Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…

Entertainment:

children sims photo

Image by raggiesoft

[E1] Noah Charney has cracked the sitcom code. Is this the medium perfected, or the reason why sitcoms have become stale and unpopular?

[E2] It’s not just me: Anime really was great twenty years ago.

[E3] On paper, Sleepless in Seattle had serious problems. It’s a testament to the power of the Hanks-Ryan chemistry that it was as well-regarded as it was.

[E4] What’s up with the sucky state of American actors? Ah, well, as long as we can keep importing them, no biggie.

[E5] How The Sims promotes conservative family values, and Sim City tackles urban planning.

Health:

pediatrician photo

Image by edenpictures

[H1] I can definitely understand that there are safety concerns with this device, but as long as nutritionists are recommending diet and exercise I don’t want to hear arguments about efficacy.

[H2] Maybe it’s not soda and salty/sweet snacks after all.

[H3] I don’t have a huge problem with this, to be honest, but it does interfere with the goal of insuring everybody. Perhaps opening the door for a revival of the Public Option.

[H4] I appreciate the thought here, but as a knuckle-dragging American I am vaguely disconcerted by the word “instructs.”

[H5] Aaron Carroll looks at some negative statistics for home births and takes the very sound view that rather than just discouraging them we ought to work to make them safer.

[H6] The kitchen is the heart of the house and using contractors like Agua Construction for your kitchen remodeling needs is a wise choice that will benefit your family and the value of your home.

[H7] Important for parents: What drowning does and doesn’t look like.

Love:

children sims photo

Image by Flavia Mariani

[L1] How attention and social cues help us determine facial attractiveness.

[L2] Roberto Ferdman interviews Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld about the success of online dating.

[L3] With increased information comes increased market efficiency. {More}

[L4] Huh. young couples are better at determining their partner’s preferences than long-term couples.

Marriage:

shotgun wedding photo

Image by satanoid

[M1] There used to be concern that people were not waiting long enough to find a good mate. Now there is concern that they are waiting too long.

[M2] Lisa Endlich Hefferman defends the Mommy Track and writes about 9 things a SAHM had wish she’d known before becoming a SAHM, which resonated with me, for the most part.

shotgun wedding photo

Image by Jasen Miller

[M3] When all is said and done, staunch partisanship and fringy political views appear to make for happier marriages.

[M4] Self-selection for time horizons, I guess, but having a better credit score makes you a better marital bet.

[M5] Another shock: If you’re agreeable, attractive, and clean, you’re more likely to get married. The good news is that if you’re low in one, you can try to bone up on the other.

Children:

children sims photo

Image by familymwr

[C1] What if parenting doesn’t really matter? It would be nice to let parents off the hook since so much of parenting is not controllable, but attributing family structure to selection raises a different breed of uncomfortable questions.

[C2] What if parenting doesn’t really matter? It would be nice to let parents off the hook since so much of parenting is not controllable, but attributing family structure to selection raises a different breed of uncomfortable questions.

children sims photo

Image by Guilherme Yagui

[C3] We have gotten this question in some pretty weird places. We don’t especially mind answering it, but there is a lot of speculation based on the little data the answer to the question provides.

[C4] We’re not yet having these discussions explicitly, but I feel like they’re happening non-verbally with increasing frequency.

[C5] Maybe it’s not a name your considering for your kid, but a brand!

Divorce:

[D1] In Alternet, psychotherapist William Doherty questions his own historic assumptions and wonders if we approach divorce too selfishly.

[D2] Amanda Foreman takes a dour look at divorce and American culture, and the female experience within.

[D3] Bethany Mandel expresses her disapproval of The Divorce Selfie.

[D4] The Book of Life has a primer on how to break up with somebody. The “be cruel to be kind” is probably right.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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98 thoughts on “Linky Friday #175: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…

  1. E4: When your going to force your kids to study something practical, your going to drive a lot of would be good to great actors and other artists elsewhere.

    H1: I can not imagine most people doing this willingly.

