Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

Cities:

calgary photo

Image by davebloggs007 Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[Ci1] When one things of new urbanization, they don’t necessarily think of Calgary. But the oil-town appears to be giving it a go.

[Ci2] Singapore redeveloped an abandoned train station into a public park. Can we learn anything from it?

[Ci3] Joel Kotkin and Charles Marohn debate conservatism vs suburbia.

[Ci4] Can you identify these cities from space?

[Ci5] I wonder if we’ll have meticulously detailed digital replicas of all the cities, at some point in the future.

Gender:

action figures photo

Image by avrene Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[G1] Rose Eveleth looks at period patents. As in tampons, underpants, etc…

[G2] Paulette Perhach explains the F*** Off Fund.

[G3] A number of mothers with sons on Twitter have cosigned with this: Where is the place for boys in the age of girl power?

[G4] In the 1920’s, a troll by the name of Charles Vance Millar convinced a bunch of women to have as many babies as they could.

[G5] Are action figures disfiguring male self-image?

[G6] Glosswitch argues that paid surrogacy turns disadvantaged women into rented wombs for the wealthy. Though I reject the broader arguments, it makes some good points (and reminds me in some ways of the prostitution debate).

[G7] Every place has its own definition of feminism. Here’s an interesting article on Nepal’s.

[G8] Ten facts about men.

Health:

calories photo

Image by Loup-Vert Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[H1] I… can’t imagine meeting a woman my height.

[H1] Don’t just start school later… also start work later.

[H2] Science Magazine looks at an anti-alzheimer’s gene that may have contributed to our collective longevity.

[H3] The thermodynamics formula for calories consumed and burned doesn’t seem to work. Why not?

[H4] Aaron Carroll looks at the failure of menu calorie counts. This is one of those things that I really do find baffling, as it does affect the way that I eat.

[H5] Investigating the potential health benefits of nicotine. For some, at least.

[H6] The federalist in me says that states should have the ability to set their own standards. The libertarian in me says that when it comes to telemedicine in particular, concerns about this can be dealt with other ways.

Money:

money photo

Image by gagilas Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[M1] Matthias Shapiro talks of living on the food stamp diet, and presents how he managed it.

[M2] Well this kind of sucks. When I don’t mind risking Chinese counterfeits I go to eBay. I go to Amazon specifically when I don’t want to risk it.

[M3] Benjamin G. Edelman is worried about Uber.

[M4] Networks, land, power, and taxes: How Iowa became a data center hub.

[M5] Writers are being paid around $50k to write books that we demand from people who can’t write.

Creatures:

creature photo

Image by abolotnov Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

[Cr1] A species of dolphin has been wiped out, and a species of porpoise may be next.

[Cr2] Spider farming? No.

[Cr3] Good news! Some scientists are saying the kangaroo rat may not be extinct. Just keep these prairie dogs away from them, wherever they are.

[Cr4] An interesting article from Andrew Plumptre on the plight and hope of the world’s largest gorillas.

[Cr5] Many have argued that cities make people smarter. Maybe raccoons, too!

[Cr6] I didn’t realize that hedgehogs had such an important place in our literature.

[Cr7] The way to a woman’s heart is with panda facts.Image by abolotnov Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories


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98 thoughts on “Linky Friday #177: Creatures, Cities, Calories

  1. [G3] — To make this case, she needs to provide numbers. The problem is, people perceive the presence of women and men (or in this case girls and boys) very differently. Which is to say, it is possible that children’s television is grossly over-representing “girl power.” However, until someone actually counts we don’t really know.

    And no, she cannot ask me to spend my Saturday watching. It’s her case to make, she should make it.

    Anyway, my suspicion is that there remain plenty of solid role models for boys, plenty of encouragement for boys to achieve, plenty of cases of “male protagonism,” where we center the interests of boys.

    The way this functions in the grown up world is summarized in this article.

    The heart of the problem is one of the strangest manifestations of male privilege: It actually seems to interfere with men’s ability to count women. Specifically, it creates a tendency to actually see more women—or hear more female opinions—than are actually present at any given time.

    It is possible that it is different in children’s television, but someone needs to set up some rigorous standards and then sit down and count.

    Here is a 2008 study, which is global, but does include US figures: http://www.prixjeunesse.de/images/PDF/GenderInChildrensTVWorldwide_2008.pdf

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    • Her examples of TV programming are generally for pre-school kids. Children’s programming for older kids tends to split into channels that appeal more to one gender or the other. Disney has comedies that appeal more to girls, while it specifically created the Disney XD channel to appeal to boys (and compete with Cartoon network) with more toons and superheroes.

      Pre-school TV stations have pretty low audiences, and their consumers are actually the parents, who tend to have higher incomes and are selective about what their kids watch.

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  2. [G5] — Similar situation to [G3]. In this case, I don’t dispute the core message, that body image issues fuck up men also. But there is something in the tone of, “Look how great the gals have it…”

    But then they link to Mattel’s action figure catalog.

    I mean, explain to me how women are getting a better body image message using this specific example?

    That said, I’ll give Mattel some credit. While I only looked at the first couple pages, those female action figures were at least action figures. They were women who do stuff. The point is, while they remain unrealistically skinny, at least they are not mere targets of sexual pursuit.

    Back to the article. It begins by speaking about some “alternate body image” Barbies, and yay. But Ken has not been updated. Okay fine. I would have no problem with “Dadbod” Ken. They should make “Dadbod” Ken. Why not?

    I dunno. I would think Ken is a low priority. After all, boys (mostly) don’t buy Ken dolls. Girls do. Boys buy Wrestlemania dolls (or whatever). (#notallboys, #notallgirls, etc.)

