Links 6/30/17

Dear patient readers,

A reliable reader has found evidence of what could be potentially a significant story. But to prove out the hypothesis, we need to understand the supply chain for a particular drug, perhaps several related drugs and get data on supply levels and factors that should impact supplies on a state level. It is likely not possible to do this at a macro level, but even getting this for a few states could help prove whether the theory has merit.

So if you have any ideas or leads (as in you either know directly or know people who might know how to get this general type of information, write me at with “Drug supply chain” in the subject line and we’ll discuss further. Thanks!

Meet Rare Sea Wolves Who Live Off The Ocean And Can Swim For Hours Bored Panda

Sony Will Start Making Vinyl Records Again In Japan, After A Nearly 30-Year Hiatus NPR (David L)

Green light for new EU rules on organic farming EU Business (Micael)

MIT professor issues a stark warning to US over dwindling science funds Business Insider (David L)

Yoga more dangerous than previously thought, scientists say Telegraph. Pushing yourself too hard in any physical discipline is a bad idea (and I say that from lots of personal experience!). Plus many people who take yoga classes 1. get hung up on doing the classical version of the posture, when there are variants for pretty much every posture that can accommodate various personal issues (like differences in body proportions that can make a big difference); 2. are competitive when yoga is supposed to be a personal practice; 3. have been taught versions of the posture that don’t do what the posture is intended to do and on top of that, stress body parts for no productive reason (one of my pet peeves is up dog with the top of the feet flat on the ground. You are hinging into your lower back, which is a bad idea. The posture is intended to stretch the front of your body. You accomplish that by putting your toes on the ground, heels in the air, and push backwards into your heels while arching your back. This stretches your front and protects your lower back. Trust me and try it).

Lance Armstrong’s drug of choice, EPO, ‘doesn’t work’, scientists claim Telegraph. So he lost his medals over at most placebo effect?

A Deadly Brain-Invading Worm Is Disturbingly Widespread in Florida Gizmodo

Solving the heroin overdose mystery: how small doses can kill aeon (Micael)

Google must alter worldwide search results, per orders from Canada’s top court ars technica


China builds new missile shelters on South China Sea islands Financial Times

Americans and South Koreans Want Peace. Will Trump Listen? Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc)

A tangled tale of bank liquidation in Venice Bruegel


Ireland says dozen City firms and banks to set up in Dublin over Brexit Guardian

Brexit concerns shrinking UK’s lead as Europe’s top financial services destination, new research shows Independent

Carney expects British households may not be able to service consumer loans New Europe (Micael)

Grenfell: the anatomy of a housing disaster Financial Times

New Cold War

Trump to Meet With Putin at G-20 Gathering Next Week New York Times. Lambert: “This should cause some heads to explode.”

Trump to meet with Putin at G-20 summit next week Boston Globe. Resilc; “What could go wrong?”

Senate passes deal to advance Russia sanctions bill The Hill

EU extends sanctions on Russia for another six months EU Business (Micael)


How America armed terrorists in Syria American Conservative

Qatar Looks to Iran and Iraq LobeLog (resilc)

Why Is Afghanistan the ‘Graveyard of Empires’? Diplomat. Resilc: “Nor is Yemen kind, ask the Egyptians.”

Ex-Weapons Inspector: Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’ American Conservative (Kevin M)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Sinkhole swallows car in St Louis BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

AT&T GigaPower plans to charge extra per month again if you want privacy, no ads Privacy Online News (Chuck L)

Andrew Cuomo calls a state of emergency for the MTA, which is in a state of emergency because of Andrew Cuomo. New Republic. Featuring since Cuomo no doubt fantasizes that he is a Prez contender for 2020.

Trump Transition

Secretary of State Gives Up on Diplomacy, Berates White House New York Magazine (resilc)

Scarborough: State Department ‘rotting’ under Tillerson The Hill (Darryl)

House Democrats want inspector general to probe whether Sessions violated recusal – The Washington Post (furzy)

Trump Travel Ban Goes Into Effect Even as Hawaii Files Challenge Bloomberg

Press Secretary Says Trump Mocked Morning Joe Host Because She ‘Bullied’ Him The Cut (resilc)

Donald Trump Is Much Uglier Than His Mika Brzezinski Tweet Daily Beast (furzy)

Conaway, Schiff threaten to subpoena White House over Comey tapes Politico

Taxes May Be Certain, but Tax Reform Is Not Gallup


Prostitutes speak out against Senate health bill CNN (Alfred)

Dazed GOP bolts Washington in health care disarray Politico

GOP scrambles to win centrist votes on ObamaCare repeal The Hill

GOP Bill Would Slash Medicaid Over Next Two Decades, CBO Finds Bloomberg. A feature, not a bug.

Senate GOP Weighs Keeping Investment Tax in Health Bill Wall Street Journal

California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth Vox. Lambert: “See the chart. US leads again!”

Nina Turner, a Democratic Party critic, takes reins of Sanders-founded group Washington Post (furzy)

How the Democrats’ Email Strategy Went Haywire New Republic

A New Problem for Keystone XL: Oil Companies Don’t Want It Wall Street Journal (Dan K)

Global bond market sell-off infects equities Financial Times

Class Warfare

Low-income workers who live in RVs are being ‘chased out’ of Silicon Valley streets Guardian. Resilc: “At least slaves had quarters in 1850.”

The emerging class struggle over health care in the US WSWS (Micael)

Climate Change Will Worsen U.S. Inequality, Finds a Revolutionary New Study Atlantic (resilc)

New York Times copy desk to top editors: ‘You have turned your backs on us’ Poynter. No wonder the Times thinks it doesn’t need copy editors. They do fact checking!

Note I’ve already seen a big glitch at the Grey Lady: a lead DealBook story with an incomplete sentence in the first paragraph:


The one law of robotics: Humans must flourish BBC (JTM)

This is the end—or is it? Real World Economics Review (Micael). On neoliberalism.

Politics after National Development: Explaining the Populist Rise under Late Capitalism: Globalizations: Vol 0, No 0. Taylor & Francis Online. UserFriendly: “Nothing new here but if someone who didn’t know the word neoliberalism asked me what is wrong with the world I’d send this link. It’s a great summary.”

Czech court cancels Uber ban New Europe (Micael)

Antidote du jour (Lawrence R):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Tim

    Scott Ritter and Tom Apostol sys the “Sarin” attack in Syria was fake. The UN investigattive body on Chemical weapons today announces that it was in fact Sarin in the Syrian attack!

    They can not both be true at the same time, so who to believe?

    1. Bill Smith

      Scott Ritter and Tom Apostol arguing who did it or that it didn’t take place…?

    2. Jean Inconnu

      BBC says “a large number of people, some of whom died, were exposed to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance”. The UN interviewed people but have not been to the place of the attack itself, as this was deemed too dangerous.
      I find the above reference to “sarin-like” ambiguous… and why is this in the headlines everywhere and Seymour Hersh’s story isn’t?

      Why do I get this feeling of being f*cked over?

      1. Brian

        Likely because you think Jean. If it were sarin, there would have been no pictures of victims, because the camera people, the aid workers, the passersby, and everyone else not wearing a hazmat suit would have been dead from the exposure to it very quickly. Remember, no one is telling this basic fact about sarin. There was a rather complete report about the bombing in the last few days regarding russia allowing syria to use a guided bomb to take out the parties going to a meeting at the ground zero location. The location sits on a site with ag pesticides and other chemicals.
        Because I am no expert in truth, I do not link to any story that could be true or false. But it does explain in some detail what the Mostly Slop Media chose to ignore when it ran a propaganda piece about sarin that could not be true.

        1. todde

          Google pictures of the Tokyo sarin attack.

          I see people in hazmat suits but then some show people be treated by others with out hazmat suits.

          1. Adam

            Didn’t those people without hazmat suits end up dying as well, in turn informing us why these set of Syria pictures make no sense?

      2. craazyboy

        Sarin-Like Substance = Gaseous Substance?

        Also the exact phrase “sarin-like substance” is an exact dupe of the wording in the initial press reports, some of which were prepared before the attack!

        So, the UN is handed the original, reads it out loud, the implication being they finally completed some tedious investigation?


        1. Ptolemy Philopater

          Sarin is a powerful nerve toxin, as are many pesticides. Most pesticides belong to the class of organophosphates and are powerful nerve toxins as well. The “Sarin like” finding indicates that the toxic agents could have been organophosphates, but in refusing to connect the dots to the blowing up of a pesticide depot, as per the Syrian, Russian and Sy Hersh narrative, the UN labs are showing they’re serving as shills for the Assad did it regime changers. They have been politicized.They are changing the narrative by omission.

          Most “false” news is false by way of omission, by leaving out documented facts, an alternate narrative is created indicting Assad and the Russians. It’s called plausible deniability, which the media are masters at.

    3. Donald

      I don’t think Occam’s razor necessarily applies in wartime. If there was an opportunity to frame Syria I am sure the rebels would take it. So the Russian -Syrian- Hersh story of a conventional bomb attack might be true, other chemicals might have been released and if the rebels had Sarin present along with some people they were willing to kill they could add them to the mix.

      I am not pushing this with any degree of conviction– my point is that the reasons for skepticism about the official story don’t go away if it turns it some of the victims were killed by some form of sarin. I know nothing about chemical warfare, but some of the skeptics do and they say the video evidence we have been given is ludicrous and staged. On the other hand, the staging doesn’t prove the Syrians didn’t use Sarin– maybe the rebels are just recreating events later in a clumsy fashion. So the reality of what happened might be complicated and not easily determined, especially when investigators couldn’t go to the actual scene of the crime right after it happened.

      More generally, when it comes to distant wars where objective observers can’t go, there is only so much you can know for sure. Think of everything you read as being a possible Gulf of Tonkin event. Of course this also applies to what the Syrians or Russians claim. We might know the truth in 5 years or 50 years or never.

      1. fresno dan

        June 30, 2017 at 8:50 am

        Nice analysis and I agree.
        I approach it from the view about WHY is there such warfare and fighting to begin with. Maybe it all starts with Sykes-Picot…or maybe not, but it seems to me that Western involvement for going on 100 years hasn’t made the place into Switzerland, so maybe we should accept that we can’t solve those problems.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Ottoman Empire managed relative stability despite political lines shockingly similar to the ones in existence today. Sowing chaos does cause problems.

          1. anon

            It all did start with Sykes-Picot.