    L3: The first link seems to trail off in its’ thoughts. I can understand why online dating would lead to people ending up with somebody closer in looks but the suggestion seems to be that people are resisting this. The explanation in the second link for look disparity in couples makes sense.

    L4: New couples might be more on their toes so they don’t mess up.

    M1: Marriage used to be a real economic necessity. Not being married was a good way to end up in poverty for a lot of Western civilization. Its why people got remarried fast after a spouse died in the past if they were young enough. Its easier to never marry and not be in poverty these days. This delayed marriage as other negative aspects potentially but there does not seem much you could do about it.

    L3, L4, and M1 demonstrate that online dating is more of a mixed bag than a success. It seems to make people pickier and this makes it harder to get into a couple. It adds the more extroverted and typically attractive over the more introverted and less physically attractive.

    M5: Two out of three ain’t bad.

    C1: Bad parenting seems to screw up people plenty.

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      • Will Truman:
        H1: I think you underestimate the desire to be thin.

        I don’t underestimate it all and I still think you aren’t going to see many people getting these.

        I can see circumstances where something like could be helpful, but only a very select few people dealing with the kind of obesity that proper diet itself may not be able to address due to other physiological issues and 2) exercise isn’t remotely going to begin to address.

        I don’t think your run-of-the-mill body dysmorphic male/female that wants to get 20 lbs lighter for the beach will get one of these.

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        • I agree that it won’t be for people 20lb overweight (as things stand). That still leaves a lot of people.

          It will start with some of the heaviest and probably be like gastric bypass for the foreseeable future. Then people will come to accept it or they won’t and it will become more widespread or it won’t.

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        • Eh, for some people. Ask a doctor about weight gain and if they’re honest, they’ll give you a rather depressing answer.

          The human body is incredibly good with food, and is really designed to store energy for lean times. But we don’t really have lean times anymore. So you have this efficient machine that’s designed for hunter/gatherers — where winters and spring are pretty lean, but summers and autumns have a lot of food — and we’ve got plenty of food year around. A ton of it far more dense in fat, sugars, and protein than at any point in history.

          All going into a body that is designed to pack on every ounce of fat it can, and to resist emptying those cells unless it absolutely has to. (You know what your body’s first reaction to a diet is? Drop your metabolism to counteract the loss of food. Makes you tired and weak while sending out increasingly frantic signals to eat already. Lower your calorie intake? Your body cheerfully lowers your calorie spending to match).

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          • It can be done. I did it. I’ve gone through a few plateaus, but never “yo-yoed” back up. Every few months, I’m down another notch in my belt. I’ve had to basically redo my wardrobe twice in the last four years. (Oh those lovely clothes I’ve had to pass on!)

            I mean, you can’t really generalize from me, insofar as I was completely rebuilding my endocrine system from the ground up, plus my brain was suddenly working almost correctly (gender dysphoria is as much wrong-hormones-in-the-brain as wrong-shape-to-the-body). Plus adderall. But anyway. You can reboot your metabolism. It’s just, you cannot starve your way to a new metabolism. You have to do other stuff.

            It’s actually easier for men, I think. You guys can build and keep muscle mass much easier than we gals, although I’ve managed to maintain decent tone despite the endocrine changes. My testosterone levels are actually lower than a typical cis woman’s, but I kept much of my muscle. I have no idea how that happened. (Just lucky I guess, insofar as any trans gal can count as lucky.) Maybe it’s from the dancing.

            Anyway, the key points are: Willpower ain’t enough, not hardly. Big-huge diets are garbage and will fuck you up. Whatever is causing this, it’s almost certainly something we’ve done terribly wrong with modern processed food, although no one can point and say, “It’s for sure that single thing.” (Not that they do not try.)

            Blah. But still, you can avoid processed food. You can build muscle mass. You can go slow-and-steady. You can accept you’ll never be rail-thin like a supermodel. You can stay kinda active.

            Plus, some days you just are gonna want a big, giant, delicious meal. Which, that actually helps, I think. It keeps your metabolism humming along.