    Anyway, these “but what about the menz?” articles have a certain tone that I very much dislike. I don’t mind the message that men struggle also. Indeed. But men continue to dominate the media at every level. If these messages are not getting out there, then men are choosing not to share them.

    In other words, this is not the fault of feminism. This is not women leaving men behind. We are so far from equity.

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    • What G5 is trying to point out is that the body image issue for men is just as real as it is for women. I don’t see “what about the menz” here at all, and I’ve heard that very thing from a YouTuber that took the issue and starting throw out Mens Rights Activist talking points. That was disturbing. Men not so much.

      I don’t think women are leaving men behind, nor do I think that the issue is getting swept under the rug because women get more attention on this issue than men. For women, this issue is light years beyond more complicated and problematic because of mainstream media, the weight loss industry, the fitness industry, and the various forms of social media. What cracked me up with this:

      Thomas Hildebrandt, director of the Eating and Weight Disorders Program and an associate professor of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, agrees. “The more exaggerated they’ve become, particularly to people who developmentally can’t determine if it’s real or not real, achievable or not achievable, is unfair. You set them up for failure and disappointment that way.”

      I had He-Man action figures in the 1980s. They were the action figure equivalent to the Arnold Schwarzenegger-era bodybuilders. It takes needles, dieting and diuretics to achieve that. I never thought about it that way until I was an adult and I never thought to aspire to that look when I was 12 or whatever.

      There are several other issues in that article. At no point was steroid usage among teens linked to body image issues. There’s a good reason for it: most steroid users at that age are athletes seeking an edge on the playing field to get the right attention to get down the road towards the pros. It happens in all the sports.

      We can talk all day about loose regulation in the supplements industry and the dangers of being exposed to illegal substances in supplements, but that odds of that for teenagers is pretty low. Typically, the most common forms of supplements that are spiked are weight loss supplements and sexual potency supplements, both spiked with controlled substances. There was a recent case of a pre-workout supplement being pulled off the market due to having a substance chemically similar to meth, but things have been quiet on that front for several years now.

      The protein supplements, weight gainers, creatine, branched-chain-amino acids, the stuff I hear teens talk about taking the most, aren’t endangering their health. Granted, they’re completely unnecessary but they aren’t unsafe.

      I guess that leads to another flaw in the article: is the consumption of dietary supplements a function of a fitness industry selling them bullshit or body image issues? They can achieve the same results simply by eating whole clean foods.

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    • The thing is, there is formal equality, and then there is the complex reality of the gender divide. I dunno. These things are complicated. More good faith is needed.

      A number of years ago they discovered that young girls did better in gender-segregated math classes. When mixed among boys, it seemed, they were quieter, less likely to speak up, etc. In an all-girl’s class, on the other hand, they were more active, asked more questions, and thus scored better. There is a ton of research into this. (No links. It’s Saturday. I’m hopped up on pain meds. Anyway, it’s true.)

      So what do you do with this data? The fact is, high-school girls typically lag behind boys in math. It would certainly be good if they did not. (And yes, there is the whole “boys have a larger variance in academic performance than girls” thing, which is also a problem worth addressing.)

      Anyway, the obvious question is, if it is okay to “segregate” to the advantage of girls, then why not segregate to the advantage of boys?

      Well, I would say not every advantage is the same. Let us take the VMI issue.

      Okay, during the debate over VMI, some people insisted that the “all male” culture of VMI was critical to its success. That there was something to the “male bonding” thing that would be lost if women could attend.

      This sounds like the same argument for gender segregated math, yes?

      I would say there are some differences. For one, there is nothing comparable to VMI that is available to women. With gender segregated math classes, the boys still get a perfectly lovely calculus class. With VMI, the women get nothing similar.

      The second issue is, there is a difference between one class being segregated and an entire institution being segregated. One of the issues with “men’s only” clubs/institutions/etc. is the degree that these limit networking opportunities, which is a big part of “soft influence.”

      In business, the ability for women to effectively network as well as men has long been an issue. Programs that mitigate this difference are valuable. Systems that entrench this difference are problematic.

      With gender segregated math classes, boys and girls can still mix freely in most other classes. They still get to know each other socially, form bonds of friendship that can carry over later in life.

      In other words, we can optimize the “what you know,” but not at the expense of “who you know.” With an influential “all male” club or “all male” school, this does not happen.

      But what about “all women” universities? I dunno. But I think, the higher levels of our country are still heavily male dominated. Which is to say, being a Smith grad will probably put a woman in quite a nice network, but the men in the “co-ed” Ivies and near-Ivies aren’t exactly missing out. After all, Smith grads hardly have a lock on the corridors of power. On the other hand, if women were barred from (for example) Yale, that would probably be at a significant expense.

      Short version: it is not a level playing field now, so attempts to mitigate the gender divide don’t actually limit men the way the reverse limits women. Men still win out in so many ways.

      Of course, the examples of Smith and Yale largely apply to our society’s “elites.” One might ask if this entire system of “elite networking” is a shitshow? But that seems like a separate issue. So long as we have a network of “elite” schools, having a few women’s-only institutions is not equivalent to men’s-only, by virtue of the fact that the gender divide remains strong.

      My point: attempts to mitigate the gender divide are different from systems that entrench it.

      #####

      I have no idea if a “women’s only” study lounge is a good idea. But these men, who demand “formal equality,” are actually working to entrench manifest inequality. So it has always been.

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      • I get what you’re saying, see the issues, and I’ve got several daughters and push them *hard* into math…

        My point: attempts to mitigate the gender divide are different from systems that entrench it.

        …but I think in practice this quickly becomes about political power and entitlement. The moment the gov has a “good reason” to put its thumb on the scales of justice that thumb is going to be used.

