Wednesday assorted links

by on July 29, 2015 at 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 John July 29, 2015 at 12:27 pm

3b) I have a 3d printer, and find it fun. It is great for technologists and hobbyists. One thing I notice though it that “there, I did it” projects tend to be translated as “change the world” pretty fast in the press. Printing food might be fun as “there, I did it” but no, I don’t want to eat it. It will be a long time before printed food bests an average breakfast burrito.

Just curious, how is the mapping between MR and 3d printing? Anyone else have one? It’s not like you have to, I kind of doubt that it will ever become a truly consumer product.

2 The Anti-Gnostic July 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm

What do you make with it?

3 John July 29, 2015 at 1:06 pm

I do small projects, with Arduinos and stepper motors, so I make mounts and pulleys, that kind of thing. The kids like to print toys. At some point I hope they’ll get into design and be a little more creative with it. I certainly haven’t reclaimed the numeric cost (about $500 so far), but that’s not a lot for entertainment. I mean, people spend a lot more on an Apple Watch with a special band.

4 John July 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I’ve looked into some, and expect to get one at some point, but I’ve gone the route of getting the small CNC Router/small MIlls instead. Needs to be upgraded at some point to be a bit more useful for me. Uses the Arduino and probable slightly more powerful stepper motors.

At the end of the day the underlying technology driving the movements are the same.

5 Scaevola July 29, 2015 at 1:17 pm

I built a 3d printer (FDM) a couple of years ago and I mostly agree with your assessment. The fun (and headache) of it seems to be the amount of effort it takes to get something functional made. Definitely not ready for the mainstream, but fun to play around with if you’re interested in that sort of thing. I have a hunch that other 3-d printing technologies will be more consumer friendly if the prices can be brought down.

6 Hazel Meade July 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm

There are many high-quality 3-d printers being used in industry, including ones that print metal. It’s an excellent tool for fast prototyping.

7 John July 29, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Oh, sure. When I say “technologists” above I am thinking of those who can run a CAD program and design a complex part. For that already select group, fast printing on commercial machines is a great boon. Computer controlled manufacturing techniques are advancing in parallel. CNC has been around, but it is getting better and lower cost as well.

8 derek July 29, 2015 at 5:23 pm

It isn’t trivial no matter how you go about it to make something functional. What this does is make one of the steps short and easy. The iterative design process can be shortened, but each step still needs to be done.

9 joe July 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm

#4. I suspect most Amazon drones will be intercepted in transit, the merchandise stolen and the drones themselves repurposed: painted with a Jolly Roger and used for more in-air piracy.

10 Just Saying July 29, 2015 at 12:58 pm

…thus ending the Great Stagnation, because how innovative is in-air piracy?!?! It’s awesome! AAAARR!

11 Mark Thorson July 29, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I see an opportunity for a pirate drone, i.e. a drone specialized for in-air capture of another drone. A cargo-carrying drone, of course.

12 John July 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm

That’s the best, funnest, future. In the less fun future cargo drones carry improvised explosives. Either way, I’d rather watch the tv show that live it.

13 Slocum July 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Nah, I don’t think so. If delivery drones ever actually become a big thing (which I still doubt given the realities of wind, rain, and snow ), they’ll probably do what camera drones do now when returning ‘home’ — which is to fly to where they’re going at a high enough altitude not to hit anything and then drop straight down. So drones won’t be captured by human thieves with big butterfly nets as they fly past, it would have to be done with drone-hunting drones. Which would have to be a lot smarter, bigger, and heavier than the actual delivery drones they’re trying to capture. And then the captured drones are probably going to continue to broadcast their location (and maybe a video stream) as they’re hijacked. No, much easier to just steal the packages off the stoop after they’ve been dropped off.

14 Albigensian July 29, 2015 at 3:32 pm

A delivery drone would presumably be a rotorcraft as that needs minimal landing space. Although gaining control of it via electronic hacking would be neater, a pirate drone equipped with a remote camera and a gun could down a delivery drone by blowing a rotor or two off of it.

