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The F.D.A.’s Misplaced War On Trans Fats

trans_fats_foods_christian_cable_flickr_creatie_commons

Late last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced what is effectively the beginning of a war against the use of trans-fats in the preparation of American food products:

The Food and Drug Administration proposed measures on Thursday that would all but eliminate artery-clogging, artificial trans fats from the food supply, the culmination of three decades of effort by public health advocates to get the government to take action against them.

Artificial trans fats — a major contributor to heart disease in the United States — have already been substantially reduced in foods. But they still lurk in many popular products, like frostings, microwave popcorn, packaged pies, frozen pizzas, margarines and coffee creamers. Banning them completely could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year, the F.D.A. said.

“This is the final slam dunk on the trans fat issue,” said Barry Popkin, a nutrition epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The proposal is a rare political victory in an era when many regulations to protect public health have stalled. A landmark food safety bill took years to carry out, in part because it collided with the 2012 election season. And rules to regulate the tobacco industry are still stuck, four years after the law calling for them was passed. But just last month, the F.D.A. toughened restrictions on narcotic painkillers over industry objections. Thursday’s announcement got the attention of food experts.

“The F.D.A. is back,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

The agency has proposed that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, no longer be “generally recognized as safe.”

That means companies would have to prove that such oils are safe to eat, a high hurdle given that scientific literature overwhelmingly shows the contrary. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of them, a conclusion that the F.D.A. cited in its reasoning.

The agency emphasized that the ruling, which is open to public comment for 60 days, was preliminary. But food producers seemed to take it in stride, in part because many had already made adjustments, and Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the agency’s commissioner, signaled that the draft rule might be made final.

“Life has many uncertainties, but we are on a clear track,” she said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the F.D.A., said, “We have solid evidence showing the need for today’s action on trans fat.”

Partially hydrogenated oils are cheaper than saturated animal fats like butter, and for years were thought to be healthier. They are formed when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. They became popular in fried and baked goods and in margarine. Crisco, originally marketed in the beginning of the 20th century, was the archetype, although it now contains no trans fat.

But over the years, scientific evidence has shown they are dangerous because they raise the levels of so-called bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of good cholesterol. In 2003, the F.D.A. required that artificial trans fats be listed on food labels, a shift that prompted many large producers to eliminate them. Two years later, New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats in cooking; other places, including California, Cleveland and Philadelphia, followed suit. Many major chains, like McDonald’s, found substitutes and eliminated trans fats.

Those actions led to a stunning reduction in consumption: Americans ate about one gram a day last year, down from 4.6 grams in 2006. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that blood levels of trans fatty acids among white adults in the United States declined by 58 percent from 2000 to 2009.

As Michelle Minton notes, this announcement is important not just because of what it means for trans fats, but what it could potentially mean for everything from sugar to salt:

The de facto ban on trans fat’s GRAS status signals a sea change in the agency’s approach to food-safety regulation. Historically, the FDA has banned only additives and products that could be acutely dangerous to public health. FDA attempts to limit other ingredients, such as salt and sugar, have met public backlash, but it’s unlikely many will step up to defend trans fats, considering the scientific evidence that seems to link its long-term consumption with a slightly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Since almost any food can become dangerous if consumed in excess over an extended period, this move would set a precedent for the FDA to go after other food ingredients. Unsurprisingly, self-styled “public health” advocates — always at the forefront of nanny state regulatory efforts - are elated at this prospect.

As Minton and others have noted in the days since the FDA’s announcement, the ironic part of this news is that it wasn’t that long ago that trans fats were being heralded as a better alternative to animal fats, an attitude among the health community that was behind the heavy commercial push for the use of margarine over butter, for example. Indeed, many of the groups now pushing the FDA and governments to ban the use of trans fats based on the relatively recent research were, just 20 an 30 years ago, pushing the FDA to encourage the use of trans fats as a “healthy alternative” to animal fats when it came to orchestral and overall heart health. In other words, as Jonathan Adler points out, it was the “food police” that caused the nations food supply to become heavily laden with trans fats. Over time, though, consumers themselves have made choices that have led many food companies to voluntarily begin to remove trans fats from their products, or at least to reduce them substantially. It wasn’t an FDA rule, for example, that caused Crisco to remove trans fats from its products, that came about because of the changing nature of the marketplace thanks to new information that called into question the research that “food safety advocates” to go to war against animal fats back in the mid-1980s. Finally, as Minton points out, the current research on trans fats isn’t nearly as clear as the FDA and “food safety advocates” would lead people to believe. The most recent study by the World Health Organization on the use of trans fats, for example, finds that while there is evidence that increased consumption of trans fats does increase certain risk factors, there simply isn’t any evidence showing a correlation between increased use of trans fats in cooking and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Given this, and given the fact that the scientific evidence itself seems far from certain, one wonders why it’s at all necessary for the FDA to get involved in this process.

Moving this debate beyond trans-fat’s though, one has to wonder what food ingredient the FDA wouldn’t think it has the authority to regulate if its successful in this war on trans fats:

Ultimately, there are hundreds of foods and ingredients that if consumed in large enough quantities for a long enough period of time will result in negative health outcomes. The solution is not to ban them but to let consumers access information and make their own choices. Let nutrition groups petition companies to voluntarily list ingredients and offer healthier options if they like, but keep government out of the decision so consumers can make their own choices.