        For example, you’re quoting girls’ issues with high school math to justify college efforts to “fix” the gender imbalance, but in college the gender imbalance goes the other way.

        On a national scale, public universities had the most even division between male and female students, with a male-female ratio of 43.6–56.4. While that difference is substantial, it still is smaller than private not-for-profit institutions (42.5-57.5) or all private schools (40.7-59.3).
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2012/02/16/the-male-female-ratio-in-college/#47931e921525

        For another example, in practice affirmative action in college results in taking college spots away from Asians and giving them to Blacks.

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        • — Yeah, the college split does go the other way, but the data gets interesting if you drill down. In cases where both parents went to college, almost all children also go to college, regardless of gender. However, when you look at first generation college students, then you see the gender divide. So this is really about working class women finding their way into college, whereas working class men do not. However, post-college, you still see a male-dominated gender gap in employment, even among the working class. So it is a complicated story.

          I actually spoke verbally about the topic, with one of the authors of this book. She was visiting my office. Anyhow, the data is in there, but it’s a long book, so I’m not going to go digging now.

          The article you linked to does give class-oriented data, but they do say this:

          A final interesting detail noticed while examining these statistics is the trends of regionalism, especially with the public schools. Three of the five states with the largest male-female disparities are from the Southeastern US. The other two states have relatively small public school enrollments compared to their fellow schools: the total number of students enrolled in either Alaska or Rhode Island does not surpass the male students enrolled in Mississippi. On the other hand, no Southeastern school appears on the top 5 lists of closest male-female ratios, even though their 18-24 ratios are above 50% male.

          Hmmmm.

          Anyway, these “concerned mothers” writing articles are almost all middle-class and above. Their sons will not be those who experience problems. So whatever “solution” we might find, it probably will not be reflected in their whitebread concerns.

          But yes, there is this blip of female advantage at the college level, mostly confined to working class women. This does not automatically translate into better pay on the other side of college, nor does it change the situation of middle-class men and women, and certainly attacking “girl power” (or whatever) probably won’t help working class men much, whose social circumstances seem pretty far removed from a “women’s only study lounge” or the body image of a Barbie doll.

          One thing I think the “right” (broadly defined) understands better than the “left” (broadly defined) is the nature of unintended consequences. However, when it comes to the collapse of the manufacturing sector, I don’t think “free market cheerleaders” really thought it through. The notion of “retraining” that was preached, or the idea that innovation and entrepreneurship were magic freaking unicorns that would save us — this turned out false. But this is separate from the gender divide and feminism.

          I think it is fair to say that whitebread, well-educated feminists have shown very little real interest in working class people, exactly inasmuch as no one has paid much attention to working class people. I still maintain full support for feminist principles. We still have far to go, culture wide. That said, we also need to figure out what to do for the working class. I don’t think magic free market unicorns are coming.

          This said, there is no reason the fight for gender equity should be at odds with the fight for the working class.

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          • @veronica_d

            So this is really about working class women finding their way into college, whereas working class men do not.

            Now that’s an interesting claim. I’ve never heard it expressed like that. How confident are you that this is the problem?

            Anyway, these “concerned mothers” writing articles are almost all middle-class and above. Their sons will not be those who experience problems. So whatever “solution” we might find, it probably will not be reflected in their whitebread concerns.

            However lots of their daughters will experience problems. Sexually, a 60/40 ratio instantly creates a female bidding war for the available men, and one third of them will lose (probably more considering the loss of power that occurs just from the existence of that bidding war).

            (And yes, I know I’m greatly simplifying a complex subject).

            certainly attacking “girl power” (or whatever) probably won’t help working class men much, whose social circumstances seem pretty far removed from a “women’s only study lounge” or the body image of a Barbie doll.

            My issue is not a lounge which my daughters could use. My issue is equality of law and justice, which seems directly in conflict with the gov micromanaging desired outcomes for the politically favored block groups.

            One thing I think the “right” (broadly defined) understands better than the “left” (broadly defined) is the nature of unintended consequences. However, when it comes to the collapse of the manufacturing sector, I don’t think “free market cheerleaders” really thought it through. The notion of “retraining” that was preached, or the idea that innovation and entrepreneurship were magic freaking unicorns that would save us — this turned out false.

            Speaking as a former entrepreneur, imho it’d help a great deal if the gov got out of the job destruction business. It’s a bad thing when the office conversation of the day can be ‘how many jobs can we create before the gov shuts us down‘ (the business failed for other reasons), or ‘if they actually pass this type of tax increase we’red dead retroactively’.

            Small business used to be the engine of supplying employment. Way too many industries have large bureaucracies which only exist to deal with other bureaucracies.

            I think it is fair to say that whitebread, well-educated feminists have shown very little real interest in working class people, exactly inasmuch as no one has paid much attention to working class people. I still maintain full support for feminist principles. We still have far to go, culture wide. That said, we also need to figure out what to do for the working class. I don’t think magic free market unicorns are coming.

            Most mass market failures I see lead back to the gov with the solution for it to stop doing bad things in the name of doing good. The war on drugs. Gov run, gov mandated educational failure factories. Meaningless gov licensing for jobs.

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            • If you type an symbol, you should get a drop-down menu with a list of names that narrows down choices as you type. If for some reason your browser isn’t displaying that, just type an sign, followed by the full name, all lower-case, replacing the spaces with hyphens. E.g., for you it’s dark-matter (without the space).

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        • Dark Matter: For another example, in practice affirmative action in college results in taking college spots away from Asians and giving them to Blacks.

          No. Perhaps in theory AA takes spots away from Asians. But in practice, when AA policies were implemented, it was white admissions that dropped. And even in theory, AA will have to be ended in a very specific way for the changes to increase Asian enrollment more than it increases white enrollment.