But then, such a pirate drone would be a threat to more than Amazon, wouldn’t it?

15 Dan Weber July 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

The first function I build into my drone-stealing drone is wireless jamming.

16 JWatts July 29, 2015 at 5:19 pm

You don’t really need a drone for that. Just use a wireless jammer with a 400 foot range as the drones pass overhead.

17 Lord Action July 29, 2015 at 5:21 pm

It’s unlikely any delivery drone that gets past the FAA will respond to radio noise with prompt crashing…

18 JWatts July 30, 2015 at 10:54 am

The wireless jamming is to keep it from calling for help. The Laser is what makes it crash.

19 Lord Action July 29, 2015 at 5:20 pm

My drone-stealing drone-stealing drone will passively track your jamming signal.

20 Thiago Ribeiro July 29, 2015 at 4:49 pm

What about drone convoys to protect delivery drones?

21 Mark Thorson July 29, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Target-rich environments for pirate drone wolfpacks.

22 John July 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm

5) I hope Alex can use this moment to further boost the meme. (Reminder: “A License to Shampoo” , MR, February 7, 2011)

23 mulp July 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Given the report starts with
“Over the past several decades, the share of U.S. workers holding an occupational license has grown sharply.”

I get the impression the winners of office since the 80s has been big government leftist taking over every aspect of the economy.

Who knew Reagan was a leftist as are all his followers who worship him….

24 John July 29, 2015 at 3:43 pm

In fairness, see Figure 7 from the report. It varies greatly by state, with some blue-state outliers. Some red states too of course, NV, with a gaming commission.

What’s up with NM?

25 John Schilling July 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm

I don’t care, I’m still free, you can’t…

Oh, wait, the sky up to four hundred feet now belongs to Amazon.

26 JWatts July 29, 2015 at 1:50 pm

The sky over 500 feet already belongs to the FAA. And yet we struggle on under the watchful eye of our FAA overlords. 😉

27 NPW July 29, 2015 at 3:03 pm

A drone would bring you work; a gun would help you keep it.

28 Tom July 29, 2015 at 1:06 pm

#3. If Google has enough money, they can start buying up politicians and Ag researchers to get legislation passed that there is no difference between meat and this vegetarian burger, then make it illegal to label that it’s not meat.Next you know, Google has made us all into vegetarians!

29 Scaevola July 29, 2015 at 1:07 pm

#1 presents a mistaken understanding of Arendt and the concept of the “banality of evil”. The New York Times has fantastic article on the subject:

Here’s a relevant quote, but I would recommend checking out the entire article:

“The insight of “Eichmann in Jerusalem” is not that Eichmann was just following orders, but that Eichmann was a “joiner.” In his own words, Eichmann feared “to live a leaderless and difficult individual life,” in which “I would receive no directives from anybody.” Arendt insisted that Eichmann’s professed fidelity to the Nazi cause “did not mean merely to stress the extent to which he was under orders, and ready to obey them; he meant to show what an ‘idealist’ he had always been.” An “idealist,” as she used the word, is an ideologue, someone who will sacrifice his own moral convictions when they come in conflict with the “idea” of the movement that gives life meaning. Evil was transformed from a Satanic temptation into a test of self-sacrifice, and Eichmann justified the evil he knowingly committed as a heroic burden demanded by his idealism.”

30 Doug July 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm

A further missing component is that most genocidal regimes, Nazi Germany included, were essentially mafia states. You have a boss who gives the lackeys a series of vague objectives along unclear lines of authority. If you’re not in with the boss, you’re out. And if you’re out for too long, you’re probably getting whacked. Even if you are the boss, you’re not really safe. So you keep your subordinates paranoid of each other to prevent them from conspiring against you. Anyone who’s spent any time in a dysfunctional managerial organization can tell you that people will quickly expend the majority of their effort tearing down internal rivals, even though they’re nominally on the same team.