            And again, Donald’s level-headed analysis show why the US should never have been involved in any of this to begin with. Our diplomatic and intelligence services have been blundering around for almost a century trying to fill the shoes of the former colonial powers, and failing miserably for the same reasons the Brits and the French did. US behavior in the region has been a stellar example of what the ancient Greeks called hubris: a malicious arrogance that inevitably leads to severe punishment for the offender.

            1. mpalomar

              Sykes existential effect on the course of contemporary events in the Levant is evidence of the importance of the individual variable in the course of history. He died of the Spanish flu in 1919. Had someone put a bullet in his head a few years earlier, the middle east might have been quite a different sort of mess.

      2. zapster

        It was also reported early on that the provenance of the samples and supposed victims was highly questionable.

    4. fajensen

      They can not both be true at the same time, so who to believe?

      The channels with divergent headlines of course. Today we find the same groups of “trigger-words” across multiple media making it appear that there is a consensus – but – also that the news are coordinated via a central source, maybe by accident.

      With robots writing most of the news volume, “keeping the narrative” is not an impossible stunt to pull of either. Maybe even by accident: The robots suck up stuff via Google, optimise the section, format and placement on “click-ratings” then splurge their compilations onto home pages, which are then sucked into other robots via Google which gives them another spin and optimisation … so the same stories are repeated again and again and again.

      The non-message-compliant / genuinely researched news will stick out in volume (small) and inconsistency (the author has his/her own narrative and opinions). We still get to determine if we trust the publisher or not, but, this is normal, human even.

      robot-written news ->
      article about it ->

    5. timbers

      The UN investigattive body on Chemical weapons today announces that it was in fact Sarin in the Syrian attack!

      Ok, assume this is true. Then, who used the sarin? In the past it is the terrorists the U.S. and it’s allies are funding that have used it, not Syria. Even the CIA & Obama have admitted such (as in the CIA said there was WMD in Iraq, and also said there was not…dontcha know…just to make sure you cover all your bases and history can say you called it right).

    6. Andrew Watts

      Who cares? It’s not like it actually matters.

      When Obama mouthed off about his red line about chemical weapons use in Syria he committed the US and the international credibility of the American presidency towards enforcing it. Any specific instance where chemical weapons presumably could’ve been used immediately has a credibility problem attached to it. It wouldn’t even have mattered who was president at that point. This is an example of where charismatic “leadership” devolves into the exercise of force and the rule of Warlords.

    7. Alex Morfesis

      She is cute but she does have big feet…do the dead really care how they died…acceptable forms of genocide…and once more than a thousand people die…it is genocide…

      we are all the wehrmacht…eating up human capital on the one tenth of one tenth of one percent of the dead…

      We are not sending in anything that begins to suggest actionable physical military presence…not that we should…but the chosen one…the “rey” of the alevi…the fearless leader assad knows no one is coming to stop him…

      1. different clue

        Once more than a thousand people die . . . it is genocide?

        Is there an International Law legal-courtroom-quality definition of what genocide is? In legal “Nuremberg Trial” courtroom-quality terms?

        If there is any such definition, does it include the legally spelled out condition that ” once more than a thousand people die . . . it is genocide” ?

        Could someone provide a true link to the actual International Law Definition of what genocide is officially legally defined as being?

    8. ewmayer

      Hersh specifically mentioned the possibility of the rebels cooking low-potency ‘kitchen sarin’, such as may have been used in the previous 2013 false-flag attack (although I’ve also read that that sarin may have been obtained from the arsenal of an ‘interested third party’ nation., since it appeared to be quite lethal). That is much lower potency than military grade, i.e. people sans hazmat suits might suffer some symptoms from contact with it but not the fatal kind. So a conventional bomb dropped by Syria/Russia which hit a rebel chem-kitchen is a possible way to reconcile the 2 seemingly nutually exclusive stories.

    9. Bill K

      I can’t find anything on Google by a “Tom Apostol” or even just any “Apostol” criticizing the official US gov’t / mainstream media story on the chemical weapons attack alleged to have taken place at Khan Shaykhun on April 4.

      Was “Tom Apostol” actually a mistake, and you meant to refer to Theodore “Ted” Postol? I ask since Ted Postol definitely *has* criticized the official story on Khan Shaykhun and, more broadly, is the MIT professor emeritus and missile expert who has a long history of criticizing official US gov’t / mainstream media stories on everything from the performance of Raytheon’s “Patriot” anti-missile missiles during the First Persian Gulf War to the current rendition of our national missile defense system (which began during the GWB administration) to the 2013 allegations that Syria used chemical weapons in Ghouta (i.e., the one that violated President Obama’s “red line” for which Obama then caught so much criticism for not ultimately keeping).

      (general article about Postol)

      (specific article about Postol’s doubts about the official story of Kahn Shaykhun, including links to his 2 “quick turnaround reports” / open letters laying out his scholarly counterargument to the official story)

      P.S. Speaking of professors at famous institutes of technology, there was a famous “Tom Apostol” at MIT’s nemesis, Caltech, but he was a pure mathematician, not a missile expert:

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        If there is any doubt whether it was sarin or not, I still ask myself why on earth would Assad who is now better placed than he has been for quite sometime, deliberately open the door to reprisals & most likely annoy the hell out of the Russians. So little to gain, potentially so much to lose . Still, I suppose that for many out there he is the equivalent of a certain someone who has a son called Mini Me, strokes a fluffy white cat & is also very stupid….. just not in a funny way.

        Good encouragement for false flags anyhow.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      The SF Chronicle and other news organizations in the Bay Area have been running stories this week on the chronic homeless problem in this area.

      I don’t like the Chronicle all that much, but this is first-rate journalism. Encampments are growing everywhere in this city. Under freeways, along industrial roads and doorways of major streets. They’re commonplace and the local authorities are overwhelmed. But it has been years in the making. The photos in these articles are stark, a deliberate reminder of Dorothea Lange. This is what we’ve become.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Will those in the Barbary Coast try the “Corbyn Solution” – housing them in empty mansions?

      2. Sutter Cane

        The difference being that during the Depression, it was at least accepted that we actually were IN a depression, rather than being told that America was already great.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Because we fear fear itself.

          Back now, people defeated the fear of fear itself, and were able to fear…thus with many fearing we wouldn’t be great again, in the 30’s

          Now, we are not allowed to fear that we are not great. So, we must already be great.

    2. Ohnoyoucantdothat

      Was in Palo Alto in April to visit my PhD advisor at Stanford. Saw those RVs on El Camino. Truly sad situation for all those folks. But it does get worse. I stay in rest areas when on the highway because my truck is full of photography gear and I don’t want to empty it every night at a hotel. I spent 2 night in a rest area on the foothills expressway in Hillsboro, one of the most exclusive berbs in the bay area. Both nights the place was crammed with cars and trucks spilling out onto the merge ramps. Was particularly struck by an old couple, both in their 80s, who were living in their car. He appeared to be suffering from dementia as she had to help him with everything. I’m not the crying type but they almost brought me to tears. The rules required them to leave every morning but they were back early so as to get a good spot. How we as a society can tolerate such abuse is beyond comprehension.

      1. mpalomar

        “…an old couple, both in their 80s, who were living in their car. He appeared to be suffering from dementia as she had to help him with everything”

        -Thanks for noticing and reporting these events they should not pass unnoticed, as so often they do.

  2. Huey Long

    RE: Lance/EPO

    FYI, Lance was doing more than just EPO; he also used testosterone and various corticosteroids.

    Second thing is I question the dosages used for this story as in do they reflect the dosages taken by EPO era riders? Also, have the synergistic effects of EPO + other drugs been studied? Growth hormone for example is pretty useless by itself but dramatically increases performance when combined with AAS.

    Stage times in the TdF dropped dramatically after 1990 and riders started beating 1980’s times by 3-5 minutes on certain stages which is an eternity in cycling. Something changed, and I doubt placebo effect was the reason.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I am very dubious about that story. There is a huge amount of research out there about the benefits of EPO. The enormous increase in times for endurance sports in the 1990’s has few other reasonable explanations.

      I’ve personal experience of the benefits of blood boosting – on three occasions I’ve spent several weeks cycling at 4,000 metres plus (12,000 feet plus). I didn’t get measurements, but medical friends have said my red blood cell count would probably have been at a borderline illegal (in most sports) level for a few days after coming down from that. The feeling is bizarre, its like your legs can go forever, but your brain can’t quite believe what is happening. The increase in endurance levels is amazing, but sadly it only lasts for a few days.

      But different types of blood boosting does give different impacts. In Tyler Hamiltons autobiography, he writes about of moving from EPO to direct blood doping (i.e. using mechanically enriched blood) when he left US Postal. He wrote that it felt much different – with EPO he felt supercharged, but with blood doping he had to push through the pain barrier before getting a strong, second wind. So blood boosting drugs may have a different impact (part of which may be psychological) over other methods.

      US Postal, it must be remembered, didn’t just use EPO more than other teams. They hired the best doping doctor in the business (Ferrari) and he put them on very specific microdosing protocols, mixed in with a limited number of other illegal compounds, mostly testosterone for recovery. Ferrari rarely used many illegal drugs, he just used them in very focused science based way to improve endurance. As Hamilton wrote, other riders in the Pelaton were forced to use borderline quacks like Fuentes, who pumped everything he could get his hands on into riders, some of which may have been counterproductive.

      Someone once said that doping is like going to court. If you go to court, having a lawyer is an advantage, but the better and more expensive your lawyer is, the bigger your advantage. Doping is the same. Taking EPO or other drugs gives benefits, but the better your doctor, the bigger your advantage. Armstrong didn’t gain his advantage by taking EPO and other illegal drugs (most of the peloton was doing the same), he gained advantage by paying for the exclusive access to the best doctor available. Armstrong wasn’t just injecting himself when he could, he was following a specific and detailed protocol.

      That said, I’ve heard a number of sports scientists say that many of the older forms of doping probably only gave a psychological advantage, especially substances like amphetimines. But everything I’ve read on the topic indicates that EPO gave real physiological advantages, to the extent that anyone doping almost certainly could beat non-doped athletes with similar genetics. You can see this in almost any endurance sport from the 1980’s (EPO was first used by speed skaters in the early 1980’s), right up to the 00’s. Since then, most doping athletes use more subtle means of blood improvements, although few are as good as EPO, as the gradual levelling off in times in endurance sports over the last 10 years clearly indicates.

      1. Carolinian

        Sounds like you’re the expert on this but supposedly Armstrong was using transfusions of his own blood or “blood doping.” Presumably this blood came from his training sessions in Colorado. His training hangout, Aspen, is around 8000 ft elevation.

