May 21

Odds and ends May 21, 2009

66  comments

verdi-after-party-small

I figure it’s about time for another grab bag of a post updating everyone on what’s going on at Casa Eades and throwing up a few interesting articles and websites.

The Verdi Requiem

The Santa Barbara Choral Society’s Verdi Requiem was a triumph last weekend.  As you can see from the photo above, MD was pretty whipped when it was over.  Apparently, it’s pretty demanding on soloists, orchestra and chorus.  And, as you can see from the photo above, the listeners don’t have the same burden.  Other photos here.  A recent review of the concert here.

The concert was pretty well attended, although not as well attended as it would have been had the entire city not been consumed with worry about the fire from the week before.  Santa Barbara is just now returning to normalcy.  The receipts from the door covered a little over 40 percent of what it cost to put on the production.  When I heard that figure, I thought the whole thing was a financial disaster, but I learned that that figure is typical for non-profit arts productions.  Around 40 percent of the cost comes from the people who buy tickets – the other 60 percent comes from patrons who sponsor the event.  In other words, the ticket prices are subsidized by the nobless oblige of the wealthy, a large number of whom consider it their obligation to support the arts.  So, next time you go to a great performance that costs you $25 to see, thank a rich person that you didn’t have to pay $60.

Twitter adventures

As anyone who has followed me on Twitter knows, I spend a lot of time reading and posting to Twitter since I first posted about it.  It’s a great way to do mini posts because users of Twitter are limited to 140 characters, so it’s tough to get too verbose.

I was pretty clueless about Twitter until I started using it, so I assume others are clueless as well.  If you are not in the know about this social networking tool and would like to keep up with these mini posts, there are a couple of ways you can do it.  You can sign up for Twitter and follow me (and anyone else you would like to follow).  It takes maybe one minute to sign up for Twitter.  All you need is a working email address and a username and you’re in.  Once you are a Twitteree (or whatever they’re called), and sign up to follow me, you can read these mini posts as I put them up.  If you want to sign up, click here and get started.  If you do start, you will probably find that a bunch of your own friends are using Twitter, so you can keep up with them as well.

The other way you can access these mini posts is by clicking on the little blue bird logo that says FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER.  If you click there, you will go to a page that gives you all the latest mini posts, but you’ll have to keep going back to get the updates as they come in.  Here is a link to the page you will find.

I occasionally Tweet (a Twitter mini post is called a Tweet, a loathsome word if there ever was one, at least when applied to activities of grown humans) on personal stuff, but mainly the Tweets are mini posts on medical articles or other news articles that I think are of interest along with anything else I find that strikes my fancy.

For those of you who do follow me on Twitter, I apologize for any Twitter faux paux I may have committed.  One of the things that most appealed to me about Twitter was the notion that I could put up these mini posts without anyone responding.  But, alas, I was wrong.  I discovered a few days ago that people can respond and several hundred have.  I was taking time from feverishly mini posting by looking around my Twitter home page when I found a highlighted link that said: @DrEades.  When I clicked there, I was appalled to find several hundred responses to Tweets I had made.  I learned that when people respond to Tweets, it ends up in that section.  So, I wasn’t off the hook.  But I couldn’t possibly respond to several hundred people – even at 140 characters a response.  So, if you replied to something I wrote and I didn’t respond, you now know what happened.

I did have a couple of interesting experiences in responding however.  When I discovered the @DrEades section and found the zillion responses to my Tweets waiting there, the most recent one was from a lady who took me to task for one (or several) of my political Tweets.  She wrote that she had always liked my nutritional writing but that my political postings had alienated her.  I decided to reply to her just to see how the whole reply thing worked.  I sent her one of my favorite Thomas Jefferson quotes:

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.

Then I watched her site and found that she had deleted the Tweet to me, which is how I learned that one could delete these things once they are up.  They can’t be changed, so if you make a grammatical error (which, sadly, I have done a few times) it can’t be fixed, only deleted.  Then she deleted me from her list of people she follows.  I guess the Thomas Jefferson quote alienated her even more.

People are really strange.  I posted a Tweet about an email that I had received a dozen times about how George Bush has a state of the art, energy-efficient ranch house in Crawford, TX while Al Gore has a giant, energy-gobbling house in Nashville.  I always ignored the email because I thought it probably was an urban legend kind of thing.  Then someone sent me a link to the Snopes report on it, which said that the email was true.  I posted the Snopes report on Twitter.  Then I started to wonder what makes Snopes the last word authority on everything, so I started looking into that.  I discovered that Snopes is a husband – wife team, who live in a double-wide house trailer on the outskirts of Los Angeles.  They do all the checking themselves.  I was stunned.  I always figured that Snopes was some kind of outfit with a staff of hundreds that checked out all these things.  The notion that the ultimate authority on everything was just a mom and pop operation who make their living by ads on their snopes.com website.  Now that I know the situation, I’ll be more careful when I accept snopes as the last word on everything.

I put up a Tweet that said basically Who would’ve thought Snopes was a mom and pop operation?  Some guy signed up to follow me on Twitter, and immediately sent a nastygram to @DrEades that said If Snopes is a mom and pop outfit, what does that make the Protein Power blog? A ‘Pop’ outfit?  I replied that the Protein Power blog is a ‘Pop’ operation, but isn’t considered by anyone to be the last word on everything.  He then deleted me from his list of people he followed. As I say, a lot of bizarre people in the weeds out there.

The whole experience has been very strange indeed.  But I’m still working my way through it, probably alienating people right and left.  So join up, follow me, and watch the fun.

Upcoming travel plans

MD and I are leaving late Sunday night for Hong Kong, then to Guangzhou, back to Hong Kong, then to London.  Sadly, the entire trip will be a working trip.  We’re hard at it in our efforts to change the world, and this trip is all about that.  By the time we get back, I should be able to write about what we’ve been working on.

I will take a lot of photos and continue to blog during the trip.  And Tweet.

Comments on the blog

I continue to be mired in comment woes.  I just checked, and I have 78 comments in moderation, some of which have been there for weeks.  It has kind of become a comments graveyard.

I’ve whined about the comment situation for that last two years. I’ve said that I wasn’t going to continue to answer questions and was just going to post the comments as they came in.  My resolve would last for about two days, then I was right back answering all the questions.  Now, I’ve gone into a funk over the whole thing, and have devolved into just ignoring the comments that require answering and letting them stack up, which I hate doing.  But, I’ve been so busy lately that there isn’t much else I can do.

I was reading a book titled Economic Sophisms by one of my heroes, Frederic Bastiat, when I came across the following paragraph that, in a way, applies to the comment situation.

We must admit that our opponents in this argument have a marked advantage over us.  They need only a few words to set forth a half-truth; whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations.