            I suspect medical researchers will sooner or later figure it out. Then they’ll make a pill — cuz the idea we’ll actually stop eating processed food is naïve. Of course we won’t, not as a society. (You can, however!) But a magic pill would be pretty nice.

            Let us hope for the magic pill.

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            • There’s also the fact that willpower in this case is…subjective. There’s really no way to measure how ‘great’ an effort of will dieting or exercise or whatever is from one person to another.

              Pain is subjective, and pain is a heck of a lot less nebulous a concept than ‘willpower’. That’s why they have that handy pain chart, as opposed to just assigning “Oh, clean break on the forearm, that’s a 6” and moving on.

              But yeah, magic pill. You know what I’d be researching if I was a pharmaceutical company? A pill that convinces your body to discard empty fat cells. It’d be a way to help hold onto gains from a brief flirtation with exercise of a diet plan, and a heck of a lot more targeted than playing games with your metabolism or your satiation responses, and thus less likely to screw you over via some weird secondary mechanism.

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    • L4 – I expect there’s some of the making sure not to mess up aspect to it.

      I would guess that when you’ve been together only a short time, you’re negotiating how to do things a lot, and knowing your partner’s preferences is important to negotiating something you’ll both be happy with. After decades, there’s a lot of stuff that just doesn’t require negotiating, because you established a consensus on what works years ago, and can forget over time what the exact process and preferences were that went into that consensus.

      The example of kitchen design preferences seemed particularly to support that – you really only need to discuss kitchen design preferences when you’re actually designing a kitchen. Couples in their first decade of partnership probably do a lot more kitchen design than those in their fourth or fifth – and why would they, when they are quite used to the perfectly nice kitchen they spent so much time designing together 35 years ago? You want to remember who it was who lobbied for the cabinets over the sink to be that way after that time?

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  2. H2 – the buried lede is this:

    And there are some other culprits — aside from French fries — but they exist across a range of meals. The number of calories consumed every day spiked for grains such as white bread (409 calories in 1970 versus 582 calories in 2010), oil and dairy fats (346 versus 589 calories) and added sugars (333 versus 367 calories). Americans also get most of their daily sodium from processed food and restaurant food…

    …Robert Lustig, an American pediatric endocrinologist, says the body has more difficulty processing sugar, which is often hidden in processed foods.

    What happens if the issue isn’t *junk* food, but just what people have come to call food, food.

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    • It’s not even a question of food-food. It’s just simple, brutal, relentless, biological math; calories in-Calories out. Our bodies are evolved to crave those calories and cling to their calorie stores. The era of caloric plenty is not even a blink of an eye in the history of human biology.

      I wish it was something else because eating and relaxing is pleasant as hell but it’s not. Whether it’s organic alp alpha bread or potato chips if you consume more calories than you use you’re going to pack on the pounds.

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      • Sort of… to be sure we live in an era of bountiful access to food and reduced activity, but calories in and out are not really the whole story.

        If the food we’re consuming is working at cross purposes to our evolved systems for managing our nutritional needs, we have a separate problem that’s possibly more serious than the first for its unrecognized ubiquity.

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        • Yes, it’s complicated, but the number of people that have been successfully been able to lose fat while eating at a level of caloric maintenance or surplus is somewhere between zero and zero. Calories in vs. calories out is the only thing that matters when it comes to the body’s ability to tap stored fat for energy vs. utilizing dietary fuel sources.

          To be fair, there are certain complications to what goes into the calories in vs. calories out equation so those factors have to be properly accounted for, if they can properly accounted for.

          On calories in, my view is that if you’re eating mostly a whole foods diet, the calorie estimates are pretty good. Heck, there are certain foods I don’t even bother counting (greens). On the whole, no pun intended, measuring is pretty intuitive if you know the basic rules (i.e. palm sized for protein, thumb for nuts, etc.). I happen to measure my food but I’m also in a far different place than most other people.

