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Yes, I said cheer, and I did.

The U.S. announced Thursday the first fatality of a wreck involving a car in self-driving mode, the 40-year-old owner of a technology company who nicknamed his vehicle "Tessy" and had praised its sophisticated "Autopilot" system just one month earlier for preventing a collision on an interstate. The government said it is investigating the design and performance of the system aboard the Tesla Model S sedan.

The deceased was a flat-out jackass.

The wreck occurred in Florida and I actually know where it was; I've driven through there.  A truck turned (legally) in front of the vehicle, which was on autopilot, during difficult lighting conditions making the "autopilot" effectively blind to the fact that it had been obstructed from the side.

The driver was obviously not paying attention because he did not hit the brakes nor take control back by turning the wheel, and the car went under the trailer broadside, killing the driver instantly.

The driver of the truck claims there was a portable DVD player in the car and that a Harry Potter movie was still playing on the screen when he reached the vehicle after the wreck. Note that detecting the driver's hands on the wheel doesn't do a thing if you're watching a movie instead of the road.  People wreck all the time because they fail to maintain situational awareness; the oft-used chestnut is the guy texting while driving (which can get you ticketed), but provided you maintain your scan of your surroundings you can also maintain control.  However, if not, well....

Here's the reality -- vehicles are dangerous, multi-ton objects being operated with sufficient velocity such that they nearly-always carry lethal kinetic energy all of the time they are moving.  This basic fact, by the way, is one of the reasons that I scoff at people who argue for "more gun laws" while claiming that cars as "so useful to society that the tens of thousands killed in them annually should be excused while the smaller percentage killed by other-than-intentional self-harm must not be."  That may be a true statistic but is an intentionally false and void comparison because every single time you get behind the wheel you by definition are attempting to control lethal amounts of kinetic energy as is everyone else on the road.  A firearm, until and unless it is fired, has no kinetic energy developed that must be controlled to avoid innocent people being harmed or killed.  For this reason the analogy falls completely flat.

There is currently no such thing as a "machine driven car" that is independent of the driver, and I'm not sure I want there to be on a car I own -- ever -- because there are situations where a driver has to hit something and you can bet that you won't be the one who makes that split-second decision if that arises.  For example, let's say that your car is operating at highway speeds on a two-lane highway where opposing traffic is present and there is no usable shoulder (e.g. telephone poles, trees or other obstructions are on the right side) and a child runs out into the street from behind a bush that prevented you from seeing the child prior to his entry into the roadway.  You must hit something in that situation -- either the kid is likely to be killed or you are likely to be killed.  Note that such an incident is not a criminally or civilly-chargeable incident under today's laws and it is the driver who makes the split-second decision what he or she hits.

Another (much-more common!) situation arises where you are stopped at a red light, first in line in a middle lane with vehicles on both sides and cross traffic going through the intersection.  An approaching vehicle from behind is either not slowing or failing to slow at a sufficient rate to avoid hitting you and you detect that in the rear-view mirror.  If you go through the intersection to avoid being struck from the rear you are likely to be hit by cross traffic in your door, which is (statistically) much worse than being rear-ended because the impact occurs much closer to your body and there is far less car between you and it to absorb same.  In fact, a T-bone accident like this is very likely to kill you.  You cannot take evasive action to either side either as that's blocked by other vehicles.  Again, this is a situation that can arise and if it does is not a civilly or criminally-chargeable incident for you.

What choice is made by an autonomous vehicle in either of these situations?

You have no idea how it has been programmed and even if that has been allegedly disclosed you have no way to prove it will perform as claimed either until and unless the situation arises!

In any event the driver of this car appears, according to reports, to have decided to relinquish control to a robot and that resulted in his death.  I don't know that I can characterize what happened here as a "malfunction" because the operator decided to do something beyond the published parameters of the device's stated capabilities.

This one, in short, is in my view charged off as "Death by Darwin."

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2016-07-02 11:06 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 286 references

Bill Clinton might have been diddling something in Arizona the other day but I can assure you it was not a golf ball.

Daytime highs have been over 100F in that part of the country.  Nobody in their right mind goes out and plays a round of golf in 100F weather.


Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton for prison 2016

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Facts trump emotions.