If you read accounts of the Khmer Rogue, it’s astounding how much of the killing was simply people “denouncing” a remotely potential enemy before they themselves were “denounced”. The calculus clouds the issue of to what extend Nazi functionaries were actually true believers. You have a lot of sycophants constantly going over-the-top to try to “out-Nazi” each other to make sure they stay in Hitler’s inner circle. Based on their public statements, you’d assume they’re die-hard Third Reich self-sacrificers, but at the same time they’re wheeling and dealing trying to stab Hitler in the back as soon as things look grim.

31 Art Deco July 29, 2015 at 3:03 pm

If you say so. I cannot help but note that several of Hitler’s cabinet ministers were not Nazi Party members until it was more or less required around about 1937 and that even after that date you had people holding top echelon positions who were pillars of various and sundry professional establishments and did not acquire their positions through being promoted within the ranks of Nazi organizations or state bureaucracies founded during the Nazi period (thought they may have had nominal Nazi Party memberships).

32 Doug July 29, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Fair enough criticism. Nazi Germany’s relatively unique among genocidal regimes in that it didn’t follow total revolution. Obviously you have a lot of pre-Nazi institutions and officials that are allowed to basically continue without major alteration. But then you introduce a lot of new officiants, many deeply under-qualified, who basically owe their new-found positions to being in Hitler’s good graces. If you’re in the former group, I’d say you were mostly removed from the mafioso aspects of the Nazi regime. On the flip-side nearly all the “dirty work” was only trusted to the members of the latter group. The attempts to purge Heisenberg largely failed because he was an extremely respected and accomplished scientist. Rommel was allowed the position of field marshall despite openly defying Hitler because he was supremely competent and popular. But at the same time Nazi party members were publicly killing each other with impunity as early 1934.

The USSR in the late 1930’s stood in contrast. Virtually everyone was required to be a undyingly loyal Stalinist under penalty of death. I’d attribute this to the revolutionary origin of Bolshevism. The mafia-like aspect of the USSR permeated every facet of society, whereas in pre-war Germany it was largely confined to political sub-circles (with that brutality spilling over to marginalized and unpopular groups). Hitler seemed to be genuinely concerned with popular respectability in a way that Stalin simply did not. This can be seen as late as 1940, when military strategy in the Battle of the Netherlands was modified to mollify the German public’s general sympathy for the Dutch. Imagining the Red Army making similar concessions is nearly unthinkable.

33 Brian Donohue July 29, 2015 at 3:55 pm

I don’t think this really undercuts Doug’s point. Hitler obviously had to curry favor with pre-Nazi power structures until his hold on power has complete. So, there was a protracted struggle with bigwig Army, industry leaders, etc.

This dynamic had nothing to do with Fritz Everyman, who had no base for protecting himself from Nazi power after 1933.

34 derek July 29, 2015 at 5:41 pm

The nasty thing is that for Fritz Everyman life was pretty good. Unless you stood out for religious beliefs, background, color or habits, then it went really badly. But for most everyone else things went pretty well, at least until later in the war. One of the interesting details I ran across in my reading was how the spy agencies of the Allies easily found contacts and agents to recruit in the countries surrounding Germany, but in Germany itself it was extremely dangerous as almost everyone would turn them into the authorities. That matches the discussions I have had with German expats whose comments were rather chilling. The danger of Fascism isn’t only the nasty things it does, but how the whole population ends up participating or supporting the nasty things in the name of who knows what.

The abuses of power by the IRS and prosecutorial excesses, war on drugs motivated thievery and the like seems to be tolerated to an uncomfortable degree in the US right now. People in power will do evil things if they can get away with it, always have always will. It is the popular intolerance for these things that maintain the institutions and rule of law that prevent them.

35 Fartacus July 29, 2015 at 9:09 pm

Hey, Art:

.(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
…’\……………. _.·´

36 chuck martel July 29, 2015 at 10:01 pm

How do you define a “mafia state”, as compared to any other?