As the debate over trans fat shows, health advocates, research scientists and our own government often do not know what is best for us; individuals must decide for themselves.

Ultimately, it seems to me that this is the correct answer, and that the FDA is heading down an entirely inappropriate road here. Originally, this agency was founded in no small part in response to the revelations that had come to light during the era of so-called “muck-raking” journalism when writers such as Upton Sinclair brought to the nation’s attention the conditions under which the food supply of an increasingly industrialized nation was being processed. It was also the time during which science was discovering the extent to which the improper preparation, transportation, and storage of food contributed to the spread of disease. It was to combat these issues, and to set some degree of national standards in the food industry that would limit the spread of disease, that the FDA was created.

Given that, it’s unclear where, exactly, the idea of banning trans fats even fits into the mission that the FDA was created for, or whether it even has the statutory authority to undertake this action. Even if it does, though, it strikes me as being worthwhile to think twice before applauding this decision. If the FDA can ban trans fats, what’s next? Sugar and salt content? Caffeine content? Will the “food safety advocates” find something else they claim to be dangerous that they’ll want to have the FDA ban next. Rather than banning these products, it strikes me that the best alternative would be information. Give consumers the information they need to make informed decisions, and then let them make those decisions themselves. As recent developments at the grocery stores have shown, that most likely to lead to the spread of healthier alternatives, or at least to wider availability of options that people desire whether or not they have any positive health benefits (i.e., the recent rise of  organic and gluten-free products of every kind). And, in the end, if people make what some expert thinks is the “wrong” choice, then that choice ought to be accepted. Because that’s what you do when you let adults in a free society decide things for themselves.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    Doug, there’s one very big difference between trans-fats and sugar/salt: the former is now considered to be an artificial ingredient. It’s not something that automatically shows up in foodstuffs. You have to create it through chemical engineering and then add it to foods.

    I don’t think we’re going to see that much of a slippery slope to this. People’s reaction will be “something artificial was added into food at some point, then we discovered it was bad for us, and then the FDA said don’t use it any more.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

  2. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. Also, the link says exactly the opposite of what you claim it does:

    The purpose of the WHO scientific review on trans fatty acids (TFAs) was to examine the evidence generated since the 1993 Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Oils in Human Nutrition, and to inform member countries on the health consequences of TFAs consumption that have emerged since the last report was released. The new information was deemed sufficient to recommend the need to significantly reduce or to virtually eliminate industrially produced TFA from the food supply in agreement with the implementation of the 2004 WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health

    .

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  3. rudderpedals says:

    Dude, re-read the WHO metastudy you cited.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  4. JKB says:

    Actually this is great. A few more of these good now bad, bad now good flips and we can undermine the trust in government “experts” and big government. Every one is another chip out of the wall. Nothing promotes freedom so well as showing the “leader” to be fallible, even malicious.

    We’re on our way. The government food plate/pyramid or whatever they are using today, is high in carbohydrates. High carb diets are increasingly being shown to be drivers of obesity.

    And for the “food police”, those morons ran after high-fructose corn syrup (55% fructose, 45% glucose) only to latch on to agave nectar (up to 75% fructose/25% sucrose). Way to show your cutting back on fructose, morons.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 22

  5. rudderpedals says:

    Added trans-fats are adulterants that must not be added to foodstuffs. FDA’s right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  6. JKB says:

    Hey, can we get McDonalds french fries fried in beef tallow again? They were good eatin’ back before the trans-fat promoters screwed everything up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Food processors have long been dumping trans fats…as the health risks became impossible to ignore.
    The move by the FDA is in fact the last word…not the beginning of the war…as you so dramatically and hyperbolically stated.

    But I’m sure that this is just another marker of the on-rushing apocalypse.

    Silly Libertarians.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  8. Jr says:

    Lmao, there is no slippery slope here.

    The majority of corporations believe trans fats should not be in American foods, and FDA is now just catching up by actually doing something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  9. Jr says:

    @C. Clavin: Exactly, this may have been bold in 80′s/90′s, but now the vast majority of food companies have dumped trans fat. Doug post is exactly why it is hard to take libertarians seriously on anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  10. @Jr:

    Given that the marketplace is deciding this issue, the FDA doesn’t need to do anything

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 16

  11. C. Clavin says:

    JKB should be allowed to continue ingesting Trans-Fat…it will help sustain his forced abstinence. Two birds and all that….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  12. @grumpy realist:

    Having read through the summary myself I’ve updated the sentence in question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. Jr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Then what is the harm, and don’t give some slippery slope nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  14. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Actually they do because…thanks in large to Republican efforts at holding back economic growth…many people can only afford fast food and other processed garbage. Processed food producers use trans fat to keep costs low. FDA regulations will protect those who cannot afford to protect themselves…I know…an idea anathema to Republicans and silly Libertarians. For more refer to the thread by James on Social Services for all.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

  15. grumpy realist says:

    That’s sort of like saying we don’t have to have regulations against dangerous stuff because the market will always drive the bad stuff out. The question is whether it will do it quickly enough before people incur damage. (As it now stands, we’re probably going to see a whole lot of people starting to sue Keebler and Nabisco for contributing to their heart disease. What fun! )

    Having a regulation against putting X into food means that you can go after a manufacturer when they do put X into food. Otherwise it’s sort of hard to go after them. Manufacturers probably like it as well–there’s a nice bright line at present.

