Saturday assorted links


No, we've reached peak digital. The future is film.

Odd that the picture accompanying the critique of The Case Against Sugar is a picture of salt, recognizable by the cubic shape of its crystals.

I haven't read the book, but I am familiar with the studies, both clinical and mechanistic (in cells and animals). Sugar appears to cause type 2 diabetes through oxidative stress on the vascular endothelium. This also appears to be the mechanism by which it causes cardiovascular disease. Avoiding spikes in blood sugar caused by consuming simple sugars certainly is not harmful, and it may help to avoid these diseases.

I can't defend a book I haven't read. If it was written by a journalist or professional science writer with no background in biochemistry or physiology, it could make a completely bogus case. I hate books like that.

OTOH, we've been a miserable failure at figuring out anything about nutrition.

Almost all nutritional advise, other than watch your calories, has been virtue signaling for the last 40 years.

So while it is possible that simple sugars are terrible for the human body, I would give it a little more time. Or, if you happen to be a person who doesn't get a tremendous amount of enjoyment from simple sugars then it seems prudent to lay off of them.

No, that's not true -- but it would certainly seem true if all of your information came from the popular press. For the past couple years, it's been the wrong notion that saturated fat is actually good for you. That's not true at all, and it was based on a study which compared diets that replaced saturated fat with an equal amount of calories of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is worse than previously recognized, but saturated fat remains bad. I'll believe that saturated fat (the most extreme source being the much-touted coconut oil) is good for you when the American Heart Association says it's so. The AHA supports more scientific research in cardiovascular disease than any other non-governmental organization.

In the popular press, you don't make a name for yourself by saying the conventional wisdom is correct. You have to be a maverick. Buck the establishment. You say saturated fat is good. Chocolate and red wine are superfoods. That's what sells. That's why the popular press is a stinking pile of crap.

Mark, what's your opinion of Michael Pollan? To me his is the only work a confused person need read.

I liked his PBS series but I haven't read any of his books. I don't trust any nutritional advice from journalists or professional writers. I go to original research papers from respectable journals, and even then I have to watch out for scientists with an axe to grind.

"Odd that the picture accompanying the critique of The Case Against Sugar is a picture of salt, recognizable by the cubic shape of its crystals."

No, that's probably sugar. Indeed, the picture was pulled directly from the wiki page on sugar.

I know salt when I see it. There's facts, alternative facts, and Wikipedia.

Here's an explanation of both salt and sugar crystal shapes with pictures:
If you zoom into the Wikipedia picture you can clearly see that the crystals are not cubic but conform to the description at the link.

Mark, do you have any links to

"Sugar appears to cause type 2 diabetes through oxidative stress on the vascular endothelium. This also appears to be the mechanism by which it causes cardiovascular disease". [SNIP}

thanks in advance

I hadn't seen this short summary before tonight, and it is published in a junk journal, but it summarizes rather nicely the current state of knowledge with regard to hyperglycemia --> oxidative stress in the vascular endothelium --> type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

My own collection of papers is not organized to easily put together a comprehensive set of references based on more reputable sources on short notice. (My main interest is Alzheimer's Disease, which is also linked to endothelial dysfunction.) So this is what you get on a minimal investment of my time. The author hits all the main points and mechanisms, except he does not mention the role of oxidation of tetrahydrobiopterin, which I think plays a key role in sustaining the vicious cycle that can begin with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). It is an essential cofactor for the endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and without it eNOS runs wild producing peroxynitrite.

Note that other causes can set off this cascade of events. Smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise are also strongly associated with endothelial dysfunction. The critique of The Case Against Sugar complains that diabetes is multifactorial and listed these as factors. My view is that there is one mechanism which links these factors all together, and it is endothelial dysfunction. In any one person, it can be unifactorial, like drinking lots of sugary sodas (hence the appearance of type 2 diabetes in some young people who overindulge). Or the increase in type 2 diabetes in old age -- there is a strong age-related decline in tetrahydrobiopterin.


Sure looks like sugar crystals.

Kellyanne Conway agrees with me. It's salt.

5. At least where I live, upscale Chinese is called Asian fusion.

5. I am sure it varies greatly by region, even by city quarter, but around here Vietnamese is the last great cheap food. A restaurant meal for $6. Of course there is a natural efficiency to noodle soup. Even more when adding tripe and tendon makes it the Dac Biet.

2. I could object to "future" given that this has been a hot research area for decades, but I have no objection to a survey article. (Lytro seems ancient to me .. well, 2006 is falling further into the past, I suppose.)

In my latest post, I debunk the claim that Obama deported more illegal aliens than any other President, and explain how people were just manipulated by the administration and the media to believe that: Thanks for tolerating my shameless self-promotion so far :-)

Everyone, left and right, knows that the Obama administration changed the definition of deportation in order to inflate the numbers. The left just doesn't care about facts.

I don't think it's true that everyone knows that. Over the years, I've had many conversations with my friends, most of whom are liberals, about this and they were always baffled to learn it.

It's easy enough to find out that the Obama administration changed the metrics, but that's not the way most of the press reports it, so most people don't realize it.

I completely agree with this, but since most people don't know that, it's worth explaining it.

It reads as a polemic and and insecure one at that. "In case you’re wondering, he is absolutely correct, as one can easily verify." Click away.

I agree that it's polemical in tone, although I'm not sure why you think it's insecure, but do you think that anything I'm saying is false? As you hopefully have noted, I don't merely assert that Sandweg is correct in the passage you quoted, I make a quick calculation in the rest of the paragraph that shows he is. If someone thinks I made a mistake, that's fine with me and I would like to hear about it, but I'm always having a hard time taking seriously criticisms that focus on tone without ever addressing the substantive issues.

