Emptying out the mailbag & clearing the history #19

Posted on May 24, 2017


Other mailbags can be found hereKeep in mind a lot of this is email conversations, comment replies, or some random interesting things I’ve found. By their nature they are not as thorough or complete as a post on one topic.

Here’s what’s covered in this installment:


Technology is disrupting jobs the least amount, ever???

A hard hitting paper to anybody espousing “software is eating the world,”

False Alarmism: Technological Disruption and the U.S. Labor Market, 1850–2015

Something getting routinely overlooked with this “issue” is even if technology was changing faster and faster, people do not work that way. One of the best quotes from the paper (edited for brevity),

“The development of the self-service elevator in the 1920s did away with the need for virtually all elevator operators. In 1860, there were no elevator operators in the United States because there were no elevators. [After high strength steel came along] while there were just 497 elevator operators in 1870, the number steadily grew to 114,473 by 1950.

But as self-service elevators were developed and adopted, this occupation shrank to essentially zero by 1990. Indeed, one of the symbolic actions the House Republicans took in 1994 when they gained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives was to eliminate the staffed elevators for members. Now members would have to push the buttons on their own. To be sure a few “high-end” buildings still have an elevator operator, but they are few and far between.

This evolution can provide some guidance about what we might expect in the future. Despite the development of self-service elevators in the 1920s, it was another 70 years before the occupation was for all intents and purpose eliminated.

Potatoes can grow on Mars


Topography is another means of gene regulation

Genes continue to get more complicated:

“From the eight stem cells, processed individually, the researchers captured between 37,000 and 122,000 DNA junctions. This represents just 1.2 to 4.1 percent of the total possible junctions that could have been in the genomes.”

Talk about a business pivot!

Big Tobacco Has Caught Startup Fever


Is this the biggest issue facing obesity progress???

The first step to overcoming a problem is…

Fewer overweight adults are trying to lose weight

Exercise as magic

Another example of movement outperforming sudoku

“No overarching theory of neuroscience could predict, for example, that the cerebellum (which is involved in timing and motor control) would have vastly more neurons than the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain most associated with our advanced intelligence).”

The Trouble With Brain Science

Prediabetes risk

“Among people 40 years or older, the estimated number evaluated as being at high risk for prediabetes was 73.3 million, corresponding to 58.7% (sample size for the age group, 3815) of the population (Figure, A). Among those participants older than 60 years, the weighted proportion of the population at high risk for prediabetes was 80.8%”

Prediabetes Risk in Adult Americans According to a Risk Test

Encouraging news on Mercury levels

As mercury emissions drop, so do concentrations in tuna

Sources of mercury emissions:


Quick thoughts on the Functional Movement Screen

From a question in this post-

In brief, FMS is too limiting. Nowhere near enough movements. The Washington University in St. Louis, where I’ve largely based my assessment on, has tried to do something similar. Trying to figure out “The Essential 6.” Last I talked to them they hadn’t been able to achieve it, nor do I expect them to.

It’s one of those things that sells better because of simplicity, but in practice ends up being limiting. Sells better does not only mean to practitioners or patients. Researchers prefer a standard set of e.g. three movements because it’s easier to study.

This is one reason someone like Sahrmann is well known, but not well practiced. When you see examples of what she’s getting at, it hits you in face with obviousness. But when you try to use the method, it’s also obvious how much harder it is to implement. It’s way more nuanced than anything else I’ve seen.

It’s quite analogous to dieting. Telling someone “stop eating X” is easier than truly getting at why someone is overeating, getting them to adjust their daily habits, and so on.

The tradeoff is the initial simple fix is easier to start with, but longterm less effective. Never eating X again doesn’t work for most!

The trick is getting in the middle some way. One reason you’ve seen me often say “Stop doing X (for a while)” when it comes to movement. The more absolute the modality, the less gray area, the quicker it can be implemented. This is why things like “Just strengthen X,” “just stretch Y,” “just take this pill,” are still so prevalent.

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