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Comment: Re:"Paleolithic diets" now vs then (Score 1) 275

by AthanasiusKircher (#47761899) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

You might be right but you're missing the point.

It depends on what "the point" is. The "point" of this thread was the OP asking whether modern "paleo" diets are anything like actual ancient "paleo" diets. And the answer is "no." That's the "point" of this thread.

I was in no way passing judgment on whether some aspect of modern "paleo" approaches may be good or bad nutritionally -- only pointing out that they have very little in common with the foods eaten by people a hundred thousand years ago or whatever.

Yes a modern orange is excessively sweet (no seriously, they are far too bloody sweet, it tastes like sugar, not orange anymore) - apples too - however if you eat a diet of 95% unprocessed goods, green leafy vegetables (modern or not) - a sensible amount of fruit and some meat, it's still vastly vastly better for you than eating high processed garbage, including even "healthy" things like packaged breakfast cereals.

At no point did I imply that all aspects of the modern "paleo" approaches were necessarily bad nutritional advice. Obviously eating less processed food is a reasonable choice, but one doesn't need to go back 100,000 years to find less processed food. If you ate a diet only using foods found a couple HUNDERED years ago, you'd also be eating mostly "unprocessed" foods by today's standards, and those foods from a couple hundred years ago would be a lot more like today's supermarket "unprocessed foods" than trying to make some claim to approach a diet of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of years ago.

It's the dogmatism about it that I see as the problem, not the general principles. There's no necessarily logical reason to exclude all foods that date from later than the dawn of agriculture if you're admitting a bunch of foods that have been selectively bred in agriculture for millennia. The issue should be about balancing the nutrients among different food sources, regardless of when those foods date from.

And frankly, if you watch the video I linked, at the end of her presentation, the speaker comes to similar conclusions -- conclusions that sound suspiciously similar to things that "paleo diet" proponents often say. The difference is whether you want to buy into a diet because of arbitrary distinctions created for marketing reasons, or because it actually is more balanced. Most of the paleo dogma about what always to eat and what never to eat is unfortunately about the former.

Comment: Re:"Paleolithic diets" now vs then (Score 1) 275

by AthanasiusKircher (#47761847) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

Maybe I just don't understand what paleo is all about, but trying to achieve a balance of macronutrients closer to those original diets seems like the point (or it should IMO) and not actually trying to eat foods that are 100% like what our ancestors ate.

I think you DO understand what the modern "Paleo" approaches are about. However, there's a common misconception that if you eat the modern "paleo" diet that you're actually eating something like humans would long ago. That's partly from the branding and marketing of the diet, more than anything else. From what I understand, those who actually promote it and have researched its effects tend to phrase it more like what you described than as an actual simulation of an ancient diet.

I was merely responding to a thread where someone posed the question about this misconception.

On the other hand, I think that the modern food differences ARE so vast that it's really not reasonable to achieve an accurate "balance of macronutrients" (as you put it) like ancient diets while eating modern foods. There's also a lot of dogmatism among many of the diet's proponents that takes the form of "Did people eat X before agriculture? If not, then we shouldn't eat X." My argument is that if we start going down that road and looking for exact equivalence, we immediately have to throw out almost all foods (even "raw, natural, whole" ones) from the modern supermarket.

So, rather than worrying about the dogmatism of what ancient people may have eaten, the more reasonable approach is actually to achieve a better nutrient balance -- in whatever way is best and using whatever foods will work best to achieve that goal, regardless of whether they're truly an ancient "wild" food or are some vastly different descendant of an ancient food or are a more modern food that also can serve to create dietary balance. The whole "paleo" thing, therefore, can end up standing in the way, because it's based on a misconception.

Comment: Re:"Paleolithic diets" now vs then (Score 4, Interesting) 275

by AthanasiusKircher (#47753123) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

The article mentions "unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables" so your "for example" has holes in it.

What does that have to do with anything? The context of that quote is:

The foods we choose to eat in the coming decades will have dramatic ramifications for the planet. Simply put, a diet that revolves around meat and dairy, a way of eating thatâ(TM)s on the rise throughout the developing world, will take a greater toll on the worldâ(TM)s resources than one that revolves around unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

The article here does NOT imply that paleo diets revolved around MODERN "unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables." It instead merely hints that the environmental consequences of trying to raise more meat for billions of people requires a lot more resources than those MODERN foods.