          Restaurants are a huge risk because not only are the estimates off, there’s the fact that you have no idea whether or not the people preparing them are doing it to keep the meals in those ranges. For me, it’s always a chicken caesar salad with the dressing and cheese on the side (I won’t eat the croutons). I think that’s the only way to not risk an issue.

          If people are struggling to lose weight and think the labels are inaccurate, then I would tell them to look for ways to reduce their intake in VERY slow increments and see what happens. That’s the solution there.

          On the calories out side, things can get REAL messy. There are hormonal issues, metabolic issues and other imbalance can wreak metabolic havoc and make it physically difficult if not impossible to reach the point where they can be in a caloric deficit.

          Did you read the recent article about the study of former Biggest Loser contestants? Not only did many of them put back on significant weight, but also their resting metabolic rates did not increase as their size increased, which is what normally happens. Therefore, in many cases, given their stats, these people have metabolic rates that are several hundred calories lower than other people at the same height and weight.

          The risk there is huge. They could end up having to deal with significant hunger issues or be forced into a position to have to exercise at excessive levels just to keep weight where it is. Expecting someone to simply put down the fork and drop another 300 to 500 calories to get up to a 1 lb of fat loss per week is courting disaster.

          This is my long way of saying it’s both easy and complicated.

          I’ve been able to recomp myself down to where I’m sitting around 11% body fat. The best part about being able to do that is that I’ve been able to learn from the number of times I’ve failed at it.

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          • For what it’s worth, Atkins/South Beach worked for me as long as I was doing it religiously. As far as I could tell, I didn’t reduce calorie intake at all. If I ever even felt the least bit hungry (even peckish), I had another chicken breast. I had another steak. I had another couple of hard boiled eggs.

            Of course, when the diet stopped, the weight came back and came back with a vengeance.

            But, for a while there, I ate as much as I wanted (just not whatever I wanted) and the weight peeled away (well, the first 20ish pounds did, anyway).

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            • Yeah, if you calorie restrict yourself unless you do so in a very gradual measured manner, your body remembers and refuses to come out of starvation mode when the plenty returns. It’s biology and evolution, we’re alive now because of it. The humans who could easily get those toned slim bodies perished almost entirely during the famines of our racial history. If one wants to get the weight off and keep it off we’re generally looking at changing how you eat, forever.

              I could diet… I just hate doing it. Ung, such a viciously appropriate word; diet. The die is right in there.

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            • As far as I could tell, I didn’t reduce calorie intake at all.

              Did you count? People are notoriously bad at estimating energy intake, and since you dramatically changed the kinds of food you were eating, it would be pretty tough to know whether your energy intake decreased just by guesstimating.

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              • Nope, did not count. The only thing I counted was whether I was hungry.

                And I made damn sure that I was never, ever hungry. Peckish for even a minute? Have some string cheese. Have some steak. Have an egg. Have some bacon. Have a handful of cashews.

                In my defense, it wasn’t like I went from eating Elvis fries for breakfast/lunch/dinner to the Atkins. I went from “trying to eat better” to “this isn’t working, better do South Beach”.

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                • Hrm, but seeing Marchmaine’s Bernaise comment below, I do note that I went from eating pre-packaged meals or eating out to eating stuff that I made myself from mostly fresh ingredients (my marinades tended to be pre-packaged).

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          • On calories in, my view is that if you’re eating mostly a whole foods diet, the calorie estimates are pretty good.

            Not disagreeing with you. Further if we bracket metabolic extremes and/or significant individual health issues, that’s rather the point… what should be a fairly simple calculus really isn’t because while a calorie is a calorie, not all calories or the absence thereof have the same simple effect on the nutritional needs of the body. So, simple becomes complex.

            Which is to say, that good nutrition and diet are not the absence/elimination of soda and snacks.

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            • But elimination of soda appears to be an easy way to improve diet / nutrition. What I gather from the linked report is that people don’t drink a lot of “full calorie soft drinks” these days. Underweight people drink the most, reporting one drink in the last 48 hours, while everyone else reported an average of about a half a drink in the last 48 hours.