It’s easy to pen a comment that says, Hi Doc, what are your thoughts on this article? and attach a link.  I have to read the article, pull the actual study, read it, think about it, then write an answer that is considerably longer than the original comment.  What takes a commenter 20 seconds to write ends up costing me an hour or two to come up with an intelligent answer or even an ‘arid dissertation.’

I’m also getting a lot of comments asking for my ideas and recommendations on personal health issues.  People send me lab results and want to know what I think.  Without treating a given individual as a patient, medico-legal restrictions prevent me from answering these kinds of questions.

I never read the comments on blogs that I read, so I must assume that many people don’t read the comments on this blog.  But I end up spending way more time dealing with the comments than I do writing posts.  If I didn’t have to deal with the comments, I would write more posts.

I noticed that Mark Sisson, whom MD and I had lunch with yesterday, has started making posts out of some of his comments in a Dear Readers section of his blog.  He takes several comments that he thinks may be of interest to all his readers, posts them, and throws them out for the combined wisdom of all his readers to deal with. I may start doing this myself and weighing in along with the readers.  If anyone out there has any advice for me on this issue, I’m all ears.

Soda tax in New York

I just read this article this morning.  Was going to make a mini post out of it, but thought it would be better here.

A New York state senator (I’ll leave it to you guess from which party) says that by adding a measly one cent tax to each can of non-diet soda sold, the state of New York can add $100 million per year to its coffers.  If this is true, it means that citizens of and visitors to the state consume 10 billion cans of non-diet soda annually!  The population of New York state is a little over 19 million.  Dividing 10 billion by 19 million calculates out to about 525 cans of non-diet soda per man, woman and child in the state.  That’s almost 90 six-packs per person per year.  Wow!  There have got to be some low-carbers who live there who drink zero six-packs per year, which means that some other poor slob is drinking 180 six-packs per year.  That’s a lot of high-fructose corn syrup.

To my way of thinking, this is an onerous tax.  It moves $100 million from the pockets of the citizenry and puts it in the coffers of the bureaucrats to spend.  And, despite the fact that it sucks off 100 million bucks, the tax isn’t high enough to discourage consumption, so it really has no societal advantage except for transferring funds from the citizens to the government.

Where does your beef come from?

I don’t mean what part of the country.  I mean what part of the cow.  Here is a great site created by the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida showing way more than I (and probably you) need or want to know about beef anatomy.  But if you really do wonder where a flank steak or some other piece of beef comes from on the cow, click here to find out.  A lot of work went into this site.

Gradient gel electrophoresis

For those who hate to pay big bucks to have a lab tell you how much small, dense LDL you have, here’s how you can do it yourself.  That’s right.  With a drinking straw and a few other simple ingredients, you can make your own electrophoresis equipment and test your blood anytime you want for minimal expense.  Warning.  This is a real geek site.  I doubt that many will want to put together their own equipment, but at least it shows what’s involved in making a primitive version and how complex the testing process is.  May make you not feel so bad dropping the money to get the test done professionally.

Feel better immediately

And, finally, here is your feel-good YouTube of the day.  Watch this huge prank (if that’s what you would call it) played on the people in the train station at Antwerp one morning.  Really delightful.  Watch the faces of those watching.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k[/youtube]

Remember, don’t forget to help me out on this comment issue.  All suggestions will be appreciated.


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  1. twit (twit); noun
    1. A foolishly annoying person.
    2. One who uses the online social networking service Twitter
    3. Sometimes both definition 1 an 2 simultaneously

    Hmmm.

  2. You want a comment on what to do about comments?

    My put — let people chatter among themselves, weigh in if it interests you. Don’t bother otherwise. Put up a post, as you mentioned, if you have something of interest to everyone.

    Moi, I almost never read comment tails, but I do read posts. More posts, fewer comments would be great in my world. 🙂

    Beth

  3. Answering all comments probably isn’t in the cards for you, but I do like the idea of seeing several similar comments addressed in a blog posting as Mark Sisson is doing. It could be a way to identify and answer common questions or misconceptions about the low carb diet.

    Quite a few high volume blogs don’t allow comments at all (Cato.org doesn’t, for instance).

    Otherwise, I think its all or nothing in the regular comments section. If you answer some, then a comment that is not answered will look like it comes with your approval because you didn’t smack it down. As a physician, you might not be able to allow that from an ethical and liability standpoint. If you never answer comments publicly, you could add a disclaimer that comments are not answered, and the opinions are those of the posters.

  4. Since this is an odds an ends post, I thought I would try to get your thoughts on the Daniel Hauser cancer case in Minnesota, and such cases in general. Personally, I’m appalled to see the vitriol with which a lot of the blogs out there treat this family. Those with the most vitriol by far are the liberal blogs with a science bend, while the conservative blogs that I have seen have all been supportive. So much for bleeding hearts…

    It’s a tough situation. The disease this boy has is basically curable with modern medicine. He could go through the chemotherapy and come out the other end in remission and live to a ripe old age. I’m all for standard chemotherapy in these situations, and, in fact, would sign up for it myself. Or at least the insulin potentiated version, which is probably as efficacious without most of the side effects. The Hauser case raises many difficult questions that have no good answers. Who is responsible for this kid’s health? He, himself, a 13 year old kid? His parents? The court? It would be different if he were 35 and making this decision for himself. And it would be different if he had a type of cancer for which chemotherapy and other standard treatment modalities offered little, but in his case, the disease is treatable. I’m glad I’m not the one making the calls here.

  5. I read the comments on your blog thoroughly only because you comment on them in the comments, at length, with additional useful information that I might miss out on if I did not read them. It may be more useful, and wider exposure for the information you share, to create new posts out of comments you would otherwise respond to within the comments. At least, I would think, any comment that causes you to go out and do research and commit significant time to, deserves the publicity of its own post.

  6. What Beth said, plus don’t let them stack up because you don’t have time to look something up, just go ahead and approve them. If the comment is interesting to you and you might want to answer it in a general way someday, keep a copy in a folder to come back to later.

    People also ‘retweet,’ put ‘RT’ in front of a tweet someone else made so they can pass it along to their own followers. I got started to follow you but now follow others, also. I don’t do it on my phone, though.

  7. I say just read and answer my comments only and it should cover it for the rest of others, lol. But seriously speaking I have no clue as to how to make everyone happy yet not overconsume your valuable time. After all it is much more important to have you on a save the world mission than answer a question from average Shmo like me.

    But here is a nice suggestion. Make coomenters who want you to take out your valuable time pay for it. I will for one sign up. So you can make a paid subscription for those who want you to comment on the comment. I will bet a dollar to a donut that you will see how fast your commenters stop asking questions. I will put my money where my mouth is, oh no, never mind, I do have waaaaaaaaay much more questions and a bigger mouth than my pocket. But just a thought!

