Archive for the 'fuckyeah' Category


There will ever be more Norman Borlaugs

What’s that I hear?  Is it scientists humiliating the sad crisis-mongering neo-Malthusians?  Must be a weekday, then.

Good show!


Plexiglass won’t save you this time

Do you want to watch people blow shit up with chlorine trifluoride?  Yes you do.

(Hat tip, of course.)


When your name is a verb

Via Tyler Cowen we discover this post on efficient charitability from Scott Alexander:

It’s worth reading in full, if only to get the context for this line:

Then Robin Hanson of Overcoming Bias got up and just started Robin Hansonning at everybody.

Which leads, inexorably, to this:

I have never seen a group of distinguished Berkeley faculty gain so sudden and intuitive an appreciation for the Athenians who decided to put Socrates to death. I spent the whole speech grinning like an idiot and probably scared Robin a little. And okay, some of that was because I woke up really early to get to the airport today and had become dangerously overtired and mentally imbalanced, but the rest of it was just that he sounds exactly like he does on his blog, he’s a great speaker, and it was just really funny in a train-wreck sort of way to watch a whole room of innocent and basically decent people get Hansonned.

Just, wow.



Olympic regression complexes

As usual my queue of “someone was wrong on the internet” rant fodder is overflowing, but I continue to suffer from elevated levels of dilligaf secondary to chronic outrage fatigue.  Look, the TSA are being sadistic assholes again.  I guess that means only libertarians and (checks federal balance of power) some Republicans will raise a stink, while neocons and (checks federal balance of power) Democrats will snidely dismiss the complaint as “whining”.  So it goes in this best of all possible worlds.

I’m also suffering from fatigue fatigue subsequent to today being deadlift day.  With that in mind, I’ve gotta link to Wil Fleming’s outstanding post on T-Nation today:

That title is, um, less than encouraging.  It brings to mind absurdities like “Do 3×12 split-stance Zercher kettlebell half cleans with a slow, five-count eccentric to get hyooge!  Look, I said “clean”, it’s Olympic lifting and stuff!”  But Fleming is smart and his article is blindingly clear.  Regression complexes will make you more awesome.  (And somehow, until I watched his videos, I’d never realized that high pulls are a great way to practice scooping the bar.)  I’d give it two thumbs up but, well, hook grip.

On the off-chance that you’re bored by both my minimal political content and by that link, have some metal (you might, er, want headphones if you’re at work):


It’s gotta be the shoes

(This is a nitpicky lifting post.  If you want something else, I suggest Axis of Oversteer or EconLog.)

If you read a book on lifting, it’ll eventually have a section on gear, and if it’s any good that section will talk about shoes.  Most will tell you not to lift in squishy-heeled cross trainers or the like — not that this stops anyone — because the lack of heel stability will fuck you right up.  Instead, they’ll tell you to pick a shoe with a “flat, solid sole”.  The better books will briefly mention weightlifting shoes, then suggest Converse All-Stars and simply lifting in your socks as “practical” options for “real-world” lifters.  I presume some of the newer books mention minimal shoes like Vibram Five-Fingers.

Mark Rippetoe doesn’t fuck around in Starting Strength:

Shoes are the only piece of personal equipment that you really need to own.  It takes only one set of five in a pair of squat shoes to demonstrate this convincingly to anybody who has done more than one squat workout.  […]

Just buy the damn shoes.

I squatted for years in a pair of Converse All-Stars and “never had a problem with it”.  About a month ago I just bought the damn shoes.  (I’m linking to those shoes because they’re the ones I bought, not because I think they’re the best there is or because I’ve sold out to Rogue.  This post is about lifting shoes in general.)  I really should’ve bought them earlier, say five years ago.

The lifting shoes give me two things that Cons or Vibrams or skate shoes don’t.  The first is a slightly raised and rock-solid heel.  It’s not an enormous lift, but it helps free up my ankles at the bottom of a squat, and I think the heel-to-toe slope helps my knees track better over my toes.  The second, most transformative, thing is incredible stability.  Between the tarsal straps and the shoe’s construction, my feet just don’t fucking move within the shoes.  I didn’t think they moved in the Cons either, until I switched.  Basically that means that there’s less slop in my feet and ankles and I’m more efficiently putting power into the floor.  One of the strong people at the campus gym where I used to lift claimed that proper lifting shoes would put forty pounds on your squat, and now I believe him.

The downside is that the sole doesn’t flex, at all.  This is part of the upside, but if you like to bring your feet way back towards your shoulders when setting up your bench, as I do, you’ll need to find another way to do it.  Also you’ll need to bring along another pair if you want to sprint after lifting.  If you have to mix up squats and sprints, or whatever you Crossfit guys do, these look like a decent compromise.