              That doesn’t seem like a lot, and certainly not a big difference between BMI categories. And it does not look at how much reduced or non-calorie soft drinks are consumed, which I think are not benign.

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              • To be sure… the first and simplest thing for anyone to do is stop freebasing high fructose corn syrup.

                But that completes the circle related to the article which was pointing out that stopping soda consumption didn’t reduce weight (according to the study). Or, more precisely obese, very obese and morbidly obese people drank as much or slightly less soda than the average person – which, the more I think about it is kind of a stupid voxstat.

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    • Since California mandated the listing of calories on restaurant menus, I have been repeatedly astounded at how easy it is to misjudge how many are in ordinary restaurant meals.

      Most family restaurant meal entrees are in the 800-1000 range, before you add a soft drink (250-300), appetizers, (300 or so), and maybe a dessert (400 and up).

      Its easy to consume most of an entire day’s calorie intake at a single seating, and this is without consuming “junk food”.

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          • Yeah, I meant society-wide. I think it does have an impact for me in particular, but one of three things seems to be true:

            1) I am wrong and it is not having an impact. Whatever I don’t eat at McDonald’s I am instead eating elsewhere.
            2) I am right, but statistically so rare as to be inconsequential.
            3) I am right, and not alone, but while it positively impacts my decisions it negatively impacts the decisions of others, nullifying it all.

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      • Restaurant costs are driven by labor, rent, and energy. As those push the need to raise prices, the easy (and cheapest) choice to “justify” those increases to the customer is to increase portion sizes.

        My wife and I could both stand to shed some weight. I do most of the cooking and have been trying to impose portion-size controls. I’ve about concluded that I’m going to have to buy new, smaller dishware in order to succeed at it.

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        • This is actually a multi-step process where the middle operand is the key to understanding modern restaurants. It starts with the first factor that you interestingly forgot to mention: Food costs.

          Most restaurants keep food costs between 25% – 30% of the price on the menu. Increasing portion sizes directly increases prices and doing one without the other will ruin you.

          However, if you can reduce the cost of your food costs, by, say switching to processed foods, then you can offset a perceived decline in quality by an increase in quantity. Further, there is a secondary benefit that switching to processed foods can increase consistency with lower quality help, and help you to save on labor costs and lots of other costs down the line.

          One of my most favorite sauces is Bernaise… which has 5 ingredients: Butter, Eggs, Vinegar, shallots, and Tarragon (plus pinches of salt, red pepper, and white pepper). When we make it at home, I can cost it out at $0.25 per serving… or about $1 rounded when part of your steak calculation at a restaurant. But, you haven’t had actual Beranaise sauce or its cousin Hollandaise in a (typical) restaurant in at least a decade. At best you’ve gotten this:

          Soybean Oil (Tbhq And Citric Acid Added To Protect Flavor), Modified Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Margarine (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Liquid Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Mono And Diglycerides, Whey, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate Added As A Preservative, Artificially Flavored, Artificially Colored With Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Palmitate Added), Dried Egg Yolks, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed And Soybean Oil, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cultured Butter, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Sugar, Whey, Soy Lecithin, Milk, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Mono & Diglycerides, Milk Protein Concentrate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Stearoly Lactylate, Natural Flavors, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Sorbitol, Beta Carotene (For Color), Bht, Cellulose Gum, Titanium Dioxide, Pectin.

          …and that’s the higher quality made from paste stuff.

          But, the beauty of that? 1,512 servings in a single case… for a cost of $0.02 per serving. Now, replicate this for everything on the menu… have 95% of the items prepared from processed foods offsite and delivered semi-prepared… and that’s what gets you increased portions for decreased costs.

          There are, as the economists like to say, external costs to this kind of food and this kind of eating.

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          • Right. I’ve dropped a lot of weight since I started cooking at home. I mean, I’ll make some low-cal-adjacent stuff, like veg soup. But I’ll also make yummy beef stew and yummy chili and yummy steaks seared at 500F. Yumz + yumz.