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          • But in practice, when AA policies were implemented, it was white admissions that dropped.

            Do you have any sources on this? It’s always been my understanding that Asians bore the brunt of affirmative action, which is part of the reason that I’ve never accepted the ‘affirmative action is racist against whites’ narrative.

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          • No. Perhaps in theory AA takes spots away from Asians. But in practice, when AA policies were implemented, it was white admissions that dropped. And even in theory, AA will have to be ended in a very specific way for the changes to increase Asian enrollment more than it increases white enrollment.

            (Just going to quote here, but bold parts are for emphasis and I’ve snipped some. link at bottom)

            Ending affirmative action would devastate most minority college enrollment
            Study finds virtually no gain for white students

            Princeton University researchers have found that ignoring race in elite college admissions would result in sharp declines in the numbers of African Americans and Hispanics accepted with little gain for white students.

            In a study published in the June issue of Social Science Quarterly, authors Thomas Espenshade and Chang Chung examined the controversial notion that eliminating affirmative action would lead to the admission of more white students to college and found it to be false. The assertion that qualified white students are being displaced by less qualified minority students was a prime plaintiff argument in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court cases against the University of Michigan (Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger).

            …”The most important conclusion is the negative impact on African American and Hispanic students if affirmative action practices were eliminated.”

            According to the study, without affirmative action the acceptance rate for African-American candidates likely would fall nearly two-thirds, from 33.7 percent to 12.2 percent, while the acceptance rate for Hispanic applicants likely would be cut in half, from 26.8 percent to 12.9 percent. While these declines are dramatic, the authors note that the long-term impact could be worse.

            The authors also cite other studies and the actual experience of the University of California system where affirmative action has been eliminated: “The impacts are striking. Compared to the fall of 1996, the number of underrepresented minority students admitted to the University of California-Berkeley Boalt Hall Law School for the fall of 1997 dropped 66 percent from 162 to 55…. African-American applicants were particularly affected as their admission numbers declined by 81 percent from 75 to 14, but acceptances of Hispanics also fell by 50 percent. …

            Removing consideration of race would have little effect on white students, the report concludes, as their acceptance rate would rise by merely 0.5 percentage points. Espenshade noted that when one group loses ground, another has to gain — in this case it would be Asian applicants. Asian students would fill nearly four out of every five places in the admitted class not taken by African-American and Hispanic students, with an acceptance rate rising from nearly 18 percent to more than 23 percent.

            http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S11/80/78Q19/index.xml?section=newsreleases

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            • But this is a question-begging study. It assumes the difference in admissions between academically equivalent White and Asian students is a result of racial preference policies, and therefore the elimination of racial preference policies will eliminate that disparity (which would have the effect of admitting more Asians).

              Only, there’s no real reason to assume that Harvard has policies that explicitly penalize being Asian in the same way that they have policies that explicitly reward being Black or Latino. Instead, this disparity is almost certainly related to other admissions policies that are racially neutral on paper or racist decisions made by admissions personnel that aren’t based in official policy at all. So eliminating Harvard’s policies regarding race will not, contrary to the assumption of the study’s authors, significantly improve the prospects of Asian applicants.

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              • But this is a question-begging study.


                Siting the “actual experience of the University of California system where affirmative action has been eliminated” is not “begging the question”. The original question was whether Affirmative Action penalized Asians rather than Whites, the actual experience of removing it is “yes”.

                Only, there’s no real reason to assume that Harvard has policies that explicitly penalize being Asian in the same way that they have policies that explicitly reward being Black or Latino.

                Harvard has “a number of slots to fill” as it’s sometimes put, and for all the squeaking about it being a “holistic” practice, the actual results look like a quota system. They want a class which has X% of a race, they move the goalposts until they get that.

                That Whites aren’t rewarded or penalized is… weird. I’d think it deliberate but we see something similar with Silicon Valley employment stats broken down by race. For all the talk in the media about a lack of minority representation, the percentage of Whites is only at or slightly-below their population percentage.

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                  • That assumes the purpose of institutions like Harvard is to only accept the best and brightest, regardless of race,creed,color,etc.

                    Has that claim been established? Eg, the University of Texas just won a case defending their current policy of automatic acceptance of any student in the top 10% of their (in state) high school class, irrespective of SAT scores (for example). Presumably, Texas and UT believe that overall social utility (or etc) is increased by retaining that policy.

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                • So, they quote the Boalt admittance numbers for Black and Latino students, but leave them out for Asian and white students. I can’t find the acceptance rate numbers online, but here are the racial breakdown in offers of admission, and they paint a very different story:

                  Between their last year under Affirmative Action and their first year without the policy, Boalt’s non-Asian minority student admissions dropped from 162 to 55.

                  At the same time, its admission of Asian and Pacific Islander students grew from 126 to 149, an increase of 23 students.

                  But its admission of Caucasian students grew from 467 to 538, an increase of 71 students

                  That means that at Boalt, the increase in White admission outpaced the increase in Asian admission in raw numbers (71 vs 22) and as an increase in share of makeup (10.6 percentage points vs. 3.3 percentage points) The ratio of White to Asian students remained nearly the same (3.7 to 1 under AA vs. 3.6 to 1 with AA ended) and
                  the percentage increase of Asians was only slightly better than Whites despite having significantly more room to grow (18% growth for Asians vs 15% growth for Whites).

                  In other words, the lion’s share of the newly open spots went to White people.

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                  • I can’t find the acceptance rate numbers, but here are the racial breakdown in offers of admission, and they paint a very different story:

                    Hmm… dueling links. So, fine, let’s toss that study and look at the underlying data, ideally in a historical graph and not a snapshot.

