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Comment Re:What benefit are we missing? (Score 1) 277

You might start with the fact that fossil fuels get nothing like $5.3 trillion in subsidies. That's almost 7% of world GDP.

Direct (pre-tax) subsidies are around $480 billion, and most of that is petrostates selling gas to their citizens at below market prices. Developed countries supply rounding error level direct subsidies to fossil fuels and most of those are generic business development tax breaks provided to any large corporation.

You get those ridiculous multi-trillion numbers that places like the IMF and Grist put out by pricing externalities - e.g., counting as a "subsidy" any side-effect of the use of fossil fuels. But those externalities are notoriously broad - for instance, IMF counts road construction and maintenance as a fossil fuel subsidy. So this solar road would get that "subsidy" plus whatever the extra cost of the solar road was. IMF also counts road accidents as a fossil fuel subsidy - which would now become a solar subsidy.

The closest IMF gets to pricing externalities that are specific to fossil fuels is climate change, but those are based on mostly on projections and not current conditions. If you want to count not banning something as a "subsidy", feel free, but it's not a common point of view.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 917

Libertarians are by no means universally hostile to a Universal Basic Income. Cato had a wide-ranging set of essays and discussions around the UBI - the lead essay was pro while other essays ranged from lukewarm support to implementation concerns. No one was really adamantly opposed.

Since that series of essays, the current Libertarian Presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, has said he's open to a UBI (and, until forced to walk it back, even open to using a carbon tax to fund it).

On the conservative side, F. A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Richard Nixon (!), Charles Murray, Marco Rubio and others have all supported some form of UBI. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a form of UBI and one of the most politically popular features of the tax code.

The devil is in the details, but some form of UBI is coming - we're running out of work.

Comment Re:Billions and billions (Score 1) 204

It happened to me and I baby my phone - always in the front left pocket by itself and it looked brand new (no scratches anywhere). Never dropped, bashed, bumped, sat on - and I'm not a phone masher. I primarily use it for web surfing or social media.

The problem seems to be how they mount the electronics that connect the screen to the circuit board - it's right at the "flex spot" on the 6 Plus and eventually gets loose. In my case, the phone was so obviously in otherwise perfect shape they just gave me a new one on the spot.

Comment My iPhone 6 Plus was affected (Score 2) 204

Within the last month, my iPhone 6 Plus started losing its ability to respond to touches. Putting it in front of an A/C vent was the only way to get it to work for more than a few minutes at a time.

But when I went into the local Apple Store, they swapped it out for free even though it was well out of normal warranty. I just showed up for a Genius appointment with my phone in "dead touch" mode, showed it to the guy (who peered at it from the side for a few minutes) and then he went and got a new (or refurbished) one. He told me the phone was ever so slightly bent (maybe by the thickness of a sheet of paper) but obviously not abused and that the policy was to just replace them.

I don't know if it's just my Apple Store that's doing this but it sounds like it has quietly become corporate policy for phones that are not obviously bashed up.

Comment Re:You don't eat grams. You eat until full. (Score 1) 527

I gave you the math and you still don't get it. If 100 grams of sucrose makes you sated and the reason you are sated is 50 grams of glucose, then you would need 111 grams of HFCS-55 to give you the same 50 grams of satiating glucose, meaning you'd have 61 grams of fructose vs the 50 you'd get with sucrose.

111 * .45 = 50 grams of glucose
111 * 55 = 61 grams of fructose

61 / 50 = 1.22 or 22% more fructose. Still not 30% or 35% or 40% or whatever random number you decide it must be with your "very simple math".

I still don't buy the idea that someone opens and consumes another entire container of soda on a regular basis because they are missing a few grams of glucose after ingesting a large quantity of glucose. But even on your terms, the numbers aren't as bad as you continue to insist.

Comment Re:You're just gonna get another can of Coke. (Score 1) 527

OK - I can see I'm arguing with an innumerate kook, but I'll finish with this:

If you have 100 grams of sucrose, 50 grams is fructose, 50 grams is glucose.

If you have 100 grams of HFCS-55, 55 grams is fructose, 45 grams is glucose.

You have 10% more of that "fat-forming sugar" fructose, not 30% more.

Giving you the most tendentious and ludicrous reading and "equalizing" the quantities so you can get 50 grams of glucose from the HFCS-55, you move to 111 grams of HFCS-55, of which 61 grams is fructose, which would be 22% more than the original quantity. Still not 30%.

Comment Re:You're just gonna get another can of Coke. (Score 1) 527

There is a huge difference between the Big Gulp phenomenon and typical soda consumption. People generally drink their sodas in single-serve containers, which have a fixed number of calories and grams of various sugars. The idea that 3.0 fewer grams of glucose is going to make people drink another can of soda that they otherwise would have skipped is a stretch - that's not really how people consume soda.

When you get to Big Gulp/Double Gulp sizes, you're screwed no matter what - you've far exceeded any "glucose satiety" signal. Yes, you probably need to metabolize 1.5 more grams of fructose, but you're already metabolizing nearly 60 grams of fructose - that additional gram and a half is a rounding error. A Big Gulp with pure sucrose will have the same negative effects.