            It’s yummy, yummy. Plus, with the stews and stuff, I can cook up a big batch on Sunday and freeze some, so I don’t need to cook every night. (I compromise sometimes on sauces, but good is better than bad, even if it ain’t perfect.)

            Cook for yourself. Eat whatever you want, but cook it yourself. Shop mostly on the edge of the store. If the relation between your food and the plant-or-animal source is not glaringly obvious, then head closer to the edge of the store.

            Within reason. Compromise. But still.

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            • Oh hell, but tonight is my besties birthday dinner night and she’s dragging me out for pizza. So, I shall eat pizza. At a restaurant.

              It’ll no doubt be yumz, but — I will need all of my willpower.

              Pray for me, those of you who pray.

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                    • Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think frozen pizzas are a pretty neat idea.

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                • — Precisely. The human body is not meant to operate in a state of constant starvation. However, neither was it optimized for a constant diet of abundant processed food. Variation. Calibration.

                  I do get very hungry from time to time, limiting myself.

                  That said, for lunch today I went out for fake Mexican, which is my Saturday routine: Math and Mexican. Now I’m at a different fake Mexican restaurant, downing frozen margaritas: Math and Margaritas.

                  Life is to be lived. Enjoy your Saturday everone.

                  (If only the damn Pokémon servers could stay up for more than 10 minutes.)

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                  • Life is to be lived. Enjoy your Saturday everone.

                    That’s the best comment of the day, VD. Thanks. I’m trying. And you enjoy it too.

                    Reminds me of that hackneyed old expression: the overexamined life isn’t worth living…

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            • Yes, that’s a great first step to dieting or just simple blood sugar maintenance. Splurge on high quality pastured eggs and you have a simple go-to for breakfast/lunch or dinner when you don’t want to cook but feel the world starting to crash in around you – you know the feeling. A simple whole food is always a better alternative to a snack…

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                • Speaking of pasteurized eggs, apparently they’re not a panacea allowing everyone to eat all the raw cookie dough they want all the time. The process controls in the standard raw wheat flour pipeline, for cost reasons, allow for a lot of stuff to get in there that will be cooked out, since there are basically no intended applications for flour that don’t involve cooking.

                  So instead of salmonella from uncooked eggs, you get e-coli from uncooked flour.

                  This is why we can’t have nice things.

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      • We just set up an old job alumni monthly meeting. Last time i heard the desserts mentioned and Gluttony got the best of me.

        When I saw the size of it, i had 3/4 put on to go – It lasted me for more than a week. I would just do two spoonfuls at dinner. The portion sizes are past incredible in almost every restaurant

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        • When I go to my favorite teriyaki place (wok-hei is a real thing), I order a second entree to go, and chip in to have them double down on the veggies. I get a meal per day out of it – for five days…

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      • It’s instructive that the likes of Applebee’s advertise a special section of the menu with entrees in the 500-600 calorie range. Strongly implying that nothing else on the menu is (even!) that low.

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    • …Robert Lustig, an American pediatric endocrinologist, says the body has more difficulty processing sugar, which is often hidden in processed foods.

      I don’t agree with Lustig on this point. The problem is that the body can process the simple sugars in processed food, just fine, which is exactly the reason to minimize their consumption.

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    • I think the problem isn’t so much that our bodies have difficulty processing sugar – it’s that they have such a very easy time of processing it. Sugar is so rapidly absorbed and made into available energy, that unless you ate the sugar immediately before doing hard work, it means a surplus of available energy that gets stored away for later, as body fat.

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      • Fructose poses special problems, since it can only be metabolized by the liver, which has limited throughput. If you eat fructose when your liver’s glycogen stores are full, the only thing it can do with the fructose is convert it to fat. The liver can export fat (which is what a triglycerides test measures), but only at a limited rate, so if you keep overconsuming fructose, you end up with hepatic insulin resistance and fatty liver.

        Excessive fructose intake can also cause gastrointestinal problems in people susceptible to fructose malabsorption.

        Edit: See here.