        Personally I think the righteousness over what Armstrong did is way overblown. Like you say they all do it or did it and the Tour itself is less a sport than an endurance contest since the riders all have roughly the same skills. It started out as a newspaper promotion.

        1. roadrider

          since the riders all have roughly the same skills

          Not true. Professional cyclists do have different skills and these are reflected in the different types of competition in a Grand Tour.

          1. Sprinting. These guys excel at short bursts of high speed and compete for points awarded for the top finishers in each stage and intermediate sprints along the route. The most consistent finisher is awarded a separate jersey (green in the Tour de France). Sprinters do not have the physical attributes to ride climbs (particularly on the mountain stages) as the overall contenders and thus only get to shine on the flatter stages where there is a bunch sprint at the finish line.

          2. Climbing. These guys are the true climbing specialists that dominate the most mountainous stages and often out climb many of the overall contenders but have difficulty in the fast, flat stages and time trials. There is also considerable variation in descending skill among these riders and also among non-climbers. They also compete for a different individual jersey (polka-dot in the Tour deFrance).

          3. Time-trial specialists. These guys excel in the individual race against the clock and can maintain a high rate of speed over a long distance.

          Contenders for the overall title (general classification) like Armstrong are typically strong in climbing and time trialing, because these stages are where the greatest time differences are made, but may be not the absolute best at either. Cyclists who can compete at a high level in more than one of these disciplines form a fourth skill group, are the elite of the sport and are the group where the overall Grand Tour winners come from.

          I would also add bike handling as another individual skill that varies among cyclists and can make a big difference in races over courses with lots of high-speed curving descents or even in difficult corners in the flatter stages.

          1. Carolinian

            But the Tour winners are almost always the strong climbers, no? That’s where the big time differences take place. I assumed it was the Tour de France we were talking about, not cycling in general.

            Armstrong specialized in the Tour and made a scientific campaign out of it. That probably had as much or more to do with why he won all those races rather than the cheating. He used to boast that he never failed a drug test (there were a couple of fuzzy exceptions). Therefore were the other riders cheating? No way to know now.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Armstrong was a lousy climber until he started EPO. He was a specialist in the one day classics on the flats. To be a climber, you basically have to increase your output over body weight ratio. If you see photographs of him as a young man and later, you see he was much more muscular earlier in life. There are actually drugs (like AICAR) which can do this, but they weren’t available back then. It was basically a combination of extreme diet and work to get his weight down and a mix of EPO and testosterone to build up endurance and strength that made him a grand tour contender.

              There is a myth that since ‘they were all at it’, it just evened things up. But in reality, everyone responds differently. There is evidence that Armstrong actually has a naturally quite low level of haemocrit, which would have counted against him as an endurance athlete. EPO made him leap above a lot of other riders, including other EPO users. And then there is the issue that he simply had more professional doctors helping him out. He won those TdeF’s because he was more ruthless and more professional about doping than the others. Clean riders (yes, they do exist) simply had to content themselves with being also rans in that period. You could compete clean in an endurance event up to the late 1980’s, but for a period from around 1990 to 2005 I doubt if there was a truly clean winner in any endurance event, in any sport. EPO just worked too well.

              1. Carolinian

                Clean riders (yes, they do exist) simply had to content themselves with being also rans in that period.

                Armstrong’s attitude was apparently that if he was going to ride clean he wouldn’t win and given the long history of doping in the Tour you can’t say that’s wrong. He doubtless used his charity work to justify himself and the frequent and direct lying.

                Guess what I’m saying is that this particular race is more spectacle than sport and that the condemnations don’t emphasize this enough. Armstrong’s teammate Hincappie also doped but got off easier by ratting out Armstrong. He now lives in my part of SC and is considered quite respectable.

                And yes at the Atlanta Olympics I saw one of those flat races that were his specialty. He didn’t win.

                1. roadrider

                  Guess what I’m saying is that this particular race is more spectacle than sport and that the condemnations don’t emphasize this enough.

                  Then you don’t understand it. Skill, whether its bike handling, descending, ability to accelerate on steep climbs, etc. are critical to bicycle racing. Some are innate skills that are no different than the hand eye-coordination to hit a baseball traveling at close to 100 mph or recognize breaking pitches or to throw those kinds of pitches with control and command. Others can be improved through practice but all must be maintained through training in order to compete at the highest levels just as in any other sport.

                  In addition racing tactics and team work are indispensable to winning a Grand Tour or any type of stage race. Again, cycling is no different than any other sport in that respect.

                  Earlier you commented that the TdF started as a newspaper promotion. Yes, that’s true, but so what? All sports benefit from media publicity.

                  And as far as Armstrong not winning the Olympic race that’s like saying I saw Willie Mays play once and he went 0 for 4. Its meaningless.

                  Hincapie and the rest of the US Postal/Discovery team in the Armstrong era were all involved in doping. They did rat out Armstrong but I’m not sure what you mean by getting off lightly. They did not have any Tour victories to be voided and Hincapie was effectively at the end of his career when he confessed. I’m pretty sure they all received the same bans that any pro cyclist implicated in doping would receive. They simply had less public visibility and much less to lose in terms of money and accolades. The exception would be Floyd Landis who did have his own TdF victory voided in 2006 and was pretty much radioactive to other teams after his ban expired.

                  I not trying to defend Armstrong, in fact I’m very critical of him and the corrupt culture of professional cycling. But your comments reflect a real lack of understanding of the sport and tend to denigrate it based on false premises.

                  1. Carolinian

                    Didn’t say that elite cyclists at the pro level don’t have any skills. I said they had roughly the same skills although obviously some excel in some events and others in others. But when you are talking Olympic level athletes winning could be a matter of a few seconds of superiority. This is the whole reason for doping of course.

                    I’m not arguing with what you say–most of which I agree with. I’m saying that cycling–or any sport–shouldn’t be taken so seriously as at the end of the day it is entertainment. And in that respect Armstrong, until his disgrace, did quite well. He was a positive force with his charity and he greatly promoted cycling as a pastime in the US by winning the European dominated Tour.

                    As for Hincapie, he has a store selling cycle clothing and sponsors bicycle events in the nearby mtns. You can see his rv from time to time with Hincapie in giant letters on the side….doesn’t seem to be disgraced. Armstrong still rides too and gets rich guys to pay him large fees to conduct mock races with them. But as far as I know he’s never been allowed to compete again.

            2. roadrider

              I was talking specifically about Grand Tour cycling which includes the Tour de France and responding to your specific comment that all cyclists have roughly the same skills. That’s manifestly untrue as reflected by the different individual competitions that take place within a Grand Tour:

              – most consistent finisher (green jersey in the TdF) dominated by the sprinters
              – best climber (polka-dot jersey in the TdF) dominated by climbing specialists
              – general classification (yellow jersey in the TdF) best overall time

              It is true that the overall winner must be an excellent climber (but not necessarily the best climber in the field) and if a guy like Armstrong chose he probably could seriously contend or even win the climbing competition but that’s obviously secondary to the overall win. But not every stage is a mountain stage and in the other types of stages the overall contenders are content to ride in the pack and mark each other carefully while trying to avoid crashes.

              I agree that Armstrong focused on the Tour de France and was second to none in his preparation (training, equipment, strategy, team work, nutrition) in addition to the doping aspects. That wasn’t my point

              Of course other cyclists were cheating and contrary to your statement that there’s now way to know now this is absolutely known!

              Of the cyclists who finished on the podium in the era in which Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times (1999–2005), Fernando Escartín is the sole rider not to be implicated in a doping scandal.[43] With “20 of the 21 podium finishers in the Tour de France from 1999 through 2005 directly tied to likely doping through admissions, sanctions, public investigations or exceeding the UCI hematocrit (a blood test to discover EPO use) threshold”, Escartin’s third-place finish in the 1999 Tour de France stands as the lone of the 21 podium finishes that was untainted, during the years (1999–2005) in which Lance Armstrong finished the Tour de France in first place.

              I don’t necessarily disagree that the moralizing over Armstrong is somewhat overdone as professional cycling has always been rife with doping and other forms of cheating. What sets Armstrong apart were his blatant lying, coercion of team mates into doping, intimidation of whistle blowers and journalists and his collusion with cycling officials to cover up his cheating. He, more than anyone, had an opportunity to expose the corruption in the sport but instead chose to be the best at it.

            3. DH

              The cyclists who can only climb don’t win because most of the tour is on the flats and you have to be able to do well in individual and team time trials which is the other area to build up time differences. The great cyclists can out-climb their opponents while being in the top few in individual time trials.

              Armstrong and the US Postal Team was a tragedy because it was one of the all-time great sports stories of a severe cancer survivor coming back to be the best in the world, but the comeback was built on the lie of world-class doping. Its very sad, but the tragedy has to play out because doping needs to stop. There is a fine line between exercise science improvements and low levels of doping, but this was done on a massive scale. US Postal seems to be have better at doping than the other teams and that was their performance advantage.

              Long live Eddie Merckx with his doping largely limited to Belgian beer. He did have a couple of positive tests that were controversial, with suspicion of some that were deliberately mishandled and a couple of others where it turned out to be in cough syrup.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Hamilton says that US Postal exclusively used EPO during the peak years. But when the anti-doping bodies improved testing, there was a general move back to blood doping, which was seen as cruder and less effective, but harder to test for (its still very difficult to prove, unless like Hamilton you inject the wrong blood back into you). Its possible Armstrong went back to blood doping for his final Tour, I’m not sure anyone knows. The evidence also suggests he was a keen doper even going back to his teenage triathlon years. It was EPO that turned him from a very good one day racer into an unbeatable grand tour rider.

      2. chewitup

        Agree. Elite athletes do altitude training and live in places like Boulder, CO. And over an arduous three week long grand tour, the doping program helps enormously in recovery to be able to perform 21 out of 23 days.

      3. a different chris

        > its like your legs can go forever, but your brain can’t quite believe what is happening.

        I remember coming back to near sea-level after hiking the PCT/John Muir — lots of time at 10K + ft. When I came back and hiked locally (<1000ft), I felt like I was barely attached to the ground.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Its an astonishing feeling – when I first what was happening I had a lot more sympathy for EPO users, I could well understand its almost addictive.

          1. optimader

            After a few days of skiing down from corbet’s cabin in JH and then detoxing from the first two days of ibuprophin I notice I can drink a lot more beer!…
            Does that count?

      4. fajensen

        that many of the older forms of doping probably only gave a psychological advantage, especially substances like amphetimines.

