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Paid Advertisements Cloaked in Journalism November 20, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
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Modern-day journalism is a far cry from what, 40 years ago, we were taught that journalism should be. Take this article from Thursday, for example:

Woman who eats diet of bugs, mealworms and ants insists crickets taste ‘just like fried chicken’

…The 30-year-old (Joanne Techow -ed.), from Johannesburg, South Africa, says creepy crawlies – such as bugs, mealworms and ants – feature heavily in her diet and insists crickets taste ‘just like fried chicken.’

Joanne gets creative with how she eats them too, explaining that she sprinkles cricket power onto her salad, puts boiled mealworms on kiwis, enjoys chocolate covered silkworms and even eats insect tacos.

You go through the article hearing about all the bug variants Ms. Techow likes and dislikes, but nowhere in the article does it mention this relevant fact:

Ms. Techow is the CEO of Ensekta, which:

…was created to bring edible insects (entomophagy) to westernised cultures of South Africa as an environmentally friendly, sustainable and healthy food source. We provide whole roasted insects, insect powders and baked insect foods! Live insects are also a possibility.

I had to look that up, but it was easy to find on LinkedIn. Seems like the “Assistant Lifestyle Editor” of UK Metro could have done the same, given that the subject of their article has a financial interest in bug-eating that just might influence their statements.

I realize that the article’s author is not a news reporter, but I had thought that basic principles of professionalism still applied. I guess that would be old school journalism, not modern activist journalism.

You Get Inflation! You Get Inflation! Everybody Gets Inflation! November 13, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its CPI estimate this past week, and the Biden administration fired up their happy dance:

Following the release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s October CPI on Wednesday, which showed the CPI at 7.7% on the year, down from 8.2% last month, Biden crowed

“Today’s report shows that we are making progress on bringing inflation down, without giving up all of the progress we have made on economic growth and job creation. My economic plan is showing results, and the American people can see that we are facing global economic challenges from a position of strength,” the president wrote.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t care for the year-over-year comparisons, since you can’t really get a feel for trends. It’s better to go to the original price data (from the St Louis Fed):

This chart shows you two things: 1) Prices have risen by 0.4% each of the last 2 months (5% on an annualized basis), so inflation is on the move again after our 2-month respite; and 2) Inflation since January 2021 (Biden’s inauguration) could be modeled with a straight line with great accuracy (i.e., nothing Biden’s administration has done has slowed inflation). From the FRED data, I calculate 2% annual inflation for the two years preceding Biden’s inauguration, and 7% for the two years thereafter (assuming January 2023 hits an index value of 300).

It’s ridiculous to see Biden & Co. celebrating terrible inflation data like this. Honestly, I’m stunned at the precision and consistency with which they cranked up the inflation rate. Almost seems deliberate.

Which would explain the celebration, I suppose.

On the Futility of Healthy Lifestyle Evangelism November 6, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
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I was struck with the futility of nutrition/exercise nagging counseling that was encountered in this study:

…133 teens with obesity and one who was overweight were treated with semaglutide, while 67 were given a placebo. Both groups, along with their parents and guardians, also received counseling on healthy nutrition and exercise.

In the placebo group, teens gained about 3 percent of their initial weight—about 5 pounds.

That’s consistent with my anecdotal experience, which has consistently followed the “Never try to teach a pig to sing…” aphorism. Unfortunately, a good deal of our collective energy is spent on browbeating people about nutrition and exercise.

What’s the better answer? I dunno (though this semaglutide had pretty good results).

But start by not annoying the pig.

Phobia Means Fear or Aversion, Not Hate November 6, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
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So we’ve been hearing the pejorative “transphobic” being used extensively over the past several years, and I’m fine with it, at least per the classical definition of “phobia.” I’ll admit that I have a phobia where trans people are concerned. Something about the mix of male and female features freaks me out at a very visceral level (I mentioned this some time ago in relation to Conchita Wurst).

I know there are trans folk who can “pass,” but in my experience they’re rare. The ones I see are easily identified, and I find them alien and unsettling (like, say, Rachel Levine).

So I would have hoped that transphobia would be treated with more empathy than it has received. I don’t particularly want to be transphobic, but it seems like it would take a lot to change that.

But that’s not the sort of effort the trans community wants to put in. They have, rather, adopted an aggressive strategy of “in-your-faceism” where they try to force you to acknowledge and accept them by parading through the media, the schools, and the streets. And that just aggravates the phobia.

So transphobic I am and it looks like transphobic I’ll always be. Until the trans community stops their campaign to traumatize and vilify transphobes and starts reaching out to them instead.

Real Real GDP November 2, 2022

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Ya ever wonder what the GDP would look like if it wasn’t propped up by deficit spending? I sure did, until I whipped up this chart.

Wonder no more:

Note that while the administration was very pleased with the latest BEA report saying the annualized GDP was increasing at 2.6% (no recession!), if you take out the huge amount of deficit spending in that quarter ($860 billion), the GDP actually declines.

Reflation November 1, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
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By the way, that 0% month-to-month inflation that Biden was crowing about 2 and half months ago? Well gee golly, after that two-month respite prices started climbing again:

Only 5% annualized from August to September, but a far cry from the days of 2% inflation.