The fact is that agriculture has selectively bred many of these things over the millennia to make them tastier, more nutrient dense, higher in sugar, etc. The kind of "unrefined grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables" that were actually around hundreds of thousands of years ago were vastly different (in most cases) from what we pick off plants in our gardens and fields today -- even the "unrefined" ones.

So, GP's absolutely correct on this point. Human selective breeding has significantly changed both plant and animal sources of nutrients. Thus, no matter how "unrefined" our food is, very few things at a modern supermarket would have been available to a hunter-gatherer hundreds of thousands of years ago... hence, the "paleo" diet is mostly wishful thinking.

Comment: Re:"Paleolithic diets" now vs then (Score 4, Informative) 275

by AthanasiusKircher (#47752981) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

I doubt so-called "Paleolithic diets" are anything like people ate during that.

Yes. The classic debunking, from someone who is actually an expert on early human diets, is here.

Now, before all you Paleo fanatics get worked up, yes -- this speaker overemphasizes the carnivore aspect of many so-called "Paleo" diets. And there are some other details she gets wrong, but mostly in stereotyping modern "paleo diets," not in her knowledge of actual ancient diets.

For example, people ate fruit then, but it was seasonal, and very different from the fruit we eat today. Same with veggies. The stuff we eat is nothing like the stuff that grew in the wild.

Yes, and this is the critical thing from that video. Even if you dismiss all the stuff she says about overemphasizing meat, the reality is that our plant-based foods are completely different from the plants that would have been eaten before the dawn of agriculture. We've selectively bred fruits and vegetables for millennia to make them tastier to us, and more concentrated in sugars and other nutrients. (And we've likewise selectively bred our meat sources so that they are very different in composition from wild game.)

So, yeah, it's basically IMPOSSIBLE to eat "like a caveman did" with normal foods from the supermarket. The "paleo" diet might be a few steps closer to some sort of early hominid diet, but it's still significantly closer to the modern diet than it is to anything eaten hundreds of thousands of years ago.

You can buy all the "unrefined" and "natural" and "raw" crap you want, but unless you're seeking out the wild forms of ancient plants (and probably eating many times the amount of fiber even vegetarians eat today) and hunting wild game, chances are your "paleo diet" is as far from the "caveman" as the diet of a rich nobleman 200 years ago would be.

Comment: Re:The world we live in. (Score 1) 575

by AthanasiusKircher (#47752693) Attached to: New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

"I'm not "blaming the victim""

I hate to break it to you, but that is exactly what you are doing.

I hate to break it to you, but I think you might need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

You are also claiming that only woman without much brains or ability to think for themselves and plan ahead like to have a good time in public.

Actually, GP didn't say that AT ALL. At no point did he make assertions about intelligence ("without much brains") or "ability to think for themselves." That's entirely something you manufactured -- you may want to look into the mirror if you're worried about people making assumptions about others and stereotyping them.

What GP was specifically talking about was your third category -- people who don't "plan ahead." I know plenty of very intelligent people who make incredibly poor choices in social situations. I know plenty of very independent folks who can "think for themselves" who also make poor choices in planning. In fact, while I'd say that people who are a little above average in intelligence are better than average at these things, those who are very intelligent often get worse again.

GP said absolutely nothing about intelligence or independence -- he simply stated that some people don't plan ahead or think about all the "bad situations" they could get into in social situations, and that's simply a fact. Those people exist. Those are the people who really need this stuff. But I don't think it's at all a controversial claim to say that some people don't think about possible consequences in social situations, and they are more likely to fall victim to some bad scenario than others. And it's certainly not "blaming the victim" to provide advice that would aid in preventing date rape, as GP did.

And also, GP never said or implied that "only women without [X] like to have a good time in public." He said that women who plan ahead when they are having a good time are less likely to end up in scenario where they can be taken advantage of than women who DON'T plan ahead when they are having a good time.

Let's review the actual advice GP gave:

The best defense is, as always, for women to watch out for their friends when at bars and parties. Don't go wandering off alone after heavy drinking with a guy you don't know or trust.

Do you actually disagree with this advice? Or do you believe it's impossible "to have a good time in public" if you bother to make sure you're with some friends and not go wandering off alone (i.e., not "in public") with a guy you don't know?

Look -- random hook-ups are a risky business. Aside from STDs, you could be locking yourself up in room with an ax murderer, or a rapist, or... who knows? If I were a young woman, I would definitely follow GP's advice and go drinking with friends and never agree to go somewhere alone with a guy I just met.

