The Arrow #107
Greetings from Sarasota, Florida
Over on the other side of the state visiting friends. Will fly back to Dallas later today.
The LowCarbUSA meeting was terrific. Got to catch up with a lot of old friends and meet some new ones. Spent time with Fred Hahn, our co-author on the book Slow Burn, whom we hadn’t seen in the flesh in years. Hung out with our besties Nina Teicholz and Ben Bikman. Nina’s talk on the decriminalization of saturated fat was terrific as was Ben’s on physiologic insulin resistance. And had multiple discussions with old friend Pete Ballerstedt, who is a forage agronomist. If I ever start up the podcast I’ve been contemplating for years, he will be my first guest. He can dispel numerous myths about the production of red meat and its alleged detriment to the environment.
And, I met a bunch of readers of The Arrow, which was great.
My talk went well. At least MD told me it did. Presented some brand new ideas about weight loss on low-carb diets. I’ll post the video as soon as it’s available.
Here are the first two slides from my presentation:
I had two different titles in mind, so I went with the first one—it sounded more academic—on the title page and used the second on the Disclosure page since, as I had no financial disclosures related to this talk, I had plenty of room.
I would give you a summary of the talk, but it was fairly complex and required the prologue to really understand it. But I did put forth a new hypothesis as to why people lose weight on low-carb/ketogenic diets. I didn’t know if people would be excited about it, or throw tomatoes at me. Fortunately, it was the former. The video should be out soon enough, and I’ll make it available as soon as I can.
Here is the slide I used to show how I felt about the subject I spoke about.
As I said in my talk, Dr. Pennington was a pivotal person in the low-carb diet world. He learned from Blake Donaldson, who learned from Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who learned from the Inuit. Then Dr. Pennington taught Robert Atkins the ‘Atkins’ Diet.
When he wrote the above words, Pennington had realized how a defect in metabolism in carb sensitive people caused them to gain weight. I felt the same way when I stumbled upon what I spoke about at the conference.
I love these LowCarbUSA meetings because Doug Reynolds, the guy who operates them, runs a tight ship. It’s all too easy to lose control and let the schedule get way behind. In almost every meeting I’ve ever attended, there is (at least) one speaker who drones on interminably. It’s easy to create too many slides for the time allotted. Speakers get up there without having run through their talks for time and simply start running through all their slides. And running way overtime. Then the schedulers are left with no alternative but to cut the time from the breaks and lunch to catch back up.
This past weekend, as the end of a speaker’s time allocation approached, Doug was up near the front of the stage giving him/her the hurry sign. In addition to keeping the speakers on track, Doug kept those lining up to ask questions during the Q&A in line as well.
For me, the Q&A is the worst part of any meeting. I don’t mind it as a speaker so much, but I hate it as an audience member. People get up to the mic and drone on for ten minutes giving a back story and making a statement before asking their question. Right at the start, Doug said no back stories, no statements. Just one direct question. And he tried his best to keep it to that, but more people than you would think got up to the mic and made long, rambling statements. If it went on too long, he would encourage them to get to the question. Finally, after too many breaches of the rules, he ended the in-person Q&A. He requested that people ask their question in writing through the app for the meeting. Then one of the staff members would read the question, and the speaker would answer.
It kept everything on time, for which I was most appreciative.
I hate Q&As for another reason. Whenever the Q&A starts after a particular talk, the majority of people swarm out of the auditorium. Which tells me most people do not enjoy the Q&A sessions. [Or the bride adds, perhaps they just need a bio break?] Since that’s the case, why not just allot the speaker more time? All the people who evacuate as soon as it’s Q&A time stayed in place during the talk. So why not just make each talk a little longer and ditch the Q&A? To me, that would seem to provide the greatest benefit to the largest number of attendees.
When I first started on the speaking circuit, the speaker spoke for the scheduled time, then the next speaker came on. The speaker, who had just spoken, walked off the stage and toward the back. Those who had questions then approached the speaker in the back and asked them one on one. I thought that worked a lot better.
After the meeting, I met up with my long-time golfing buddy to play Seminole Golf Club, which is one of the top courses in the world and on the bucket list of every serious golfer. It was as spectacular as I figured it would be. If you golf and ever get the chance to play it, don’t let it pass. If you do get the chance to play, make sure your sand game is up to snuff, because there is sand everywhere. Beautiful course. You can see an overview in this link, which is the member’s sign in link. Fortunately, my sand game is halfway decent, so I survived.
Played another couple of courses to decompress from the meeting and all the slide making. I wish I had played them before I played Seminole. They would have seemed much better had I played them first, but not in comparison to Seminole, which was at the forefront of my mind.
Polls, Polls, Polls…
As promised last week, here are the results of the various polls I put up two weeks ago.
I don’t know if you saw the results of these polls or not. I did. But Substack recognizes me, I suppose. At least they do for everything else.