    It also means we don’t have to analyze the 2-point font labels on baked goods etc. trying to figure out if they stuffed TFA in there–we know it’s Not An Ingredient. So it saves time on all our behalf.

    (This is the major, major problem with libertarian thought: they never assume there are costs of any sort in tracking down all the information required concerning a product. )

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  16. Tyrell says:

    This seems ancient history. I could find nothing , zero, in our cabinets that had transfats. Every few months they come out and announce that “_________ is now safe to eat”, usually in “moderation”, whatever that means. Eggs, real butter, chocolate, pork. Last month it was bacon – seems like it has niacin I agree that McDonald’s fries and apple pies are not the same, or neither is Dunkin.
    But I didn’t go to McD’s much anyway except for coffee.
    And what about GMO food? I guess the FDA won’t touch that, too many huge conglomerates and corporations involved. It’s the corporate/government complex.
    I am now going to get my daily healthy chocolate fix: Milky Ways and Reeses Cups!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. WR says:

    Shorter Doug:

    Government telling you what you can eat = Fascism

    Employer telling you what medication you can buy = Freedom!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  18. WR,

    Your analogy fails because nothing in the birth control matter involves anyone telling employees what they can buy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  19. Franklin says:

    @JKB: While JKB sees this as a good thing, I see it as a bad thing that the public has been so misinformed. There were competing scientific theories back in the day whether fat (more specifically saturated fat) or sugar (or refined carbs) was the bigger problem. Somehow the wrong theory won out for DECADES. To be honest, this was a mistake in the scientific community, the government was just listening to them and passing on recommendations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. Crusty Dem says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Correct, it should be “Employer deciding what medication your health insurance can buy = Freedom!”

    Still idiotic.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  21. Franklin says:

    @Franklin: By the way, I don’t meant to discredit the fact that trans fat is bad. I’m merely stating that refined carbs are much, much worse for you than saturated fat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  22. grumpy realist says:

    @Franklin: Part of the problem is that so much medical advice concerning nutrition has flip-flopped all over the place. Which sort of makes sense: we’re really, really good at being omnivores. We’ve got these incredibly complex systems inside our bodies to deal with getting energy from whatever we pop into our mouths. Add to that the Industrial Revolution, changed habits of exercise, the invention of soda-pop, etc., etc. and so forth. Add to that the differences in how each of us deal with food differently, depending on our genetic heritage. No wonder nobody knows what’s going on. It’s really hard to get a control group for the period of time necessary to be able to say that Eating Foodstuff X is better than you for Foodstuff Y because….(I volunteer for the group that has to eat broccoli and Brussel sprouts, by the way.)

    And so it goes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  23. john personna says:

    Very funny. I mentioned the lack of a general conservative/libertarian response to this in the “fat french guy” thread.

    I really didn’t expect Doug to go this far.

    It’s war, I tell you.

    Here is my serious answer as a guy with an old chemistry degree: I totally buy the concept that some poisons kill you fast, and some poisons kill you slow. If we are rational beings we won’t really ban fast poisons (like arsenic in poultry feeds) and then leave off trans fats, not because they are not poisons, but just because they act slower, more cumulatively.

    I’m sorry Doug, you’ve got to be a bit of a crackpot to think that a ban on slow-poisons is a “slippery slope” … to anything really.

    That’s just nuts.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  24. JKB says:

    @Franklin: To be honest, this was a mistake in the scientific community, the government was just listening to them and passing on recommendations.

    But government presents itself as the great arbiter and is willing to do government violence to impose its choice. So perhaps the “scientific” community was mistaken but the problem arose when government decided to choose the winner. Kind of like the global warming fraud.

    Rule of thumb – whatever the government says is bad, is good, what they say is good is bad. But really, just live your life without concern for their opinion and you’ll be better off in the long run. Note the post today of the oldest WWII veteran and his daily whiskey. Perhaps good, perhaps bad, but it worked out all right for him. In the end, none of us are getting out of here alive.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 18

  25. C. Clavin says:

    It’s really hard to get a control group for the period of time necessary to be able to say that Eating Foodstuff X is better than you for Foodstuff Y because…

    Eggzachary.
    Emphasis on Period of Time.
    It cracks me up when JKB types first they said this…then they said that. It speaks to his, and the Republican parties, lack of understanding about science.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Rule of thumb – whatever the government says is bad, is good, what they say is good is bad.

    Great, I’ve ordered another round of Mercury, on the house, for your salmon dinner. The federal government says it’s bad, so it must be the perfect addition for any seafood dinner.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  27. Rob in CT says:

    Wait, so because the government made a mistake, it really shouldn’t make any particular effort to fix that mistake?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  28. john personna says:

    @Tyrell:

    The scientific consensus seems to be that GMO foods, as they are doing them now, are quite safe and good for the environment. A net plus.

    (GMO can make anything, just like a metal foundry can make swords or plowshares, but study of current crops has been given a green light.)

    ((If you were really nuts you could GMO a potato to come with trans fats, etc.))