37 Doug July 29, 2015 at 11:57 pm

I’d say a non-mafia state is basically one where the transition of power at various levels is generally accomplished without the use of violence.

38 Anon July 29, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Berkowitz is a Hannah Arrendt groupie. He takes advantage of the fact that over the years Arrendt’s original arguement have become simplified and instead of responding to the new evidence, that she misunderstood Eichman’s motivations, he rebuts a crude simplification of her ideas that no Eichmann scholar holds. Thus t he original linked article although simplistic actually states the now widely accepted position that Arrendt was wrong about Eichmann. Try instead Deborah Lipstat’s The Eichmann Trial.

39 Doug July 29, 2015 at 2:03 pm


Meat doesn’t literally “bleed”. The red juice that comes out of a rare cut of beef is myoglobin, not blood.

40 Urstoff July 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Is that also what determines how red a meat is? Do cows have more myoglobin in their muscle tissue than pigs or chickens? Would whale meat be extremely red?

41 Doug July 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Yes, exactly. Typically animals and muscles that are need to expend sustained energy for long periods of time have high myoglobin to keep oxygen supplied. Cows are grazers who stand all day, but basically never do anything “explosive”. Duck breast is red because ducks fly for a long time, but which-meat chickens only flutter in short bursts. Whales, along with most aquatic mammals, have extremely high myoglobin to hold their breath. Whale meat is nearly black:

42 Urstoff July 29, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Not gonna lie, that whale meat looks delicious

43 Mark Thorson July 29, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Mmmm, yes. As someone of both Norwegian and Japanese ancestry, I feel so deprived not having any whale. If I had a bucket list, eating whale would be at the top.

44 JohnBinNH July 30, 2015 at 10:51 am

In the early 1960s, before we were so worried about whales, I once tried whale meat.

It looked great,but it tasted like beef that had been drizzled with sewing-machine oil.

Maybe ‘sewing-machine oil’ isn’t familiar to you youngsters. It’s a very light petroleum product, somewhat like WD-40. So imagine spraying WD-40 on a steak.

45 Michael B Sullivan July 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm


Uber is just so douchey. I don’t have any problem with their fundamentals, and while some of the wilder claims about shadow taxi cartels are laughable, it’s pretty clear that lots of regulatory capture has occurred in taxi markets and it’s nice that they’re beaing shaken up. Uber’s fundamental service is nice.

But, like, every detail about their service is deceptive, annoying, bullshit. It’s super hard to like them as a company. I get that they’ve raised an absurd amount of money on probably unsustainable promises, but it’s hard to imagine that putting (allegedly) non-existent cars on the map in the passenger app is really going to get them to being a $50B business.

46 Doug July 29, 2015 at 2:31 pm

I don’t think Uber is really significantly more douchey than most other companies, they simply have a ton of (often self-interested) public scrutiny directed at them. To compare take Google, which plausibly promotes itself as the “don’t be evil” company. Online advertising, an industry that at its core is extremely dirty and sketchy, makes up >90% of their actual business. Google itself doesn’t actually engage in the more common fraudulent practices, but it absolutely tolerates and turns a blind eye to its largest ad-tech partners who engage in everything and anything up to outright fraud.

47 Michael B Sullivan July 29, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Maybe I’m too close to Google, but the last time I thought that there might be something to the “don’t be evil” claim was about 10 years ago.

I do think that Uber is significantly more douchey than other companies. I mean, not necessarily a yawning chasm, but also comparing them to Google is already kind of ceding the argument, I think. Uber is way smaller and way younger than Google, and in general evilness increases monotonically with size and age.