It’s pretty clear most people are happy with things the way they are…with maybe a little less emphasis on politics. Which will be difficult for me as politics are a major interest of mine. Not so much the politics themselves—those are kind of boring—but the change in politics over the past, say, 10-15 years. It’s so difficult to get people to change their minds, yet so many people have done just that over the past couple of decades. The two main parties have completely flip flopped. Beliefs I have that meshed with one party are now completely aligned with another. And other beliefs that would have been anathema to one party not so long ago are welcome now. I find it totally weird. And I read and read to try to conjure a reason.
So, when I do write about politics, it’s not to proselytize, but to help myself think more clearly.
On the subject of polls… I meant to put one more poll question up last time, but didn’t think of it. Here goes. Another controversial subject. If you want to participate, answer this one, too:
The Russian Situation
I’ve got to admit, I’m totally at sea on this one. I vacillate from one direction to the other. I despise Putin, so for that reason, I’d love to see him humiliated. But not at the expense of scads of Ukrainian and Russian lives. He’s already been humiliated, but that’s probably when he’s at his most dangerous.
I also have mixed feelings about Russia-Ukraine, oddly, as a consequence of The Science. The same folks who were all about The Science are the same folks wearing Ukrainian flags, and who are all in on Ukraine defeating Russia irrespective of how much it costs in treasure and lives. They were totally wrong on The Science, so, odds are, they’re wrong on Ukraine. But, then, since I despise Putin, I keep looking for a reason to be on their side, so I tell myself, Well, they’ve been wrong on so much, the law of averages militates they have to be right on something. Perhaps this is it.
As I say, I’ve been vacillating.
A while back a reader sent me an article on the Russian situation that was quite good. Gave me a bit of a different perspective.
I was sucked in by one of his earlier sentences that completely described the way I feel about the whole issue.
Now, whenever people in power tell you something is a no-brainer, there’s a good chance that it’s a brainer. And the Ukraine War is more complicated than we’ve been led to assume.
Two sentences, actually.
After reading this piece, I think anyone would say it’s a “brainer.”
Here is a sample related to possible outcomes.
I’m not competent to predict who is going to win this war. But given that Russia is much more powerful than Ukraine—both economically and militarily—the need for U.S. assistance will be immense and indefinite, no matter the war’s outcome. Keeping Ukraine in this war has already come at a high cost in weapons for the U.S. and a high cost in lives for Ukraine.
The U.S. is not just supporting Ukraine. It is fighting a war in Ukraine’s name. From early in the war, we have provided targeting information for drone strikes on Russian generals and missile attacks on Russian ships. Since this summer, the U.S. has been providing Ukraine with M142 HIMARS computer-targeted rocket artillery systems. Ukrainians may still be doing most of the dying, but the U.S. is responsible for most of the damage wrought on Russia’s troops.
This is a war with no natural stopping point. One can easily imagine scenarios in which winning might be more costly than losing. Should the U.S. pursue the war to ultimate victory, taking Crimea and admitting an ambivalent Ukraine into NATO, it will require a Korea-level military buildup to hold the ground taken. It will also change the West. The U.S.—for the first time—will have expanded NATO by conquest, occupying territories (Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine) that don’t want it there.
The entire article is excellent. It does describe the situation from Putin’s perspective, which I did find rational given the fact that Putin is paranoid.
Along the same lines, a friend sent me a video of Peter Zeihan on Joe Rogan. Zeihan is an American geopolitical analyst. He describes to Joe Rogan what he thinks is going to happen. And he makes a compelling case, despite his little pony tail.
I was particularly interested in learning his four scenarios under which Russia might resort to a nuclear weapon. I think he’s probably right, so I don’t think we’ve got a lot to fear.
Give it a watch.
While you’re at it, take a look at his analysis of the situation in China right now.
As to the Russian situation in which Putin throws bodies at Ukraine, because, according to Zeihan, that’s what they’ve done for centuries, I had some dreadful videos for you to watch. But they’ve all been taken down. Which is probably good, because they were depressing.
Here is the article in which I found them. It’s about recruiting ads for basically Russian cannon fodder.
The one I watched (photo above) and planned on posting starts off with these two attractive girls sitting on a bed. The conversation is about how one of them has saved almost enough money to purchase an iPhone. Her dad hears the conversation through the door, then knocks. When she comes out, he tells her he needs the money to keep them from getting evicted from their shit hole of an apartment. She gets sad and almost starts to cry, but hands over the money. Dad goes to town to make his payment and sees a military recruiter talking about Mother Russia and how much money he can make from a signing bonus. Next thing you see, he shows up at the awful apartment in uniform. The daughter comes to greet him, and he gives her an iPhone. She squeals with delight and gives him a big hug.
What I found sad about the video was that it was designed to resonate with Russians who lived in such dreadful places and were flat-assed broke in an effort to, basically, send them to Ukraine with very little training. To be cannon fodder.
The same friend who recommended the Zeihan-Rogan videos above highly recommended a book by Zeihan titled The End of the World Is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization. I put off reading it until I had my slides made and talk given, but now I’m deeply into it. It’s a stupendous read, if you enjoyed the videos above and are interested in what may happen globally in fairly short order. He writes just like he speaks, and though the subject is serious, he treats it with a light touch. Unlike many books by so-called global analysts, this one reads like a dream.
