Monday assorted links


#3. "Myth" 3 is definitely not a myth. It shocks me the degree to which the "Hot Coffee" documentary sways people's opinions. Yeah, she had 3rd degree burns, but any temp over about 130F will cause 3rd degree burns if left in place long enough, and she was old and slow, which is a good reason not to hold that between your legs while taking the lid off in a car. The coffee was obviously not too hot given that it was the most popular coffee in the country. And yes, you can indeed drink liquids that are extremely hot because you *sip* them, which rapidly aerates and cools the liquid before it hits your mouth. I drink tons of matcha within a minute after dispensing it at my house, and my hot water dispenser is set at 202F.

100% her fault.

Absolutely right. All "Myth 3" really says is that she was seriously injured. That's true, but it doesn't show that McDonald's should have been held liable. It's coffee was no hotter than anyone else's hot coffee, and any adult should know that spilling hot coffee on yourself is a bad idea.

Actually, it was hotter than everyone else's hot coffee, and after this incident McDonald's reduced the temperature, which has saved many people from serious and unnecessary burns.

Can't say about the lawsuit, but I've drunk McD's coffee on road trips and it has definitely improved since they quit scalding it.

No good basis for saying it was "hotter than everyone else's hot coffee". You've no idea if other, smaller, sellers regularly sold hotter coffee. What we do know is that

1) A lot of people like extremely hot coffee,
2) McDonald's has no interest in burning people, so if they're selling the most popular coffee in existence then the temperature probably reflects net consumer preference,
3) Any home coffee machine or hot water dispenser designed for hot beverages will heat water to far above the temperature McDonald's served it at, e.g., Zojirushi heaters typically go up to 208
4) Any place that served coffee no hotter than the minimum temperature required to cause 3rd degree burns, about 130, would get complains to raise the temp and would go out of business in any reasonably competitive environment.

Wasn't the allegation that they brewed the coffee really hot so as to limit free refills (ie, you finished your breakfast and left before your first cup of coffee had cooled down enough to drink, in the first place)?

If the consumer has orchestrated the perfect cup of coffee for herself, how to explain the stupid paper sleeve that makes it harder to hold the cup?

Er, only a small fraction of the cups need it, and if you made every cup that thick it would be a lot more expensive, and consumers prefer less expensive.

I haven't met the cup that needed it, but my experience is limited. However, it's cool to know we have so much total redundancy built in, in case we should ever have any desire to reduce waste or energy use or what not.

Ambulance chasing lawyers taking questionable cases in front of HS dropout juries are creating law. The worst possibly abuse of the legal system. If you want to avoid jury duty just tell them you graduated from college and not in a hate studies program.

1) False
2) They were not the most popular at the time
3) You can set your own temperature, most people do not set it to boiling because they are not idiots
4) Irrelevant

Some machines allow you to set your own temperature, but just because you aren't setting it to boiling doesn't mean you aren't setting it hot enough to seriously burn you. The proper brewing temperature for coffee is ~205 degrees.

False and false. McDonald's has not lowered the temperature of its coffee, and Starbucks tops out at 185. See below.

If you're wondering whether the Liebeck verdict was just, try to find someone to defend it on its actual facts.

Yes, Starbucks serves theirs at a lower temperature and they are the second highest. Most are substantially lower. McDonalds claim they didn't reduce their temperature but it's unclear- anyway they substantially improved their coffee cups and warning labels.

I'm happy to defend it on its "actual facts". It's a garden variety tort claim, not much to say about it. Try reading your own link.

'it doesn't show that McDonald's should have been held liable'

A bit of history - 'Texas attorney Reed Morgan agreed to take on Liebeck’s case. This happened to be Morgan’s second time facing off against McDonald’s over hot coffee. Years earlier, he represented woman from Houston who also received third-degree burns from McDonald’s coffee. That case was settled out of court with the plaintiff receiving $27,500 in damages.

These two cases were not the only ones McDonald’s had to deal with concerning the scalding temperature of its coffee. Between 1982 and 1992, the fast food giant received more than 700 reports of coffee burning customers and paid over $500,000 to settle coffee-related lawsuits. A number of the reported injuries bore a striking resemblance to those suffered by Liebeck, including many instances of third-degree burns.

Morgan offered to settle the case before it went to trial for the sum of $300,000, but McDonald’s legal team again refused. Both sides also attended mediation ahead of the jury trial at the judge’s order, and the mediator recommended McDonald’s pay Liebeck a settlement of $225,000.

Again, McDonald’s refused. Why they were being so adamant in this case and not many other similar ones that occurred before isn’t clear.'