  8. Look at Ferris’ Four Hour Workweek blog. Tons of comments, but he only chimes in when he feels like it by posting his own comment rather than answering someone. That would allow you to put in your two cents without putting any stamp of approval or disapproval on any single person. If you want to comment at all. You’ve got to be crazy for letting this comment thing get to you. There are a ton of smart people reading and commenting and the smart ones, who’ve been reading your stuff for a long time, will be able to answer any general questions (if they feel like it) and the ones who are asking personal questions should take the time to read your past stuff. They are being a little lazy, I think. (That statement is going to make someone mad…) You could also put up a statement at the top of your blog outlining your approach so no one can say they aren’t aware. If someone gets miffed because of the way you end up handling comments, then so be it.

  9. Dusty, I use the first definition often.

    Frank Hagan, maybe he could use a codeword. Just says “monkfish” in reply to any post that has something wrong but that he doesn’t have time to elaborate.

    Dr Eades, I’m amazed enough that you can reply to any posts, it seems to me that you would need a 30 hour day (sleep excluded) just to get all the stuff that you do done. Plus you have likely the highest traffic of the blog sites I visit. I would say that the reasonable among us should be able to respect that. I’m not offended that you havn’t replied to some of my posts.

    “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

    That is awesome, I have friends from so many different backgrounds, so it works.

  10. This is the only site where I read the comments, at least the ones you respond to 🙂

    Now that you have Twitter, this could be the time to cut-off comment replies or bundle the interesting questions into a post, before we all get used to the extra avenue of information.

    Cheers

  11. Also, was that clip done by that group that organises huge random things in public places? I forget the name, but it looks like their work. I saw another great one where people across a huge mall all just froze. There were something like 6000 people involved in the mall and when the clock chimed a certain time they all just stopped for exactly 1 minute.

    The onlookers were more perplexed and concerned than entertained (as in this one). The scales they achieve on these things are great.

  12. Congrats to your bride on the Verdi triumph. The Dies Irae must have left her wrung out!
    As for your replying to our comments: it only encourages twits like me. While I appreaciate the attention, you’ve got better things to do.
    But fancy stressing yourselves out in places like Guangzhou and not chilling out here in Sydney! Oh wait, it’s getting cold and is currently wet (like torrential).
    PDNR (Please Do Not Reply)

  13. As you write your comments in italics, I always scroll to the bottom of a comment to see if you wrote anything. If not, I just delete. I do read and enjoy many of the comments, and I get them all through RSS into my outlook.

  14. I do find value in your opinions, so no responses from you at all would be a disappointment. Perhaps you could answer those that interest you and might be of general interest to readers, rather than attending to specific situations. If there is risk of having people believe that unanswered comments have your blessing, you could add a disclaimer that states:

    “All comments are strictly the opinions of the posters; their mere presence should in no way be construed as my endorsement of their content or veracity.”

    And thanks for the clip on Central Station, Antwerp (having just watched the movie for the millionth time, on Mothers’ Day, with all family members performing a reenactment in the living room, I can relate).

  15. Dear Dr. Eades,

    “People are really strange.” An understatement if there ever was one.

    Re: comments. I do read the comments and have found them to be a good source of information; however, I do sympathize with your plight. I think you should try Mark’s idea.

    And finally, I ordered a couple of bottles of 5,000 IU vitamin D on the same day you had a post regarding vitamin D. I just received the order this morning, and I wanted to thank you for such a swift response. I appreciate it very much.

  16. Enjoyed the post. I came across a quote today I thought you might like:

    “I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.”

  17. I concur with the “Dear Readers” (please find a better name *G* ‘Select Reader Question’ or some such) section of common interest or something you believe needs addressing.

    If I do this, I will find a better name.

  18. *****I never read the comments on blogs that I read, so I must assume that many people don’t read the comments on this blog. But I end up spending way more time dealing with the comments than I do writing posts. If I didn’t have to deal with the comments, I would write more posts.*****

    @TheGoodDoctorEades

    Aaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhhhh.

    I love this blog and find it extremely stimulating. But, and I say this with the utmost respect — you are missing the entire point of blogging by not reading the comments on the blogs you read.

    THAT is where the magic happens. That is the two-way street. That is where one idea snowballs into another. And that is where one learns the most. I love The Free the Animal blog, not only cuz Richard has great posts. But the comments are also relevant and informative, and he takes the good ones and runs with them.

    Granted, not every blog is like that. But I would urge you to read the comments on the blogs you read.

    *****I noticed that Mark Sisson, whom MD and I had lunch with yesterday, has started making posts out of some of his comments in a Dear Readers section of his blog. He takes several comments that he thinks may be of interest to all his readers, posts them, and throws them out for the combined wisdom of all his readers to deal with. I may start doing this myself and weighing in along with the readers. If anyone out there has any advice for me on this issue, I’m all ears.*****

    ABSOLUTELY! This is hand-in-hand with blogging. You will get better comments, more engaged readers, and better content!!!!

    Again, with all due respect, you cannot simply hand down posts, albeit great ones, for us to digest. Build on a loyal and engaged readership — this is the Digital Revolution!

    Anyhow, your adaptability and openness is admirable. Keep up the great blogging, it will only get better!

    _______________

    Last thing, I don’t want to alienate anyone, but you have experienced the classic and famous “tolerance” of the Left. The reason I don’t share my politics with some of my friends on Facebook or Twitter is that, I know that some of my Lefty friends would defriend me instantly, were I to share my views.

    Thanks for the insights. I appreciate them.

  19. Dr. E…
    How we love you. Let yourself off the hook. Answer and respond to those posts you want to, blow off the ones you don’t. Periodically you go through this same sturm und drang over this same issue. We ask you about personal health questions? You’ve written dozens of times that you don’t do that online….then don’t do it. We send you links to what we think are interesting articles? Follow them and comment, or don’t.

    We’re big boys and girls, and you have a loyal following of us who will continue to read every word of the blog whether our comments solicit a response from you or not; I’d venture to say that we’d far rather you focus on your “changing the world” efforts than on the few words you add on the occasional comment.

    Just reread that and didn’t mean for it to sound as chastising as it did…just want you to know that you are so important to so many, and I hate it when you beat yourself up over this issue.

    By the way, just completed Half-Ironman Triathlon…high protein, low carb and pushing 50…www.epiphanyhealth.wordpress.com. Can never credit you and MD enough for helping me figure out the whole nutrition thing.

    Enjoy your trip to Hong Kong…keep twittering – we love that too. =)

    Congrats on the Half-Ironman Triathlon. That’s a half more than I’ve ever done. I have walked 18 holes twice in one day, though. Does that count?

  20. No small irony that your question about comments is liable to generate more than ever!

    I can tell you that people DO read your comments, and plenty of them, because when I post a comment containing a related link on my blog, I receive a lot of hits, especially if your own remarks endorse whatever I linked to.