I have repeatedly pointed out that most of the "organic" craze is in fact a crock of crap; all it really does is vacuum your wallet, and is sold based on a false premise: The food is healthier and it's better for the environment.

Neither is true.

The science says there's no material difference on nutrition -- or safety.

This applies to both vegetables/fruits and meats.  While "organic" and "cage-free" animals may in fact enjoy more access to open space this does not necessarily translate into better health; in fact it can be the opposite because at the same time their exposure to pathogens, parasites and predation increases too.

Witness your kitty.   The average lifespan for a housecat is about 15 years.  Some more, some less, but that's about right.

The average lifespan for an "outdoor" cat is five years.

Gee, that sheltered, indoor and "caged" life is so bad that it triples average lifespan (says the purring cat on my lap!)

How about organic farming (e.g. vegetables, etc)?  Well, it's utterly true that a single organic farm consumes less energy and emits less pollution in all forms (e.g. nitrate runoff, ammonia, CO2, etc) than a "modern" industrial farm.  But this is a grossly misleading way to present things because crop yields are far lower from an organic farm than a conventional one!

When you adjust for that, in other words, you look at emissions on a per-bushel of finished product you find that the organic farm emits more net pollution and worse, it requires about 80% more land at the same time!

To put this in perspective were the entire US to go "organic" in its food production we would have to get rid of all of the national and state parklands along with all the wilderness areas remaining in the lower 48 states!

Oh, and as for pesticides, as I've written on before, "organic" doesn't mean pesticide-free.  In fact pyrethrin compounds, which are a general term for pesticides made from Chrysanthemum flower compounds, are quite toxic.  They have also been used for a hell of a long time, pre-dating industrial agriculture.  But the common myth that they're "safe" because they're naturally occurring is just that -- a myth.  Nobody in their right mind consumes hemlock intentionally, yet that is "naturally occurring" as are a large number of (very) poisonous mushrooms and both will kill you very dead.

If you want to buy and eat "organic" foods then be my guest.  But don't try to justify it on the basis of it being good for the environment (it's not), being good for animal welfare (questionable at best) or, for that matter, being sustainable (you'd literally kill 2 billion people on the planet if you mandated it on a global basis.)  It is none of those things and to the extent you run that big fat lie you deserve to be called on it.

To be blunt your penchant for "organic" food is, when you get down to facts, snobbery.  If you dispassionately analyze buying "organic" on a household budgetary basis it's stupid since you're paying far more for the same quality and quantity of food and if you try to justify "going organic" on the premise of either animal welfare or environmental benefits you're not only wrong you're actually making the problems worse.

You're welcome.

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In the United States we have this law that's known as HIPAA.  It's a quite-broad law, although it is often ignored and breaches rarely bring any sort of sanction, especially not criminal sanction (which they should.)

It mandates that health information be private, with a few exceptions -- and it is those exceptions that are the problem.  For instance, your health insurance company is "entitled" to see everything, because you want them to pay your claims.  Likewise, it is also this enabling legislation that has made possible the monstrosity we have today with medical records; they're not actually your property, and because you have no property interest in them you can't insist that they go with you (such as on a Thumb drive.)

You are given the right to access them through these laws, including to make copies, but you might get charged for exercising that right.  There's also no guarantee that you'll be able to do anything useful with them since the coding on them is not necessarily in english (make that "almost never is"), but that is a solvable problem -- again, sometimes, for a fee.

When I ran my Internet company this law occasionally led to some interesting situations, such a person who had a medication denied for coverage at the pharmacy with no warning or explanation.  As the party that actually wrote the check for the vast majority of the health insurance bill for my employees, you'd think I'd automatically have access to everything necessary to try to analyze that decision.  You'd be wrong.  Fortunately the person impacted was very interested in my intervening and gave me written permission to do exactly that, and I did do, shoving that "decision" right up the pooper of the insurance company involved -- the employee had their medication about an hour later.

Now, however, the very basic (and often abused) protections in HIPPA are being destroyed systematically, and you had better rise up and put a stop to it.

Sometime next year, you may hear about a new way to save money on your health insurance. To get the discount, you and your spouse have to join your company’s voluntary “wellness program,” the kind that typically promotes exercising more or losing weight. As part of signing up, you’re both asked to share your blood pressure, weight, diseases you’ve had or have, and your medical records, which may include the results of any genetic tests.