I’ve done a bunch of lifts in these shoes and have some comments on each:

  • Squats — back, front, or overhead, welcome to the easiest PRs you’ve set in years.  All that tension you used to spend trying to stop your feet from squirming around — “spread the floor apart!” — now gets to go straight into moving the bar.  You’re probably not going to ditch all of your form issues — for me, the big one is corkscrewing counterclockwise as my right knee compensates for my lack of  left ankle mobility — but they’ll probably get a lot better.  And because you’re not wobbling around in the hole, you might find yourself sinking a couple inches deeper than usual and thinking “man, that was easy” as you drive out of the hole.
  • Cleans and snatches — as long as you don’t get shoes with a stupid-high heel your pull from the floor shouldn’t be affected.  When I started doing cleans in lifting shoes, I realized that I was a lot closer to a full squat clean than I’d expected.  No shit, Sparky, huh.  Maybe weightlifting shoes really do make weightlifting easier.
  • Deadlifts — see previous comment about “pulls from the floor”.  You might be pulling the bar an extra half inch depending on how much of a heel you get, so lifting shoes might take a pound or three off of your absolute max.  I haven’t pulled an absolute max in about five years, so I have no basis for comparison, but if you’re that serious about your deadlift you probably pull in socks anyway.  SGDLs and RDLs seem unaffected.
  • Bench — the bad news is that I can’t set up the way I like.  The good news is that I have slightly better leg drive in the setup I don’t like.  If I was training for powerlifting I’d probably bench in different shoes; as it is I probably lost five or ten pounds.  That might come back if I find a better setup.
  • Press — in theory I should have a stronger base; in practice I probably need to put in more core work before I can get anything extra out of the shoes.

I’m with Rippetoe on this one — just buy the damn shoes.


David Henderson on spontaneous order

Back when I was in first-year grad school or so, I rather mindlessly posted the following quotation on a message board:

“I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. the will to a system is a lack of integrity.”

(The first error, as I’d have known if I’d been smart enough to read Jim Wendler, was posting on a message board.)  An acquaintance shot back with:

“I mistrust all Nietzsche-quoters and avoid them. the will to quote Nietzsche is a lack of integrity.”

He’s an algebraist, of course, not an analyst, and to my chagrin he was lying about avoiding me.  Frequent visitors will have raised their eyebrows at the idea of me mistrusting systematizers, as I’m rather notorious for it myself — but I do, and that includes my systematizing self.  By way of a for-instance, I’m “systematizing” about nutrient partitioning and muscle vs. adipose insulin sensitivity at the moment, and I’m vividly aware that I’m going to get it almost entirely wrong.  My hope is that I’ll get it wrong in all the ways that don’t matter; my backup when that doesn’t pan out is that I’ll get it wrong in an educational (or at least an entertaining) way.  And maybe it’ll turn into a blog post, but not tonight.

About seven years after the Nietzsche-quoting incident, a friend of mine interrupted our depressingly sober conversation about political economy with an exasperated sigh and challenged me to “fix capitalism”.  I fumbled the opportunity rather badly.

David Henderson didn’t.

I answered that I don’t think I can design an improved system. Why did he think that I thought I could? It’s because he’s stuck in the “man of system” or “design” paradigm. Over the years, various governments have designed a particular system. I criticize the idea that they get to design it. Then [a commenter] assumes that means that I think I should be able to design it.

But I’m not a designer. I’m a person who believes in spontaneous order. That is, I think that people should be free to come up with other systems and I’m willing to predict that they will. As an economist, I could speculate about what they will come up with, but there’s a good chance that my predictions would be wrong. Where [said commenter] and I probably agree is that if I were to design such a system, it would be a disaster.

Fortunately, I don’t need to design a system.

So what do I propose? Letting people come up with their own systems. And my prediction, which I’m fairly sure of, is that they would come up more than one.



The three sweetest words…

“Overhead squat PR!”

Granted, it’s only 95lbs, but it’s been quite some time since my left shoulder/scapula was stable enough to get within twenty pounds of that.  Seems like keeping everything packed and stable on the way down is my limiting factor in OHSQs these days, but today I was able to sink 95 right down to ATG, pause for a second or two, and stand up with it.  I probably have another ten or twenty pounds in it, too.

Sure is nice to be able to OHSQ with adult-sized bumpers on the bar, even if they’re only 10kg.  Also means I can drop the bar to the platform after a lift, rather than try to catch it on my traps or bounce it off my quads.

(It’s gotta be the shoes.  Seriously, having that extra stability in the hole is huge.)

anarchocapitalist agitprop

Be advised

I say fuck a lot



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