        Amphetamine should suppress the normal pain from muscle fatigue and anaerobic conditions making it easier for the user to really put his/her “back into it” – of course also to overdo it and collapse with heart failure, aneurysm or shock (when sodium or potassium levels are all messed up or from overheating).

        So, yeah, it works, but, a good athlete could probably do the same performance without the “speed”, since he/she is used to the suffering.

        It might be an advantage on the 24 hour events we have here like – I suspect that an average Tour de France rider will tear through those 300 km on flat roads in 6-8 hours like it’s nothing – for the normal plods, taking 16 hours or more, I think that “speed” would help them a lot just by keep them awake during the event. This is why they test.

        Probably what you said already ;)

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It wasn’t unknown for Tour riders in the 1950’s to drop out because they took so much speed they couldn’t sleep at night.

          Paul Kimmages ‘Rough Rider’ book insists that amphetamine gave a huge boost to riders, especially when they were fatigued late season. I’m no biochemist, but so far as I know there is no known physiological benefit to it, its all psychological. It was incredibly common in the 1950’s even football teams used it all the time – including (allegedly) the West German world cup winners in 1958.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              And they drank half water, half wine mixes in their bidons. I tried that once to see if it worked, and I fell off after 2 minutes. But it was fun.

              1. optimader

                Yes, I did that in my younger days PK, long time road bike rider, now I just do it swimming! Red Wine with ice in it.

                An Italian friend told me about the coffee formulation. mix it hot, expresso and sugar, in the evening, icebox it, then drink a huge slug in the morning out the door and take the rest with them..

                on bikes,
                A friend of mine’s son was the racing tour bike manager for that big bike mfg in WI., now the road bike manager. Saw him recently, boy has the road bike technology (and prices!?!) moved on.

                I test road the soon to be released road bike they will be introducing, removing the water bottles I think cut the weight in half, not exaggerating . electric shifting and a light weight hydraulic break system, which he says have finally matured to the point he will use them on road bikes.

                So the road tire of choice at the moment are 700x 28 Bontragers, put them on my road bike this spring, fantastic. Lower rolling resistance than 25s and a lot more compliant for “unimproved” surfaces… I do a lot of crushed limestone paths these days for my maintenance rides, more fun w/ the understeer at speed and no 400hp sears sheds being wielded like rolling weapons by ppl on cellphones.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Yes, bit by bit they are changing, although my fairly straightforward Giant keeps me very happy. Lots of nice road bikes out now specifically designed for loose chip gravel roads. Electric shifting is a bit of a gimmick I think, but I love my hydraulic disks on my mountain bike, I’m sure they’d be useful on a road bike when everything gets wet and slippy.

      5. Tinky

        I have worked for decades in the Thoroughbred racing business, and can say with certainty that EPO is a powerful performance enhancing drug.

        There is no possibility that the highlighted thrust of the linked article is accurate.

        1. a different chris

          My wife had a discussion with her employer, a doctor, that was similar to the EPO subject. The doctor was arguing with her that Glucosamine, which we & other people we knew were giving to our aged dogs with significant effects, was just a placebo.

          She said “The dogs don’t know why they are taking them.” That pulled him up short… I suspect, given his usual lecturing/hectoring nature, that he missed the “dogs” part of the conversation.

          But that doesn’t mean that placebos don’t also “work.” But what they and other drugs actually do, is the billion-dollar question. Oh, and there’s the flip side: if you get told by an respected, and actually quite accomplished doctor that “glucosamine won’t help you with your joints” — sounds like that would certainly inhibit any real effects.

          Advantage: Dogs.

          1. Tinky

            Yes, good analogy.

            I would also add that those who design studies such as the one linked typically don’t have any real-word experience in enhancing the performance of athletes, and fail to understand dosing nuances, etc.

          2. DH

            We had an old dog that ws deteriorating so she could barely walk. The vet provided some anti-inflammatory pills that we gave her for a week. We gave her glucosamine and MSM after that. For the next year, she was bouncing along like a 4-year old dog until she eventually died quickly of a cancer.

            It was pretty clear that the initial anti-inflammatories helped getting her moving again but it seemed like the glucosamine/MSM had significant beneficial effects so that we didn’t have to repeat the anti-inflammatory dosing. I agree that there was no way she was responding to a placebo effect.

    2. davidgmills

      When researchers first discovered testosterone they performed a study to get a baseline average number for men. A generation later, they tested men and found that testosterone levels had fallen by 15%. A generation after that they tested men again and discovered that levels had fallen another 15%.

      So I am always curious about doping in all kinds of sports. Perhaps someone like Babe Ruth had testosterone levels 30 to 40% higher than baseball players 60 or 70 years later. And he was playing ball a generation before the first testosterone tests were done on men.

      And having taken testosterone supplements (synthetic testosterone) I can tell you that they are amazing at making the body quickly recover.

      So I often wonder whether doping just gets men back to the natural vigor they had before the modern era.

      1. davidgmills

        I didn’t like testosterone shots or gels. The shots caused highs and lows and the gels didn’t work. I found a work around that I have been using for 5 years daily. Progesterone. Yes progesterone. It is the precursor of testosterone and the topical ointments are easily absorbed and work far better than testosterone gels.

        The beauty is that the progesterone is bioidentical and I make my own bioidentical testosterone.

        My baseline was 150 (very low at 60 years old). Haven’t had any tests in several years now but last test (about age 64) my testosterone was 590 which is high normal for my age. I take 60 mg topical a day. Some days more if I am hurting. There are absolutely no side effects.

        My estrogen fell from 48 (very high) to 10 (good and low).

  3. funemployed

    Yves, you are so right about exercise. I’ve noticed a funny thing since I started paying more attention to people’s movements though (specifically running, strength training, and yoga). Most active young children of 4 or 5, in general, know how to use their bodies much better than adults. They squat, lift, push, stretch, run, etc. like pros (well, small spastic goofy pros anyhow), at least when there are no grownups making them self-conscious about it.

    Personally, I’m prone to tweak stuff when I’m not being present with my body, even with movements I know well and have done thousands of times.

    1. Lord Koos

      There is a thing called the Feldenkrais method which talks about this. Not trying to plug this, but I have some experience with it, and it is fantastic work.

      Children, before they are completely socialized and have spent years sitting in chairs (as they do in most “developed” nations), have much greater freedom of movement than adults. Adults in western culture have to unlearn years of habitual movement patterns to perform as well as children in many ways.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Yoga more dangerous than previously thought, scientists say Telegraph.

    Reading through it, this is a bit of a click-baity headline, they say what is pretty much generally known – yoga is mostly excellent, but a few postures are dubious and many teachers aren’t well enough trained to know when to alter postures for people with ongoing physical issues. Plenty of research indicates that yoga benefits most significantly (if probably no more than any other form of indoor exercise), but like any fairly intense exercise, it can do damage.

    I did damage to an old shoulder injury doing occasional yoga. I’ve also got a series of upper back, neck, shoulder and hip problems due mainly to falling off my bike too many times which left me needing long term pain management. But two years ago I started hot yoga after working things through with my physio. I’ve found it superb at managing pain and mobility issues and I love the practice. However, I only did it after bulding up core, shoulder, and muscle strength with weights and pilates before even starting it. I talked through all my issues with the yoga teachers and my physio, and I just don’t do some postures that I am dubious about (i.e. headstands and ‘plough’). The important thing is to understand your own body, what it is capable of, and what each posture tries to achieve. You can then use it for benefits, and minimise possible problems.

    Its not perfect, or as unambigously good as some yoga envangelicals will tell you – I know people who have injured themselves doing yoga, but I also know people who have given themselves serious injuries running, cycling, doing gym, and pretty much anything active. There is plenty of information out there, the important thing is to educate yourself and undersand your own body. I find hot yoga works for me, but only in association with weights and pilates.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Yeah Pilates – and some specific Pilates moves (but not others) as recommended by a good physio I had in Sydney – helps my slipped disc.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I know a lot of people rave about Pilates but it did nothing for me. I’ve been weight training for 30 years and the machines aren’t cabled hard enough. And the floor version has some stomach exercises that are flat out dangerous (like the one where you hold both feet off the floor and also lift your torso off the floor and pump your arms for a 100 count).

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I can’t find the link right now, but a few weeks ago I came across an article on research into urinary control issues and they found a surprising number of women with very good core strength through pilates and similar exercises were almost as prone to the problems as unfit women. They concluded that its as important to know how to control the muscles as it is to have strong muscles, and that sometimes (it didn’t explain why), very powerful pelvic floor muscles could be counterproductive.

          Having been to a few different pilates teachers, I suspect some just focus on some of the ‘big’ muscles, which can be effective for some, but not others. I started it because I was suffering from constant lower back aches when cycling. I found it very effective at dealing with these. I also have a long term issue with my hip – essentially my hip joint doesn’t fit perfectly in, so I’m prone to inflammation if I am not active (for example, if recovering from a cold). Again, pilates works for this, although my current pilates/weights/yoga mix seems to work best.

          I’m no expert on the topic, but over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one ‘perfect’ exercise, you have to experiment, and mixing up different types seems the best option, at least for me. Everyone should be an expert on their own body.

    2. RenoDino

      Joint flexibility is one of the main goals of yoga. As one ages, flexibility decreases. Regaining some of that more youthful flexibility with yoga is a good idea, but it can come at the expense of joint stability.
      Joints become less stable as we age due to degeneration. Yoga can destabilize joints even more if they are damaged or injured by over stretching. The result can be chronic pain and impaired mobility. This is the calculus of yoga in a nutshell, aside from any relaxation benefits the practice imparts.

      And this doesn’t even take into account the Nazi yoga instructors that are out there who drive their students to take unnecessary risks. Speaking from 12 years of experience.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        This is precisely why yoga is a good mix with heavy weights workouts. It stabilises and strengthens the muscles around the joints.

        1. JoeK

          The destabilization of joints by doing asanas (which is only one part of yoga practice but tellingly the one pretty much everyone focuses on) is indeed a danger, and one that happened to me, leaving me with no end of trouble and pain.
          But the problem is not doing the stretches, it’s doing them incorrectly. Also, thin loose-jointed people are, understandably, at greater risk. Take the one-legged forward bend (shirasasana), some teachers teach keeping the pelvis perpendicular to the extended leg, others to angle the pelvis say 45 degrees. The wrong angle and/or movement and one will be stretching the ligaments holding the sacro-iliac joint in place; very, very bad idea. But no doubt countless yoga practitioners have done that.
          A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, sums up a lot of how, for one, many of these Asian arts that have long complex histories are mis-practiced and mis-taught by teachers who count their experience training and teaching in years not decades.