Good link. It pretty much jibes with most of what I think. Coffee is still hot, the plaintiff's lawyer lied about the relationship between temperature and injury, the jurors didn't like the big, mean, heartless corporation, people prefer hot coffee, etc.

+1 on the sleuthing work. McD's has been settling these types of suits all the time. Corporations will pay it as the cost of doing business.

LOL, it's not just a "cost of doing business". The local restaurants benefit from the free advertising. I've talked to a McDonald's manager about the lawsuits and he said every time one of these stories hit the news, they'd enjoy a boost in overall sales from people coming in for coffee (and generally ordering something else.)

A $225K settlement is chump change when compared to the free advertisement for delicious hot coffee, as long as you are competent enough not to scald yourself.

3. The word "protein" does not appear in this article, which is pretty incredible in this day and age. Calories "count" but the energy budget is secondary to macronutrient balance.

Recent articles about ultra-processed foods come closer to the mark.

Fast and ultra-processed foods appeal to cravings, but don't satisfy them, and lead to overconsumption with substandard nutrition.

"the energy budget is secondary to macronutrient balance"

Absolutely false. Practitioners of caloric restriction almost universally have very high ratios of carbohydrate consumption and have absolutely zero problems with obesity or weight gain. There are humans who live almost entirely off of honey and they have no such problems. Macronutrient balance is all but meaningless

Entirely off honey. An interesting claim. Link?

The US RDA for protein is too low, but it's a lot higher than that.

"Honey is a vital resource for many subsistence cultures, Dr. Wrangham said, “sometimes supplying 80 percent of calories in a month.”

A lot higher than what? Why do you think it's too low??

80 percent


Protein restriction supposedly works better than calorie restriction, no? Though in a life cycle dependent manner (recommended amount depends on age, young post-adolescents don't need much).

@Anonymous -- I am sympathetic to your 'fast food causes cancer vs organic food prevents cancer' implicit claims, but the evidence, as the other Anonymous says, favors the "calories in - calories out = health" claim. A TN food science professor once lost weight, and in all metrics like cholesterol improved, off a diet of junk food, including Hostess Ho-hos and Twinkies, by exercising and making sure calories in < calories out. That said, I personally would not eat highly processed food.

Bonus trivia: the African tribe that lives off honey is found in Tanzania as memory serves, well known.

You aren't getting it Ray. If you just eat calories, you die. You need protein (macro), ideally a mix of fat and carbs (macros), and your vitamins and minerals (micros).

Nothing to do with "organic" foods.

And your report on the "food science professor"is certainly incomplete without data on strength and body composition.

It's a known danger, doctors are wary to tell older (inactive) people to lose weight, because they'll do it by cutting calories and protein at the same time (eating less) and they will shed muscle mass.

Muscle needed for health in old age.

Resistance exercise, with protein intake of course, reduces all-cause mortality.

How many obese and overweight older people out there would "lose" more from losing muscle mass than they would "gain" from losing fat mass? It seems like not many.

This is the video that impressed me on protein, muscle loss, and aging:

From that "overfed but under syndrome."

That's a good soundbite on fast food.

"overfed but undernourished"

There's a hefty amount of "bro-science" here.

Regardless, Anon/Bear is at least 90% correct. Resistance training is not only critical for muscle sparing, especially while losing weight, it is important for bone density as people age.

Protein does not allow one, to paraphrase the Simpsons, to disobey the laws of thermodynamics. However, protein (and fat) are more conducive to satiety than simple carbohydrates. Trials on this are mixed, as any 'restrictive' diet results in reduced weight. The famous anec-study was the Twinkee diet in which that professor lost weight regardless.

Ask any bodybuilder though, the gold standard while losing weight while preventing muscle wastage is heavy lifting and PSMF.

There's also something to be said for giving men over the age of 65 micro-doses of Test-C...

See 'Protein satiety' was one I tended to believe in the past, but cross-sectionally and diachronically, it doesn't seem to explain much about overweight or obesity too much.

Between nations and within them over time, absolute protein consumption (meat as a proxy) varies, but total calories doesn't really ramp down or stablize more in those with more protein consumption, and protein tends to stay about 10% - High absolute protein consumption nations don't tend to be lower calorie consuming nations, but just generally higher consuming.

Re; test c, resistance training may make some sense - personally I'm of the school that I would ideally never lift anything unless I'm actually moving some specific object and ideally getting paid for it, but if it works... - however testosterone seems a double edged sword. Eunuchs live longer (probably), after all (despite presumably adverse muscle mass outcomes).

Some supporting science on the protein thing:

Maybe it's me, but arguing that Chiptole and Mcdonalds are the same thing doesn't jive.