    Personally I do not read comments on most blog posts because I don’t have time – unless there is something in the posts which asks people to use them for a specific purpose, such as Mark Sisson’s ‘reader’s answers’ posts that you mention.

    If I were you, I would make a flat policy change on this. I think 99% of your readers would entirely understand. If you make it clear on your website that you simply haven’t got time to answer questions then in fact the rudeness is from those who ask question regardless, rather than from you for not answering them. Anyone who still takes offense is perhaps a reader worth losing.

    I also think that emulating Mark Sisson’s idea is a great one. Like Mark, you have some very knowledgeable readers who I expect would do a great job.

    p.s. I have not read the other comments before writing this one 😉

  21. Hello Dr. Eades,

    I love your blog and I could tell you many ways in which you have had a positive impact in my life (as much as I hate to admit a blog could change my life). I actually enjoy your twitters a great deal. Just love the exposure to so many thoughtful thinkers who I would otherwise not be exposed to.

    Please do not despair losing those who disagree with your political views. Again, I like being exposed to critical thinking. And Jefferson made a nice quote, but he did lose friends over political idealogy. Think Adams.

    I like the way Stephan at Whole Health Source and Peter at Hyperlipid respond to comments – not at the bottom of individual comments, but as a comment to the comments. It appears to be very efficient and creates interaction with regard to important topics and the different ways people interpret information.

    Surely you were not surprised by evidence of something like cannibalism. It must have been very common, even within the species.

  22. @Patrik, I know how you feel. I was a freshman at University during an election about 4 years ago in New Zealand. I am a right wing voter in New Zealand (where our main right wing party is probably more left wing than the Democrats in the States). I must admit it was downright uncomfortable at times being surrounded by groups of wildly idealistic left wing first time voters who were very aggressive about their political beliefs. Many of these were (and still are) friends who were perfectly rational and likeable except during this period of political fanatacism.

    “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” tends to work quite well. Not trying to open a can of political worms here, just stating my own experiences, which seem to coincide with Patrik’s.

  23. I skim the reader comments, read your italicized replies only. To give equal weight to a reader with background unknown, and to you with your depth of knowledge, makes little sense to me. I appreciate that you make yourself available to those of us you don’t know via your comments, and will continue reading your blogs and twitters out of enlightened self-interest, with or without comments.

  24. by all means, stop answering the comments! it’s an incredibly nice gesture but i log on for your posts not for the comments. here’s an idea…reading your blog is free, something i truly appreciate. for readers who absolutely want/need a response to their comment, why not charge for it? your time and expertise is certainly worth something and any income generated from responding could go towards keeping the blog free?

    It has never occurred to me to charge, but even if it had, I couldn’t do it because I would be practicing medicine (and getting paid for it), which would put me at odds with medical boards in all the states the people I charged live in.

  25. Hey doc. Long time lurker, first time poster. I loved the video. Reminds me of Improv Everywhere. If you’ve never checked out their website, it’s worth a look. Some of their stuff is hilarious. My current favorite is the little league ballgame they spiced up pro style, blimp included, without the kids or parents prior knowledge. Anyone who has ever been to a little league game would love it.

  26. First, the comments. Couple ideas.
    1- Dump em all out, after filtering spam type stuff, requests for doctoring or way off topic stuff. Let the readers reply. Consider us like your class, and maybe we’re ready to answer a lot of the questions you get. If you get something good or something the community doesn’t answer in a week, maybe you have something for a future post.

    2- Tweet style responses. 140 characters is a tight discipline.

    Second: On Twitter: As the immortal George H. W. Bush once said, Na-ga-da-id. For those of use who enunciate, that translates as “Not going to do it.” Your stuff is interesting, but I think I want more than 140 characters of the good stuff. And I can’t really think what I want to broadcast and whose broadcast I want to be tuned in to. I suppose retweeting is essentially a curator’s act, but I have a day job and don’t know that I have the interest in being a curator over yet another collection (beyond youtube, facebook, the PP forum).

    3- New York Soda. Two problems with your math. First, Governor Patterson has proposed a 15% tax on sugar sodas, not a penny. $100 Million at $.15 to the dollar spent is, roughly, 600 million cans of sugar soda a year, not one billion.

    From a population of 19 Million, assume you have 3 million sugar coke drinkers in New York state. That’s 15% of the population. They spend, on average, $.55 a day on sugar sodas. If they take weekends off from drinking soda, it’s almost a dollar a day. I find this very very very plausible.

    One more thing on New York. NYC receives 40 Million visitors annually. With an average of a 9 day stay, they boost the population of the state by a whole million.

    For what it’s worth, I do not think they will recognize this type of revenue as many will switch to diet soda (which isn’t a bad outcome from a public health perspective… kind of liberal paternalism that libertarians should enjoy more than they do). Others will dump soda altogether (again, a decent outcome from a public health perspective). The elegant thing to do would be to put the money raised in the tax to diabetes and obesity research and medical care. The folks who pay the tax reap the rewards… elegant.

    Last thing on comments: I skim the comments here. The ones you’ve responded to get a little more attention. I’ve decided to stop worrying about the half truths of the libertarian movement and basically skip anything on that.

    You didn’t read the article I linked to on the soda tax, Max. It’s not the Patterson tax I was writing about, but a tax proposed by a Democrat from the Bronx for a penny per can/bottle of non-diet soda. He claimed it would raise a 100 million dollars per year. Based on the penny tax, the $100 M and the population, my math was on the mark. I mentioned the visitors to the state in my post, but I didn’t include calculations for their consumption into my math.

    There was a famous study done a while back (I don’t have the reference for at my fingertips right now) showing how people refused to listen to information that didn’t fit with their beliefs. Subjects were either pro-life or pro-choice (in one phase of the study) and were given head phones and a radio-like transmitter that sent them messages to listen to. The people running the study told the subjects that there was often some static in the device and showed them how to turn a knob to decrease the static if they were having trouble hearing. Static, of course, was broadcast to all the subjects. Those subjects who were pro-life intently fiddled with the knob to reduce the static whenever a pro-life message came on but let the static run whenever a pro-choice message played, literally blocking out the message they didn’t want to hear. The pro-choice people did the same thing with their messages. Sounds just like what you’re doing with the ‘half truths of the libertarian movement.’

  27. Let me think… if I had a choice between comments from Dr. Eades or other readers… Dr. Eades… other readers… I can’t decide… thats a tough one.

    You obviously have tremendous positive impact on people through this blog and I’m guessing that brings you some happiness or satisfaction. When it stops being fun or is taking away from your goals, it’s time to make a change. You went to Twitter to get away from us and that didn’t work. 🙂 I agree with Gayle, do what she says… your loyal followers won’t stray and the exposure on Twitter will draw lots of new ones. Have to say though, I am not crazy about Mark’s setup. I would rather you just do an occasional comment than change to his format. (Missing the italic type already… sigh)

    Re your frustration over the blog issue and losing a couple of twits:

    “We have a choice every day – to act on yesterday’s good intentions or get an early start on tomorrow’s regrets.” ~Robert Brault

    Here is some italic type for you. I am frustrated over the blog issue, but not over losing a couple of twits. I just thought it was strange how they reacted. But one did describe herself on her blog as “slightly neurotic.” so I suppose that’s to be expected.