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Rob in CT says:

    Sometimes, I think JKB exists so we don’t have to make him up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  30. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    So you’d be happier with radium liver pills on the shelves? And you’d be confident that you could just be smarter than the “radium gives me pep” advertising?:

    (Well, we know you live in a fantasy land where the good people would never fall for that, and the weak would exit the system in a radioactive coffin.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  31. Crusty Dem says:

    Rule of thumb – whatever the government says is bad, is good, what they say is good is bad.

    You went full wingnut. You never go full wingnut.

    What does JKB stand for? Whatever liberals are against, updated daily (shamelessly stolen from cleek).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    trust in government “experts”

    Ah, guess that means you trust the corporations that produce the food. Like McDonalds, when they swore there was no beef tallow in their fries. Oops, we were lying. Sorry.

    Now as a Buddhist, my religious beliefs say “don’t eat meat or meat byproducts.” But I foolishly believed them and ate their fries. Are you ready to go to bat to support my religious views? McDonalds clearly did not give a crap about me, the customer. Do you really think they give a crap about you or what you put in your body as long as they are making money?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  33. C. Clavin says:

    But government presents itself as the great arbiter and is willing to do government violence to impose its choice.

    Yes…of course…the black helicopters are coming to make sure I eat my broccoli.
    Follwed closely by Jenoses IRS Goon Squads.
    Seriously…how does anyone this delusional get through the day outside of an institution..or at least an assisted living center???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:

    Are you ready to go to bat to support my religious views?

    Ha…not unless you are a child molesting pointy hat wearing bible thumping homophobic fundamentalist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  35. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Why do you say global warming is a fraud?

    What data would convince you that it wasn’t?

    How much hotter does the Earth have to get before you admit that you’re wrong? 1 degree? 2 degree? 10 degrees?

    So let’s say you insist on a 10 degree rise before you admit that global warming is a fact. A 10 degree rise will also trash the Earth pretty conclusively for a large percentage of the human population.

    May I point out that we only have one Earth? And that it’s not all that replaceable?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. anjin-san says:

    Note the post today of the oldest WWII veteran and his daily whiskey. Perhaps good, perhaps bad, but it worked out all right for him.

    You hear this pea-brained argument a lot. “My grandpa smoked and drank and he lived to be 90″

    Ever hear of outliers? Most people who smoke at all, and who drink beyond strict moderation, pay for it, often with their lives. Smoking is probably the single worst thing you can do to your body.

    Now I don’t think a drink a day is going to do much harm, but then a drink a day is strict moderation.

    People don’t want to believe things they enjoy, like a soda with 12 teaspoons of sugar and a ton of other garbage in it, are bad for them. It’s human nature. When I was younger, I did not what to believe that drugs were bad for you, I though it was BS propaganda by the government.

    I, and millions of other in my generation found out the hard way that the government was right, even if their messaging was crappy. Drugs are bad for you. Often fatally so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  37. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Your analogy fails because nothing in the birth control matter involves anyone telling employees what they can buy.

    This is factually incorrect. The health care premiums that are paid to your insurance provider (or self-insurance fund) are either directly contributed from your salary or are considered part of your overall compensation, and given favorable tax treatment because of it. As a result, your employer is, in fact, specifically preventing you from spending part of your overall compensation on a good in the free market, and moreover is specifically preventing you from spending pre-tax compensation on a good of your choice in the free market, thereby increasing the overall cost to you by a factor equal to your marginal tax rate.

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  38. anjin-san says:

    @ grumpy realist

    Worst hurricanes on record. Worst wildfires on record. Yet all we hear from the right is “All is well!”

    It reminds me of Kevin Bacon’s last scene in Animal House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. ernieyeball says:

    @anjin-san: Do you really think they give a crap about you or what you put in your body as long as they are making money?

    Well, they have to keep you as close to being alive as they can so you can give them all your cash.
    I hear the McBrain Burger will be offered soon for the Zombie market.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. James Pearce says:

    Because that’s what you do when you let adults in a free society decide things for themselves.

    That’s great and all, but we’re talking about people choosing coffee creamer and magarine, and also getting a significant dose of trans fats. Your “more information” plan is awesome, but also imperfect. There’s just as much resistance to that as there is to bans.

    If the FDA can ban trans fats, what’s next? Sugar and salt content? Caffeine content?

    Could be…could be. But is will probably be something you haven’t even heard of, like BPA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  41. anjin-san says:

    @ C. Clavin

    I do have to interject that what I seen from the new Pope is promising. He actually seems to think following the teaching of Jesus is important. It’s encouraging. Fascinating to watch US Bishops twisting in the wind and calling for more repression.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  42. john personna says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’d say Doug came out full-on for the radium pills, with that quote.

    I mean, if he is in any way intellectually consistent, he has to dynamite the FDA and just let people decide for themselves, radium or vitamin-c.

    Or, more likely he is being a lazy libertarian, the kind that likes that arsenic and radium are kept out of the food and drug supply … he just wants to claim that the sky is falling with any change from the status quo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  43. anjin-san says:

    I urge anyone who is concerned about hidden garbage in their food to put the Fooducate App on their phone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: He’s also not looking at the amount of time necessary to read all the fine print.

    Are the manufacturers of these food products going to pay me for the time to become educated about the ingredients in their product? Do I have to drag my groceries over to a food science lab and have them test every bloody jar or tin I buy? Why should that onus be on me, rather than on the producer?

