Posts by Tim Darlington

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Howard Edwards,

    Well here are a couple of potential jumps over some of those hurdles.

    And I'm sure those things are factors in increasing obesity levels (although it's worth pointing out that milk also contains significant amounts of sugar). The thing is, no genetic component is required for that explanation, because lipogenesis is largely a matter of blood glucose levels and insulin response. so a significant increase in consumption of desserts and sugary drinks could be expected to cause an increase in obesity regardless of genetics. As could an increase in the consumption of carbohydrates in general, which is the elephant in the room Robyn Toomath would prefer to pretend isn't there, given that she'll have spent most of her career telling people to reduce fat consumption, thereby increasing carbs consumption. Better to posit a highly unlikely genetic explanation for obesity than to admit you spent decades making things worse, I guess.

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Genetics does work like that. You have a base frequency of a specific genotype, in this case tendency towards obesity.

    You then change environmental conditions, in this case availability of calories. What happens then is the frequency of obesity goes up...

    So, we're just looking at a situation in which an astonishing number of people are genetically predisposed to obesity, but the environment didn't offer them enough calories to become obese until the end of the 1970s, since when the availability of calories has been skyrocketing? Toomath's got some serious evidential hurdles to clear with that one.

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…,

    ...Dr Toomath comes to the conclusion that a lot of the factors leading to obesity are genetic.

    This despite obesity rates skyrocketing since the end of the 1970s? I'm not an endocrinologist, but I don't have to be one to know genetic factors don't work like that. Toomath declares food companies and their marketing strategies to blame for increasing obesity, without pausing to consider whether the decades she's spent encouraging people to adopt low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets might have something to do with their inability to lose weight. Before removing the mote from the food industry's eye she might usefully address her attention to the beam in her own.

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Cui bono?,

    Friend of ours reported there's a regular requirement for her to arrange confirmation for W&I that yes, her daughter does still have Down Syndrome. Maybe they're thinking there might be a "cure" for it, or it might just go away via some miraculous re-arrangement of the genome.

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fix up, young men,

    “After a 12-box of Billy Mavericks, those sort of things aren’t being processed properly through my head,” explained one of them.

    More accurately, after a 12-box of Billy Mavericks, this man gives himself full uninhibited permission to be himself, and himself is really not a very nice person. If there were a certainty of genuine, serious consequences for such actions, we'd see an astonishing reduction in the ability of 12 Billy Mavericks to make people like him behave badly.

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Art with a job to do,

    Getting rid of the Union Jack is the most important thing, and we could argue until the cows come home about what should replace it.

    This is arse-about-face. Getting rid of the Union Jack becomes important at the point where you've made the Union Jack no longer appropriate to appear on the nation's flag, ie when HRH is no longer the head of state. Until then, wanting rid of the Union Jack is just wanting to pretend something is true when it isn't. Let's do stuff in the proper order.

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: My last name sounds Chinese,

    They have one piece of real data: “39.5% of last names in a list of house sales sound Chinese”

    Even that piece of data is well dodgy. How do they define "sounds Chinese?" Raymond Ching used to get people asking him about his Chinese heritage all the time, not that he had any. I'm reasonably well-educated by local standards, which means largely ignorant when it comes to anything to with east and south-east Asia, and your name sounds Vietnamese to me rather than Chinese, presumably because I've seen lots of Vietnamese names starting with 'Ng.' Hopefully Labour had someone more familiar with Asian cultures than me casting judgement on what names "sound Chinese."

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Campbell interviewed, in reply to hamishm,

    Roughan’s smear sounds like the vision statement of a good TV current affairs programme.

    And the complete opposite of Fox News - can't see anyone characterising Fox's mission as "to side with people against power."

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Somewhere* it's National…,

    This librarian thanks you for getting what it is we do. If a book's being borrowed by our patrons and our distribution of it doesn't breach OFLC rulings, feel free to berate us for purchasing it, but keep in mind we don't give a shit, and can't if we want to maintain some professional self-respect.

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Didn't see that coming,

    The job of press secretary is one of composure, even if it seems the journalists are being annoying or even malicious in their angles. Anger, be it necessary, should be left for when cameras are not rolling, mics are not live and people are not listening.

    True, but I'm not sure it applies to a party like this one. I thought it was hilarious, and although I'm not their target market I bet plenty in that target market thought the same. The people it put off generally wouldn't be potential I/M voters anyway, and it made the party lead story on 3News (and presumably TVNZ, but I didn't watch) on the day National was doing its big policy release.

    Also: the PM's been saying for nearly two weeks that none of this stuff that was hacked is anything to do with him, so Dotcom's statement about hackers making PMs look bad couldn't possibly have the meaning these journos are ascribing to it, right? Well, unless they think the PM's lying, of course...

    Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

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