  28. Dr Eades,

    I too love your blog and am truly indebted for your help in making sense of nutrition research. I respectfully suggest you let yourself off the comments hook as others have said, respond only as your available time and inclination dictate and let the rest through with the suggested disclaimer, and/or follow Mark Sisson’s approach and encourage commenters to chat among themselves and go right ahead and put world-changing, post writing, voracious reading and everything else you seem to miraculously stuff into a day ahead of attending to comments.

    I’ve often been amazed at your generosity and patience in dealing with comments since I’ve become a regular visitor these past months and I always enjoy reading your take on things, but I’d much rather you didn’t dissipate too much of your valuable time and energy on ad hoc research, etc, generated by comments because I think we all benefit enormously from your having adequate time and space to think and write as the spirit moves you.

  29. Dr. Eades,
    I for one enjoy the replies you give to the comments almost as much as the darn blog itself. Case in point – the blip about the selective listening people have you just wrote about a couple comments ago. In fact, sometimes I scan down quickly until I see your replies in italics, and then I stop to read!

    I just don’t know how you find all the time to do all that you do, are you getting enough sleep?

    I don’t sleep a lot. But I’ve been that way since I was a kid. Even in my teen years when all my friends were racking it out until noon on Saturdays, I was up early. The nice thing about my sleep situation is that I wake up every morning at about the same time (5:30-6) irrespective of what time I went to bed. So, if I want to get a lot done, I just stay up late doing it because I’ll still wake up at my regular time even if I don’t it the bed until 2 or 3. I can’t do this forever – I need to catch up by getting in bed early at least once a week, but for me early is midnight. I’m never, ever in bed before midnight.

  30. With all due respect, your comments problem is entirely of your own making. You control the time, energy and effort you put into this blog. Your statements suggest you lack this control. A psychologist reading this post would likely surmise that you feel guilty for not being able to answer every comment, destroy every bad argument and review any interesting study sent in. In addition, you seem to have some energy on the fact a few readers are rejecting you–never a good feeling–even from those we’ve never met. There’s no point denying this because if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have mentioned it.

    Dr Eades–Address this problem! If you don’t, you’re going to burn out with frustration and we won’t get any replies and perhaps eventually no tweets and no blog!

    My suggestion is to think about what you do with the comments that is the easiest and most enjoyable for you and at the same time most useful for readers. Personally, I love the comments (and your replies) because they enrich and illustrate the material in the posts. As you’ve said, doctors love case studies, and that apparently includes amatuers as well. As a general matter, the comments on individual experiences with low carb have really helped get the message accross.

    Getting more specific, let me address your individual points:

    l) Comments requesting medical advice – I entirely understand your inability to practice over the internet but this type of question (if in your specialty) are the heart of this blog. Many raise interesting examples and twists on the messages in your main post. The key here is to only respond where you’re leveraging your knowlege and experience (no research required) and only answer in a way that responds to a general concern for the readership–not a response to an individual situation. For example, you very kindly replied to an inquiry I sent in about my strange cholesterol readings by suggesting I get a heart scan for a better read on my CHD risk. The reply could have been: “I can’t address individual cases but as a general matter, I think heart scans are a better gauge of risk than than LDL.” Repeat that phrase — “as a general matter.”

    2) Detailed arguments on political issues of the day – try this: “I seriously disagree with your argument but don’t have time to post a detailed response.” Optional addition: “please see GCBC, epilogue, to understand how this type of so-called public science damages us all.” (That’s primarily for the global warming stuff.) Just develop a few phrases and repeat as required.

    3. For people who refer you to studies — try this: “No time to read; sorry.” Eventually people will learn that if they want a reply they should summarize the reading themselves. Then if you don’t have time to reply, maybe another commenter will.

    Above all – DO NOT FEEL GUILTY for cutting back!! Hope this was helpful–no response needed.

    Thanks for the time and effort you put into laying all this out. I appreciate it.

  31. If anyone wants to relax and read this, go ahead its kind of intresting. Its called FACTS!

    Subject: facts

    The payment Nike gave to Michael Jordan exceeds the payments the company made to all of its workers in Malaysia.

    Marilyn Monroe had six toes on every foot.

    All of US presidents wore glasses, but some of them never put them on in public.

    Walt Disney who created Mickey Mouse was afraid of mice.

    Pearls can dissolve when put in vinegar.

    35 percent of those who post marriage ads are already married.

    Marlboro, Coca-Cola and Budweiser are the most expensive trademarks on the planet, in the order given.

    One can make a cow climb a staircase up but no one can make it come downstairs.

    Duck quacking produces no echo and nobody knows why

    Spiral stairs of American fire-brigades came from the time when horses were used to raise pumps and other heavy items. Horses crowded down straight stairs unable to imagine how to climb them.

    Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first American President who had all of the letters of the word “criminal” in his name. William Jefferson Clinton was the second.

    On average, 100 people die of chocking with ball-point pens every year.

    90 percent of taxi drivers in New York are immigrants.

    Elephant is the only animal that cannot bounce up and down.

    One man out of two million people has a chance to live up to 116 years.

    On average, women wink twice as often as men.

    The human body-build does not let us lick the elbow.

    The building of the University Library in Indiana subsides one inch every year because construction engineers did not take the weight of books into account when building it.

    Snails can sleep for up to three years.

    Crocodiles cannot put out their tongues.

    Lighters were invented before matches.

    US citizens eat 18 hectares of pizza every day.

    Almost everyone who has just finished reading this text made an attempt to lick their elbows.

    Dr Mike, I hope you didnt even attempt to touch your elbow. But I also doctors are usually the first one to fall for this one!

  32. I echo everyone who says you should do what works for you, and people who get a lot out of what you write (for nothing!) will stay the course.

  33. I agree with Beth and Scott. Just comment on what interests you. Stop commenting on studies and folks will gradually learn not to post questions asking you what you think about said study. Those are usually my least favorite responses because usually it goes off topic. I like staying on topic.

    I do read most of the comments because you usually have excellent commenters, well, until this one. But, I’d rather have more frequent posts from you–and more books from you and MD!

    Can’t wait to hear about how you are saving the world! It sure needs savin’! I’m just wondering when I should start Shrugging.

    Not ‘saving the world,’ but changing the world. Did I write ‘saving the world’? I’ll have to go back and look. And change if I did so.