    Yet another case of shoving the cost of externalities on the public….Y’know, when I buy a jar of peanut butter, I don’t want to have to spend the time taking it to a lab to double-check to make certain it doesn’t have dissolved rat turds in it. Or arsenic. Or Chinese fertilizer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  45. ernieyeball says:

    @anjin-san: Drugs are bad for you.

    Just say no!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. al-Ameda says:

    @ernieyeball:
    @anjin-san:

    @anjin-san: Drugs are bad for you.
    Just say no!

    This reminds me that while at UC Berkeley I played in an intramural softball league, and one of the teams had the name “Nancy Reagan’s Pharmaceuticals.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:

    He actually seems to think following the teaching of Jesus is important.

    Yeah, I know. What an amazingly fresh concept. Christians following the teachings of Jesus Christ. Who’da thunk it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  48. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Your analogy fails because nothing in the birth control matter involves anyone telling employees what they can buy. ”

    Of course it does. Health insurance isn’t a free gift from employer to employee. It’s part of the compensation, just like the cash wages. And the employer is saying “you can’t use this compensation to buy something that is completely legal because I think it’s icky.”

    Libertarianism claims to be about freedom, but really it’s only concerned with power — those who are able to grab it should be able to exercise it over anyone they like, and any attempt to mitigate that is fascism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  49. ernieyeball says:

    Jesus never wrote anything. His words were attributed to him by others.
    Everything known about Jesus is at least second hand.
    The Gospel According to Mark was written some 30+ years after Jesus died by unknown author(s) two thousand years ago.
    How reliable can this information be?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. C. Clavin says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Jesus never wrote anything. His words were attributed to him by others.

    Yeah…yeah…you know what I mean.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. angelfoot says:

    @WR: Actually, they are telling employees what they can buy: a health insurance plan without coverage for contraception. But let me fix your original post without changing your point, which Doug so willfully ignored:

    Shorter Doug:

    Government telling you what you can or cannot eat = Fascism

    Employer telling you what medications you can or cannot buy = Freedom!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  52. Franklin says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Part of the problem is that so much medical advice concerning nutrition has flip-flopped all over the place.

    Not really. For example, Ansel Keys conducted a bogus study about cholesterol with fudged data which nobody could reproduce, but it was accepted as truth for decades. The scientific method and review process failed completely. Most older doctors *still* think that reducing your cholesterol intake and taking statins has some sort of effect on life expectancy. However, it does not. At least not for 98% of the population.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  53. grumpy realist says:

    @Franklin: So the older doctors are still saying “lower your cholesterol intake” while the younger ones are saying “don’t worry about your cholesterol intake within reason”, yes?

    Flip-flop depending on the “average consensus” quoted in a silly Redbook magazine article written about “suggested nutrition.”

    I was thinking more of the flip-flop from “Fats are Bad, Carbs are Good” to “Fats are Ok, Carbs are Bad.”

    Have given up. My suggestion now is Eat Everything In Moderation, Exercise, and Stop Worrying. The nutrition people will probably come out with an entirely different food triangle within ten years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  54. ernieyeball says:

    @Franklin: The scientific method and review process failed completely.

    In a recent article, “Evaluation of Very Large Treatment Effects of Medical Interventions,” in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Ioannid1s and his colleagues combed through 85,000 medical interventions collected in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews seeking to uncover highly effective treatments. What they found is that treatments that supposedly produce very large benefits (odds ratio greater than 5) were almost always found initially in small studies and that when they were replicated in larger studies the benefits became relatively modest. In the end only one treatment was found to provide a major benefit, e.g., supplying extracorporeal oxgyen to premature babies with severe respiratory failure. Last year, Nature reported the shocking finding that nine out of 10 preclinical peer-reviewed cancer research studies cannot be replicated.

    http://reason.com/blog/2013/10/28/are-most-scientific-results-bunk#comment

    I would contend that it is not the scientific method of finding things out at fault here. The problem is with those who use it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  55. mantis says:

    In other words, as Jonathan Adler points out, it was the “food police” that caused the nations food supply to become heavily laden with trans fats.

    Nonsense. They’re cheaper. Simple as that. Funny how often libertarians ignore the profit motive. It’s just the basis for all capitalist activity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  56. Tyrell says:

    @mantis: It seems in my memory that trans fats were brought out as a healthy substitute for animal fats .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    Right… By food producers who were after profits.
    Studies back to the 50′s showed they were bad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Worst hurricanes on record. Worst wildfires on record.

    Sorry to interject harsh reality into your lying delusions, but 2013 was one of the mildest hurricane seasons in a long time. 2 hurricanes, 12 tropical storms.