48 Doug July 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Good points. I guess I’d say though that as society becomes more algorithmically driven, the amount of visible “douchiness” will probably increase. Gaming and counter-gaming the algos become very profitable and potentially scalable when the markets in question get so large. For as much hate as Wal-Mart gets, its straight-forward “every-day low prices” policy seems way less douchey than Amazon’s manipulation of prices depending on your operating system, IP address and browser history. Even when things improve, gaming algos seems much more douchey than the meat-space equivalent of humans bluffing and negotiating. High-frequency trading gets a lot of hate, even though by any objective measure market quality has improved immensely since pre-electronic trading. For some reason it seems less offensive for a whole bunch of street-wise, wise-cracking, hard-nosed floor traders to play the same games (at much higher cost) as a few dozen hyper-fast exchange servers.

49 Michael B Sullivan July 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Yeah, certainly I agree about Amazon. I don’t really get the HFT hate.

But I also think it’s kind of baked into Uber’s culture. Like, look, when I bg/fg the Uber app, it shows me a second or two of a loading page every time. I mean… really? They have all this money and they can’t afford to have their app hit a level of polish where they don’t need to show an interstitial loading screen?

They’ve had a persistent problem for their entire history that it can be hard to do the last 100 feet connection between driver and passenger. There are like a million ways they could attack this problem and make their service smoother and better for both driver and passenger, a better value. The things they could do aren’t necessarily easy and would require a lot of experimentation and iteration, but again they’ve literally[1] had dump-trucks full of hundred dollar bills backed up into their headquarters, and it’s not like they have another app to work on.

They really clearly do not take the direction a driver is moving, or one-way-streets, into account when pairing drivers with passengers.

Their navigation component in their driver app is apparently purpose-built and is awful.

It’s not like they don’t have completely legit methods of making their service more attractive to people, and turning a frankly tiny amount of their incredible money stockpile into an app that’s actually better than their competitors. But these problems are [i]super[/i] long-standing, and their methods of getting competitive advantage basically seem to be limited to various totally deceptive tricks (on a variety of levels — remember when they claimed that the MEDIAN driver income in NYC was $90k, and then literally could not produce a single solitary driver who made that much?) that don’t even seem like they’re probably creating a durable competitive advantage. I certainly never believe when I see four cars within a block of me that I’ll actually get a driver within five minutes.

[1] No, not literally.

50 Urstoff July 29, 2015 at 2:32 pm

3. Wouldn’t a better investment be in a lab-grown meat company?

51 Nick July 29, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I think in the long run the nutrition element greatly favors the invention of “veggie burger that tastes just like meat” rather than the lab-grown meat. All animal meat contains no fiber and has cholesterol – while a 100%-plant burger has fiber and no cholesterol. There’s more to consider, but those are two big ones weighing in favor of the veggie burger.

And my guess is a veggie burger that tastes like meat is less disturbing to people than lab-grown meat.

52 Urstoff July 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm

In the long-run, perhaps. In the short-run, lab-grown meat is feasible, whereas a veggie substitute that tastes like remotely like meat is not in the offing. If taste matters, then lab-grown meat is clearly superior.

53 Nick July 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Have you tried many plant-based meat substitutes lately? Which ones have you tried that you don’t think even remotely like meat?

There has been extraordinary improvements from in the last 2-3 years. The old players (like Boca Burger) had no competition for a long time, and recently there has been a wave of new companies with significant financial backing trying to outdo each other.

I don’t think Google is eager to invest because they think the Boca Burgers from 5 years ago are going to wow meat-eaters, I think they see that if improvements continue at such a rapid clip, there is a good chance that veggie burgers will be undetectable taste-wise from meat burgers to many people in the near-future. After all, millions of people already willingly eat McDonalds hamburgers, where the beef is significantly diluted with non-beef ingredients.

And it’s not meat, but plant-based mayo has recently reached a level where it is almost entirely indistinguishable from the original version. If it wasn’t, I doubt the largest convenience store in the world (7-11) would have switched entirely to the egg-free version.

54 Urstoff July 29, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Fair enough, I haven’t tried one in the last few year.

As an aside, what evidence do you have that McDonald’s burgers have a lot of non-beef ingredients?