                    I’m on page three
                    http://opa.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/UndergraduateDemographics.pdf

                    What I take away from this is:
                    1) Prop 209’s ‘effect’ apparently took place before it’s actual effect (meaning it was in the news and everyone was expecting it). Notice black+hispanic enrollment drop a lot ahead of time.

                    2) White enrollment… I’m inclined to call that blip down an anomaly and say it was largely flat.

                    3) Asian was trending up before and they continued to trend up after.

                    I don’t think we have enough detail here to make a sound judgement (which is really weird, there’s enough of a drop in the Black/Hispanic numbers that there should be a bounce somewhere else). Raw/Better numbers are below, but they don’t cover the bridge years (probably deliberately).

                    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2008/04/admits_archival.shtml

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                • Dark Matter: Siting the “actual experience of the University of California system where affirmative action has been eliminated” is not “begging the question”. The original question was whether Affirmative Action penalized Asians rather than Whites, the actual experience of removing it is “yes”.

                  Importantly, the study referenced in your link (full study text here) in no way examined admissions at Berkeley’s Boalt college of Law. It just quotes a book that does, and that quote doesn’t actually contain any information on Asian admissions. I dug up some numbers for Boalt’s admissions before and after ending AA, and addressed them in a separate reply above.

                  The reason I say it’s a question-begging study is because of their methodology. The study study notes that there’s a difference in admittance rates between academically similar Whites and Asians, and then concludes that if that difference in admittance rates didn’t exist, then more Asian students would be admitted. But that’s a tautology. All they really conclude is that Harvard would admit more Asian students if it admitted more Asian students. To conclude that eliminating race-conscious admissions would improve the admission chances of Asian students, they need to establish that the difference in White and Asian admittance rates are connected to those policies, and they haven’t even tried to do that.

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                  • The reason I say it’s a question-begging study is because of their methodology. The study study notes that there’s a difference in admittance rates between academically similar Whites and Asians, and then concludes that if that difference in admittance rates didn’t exist, then more Asian students would be admitted. But that’s a tautology.

                    Fair enough, so let’s look at other stats.

                    #1) A 2005 study… three highly selective private research universities… admissions disadvantage and advantage in terms of SAT points (on the old 1600-point scale):
                    Whites (non-recruited athlete/non-legacy status): 0 (control group)
                    Blacks: +230
                    Hispanics: +185
                    Asians: –50
                    Recruited athletes: +200
                    Legacies (children of alumni): +160[74]

                    #2) …students applying to college in 1997 and calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African Americans who got 1100.[75]

                    #3) After controlling for grades, test scores, family background (legacy status), and athletic status (whether or not the student was a recruited athlete), Espenshade and Radford found that whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian Americans.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States

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  3. H4/H5: Very interesting to see this being mainstreamed… the food science especially in H4 has been strongly resisted for at least 2 decades. The science has been there, but the implications to our food system are too vast to contemplate.

    Pursuant to previous discussions we’ve had on food vs. industrial food:

    Industrial food processing, which subjects foods to extremely high temperatures and pressures, might be freeing up even more calories. The food industry, says Wrangham, has been “increasingly turning our food to mush, to the maximum calories you can get out of it. Which, of course, is all very ironic, because in the West there’s tremendous pressure to reduce the number of calories you’re getting out of your food.” He expects to find examples of structural differences that affect caloric availability in many more foods. “I think there is work here for hundreds and probably thousands of nutritionists for years,” he says.

    So what’s the problem… just adjust the calorie numbers and eat less, or

    One option is to focus on something other than energy intake. Like satiety, for instance. Picture a 300 calorie slice of cheesecake: it is going to be small. “So you’re going to feel very dissatisfied with that meal,” says Susan Roberts. If you eat 300 calories of a chicken salad instead, with nuts, olive oil and roasted vegetables, “you’ve got a lot of different nutrients that are hitting all the signals quite nicely,” she says. “So you’re going to feel full after you’ve eaten it. That fullness is going to last for several hours.”

    The other parts of the article about gut microbes are of course another key aspect in traditional diets and nutrition… but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

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    • Other evidence suggests that gut microbes might affect weight gain in humans as they do in lab animals. Take the case of the woman who gained more than 40 pounds after receiving a transplant of gut microbes from her overweight teenage daughter. The transplant successfully treated the mother’s intestinal infection of Clostridium difficile, which had resisted antibiotics.

      This is a terrible example to make that case. C. difficile infections are characterized by severe diarrhea, leading to malabsorption and weight loss. Of course she gained weight when the infection was cured. No evidence is presented here to demonstrate that the fact that she gained 40 pounds instead of 15 or whatever would have been optimal is due to pathological intestinal flora rather than overeating in the presence of normal intestinal flora.

      Well, there’s this, but who knows what “diet and exercise” meant to her or how well she adhered:

      But, as of the study’s publication last year, she hadn’t been able to shed the excess weight through diet or exercise.

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      • Yeah, what I’m reading about gut microbes is still in the very early stages… plus it is soooo incredibly vast that all I’m confident saying is that relationship we have with our internal bacteria is way more important than we’ve realized; and that modern diets have changed our food in ways that have altered the gut fauna in ways that might not be optimal.

        But, given the obvious fact that we’re dealing with symbiotic relationships among trillions of living organisms that are living and fighting among themselves and us, and that there’s no one single “formula” of gut bacteria… just saying that hey, this stuff is important and we’ve no idea how it works, but we might have an idea of how we fish it up is at least worthwhile.

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    • I think one of the big issues is that healthy eating is still seen as some sort of ascetic depravation by many. The chicken salad sounds tasty but salads are often seen as “rabbit food”

      I admit to having this bias and I am trying harder to eat healthier and eat more salads. The food and health zealots seem to want us to be virtuous all the time and always be macrobiotic. Sometimes you just want a slice of pizza or a hamburger and fries and there is nothing wrong with that.