    And the wildfires have been largely attributed to the “preserve the old growth” movement that’s created ideal conditions for wildfires. It’s got nothing to do with climate change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  59. Stonetools says:

    So a libertarian is wrong about the basis and effects of government regulation.huh. Must be a day that ends in Y. Back in 1960 Milton Friedman attacked the FDA as a useless agency whose regulation did nothing but stifle the development of useful drugs. Then came thalidomide, which was introduced in Britain with limited testing and turned out to have devastating effects on early fetal development . Pregnant mothers who took the drug birthed babies with flippers for limbs. It was the FDA testing regime that kept the drug out of the US. After that Professor Friedman didn’t have much to say about the FDA for a while.
    He later gamely tried to defend his viewpoint but people stopped listening to what Friedman had to say about drug testing after that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  60. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    So you haven’t heard about the Typhoon that killed thousands the other day…and you don’t know that Climate refers to long time span trends. Seems your ignorance knows no bounds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  61. bill says:

    @Doug Mataconis: they need to justify their existence? why saccharin is still around is beyond me- but hey, they haven’t banned that yet either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  62. anjin-san says:

    @ C. Calvin

    the Typhoon that killed thousands the other day

    Well, they were brown people. And it is Jenos. I’m sure he has more important things on his mind. There is also a pretty good chance he has no idea that a hurricane and a typhoon are the same weather in a different place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos Ponytail

    And the wildfires have been largely attributed to the “preserve the old growth” movement that’s created ideal conditions for wildfires.

    I am sure that some babe on Fox with big hooters and a short skirt thinks so, but let’s turn to sources outside of the entertainment industry:

    National Geographic

    Time Science & Space

    So no, you can’t blame it all on those stupid old growth forests that are important only to hippies. Well, you could, but in doing so you would reveal yourself as an idiot.

    Say Jenos, nothing to say on the 60 Minutes/Benghazi thread?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  64. anjin-san says:

    I am shocked, shocked I say to see that JKB has not yet expressed outrage that lies from McDonalds duped me into violating my religious beliefs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: If you wanted to talk about typhoons, then you shouldn’t have talked about hurricanes. I suppose I should start off all discussions with you assuming you have no clue what you’re talking about, but I didn’t.

    So let’s look at typhoon seasons, over the last 10 years.

    2013: 5 super typhoons, 13 typhoons, 30 storms
    2012: 5 super typhoons, 14 typhoons, 25 storms
    2011: 4 super typhoons, 8 typhoons, 21 storms
    2010: 1 super typhoon, 7 typhoons, 14 storms (record low)
    2009: 5 super typhoons, 13 typhoons official, 2 unofficial, 22 storms official, 2 unofficial
    2008: 2 super typhoons, 11 typhoons, 1 unofficial, 22 storms, 4 unofficial
    2007: 5 super typhoons, 14 typhoons, 24 storms
    2006: 7 super typhoons, 15 typhoons, 23 storms, 2 unofficial
    2005: 4 super typhoons, 16 typhoons, 24 storms
    2004: 7 super typhoons, 19 typhoons, 29 official storms, 3 unofficial

    Yes, the link goes to 2013 only. Too many links trigger the filters here, but each year gives links to the previous couple of years.

    So this year has a high number of storms, but not that high a number — 2004 had almost as many, and even more if you count the unofficial storms.

    Besides, I thought weather wasn’t the same as climate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  66. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    If you wanted to talk about typhoons, then you shouldn’t have talked about hurricanes.

    Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cyclone.html

    I thought most people knew this by the 8th grade. Apparently not. Even the idiots are admonishing each other not to “pull a Jenos”…

    Now why don’t you run along and school James on automatic rifles or something?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  67. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Clearly your health plan does not have a drug roster of accepted (GRAC–generally recognized as cheaper) medications. Mine did in the US. Now that I’ve moved to Korea, I don’t have that problem any more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  68. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @john personna: Would a potato with trans fats deep fry itself?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  69. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @ernieyeball: Your story reminds me of a report that was in one of my education classes. A logitudinal study of research in Education Theory covering 15 years of theses and dissertations found that 90% of all researchers validated their findings. When the study was limited to mutually exclusive results, the validation rate climbed to 95%.

    In educational research, not much of a problem–most of the really wierd theories never gain any traction and most teaching methods work to some degree with most students. Other places, this type of result may be more problematic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @anjin-san: Well in Washington State, we call them “Catagory 5 wind and rain storms.” But we don’t have either typhoons nor hurricames here–just storms that are identical in force and damage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. anjin-san says:

    @ Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker

    Well in Washington State, we call them “Catagory 5 wind and rain storms.”

    I know some people refer to “Cat five storms” – I am sure that is something else entirely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. anjin-san says:

    Going off-topic to dedicate this classic video to super and the other bigots:

    White supremacist discovers he’s part black on talk show

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. bill says:

    @anjin-san: so a bunch of so called “environmentalists” (who for some strange reason choose to live in an unsustainable desert) have an issue with fires? gimme a break, live where there’s water for crissakes- doesn’t look like there’s gonna be much there in the future, and draining the western watershed isn’t very “eco-friendly”. so 2+2=?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  74. Tyrell says:

    @anjin-san: What is taught in schools today that is called science is mainly learning some scientific vocabulary so that they can pass an end of grade multiple choice test that was dreamed up by politicians .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  75. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: OK, annie, let’s see if I follow you:

    1) You talk about how we’re having the “worst hurricanes on record.”

    2) I introduce you to the truth — that this has been a very, very quiet hurricane season.

    3) You mock me because you said “hurricane,” and I didn’t take that to mean “all hurricane-like phenomena.”

    4) I respond by pointing out that, even by your revised claim, you’re still talking out of your ass and making crap up.

    5) You respond by doubling down on how I actually took you at your word, ignoring that you were totally making crap up in the first place.