But if you don’t want to fill out a questionnaire or get medically screened? You won’t qualify for the discount. Or your premiums could go up by hundreds or thousands of dollars.

It's not the screening or questionnaire necessarily -- it's that the data isn't private any more.

Where did this come from?  It was stuck into Obamacare, provided the program is "voluntary."

But is it voluntary if the difference in cost is thousands of dollars a year, or making the decision results in materially-poorer coverage?  Not really; it's coerced.

What's worse is that while it's formally illegal to discriminate against people on their health status despite the outrageous difference in cost for someone who is sick .vs. not to the employer, the exposure of this information or anything that can result in inferences being drawn across the entire employee pool of a firm means that now the number of people who have that access and are in a managerial (read: in a position to hire, fire, promote or not) role will be going up dramatically.

Finally, there's a huge secondary problem: The purpose of these programs is supposed to lead to "good advice" being doled out to the people who "share" said data.  What happens when that "advice" is flat-out wrong, as, for instance, has been the case with regard to saturated fat and carbohydrate intake?

Who pays when the advice is given, taken, and the purported situation gets worse?  Who's responsible, in short, for what amounts to force-feeding said "advice" and, presumably, some sort of compliance monitoring that will undoubtedly come next -- probably through your smartphone or other electronic devices!

Don't let that run around in your head for too long for it's unlikely that you will be happy with where this will inevitably lead, or what it will do to you both health-wise and financially.

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The often-heard comments when someone says they're eating HFLC include "your kidneys will explode", "Atkins was really bad for him (Mr. Atkins)", "You'll have a heart attack", "You can't be athletic doing that; you need carbs" and more.

I would like to put some perspective on this.  Yes, this is anecdote; it's a sample size of one with no double-blind, of course -- that is, my personal experience.

Some background: Somewhat over five years ago I essentially went hard-core Atkins-induction coupled with "Couch-to-5k."  At the time I was unable to run one half mile without stopping, climbing a few sets of stairs was work, even summer lawn mowing was a strenuous exercise -- while the heat was certainly not helpful, neither was exercise tolerance.  I was "nominally healthy" in that I was not diabetic, but my body mass had risen from about 155 in High School to right around 210, plus or minus a couple.  I had several times undertaken fairly severe exercise regimes, including hour-long daily stints on a stationary recumbent bike I purchased, in an attempt to lose weight, along with a low-fat, "eat plants" diet -- without success.  I could drop 10lbs without much trouble, but no more, I was ravenously hungry all the time, and as soon as I cut back on the exercise the weight came right back on and stayed.

I'm absolutely certain that I was insulin resistant even though my blood glucose was normal -- I'd get the "hangries" if I attempted to not eat in the morning immediately on waking, and was often hungry for something by mid-afternoon after eating a carb-laden (and low-fat) lunch.  If there was a bag full of M&Ms in front of me and I had one, the entire bag would be gone within a couple of hours.  The same for a tin full of cookies.  A loaf of home-made bread (I have a bread-maker) would be lucky to make two days; the first big, thick slice would get consumed and I'd want two more an hour later.

In short despite my outward metabolic signs being ok, but being overweight (not obese) I know exactly where I was headed -- for both obesity and diabetes.  I'm sure of it.

So in early 2011 I decided I'd had enough -- that the conventional wisdom was either wrong or I was simply going to be consigned due to bad genetics to get older, fatter, and sicker.  The latter is what we have all been sold and I was determined to not simply give up.

Since that was the consensus, I saw no harm in trying something else -- after all, the odds were that I would not make it worse, at least not quickly, and when it comes to things like heart attacks and strokes they take years to develop, weeks or months.

So I went full-on, zero-carb Atkins induction, bought a pair of Nike running shoes and a Garmin 305 with a heart rate strap to track my exercise.

I'm not going to tell you that this was an easy path, at least at first.  I modified the Couch-to-5k thing (you can look it up online) in only one way -- the very last segment of each work-out I ran as hard and fast I could.  At the start this was maybe an eighth to a quarter of a mile, but it would grow to a half-mile later.  Other than that I pretty-much followed the program.

I could not run a half-mile when I started.  Not even close.

I felt like I'd been hit by a bus every.... single... day.