      There has to be a way of encouraging healthy eating without having messianic zeal about various diets like paleo glutten free, vegan, etc.

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      • I certainly understand the sentiment, but the types of “diets” that I’m referring to are not the nutritionist diets of calories – that’s rather the point. We’re talking about nutrient dense whole food eating – not fad diets. You should eat fat, meat, vegetables, dairy, etc that’s the point. Traditional diets aren’t weird ideological constructs, they are the diets that help us thrive. Some are very high in fat/animal products, some are very low. Your body may respond better to some diets than others, so it isn’t simply a matter of eating “Mediterranean”. But, it is a matter of looking at what we eat and at least categorizing it properly.

        If you want to read one simple book that illustrates the difference, i’d suggest Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food.

        If you read that, you’ll at least see that there’s another way of looking at food. It might not be compelling to you, but it should show you that there are options to consider.

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        • I concur.

          I have mixed opinions on Pollan. I watched his Netflix series Cooked and found some of it interesting but also deeply preaching to the Berkley Bowl crowd who don’t quite realize their own richness. It is very easy to make a soup that takes hours to prepare when you have a big kitchen that allows two or three people to work comfortably at a time.

          I still think the big issue is time and not having enough of it. If you spend 10-14 hours a day between commuting and working, cooking and exercise are probably going out the window.

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          • I’m rereading Cooked right now, and I’d say that this is not the book to start with; cooked is a spiritual musing on Humanity and our relationship to nature: Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. It is kinda a Berkley crowd book – a sort of Zen of cooking. While I’ve been really impressed by his writing and some of his prose about food has struck me as sublime (I’ve even teared-up a bit at how beautiful his words can be)… this is not the book he wrote to help people re-think food. This is a book for people who Love food.

            Your mixed feelings should be about people like me who tear-up reading Cooked, not the basic advice Pollan gives. That’s for everyone. :-)

            That’s why I suggested the other book first.

            As for you comment about time… yes, food takes time to prepare; it doesn’t have to take a lot of time… sometimes it is worth it to invest a lot of time, sometimes its not. This is purely a habit and priority issue. To muse on that point I’d suggest a fun little book that looks at the food culture of France from a North American point of view: French Kids Eat Everything. One of the things that she discovers is that French women work more than their North American counter-parts, but still prioritize meals as part of a busy schedule. That’s sort of the point, the entire culture prioritizes food as part of a busy life.

            Counter Intuitively, if I were your life hacker, I’d cut the exercise to get your eating right first… then look to add exercise. Also, food is fundamentally a communal act – lots of things break down if we’re looking to optimize for autonomous individuals. If in this phase of your life certain cooking routines are challenging; just try to avoid normalizing bad habits that you will have a hard time breaking later; let’s not rationalize the exception into the rule.

            There’s nothing that needs to be said about the Bourgeois kitchen because that’s obviously not an impediment to cooking food anywhere in the world. Ever.

            But, to end on an optimistic note, that’s why IDoF is a helpful guide… it just helps to provide simple guidelines that can be used for cooking, eating-in, or eating-out that helps us to remember that food is more than just energy, even when we think it isn’t.

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            • Agreed.

              What I also think I saw was people throwing their hands up in the air and using improper caloric measurements as a way to demonstrate a problem with dieting so significant that people aren’t losing weight because of it.

              That I have a problem with because there are some very simple ways around that point. A little education goes a long way.

              Even if calorie measurements are inaccurate, the energy balance equation still applies. Take in less than you use, weight comes off. That applies whether or not the body is slowing down its metabolic rate in response to a drop in calories or leptin levels are dropping to a point where you want to do nothing but eat for the next day straight and have the most insane food cravings.

              If an individual is using a fitbit to try to gauge activity and consuming calories accordingly in order to lose weight and can’t lose weight, then there at least two options to consider: a simple incremental decrease in intake (maybe 200 calories a day max) and see what that does or 2) take a close look at what people have eaten over a period of time and see if some of those items can be reduced or eliminated.

              What you don’t do is claim that we need a new measurement because the old one is inaccurate and toss the whole thing into the can.

              My belief is that the reason most diets don’t work for people that don’t have other medically-related issues pertaining to weight is user error and not getting lucky to the degree I did.

              What I did three and a half years ago when I first started wasn’t much different than what I did in 2006 when I tried weight loss and ultimately failed. I didn’t know what I was doing other than going after some very easy targets in my diet. That only gets you so far.

              The craziest thing I remember back then was going to a grocery store, which I hadn’t done in as long as I remember. I wanted to buy clean and healthy foods and I struggled through two hours and bought things I wouldn’t even think of eating today. My eating habits were so bad and I simply depended on whatever was in my house that I couldn’t figure out what to do on my own.

              I had to re-teach myself everything. I know it’s not rocket science but you have a different view of it when you’re sitting at the very bottom of a learning curve and looking up at something that looks kind of like a cliff.

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  4. G3-Adding to what Veronica said, you can also make the argument that since girls and women suffered and continue to suffer under sexism for thousands of years that a brief corrective period where girl power is emphasized over boys is not a bad thing.

    Even assuming the girl power thing is real as described in the article, you can basically attribute it to a combination of traditional media stereotypes in an age where feminism had a degree of success. If you look back at the media in the age of the pre-feminist age, when most people really believed that a woman’s place was in the home and never mind anything about transgenderism, there was a tendency to portray most male as bumbling or bellow par in some way while only a handful where suave and handsome. Nearly all women depicted in movies were shown above par because you can not get casted as an average looking or bellow average looking woman in Hollywood unless you were a character actor. This also goes for physical attributes. When you combine this with feminism as filtered through the masses, you get media where nearly all women in media, especially if aimed at young children, are depicted as above par but now in a more girl power way because that is what media always did combined with boys being bellow par because that is the fate of most men. Not every boy or man gets to see themselves as Cary Grant or David Niven.