        2. JoeK

          BTW PK I’ll have to disagree re weights only in terms of heavy vs. medium. Yes, heavy lifting strengthens joints, but it actually plays havoc on the muscles in making them very wound-up and tight. You can see the effects on heavy weight-lifters and bodybuilders (not the pros as they need some flexibility to compete). Medium weights have the beneficial effects though it takes longer, which avoiding the deleterious effects.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I disagree completely and I suffer generally from overly lax joints.

            Body builders are lifting to achieve muscle hypertrophy. You need to work a very specific protocol to do that, plus most body builders use drugs. I regularly see guys at my gym who lift impressive weights and aren’t bulked up.

            If you want to get the most benefit from lifting weighs, you need to lift heavy. Unless you are genetically predisposed to bulking up, you won’t wind up looking like a bodybuilder. You can tell that by your forearm and calf size. If you have meaty forearms and calves without exercising, you are predisposed to being very muscular.

            And more generally, the research increasingly shows that more intense exercise is, the bigger the health benefits. Separately, strength is the single best predictor of biological age v. physical age (as in more strength = lower biological age). The second best predictor is muscle mass.

            1. Sue

              Agree with all your comments except for the last paragraph. A general guideline for strength training according to goals would go some like this:
              1.For hypertrophy, for each lifting exercise 9 to 14 reps for 3 to 5 sets. Time between sets around one minute
              2. For maximum strength each set not more than 3 reps and nor more than 2 or 3 sets per series. Recovery time between sets no lees than 3 minutes and not more than 5 min. Since the lifter is aiming at anywhere from 90% to 105% RM (one RM is the highest weight one can lift as a single rep), a spotter is highly recommended.
              3.For power 4 to 8 reps and about 75 to 85% RM. 2 to 3minutes resting time between sets
              There are other things to consider which I won’t elaborate here, for example, the speed of movement of the lifts or the periodization of goals-athletes could start the training season aiming for hypertrophy to build a solid muscle articular base for the entire season and move to another final goal -like maximum strength- more according to his/her sport requirements or desired objective.
              Your last paragraph had me a bit confused. There has been strong evidence in the last 10 years to the effect that excessive muscular mass carries a negative correlation to human longevity. Bulkiness and “largeness” -and not just fat or obesity largeness-seems to go against large numbers of human longevity data, everything else being equal. It is true that lifting helps to offset diabetes and other conditions. Nevertheless, what a heck, gotta live and gotta die!

              1. Ancient 1

                I am eighty years of age. I have been lifting weights for sixty plus years. Around fifty years of age you begin to lose body mass which was a concern of mine but I also found that as I aged I found a lack of flexibility and balance. I now cycle through three days a week with weight training and four days a week doing basic yoga – not in a class or with an instructor. When I began lifting weights, I had a trainer who was a competing bodybuilder. He taught me to listen to my body. It will tell you all you need to know and he was correct. As I have aged I have found that to be so valuable. I have good health and when I am asked by the nurse at my six month checkups about how many days a week do I exercise and the intensity, they are a little surprised. Physical exercise does defer age degeneration and all you young people need to pay attention, after all the body is the temple of the soul.

    3. a different chris

      Did anybody watch the hilarious “chair yoga” classes on Better Call Saul? I guess I’m an awful person for being amused, time will get me, too.

    4. DJG

      PlutoniumKun: Good observations. I have done yoga for ten years, most of the time with a very serious yoga teacher. By very serious, I mean that she still has us chant, and she has also introduced the pillars of yoga, along the lines of ahimsa, and so forth. Yoga is still a religious practice: It is considered training for meditation. (Another issue is the number of yoga schools that try to pretend that yoga is just a form of secular calisthenics.)

      –As you point out, you prepared for yoga. Many people don’t. They show up for the wrong class, and they are exhausted. The other day, a newbie had to take a big breather in one of my classes: She became nauseated unexpectedly.
      –I am used to teachers who talk us through a new pose and demonstrate. The best teachers even remind the student about “side issues” like breathing or alternates, as in “You don’t have to raise your arm here if you can’t.”
      –Yoga done purely for strength isn’t yoga. Many of the chainstore gyms and yoga shops seem to think so.
      –You also have to have a regular practice. I wonder how many of these injuries are to people who show up once every three weeks.
      –I, too, find the plow position to be overwrought. My teacher usually announces variations in the case that we can’t make the full turn. The knees-on-forehead variation works for me. It sounds like you may provoke pain even with the knees-on-forehead position.
      –Conversely, I have no interest in hot yoga, especially classic Bikram, which repeats the same seventeen asanas over and over and over.
      –Also, it seems to be that time in the cycle of events: About every four years, there is a spate of articles about how dangerous yoga is. Yoga isn’t dangerous. It just isn’t for everyone.

      1. Tinky

        Correct. And the same can be said about “barefoot” running. Those who do it correctly, and thoughtfully, typically benefit and have very low incidences of injuries. Those who don’t typically experience the opposite.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Tai Chi anyone?

      Interestingly enough, both China and India are below world average when it comes to centenarian rankings.

      “Have the yoga and Tai Chi masters retired to mountain tops and the governments couldn’t reach them to add to their lists?”

      1. JoeK

        Speaking of mainland China, most of them left, went underground, or were persecuted after ’49. Taiwan and Malaysia along with Hong Kong became islands of traditional aka real-deal taiji while the CPC “improved” on the forms with their 24/28 step symmetrical and simplified wushu-type forms. Taiji is “only for people whose heart is on the left” as Cheng Man-ching is said to have once quipped.

        So looking to those places, thousands of encounters with people practicing in public over the years tells me there are quite a few very old Chinese men (usually) in parks doing taiji like they’ve been doing it a very long time, and since the percentage of Chinese who actually practice it, never mind seriously, is small, it can’t be hurting. My first teacher, in his 60s at the time, was like a rock. He did however attribute it as much to his daily glass of Chinese schnaps (gasoline is as good an approximation of the taste as anything else–I was virtually forced to sample it) as the taiji practice.

        I knew an amazing martial artist a while back. He didn’t succeed successfully in the market place like many other much less skilled than he, and when you’re that good, it’s hard and a hell of a shame to quit, so he didn’t give up the dojo, and financial disaster, severe stress, marital problems, divorce, and then cancer put him down in his ’50s. Hard to say how the all that taiji he practiced figured in that mix, for or against him.

    6. RUKidding

      I’ve practiced yoga for well over 40 years with a variety of teachers – some very good and highly trained and others not so much.

      What I’ve witnessed over this time period is the growth of yoga in the west into a commercial product, like anything else. Years ago when I did yoga, I didn’t even tell people that I was doing it because to do so opened one to ridicule or worse. Many viewed it with deep suspicion, either as some weird odd-ball hippy trippy druggy thing or as a evil devil worhsip (not exaggerating).

      Over the years, it’s become this popular industry with a huge range and variety of “types” of yoga, and it has turned into something that causes many to feel competitive about how they do it… which is diametrically opposed to the original practice of it, as it evolved in India.

      I constantly hear people say: “I can’t do yoga because I can’t do those positions.” Well yeah, if you look at one of the many popular Yoga mags in the grocery store line, I cannot, nor have I ever been able to, get into those super positions so favored on the covers of those mags. Here’s an insider tip: most (not all) of those yogis and yoginis who get into those amazing asanas are retired dancers, who spent years from childhood doing dance moves and stretches that mimic yoga.

      The not-so-secret about yoga is simply: “Start where you are.” As someone else pointed out, the main purpose of the asanas is to prepare for meditation, but done properly, they can offer a world of benefits. But you can start where you are. No one should expect to bend themselves into a pretzel the first time out, but too many want to PUSH themselves into insane postures for no good reason other than being competitive with themselves.

      You don’t even have to go that far into an asana to gain deep benefits from it. The key is a good teacher. That can be tricky to find, and if you’re a complete newbie, it’s hard to know what to look for. I do know from many years of experience, and I can tell right away if a class is going to be good for me (may be good for others and not for me, or vice versa). I can tell right away how well trained an instructor is, but that’s after decades of practice.

      Mostly I do yoga on my own now because I know what I need to do for my body. Some is to prepare me for meditation and some is totally about maintaining balance and flexiblity – two super important issues for aging. I have found that skipping certain asanas for a certain period of time can result in me losing precious flexilbility that I have to then work on – but not in an extreme way; it’s all done sloooowly over time – to get back to where I need to be.

      It’s a wonderful practice, but yes, you can injure yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing, you push yourself way too hard and/or you have an instructor who’s not knowledgeable enough or is just a poor teacher.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Same here; I started hatha yoga practice in 1982, so it’s 35 years for me. But, I fall off the wagon regularly. Plutoniumkuns point about strengthening first is very good for those who go in and out of a practice. I’d add to stay away from gym classes, and stick with the aging, woo-woo hippie chick studios, despite how irritating their shtick can be. The old vegan, yurt-dwelling, organic cotton with spandex bell bottoms yoga instructors have the critical decades of experience.

        Injured myself over-stretching late in the last decade. A right adductor injury that still holds me back in many poses. I’d still far rather do yoga than not. There is nothing else – not even tai chi – that eradicates sciatica and other persistent, fibromyalgia type body pains as effectively as yoga, or Pilates + yoga.

  5. ambrit

    Could the NYT copy editor squabble be nothing more than good old fashioned union busting? As Jay Gould said; “I can hire one half of the literati to deconstruct the other half.”

    1. Carolinian

      To the degree those copy editors are “fact checkers” maybe they should be booted. It took the Times months to admit the commonly cited 17 intelligence agencies were really only four.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Ireland says dozen City firms and banks to set up in Dublin over Brexit Guardian

    I think the pattern we are seeing from City firms is that they are hedging their bets by establishing bigger footprints outside the UK, but without commiting to large scale staff moves. They seem to have decided that they can survive even a hard Brexit, but will inevitably come under pressure to move more activities to the EU. I suspect that few staff will move, it will be more of an organic process of recruiting local EU staff and running down London offices (or not) as appropriate over 10 years or more.

    1. a different chris

      The thing is I don’t know how the slavering financial wolves will respond in total to Brexit. Of course they want and need “rich” Europe and thus need to make the EU happy. But the EU is a tough customer. OTOH the Tories, if they can keep in power, will literally let them bugger sheep if they so desire, and there is a whole world outside of the EU for buggering from the comfort of the City Of London.