    So, when you say “pulling a Jenos,” do you mean “proving that you’re just making shit up,” or “proving that you’re just making shit up while banging your mother?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  76. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Let’s check out this web page from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, shall we?

    The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs.

    “Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.”

    You were saying…?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  77. TerryFirma says:

    NY City banned trans-fats amid much fanfare on a single day in 2006. Even though cholesterol and triglyceride profiles are the result of many factors, the impact of the trans-fat ban on New York residents should have shown some specific beneficial effect that could be teased out of all the data. In fact, the NY City Health Commissioner’s office said they were going to do just that – after all this would conclusively show their bosses – the NYC consumers, that the ban was justified. In fact, this was never done, because the motivation behind the original ban was not the health of consumers. Trans fats, like sodium and sugar serve as a political platforms to serve parochial ambitions. That is why CSPI can say trans fats are good in one decade and turn around and say that they are bad in another and receive kudos on both occasions. We have fallen into this trap of vesting our faith and credibility in personalities and institutions rather than in objectively presented scientific evidence – and, dishearteningly, the government is the worst offender in slanting all available evidence. No ethics at all – everyone is in on the take!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  78. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Oops. Didn’t realize someone else already posted that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. wr says:

    @TerryFirma: So, not to ruffle your tinfoil or anything, but what was the great conspiracy behind NY’s trans-fat ban? The butter council?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  80. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Any particular reason why you’re fixating on the trivial aspect of this sidebar? You want to make anjin’s initial imprecision into yet another attack on me.

    And it hides how anjin was talking out of his ass in the first place.

    Try a little harder next time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  81. john personna says:

    @TerryFirma:

    That is why CSPI can say trans fats are good in one decade and turn around and say that they are bad in another and receive kudos on both occasions.

    Here’s the thing – trying, and trying again, is better than not trying at all.

    And remember, we’ve kept arsenic and radium on the “bad” list all along. It isn’t actually some big confusion of “not knowing good from bad all along.”

    We mostly know and are improving wherever we can.

    (Note: I, the chemist, stopped eating trans fats 20 years ago [where I could!]. I made olive oil my prime fat, with butter on occasion. I could not convince my mother that butter was better than margarine though. And my sister uses those spray cans of Pam (with Dimethyl Silicone “for antifoaming”). So it’s not like it is easy to change people’s mind in the face of advertising for “health.”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  82. al-Ameda says:

    @TerryFirma:

    We have fallen into this trap of vesting our faith and credibility in personalities and institutions rather than in objectively presented scientific evidence – and, dishearteningly, the government is the worst offender in slanting all available evidence. No ethics at all – everyone is in on the take!

    Take heart. Not everyone outside of government believes that science is a fraud.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  83. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    1) You talk about how we’re having the “worst hurricanes on record.”
    2) I introduce you to the truth — that this has been a very, very quiet hurricane season.

    Are you truly incapable of figuring out that your “truth” has nothing to do at all with this weeks typhoon being the worst landfall on record?
    Or do you just find it amusing to type stupid shit on the intenet?
    If your arguments always depend on mis-information…then you just don’t have an argument to make.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  84. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    If you wanted to talk about typhoons, then you shouldn’t have talked about hurricanes.

    Stop digging. That’s the stupidest argument you’ve ever made here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  85. al-Ameda says:

    For the record, I lived in Japan for 3 years and a typhoon is equivalent to the hurricanes that emanate from the Carribean and the Gulf of Mexico. Strong winds, tropical moisture – all of that characterizes both typhoons in Japan, and hurricanes in the Gulf.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Are you truly incapable of figuring out that your “truth” has nothing to do at all with this weeks typhoon being the worst landfall on record?

    Repeat after me, Cliffy: “Climate is not weather.”

    And one single really bad storm does not make any kind of a pattern. As noted, this has been a bit more active than others of recent vintage, but the Atlantic season has been substantially less active (remember, this is about “GLOBAL warming”) and this Pacific season hasn’t been that far out of the norm for the past ten years.

    And it might help your argument (and the perception that you’re a total idiot) if you quantified “worst landfall on record.” Most casualties? Most damage? Strongest winds? Most precipitation? Longest duration?

    Or, you know, you could just go back to insults and other expressions of impotent rage. You know, playing to your “strengths.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  87. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    You know what? I’m going to step off the detour into Crazytown on this one. Looking back on this thread, this is what happened in The Real World.

    1) Annie says hurricanes have been worse.
    2) I point out that the hurricane season this year has been far below average, and below predictions.
    3) Annie gets huffy, saying that he didn’t just mean “hurricane-hurricanes,” but other similar phenomena with different names.
    4) I say OK, those have been a little worse this year, but hardly extremely worse.

    At that point, I lost track of Teh Crazy. Someone apparently impersonated me and said that hurricanes and typhoons are totally different things and can’t be compared, and then deleted the forged comments, because that’s what everyone is responding to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  88. steve s says:

    Most of Doug’s posts are good. But with some regularity, he composes completely Derpy ones. Someone with more time and enthusiasm than me should collect 100 or so of his posts, separate the few Derpy ones from the good ones, and try to find the unifying blind spot that causes the Derpitude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  89. anjin-san says:

    but other similar phenomena with different names.

    Actually, there are the exact same phenomena with different names.