But I kept with it, both on the food and running.  After the first two weeks I added back green vegetables, but otherwise ate zero carbohydrate -- and that included alcohol.  Instead of three times a week I tried for five, and got up at 0500 every day to do it because living in Florida it's hot, even in May.

In the first week, five pounds disappeared.  I knew this would happen and probably be (mostly) water.  The next week and pretty-much every week thereafter, however, another one or two came off.

About two months later I ran a full 3.1 miles for the first time, without slowing to a walk or stopping.  It was not easy, but I did it, and by now it was the middle of June.

Eight months later, roughly that Thanksgiving, I was down to about 160.

I looked at the Garmin stats.  I had lost 50 lbs, which is about 175,000 calories. Running is about 120 calories a mile, according to a heart-rate adjusted GPS machine, and I had run roughly 500 miles at that point, or 60,000 calories worth.

Only one third of the body mass I lost was due to exercise.  That's a numerical fact; the rest was lost due to changing what I ate.

I slowly lost about another 5 lbs; my body weight now fluctuates around 155, +/- 5, assuming I'm reasonably good.

And there it has stayed for the last five years -- whether I'm training for a half-marathon, the Wicked Triple (three races in two days of close to a marathon distance in total), hiking part of the AT, sitting on my ass enjoying a vacation or whatever else I might be doing.  My exertion levels have literally been all over the map, yet my body mass has not.

What has remained constant, more or less, is my adherence to the consumption of food things (and not consuming others!) that I have laid out many times -- you can read that list right here.

Now here's what's changed long-term when it comes to my person and my health that I haven't talked about much:

  • Since I was a child I have had horrid problems with seasonal allergies to the point of being nearly useless twice a year for a month or so.  No amount of medication, OTC or prescription, has ever successfully controlled this completely.  Benedryl works fine but knocks me flat on my ass, and anything containing pseudoephedrine makes me feel extremely uncomfortable -- I'm one of the people who just can't use any decongestant containing that substance.  I was basically forced to remain indoors, in an air-conditioned space, for two months out of the year and maintain a high-quality pollen filter in my car's airhandler -- or else.  I also avoided travel to woodsy and other flowery areas during the times they were in bloom for obvious reasons.  Slowly, over the last couple of years, my seasonal allergies irrespective of where I am in the country have completely disappeared.  Last spring I hiked a piece of the AT through the spring bloom, complete with thousands of bees pollinating the flowers, and had exactly zero trouble.  Five years ago that would have been unthinkable.  This appears to be correlated with....

  • My general inflammation level has, I believe, dropped quite a bit.  I had always had "on and off" acne problems, even as an adult.  As a teen it was bad, but it never went completely away -- until I got rid of the carbs.  The same is true of skin issues; I always had them on and off, especially in the winter when the air is dry.  Again, completely gone the first winter and they have stayed gone since.  Gee, I wonder what's going on in my coronary arteries?  Betcha it's not bad things but no, I'm not paying a couple of grand to get CT+contrast scanned to find out for sure.  (The one exception: perfumes in laundry detergents will still "get" me, so I have to watch out for that.)
  • I have no adverse blood glucose reaction to sugar intake.  I have, a couple of times in the last year, "challenged" my body with heavy sugar intake just to see what happens; typically with a large dose of milk chocolate or heavily sugar-laden confections like donuts.  I've not been able to drive my blood glucose over 110 with such a challenge despite intentionally trying.  I don't know if I could actually drive my blood sugar to anywhere near 140 today (the upper boundary of what they call the "normal" reaction to such a test) if I literally sat and ate a bag of sugar.  Note that while I was never diabetic I'm very sure my metabolism was compromised.  For those who wonder if your metabolic systems can heal over time if you stop insulting them, the answer appears to be "Yes."

  • I don't like sugar any more.  Things with a lot of sugar in them taste like crap.  Raw white sugar now has a smell to it that I associate with being "medicinal" and is not at all pleasant.  It sort of smells like poison, in fact -- hmmmm.... maybe it is?

  • I have no "hangries" -- ever -- or carb-cravings.  I often have no desire to eat anything before roughly lunchtime; I'll get up in the morning and am simply not hungry.  This means that if I eat something around lunch, and then around dinner, I'm effectively fasting 18 hours out of every day.  It's not because I'm trying, it's because I'm not hungry.

