitting maul. The video isn’t any proof of that, however, as the birch he’s working on is among the easiest species of wood to split.

Govco April 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm

The MR comment section is the best.

C April 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

That guy really ‘brought the hammer’ down on us who were ignorant of innovations in wood-splitting technology. 10/10 pedant, would avoid at a party.

londenio April 25, 2014 at 1:46 am

This section on axe-nerdism is particularly awesome.

Rahul April 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Isn’t a maul one particular type of an axe? That’s like saying no he didn’t fly an airplane, he flew a Boeing 747.

chuck martel April 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm

That’s an interesting comment on language change. There are a number of kinds of axes, felling axes, broad axes, cruising axes and so on. Civilization has moved on, however and few people use axes or pay much attention to them anymore. So they’re all just “axes”. In the nineteenth century, and even later, most men could identify and name every part of a horse’s harness and the buggy it pulled around. Now very few can. It’s just a harness and a buggy. Oliver Wendell Holmes celebrated poem, “The Deacon’s Masterpiece”, is unintelligible to the average American. Not many people deal with that sort of thing on a regular basis, if at all. So the nomenclature has diminished. Just as new words enter the language, old, relatively uncommon words are either forgotten or put into a more generic usage.

Alan April 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

This is great! Someone using the name martel to comment on language change in a thread about a striking implement :) I thought I had strayed into reddit.

mb April 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Don’t know how much birch you have split, but my experience is that you are wrong. Birch is very spongy and watery, you hit it with a maul (not an axe or is a maul a type of axe – either way it does not matter) the maul bounces off and the depression you made starts to disappear leaving only a faint mark. What does help him split the wood (and anyone in a cold climate can atest to this) everything is frozen solid – making it brittle. Chopping wood mid winter is always much easier.

Greg April 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I cannot comment on birch specifically, but I know that moist wood that is frozen splits very easily. This occurred to me when I saw the video and noticed that the snow on the ground.

chuck martel April 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm

You’re probably not strong enough. Try for the Daniel Craig look.

Ak Mike April 24, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Gee, I’m not that strong, and I’ve never had any difficulty splitting birch, any time of year – with an axe, with a maul and wedge, or with a splitting maul. Easier to split than those nasty softwoods.

Axa April 25, 2014 at 6:38 am

Logging operation? You missed the part that this tool is marketed for outdoors loving individuals at 225 Euros. In the food industry electrical cutters for vegetables, fruits or meat are widely used. Even though, at home you keep using a paleolithic technology: a knife. Speaking of which, high-end ones are marketed for hundreds of dollars.

Ps. admire the ingenuity of the guy who sells an axe for the price of a smartphone and has run out of stock :)

Kabal April 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

@3

The irony of lipstick feminists complaining about “unrealistic” beauty standards imposed by media is that the “ideal” male physique displayed by Hollywood is much harder to attain than that of women. No men look like Gerard Butler in 300, Chris Hemworth as Thor, or even Daniel Craig as Bond without a solid regimen, but many young women have physiques indistinguishable from any Hollywood actress without lifting a finger.

mpowell April 24, 2014 at 12:46 pm

You have a good point, but you overstate it by claiming that female ideals are all that attainable. The crazy thing about displayed male physique is that it is unhealthy to get your body fat down below 5%. You only do it briefly for the shoot. 6-8% is more reasonable (although crazy hard to maintain) and you don’t run around dehydrated all the time.

KLO April 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

With the right drugs, attitude and incentives, it is not challenging to maintain low body fat for the time necessary to shoot a film. The article exaggerates or is just plain wrong about the challenges involved. I also find dubious that most guys balk at taking steroids when they hear about the side effects. Every trainer worth his salt will design a stack to minimize back acne and gyno, so this is not a big problem (body builders are obviously on the juice and they don’t all have these problems). Like bodybuilding, Hollywood does not drug test, so there really is nothing to looking like Gerard Butler in 300. Is it really hard to go to the gym when you have nothing else to do and their millions of dollars at stake?

mpowell April 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm

If your point is that maintaining a body fat in the 6-8% range is not that hard as a full time job, I’m not going to argue. But no, the image portrayed on screen cannot be maintained for months at a time in many cases. The dehydration alone would kill you…

Rahul April 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

The Feminists will say females only try harder. :)

Doug April 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

“[M]any young women have physiques indistinguishable from any Hollywood actress without lifting a finger.”