55 Nick Miller July 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm

I had the McDonalds thing wrong – they do use 100% beef.

56 Urstoff July 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm

What are some of the better-tasting veggie patties these days? In regular grocery stores you still pretty much only see Boca Burgers and Morning Star patties, although admittedly I’m not really ever paying much attention to that section of the store.

57 Dan Weber July 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

You could probably get all the way there with most customers by mixing the kind-of-meat-like-vegetable-substance in a 1:4 ratio with real meat. But vegetarians won’t eat it, and meat-eaters are too busy counter-signalling that they aren’t vegetarian.

58 Nick Miller July 29, 2015 at 6:12 pm

I don’t enjoy Boca Burgers or Morningstar but I haven’t tried all the varieties they have.

Trader Joe’s Masala Burgers are really good, although they are not attempting to mimic meat. Whole Foods brand veggie burgers have several good flavors (it doesn’t hurt that the CEO is a long-time vegan).

Gardein and Beyond Meat have gotten a lot of buzz in the veg*n world – I’ve liked their products a lot. Yves is getting bigger for fake sausage (soysauge) and hot dogs. An inordinate number of tycoons are vegan (Biz Stone, Steve Wynn, Bill Ford, Joi Ito, etc.) or think veganism is an important environmental solution (Bill Gates) so these companies are getting a lot of investment and attention.

Hampton Creek also has a lot of hype but it is most tackling egg substitutes for now.

59 Doug July 29, 2015 at 4:06 pm

While the fiber issue is an important one, there is zero scientific evidence of dietary cholesterol having deleterious health consequences. In addition the vast majority of veggie burgers on the market have incomplete proteins. While there are plant sources for complete proteins, they’re generally too expensive or unsuitable for use as a meat substitute. Consumption of high-levels of complete proteins is essential for maintaining high lean body mass. Particularly among the elderly lean body mass is one of the strongest predictors of total mortality. Substituting animal proteins with veggie substitutes becomes an increasingly worse public health option as the population ages.

In short a 40 year old’s biggest enemy to living to 50 is heart disease, so he probably should focus on eating more fiber and whole grains. But an 80 year old’s biggest enemy to seeing 90 is a hip fracture followed by a protracted hospital stay, so he needs to eat more beef.

60 Lord Action July 29, 2015 at 4:14 pm


I’m more skeptical of the nutritional claim than the taste claim.

61 Cliff July 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Animal protein is cancer-promoting

62 Doug July 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm

The link between protein consumption and cancer is extremely tenuous at best. The most well-known and best-designed longitudinal study found that elevated cancer risk among high meat consumers was attributable only to processed meats (most likely due to nitrite salts used in curing). Any study that doesn’t explicitly separate processed and whole meats cannot claim to demonstrate any effect specific to animal proteins.

Second, even assuming that animal protein itself causes cancer, the scientific consensus is that this is due to elevated IGF-1. This represents an underlying tradeoff found across a wide array of health decisions: reduction of early-life cancer risk at the cost of late-life frailty. Almost all organisms face elevated tumor growth for any level of post-maturity regeneration. While IGF-1 may increase certain cancer risks, it certainly decreases the risk of heart disease, dementia, stroke, bone fractures, frailty, depression, and fatigue. Even accepting the strongest claims of IGF-1 cancer links, its far from certain that IGF-1 increases total mortality. (Resistance training also increases IGF-1, and would pose the same cancer risks as protein consumption). Furthermore since the relative risk of cancer mortality decreases with age, its nearly certain that the elderly strongly benefit from high protein consumption. Not a single study has linked animal protein consumption to higher mortality rates in those over 55.

Finally even given all that, even assuming the worst studies are true, and even assuming someone is young and healthy (highest relative cancer mortality risk), the cure is worse than the disease. Hardly anyone would knowingly choose to lower their IGF-1, even for the largest potential life expectancy gains. People suffering from low IGF-1 almost universally choose to supplement. The symptoms include mental fog, decreased IQ, depression, fatigue, fragility and high injury rates, agoraphobia and lack of self-confidence.

