Cryptocurrencies – Extra Credit Reading Assignment (Updated 12.01.22)

Cryptocurrencies are a social movement based on the belief that markings in a ledger on the internet have intrinsic value. The organizers of these ledgers call these markings Bitcoin, or Dogecoin, or offer other names based on the specific ledger. That’s really all a cryptocurrency is. There’s no magic. It’s not money, though it has money-like properties. It’s not anything except a set of markings. Sure, the technology behind the ledgers and how to create more of these markings is kind of neat. But crypto is a movement based on energetic storytellers who spin fables about the utopian future to come. In a lot of ways, cryptocurrencies are like Florida land that no one ever intends to use. It has value in the moment it is traded, but only because there’s a collective belief that it has some intrinsic worth.

Matt Stoller BIG newsletter 12.07.21 — https://mattstoller.substack.com/

FTX seems to be a textbook example of how many investors are easily hoodwinked by media narratives about the latest investment genius who has magically discovered some new way of delivering unprecedented returns. 

How Easy Money Fueled the FTX Crypto Collapse – https://mises.org/wire/how-easy-money-fueled-ftx-crypto-collapse

Good book. It should be required reading for everyone before they invest a single penny.

Update 12.01.22

One more extra credit reading assignment. FTX’s Collapse Was a Crime, Not an Accident

Millions Suffer – Junk Food Industry Profits

Increased consumption of ultraprocessed foods (UPFs) was associated with more than 10% of all-cause premature, preventable deaths in Brazil in 2019. That is the finding of a new peer-reviewed study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Examples of UPFs are prepackaged soups, sauces, frozen pizza, ready-to-eat meals, hot dogs, sausages, sodas, ice cream, and store-bought cookies, cakes, candies and doughnuts.

UPFs have steadily replaced the consumption of traditional whole foods, such as rice and beans, in Brazil.

Millions Suffer as Junk Food Industry Rakes in Profit, by Colin Todhunter — STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

Here is a link to the original study https://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(22)00429-9/fulltext

ATTENTION PARENTS – (What that does to the brain, we don’t know…)

Concerns about the mental health impacts of social media activity are longstanding, and have only intensified in recent years. In 2021, for example, internal research at Instagram made public by Frances Haugen showed the drastic mental health impacts of the photo app on teen users – including increased rates of eating disorders among teen girls – and sparked widespread calls for stronger regulation.But TikTok hosts similar harmful content, and experts warn a host of innovative features of the platform raise unique concerns.

What TikTok does to your mental health: ‘It’s embarrassing we know so little’ — https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/oct/30/tiktok-mental-health-social-media

All social media is not bad.

But some platforms are worse than others.

Some earlier posts:

Social media use can lead to low quality sleep and harm mental health — Health Secrets of a SuperAger

More Social Media Use Linked to More Depression and Anxiety in Teens

Quit Social Media – Dr. Cal Newport

I Thought I Told You To Put That Phone Down!

Twitter and Facebook ‘harming children’s development’ – Telegraph

Statin or Supplements?

So, which is most effective? Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic set out to answer this question by comparing statins to supplements in a clinical trial. They tracked the outcomes of 190 adults, ages 40 to 75. Some participants were given a 5 mg daily dose of rosuvastatin, a statin that is sold under the brand name Crestor for 28 days. Others were given supplements, including fish oil, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, plant sterols or red yeast rice for the same period.

“What we found was that rosuvastatin lowered LDL cholesterol by almost 38% and that was vastly superior to placebo and any of the six supplements studied in the trial,” study author Luke Laffin, M.D. of the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute told NPR. He says this level of reduction is enough to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Statins vs. supplements: New study finds one is ‘vastly superior’ to cut cholesterol – https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/11/06/1134094540/statins-vs-supplements-new-study-finds-one-is-vastly-superior-to-cut-cholesterol

Sometimes diet and exercise alone are not enough to keep cholesterol in check. I currently take a low dose statin 10 mg daily. My test results from 09.27.22: cholesterol 197, HDL 71, LDL 102, triglycerides 69.

Oh, and continuing the theme of full disclosure the thing on my leg Image Challenge – November 2022 was MUD.

Image Challenge – November 2022

Skin examination reveals a dark pigmented irregular lesion R anterior shin. Noticed for the first time after a morning of yard work. Previous dermatology history includes a large Becker’s nevus L scapula, several small hematomas, multiple mocha colored age spots and solar keratoses. Patient has never consulted Dermatology and has never been followed medically for his Becker’s nevus. No family history of skin cancers.

What is the Optimal Diet for the Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease? — The Skeptical Cardiologist

The skeptical cardiologist was asked to give a lecture in July on diet to the cardiology fellows in our training program at Saint Louis University. Needless to say, I didn’t hew to current recommendations from the American Heart Association or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For example, these recommendations are still promoting the narrative that…

What is the Optimal Diet for the Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease? — The Skeptical Cardiologist

Great lecture. Thank you Dr. Pearson.

Quote for Today – 10.29.22

Yes, change is the basic law of nature. But the changes wrought by the passage of time affects individuals and institutions in different ways. According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself. Applying this theoretical concept to us as individuals, we can state that the civilization that is able to survive is the one that is able to adapt to the changing physical, social, political, moral, and spiritual environment in which it finds itself.

From a speech delivered in 1963 by a Louisiana State University business professor Leon C. Megginson at the convention of the Southwestern Social Science Association. The text of his address was published in the quarterly journal of the association. — https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/05/04/adapt/

The quote above cites Darwin as the source of the phrase in bold.

Darwin never said it. https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/people/about-darwin/six-things-darwin-never-said