  34. “The elegant thing to do would be to put the money raised in the tax to diabetes and obesity research…” – ML Harris

    Theres already enough money going into these things, but when the system itself is so flawed, a bit more money is not going to make much difference, though in theory it would be a good idea.

    In addition to Bonnie’s comments, which in my opinion were sound, if someone poses a question to which there is a study that you think “ah hah, this should answer it”, instead of reading the data and composing a response, you could just post a link or reference. Obviously this won’t work in some cases, but may save you some time. In the event that the replyee (word?) can’t dissect the information themselves, I’m sure there are many here (myself included) that can deconvolute scientific literature to help them in answering. Looking at the Alexa stats, this site is well over-represented in college graduates.

    “To give equal weight to a reader with background unknown, and to you with your depth of knowledge, makes little sense to me.” – Theresa

    Me neither, and I’m sure it is the same for most people here, but if there is a reasoned and reasonable consensus I would give a hypothesis due consideration.

    Dr Mike, have you considered setting up a message board/forum type setup? Frequenters of the site can sign up for accounts and create threads in which such things can be discussed in a way that is a bit more conducive to on-topic discussion. I know these comments sections tend to follow divergent paths sorted into linear chronology, which makes following them more difficult. This way we readers can evolve discussions ourselves, and if you feel the need or urge to wade in, you can comment specifically on a topic, rather than to a particular reader or even make a blog post about it.

    Thanks for the suggestions. There is an extremely active Protein Power forum, but you have to go through the Protein Power website to get to it. Said forum does all the things you suggest. This blog and the Protein Power site are in the process of being revamped and should have been up and running in new form already. We’ve been delayed because a couple of the projects we’ve been feverishly working on have required the full-time services of our tech and design people, so they’ve temporarily abandoned the website redo. They will get back on it in a few days, and, I hope, we’ll have a new site that is much more integrated in short order.

  35. I do read the comments if I have time, at least to skim them. Sometimes they are very interesting and informative, especially when people give an accounting of their own experiences. I don’t think you’ve ever responded to one of my comments, and that’s fine. I don’t want to waste your time. I hope that other people read comments because that’s mostly why I bother responding- to share what I know.

    I’d say respond to comments if you are moved to, but otherwise, maybe the most efficient way to deal with comments is to respond to a group of similar ones in a separate post, especially when they relate to specific health questions. That way you can discuss issues generally. Another possibility would be to respond to and perhaps elaborate on them as an easy way to get a post done each week.

  36. Dr. Eades,

    I read all your posts through an RSS feed, and thus miss out on most of the comments. I would prefer most of your time be spent above the fold.

    Re: medical advice, if it’s interesting enough to say “as a general matter” it would probably be interesting enough to post as a short Q&A on the actual blog. You could do one of these weekly or bi-weekly. I always read Mark Sisson’s posts, I never read his comments.

    Also, I found your political commentary bracing, but not offensive. You’ve obviously thought out your positions, and that’s fine, even if they don’t agree with mine.

    Interacting with people in the comments section is ultimately a losing game. Let people chat, sure, but keep your content to the blog. I think you’re on the right track with your thoughts as stated in the post above.

    Thanks.

  37. Echoing others (including yourself), I feel that posts are much more useful for readers in general, because they’re visible and we don’t have to go rooting around through long threads for useful information. So ignore comments when you don’t have time, or just don’t feel like reading them, and use them as fodder for posts when you want to.

  38. I enjoy your responses to the comments. Some have been classics! HOWEVER, there should be no burden, either from yourself or anyone else, to continue to reply to all the comments. As others have already suggested, delete the ones you can’t let stand without comment, leave the ones you can, and harvest a few for an occasional “Comments on the Comments” blog.

    And thanks for what you and MD do for the cause of great music.

  39. Do you think i would get more muscle-definition by eating without salt?

    Hello Doctor Eades and friends: I would like to know if eating without any salt in our meals leads to a more muscular defined body? Because i’ve heard that bodybuilders in pre-contest diets eat without salt to get rid of water-retention, edema and puffy bloated, bulky appearance. Do you think it’s better to eat without salt in order to lose weight and get cut faster?

    Thanks, i would like to hear your comments on this

    .

  40. I feel unresearched now… I originally linked here from the FatHead blog so never saw the main page, and then just bookmarked. As there was no “Forum” link along the page headings I just assumed it wasn’t there… Although it sounds like the site is in for some changes so hopefully that will mean that this is less likely to occur.

  41. This is one of the few sites where I read comments. Many articles of other sites have comments that seem to be coming from angry uneducated individuals and provide no useful information. That is just the opposite of what I find on this site.

    I enjoy your political commentary, too.

    I would hate to see you give up responding to comments because I think it adds value. But it’s your site and your time. After all, you will be the one loosing sleep if you choose a direction you aren’t comfortable with. Oh wait….you don’t sleep….never mind.

  42. regarding comments, how about only responding when something funny pops in your head? you’ve got a great sense of humor, so I hope you’ll at least keep the jokes coming!

    I’m not sure everyone else may feel the same re: my sort of strange sense of humor.

  43. Dr. Mike,

    I think you would do your readers a service if you occasionally did a “respond to the readers” post instead of straining yourself to respond to every comment and leaving comments languishing in approval-limbo. If you can respond quickly, go ahead, but if you can’t, just approve the comment and file it away for the batch response post. This has a few advantages:

    a) Experienced readers might answer the question first, sparing you the trouble.

    b) You will build up an archive of posts with responses to questions, which readers can then be referred to when they ask repetitive questions.

    c) Comments are approved more quickly, allowing for more vibrant discussion amongst the readers.

    d) Readers who never venture into the comments still get to read your responses.

    e) It’s a load off your mind because you only need to worry about responding to comments once every week or two!

    Part of the fun of comments is that, after reading an interesting blog post, a reader can discuss the post, see others’ reactions, or find related tidbits of information. If the post author has time to chime into the discussion, that’s fantastic – but as the author has already put in the time to start the discussion, nobody expects him/her to have time to respond to every comment!

    So I vote for quicker comment approval and slower responses batched into posts. Your responses are worth waiting for, Dr. Eades. In the meantime, I think we’re all happy to discuss amongst ourselves! (And those who only want to read your comments will have an easier time of it).

    As for Twitter, I see you have 631 followers at the time of this reading, and following only 15. In my opinion, that makes it perfectly acceptable not to reply to every direct message you receive. You could be getting hundreds of them! If I were in your situation I would just skim the tweets for interesting links or questions that inspire blog posts (perhaps these could be incorporated into the “respond to the readers” posts?).

    The Internet is a black hole grabbing at your attention. I think we’re all still figuring out how to navigate it in a socially acceptable way without spending every second of our lives responding to every email, comment, or tweet we get. Feel free to make up your own rules and experiment. I, for one, will read your blog anyway 🙂

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I appreciate the time you spent laying these options out for me. I’ll probably adopt something along these lines.

