Assorted Links


  • Are the Boston Red Sox malnourished? Paul Jaminet looks at the connection between poor health of the Boston Red Sox and the dietary advice they were given.
  • Cognitive benefits of  chewing gum. “Chewing gum was associated with greater alertness and a more positive mood. Reaction times were quicker in the gum condition, and this effect became bigger as the task became more difficult.”
  • Dave Asprey and Quantified Self. “He claims to have jacked up his IQ by 40 points.”
  • “Why is this country called China in English?” I asked a Tsinghua student. “It was a source of china,” she said. She was more right than she could have known. The world’s oldest pottery has been found in China. (Via Melissa McEwen.) Given this head start, it’s no surprise that for a long time China had a monopoly on really hard pottery, called bone china or porcelain. It was the only source of this china.

8 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. Seth, the chewing gum study will have huge ramifications, including:
    — Presidential debates with all the candidates chewing gum. No more “oops” moments.
    — Chess competitions with grandmasters chewing gum.
    — The collapse of the SAT/ACT test prep industry. Why would anybody spend money and time studying, if they could just chew gum instead?
    — The collapse of business for psychiatrists and antidepressants. Why pay for that when you can just chew gum?
    — Parents will start their infants on chewing gum at a very early age.
    — A whole new industry of “smart gum” products
    — A new government revenue source, taxing gum as a luxury item.
    — But, alas, all this will be short-live, because government regulators and organizations will ban gum chewing as performance-enhancing “doping.”

    (All above was said with tongue, I mean gum,in cheek.)

  2. Is that Jaminet story about one baseball team’s bone injuries just a case of cherry-picking their data? By contrast, I did a Google search for diets of the highly successful marathon runners from Kenya and Ethiopia, and it looks like their diets tend to be low-fat, with lots of items from corn and cereal grains.

    And I would suggest that running marathons requires stronger bones than standing around in a ball park.

    Of course, there could be confounding factors. but we all know that US baseball players have never used performance-enhancing substances that might have harmful health effects. No, uh-huh.

    Seth: Implicit in Jaminet’s post is the idea that (a) the Boston Red Sox could easily be given better food (according to what Jaminet believes) and (b) you could measure the effect of the change in diet — for example, team batting average, number of broken bones.

  3. “…jacked up his IQ by 40 points.”

    That’s enough make me set my default to “ignore” whenever this man makes claims.

  4. D, do you really mean that you’re not going to order Dave Asprey’s $69 whey protein powder and his other products that he spent $ 250,000 to develop?

    I guess I’ll just have to settle for cheaper things like the gallon of Organic Valley Whole Milk that I bought today at Whole Foods Market.

    But then I don’t claim to be as smart as Dave.

  5. Re: chewing gum

    My understanding is that the effects are short-lived, maybe lasting only about 15 minutes or so. With that said, I think it makes a lot of sense to bring a stick of gum with you into a test, even if it is a temporary boost.

    Re: Dave Asprey

    I’m also incredibly skeptical of this guy.

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