But that's me. I'm cautious by nature. I also don't bet on horses or play in traffic, which is effectively what you're doing when you put your trust in being intimate with a person who is stronger and bigger than you without knowing a lot about him/her first. Sure, in an ideal world no one should have to worry about such things, but given that everyone knows it's not an ideal world, random hook-ups are inherently more risky than many other activities.

I also occasionally like to have a "good time in public," but I don't know why that means that a "good time in public" needs to include having a private session afterward with some unknown person.

But there are other people who are less cautious. I don't think it's a stretch to say (as GP did) that those people are also less likely to seek out all sorts of preventative items to warn them of date rape, if they haven't already taken other measures to do so. That's not "blaming the victim" -- that's lamenting the fact that there are terrible people in the world and realistically noting that some people take less precautions in general when confronting those terrible people than others.

Comment: Re:Men in education and healthcare? (Score 1, Redundant) 327

Where is the push to get men to become primary school teachers?

Unfortunately, our mass media's ridiculous "pedophile" scares have taken care of that. Do a cursory internet search sometime for male teachers in elementary or daycare -- you'll inevitably find a bunch of articles about how parents are convinced that any man who might want to spend some time with small children MUST be a pedophile. Nevermind that pedophilia is incredibly rare, and your son or daughter is probably a hundred times more likely to be sexually abused by as a teenager by a high school teacher or coach than by a pedophile.

So, even if men wanted to get into this profession, we have huge hurdles -- and I agree it's really not right. (As a father, I've even occasionally seen the suspicious looks and odd concern when I would take my young child to the playground or even just for a walk around the neighborhood.)

All of that said, most primary school teachers I know would be happy to have more male colleagues. Most of them know the benefits of having male teachers around small kids -- unfortunately, for us to start a campaign for male teachers, we'd have to overcome the inaccurate media fear campaign about pedophiles... and "Think of the children!" always overrides logic or reason.

Same for healthcare. With the exception of doctors most healthcare is dominated by women yet men are a large number of patients.

I posted on this above with links, so I'll just briefly say that there are in fact organizations trying to get more men into nursing -- and given the growing nursing shortage, just about any place would be thrilled if the numbers of male nurses went up.

Comment: Re:What about nursing?? (Score 2) 327

How come there aren't any people complaining that there are VASTLY more women in nursing than men.

There are. For example, have a look at organizations devoted to recruiting more men, like the American Assembly for Men in Nursing or the "Are you man enough to be a nurse?" campaign. Also see various studies and concerns about the issue on the Minority Nurse page. It's really a complicated issue, and organizations like this have really been trying to figure out recruitment efforts.

Maybe there should be more "people complaining" about this issue, but your assertion that "there aren't any" is just untrue. The fact is that we have a shortage of qualified nurses that is only projected to get worse, and many of these organizations, many hospitals, etc. would be extremely happy if they could get more male nurses, or get more men who are currently unemployed or in crappy jobs in this economy to go to nursing school. But it doesn't help the stereotype when just about every portrayal of a male nurse on television or film is usually made to be the butt of jokes and ridicule.

Comment: Re:why can the world (Score 3, Insightful) 327

If there is a social cause, then society can work to undo it. If it is a biological cause, then we can stop wasting time and effort thinking it is a social cause.

First of all, we also need to consider the possibility that it could be BOTH. I.e., that certain gender stereotypes have some relationship to biological facts, and thus gender stereotypes end up having other effects which are not necessarily biological (but may be partly rooted in them).

The reason I bring this up is because it makes an interesting conundrum for these sorts of arguments. If something is entirely biological, there's supposedly no sense fighting it. (Of course, not all women are exactly the same, and some may have those "natural" biological elements emphasized to more or less degree in their talents and personalities.) But if something is entirely social, it's perceived as a gross injustice.

But what if we combine these? For example, someone earlier in this thread brought up the biological fact that women bear children and thus may need to take significant time off of work to have a kid and especially in the first year or two do things that only women can do (particularly nursing). If a woman wants to have more than one child, that can easily add up to 5-10 years of absence from the job force. In a fast-paced field, it may be difficult for women to then hop immediately back in to the job force with skills that are already starting to be outdated.

So, the issue here is not entirely biological (women could choose to forego children or dump their kid into daycare when he/she is a couple months old or women could actively try to keep up their skills even while not working full-time), but it's not entirely social either (men don't have the same hormones driving them to have children or nurse or be with infants). Yet we're still stuck with the problematic effects -- women will often get behind in their jobs or have trouble keeping up or returning to the workforce. We can't just blame it on biology, but it seems impossible to completely eliminate social issues that arise either.