63 Cliff July 30, 2015 at 12:38 am

Doug, I happen to be a member of a CRON group and I have seen many studies that meat consumption causes cancer due to increased IGF-1. If you are demanding that different types of meat be separated out in the study then you are demanding the impossible. I don’t even know what a “whole” meat might be. Any meat that’s not ground up with stuff added to it? It’s hard enough to tease out causal relationships in nutrition due to the many confounders. I eat grass-fed bison but I am not under the illusion that makes it okay.

You state that IGF-1 decreases overall mortality due to its effect on other mortality risks. However, here I am going to have to ask YOU whether the studies separated the participants into those with poor or good diets. CRONers have very low IGF-1 yet they have no heart disease. I don’t know about the other stuff but other than maybe “frailty” and bone fractures (which as I understand are for CRONers related less to diet per se than to caloric consumption) I doubt the other causes you mention (all of which pale in comparison to heart disease) are elevated in CRONers. So you have a problem if you are right that your advice to the average person will differ from the advice for a person seeking to optimize their diet. For example a 3-day fast is very healthy for the average person but not for someone who normally eats a near-optimal diet.

Similarly I have to think the symptoms of naturally low IGF-1 must be different than low IGF-1 resulting from a healthy diet. I am not generally aware of such issues in the community although I doubt good studies have been done.

For the elderly yes cancer risk decreases greatly and so the scales tip to increased protein consumption. However you can get protein from non-animal sources in any case.

64 Mark Thorson July 30, 2015 at 2:36 am

Doug, it’s not protein consumption. The risk is from heme iron.

65 Doug July 30, 2015 at 4:54 am

Numerous longitudinal studies have found significantly different effects between different types of animal proteins, including significantly higher health effects for processed red meat. Lumping the aggregate effect of all meats together and attributing it to animal protein obscures the issue. Far from impossible sub-categorizing meat types is foundational to the research literature on this topic.

As for CRON, there’s waaayyyy more going on than simply lower IGF-1 levels. To start with caloric restriction has been shown to be effective in organisms as far removed as yeast, that simply have no IGF-1 analogs. Second the near-consensus is that caloric restriction primarily exerts an influence through reduced oxidative stress. The impact of IGF-1 levels is a distant second against this effect.

By far the strongest predictor of long-term all cause mortality among the elderly are basic proxies for strength and muscle size. Grip strength, lean body mass, and the ability to standup from the floor without using hands or knees have all been shown to predictively out-perform any other individual health metric. In addition to all-cause mortality these factors strongly predict cardiovascular mortality, cerebrovascular mortality neurological mortality and pulmonary mortality (basically every major cause of death excluding cancer). Beyond simple longitudinal correlations, increasing skeletal muscle size and strength has been demonstrated to reduce mortality among the elderly in randomized experiments. There is no doubt that increasing protein consumption beyond median Western levels increases skeletal muscle size and strength.

Finally whether plant protein is equivalent to animal protein, the answer is almost certainly no. Particularly among the elderly. With increased age the deficiency of essential amino acids, particularly leucine, has an increasingly deleterious effect on muscle protein synthesis. Since the sizable majority of consumed plant proteins are incomplete, this is makes them particularly unsuitable for sustaining lean body mass in an aging population. However, even assuming a highly optimized diet of complete or synthetically complete plant proteins, optimal animal proteins still prove superior. Whey protein is truly a miracle food. Its impact on muscle protein synthesis is at least 30% higher than soy protein (itself the the most effective plant protein). Similarly this disparity only seems increase with age, among the elderly soy protein has zero statistical effect on muscle protein synthesis (whereas whey has an increasing effect for doses as high as 40 grams).

66 Nick Miller July 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm

“Particularly among the elderly lean body mass is one of the strongest predictors of total mortality.” – could you cite that claim?