      I do know they will certainly attempt to split that baby. I hope they wind up buggering themselves, the chances are not bad.

  7. Carla

    RE: “Lance Armstrong’s drug of choice, EPO, ‘doesn’t work’, scientists claim Telegraph. So he lost his medals over at most placebo effect?”

    In my book, if it works, it works. The brain is an amazing organ. Why do we consider “placebos” that reduce or eliminate pain to be so greatly inferior to medically prescribed agents that accomplish the same thing? Both act on the brain. And without the brain, we have no pain.

    All treatments either have an effect, or no effect at all. Of the ones that have effects — some of the effects are desirable, and some are not (we diminish the latter by calling them “side-effects,” but in fact all are just effects*).

    *Credit to Sydney Pollack, MD, author of Worst Pills, Best Pills.

    1. roadrider

      Whether it works or not it was against the rules, even if everyone was doing it.

      Armstrong did a lot of other stuff (testosterone, blood doping, etc) and nor only lied about it but intimidated his teammates into doing the same and used his celebrity and money to silence whistle blowers who knew he was cheating.

      He also bribed a competing team to essentially throw a race in Philadelphia that resulted in him winning a $1 million bonus. That one really pissed me off because I attended that race and bought into the whole Armstrong story. He does deserve credit for coming back from near death to even compete at the highest level of cycling but instead of using his story as an inspiration to expose the corrupt nature of the sport he merely decided he would be the best at the illegal, unethical methods that pervaded it.

  8. Whoa Molly!

    “Yoga dangerous..”

    Yves your analysis is exactly right. My pet peeve is “hip openers” taught improperly which lead to SI joint issues, lower back pain and sciatica.

    Another pet peeve is finding a teacher who is willing and skilled enough to work with a 70-something male.

    I personally do not do plough, headstand, shoulderstand or extreme backbends because I consider them too risky, given my body and health history.

    PS I became a certified yoga teacher in my mid 60s and taught in a hot yoga studio for three years.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wasn’t there an article about the oldest yoga teacher and not working up a sweat?

      1. RUKidding

        Yes. It was some woman in India, I believe in Tamil Nadu. She was in her 90s or maybe even 100.

        She was doing standard yoga practices and not getting into any of this power yoga stuff (which might be ok for some but not for all).

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Ex-Weapons Inspector: Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’ American Conservative (Kevin M)

    Reported in the Guardian today: Sarin Used in April Attack.

    Someone will end up with egg on their face over this – much as I prefer to favour Hersh’s narrative as for me it fulfils Occams Razor more closely (I simply don’t see the motive for Assad using sarin at that time and place), a lot of pretty respectable organisations are digging in and insisting that it was a chemical attack.

    1. Carolinian

      Hmmmm. Hersh vs The Guardian–who to believe (oh come on).

      As for the supposed reliability of the UN, they are probably afraid Nikki Haley will threaten their funding again.

      1. Brian

        the UN says Saudi Arabia is the guardian of women and human rights for our world. That gives us some insight into what the difference between truth and crap is to the UN. Sarin exposure is one of those “old” facts that is immutable. You die very fast. Tokyo subway anyone?

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I try to avoid confirmation bias. I’d much rather believe Hersh than the Guardian, but that doesn’t mean he’s right and they are wrong. Hersh’s article relies a lot on ‘trust me, I’ve talked to sources’, but is thin on other information, not least any photographic or other evidence about the target building. As I said, I rely on Occams razor with things like this, but I don’t think Hersh proved his case.

        1. Carolinian

          We don’t have to take Hersh’s word for it (although he does have a the track record). There’s Postol and others who have thoroughly debunked the claims of papers like the Guardian (whose track record lately is dubious indeed).

          Hersh himself says we can’t know exactly what happened without an on the ground investigation. What he is saying is that it can’t have happened the way the media and Trump assure us it happened.

        2. Indrid Cold

          I look for who benefits. The Guardian is just one of a broad array of mainstream media sites pushing for war with the lawful Syrian government. We now live in a world of propaganda and counterpropaganda. Nothing is real. Everything is permitted. All these guys, even the ones ostensibly on our side rely on shadowy unnamed sources. I’m sure there is a big part of the establishment that thinks the neocon agenda is crazypants and will gladly feed info to Hersh or Assange to help mobilize opposition to regime change.
          Occasionally razor just means don’t multiply hypotheses beyond what is necessary.

        3. JerseyJeffersonian

          Note well that Hersh did not say that he knew, or was really interested in exactly what happened; the point of his article was the investigation of what did not happen before the Tomahawk strike in “retaliation”. The President, according to his sources (sources he revealed to Die Welt’s editors to establish his credibility, but to whom anonymity was granted in the published story), ignored the views of both the CIA and the DIA, and went right to what option for action he should adopt. Ready, fire, aim. So no attempt to establish facts before acting, and in the absence of an impartial investigation on site of the incident.

          That was what the central thrust of his reportage was.

    2. curlydan

      Again we see the photo of the man taking samples of the reported “sarin” crater with sandals on (i.e. skin exposed). Is he dead now?

      The Guardian also said it did not see large damaged areas in their “inspection” of the area. But remember what Patrick Cockburn stated I believe shortly after attack, ISIS lets you see what ISIS wants you to see. This is access journalism–the Guardian can access what ISIS wants.

  10. Ian

    Dear god i tried reading the comments on NYT (article was terrible) Trump Putin story. The only conclusion i can draw is that Correct the Record is on a permanent retainer. I know i’ve said this before, but it can’t be stressed enough. Thank you NC Yves Lambert commentariate and others for the work you do and the platform you provide.

    1. John Wright

      The Times comments are moderated, possibly with a very heavy hand, by moderators who just might be concerned about keeping their jobs.

      So one cannot know of thoughtful reader comments that did not survive the moderation process.

      The laying off of the copy editors could make the posted readers comments converge ever closer to the Times editorial staff’s point of view as the comment moderators feel the indirect pressure from the editorial staff to support the Times’ point of view.

      One may be seeing a biased sample of Times commenting readers.

      I quit subscribing to the Times last year.

      It appeared skepticism was surgically removed from the Times op-ed writers, the political reporters and the readers who commented.

      Maybe Hillary Clinton does that to people, for the good of the USA and the world, hopefully this effect has a short half-life..

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I imagine it’s quite the bubble bursting to see “rightful” monarch replaced by a jester and not a particularly good one.

        Even for a well meaning member of the press or say the Obama Administration for example, what happened in November? Their world views were shattered. Wealth inequality had an effect on the election. The Democratic electorate effectively supports Single Payer and not the legacy of the Obama Administration. The reality of economic deterioration is running against the cheerleader for Obama over the last eight years. Going forward, connections to the Obama and Clinton administrations will no longer hold sway especially with younger people who gradually replace older people. These same people were all in the tank for Hillary over Sanders too, and the various issues with the primary process are out there including voter intimidation in Nevada done by Harry Reid. To avoid facing the reality of a permanent disconnect which will only get worse because these people have no credibility except with an increasingly older cohort, they are latching on to simply bizarre conspiracy theories.

        1. Andrew Watts

          As a wise man once said, very recently I might add, “The Hamptons is not a defensible position…eventually people will come for you”.

          Even for a well meaning member of the press or say the Obama Administration for example, what happened in November? Their world views were shattered.

          No, it wasn’t. That’s why we have to endure all these conspiracy theories in the first place. If anything this has only reinforced a tendency to self-censor and impose censorship on others.

          The 2016 election is going to be an all too brief moment of clarity in American history. Which is something that is undoubtedly lost on a majority of Americans.

    2. Pat

      As much as I do believe there are still people being paid to comment “appropriately” out there, I am equally sure most of the comments are probably real.

      Trump delusion syndrome is very much alive and well in the NYC area. Some of the hysteria has died down, but every new story gets the indignation going again even if it isn’t full speed. This coupled with the CTR election onslaught of the Times which drove away many more reality based readers almost certainly makes their current readership overwhelmingly still lost and insulted by the existence of President Trump.

      1. JaaaaayCeeeee

        NYT doesn’t have to moderate with a heavier hand than to delay the approval of inconvenient, disagreeing, factual comments (imagine a comment that debunks some propaganda like Dean Baker does), to insure that inconvient comment is buried hundreds of comments down, so it doesn’t get read, let alone made more visible with “likes”, while nyt’s “verified” comments, which aren’t moderated, get “liked” by many other verified commenters, or inconvenient comments just doesn’t get approved for publication with the article, before comments are closed on an article.

        Would be, good faith commenters also know that the same propaganda (that it’s more expensive to do single payer for example or that Bernie Sanders is unrealistic) will just be repeated more forcefully in more sections of nyt for TPTB, if too many readers comment disagreeing with, eg., Thomas Friedman’s claims that resurrecting TPP would make us all richer, protect labor better than ever before and stop the Chinese threat. Selecting the readers you want is like selecting the electorate you want – it works very well until it doesn’t, and not publishing an explicit rule that no writer will criticize an advertiser (nyt would not put it into writing like the idiots at WaPo I bet) works the same way.

      2. Sutter Cane

        For the average lefty democrats in my circles, Russiagate is an established fact, and any questioning of the narrative (or, even asking questions to pin down what the “narrative” is, exactly) gets one branded as a Trump supporter.

        I have a couple of friends that you can discuss it with, without having to preface every statement with “Of course Trump is terrible, but” (should shorten this like “Richard is great, but y’know” like on Silicon Valley). Otherwise it is just an accepted fact that Trump is a Russian stooge somehow among the I’m-with-her and Obama=Camelot 2.0 crowd.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am seeing a pendulum swing further and further away in one direction these day.

      Maybe it’s a special pendulum and it will fly into space once it breaks off from the hinge.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Wow people and businesses around the globe are taking on way too much debt, why can’t they do something about it?

      (Oh look, we have insane bankers whose forecasts have been 100% wrong for the last decade using a failed theory that’s making us run full speed right off this cliff).

      The head of Australia’s central bank made a speech this week where he said “people just need to push for higher wages, because household debt is much too high”.

      Let me get this straight: YOUR policies have been to FORCE FEED DEBT TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU’RE FATTENING A G-D FRENCH GOOSE FOR PATE, now people are overweight with debt you say? And we have runaway asset and price inflation also due to YOUR POLICIES, so people should simply push for higher wages?

      These are highly dangerous financial terrorists, somebody call Homeland Security, we know where they all live!