    I guess I see the show is just how American media, especially Hollywood and television always treated feminism because you could cast an average/ugly man but not an average/ugly woman combined with a bit of pop feminism for the modern age rather than any plot against boys.

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    • Curiously, this is more extreme in the USA than in other heavy TV countries.

      In Brazil, for instance, where soap operas really paralize the country, you have plenty of male and female soap opera protagonists that look like normal people. They can be overweight, middle aged, crooked teeth, even old. We are not talking character, supporting cast. We are talking the top billed protagonist whose love story we are supposed to follow and care about. I haven’t watched Brazilian soaps in decades, but in my twenties most protagonists sets were quite plain looking, and I doubt the situation has changed. This in a country that it’s also famous for its pursuit of physical beauty is quite refreshing.

      European TV is not much different. Even Turkish TV (another TV crazy country) will show you quite average looking people.

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      • Yeah, this. Its a lot easier to get cast as an average or bellow average person in other countries besides the United States. I find that the other Anglophone countries are most similar to the United States in preferring to cast very attractive people over ordinary looking people.

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        • Its a lot easier to get cast as an average or bellow average person in other countries besides the United States.

          Maybe it’s “easier” in those countries because those folks don’t do exactly what you’re doing here: view individuals as “average” or “below average”. Maybe they just view folks as people who do people stuff.

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            • Knowing humans, I doubt it.

              What are you doubting: J A’s account of Brazilian television, in which “below average” people are consistently cast in lead roles, or that things are different in the US entertainment industry?

              If you accept J A’s account, then you’re not doubting a difference exists, seems to me. So I’m not sure how to understand your response. My point was that different cultures incorporate and reinforce the value attributed (to a person!) to surface features like (eg) approximation to a stereotypical conception of perfect physical beauty (or whatever) in different ways.

              Also, it seems entirely consistent with human nature – to me anyway – that folks act differently than you’re suggesting.

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        • Eh, I think it’s partly that, . But, also I think there is something to the fact that for decades, from basically every decent sized in America, one or two girls went to Hollywood and tried to make it. As a result, thanks to those nice looking people all migrating to California and marrying each other and popping out kids when the Hollywood thing doesn’t work out, all of the sudden kind of an oversupply of pretty people who are outgoing, have connections in the business, and have some acting chops that can be developed.

          I’m not saying that Hollywood doesn’t prefer pretty people – I’m saying that if your acting skill is a 6 and your beauty is a 9, you’ll get the job over the person that has an acting skill of 8 but is only a 5 or 6 on the conventional attractiveness scale.

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            • It’s anecdote and not data, but my e-harmony profile is open to basically the zone covered by the Pac-12 schools plus the corresponding part of Canada. By my lights, the average suggestion the computers send to me from SoCal would be among the most attractive in any other region, including the Bay Area.
              And if there’s selection bias, you’d expect it to be in the opposite direction – to be matched that far away, they have to be selling themselves more aggressively, rather than less, suggesting that they agree (i.e. that they feel that they have to be less selective).

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      • Fixing discrimination will always cause many people of the previously privileged group to feel discriminated against even if that is not actually happening. We see this with race, gender, and sexuality to varying degrees. Its part of the psychic wage problem. During the age of Jim Crow, you could be a poor white without any prospects but you knew that you better than every African-American in the eyes of the law and there were things you could do that they could not. You could even boss them around or murder them in cold blood and get away with it. When things started to change for the better for African-Americans you had a lot of White Americans react badly because of it because they lost the psychic wage.

        The same thing happens with gender or sexuality. Many men are deeply upset that they lost the psychic wage that they had against women and things that they could previously get away with like cat-calling, sexual harassment are no longer possible. Same with sexuality. We have a heterosexuals offended that they can not persecute homosexuals without mercy and that they might have to see two men hold hands or, God forbid, kiss in the public.

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        • Fixing discrimination will always cause many people of the previously privileged group to feel discriminated against even if that is not actually happening.

          See also: Trade liberalization.

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        • Adding to what Veronica said, you can also make the argument that since girls and women suffered and continue to suffer under sexism for thousands of years that a brief corrective period where girl power is emphasized over boys is not a bad thing.

          You didn’t say anything about psychic wages. Youdid say, “a brief corrective period where girl power is emphasized over boys is not a bad thing.” That sounds like discrimination to me no matter how you twist it. Either discrimination is wrong or it isn’t.

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  5. Ci3: Americans saw the ideal house as the single-family home since we colonized. According to Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, when the first French style apartment buildings were built in New York after the Civil War, many middle class New Yorkers were aghast. Proper Anglo-Saxon Protestants lived in a single-family home, in this case an urban townhouse and not in a multiple family dwelling. Its just that modern suburbia was not possible because of the transportation options available until the car. The car, cheap and abundant oil, and politicians and civil servants implementing policies to allow more people to own their own home made modern suburbia even if it was at the expense of traditional cities.

    Cr5: I saw a similar article in the Atlantic or the New York Times about cities accelerating evolution in animals.

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  6. G6 goes to an article about solar power.

    Cr3: The Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat. There are other species of kangaroo rat that everyone agrees are doing just fine.

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  7. M1: The $34-per-week “food stamp diet” is based on a flawed premise. $34 per week is the average amount food stamp recipients receive, but the average food stamp recipient has other sources of income and is expected to use some of that other income on food. The maximum benefit, awarded to those with no other sources of income, is more like $45 per week. Which still isn’t a lot, but it’s about a third more.

