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Nutrition Scientists

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.15.16

This article touches on some of the same themes that Gary Taubes does: that nutrition science as a field behaved massively unprofessionally after Ansel Keyes got going on his fat hypothesis - accepting the fat hypothesis without any sound evidence in favor, smearing the reputation of scientists who questioned the lack of evidence, and wrecking the reputation of scientists whose work ran contrary. This article particularly goes into the fates of John Yudkin and journalist Nina Teicholz.

(One thing Taubes does best is go into exhaustingly thorough detail on how poorly nutrition scientists have handled themselves from the mid-60s up until the last couple years, when the pendulum has started to swing back. It is easy to read his book and suspect that the suppressed scientists must have been onto something, although of course I can't make sense of the science myself. The suppressed scientists all draw very far-reaching conclusions about the evils of sugar - Taubes goes so far as to connect it to cancer.)


 

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ATM: Purple-shirting

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.15.16

Thorn writes: We talked about redshirting three years ago but now I have a three-year-old. She'll be four August 10 (desperately wants a mermaid tail she can swim in, even though she can't particularly swim without one) and so I assumed had that year as a four-year-old before starting kindergarten shortly after turning five. She's big for her age, dexterous and strong, social, verbal, very much the youngest sister who's convinced she can do anything her big sisters can and able to back that up a surprising amount of the time. She's been trying all year to lie to the principal about her age and get into kindergarten, I think mostly because then she'd get to ride a bus to afterschool program like her sisters do but also because go go go, and the principal loves this and assures her they're ready for her any time.

Our state, though, is switching from kindergarten being for kids who are 5 on October 1 to kids who are five on August 1, meaning she'll just miss the deadline and they want her to wait to start school until she's six years old. She already knows many of her letters and is making up Hamilton parodies about Templeton the rat from Charlotte's Web and can do very basic addition and subtraction and so on. My plan at this point is definitely to petition the district to admit her when she's five despite being 9 days past the deadline rather than wait until the following year when she'll already be six and one of the oldest kids in the class as well as best-prepared and biggest and so forth. State law is that six-year-olds must be in school but younger than that is at the parent's discretion, so kindergarten is not legally mandatory. The principal said in the past he's asked families with younger, unprepared kindergartners to sit out a year and do more preschool (or just preschool in the first place; many kids in our district don't have it) and restart kindergarten the following year, so that will be the backup plan if she's somehow in over her head.

Unlike her older sisters, Selah doesn't have a very complicated history likely to make school on either the academic or social side harder for her than for the average child. She was in one good foster home for a year and came to us at 13 months and settled in beautifully. She doesn't seem to be bothered by the breakup much, though she misses Lee at times and misses her own relatives we no longer see as often because of distance even more. As I said, I have more than a year before I have to make a decision on kindergarten, but when she moves into the four-year-old room at her daycare/preschool (by far best in the city in terms of kindergarten readiness) I want to tell the teacher to make sure she's being prepared for kindergarten rather than pre-K. My only real question is a general one. Is this likely to be something I'll regret doing? If so will I know before it's too late?

Heebie's take: I think Selah should absolutely start kindergarten next year. In my opinion, redshirting is totally appropriate for a kid with too much energy to sit still in kindergarten, but as soon as a kid can settle down well enough to soak up information and enjoy kindergarten, then it's fine. It sounds like Selah is eager to be there and will have a blast.

Plus it saves so much money on daycare.

In a different kind of insecure, striving parent, I've always thought there was an inherent contradiction in two common beliefs: 1) that you should redshirt your kids (especially boys) so that they'll be the smartest and tallest and strongest in their class. 2) that public schools cater to the lowest common denominator and aren't challenging enough for your special snowflake. If your kid is such a genius, maybe just put them in the right grade?


 

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Fly!

Posted by Ogged
on 04.14.16

Well, this looks amazing.


 

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Guest Post - Chickens, roosts, LinkedIn, and the participation trophy generation

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.14.16

Trivers writes: The CEO of Verizon has taken to LinkedIn to complain about Bernie Sanders. The thinking, perhaps, was that LinkedIn is full of professionals who fancy themselves the just and rightful victors in the global meritocracy. The result is about as laughable as you'd imagine a social media post by a quasi-monopolist rent-seeking tycoon defending himself against accusations of being, well, a quasi-monopolist rent-seeking tycoon.

More laughable, though, are the comments, which can be broken into a broad categories:

1) His own sycophantic middle managers nervously thanking him for defending the good name of their company

2) People rightfully poking fun at the sycophants making those comments

3) Lots of MBAs and broad swaths of presumed just and rightful victors in the global meritocracy pointing out that he is a lying crybaby and that Verizon is an awful, parasitic company that routinely engages in deceptive pricing and price gouging in ways that are harmful to the American economy.