Speaking of books… I noticed eight people purchased Understanding Knowledge through my link last week. I lied to you. I said I would reap a quarter if you bought it. As it turns out, I ended up getting ninety cents apiece.
I can assure those eight of you who purchased the book that I will carefully husband my $7.20. Thank you.
Covid and Kids
In case you’ve forgotten just how awful the mainstream media is, below is a mashup of their clips on how dangerous Covid is to kids. The truth is that it isn’t dangerous at all. But now we know—thanks in great part to Elon Musk’s decision to release the Twitter files—how much pressure the government put on Twitter, and I’m sure by extension, all of social media and the mainstream media. The Twitter files show that at least some of the people at Twitter knew what was going on was wrong and tried to fight back. I’m not sure the same can be said for the mainstream media—they appear to be totally in the tank for the current administration.
The video above—which showed up on Matt Taibbi’s subscription site—is a little over the top what with the clips from various zombie movies interspersed with the clips of those who should know better trying to scare parents into vaccinating their kids. Kids who were incredibly resilient to Covid.
As Taibbi writes:
In Matt’s [Matt Orfalea, the videographer] video, we see how the pandemic was reported not as a collective problem to be solved, but a horror movie to be passively experienced. This is a media approach we see deployed in a variety of issues from fake news to “sonic weapons,” one that trains frightened audiences to endorse extreme solutions and outsource thinking to authorities. This makes it all the more important that we remember episodes like “Children of the COVID,” the next time we’re told to Be afraid. Be very afraid.
It is really reprehensible. I hope somehow, someway, the people who did this will some day pay for it.
Why the Long Face?
Out of nowhere—at least nowhere to us plebes who are out of the backroom dealing,—Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand and autocrat extraordinaire, suddenly steps down.
She does not look happy about it. I suspect other forces were at work.
The Spectator today had what is probably the best commentary.
In 2020, on the back of what was widely seen to be her masterful handling of the pandemic, Labour not only trounced its conservative National party rivals but mustered an outright majority of votes. It was an unheard-of achievement under New Zealand’s mixed-member proportional representation system, which typically requires fiddly coalition deals.
Even after it became clear the zero-Covid jig was up, Ardern’s government persisted, shuttering much business activity while offering little succour to the million New Zealanders who remained stranded abroad. In recent months, the impact of such a policy has been noticeable. By pretty much any economic measure today, save the country’s historically low unemployment rate, New Zealand is in worse shape than it was five years ago.
A sustained property boom, in which housing became largely unaffordable for first-time buyers, has given way to a widespread property bust, in which many homeowners now find themselves in negative equity and unable to sell. During the bust, as with the boom, the perception has been of a government nonplussed and unable to move much beyond the old script of ‘kindness’ and fuzzy promises of a brighter day yet to come.
National debt levels are also high. A deep recession beckons. And many of the country’s now uncharacteristically shabby major cities are currently roiled by an unprecedented crime wave, particularly in the retail sector where vehicular ram-raids and violence against storekeepers have become depressingly commonplace.
Rumbling in the recent background has been a series of dismal political polls indicating likely electoral victory for the National party this year. Labour has three days to find a replacement for Ardern. The outgoing leader’s most obvious successor, Grant Robertson, has ruled himself out of the running. Whoever’s lucky enough – or unlucky enough as the case may be – to make the final cut, he or she will be a virtual unknown abroad and not terribly more prominent within New Zealand. Talk about an empty tank.
A humiliating au revoir from a real tyrant.
I can’t wait to see many more fall.
How It Works
When my folks moved to California when I was between my sophomore and junior years in high school, I experienced some culture shock. Where we had lived before that, the city salted the streets in the winter when it snowed. Consequently, all the cars rusted out. There were few old cars on the road.
In California that didn’t happen. No salt. Tons of old cars. Old cars are cheap. And every adolescent male of driving age or greater, it seemed, had one he was working on. I had never so much as opened the hood of a car, so it was a whole new world for me.
And, as you might imagine, I didn’t know squat about how car engines worked. I wish I had had this interactive guide, which is excellent. It describes in detail—but not in boring detail—exactly how an internal combustion engine works starting from the basics. When you finish watching it, you won’t be a mechanic, but you’ll certainly learn how to talk to one. I learned all this in the lust to be like everyone else, which is a terrific motivator for a teenage boy. But I had forgotten much of what I had learned back then. This was a nice primer.
Even if you couldn’t give a flip about how an internal combustion engine works, take a look at the site anyway just to see the genius of how it is put together.
Today is going to be another sort of abbreviated Arrow. MD is telling me we need to get the car packed and head for the airport in Tampa. So, as the kids say, I’ve got to bounce.
Starting next week, I’ll be back in my normal traces and pumping out a regular version.
I’ll leave you with this, my
Video of the Week
Try this one on for some courage. It almost defies belief that these guys did this. One false move, and they’re dinner. Seems like the risk reward equation is heavily stacked on the risk side to me.
Okay, I’ll see you next Thursday for a regular edition of The Arrow. Keep in good cheer.
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