#3. Yuck, pay walled article. I wish I didn't have to see links to pay walled articles.

It wasn't paywalled in the Napa Valley Register:

Myth #2: 'Fast-casual dining is healthier than fast food ... In 2015, The New York Times revealed that "the typical order at Chipotle has about 1,070 calories," more than half the amount of daily calories recommended for most adults.'

My sole familiarity with "fast-casual" is via the Chipotle in the commercial strip near my house. While I don't see why it's a problem that you'd get half your needed calories for the day there - don't a lot of people eat just two meals a day? - I can attest that you don't need to adhere to the menu board at Chipotle. My standard order, from which I've never deviated, is a single pinto bean taco with onions and peppers, salsa, a little dollop of sour cream and guac, hold the cornstarchy pre-grated cheese and the lettuce. It's about $3.

3: I'll bet there's a lot of regional variation in the demographics. There are certain fast food places you don't see in poorer neighborhoods, for example.

5. struck me as idiotic.

6. Maybe the kinds of people who use FinTech companies to get loans are all better than average credit risks in the first place.

"6. Maybe the kinds of people who use FinTech companies to get loans are all better than average credit risks in the first place."

+1, a self selected group prone to using the latest technologies is quite likely to be less risky than the average loan applicant. Without an objective reference, you can't rule out selection bias as the primary difference.

7. Setser's tweets relate to China's tariffs on U.S. exports to China: commodity exports to China, yes, but manufactured exports to China, modest to begin with, not so much. As I understand it, U.S. manufacturers have been adversely affected mostly by U.S. tariffs on imports from China (mainly components produced in China for use in U.S. manufacturing).

In a post at CFR last week, Setser writes that China's trade surplus declined last year not due to the trade war but Huawei's stockpiling of semiconductors. It's complicated.

' Does rioting work?'

"It's too soon to tell." - often attributed to Chou En Lai concerning the French Revolution, but apparently regarding the Paris student riots and sit-ins just three years before meeting Nixon.

' Does rioting work?'

It depends.

Sometimes it does.

Sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes it does

Sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes it does.

looks like its the only way
we gonna get outta this bauhaus!

Sometimes, at first it looks like it does but finally it does not.

1. How could one possibly generalize based on a single event? Lots of things happened in 1992, so whatever changed thereafter, it can't be linked to just one of those things.

The 1965 Watts riots worked, too.

Let's see: 1965 plus 27 was 1992. It's getting late. Rioting is a Summer sport. Likely, the 2019 riots will work as well.

This. As I recall, since the riots happened in 1992, they put a lot of pressure on Bill Clinton and the Democrats to show that they were tough on crime, and not of the softer approach some Democrats like Michael Dukakis had taken. They took up the challenge with relish, and of course now he, Hillary, and Democrats of the time like Joe Biden are being raked over the coals for for being racist, school-to-prison pipeline, etc.

The thesis only appears to work if you ignore the ten-plus years after the riots. You could always claim causation, that the current propagation of liberal beliefs is a backlash to the harshness of the 90s (this is when policing in another big city wracked by crime in the 80s, was very heavy-handed), but that assumes a lot and is also a strange definition of riots "working": you will submarine your cause for the better part of ten years, but maybe your opponents will be too harsh and more people will be on your side in just over 20 years!

You could also just lose, and the LA riots were a one-off.

Odd, I recall the 92 riots being an embarrassment to the incumbent, Bush, since they cut down his argument that everything was still coming up Rose's and we shouldn't risk changing leadership.

1991 and 1992 were generally very bad years for violent crime in the US, and much more importantly we had had the S&L crisis; not only that, Bush had reneged on his "no new taxes" promise. The Republicans were supposed to be the Party of Business, but they weren't showing that: all Clinton had to do was show some pro-business attitudes, along with some tough-on-crime rhetoric (because obviously Bush, who struggled to shed his weak weanie image, wasn't cutting it), and the election was his.

Richard Riordan was elected mayor in 1993 (the first mayoral election after the riots). He was the first Republican elected mayor of LA in 30 years and he was re-elected for a second term. Like other Republican mayors of the era elected in Democratic strongholds, he was not some bleeding-heart, soft-on-crime liberal.

Also, Riordan had been involved with city politics for over a decade: his law practice, which had made him obscenely wealthy, consisted of real estate tax assessment appeals, a practice that is very contingent on building good relationships with the people who assess property taxes. During his tenure, Riordan worked to make real estate development and transactions much easier.