This isn’t even remotely true. A typical Hollywood starlet in filming state has a waist-hip ratio of 0.7, a BMI below 20.0 and body fat below 20%. Many women achieve this, but not without serious diet and exercise. 90%+ of women if eating at their natural satiation set point will consume more calories than required to be at this level. And even then, being naturally not hungry isn’t sufficient, without training women will be skinny but flat, untoned and still high body fat. A women who doesn’t exercise can almost never achieve a sub-0.8 waist-hip ratio. Achieving the bikini model look requires highly developed musculature, one which the majority of women do inefficiency because they eschew weight training.

Cliff April 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I’d love to see the source of your information

Mark April 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

“A low W.H.R, specifically a 0.7 W.H.R, has been the ratio of models in Playboy Centerfolds (Singh 1993) , Miss America (Singh 1993), Miss Hong Kong (Singh 2006), and Miss India (Singh 2006) winners across 30-60 years and seen in historical figurines and statues across many, many decades (Singh 1993, Singh 2006).”

http://divyapahwa.com/2013/05/24/on-the-myth-of-the-0-7-waist-to-hip-ratio is the source; main point of the article is that these trends do not indicate evolutionary preferences but more likely cultural conditioning.

John Schilling April 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Are you sure you don’t have that backwards? If the 0.7 WHR is preferred in a broad range of diverse cultures (North America, Hong Kong, and India over a 60-year period), that would suggest that the trend does indicate an educational preference rather than cultural conditioning. If the latter, what are the cultures where this preference/conditioning does not hold?

Skimming the article you cite, it seems like they really want to make the case for cultural conditioning but can’t find any evidence to support it, instead pointing out that the (possibly cherry-picked) evidence for an evolutionary preference is less than conclusive and so we need to do more studies to find the cultural conditioning that has to be hiding in there somewhere.

Doug April 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Among women the variables of height, weight and body-fat explain more than half the variance related to lower-body 1RM strength. (First link). Resistance trained females on average have more than double 1 RM lower body strength than untrained females at the same weight and height (Second link). For female attractiveness ratings, subjects in the lowest body fat group (15-20%) were considered significantly more attractive when above group average WHR. The primary difference between the low WHR low body fat and high WHR low body fat women was higher lean body mass in the former (Third link).

The basic result is that upper echelon of female attractiveness requires low-body fat combined with high lean body mass. This is basically impossible to achieve without significant above baseline lower-body strength. And very few untrained women naturally possess this strength.

http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbme/v13n1/en_07.pdf
http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/SquatStandards.html
http://etologia.com.sapo.pt/Ficheiros/Faries.pdf

Cliff April 24, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Well, I appreciate that. I guess it’s a start. I didn’t see anything in that last link about lean body mass (called fat free mass or FFM in the study) affecting WHR in low BF% women as you say. I also didn’t see anything about your 90% figure, 0.70 as a key WHR number, or needing exercise to get below .8 WHR.

Surely you didn’t get all that from three links. What’s the background on this? Where is your opinion coming from?

Urso April 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Not when you’re 22.

Doug April 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Due to cultural reasons very few women exercise at high intensity. The stereotype is largely true that women go to the gym then sit on the stationary bike and read a magazine. If you can read while you’re exercising you’re not exercising hard enough. Or they go to Zumba class. Or if they do happen to lift weights they rarely go to failure. It’s well known that exercise intensity is highly important for a low and healthy distribution of fat. Even when controlling for caloric intake and expenditure. (Link below).

The only major exception to this is sports, which women primarily engage in during high school and college. I suspect that much of the lower WHR of women in their early 20s has to do with currently or recently playing sports. Female celebrities tend to retain stay in shape into their 40s, and you see much less of a drop off than in the general population. I think that’s largely because of the utilization of good trainers who are pushing them at high intensities.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/51/2/153.abstract

Govco April 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

For the record, the chiseled part of those guys’ physiques are CGI. They’re thin for sure, but the defined abs and pecs are highlighted digitally.

Rahul April 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Photos I can understand but how do they do it in movies? Do they have to painstakingly enhance every frame? That’d be a lot of work.

Todd April 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

much of the chiseling and definition in films like “300″ is done with just plain old-fashioned body paint, applied to the abs and torsos everyday to every actor.

Nikki April 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Not necessarily: chiseled bodies exist IRL, I assure you, and it doesn’t even take an actor to have one. A lot of effort though, and things get maniacal at times: pretty much the entire identity is built around the muscles.

Doug April 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm

“A lot of effort though, and things get maniacal at times”

Effort is nice but its pointless without the accompanying genetics. Drugs, genetics, diet and training in that order of importance. A totally untrained male cycling steroids with cutting agents will get more chiseled than an average male working his butt off day in, day out.