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Why Is Afghanistan the ‘Graveyard of Empires’? Diplomat. Resilc: “Nor is Yemen kind, ask the Egyptians.”

    I remember back on the eve of the invasion of Afghanistan Robert Fisk writing an article essentially saying the same thing. Invading Afghanistan with the intention of occupying is the very definition of folly. If rule number one of military strategy is ‘Dont invade Russia during the winter’, then ‘Don’t try to occupy Afghanistan’ must be number 2. Fisk of course was ridiculed by the usual armchair warriors. This time it would be different because *drones, Seals, daisycutters, pick your favourite*. Future historians will look on in amazement.

    Yemen of course is very similar – terrible terrain for an invader, tough independent people. The Egyptians learned – they refused to help the Saudi’s this time. Everyone else – including the US – will pay the price for not understanding history if they insist on ramping up that war.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      At least in the case of Saudi Arabia, I tend to think Yemen is about dispatching the army away from Riyadh to give challengers if not to the current king but to the new crown prince resources to fight the Royal Guard.

      Between the Saudis who know they are phonies and supported by the West if they can stay reasonably behaved and Saudi hardliners (it’s a clan of about 20,000 men), there are people who can mount a challenge to the king and gain either Western or Wahabbi support for a military coup. The celebration for Trump was meant to keep Trump from getting ideas about supporting a kinder, gentler Saudi ruler. Anything more than a coup would cause oil hiccups, making the Saudi plantation a fact of life.

      Afghanistan is about not wanting to look like the guy who lost the “good war.” Of course, our political discourse in the West is so poor we can’t have these conversations.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The Saudis were laughing when Trump joined in their little dance…because it is reserved for servants

  12. Wendy G.

    Re: yoga and your comment that people “have been taught versions of the posture that don’t do what the posture is intended to do” – I like your variation of Up Dog and I will try that and see if it improves the pose for me, which I don’t usually do (I take cobra instead), but you should know that tops of the feet (toenails) on the mat is in fact the correct form of the pose, according to Iyengar, who is of course the father of modern yoga asanas. Here’s a blog that excerpts from the page in his book, Light on Yoga, including a picture:
    For those who don’t know, Iyengar yoga is the most alignment-based practice, and Light on Yoga is the foundational text for alignment of the asanas (postures). Iyengar’s alignment guides are considered the authority.

    And, as you’d expect, Yoga Journal teaches the same alignment as Iyengar:

    My arms are too short for this so the pose doesn’t work in my body, and I’ll definitely try your variation and see if toes up and that extra lift helps. Thanks for suggesting it. But it’s not fair to consider this variation a “correction” of people doing it wrong. Namaste.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      In the variation I suggested, you are effectively standing on your toes, albeit with your body parallel to the floor. You then push back into your heels as you arch back.

      Corba is intended to be about articulating your upper back.

      I was taught to do Cobra not pushing at all through the hands. You do put your palms down but you use them to traction on the floor and pull back harder between your shoulder blades and upper back. You don’t get at all high doing it that way but you isolate the upper back without involving the rest of the spine. You should be able to take your palms off the floor and still be in the position.

  13. Dirk77

    Re: MIT professor … warning about dwindling science funds. I’ve never met an MIT professor who wasn’t part PT Barnum, so it’s hard for me to conclude much from that article.* Also, with our corporate overlords and military surveillance complex sucking the life out of the country, I’m not sure of the best place for scientific research in this whole mess. I welcome thoughts.

    *Ok, there was one.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You can never have enough money for V-2 rocket research…check that, scientific research.

      Those guys in Manchuria were also doing some sort of science, I think, or maybe they were just looking for Chinese antiques (there seem to be a lot of Chinese antiques from Japan up for auction here these days).

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Yes, I know it is Portuguese……for some reason I couldn’t “edit” my typo….I think NYTimes must have fired me too……

    2. salio

      I will add my thoughts and experiences as a junior scientist…

      Funding rates are dwindling. About 5 years ago, there was about a 15% chance of a random proposal being funded. Lately, it seems the actual funding rates are around 5%. (I have heard that the official numbers the NSF/NIH give are inflated through some accounting tricks.) Lower funding rates mean there is more room for manipulation. It is easier for a small number of program directors and politicians to select the research topics that are funded, and personal connections to program directors and politicians matter more. The system is setup so that it is easier for researchers supporting the consensus or status quo, and this exacerbates inequality because the funding agencies are biased towards funding professors with huge numbers of PhD students (think 15-40 students), where the model is that the professors do almost zero research themselves but get most of the salary and prestige rewards for research outcomes and ideas generated by others.

      The current funding system is also an incredible waste of financial resources and human effort. Writing a single funding proposal takes weeks to months, leaving little time to conduct research. Since universities are increasing tuition, this means that it costs about $80-100k/year using grants to support a single PhD student. This means paying for a single PhD student requires a minimum of $400k in funding. Universities take about 70% of the money through overhead and tuition, which is absurd for places like Stanford or Harvard which have billions in endowment and then have the gall to perpetuate various inequalities because of their “private” status. This overhead was one of the things the Trump administration wanted to cut by forcing reductions in scientific funding, but it is politically difficult because the money goes to the administrative class. The overhead leads to incredible pressure from universities to write grant proposals, and a few people have told me that their universities expect them to get at least $200k/year in grant money or they will be fired (not get tenure) after 6 years.

      The system is such that money becomes the sole reason of being, where much research money does not go towards productive science. What would be more fair is some randomization of how money is allocated, but such a change will not occur because the current funding works well for those in control of the current system. Myself personally, I have shifted away from writing grant proposals. Maybe I will not get paid salary for working over the summer. (Universities only pay faculty salary for the school year, and to get paid during the summer requires paying yourself through grants. The exception is business school professors, whose contribution to society is so great that they get paid for all 12 months by the university.) But at least I can focus on research, and hopefully do research that helps society and reduces inequities.

      1. Dirk77

        That echoes some friends who are slowly coming to argue that the process of selecting the top 1/2 of proposals by peer review (easy to do) and then randomly selecting from the 1/2 that are left is best. But yes, it’s hard to improve if the academics that have morphed into what is successful in the current system are the only ones left to determine changes to it. I wonder if more researchers will take your path. Good luck.

    3. Blennylips

      I’ve never met an MIT professor who wasn’t part PT Barnum

      I met and was hired by one. He had that streak true, but it was a wee bit.

      Late 90s as part of a Woods Hole SBIR (small business inovation research) grant, he needed a Window’s user app to computerize the WH gizmo.

      I used 20% of my time working on Guido’s open source baby Python (python 1.5.2 win32 burnham) and then could crank any old app you needed tout suite, eventually taking me to Harrodsburg Kentucky, Gumi Korea, Shizuoka Japan, not to mention Chepstow Wales.

      1. Blennylips

        Looking back now from my tropical desert island home, it could have been so different.

        Those punctuations counted way more than the equilibriums.

        I could not have planned it better: far away from the pinned jet stream kinks mixing arctic and temperate, flood and drought, to living under the Dutch healthcare system.

        I am lucky not skillful.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    2. are competitive when yoga is supposed to be a personal practice;

    You can take boys and girls out of school, but you can’t take school out of them…

    “That’s the only way to Harvard Business School. The annual freshman class size is not adjusted for population growth 18 years prior.”

    To survive that race is like surviving a resources-dwindling, global-warming world.

    1. DH

      With any luck, that means that a smaller percentage of our managers and executives will come from the leading business schools. I dive under my desk when I see the MBAs coming as they usually leave business destruction behind in their wake. The more credentialed, the less they seem to know about actual business.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef



    1. Can that sign be edited in India?
    2. Can it be edited in China?
    3. Does spell-check catch it?
    4. Are robot editors coming?

    “I want my fake news to cost less!!! I am struggling to keep my income growth inline with the CPI.”

    1. WeakenedSquire

      My first reaction to the news of copy editor layoffs was: copy editors still exist? How could anyone tell? And printing signs like that doesn’t help the editors’ case either; it just makes them look stupid, and/or demonstrates that they think management is stupid–while likely true given all that we know about the NYT, not something that’s wise to call attention to.

  16. Jason Boxman

    I’ve never been flexible enough to do down dog with my feet on the ground. Glad to know that that’s not even something I should be trying to do.

  17. hreik

    “Gentle” is the new “power” yoga. With a good teacher it’s superb, less risky, position variations abound. That and “yin” are my 2 favorite types, with yin taking place #1, esp in summer..

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The one law of robotics: Humans must flourish BBC (JTM)

    That’s beyond ‘Must Do No Harm.”

    And it comes with a conundrum – humans might want to flourish irrationally…like exponential population growth.

    1. craazyboy

      What we need then is “Breeder Robots”. They are cyborg with bonafide female sex organs. They have platinum hair, huge boobs – inflatable by an implanted oxygen canister approved by the FDA, and wear Victoria Secret designer f*ckwear, adorned with flashing blue LEDS.

      It will be fully audio enabled with porn scene lines, and also kevetch regularly about their partners sexual ignorance, boorish attempts at dirty pillow talk, and general inadequacy. Also, regularly inform their partner just before detecting male climax, the garbage needs to be taken out and it’s stinking up the place.

      It will be covered by a new loophole in Obama Care, passed by House and Senate Republicans just in time for 2020 elections. It’s tax deductible, too.

  19. justanotherprogressive

    Ooops! Another Secretary without the Ben Carson frame of mind…….I don’t think Tillerson is going to last long in the Trump Administration if he keeps leaking stories like the one in NY Mag…….

    “God made me do it”? (Actually it was his wife’s God…..) Wonder when Tillerson’s going to figure out that perhaps God was trying to punish him…..

  20. Tyrion

    “AT&T GigaPower plans to charge extra per month again if you want privacy, no ads”

    This article shines a light on how skeevy AT&T’s policies are, but it misses the worst part. Even if you pay the “privacy fee” Room 641A and others like it still exist. AT&T happily gives the NSA free access to all traffic on its network, no warrant required. Oh, and did you know the NSA is now sharing their data with the DEA and probably other agencies as well?

    If you use AT&T there’s likely a file on you somewhere.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Is AT&T now in the extortion business? They took our privacy because they could and now they want to sell it back to us?

      And exactly WHAT are they selling to us? Ad blockers and the “Do not Call List” are free and will work better than anything AT&T comes up with – so why pay AT&T? Are they now NOT going to give our records to any Federal Agency or contractor that asks for them? Hardly… what is it that they are actually selling? Hot air?