    I’m curious, who helps you tie your shoes before you go outside?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  90. anjin-san says:

    @ john personna

    That’s the stupidest argument you’ve ever made here.

    And it is a very high bar to clear. Sort of like jumping over the space station.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  91. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Here’s another clue for you. The time frames for natural phenomena such as climate and weather patterns are quite a bit different than the time frames human beings work in. Human beings are Mayflies. Nature takes a somewhat longer view. Once again, did you finish the 8th grade? Because you should have been exposed to this concept by then.

    So to say “2013 has not been that bad for hurricanes.” and conclude that global warming is a fraud is so meaningless it is pretty much the prattle of the dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  92. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    You need to stop changing your story…you are confusing yourself.
    I mean…you are making yourself more confused than normal.

    anjin-san commented on the intensity of storms…worst storms in history.
    You answered with a claim about number of storms.
    The failure of your logic was pointed out.
    You seem unable still to understand the difference between intensity and number…and so you make up yet another conspiracy theory about forged comments that then somehow disappeared.
    Does your mother know you off your meds?
    Yell upstairs and ask her to check your dosage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  93. C. Clavin says:

    Oh by the way…this thread is about the war on trans-fat that is just starting…after going on for decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  94. C. Clavin says:

    Rand Paul…man-crush of Libertarians everywhere…went on a rant this morning about the FDA wanting to take away your donuts.
    (Disclaimer….I have relatives that are extremely successful donut-makers)
    Like all Libertarian wet-dreams…this falls on it’s face when exposed to facts. Trans fats are not required to make donuts. Most all donut makers stopped using trans-fats years ago.
    But that didn’t stop Libertarian poster-boy Paul from indulging in some torture fantasy…speaking about employees of the FDA:

    “I want to see them on the treadmill, and I want to see someone from maybe OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) lashing them while they are working on the treadmill,” Paul joked as the crowd laughed.

    So…totally wrong…and advocating torture. A Republican through and through.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  95. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    At that point, I lost track of Teh Crazy. Someone apparently impersonated me and said that hurricanes and typhoons are totally different things and can’t be compared, and then deleted the forged comments, because that’s what everyone is responding to.

    You, are like a snowflake, you are unique and as such, cannot be impersonated. The best explanation of the difference between typhoons and hurricanes is to be found in the Zapruder footage. Visit the Dallas Schoolbook Depository and get your commemorative copy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  96. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Which is why I went back 10 years. And invited others to go even further.

    I’m starting to think that you aren’t reading the actual comments I post, because there’s very little correlation between what I say and what you react to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  97. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Someone apparently impersonated me and said that hurricanes and typhoons are totally different things and can’t be compared, and then deleted the forged comments”

    Oh, that’s a good one. Now claim that all your vile posts about lesbian teenagers “finger banging” in the girls’ room were counterfeit, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  98. wr says:

    @steve s: “and try to find the unifying blind spot that causes the Derpitude. ”

    No need, we all know it. It’s called “libertarianism.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  99. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I’m starting to think that you aren’t reading the actual comments I post, because there’s very little correlation between what I say and what you react to. ”

    Have you ever noticed that you, alone among all commenters, have to post essentially this same message regularly? Sorry, Jay, but if multiple readers consistently are unable to discern your intended meanings, it’s not because they’re just not as smart as you. It’s because you are a truly bad writer, incapable of communicating the simplest of concepts.

    Or it’s because you’re a liar who changes his story whenever he feels like it. Personally I suspect it’s a mix of both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  100. C. Clavin says:

    yum…I’m just enjoying some Oreo’s…which haven’t had trans-fats since 2006.
    Thankfully the FDA has finally started a war to eliminate trans-fats…oh…wait…er….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  101. C. Clavin says:

    @wr:
    but mostly he’s a liar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  102. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Uh, Jenos–hurricanes and typhoons are the same. It’s not like the little beasties come with little labels saying “this is a hurricane” or “this is a typhoon.” It’s simply a geographical difference: Pacific vs. Atlantic.

    Typhoon literally means “big wind”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  103. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “Typhoon literally means “big wind”. ”

    And it’s really odd he doesn’t seem to know this, because if there’s anything Jay Tea knows about it’s wind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  104. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    This is what you said. It’s factually wrong. As others have said, stop digging. You are being especially stupid even by your olympian standards.

    but other similar phenomena with different names.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  105. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Let’s cut through the crap, OK?

    1) You mentioned hurricanes.
    2) I gave stats on hurricanes.
    3) You disputed the stats, because they were about hurricanes and didn’t include typhoons.
    4) I shrugged and tossed up stats on typhoons.
    5) You totally blew off both sets of data and tried to start some idiotic war about the definitions of huricanes and typhoons, apparently just so you could avoid discussing the stats that I brought up that totally trashed your initial point.

    So at this point I’m not going to discuss the semantics with you, but await you to actually discuss the stats I cited — a nearly non-existent hurricane season this year, and a high but not exceptionally high typhoon season this year (taking the last 10 years into account). You wanna discuss that, fine. If you wanna keep arguing about the differences between hurricanes and tyhpoons (which seems to be mainly a matter of geography), feel free to continue without me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  106. JoshB says:

    @anjin-san:

    Thanks for the app suggestion. I am pretty much scanning everything now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0