Cliff April 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I doubt that

Doug April 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

W.R.T. the importance of drugs:

“Despite using identical workout routines and diets, the guys who were also receiving testosterone injections gained over 3 TIMES as much muscle as the natural guys in the same period of time. The average difference was 13lbs gained to just 4lbs gained. And third… here’s the most insane part of all. The group getting the testosterone injections and NOT doing any form of weight training whatsoever still gained significantly more muscle than the natural guys who WERE weight training. The difference was 7lbs gained to 4lbs gained.”

http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/steroids-vs-natural/

W.R.T. to the importance of genetics:

“When the researchers looked at the results of the men who built the most muscle (high responders) and those who built the least muscle (low responders), they found roughly four times greater gains in muscle in the high versus the low responders. They found that miR-378, miR-29a, miR-26a and miR-451 were differentially expressed between low and high responders. MiR-378, miR-29a, miR-26a were down regulated in low responder subjects and unchanged in high responders while miR-451 was up-regulated only in low responders.”

Cliff April 24, 2014 at 7:27 pm

To be fair, that’s one ten-week study that is cited for the drugs. I don’t think it stands for the proposition that a totally untrained male cycling steroids will get more chiseled than an average male working his butt odd day in, day out. The guys not on steroids in that study were not working their butts off day in, day out, and it wasn’t a long study.

Urstoff April 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

The typical feminist response (as evidenced by a horrible Jezebel post of a few days ago that I had the misfortune to stumble upon) is that the ideal male physique represents power (or something like that) whereas the ideal female physique represents attractiveness to men (or something like that).

The Awful Post In Question: http://jezebel.com/hollywood-men-its-no-longer-about-your-acting-its-abo-1565779471/+tcraggs22
“But the objectification of men is a false equivalency to the objectification of women, because what’s being fetishized is strength. Virility, capability, vigor, fortitude. Power. In a world where men actually do have power. You can’t say the same about the standard objectification of women, which usually revolves around sexually-charged parts like breasts and buttocks, not biceps. In addition, “sexy” images of women generally involve us being relaxed, lying down, finger in the mouth like a child. Submissive, pliant, docile.”

As if there’s some sort of contest about which objectification is worse.

Urstoff April 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Perhaps I should say “the bad feminist response” rather than “typical”, because doubtless there are smart feminists who do try to make it a male objectification vs. female objectification contest, as if only the worse one needs cultural criticism.

mr mcknuckles April 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm

So you are indifferent if someone thinks you are powerful or submissive?

Contemplationist April 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm

It’s actually a perceptive piece. You just need to stop hyperventilating and reverse the dynamic. Accept nature as is in this case. Yes, sexy on men is strength, virility, agility, etc, and for women involves coyness, curves, innocence etc. So what? Are these people claiming that Men’s and Women’s magazines created this dynamic?

Thomas April 24, 2014 at 10:30 pm

No, they are claiming that the patriarchy has created this dynamic.

Cliff April 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I guess they choose to ignore the evidence about the attractiveness of penis size

Eric with a c April 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I like how they suggest that testosterone isn’t a steroid.

Rahul April 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm

#1 Powdered Alcohol

I’m wondering how much of cyclodextrin you need to bind, say, 50 gm of Alcohol.

Doug April 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

@3

The author has no idea what 5% body fat looks like. The men in the photos of the article are around 8-11% body fat (which don’t get me wrong is still at the fat left end of the distribution). At 5% you would see the “freaky bodybuilder striations” like the line between the upper and lower pec (see below image link). The difference is long-term 10% body fat is quite healthy, whereas 5% is most definitely not.

The author seems to imply that the looks referenced in the article are unhealthy or unattainable without chemical enhancement. While it certainly requires a good deal of genetic pre-disposition, many adult males can easily look like Christ Pratt, Daniel Craig or Fight Club Brad Pitt. For the classical exercise high responder (about 20% of males), achieving the look probably requires no more than 8 hours a week of Starting Strength, or some other heavy barbell regiment, and a monitored bulk-cut diet cycle. It doesn’t require any ridiculous lifestyle or an army of nutritionists/trainers. Call me (and the steroids dealer) when male movie stars are expected to look like The Rock.

http://cdn.builtlean.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/body-fat-percentage-men.jpg

KLO April 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I don’t think it is true that 5% guys look like freaks. It depends to a large extent on vein size, muscle shape and size, and fat distribution. A guy who is 6′ and 155 pounds is going to look more or less normal at rest. Look at pro gc cyclists. These guys have low bf during a tour, but do not look like freaks at rest.

