Links (Nov 2021)

Health

  1. Lithium theory of obesity epidemic (general overview, more on lithium grease, brine spills, bioaccumulation, well measurement data and city-level data).
  1. Dietary fat may contribute to lipostat ratcheting (leptin resistance).
  1. During the pandemic, childhood obesity has accelerated. Food purchases in the US are also spiking
  1. Death rates increase 10% during the winter. Is it because of the cold (weakened cardiovascular system), or the season (e.g., influenza doesn’t seem affected by temperature)? 
  1. What’s causing the sex recession? New data suggests a change in religious norms.

Covid

  1. Intramuscular injections can accidentally hit a vein, causing injection into the bloodstream. This could explain some of the rare adverse reactions to Covid-19 vaccine. Study shows solid link between intravenous mRNA vaccine and myocarditis (in mice). Needle aspiration is one way to prevent this from happening.
  1. Paxlovid, a bespoke protease inhibitor from Pfizer shows 89% protection from hospitalization. It may be possible to combine with molnupiravir, the new 50% protective transcriptase inhibitor from Merck.
  1. After you exclude the fraudulent and statistically illegitimate studies, several meta-analyses still show that Ivermectin can provide a small amount of protection. The effect is small compared to Paxlovid 89% or mRNA vaccines 95%, but non-zero. What’s going on? The strongyloid hypothesis.

Energy & Climate

  1. High-temperature superconductors are accelerating fusion R&D. The MIT startup is forecasting an energy-positive proof of concept as soon as 2025. 
  1. Vox: geothermal energy is poised for a big breakout. One issue with renewables (solar, wind, etc) is they have a low capacity factor: until large-scale energy storage becomes economical they need to be supplemented by high capacity energy sources. Nuclear and geothermal might qualify; main blockers are regulation and R&D, respectively. 
  1. What is France’s secret? Nuclear power.
  1. Interesting, bullish take on SpaceX. Its starship program will likely reduce the transport cost-per-kilogram by two orders of magnitude. 

Basic Science

  1. Inspired by recent neutrino results, a new dark sector theory attempts to jointly explain dark matter, Hubble tension, baryon asymmetry, and cosmic thinness.
  1. Leading candidate axion theory (explanans: CP parity, dark matter) finds preliminary support
  1. The 3D organization of our genome.
  1. The brain senses and controls immune function, as shown by optogenetic manipulations in the insula.
  1. Lead exposure accounts for a loss of 23 million IQ points in a 6-year birth cohort of US children. See also, the lead crime hypothesis.  See also, Did lead poisoning lead to the downfall of Roman Empire? The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act does allocate $15b for lead abatement.

Current Events

  1. China appears to be expanding its nuclear silos from 20 to 250. And increasing its stockpile to 1000 warheads by the end of the decade. And developing maneuverable hypersonic missiles that can evade US missile defense systems (analysis here). 
  2. An interesting tweetstorm investigates the port backlog and discovers anti-stacking regulations as a key bottleneck. The Port of Long Beach rescinds the rule within one day. 

Misc

  1. Another 500 ancient Maya and Olmec complexes were discovered by Lidar in southern Mexico. 
  1. Why did the War on Terror happen? One theory points to powerful bureaucrats (“Vulcans”) gaining too much control over interagency dialogue. 
  1. A geographical way of visualizing class differences
  1. In a poll of economists, opportunity cost was found to be the most underrated. Worth applying its lessons to your everyday life!
  1. Biohacking, Level 100:

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