You seem to be correct on the substance, even if it's not a earth-shaking as you suspect. I simply noticed the prose--loaded with adverbs and superlatives, the stuff of pitch men and charlatans and the desperate.

"You seem to be correct on the substance"

I stopped reading after this.

5) In California cities (San Francisco & Los Angeles) & related metros (San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clara Valley), numerous upscale Chinese restaurants of existed, for decades. As usual, the rest of the country limping to catch up to California.

The Chinese restaurant in Sherman Oaks, CA that my parents went to in the 1960s was relatively upscale for its time.

The cuisine that has gone the most upscale over the last half century is Italian.

I think this is due to the decline in immigration from Italy. (Similarly, France has never been a big immigration source for the USA.) The more immigrants from a country, the less skilled the restauranteurs because most of them are just people looking for a job in America and churning out mediocre food is an obvious career path.

In contrast, Italian, French, and Japanese immigrants are more likely to be expert chefs.

#1 is crazy dumb. Photographer wastes a year proving that Hilton hotel rooms look similar around the world (though hardly "the same", as incorrectly claimed). And that the views out of those hotel-room windows tend to look similar, too, with many skyscrapers and urban scenes. Kudos to the photographer for tricking his editors into paying for this. Nice work if you can get it, I guess.

I was a little startled by how similar all those cities looked (with the exception of the African and middle eastern cities -- and Venice). The views all look exactly like the view from my hotel window in Toronto. I guess it's all the buildings built since 1991, especially the new generation of high-rise apartments. It is a style? If so, what is it called? Does it have a clever, derogatory nickname yet?

That's a joke in Tati's "Playtime:" All the tourism posters are of the same modernist hotel skyscraper with random city names under them: London, Mexico City, Bangkok, etc.

There is no case against sugar. Sugar is the most studied food in the world and all of the legitimate studies have only found one thing that is caused by sugar and that is dental carries. Sugar doesn't make you fat, doesn't give you diabetes or cause heart attacks. Sugar is nothing but pure energy or fuel for your body. No vitamins, minerals or anything else essential except pure 'sugar'. That's it, nothing bad. There is absolutely a disease where sugar is contraindicated; diabetes. If you have diabetes than sugar will make your symptoms worse and possibly far worse. If you have diabetes don't consume sugar just as if you have a peanut allergy don't consume peanuts. You don't catch diabetes from sugar you get it from your parents, it's genetic.
Obesity too is basically genetic. Your body wants to reach a certain weight range and if you are free to eat as much as you want and aren't forced to exercise your body will reach that weight range, simple as that. You may know someone who eats all they want and never gains weight; that is genetic, just as obesity is genetic. If you are grossly overweight and/or obese you cannot lose the weight and maintain a normal weight by eating a "normal" diet. You must eat a starvation diet to lose the weight and a near starvation diet to keep it off.

This makes sense. Still, when I was a lad, my brother and I used to go to county fairs and see the fat ladies in the freak shows, and those ladies were indeed fat. We felt sorry for them. But today when I go to county fairs, it is the fair attendees who are grotesquely overweight -- far, far more overweight than the freak show fat ladies of the old days. As shocking as their obesity, is their seeming complacency about it: They stand in front of the food stands in family groups, eating Flintstone-sized turkey legs, deep-friend novelties, milkshakes and every other type of food deviltry, their eyes staring in the middle distance from atop their wildly out-of-proportion bodies, appearing to make no connection between what they are eating and the massive poundage that makes it so difficult for them to walk that they have to ride shuttles provided by the fair organizers to carry them from the fair exit back to their cars - a trivial distance to a New Yorker. I don't know the cause of this massive, widespread and, I think, historically unprecedented obesity, but you can see why some people suspect a virus, or some other out-of-left-field cause, beyond the mere combination of genetic propensity, overconsumption of calories, and lack of exercise.

And I say this with the greatest sympathy for obese people, who carry this burden and suffer greatly from it.

I agree. people have not changed enough genetically to explain what is going on.

Having grown up in eastern Mass I was dumbfounded at the quality of Chinese food when I started traveling. My experience had been that Chinese places were mostly real restaurants with table clothes, metal forks and spoons, nicely printed menus, full liquor licenses, etc.

The 90% take out, ketchup packet of "duck sauce" and finger sized egg roll business model that prevailed in Houston/Jax/Norfolk/seemingly almost everywhere else was disappointing and puzzling. Even those doing the cooking didn't appear to respect the food.

I can't pass judgement on the "authenticity" but inside 495 the local Chinese place was often the best restaurant in town.

[Back in the '80's], in a lot of small towns in the USA the best restaurant was run by Chinese, & often was [Chinese]. When I was travelling for business, I always sought these out.

In a few cases, the food was amazingly good, as well.

#1...I don't want I to frighten Mr.Eberhard, but if he's been in the same room in 32 cities, then he's entered the Twilight Zone, and been submitted for our approval.

1. There's only so many ways to sensibly arrange a king-size bed, two nightstands, two wall sconces, and an armchair.

In fact there might only be one way.

Sugar is a particularly tasty source of calories. Some of us have trouble stopping when we start eating sweets, so it's best for us to avoid temptation in general.

Other people don't have this problem.

My general nutrition advice is to try different diets and see what works for you.

The search for the Universal Diet Proven by Science probably does more harm than good.

Totally agree.

5. Upscale is trending almost everywhere for everyone. Even for pets as consumers finally are demanding quality pet foods and products. It's easy to see why:

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