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  3. E4: I don’t fully believe this article. It got a lot of pushback when it was first published. Casting Directors seem to love British actors though. In related news, the big story in the UK is about how many of their actors seem to come from posh backgrounds these days. Fees and other issues have made it much harder for actors from working-class backgrounds to attend acting conservatories (must of which are public or quasi-public.) Hiddelston, Radcliffe, Laurie, Thompson, and others are very posh and attended the super-elite boarding schools for high school.

    M1: What did jaybird say about how marriage used to make you an adult? I think this was quite literal in that many people were still under parent supervision or houeholds until they got married. In many Asian countries, this is still true. In the US, men went to work early but were required to hand their wages over to their dads until they turned 21 by custom at least. I suppose some people are waiting too long. We still expect men to be very financially stable and “bread-winners” before they marry and if you are underemployed because of societal changes or your career is advancing slowly you are going to think that it is irresponsible to get married and possibly despair of getting married yourself. I’m 35 and still freelancing and my career is highly unstable. Who the fuck would think I should marry despite these things? If I ever take the plunge to start my own firm, it will take a few years before things work out (if they do.)

    M2: One problem with the mommy track is how it effects the rest of the economy. I think a lot of employers actually prefer hiring women or female-presenting people because it means that they can pay them less especially if they are moms that need flex time. I’ve known or heard of women whose bosses said that they like employing women because the boss assumes the woman has or can get a partner with a much higher income.* Sometimes I wonder if I get passed up for jobs because bosses think they have to pay a guy more. I’ve gotten passed up for jobs and projects with small firms or solo lawyers and my mom’s reaction is always to say “the guy probably hired a cute woman” for some reason.

    *There seems to be a general truism that men still need to make more than their female romantic partners. I am an exception to this rule currently. But there is a sort of stereotype that male lawyers marry their paralegals or elementary-school teachers seemingly. Female lawyers marry other lawyers or finance people. A year or so ago, there was a parody of a high-end food magazine and one of the joke headlines was “Our associate editor married a finance guy and you won’t believe what her new kitchen looks like.”

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  4. Chip Daniels:
    Since California mandated the listing of calories on restaurant menus, I have been repeatedly astounded at how easy it is to misjudge how many are in ordinary restaurant meals.

    It’s just as easy to misjudge meals with calorie disclosures because all they do is show a number.

    Better to have the nutrition facts. They aren’t required per any laws I know but the restaurant chains and franchises typically have them on their websites, at least the few I’ve checked.

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  5. H1 seems like it might address a handful of psychological issues, maybe.

    People can get the pleasure of eating as much as they want without the calories. Finally!

    But if part of the needs being met by eating too many calories involve the various feelings in the stomach and small intestines, H1 will not provide the benefits we’re hoping for.

    We’ll just have a bunch of people with holes in their stomachs.

    Functional bulemics.

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  6. M1, in a modern economy, will create one hell of a feedback loop. Assuming that children being born with benefit of clergy is important, of course…

    If we assume that it doesn’t matter, though, we have a lot less of a problem.

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  7. C1: On the unimportance of parenting, I think the point made is a relative one. There are few novel things parents do in raising their child that have measurable impact. On the negative side, there is abusing a child. On the positive side, reading to your child has been shown to improve academic performance, most other parental involvement don’t (per Broken Compass). The linked piece references “The Nature Assumption,” which theorized that primarily socialization is by peer-group, and this is something parents can control indirectly. So basically, try to have children with a partner with desirable qualities and try to live somewhere nice and safe, and don’t do anything stupid.

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    • Yeah, more or less that is my thinking – kids don’t need the best parents to thrive, they need good enough parents. There are all sorts of variations withing good enough (including doing many stupid things – heaven knows we’ve done some, and our parents probably did things that in retrospect they saw as stupid too. But they were trustworthy, loving, safe, good enough parents).

      The amount of stress we can put on ourselves thinking this or that thing isn’t good enough – too much screen time! Too few vegetables eaten! We’ve made mealtimes unpleasant with too much emphasis on eating undesired vegetables! – can perhaps be reduced by stepping back and reminding ourselves of what actually constitutes ‘not good enough’ parenting.