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    • My sister asked me to bring supper over today, but wouldn’t give me any guidance. I ended up dropping $70 at the grocery store for hot wings, frozen pizzas, beer, wine, and accoutrements. I couldn’t imagine living on $34 or $45 a week. I did it when I was younger, single, and broke, but not now.

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  8. From [G3]:

    Among the “Wild Kratts” supporting cast, there are two highly competent and knowledgeable females (Aviva, “a cool, fashionable, twenty-something who is well on her way to becoming the most accomplished inventor this planet has ever known!” and Koki, “an accomplished computer whiz with a sharp tongue and an even sharper wit”) paired with one hapless male, Jimmy, who is “insecure, hesitant, and unsure—that is until he gets a video game console in his hands!” Jimmy also, somewhat suspiciously, bears more than a passing resemblance to Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo.”

    Notice it says “supporting cast”. That’s because she’s leaving out the main characters of the show, the titular Kratt brothers. This assumption that shouting “girl power” is disenfranchising to boys is to a) erase the fact that children’s media still does a great job at providing role models for boys, and/or b) make the assumption that there’s something inherent about empowering girls that disempowers boys. I reject both of those ideas, and I’ve seen no evidence to suggest I’m wrong to do so.

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    • I caught the same thing! The show is about two brothers who have all sorts of adventures with animals. Aviva and Koki are pretty kick-ass, but they are two of five.

      I have two young girls and I am very conscious of providing a variety of role models for them. Male and female. It is nice when the female role models on TV are more varied than princesses. (Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-princess, but I like seeing a variety of girls/women in children’s media). In my limited exposure to children’s media, there is definitely an effort to present girls as strong and smart, but it is not at the expense of the boys. The shows we watch are pretty egalitarian, although male characters do still outnumber female characters.

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      • Well, in narrative we have different kinds of roles. We have the dramatic protagonist, the person whose energy drives the narrative. (By this definition, the “dramatic protagonist” is very often the villain.) On the other hand, we have the “point of view” character, the person you are meant to relate to, whose situation and feelings are meant to draw in the audience. This is the character you most care about.

        The “boss” doesn’t necessary play these roles. They can. But “authority” can be support, adversity, along with protagonism. We can relate to the “boss,” or we can relate to those “bossed around.”

        Note, in a TV show with an ensemble cast, these roles are often distributed, where different episodes will fit different characters into these narrative slots. In other words, often you’ll have “spotlight episodes,” where we center some minor character. For that one episode, they become the “point of view” character. This is common. Likewise with dramatic protagonism: In one episode, Buffy might drive the narrative. In another, it is Giles. (Often, of course, it is the “monster of the week” who is driving things, with our characters reacting to its action.)

        The first time I read a novel with a female lead — where a girl was both the POV character and the protagonist — it blew my mind. I’d read boy-focussed stuff for years. But suddenly I was being put into the mind of a girl.

        I liked it there very much. At the time I didn’t understand why.

        In any case, there is no reason a show should not have a woman as “boss.” After all, someday the woman’s sons could be working for a woman boss. Why not? The idea that they will go through life and not see a majority of stories where men are the POV characters, the dramatic protagonists, etc., where men are dynamic and leaders and everything else you might hope for — that won’t happen.

        As I said, the media remains male-dominated. The percentages have shifted. There is a higher percentage of female POVs, protagonism, etc. But it is nothing near a majority.

        That some people perceive a growing minority as too much reveals a profound degree of subtle, unconscious sexist bias. Even among concerned moms.

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    • “Trust? Oh yeah, it sat here, drank a fifth of tequila and wondered out in the woods in that general direction muttering something about ‘bern’. That was like two days ago, good luck.”

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        • It’s punctuated as a quote in the Breitbart story, but it’s a quote of a paraphrase in the Politico story it links, which does *not* punctuate it as a quote. Thats’s a,what do you call it? Oh yeah. Lie.

          Here’s the actual quote, which is in the Breitbart story:

          I don’t think people will fully appreciate who she is until — knock on wood — she’s elected president because when she is president, I think she will be phenomenally successful because she’s a work horse.

          She’s going to be much more successful in the public eye when they see her actually able to produce those results, which is really what drives her popularity.

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  9. My reaction to G3 and G5 is to ask how we got to a point were so many people care so much about the minutia of children’s lives.

    I assume that most of us here grew up in the era where much babysitting was done by the TV and by “go outside and play.” Does anyone think that this new era of carefully curating a child’s every interaction is going to be a net positive? I’m thinking that I should start taking stock positions in companies that sell anti-anxiety meds.

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  10. H1 – You know, I’ve always actually wondered around this.

    I mean, I knew *I* couldn’t deal with early in the morning, and eventually I realized had such problems with it that I should see if that was actually known condition…which it in fact is, and a bit of testing confirmed it for me.

    But, honestly, *everyone* seems to have a bit of trouble functioning early in the morning, which is why it took so long for me to notice it was a lot more severe for me. (And I realize that other people *don’t* have trouble falling asleep before 3 in the morning.)

    The article keeps talking like people have trouble functioning at nine…but that’s not actually correct. If you work at nine, you probably got up around 7:30. Which means, for a quarter of the year, you’re getting up before sunrise!

    That can’t *possibly* be how the human body is evolved to work.

    And that’s ignoring daylight savings, which takes away an hour in the morning…right when we start waking up at a reasonable time relative to sunrise. The most idiotic idea yet.

    There are statistics showing that basically *everyone* is sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation causes all sorts of health problems in addition to all sorts of other problems. Perhaps it is time we actually start taking this sort of thing seriously?

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