  • If I do work out a lot my appetite goes up.  If I don't it goes down.  I don't have to think about it, count calories, make efforts to restrict my consumption of food or anything like that.  It's simply this: If I'm hungry I eat.  If I'm not I don't.  Oh, and since I'm not gorging myself on hangries my capacity for food has shrunk.  Yes, it appears my stomach is smaller, in that I get full faster -- and it empties slower too.  An interesting observation that I cannot correlate with fact, but I sure can with how I feel if I try to stuff myself for some reason.

  • My exercise tolerance has gone up massively.  The other day I worked on wrecking out part of my gazebo floor (it needs replaced) which involved using a Wonder Bar, saw and moving sand (via shovel and yard cart) that had accumulated under them and then mowed most of the back yard -- in 90ish degree weather with 85%+ humidity.  It was hotter than Hell, but other than needing to stop and get a drink a couple of times it wasn't all that bad.  I would have heat-stroked out trying this a few years ago -- literally.  Likewise I might go run a 5k tonight, and while the sun will be down it won't be any cooler.  Yes, it will be hotter than hell, but I'm not concerned about not being able to do it.  This I attribute to the exercise, not the diet.  But, with an extra 50lbs I suspect I wouldn't be able to move my additional mass irrespective of my cardio condition anywhere near as well as I can today.

  • I am far faster running now than I ever was -- including in High School!  I was never able to break the 9 minute mile barrier on a 3 mile run, with my "typical" time being around 30 minutes.  My PR now is 7:00 flat on a timed 5k race and 7:49 on a half-marathon.  This isn't a singular result either; my kid, who ran one season with the HS cross-country team, has half-way adopted my way of eating over the last six months -- and not only has her appearance improved she has also taken more than two minutes a mile from her time, breaking the 10 minute/mile threshold for the first time in the last couple of weeks.  Don't tell me you can't perform athletically on a low-carb diet -- that's a damned lie.

I'm not going to tell you this was all easy, because it wasn't up front.  Yes, carb-cravings are real.  A week or so back while in a group having a conversation that turned to food I remarked that I do not, as a rule, eat carbs -- my carb intake is for the most part beer, and only a couple a day maximum.  A nurse who was there proceeded to say that "Atkins causes kidney disease" and further that she "has cravings for carbs and thus needs them."  Both are false; first, Atkins is high fat, not high protein.  It is true that high protein diets can cause kidney problems but that's not Atkins; that's doing it wrong!  Second, meth causes cravings too, but that doesn't mean you need meth -- it means you're addicted to it!  Carbs are the same deal; when challenged as to the specific nutrients that you need that are in carbs, of course, she had no answer.  That would be because there aren't any; the amount of carbohydrate you actually require in your diet is zero.  I gave up; oh, she was complaining about having big snoring problems too (gee, I wondered, if you lost some weight what might happen to that........) This, however, is illustrative of the attitude of many in the so-called "health business"; their 4 hours of class at some point was not only insufficient most of what was in there is flat out wrong and even when taking this path might help alleviate a person problem they're experiencing they won't try it!

Here's my view, more than five years into this: I've seen exactly zero bad effects from adopting this lifestyle, and multiple good ones.  My indicators of metabolic health have improved, my exercise tolerance is up massively, I am more able to perform athletically today than I was when I was 17 despite being three times as old, I have zero glucose tolerance trouble evident when challenged, I am never "hangry", I do not crave carbs and in fact find things with sugar in them "too" sweet yet I count no calories or make other conscious attempt to control my food intake and my body mass is approximately what it was 35 years ago and hasn't moved more than a few pounds in either direction for the last five years.  The only exception was when I was in a relationship, eating far too many carbs (and knew it) and five more pounds went on -- literally as soon as I cut that crap out they disappeared within a couple of weeks.

Why would I change what I'm doing now, when for the last five years it has worked -- effortlessly -- to not only halt what was an obvious and visible (albeit slow) decrease my personal vitality and health that many would simply attribute to old age, but almost-completely reversed it -- and in many cases my health and physical abilities now exceed those of my teen years!

Yes, I'm a data set of one.

Now tell me why would you not run your own experiment.

I'm all ears.

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