If that same guy weighed 225, well, sure, he will look like a freak. He will also have a closet full of winstrol and clen.

Doug April 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Do pro cyclists have 5% bf? There’s a point where the catabolic effects of dropping below a body fat outweigh any athletic gains from having a slightly smaller weight. Even for endurance athletes, going from 8% to 5% almost assuredly involves more than 3% loss of slow-twitch muscle capacity. Not to mention all the various micronutrient deficiencies that usually accompany it. Bodybuilders at that level can barely stand up during the show, let alone do any athletic activity.

Also the guy at 155 lbs has a lower lean mass, so 5% means the same amount of overall body fat as 3% on the 225 guy. At that point he’s much more likely to start losing essential organ fat. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think the only way to achieve 5% body fat, outside absolute starvation, is with a closet full of winstrol and clen.

mr mcknuckles April 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Yes, that’s about typical for pro cyclists during the season.

Willitts April 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Yes, unfortunately that is the unhealthy norm. Fit does not equal healthy.

The range of what is considered minimum essential body fat has been tested. Men are pushing below what was previously considered unhealthy without deleterious effects. Women, on the other hand, have a much higher minimum essential fat and begin to show dangerous effects beneath that.

Cycling and other similar sports are striking in that they are inherently non-natural. Mankind didnt evolve for the purpose of constant exercise for its own sake. We hoard energy in fat. An overly active lifestyle is as imbalanced as a sedentary lifestyle. Natural selection sorts this out according to our new environment, but not necessarily for sustainable survival as a species.

Evolution designed women as baby-making machines. While I certainly believe they can and should do other things, there is this one thing they do quite well. Men evolved as killing machines and builders. That we observe performance differences and different responses to training between the sexes should not be surprising.

Brian Donohue April 24, 2014 at 5:21 pm

As far as ‘minimum essential body fat’, let’s just say I’m not taking any chances.

Cliff April 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Top three guys in those photos are flexing, right? Remember Arnold… sure he had that bodybuilder look in competition but just walking around he didn’t look like a freak (though obviously jacked)

Anon. April 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

#3

The author has no idea what 5% bf looks like.

Eric Falkenstein April 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm

body fat pics here http://tinyurl.com/les8ksb

I just got a Dexa scan, which is the best fat calculator, and I’m 20% (also 48 and workout a lot). I’d like to be lower, but I like to eat and drink too.

Slocum April 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

You simply don’t get your name on a movie poster these days unless you’ve got a superhero’s physique.

Eh, no — maybe you don’t get your name on a superhero movie poster without a superhero body, but there seem to be quite a few actors doing well in other kinds of films with even pudgier-than-normal bodies (Seth Rogen and Jason Segal come to mind immediately, but there are plenty of others). And Cary Grant? He was an acrobat before he became an actor — there are definitely ‘buff, shirtless Cary’ scenes in a number of his movies (To Catch a Thief, for example — and at that point, he was pretty well into his 50s, I think).

Willitts April 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

3. A wedge is a lever. Regardless of whether it is a maul or an axe, it is cool to see someone putting thought into improving basic tools that have remained substantially the same, with changes in materials, for hundreds if not thousands of years. It makes me wonder what other common items could be improved.

6. Where BDL lives and works: leaves a home town that is 0.7% black and arrives at a workplace that is 3% black. Kinda gives him a good perspective on poverty and inequality.

The criticisms he finds non-serious involve the murder of 100 million people.Piketty is an Occupier without the vandalism, rape, drug use, and poor hygeine. There is nothing serious about his book. Shoe polish on a turd.

The Other Jim April 24, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Your post is brilliant. And that’s why it has been ignored.

Every few years, someone will write a book insisting that the few dozen people who run the US Government should be allowed to control 70% of the US economy. Out of fear of “rich people.”

We need to mock the Pinkettys and Krugmans of the world for the useless tools that they are.

Contemplationist April 25, 2014 at 1:29 am

+1

ricardo April 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm

#1: there’s a Steven Wright joke in there somewhere.

JMCSF April 25, 2014 at 1:16 am

I’m sorry officer, its just powdered alcohol on my nose…

SeanB April 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm

#5

Doesn’t lactational amenorrhea already serve this function?

Pat MacAuley April 25, 2014 at 11:54 pm

#6. I saw a robotic milking machine three years ago. I was impressed but didn’t think they would make much progress for another decade. The latest estimate is that robotic milkers will displace 60,000 jobs by 2020.

The article says a lot of good things about robotic milkers but nothing about people who will be losing their jobs.

jorod April 26, 2014 at 12:32 am

On Piketty – if you like your property, you can keep your property.

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