#2. I was recently in Belfast, and have no wish to go back. The town is dull, reports of a Renaissance appear to be BS. I found the "loyalist" murals depressing, men in balaclavas with submachine guns portrayed in one professionally done outdoor mural after another (a couple of them shown in the article). I expected some local graffiti type murals from both sides, but their was real money put into this stuff, and the tone struck was fascistic. The rest of Ireland north and south I love (the golf is great), but Belfast has a way to go before I'd want to return.

7. The trade war is reducing prices for US consumers.

That's an unexpected result. Is the data sans tariffs? In which case, consumer prices might actually have risen, somewhat.

My understanding is that tariffs are included in the price index. One explanation apparently is that China devalued its currency in response to the tariffs.

Going the other way, decreased demand for US agricultural products in China due to tariffs may be showing up in lower food prices in the US.

1) Does rioting work? Reginald Denny was unavailable for comment

In 1991, I took a defensive driving class in Houston. The instructor was an ex narcotics cop, and the instructions included howto stay alive. Part of the instructions were that in off hours, if you found yourself in downtown Houston, don't ever stop, just keep creeping forward, which discourages car jacking. He said the police would understand.

Too bad Reginald Denny didn't take defensive driving, it would be hard to stop a heavy truck in first gear with accelerator floored!

3) to echo some, notably not all... had to check out of this article when it equated calorie count to "healthiness". to say nothing of sodium or consumed cholesterol.

i guess we should not be surprised to find old conventional wisdom repeated in a major newspaper, but most of these nutrition tropes are at least a decade old if not two or three times that. long past their expiration date.

it makes me sad to think how far we have to go in undoing what the 70s, 80s and 90s wrought, health-information-wise. until then i guess we'll just keep chugging health care dollars.

I thought the latest view was that sodium was not really an issue for most people except a small subset of African Americans, and that dietary cholesterol was irrelevant in terms of blood cholesterol, and that in any event even the link between blood cholesterol was complex? So probably not worth mentioning.

I think the biggest issue with fast food is that "moreish" nature, it is very easy to over-eat it, especially combined with the giant sodas, means a lot more calories than you think. So people get fat, which causes things like insulin issues, which leads to heart diseases.

The good news is that, if you feed your kids tasty home made food, they won't like fast food anyway. I see so many people being lazy in what they feed their kids. It's worth being hard with them when they are 5 years old about what they can east.

we on the same page re: sodium and cholesterol

2) People need to stop being offended. What ever happened to free speech? Didn't realize the Northern Irish are yuge snowflakes.

Uhh, don’t you think commenting on what someone says, or paints, including how sucky it is, is part of free speech??? Pretty common knowledge btw N Irish are certainly not snowflakes.

#5) One respondent says that Facebook is the most "consumer-hostile" as there is no realistic alternative "because all your friends are on Facebook". So, the *most popular* network is the most consumer-hostile? That's Yogi Berra's old line: the place is so crowded that nobody goes there anymore.

Before asking *why* Facebook is "hated", we should be clear on *who* hates it. Not clear to me that all the users that chose facebook over friendster, myspace, etc. are the haters. Also, not clear that farmers in Iowa nor autoworkers in Michigan really hate targeted ads. Obviously, many critics in the media hate facebook. But, they're conflicted as facebook's aggregation model has basically destroyed traditional media's model as Ben Thompson at has explained.
Taxi medallion owners really hate Uber, and hotels really hate AirBnB, but those groups don't get to flood media with their ranting. So, maybe it's not the lack of connection to Washington as much as it is the challenge to traditional media.

I hate Facebook because they pushed garbage at me. I had family there, and i subscribed to at most 6 people. I had to scroll through a bunch of junk to see what my sister was up to. So i stopped using it.

I barely tolerate instagram, so far. Twitter is a cesspool.

I like blogs. They seem to collect a rather strange and interesting commentariat.

@BC - well put. A lot of people don't seem to be able to distinguish between FB as a system, and the people using FB.

I do wonder if a lot of this is driven my media envy as you describe. It seems a lot of ambitious people went into media but it is now not turning out as well as they had hoped. They now have that dream job say at NYT, but it turns out to be poorly paid, with low job security. They see their less ambitious friends from College doing well on FB in more boring jobs say stuck in their mid-west towns, with less woke opinions, and they conflate their rage at them with their dislike of FB.

This makes me remember that remark of Bryan Caplans, where it turns out the primary issue with inequality nowadays is the lot of utility caused by the envy of the less well off, so the answer would be to ban any reporting or news of richer people's lifestyles.

1. Blech. No way to identify the effect of the riots from the effect of the event(s) that caused the riots. This is why social science gets a bad rap.

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