      1. Tinky

        This is closely analogous to what the airlines are doing. First they took away free checked luggage, and now – trust me – they’re gunning for your carry-ons.

    2. Andrew Watts

      The NSA collects all upstream traffic from various ISPs and mobile service providers under Section 702 of FISA. AT&T is just using the same implanted infrastructure as the NSA to deliver targeted advertising. It isn’t about maintaining files on individuals per se but profiling you based upon your metadata and various connections.

      Espionage and advertising is where the purpose of the NSA and internet providers intersects. Solely driven by the superstitious voodoo of big data analytical thought.

    1. polecat

      I see a donkey in the pasture beyond, head down … and obviously in a funk ! … sooo, nosay on the dognay …

  21. Don Pelton

    RE: Antidote du jour

    That buck must have been raised as a pet, or tamed, not ideal for wild creatures that are hunted, but conceivably necessary.

    We’re surrounded by deer who pass by our house everyday, and we work hard to stay out of their sight, so they won’t develop trust in us.

  22. Sputnik Sweetheart

    Trade Traitors/News on CETA:
    Spain ratified it yesterday. Although the Socialist Party said that they were initially against the deal, they chose to abstain rather than vote against it, despite all of the protests that were going on. This meant that 179 voted in favor of, 79 against and 81 abstained. They are the third country to ratify the deal, after Denmark and Latvia.


  23. knowbuddhau

    Re: benefits of yoga.

    In the last week, I’ve had an exhilarating health breakthrough. I figured out how to relax a chronic pain in my left lats that’s been with me all my life. It wasn’t through yoga, though. I practice disc golf. But the process is similar. I think the key ingredient is mindful awareness of movement.

    I’ve been practicing Zen for decades now. But it’s been mostly in my head. Disc golf is my opportunity for minding my body (I say that as if I, my mind, and my body were separate entities, which of course they’re not, it’s just a trick of this tool, language).

    I started trying to relax that chronic pain (not quite a cramp, nor a spasm, just persistent painful tightness) some time ago. I also started stretching every time I stand up or have a few seconds to spar, in imitation of cats and dogs.

    The breakthrough came while learning proper putting form. That left side pain was throwing me off. You’re supposed to just stand there, body hanging from your shoulders like drapes. Somehow, I let it go. Eureka!

    OMG. I can feel all the musculature on my left side for the first time in years, from my fingertips to my hip, and nothing hurts. And the right hip feels better, too. Like I said, O. M. G.

    It felt so good, I didn’t say anything to anyone, lest it prove untrue. But no, it’s definitely gone. The tightness returns, but now I know how to handle it (by not handling it! ha, couldn’t resist).

    I got over a chronic back pain, in my mid 50s, without drugs or surgery. My DG gear has cost about $200.

    One important aspect of yoga I haven’t noticed mentioned here today goes back to the meaning of the word itself. It goes back through “yoke” to mean a joining, a union. All during this time of ramping up my disc golf game, I’ve practiced non-stop mindful movement with a specific goal: to stop hurting myself. If you can’t do yoga or disc golf, you can probably still stretch every time you stand up and maintain a high level of movement awareness.

    I literally feel like a new man. As if that weren’t enough, shutting off those false alarms has had a huge effect on my mood. I was literally uptight all these years. Now I’m hanging loose.

    It seems so clear, now, that so much of my excess anxiety resulted from running from a pain in my back that I myself put there.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Man, that is awesome. I developed a permanently cramped hamstring about 15 years ago, ultimately a result of trashing the knee 35 years ago, and I hope to someday (soon) feel that feeling.

  24. flora

    re: California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth – Vox

    Thanks for this article. Hope a lot of doctors/hospital admins read this. Improved obstetric/childbirth methods save womens’ and childrens’ lives. And who knows, might even stabilize or lower obstetricians’ malpractice insurance rates. (that’s not a snark. ob/gyns have been leaving the practice over gigantic malpractice rate hikes.)

    1. Jim Haygood

      From the article:

      Medicaid covers about half of all births in the US. Almost all the pregnancies nurses and doctors see [in Apple Valley CA] are complicated by diabetes, hypertension, addiction, or other issues that put moms and babies at a higher risk of death.

      *squints from the cognitive dissonance*

      In the mighty American homeland, half of births are covered by a means-tested program and “nearly all” pregnant mothers in one flyover town suffer from chronic health conditions in early adulthood.

      Poke behind the gleaming facade of The Greatest Country on Earth™ and it looks like a Third World regime. Surely identity politics can fix this. /sarc

  25. Pelham

    So two multimillionaire lightweights on “Morning Joe” are in a childish tussle (on both sides) with a lightweight billionaire in the White House. Wake me when it’s over.

    And if the NYT feels compelled to toss out its most valuable editors — the ones, as noted, who try to do actual fact-checking minus the corrupting influence of higher-ups (copy editors work at night) — the paper must truly be failing.

    1. RUKidding

      I’m not even sure why this twit-storm got so much coverage. I read a little about it and moved on. I could really care less about the in-fighting in conservative circles and what the latest outrage du seconde is from Trump.

      It’s a mystery to me why certain stories are chosen to have “legs.” A mystery not worth solving.

      ptoui to all concerned. parasites one and all.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Whoa…Joe and Mika aren’t just mere media personalities. Joe voted to shut down the government as part of the Gingrich Revolution. He’s an out and out lunatic who had a mistress die while he was in office forcing him to resign.

      Of course, Mika’s old man is effectively the co-founder of Al Qaeda. She isn’t as young as MSNBC’s more notable legacy hires such as Tim Russert and Chelsea Clinton, but I don’t think she’s part of the meritocracy.

  26. Adam Eran

    Thanks for the Yoga remarks, Yves. Here’s a passage I’ve kept for decades now that is a good corrective to the “competitive yoga” mindset:

    The Yoga Perspective

    The yoga perspective recognized that each of us is made up of a great many forces, feelings, limits, possibilities and passions. These aspects exist within my body and my mind and collectively define the boundaries that I usually identify as “me.” Therefore, at any point in time, an infinity of limits and edges await my exploration and growth. Physically these limits are experienced as muscle tension, restricted movement, and pain. Psychologically, limits are experienced as dogma, ignorance, and fear. These limits have the potential to continually change and restructure themselves.

    For example, if I sit on the Floor and try to reach over to touch my toes, I notice that I can only reach to within five inches of my toes before I experience tension and slight pain. At this point I am experiencing one of my boundaries. This point, this “edge,” is a highly important place, for within the cosmology this edge is considered to be the creative teacher. If I approach this teacher/edge with love, sensitivity, and awareness, I will discover that my teacher/edge will move and allow me a greater range of motion. If I shy away from approaching my teacher/edge, I will learn nothing new, and, in time, my own dogma/tightness will contract upon itself and will grow even tighter. If I try to blast past my edge, I might fool myself into thinking that I have learned and expanded, but in fact what sometimes happens is that I am only impressing myself with a temporary surge of ambition; this feeling, too, might contract upon itself with insecurity, tension, and fear. Physically, when I approach my edge gently and consciously, my body responds by focusing energy and attention on this spot, encouraging the blood and energy to bathe the related muscles and organs with vitality and life, thus allowing me the experience of true growth and self-nourishment. But if I do not try to reach my edge, my body, having no point of focus, will find it difficult to isolate the place and nourish it, and little growth and improvement will follow.

    The implication of this yoga perspective is that health, dis-ease, love, and personal growth are all aspects of the way in which you deal with yourself and your own potential for growth. So, rather than seeing the body and mind in terms of how they relate to each other pathologically, with primary focus on therapeutic release from trauma and unconscious conflict, the yogic perspective approaches the opening and freeing of the body’s energies as explorations in search of self-awareness and higher understanding”

    Ken Brentwald / Yoga Journal / Jan-Feb 1978

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Conaway, Schiff threaten to subpoena White House over Comey tapes Politico

    To be thorough, they should also ask the NSA, the CIA, etc.

    And they want to be cooperative, foreign spies.

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Politics after National Development…” — I wouldn’t call this essay “a great summary.” The essay is unusually long and the writing — I kept thinking “word hash” as I strained to finish the essay. Here’s a little example pulled from the conclusion:
    “The disembedding of markets from society under the leadership of post-political elites proved disastrous, and has in turn engendered myriad movements for repoliticisation that look in the mirror of the past for solutions that put people (often some, more than others!) again at the centre of the debate.”

    [I believe this sentence fairly represents the writing throughout this essay as well as depth and clarity of thought it contains.]

  29. David Barrera

    Yves is right on on the yoga post. I must add that the most interesting and ancient aspects of yoga are the related to inner and nonaggressive inner peace of mind and mood; the very light and slow, yet meaningful bodily movements and postures; the significance of the breathing patterns through it all. (It is not incidental that the Soviets incorporated yoga to the training of his Olympic athletes back in the 70s, heeding to the relaxation benefits after and even during maximum strength routines) .Like anything else, there are many types and ways to practice yoga. I am firmly opposed to the practice of yoga when there is a strenuous, physical exertion. Each pose can be modified in many ways to avoid that feeling that what is supposed to be a pleasant flexibility exercise is about to tear one’s tendon

  30. ewmayer

    o “Prostitutes speak out against Senate health bill CNN (Alfred)” — So a bunch of honset-to-goodness prostitutes testify to a bunch of capitol hill big-money prostitutes about the bill, reported on by a bunch of establishment-shilling prostitutes. Do I detect a theme?

    o “Low-income workers who live in RVs are being ‘chased out’ of Silicon Valley streets Guardian. Resilc: “At least slaves had quarters in 1850.”” — This SiVal dweller has the good fortune of not – at least not yet – having to live out of his vehicle, but his rent got just jacked another 7%, meaning a clean doubling since moving here in 1999. If I didn’t share a modest 2BR apartment, I would be priced out at anything less than a six-figure salary, with rent for said 900 ft^2 2BR eating over $40K per annum.

  31. dao

    I was going to reply to a comment above, but this is food for thought for the people who believe that we need some sort of “uprising” in order for things to change. The track record of “uprisings” since 2008 show that no change will result from the little people rising up. Let’s recap some of the major ones: Tea Party protests in 2008 against bank bailouts (banks were bailed out as planned), Ireland protests against bank bailouts (they still happened). France protests against austerity (it still happened) Occupy Wall Street (crushed and disbanded) Arab Spring – (dictators replaced with new dictators). Greece (capitulation). The list goes on and on. The end result is that all of these protests and uprisings had NO effect whatsoever on the elites carrying out their plans.

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