But I bet that many women of her era would have convinced themselves that being a chemist was a foolish notion and wouldn't have pursued it at all. That's social self-regulation. That should be eliminated.

Obviously we need to eliminate actual ignorant prejudice. But the problems are often a lot more subtle than that these days. I know a lot of professional women who "came up through the ranks" in the 1970s, and they have horrific stories to tell about the kinds of indignities women suffered in the workforce back then. Let's not forget all the amazing progress we've made in a few decades... it's important to keep that in perspective.

Nowadays, we're mostly confronting those harder problems I mentioned earlier, like how to figure out a way to be "fair" in a workplace (and all the related decisions like salary, promotion, etc.) where one gender is more likely than the other to disappear from their career for 5-10 years at a time.

And we also have to deal with cases where "social self-regulation" actually does serve some important purpose. Sure, is it biologically possible for a woman to have a child and dump the infant in daycare almost immediately to be fed with formula? Yes, obviously. And lots of women do it because they have to.

But aren't there also psychological and perhaps social benefits to allowing women to choose to stay home and take care of a small child as they are biologically programmed to do? Moreover, aren't there also social benefits to having communities where children are raised by some parent (male or female) who can spend more time with them, rather than getting kids out of the home as quickly as possible and into large groups of kids often taken care of by people paid minimum wage? (Of course, some might argue the reverse -- that many parents are bad parents, and daycare may be helpful to the kids. Perhaps that's true in some cases, but shouldn't there be a choice? Shouldn't women feel that choice is reasonable too? But there are many feminists who go too far and actively discourage women from pursuing their own choices about wanting to raise a family more actively.)

These are difficult questions. And there aren't just a couple nice and neat categories where we can either say, "That's not a problem" or "We need to solve this and check off the social justice box for this issue."

Comment: Re:In 1984... (Score 2) 327

"So if you were interested in bioinformatics, or computational economics, or quantitative anthropology, you really needed to be part of the computer science world."

These weren't even things in 1984.

It depends on what you mean by "weren't even things." If you mean that most people didn't know about them, well, that's still true. If you mean that NO ONE -- even at research labs and in grad school projects, etc. -- was doing this stuff, well, you're wrong. Even if you just do some searches in Google Books restricting sources to 1984 or earlier, you'll find the use of the term "bioinformatics" going back to the early 1970s (the first shared protein databases go back to the early 70s, and gene sequencing software to the late 70s), and entire books devoted to mathematical programming and computational modeling in economics from the 1970s.

As for "quantitative anthropology," there are a few sources out there that mention applying quantitative methods back then, but I doubt there was as much computer use as in, say, economics. On the other hand, I know a number of people who did their doctoral dissertations in the humanities in the 1960s and early 1970s who were making use of computers to try things similar to what we'd called "digital humanities" today. And I've read papers in the humanities using computer-aided analysis going back to at least the early 1960s. Perhaps it was the "space race" era or something that influenced those projects, but computers were around particularly at universities.

Computers were not so pervasive that you were missing out on much if you didn't know anything about them.

I'd absolutely agree with that. But there's a difference between saying that "you weren't missing out on much" and "those ideas/fields didn't exist" (and sometimes made significant use of computers) in 1984.

Comment: Re:OK, fine, do it already. (Score 1) 83

I will qualify what I said slightly -- I do recall seeing some sort of "People who bought what you recently ordered also bought..." after I've gone through check out. So, I assume some of those are based on my recent order history (maybe not just the last order) and have general recommendations. That's about the closest I can recall to seeing the regular Amazon "Recommended for you" stuff in years.

Comment: Re:OK, fine, do it already. (Score 2) 83

Now you are really off in lala land. The recommendations are on the same page as the products he's looking at. Noting them is not the same as seeking them out.

What version of Amazon's page do you visit? If I go to an Amazon product page, I see links to "Items Frequently Bought Together," "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought..." and "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed..." and things like that. Perhaps those are personalized to some extent, but those products are mostly based on what product page you're actually on and on what others have bought -- not on whether you bought a random unrelated "Hello Kitty" product.

To get to see personalized recommendations for random products, I have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page past just about any content I normally would want to see. Frankly, until just now when you pointed this out to me, I never even noticed they were down there... because I would have no reason to scroll down past all the other random stuff on product pages unless I specifically wanted to see them.