  44. Your comments are very interesting. While what people themselves says is often not worth reading, your responses are.

    When looking at comments you need to decide first: is it spam, or says something that a sane person wouldn’t want posted publicly (since this is a medical site a lot of things are get border line). If not post it right away. Don’t worry about responding. Anything that you might want to respond to goes into a different queue to be answered if you find time.

    Perhaps you should have a few canned responses you can copy in so you can say something like “I’d like to address this latter so keep an eye on the blog.”

    Many of your comments actually deserve a completely new blog post, and it is a shame they are buried in the comments section of an old post which I might not think of checking. When you spend 3 paragraphs demolishing some bogus study, put that up at the top level so those who aren’t reading the comments can see it. It doesn’t have to be the full length of most of your posts – a short blog post is perfectly okay.

  45. Dr Eades,

    As a very small matter, you might like to look into software such as “TextExpander”, which is a Mac program (there are numerous PC analogies), which allow you to type a few characters to yield a word or up to a complete standardized multi- para response.

    For instance, typing “ppers”, might generate a standard para re- how you cannot give personal advice, lest you break your medical licensing obligations As many bloggers have testified on the net, such software allows them to significantly reduce their typing workload.

    Please keep up the good work. Your blog and the comments of your readers, are a “must read” each day. They have re-enforced my own thinking and lead to substantial change amongst my acquaintances. In particular, my more empirically minded physician friends have been influenced to evaluate their own life styles.

    Regards,

    HPTNS

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll take a look at TextExpander. May save me a lot of time.

  46. There are a few key people I will read who are very knowledgeable. But otherwise I only read your comments and if it was good or there was something I was missing I’ll read the original comment.

  47. I don’t know if you’ve seen this: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2527479 . The abstract begins “High intake of red meat or processed meat is associated with increased risk of colon cancer. In contrast, consumption of white meat (chicken) is not associated with risk and might even reduce the occurrence of colorectal cancer. We speculated that a diet containing beef or bacon would increase and a diet containing chicken would decrease colon carcinogenesis in rats.” It ends “The results suggest that, in rats, beef does not promote the growth of ACF and chicken does not protect against colon carcinogenesis. A bacon-based diet appears to protect against carcinogenesis, perhaps because bacon contains 5% NaCl and increased the rats’ water intake.” Sigh

  48. I’ve been very impressed that you have taken the time to reply to as many comments as you have, including several of mine. It makes you come across as someone who is very polite and actually cares about the people who respond to your posts. And I have certainly appreciated that if asked a question, you will answer it if you can. I do tend to skim the comments, as some of your readers appear to be fairly intelligent and well-read themselves, and sometimes a reply of yours will add additional insight into the post. As well as give us more sense of your own personality. I’d be disappointed to see yours become one of those blogs where you go to read an article (albeit a very excellent and educational one) but have no real means of interacting with the author. Dr. Davis’ Heart Scan Blog is like that; I certainly check out regularly what he has to say, but he hardly ever replies to anyone’s comment, and there are times when I sure wish I could ask a follow-up question, or read an answer to some of the comments that do ask questions. But it’s his choice to not take up his time with that. He still has a great blog and I’m in better health for reading it. I will be disappointed if you feel it’s in your best interest to go that route, but will definitely still be a loyal reader. Most of us don’t know doctors who will give us the kind of information you do, and it’s been very appreciated that you have taken the time to engage in further conversation with us. Your blog itself, with or without replies to comments, is a very generous gift to the world of your knowledge. It’s a sad statement about the level of general medical care available that I have to say I’m in better health because of doctors whose Internet blogs I read, but I am. Thanks for the time you put into yours. I think you are the kind of doctor doctors are supposed to be.

    Thanks. I appreciate the kind words. Knowing myself as I do, I suspect I’ll continue somehow to interact.

  49. My take on the comments issue: I think you should answer my comments completely and thoughtfully, however long it takes in both time and verbiage. The same, perhaps a little less arduously, for those who ask questions I would have if they didn’t first. Ignore the comments in which I have no interest.

    Seriously, if a comment or question seems to be of general interest, stick it in your “ideas for future posts” file. Otherwise, unless a comment piques your interest or you just have to use the brilliant and witty retort which occurs to you, spend the time and effort on your posts. I really enjoy your responses, mind you, but it seems to me that posting (as a technological dinosaur I won’t even comment on twittering, since I have yet to figure it out) is a more efficient and effective use of your time and expertise.

    Thank you for maintaining an interesting and educational blog.

  50. That YouTube video put a big silly grin on my face. I even teared up a little, although I can’t imagine why! Can anyone translate the text message that appears at the end?

  51. I love the comments section of your blog posts! I also subscribe via RSS feed, but, unlike most other blogs I follow, that is only to serve as my notification that you have a new blog post. Then I link over to the actual blog so I can read the post *and* the comments, and your replies to comments.

    But I agree there is no need to spend *hours* just because someone asks “what do you think of this study?”

    Answer the ones you can answer easily, or that amuse you or interest you.

  52. Advantages of a penny a can tax vs. Governor Patterson’s 15% tax:
    It will have less influence on behavior, which will increase payments of tax.
    Disadvantages:
    It will have less influence on behavior, which we are trying to nudge, and the increased payments will be lower in value.

    Clearly, there is a curve that produces an optimal revenue stream while producing some modification of behavior.

    I do not think that you would suggest that consuming 45g of carbs, in HFCS format, is a behavior that we, as a public, should incentivize. I think all readers of the blog (save nihilists who want to thin the herd through diabetes and obesity… funny), can agree on that point. Which brings us to a question of whether you believe in: A) interventionism, B) liberal paternalism or C) laissez-faire.

    Interventionism would be banning HFCS or mandating all sodas be sugar free. Works great in communist countries (lemme tell you about Bird Flu and Vietnam sometime). Here, you probably would have people doing prohibition era stunts with home brew sugar colas.

    Laissez-faire is the Ron Paul half of libertarians. You make your choices, you suffer your fate.

    LP is a middle way. Let em make choices, but nudge the choice a bit to an outcome we like. Put a price differential between HFCS/Sugar sodas (very bad) and diet sodas (debatable bad, but not as bad as HFCS/Sugar sodas), to give folks a bit of information on their choices. If they want to pay extra to suffer their fate, then that’s commitment.

    It’s very sound economics.

    Sorry for working the better math of Governor Patterson’s tax.
    Figure a million permanent residents from visitors, give or take.
    Figure half a million from New Jersey to New York for work, daily.
    Maybe another hundred thousand from Fairfield County, CT (maybe less now with Lehman, AIG, etc).
    Figure some fudge factor for undocumented people.