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    • On the positive side, reading to your child has been shown to improve academic performance

      Has it been shown to play a causal role, as opposed to being a proxy for something else that improves academic performance?

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      • From what I can recall, there are a few issues with reading. One is that it is uncommon for parents to read to their children past a very young age, which means its something that can be specifically parsed. There is enough variability within social classes btw/ read/don’t read that the results were not essentially concluding that people with advanced education and/or higher incomes read more to their children and thus become higher achievers. Reading is also a cognitive skill that is a form of interpersonal communication, and more likely to be helped through interpersonal communication than other cognitive skills.

        This is from a survey of longitudinal studies titled “The Broken Compass,” and most of the parental involvements were found not to have much effect, and some like helping with homework became harmful over time.

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  8. H5: Our experience of home birth in Canada seems to match the description of the “British safety net”

    The best research we could find at the time was from BC, which has a situation around midwifery and home birth very similar to Alberta’s, and which found that home birth in that context was as safe as or safer than hospital birth across all adverse outcomes studied. That was what won me over to Fledermaus’s view that home birth was the right choice for us.

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  9. [L3] — The first link is some garbage journalism. She bemoans we might “end up alone,” but all the study establishes is that people on Tinder and OkC tend to date within their own “attractiveness level.” Which, I guess the author is unaware of the content of [L2], which suggests that sites such as eHarmony do not have this problem.

    People, I shall introduce you to selection bias.

    It could be that such beauty-conscious people have always existed, and these days they choose Tinder, whereas those who prioritize “life stuff” choose eHarmony. Which are you? Choose your dating strategies appropriately.

    Oh look! No need for empty think-pieces about modern romance!

    Anyway, I’m sure a lot of people are more shallow than they claim to be. (I’m more shallow than I claim to be, even when I’m claiming to be shallow.) On the other hand, if you’re the sort that complains that people more attractive than you don’t want to date you, and this is a problem, well who is being shallow?

    [L1] — I’m not sure how this knowledge will help me hook up with pretty trans lesbians. Therefore it is bad science. (She says with a grin.)

    [L4] — Seems plausible. At the start of a relationship, during the “romance phase,” your partner is your life. After fifteen years, not the same.

    [H1] — Ewwwwww! The problem is, it won’t relieve hunger. Hunger is about energy levels. When I am energy deprived, it drags me down. I need calories to move, to think, to have clarity.

    I’ve lost about 100 pounds in the last few years, most of them after gender transition. Much of that comes from the fact I am happy, thus I do more stuff, thus I am more active, etc. However, it’s not only that. I also eat way better.

    But still, the hunger can be disabling. It’s a balance.

    Being transgender is hard enough. Being transgender and fat — I don’t wanna deal with it. Society is cruel. It’s worth an occasional bit of hunger to stay thin. (Well, thin-ish.)

    I ain’t gonna pump my stomach, tho. That won’t solve the actual problem.

    [M1] — I like game theoretic models as much as the next gal, but people are not robots.

    Honestly, most of these “relationship” articles are the same level of insight-free concern trolling as your typical “oh noes! Pokemons!” article.

    It’s almost as if the media has nothing to say.

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    • E-harmony definitely has a different culture than other sites – I think it’s a combination of the highly structured environment, combined with vestiges of its original intent of being explicitly religious (to the point that I question if it works as well for those of us who are nonreligious, not through intent but blind spots in the algorithms).

      That said, the only thing keeping people from fishing in multiple pools is cost. I know I’ve seen a number of profiles with exactly the same picture on multiple sites. Those are the ones that are particularly frustrating non-responses…

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  10. Give me anime from 10 years ago. The art was getting better, and the stories were still willing to be offbeat. Code Geass, Death Note, Ouran High School, School Rumble, early Bleach.

    Evangelion is overrated.

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  11. E1: He proves the sitcom is stale and formulaic by analyzing an episode from season 1 of Parks and Rec, which was so stale and formulaic that the show was completely retooled for season 2. Brilliant.

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