02
May
12

All linky, no thinky

Here’s Mike Boyle getting contemplative about the mechanics of deadlifting vs. squatting:

“It’s obvious”, right?  Go read.

——

And here’s Warren over at Coyote Blog, pointing out some rather shocking innumeracy from (who else?) Kevin Drum:

Warren spotlights this claim from Drum:

These two things together reminded me about an energy factoid that’s always struck me as slightly odd: virtually every form of energy seems to be almost as efficient as burning oil, but not quite.

For example, on either a power/weight basis or a cost basis, batteries are maybe 2x or 3x bigger and less efficient than an internal combustion engine. Not 50x or 100x. Just barely less efficient. And you see the same thing in electricity generation. Depending on how you do the accounting, nuclear power is maybe about as efficient as an oil-fired plant, or maybe 2x or 3x less efficient. Ditto for solar. And for wind. And geothermal. And tidal power.

I’m just noodling vaguely here. Maybe there’s an obvious thermodynamic explanation that I’m missing. It’s just that I wouldn’t be surprised if there were lots of ways of generating energy that were all over the map efficiency-wise. But why are there lots of ways of generating energy that are all surprisingly similar efficiency-wise? In the great scheme of things, a difference of 2x or 3x is practically invisible.

(Emphasis added.)

I… I just… wow.  Really, Kevin?  Suppose we were to reduce your salary by 50%.  Is that difference of 2x “practically invisible”?  How about we triple your taxes.  “Practically invisible” yet?  Give this one a try: Tonight, go out for a long, leisurely dinner at a nice brewpub, and have four pints of beer.  Tomorrow night, do the same, but have twelve pints.  Tell me if the difference is practically invisible.

——

While we’re on the subject of Arts majors being idiots, here’s a bit of the usual from the Daily Fail (h/t Jalopnik):

At $150,000, the Ford Mustang certainly doesn’t come in cheap.

The car in question:

That’s a Ford GT, you dumbfucks!  I thought journalism degrees were supposed to teach research skills and the importance of getting a few basic details right.  Quoth Jalopnik:

It’s not just that the DM confused a Ford GT with a Ford Mustang GT500, which is a mistake perhaps a blind person could make if told they’re writing about a fast Ford with racing stripes. It’s that they’re constantly wrong about anything to do with cars.

At least the comments over at the Daily Fail are amusing.

——

Next, Derek Lowe spotlights an interesting paper on resveratrol:

Yeah, it’s a mouse model paper, but kind of a nifty one.  The researchers in question showed some SIRT1-dependent effects, and some independent effects.

Sinclair’s quoted in this Nature News piece as saying that this reflects the nature of resveratrol as a compound. “Resveratrol is a dirty, dirty molecule, very non-specific”, he says. I think that’s a very fair characterization, which is one of the reasons why I wouldn’t take it myself.

And this being a resveratrol piece, the comments go from zero to stupid in the very first post.

In fact, resveratrol seems to be superior to targeted Sirt1 activators as it improves blood sugar levels and liver health.
Leave it to ‘modern science’ to attempt to disparage a wonderful, multifaceted, Natural molecule.

Capital-N Natural.  Yep.  Just like strychnine.

——

Finally, Ilya Somin makes a lot of sense on property rights absolutism:

Briefly: In the real world, absolutist moral intuitions are messy.  Click through and RTWT.


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