Comment Re:UPS! Missed a fructose cube there. (Score 1) 527

There is a difference between saying sugar is bad for you metabolically (true) and that fructose does not trigger ghrelin (probably true) and that 2-3 grams of fructose a day is going to have any significant effect on your metabolism.

I'm doing a comparison between cane sugar and HFCS-55 - both of which are bad for you and, in the amounts actually consumable, about equally bad.

I'm generally in the Taubes camp myself - I'm simply saying that there isn't much difference (in the amounts within a typical diet) between HFCS-55 and cane sugar. HFCS-42 may, ironically, be worse for you even though it has much lower fructose content, because it is widely used as a fat substitute in baked goods. While it has a beneficial glucose/fructose balance, it's directly increasing your sugar consumption while lowering your fat consumption - and most people don't even recognize it, because it is less sweet than sugar, they can use more and it still doesn't make the product overly sweet.

Comment Re: Shocking! (Score 2) 527

I wouldn't throw stones...

HFCS largely comes in two formulations - HFCS-55 (used in sugary drinks) and HFCS-42 (used in baked goods).

Both start as corn syrup, which is created by taking corn starch (long chains of glucose) and adding two enzymes (amylase and glucoamylase) which gives you "corn syrup", also known as "glucose syrup". It's nearly pure glucose. If you buy corn syrup at the store, this is what you get - glucose syrup.

Because it's not very sweet, companies then convert some of the glucose into fructose using another enzyme (Xylose isomerase). This process costs time and money, so they only do it to get to the final ratios they want. This is done in big batches and then the unconverted and converted syrups are blended - essentially they are adding relatively expensive fructose to relatively cheap glucose and not the other way around.

HFCS-55 is 55% fructose/45% glucose and is used to sweeten drinks. While it has a higher ratio of fructose to glucose than does sucrose (50/50), it is also sweeter than sucrose, so companies can use less. Mexican Coke uses 37.5 grams of sucrose per can, American Coke uses 35 grams of HFCS-55 per can. This works out to 0.5 grams more fructose in the American can, but 2.0 grams less glucose in the can. American Coke has, therefore, less calories (140 vs 150 per can).

HFCS-42 is used in baked goods as a fat substitute. It keeps baked goods "fresh" and moist longer, which allows a reduction in fat (which normally performs that duty). If they simply swapped in more sucrose for the fat, the resulting baked good would be too sweet, so they use HFCS-42 (which has a 42/58 ratio of fructose-to-glucose) which is less sweet. The resulting baked good has more overall sugar calories but less fructose and less fat.

I don't drink sugary drinks, so HFCS-55 is moot for me and I generally try to avoid low-fat baked goods (because they suck). Even someone drinking 2 liters of soda per day would only consume an extra 3 grams of fructose (12 calories) while losing 18 grams of glucose (72 calories) - it's a net reduction of 60 calories per day. Which is probably better for you than the nagtive effects of 3 grams of fructose.

Comment Re: Shocking! (Score 2) 527

The ironic bit is that many "health conscious" folks have switched to all-natural agave syrup/nectar, which has about a 3-to-1 fructose-to-glucose ratio. Because of this, it is quite a bit sweeter than sucrose and you can use less of it. But you are definitely consuming a far higher amount of fructose.

Agave syrup has been shown (in typically small studies) to raise triglyceride levels. It's far worse for you than HFCS-55 or HFCS-42.

Comment Re:UPS! Missed a fructose cube there. (Score 1) 527

Let's take some concrete examples:

Mexican Coca Cola (sucrose) has 150 calories per can (355ml)
American Coca Cola (HFCS-55) has 140 calories per can (355ml)

HFCS-55 is slightly sweeter than sucrose, so you need less of it. In a typical can of sugar soda, you will consume 18.75 grams of fructose and 18.75 grams of glucose.

In a can of HCFS-55 soda, you will consumer 19.25 grams of fructose and 15.75 grams of glucose.

The change in total fructose is negligible (+0.5 grams) compared to the change in glucose (-3.0 grams).

As people generally consume soda in discrete amounts (12oz, 20oz, .5 liter), it seems unlikely that HFCS-55 in sugary drinks is making a huge change in the amount of fructose consumed. It does appear to be making a minor contribution in total calorie reduction (about 7% less calories).

Comment Re:Zike immunity (Score 1) 106

One difference may be that people native to the Americas have a far more limited number of human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) which are involved in innate immunity. In 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Charles Mann goes over this issue in some detail. HLA diversity is an important aspect to innate immunity - each antigen is capable of "seeing" a specific type of foreign protein and generating an immune response for it. The more kinds of HLAs an individual has, the more diseases he or she can fight off quickly, and the more kinds of HLAs a population has the more likely that a disease outbreak will be limited.

Native Americans have problems on both ends - typical "Old World" humans have 35 different HLAs they can inherit while typical "New World" humans only have 17. Old World humans also tend to have a few more HLAs per individual and their populations are very diverse - perhaps as few as 1 in 200 will share the same set of HLAs. New World humans, on the other hand, are far more clustered - as many as 1/3 of all native South Americans have identical HLA profiles.

New World humans may therefore be uniquely susceptible to Zika and its spread may become more widespread - there may not be any innate herd immunity to the virus. If Zika falls into a HLA pattern that simply doesn't exist in South America, native peoples will be in grave danger.

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