I think most people, if they want to see their personalized recommendations, either go to Amazon's homepage, or they click on a link to see information on your account, where you can find "Recommended for you" or whatever. I NEVER seek these things out myself, so the only time I've seen these is occasionally when I've clicked on some "My account" link for something else that took me to a page with them.

Bottom line: I can't recall actually even SEEING what Amazon recommends for me based on my purchases in at least a couple years. GP obviously seems to notice this on a regular basis since he bought his flash drives.

So, either he (and you?) visit some alternate reality version of Amazon's website, or you're both seeking out these recommendations... because I can't remember the last time I even saw the recommendations, let alone "noted" what might have been in them.

Comment: Re:OK, fine, do it already. (Score 3, Insightful) 83

The idea that regular people will curate the advertising data used to profile them is a huge non-starter.

GP wasn't complaining about advertising. He was talking about recommendations -- and he obviously wants to have better recommendations or he wouldn't bother looking at them at all. So, if he's looking at recommendations, chances are he would like to improve them -- and if that requires just a few clicks, it might actually be worth it to him.

I, personally, haven't looked at Amazon's recommendations in years. I don't care what they say or how accurate they are. If they were listing a bunch of Hello Kitty products, I wouldn't go around complaining about it, because I never even notice the recommendations. GP obvious does, which implies he pays some attention to them. If he wants to improve them, Amazon has a mechanism for doing so.

As to your assertion that regular people wouldn't help advertising companies, I'm not so sure about that. Slashdot is full of a bunch of people who never want to see ads. (I'm one of them.) I'm never going to even look at an ad, so the only thing I ever want to see on an ad is the quickest way to close it.

But, believe it or not, there are people in the world who look at ads. And some companies have been moving to a model that forces people to watch ads. In those cases, assuming I'd actually use the service at all (which I probably wouldn't, but others might), I'd appreciate a little box that says, "I don't want to see ads like this one again." If I'm being forced to look at an ad anyway, I might as well take that time to click something that will make that ad go away and put something better next time.

Comment: Re:I see 2 problems (Score 1) 83

A good system will see it was bought only once, and mark it as an abberation.

That's not the behavior I would want. When I first get interested in something new, I'll often buy one or two related items to "try things out." If I've gotten to the stage that I'm actually buying anything, chances are that I'm probably going to become interested in seeing more (at least considering it -- whether or not I will follow up and continue buying things depends on a lot of factors).

So, no, I don't want that behavior in a "good system." I'd frankly prefer a system that defaults to showing me related products to the more unusual products I've purchased, since I'm less likely to know what is popular among things I haven't bought a lot of. If I'm already ordering a dozen things per year in one category, chances are that I already know it pretty well, and I'm going to find the things I want whether I see recommendations or not. (Obviously, there should probably be some sort of "half-life" to recommendations for unusual items; if you order one thing out of the norm, and you don't order anything else like that in your next few dozen items, those recommendations should gradually fade.)

The key to the system is also having a button you can click to say "Don't use this one particular product for recommendations," because I might be buying a one-off gift or a one-off product, and I don't want more. Amazon has a button like that explicitly designed into their system, so, to me, that's exactly the behavior I want in a "good system." (Not saying it couldn't be improved, but I don't want your "good system" policy either.)

Comment: Re:OK, fine, do it already. (Score 4, Insightful) 83

Find your "Hello Kitty" purchase and click "Don't use for recommendations."

Mod parent up! GP is complaining about a problem that actually has a known solution, which Amazon has been reasonable enough to implement.

GP is complaining about the precise behavior that allowed him to accomplish his goal in ordering the flash drive. Amazon obviously profiled people and predicts that the demographic who will buy "Hello Kitty" products is very specific, and most people do NOT want that stuff.

GP's argument is thus actually proof that Amazon's algorithm is probably working well. GP chose a product that would be undesirable for most of his coworkers for the very reason that it's something of a niche product. By buying such a product, GP identified himself to the algorithm as one of those few people (unlike his coworkers) who would want such a product.

Now he expects Amazon to just intuit that he's some sort of exception to that general rule (which in this case, is probably a very good rule, or someone would have stolen GP's flash drives by now).

I'm not saying Amazon's recommendations couldn't be improved -- but this particular example is very poor. And if GP wants to fix his recommendations, Amazon has a system specifically designed to allow this.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.