Would you disagree that studies generally conclude that vegetarians generally live longer than non-vegetarians? Not that correlation equals causation, but I don’t think eating meat causes people to live longer either.

67 Doug July 29, 2015 at 6:41 pm

The below breaks down all cause mortality by BMI, lean BMI and body-fat levels. Lean body mass is a much stronger predictor of mortality than even obesity.

> Would you disagree that studies generally conclude that vegetarians generally live longer than non-vegetarians?

Vegetarians undoubtedly live longer. Vegetarians also undoubtedly are more educated, wealthier, whiter, self-disciplined, smoke less, exercise more, and eat less sugar and trans-fats. Mormons also live much longer than average (more so than even vegetarians), does that say anything the health effects of coffee, moderate alcohol consumption, pornography or Utah weather?

> I don’t think eating meat causes people to live longer either.

There are many controlled experiments that establish direct causation between protein consumption and a variety of positive health improvements. More importantly among the elderly, increased protein consumption (particularly when combined with resistance training) has a drastic impact on the risk of low bone density, low lean body mass, weak physical strength and sarcopenia. All major risk factors for elderly mortality. Further controlled experiments have demonstrated complete proteins to be superior to incomplete proteins, and animal proteins (like whey) to be superior to even complete plant proteins (like soy). Nearly all of these experiments used protein levels far in excess of current FDA protein RDA levels (which the elderly already consistently under consume). The vast majority of American adults over 60 would unequivocally improve their healths by increasing their animal protein consumption.

68 Doug July 30, 2015 at 3:56 am

I had a longer comment with more links that seems to have gotten eaten by the spam filter. Anyway here’s one of the major studies on the relationship between lean BMI and all-cause mortality. In short, absent chemical intervention, there’s basically no such thing as under-fat or over-lean-weight.

69 Albigensian July 29, 2015 at 3:41 pm

A veggie burger actually tastes quite good, so long as you don’t expect it to taste like a hamburger. Just don’t put fake cheese on it becasue that tastes really bad: sort of like cheese, but with a whole lot of strong off-flavors.

Whereas growing animal tissue in a tank has been an idea in SF for over half a century. But if it didn’t come directly from a once-living animal, can you still call it “meat”?

70 wag July 29, 2015 at 2:36 pm

When I saw that second thing was from Cato I closed the tab. Then later I actually read it. Surprisingly, it’s good.

71 TMC July 30, 2015 at 3:44 am

Maybe you could spend more time there.

72 John July 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm

#2 is interesting but I cannot help but wonder if the opportunity Lindsey sees to form the coallition is not exactly why such a coalition will fail — the support via the lobbies is already spanning the parties rather than being some small niche successful only due to lack of transparecny (and the cost of organizing the troops to overturn).

73 Rich Berger July 29, 2015 at 4:49 pm

5. Once again, why from the WH and why now? From the section on Licensing Reforms, the following:

“Although licensing policy falls in the purview of individual States, the Federal government can help to facilitate State reforms by providing information and resources to States. The President’s FY2016 Budget includes $15 million in new discretionary funding at the Department of Labor to identify, explore, and address areas where licensing requirements create barriers to labor market entry or labor mobility.”

Short answer, this is none of the Federal government’s business.

74 cfh July 29, 2015 at 6:02 pm

Executive Summary: Licensing is sometimes good, sometimes bad; with more research we could state this with greater confidence.

75 Justin July 29, 2015 at 5:50 pm

#3. I suspect that eating insects for protein is much healthier and more environmentally friendly than eating laboratory synthesized meat product. blah blah blah lobster was given to prisoners blah blah blah.

Now I’m off to get a real burger for dinner.

76 Floccina July 30, 2015 at 5:18 pm

#2 clearly there are many things left and agree on but the politicians are mostly neither left of right but self interested. Consider the ethanol program, the knowledgeable left no longer likes it and the knowledgeable right never did, only Iowa farmers and politicians like it.

77 jacob July 31, 2015 at 3:07 pm

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