Links for April 2023

This is the two-months-left reminder for entries to our MYSTERY CONTEST. There are already two entries, and you still have two months to write and submit yours! 

Speaking of mysteries: Jeff Wood’s story of diagnosing his ME/CFS as a mechanical problem with the craniocervical junction, the place where your skull connects to the first two vertebrae (h/t JG in the comments on N=1: Symptom vs. Syndrome). He found a treatment that worked for him, and as far as we’ve heard, he is still in remission. Most interesting for the simple, obvious diagnostic test; if you have ME/CFS symptoms, try wearing a neck brace or just pull up on your head and see if your symptoms get better. See also the CCI + Tethered cord series from Jennifer Brea. 

Still speaking of mysteries: “Paranasal sinuses are a group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity… Their role is disputed and no function has been confirmed.” Also, why do they (reportedly) generate nitric oxide? The Wikipedia talk page on this one is also amusing. “more details of structure please. they are just empty pockets of air? how does the air get there? are they lined with tissue or Moo Hog are they just bone? hoopenings does each have? how do they becom e ‘pressurized’? etc etc-” writes User:Omegatron in 2005. Maybe the sinuses are well-understood by experts, but in that case, the Wikipedia page itself is a mystery. 

No longer speaking of mysteries: We made a tumblr, in case the bird site dies or becomes unusable. 

Adam Mastroianni argues that science is a strong-link problem. See also this excellent elaboration on the point, A Model of Quality Control in Strong Link Science, from Maxwell Tabarrok.

Salt, Sugar, Water, Zinc: How Scientists Learned to Treat the 20th Century’s Biggest Killer of Children. Like the story of scurvy, a clear example that eventual cures may look no more than vaguely promising at first, before we figure out the details of how to make them work reliably. Also, a lesson on following up on leads, even if they look weird or dumb or inconsistent at first. It doesn’t have to take 140 years!

The Ineluctable Smell of Beer — Part 1 in a fascinating series about the rise of healthcare costs (h/t Krinn). Really about the costs and reasons for “coordinative communication”. Kind of argues that bureaucracy is a symptom of bad things rather than the cause of them? You normally look at a dysfunctional, bureaucratic system and assume, “the bureaucracy caused the dysfunction”. But: “maybe it should take us aback that our health care system incurs such extreme coordinative communications costs, that paying all those people to handle it is actually more cost effective than not.”

The Atlantic: Could Ice Cream Possibly Be Good for You? (or here to avoid the paywall). “The dissertation explained that he’d hardly been the first to observe the shimmer of a health halo around ice cream. Several prior studies, he suggested, had come across a similar effect. Eager to learn more, I reached out to Ardisson Korat for an interview—I emailed him four times—but never heard back. … Inevitably, my curiosity took on a different shade: Why wouldn’t a young scientist want to talk with me about his research? Just how much deeper could this bizarre ice-cream thing go?” lol

Tyler Ransom did a N=1, T=1166 self-experiment where he lost 15 lbs in four months. 

A School of Strength and Character:

The institution builders of the Civil War embodied a type of excellence that foreign observers of their era described as characteristically American. … But less than a century after the Civil War, American life did become dominated by centralized and professionally managed bureaucracies. The two world wars only served to entrench this way of life in business and politics. The population, in response, became increasingly conditioned to lobbying for centralized decisions instead of self-organizing. Those who introduced managerial bureaucracy to American life understood the “great strength” bureaucratic tools would grant them. But these tools destroyed the conditions that made them so adept at institution building in the first place. The first instinct of the nineteenth-century American was to ask, “How can we make this happen?” Those raised inside the bureaucratic maze have been trained to ask a different question: “how do I get management to take my side?” 

Someone tracked down the original take of the Wilhelm Scream.

Weinersmith on political hobbyism

AI and the American Smile: How AI misrepresents culture through a facial expression

On the unexpected joys of Denglisch, Berlinglish & global Englisch

The great Milk Diet experiment results are in (h/t anon). Compare for sure to ExFatLoss’s +80% cream diet. Do be careful of excessive calcium intake, drinking this much milk may not be good long-term (though ExFatLoss seems to be doing ok?).

7 thoughts on “Links for April 2023

  1. For the record, Cronometer claims I get only 48% of daily recommended calcium on my mainly heavy cream diet 🙂
    You’d probably have to drink a lot more milk, because it’s not as energy dense. Just saying.


    1. Anon says:

      The Milk Diet actually gives you almost 3000 mg (!) of calcium daily. If anything, there’s a risk of ingesting too much calcium, which can cause kidney stones and hypercalcemia.

      But yeah, you need to essentially replace all water consumption with milk, since you’ll be drinking about 3/4 gallon a day.


      1. Anon says:

        (Also, for anyone trying this: take Vitamin C. Bovines can biosynthesize Vitamin C, so cow’s milk doesn’t contain any. Scurvy is, I am told, unpleasant.)


  2. JG says:

    Milk-only diets have been a thing for a long time. I don’t know if he has the first, but Bernarr Macfadden started something of a milk-diet movement aver a hundred years ago. Upton Sinclair got really into it and talks about his experiences here: Bernarr Macfadden’s book is here:

    The Macfadden-style milk diets seemed to be more about gaining weight than losing it and it was preceded by a fast of some sort. Macfadden recommends people drink tons of milk each day. Sinclair says he “became as round as a butter-ball” and has a picture to prove it.

    Also, I’m happy to see Jeff Woods and Jen Brea made the monthly links list. Lots of people have figured out what’s really wrong with them and what to do about it because of their stories.


    1. My personal experience with milk is that it tends to spike my blood sugar, and then I crash. Doesn’t sound like good diet material! XD (At least for me. I suppose everyone is different, to some degree 🙂 )


      1. JG says:

        There is nothing wrong with having a spike in blood sugar as long as it goes back to normal afterwards. In fact, a spike is a sign that things are normal! What exactly do you mean by a crash afterward though? If it’s actually hypoglycemia (maybe < 60mg/dl blood glucose), then you should figure out what type of postprandial hypoglycemia you have because it could be a sign of various diseases, perhaps a tumor. Is milk the only food for which you have this "crash"?


      2. Anon says:

        I tried the milk diet for a few days. The trick is to drink milk in smaller quantities every 2-3 hours, like your typical infant. Don’t go too long between feedings or you’ll get cranky, I suppose.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s