4) Other business people, some CEOs and managers saying "hey, I don't like Bernie either but what in the Sam Hill made you think you would get anything other than this reaction for posting this here?"

The whole thread is hilarious and worth poking one's head into, but I'm struck by the way he expects us to see some kind of higher morality in all of the "investment in the American economy" that Verizon does. Much has been made by daft boomers of the millennial generation's perceived sense of entitlement; it's fashionable in these crowds to chalk this up to the educational environment that handed out trophies for simple participation or sufficient attendance at school. Often the complaint is lobbied that millennials seem to want extraneous congratulation for simply doing their jobs. But now that I think about it, that's really the kind of entitled mentality it takes for the CEO of a multibillion dollar business to cry out for moral recognition for "job creation" or "investment in the American economy". For a CEO of a company of Verizon's magnitude, overseeing this stuff is basically just showing up to work and doing your job, and this guy wants the rest of us to pat him on the back and fawn over what a great job he's doing rather than taking his paycheck and being grateful for the number of zeros on it. Entitlement generation, indeed!

Heebie's take: I am always curious about the degree to which bloviators believe their own bloviating. The comments really are pretty fun:

You have got to be the most boneheaded CEO in America. 40K of your workers are striking today and you choose to attack a presidential candidate? I don't care how many Verizon executive sycophants respond to this article positively, you look like an out of touch fool for publishing this.

 

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You Are There

Posted by Ogged
on 04.13.16

This has been linked everywhere, but only because it's so fantastic: pick a decade, pick a country, listen to the popular songs.

It turned up some Beatles imitators in Iran in the 60s. Solid gold.


 

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This Is Reassuring, Right?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.13.16

Paul Ryan ruling himself out for the Republican nomination means that he's convinced that whoever the Republican nominee is, they're going to lose.

Which is a comfort, because whatever bad you want to say about either of the Democrats (Hilary: warmonger, in the pocket of big finance; Bernie: ancient, somewhat confused about the details, not going to win the nomination), they're much better than the alternative.

"Get Disappointed By Someone New" doesn't work for this election, but "Look, It Could Be So Much Worse" should drive the voters to the polls.


 

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The Picture of Jessicorian Valentiay.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.12.16

Scroll down to the video of Jessica Valenti. Even though it's not playing, they've programmed her to blink at you every few seconds. What on earth is this Scooby Doo nonsense.


 

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Preparation

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.12.16

Aside from the fact that I'm actually in academics, a surprising number of the worst parts of my k-12 education still do actually resemble real life. I'm specifically thinking of dumb gotcha questions with nitpicky instructions, not designed to check your understanding of the material so much as to check your understanding of the game - that a person behind the desk is running the game, and you must appease them. That comes up all the time. Or sometimes, it's nitpicky rules that must be followed precisely or the crappy website won't let you register your kid for summer camp. Or writing a coherent letter to members of a city committee who control the destiny of your neighborhood. Or sitting still and being cooperative during long, boring meetings. It never ended.

(Fortunately I'm cooperative and obedient by nature, more or less.)


 

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Guest Post - Angelica or Eliza?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.11.16

Thorn writes: I too have been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack a lot lately and one song that's struck me is Satisfied, in part because I wonder whether "I'm never satisfied" really is as rare as the song implies. (This doesn't have to be sexual; I'm sure part of why I identify with it is that nothing I've ever done in my life has felt good enough.) Anyway, it seems like an unfogged-type question. Have you ever been satisfied?

Heebie's take:
1. I love that song so hard.
2.Yes! My baseline temperament is to be satisfied. I'm generally satisfied with my current life. Over the past ten years, I've been baseline dissatisfied during pregnancies and house remodeling - those were too disruptive. But worth it.
3. Let's also make this the Hamilton Thread. I'm totally head over heals for the soundtrack (like everyone else).


 

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Guest post: Tiger Mom meets science, loses

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.11.16

President B. F. Skinner writes: As I imagine unfogged recalls, Amy "Tiger Mom" Chua published a follow-up book "explaining" (which is to say speculating baselessly) why certain immigrant groups do well and others fail. It was always obvious nonsense, of course, but now some social psychologists (including the guy behind the Invisible Gorilla study) have tested her theories empirically and, guess what, they're nonsense. Not, arguably, surprising, but perhaps reassuring to those who are _not_ from immigrant groups with the legendary "triple package" of conscientiousness, status anxiety, and a strong sense of their own superiority to everybody else.

Heebie's take: Goddamnit, I've been cultivating status anxiety and arrogance for the past three years and now you tell me it was all for nought?!


 

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