    I have to agree that his math is probably bad. A second attempt to rationalize it:
    Coca Cola, in the 2005 annual report, reported:
    1.5 Billion servings of Coca Cola licensed beverages served, each day, globally.
    In the 2007 annual report 37% of total sales were in the US.
    Figure 19.5 Million New Yorkers, inflate to 20M for roundness, on tourists and office workers,
    out of 300 Million Americans, is 6.7% of the US.

    Assume homogeneous distribution of soft drink consumption across the US and you get:
    37% of 1.5 billion is a tad over half a billion serves of Coca Cola products domestically, per day.
    And New York (with our Homogeneous assumption) accounts for 37 Million of those.
    Assume half of those are sugared, and you have $185K per day in soda tax revenue.
    At 365 days, you’re looking at about $68 Million dollars.
    From only the largest company. We haven’t gotten to Pepsi or other brands.
    In 2007, Coke saw it’s market share decline to 42.9%. Assume they have maintained that.
    Quickly, you divide our $68 Million by .429
    and
    $158 Million.

    Maybe I have made some bad assumptions, but I used a lot of numbers directly from Coke (work with the big one, sort the smaller vendors out later) and really, the only one that I am shaky about is the percentage of sugared/HFCS beverages as a total of Coke’s sales… If that number is only 32%, you still have $100M in revenue.

    As to this being onerous, it is onerous on the folks who are consuming HFCS. It presents people with a choice. Be burdened by tax to continue your self destructive habit OR change your habits for the better and avoid the tax burden.

    Using it to fund tax rebates, on the other hand, is simply a stupid idea.

    As you might imagine, I’m all for the laissez-faire solution. People should suffer the consequences for their own choices.

    Liberal paternalism, as you call it, smacks of elitism. What it says (and you apparently concur) is that people are so stupid that they can’t make the correct choices themselves, so we, the smart people (defined as those working for the government, which is an oxymoron indeed), need to gently nudge them in the right direction by making poor choices (as we bureaucrats, in our inestimable intelligence, have defined them) more expensive.

    Now I could go along with a program set up thusly: Good science has shown that a poor diet leads to increased medical expenses. Increased medical expenses leads to increased public expenditure for care for the improvident and increased health insurance premiums for the provident. So poor diet leads to increased expenditure by those who have sense enough to follow a good diet. If we tax food items that make up a poor diet and use that money to underwrite the increased health burden and reduce expenses for those who do follow a proper diet, then I might be for it. But the problem is that the bureaucrats who fancy themselves so much smarter than the rest of us would almost certainly select the wrong foods to tax (saturated fats, for example) and would increase the expenses of the very people following a good diet.

    So, given the above, it’s best left to a laissez-faire solution.

  53. I’m a comment reader, on any blog post I find interesting or though provoking, I like to see how the general populace weighs in on issues. Plus people tend to supply relevant personal experiences which I enjoy reading.

    So I vote for the following:
    1. minimal comment screening (weed out the spam etc).
    2. Don’t ignore the comments all together. A lot of bloggers take the time to publish a “Readers Questions” posts every month or so, in which they select questions they think would be of general interest and respond in depth.
    3. It’s also nice when the blogger takes the time to join a comment conversation now and again, but I would recommend doing so as a separate post where you can address the topic in general and abandon the detailed reviews. (Personally I like the detailed reviews of the comments, but it can’t possibly be practical.)

    I enjoy your blog, and fwiw, the political comments raised my esteem several levels.

  54. <<>> Has anyone already tried it? or any one please bother to explain in simple terms (layman language) how this can be done?
    Thanks in advance.

  55. Regarding ML Harris’s post on 27 May 2009:
    Whos ays those in charge (government, FDA, etc.) will actually choose what is best for us. Your example of diet drinks being better than non-diet is an example. I actually agree that they are…but what if we are wrong? There is evidence that artificial sweetners are not good for us either. Which has worst long term effects? I know many people who eat high carbs by my standards and do not suffer from problems associated with it (weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), but others I know do. So why should they suffer financially because the government has deemed Coca-Cola a bad food (even though their body can tolerate it)?

    Regarding your response:
    I agree 100%. Leaving it up to the government, who is to say they will choose what is really best for us (as you point out).

  56. I forgot to address in my previous comment to what I’m referring to:
    I was referring to the <<>> and my question was: If anyone had already tried it? or any one please bother to explain in simple terms (layman language) how this can be done?
    Thanks in advance.

  57. Hear, hear, Dr. Eades. ML Harris’ case for “liberal paternalism” rests on the assumption that determining what constitutes “good behavior,” both in general and in specific cases, is a relatively simple matter: the bureaucrats in question simply need to reference the reigning scientific “consensus.” This assumption breaks down across the board.

    First, even in a case where the behavior in question can be objectively analyzed with good science and common sense, and a correct answer brought to light by conscientious individuals, there is no guarantee that this viewpoint will prevail on the nightly network news, in the New York Times or the Senate Floor. Politicians will sooner follow the prevailing political wind, or the narrower winds emanating from their largest contributors, than the direction dictated by reason and science.

    Second, consensus is very often elusive. Allowing the government to weigh in on contentious issues will certainly have a “chilling effect” on minority viewpoints which very often turn out to be correct.

    Third, in almost every case, there are individual exceptions that have to be considered. Behavior-modifying legislation is always applied with a very broad brush, and always creates casualties among the exceptional. I can’t think of a case where this applies more than the field of diet and medicine. What is good advice for 90% of the population may be bad advice for someone with cancer, kidney disease or dwarfism. It may be bad advice for the very young or the very old. It may be a cost-benefit equation that works one way for most people, but another for people with a particular career or ambition.

    I could go on, but I think everyone gets the point.

  58. Trust the govt to get it right about what foods are good or bad? Insanity…look at the food pyramids! Estimates are 65-80% have ‘thrift’ genes, the rest have ‘farmer’ genes who do not over-produce insulin in response to what they eat. Diabetic genes in a family with some members having perfectly fine glucose control. There’s no way to identify every single food as good or bad for every single person — we are simply too metabolically diverse.

    I used to drink a diet Coke to abort migraines or ease exercise-induces asthma or a non-diet coke stirred flat as ‘food’ during gastritis (old old treatments for all 3), even Coke can’t be labelled as abolsolutely bad.

    True. Even cigarettes help those with ulcerative colitis.

  59. Dr Eades,

    Your audience is so knowledgeable and the discussions in the comments are frequently as informative as the blog post. I actually read almost all the comments.

    I also tweeted you an article on fat in the new Ode Magazine: http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/64 – I did not ask for feedback – I just thought it was a good article you’d be interested in. Taubes is quoted in it and I cracked up at the title:

    Fat is where it’s at
    For decades, fat has been blamed for everything from heart disease to obesity to cancer. But new research shows that fat can be good for you.

    “New research…..” Obviously they don’t know about the “old research”, even after reading Taubes?

    Saw the tweet. Thanks for the link. Nice article.

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