JustinCEO Topic

On the general topic of nutrition and food additives, I wonder if anyone has looked into what the “natural flavors” in some foods are. I’ve tried to investigate and came across this (particularly relevant since Bubly drinks are what prompted me to investigate):

Basically it says nobody knows what they are. It says the FDA defines “natural flavors” in a very open-ended way, that a ton of “chemical food additives” are recognized as “natural flavors”, and that they just have to be “generally recognized as safe”. So I’m suspicious as to whether they’re good and thinking maybe they should be avoided.

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I know that some things recommend avoiding “natural flavors” because they aren’t disclosed.

Related to this (hidden ingredients), did you know that most “gum base” (like in chewing gums) is plastic? If you want plastic-free gum, you have to specifically look for gums that disclose what is in their gum base and don’t use plastic.

I did not know that. Jeez. Thanks for sharing that info.

Atlas Shrugged scene with Dagny:

She noticed the particular quality of Francisco’s smile again, one night, when she sat with him and Eddie at a bonfire they had built in the woods. The glow of the fire enclosed them within a fence of broken, moving strips that held pieces of tree trunks, branches and distant stars. She felt as if there were nothing beyond that fence, nothing but black emptiness, with the hint of some breath-stopping, frightening promise . . . like the future. But the future, she thought, would be like Francisco’s smile, there was the key to it, the advance warning of its nature—in his face in the firelight under the pine branches—and suddenly she felt an unbearable happiness, unbearable because it was too full and she had no way to express it. She glanced at Eddie. He was looking at Francisco. In some quiet way of his own, Eddie felt as she did.

“Why do you like Francisco?” she asked him weeks later, when Francisco was gone.

Eddie looked astonished; it had never occurred to him that the feeling could be questioned. He said, “He makes me feel safe.”

She said, “He makes me expect excitement and danger.”

When I listened to this I realized I didn’t actually understand the difference in their reactions.

Here’s a very tentative guess that might be way off (seemed worth trying some sort of analysis though; crits welcome):

Eddie’s good but not great so he needs people like Francisco in the world existing and running things. Francisco’s existence and presence makes him feel safe for that reason - it reminds him the world is in good hands.

Dagny is great and expects to be doing great things out in the world with Francisco, so she has a different reaction that’s more adventurous.

Came across something from Covid era that made me think of the What Kind of World Do We Live In? thread. Short excerpt below


The principal at Whittier Elementary in Northwest Washington was the first to contact the fire department. Students’ smoke detectors kept chirping in the background of virtual classes. The problem seemed widespread at the elementary school of more than 300 students, and the principal sought help from the fire department on how to address the low batteries in smoke detectors.

But soon after, other school leaders across the city starting calling, too, according to Tony Falwell, fire marshal and deputy chief at the D.C. fire department. Smoke detectors in homes were disrupting classes across the city, and to Falwell — an experienced firefighter in the department’s fire prevention division — that meant that homes were more susceptible to dangerous fires.

And while the teachers heard it, the parents and students at the homes seemed so accustomed to the incessant noise that they didn’t notice it.

“As soon as you hear it, you need to address it,” Falwell said in an interview. “Because if you continue to ignore it, it just becomes background noise.”

Many people ignore constant chirping that warns them their potentially life-saving alarm isn’t working. Pretty scary. (Also, I don’t know how people could even do that - I like quiet though, and most people seem to live in much noisier environments than me).

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Is the material from fallibleliving.com material available somewhere? No longer available via that url

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Schiffman and her team found that the chemicals in sucralose can affect our cells at an even deeper level by damaging our DNA.

When sucralose is broken down in the gut, our gut bacteria can transform it into a structurally similar molecule called sucralose-6-acetate. This chemical is also produced in the manufacture of sucralose and can be found in small amounts in some commercial sucralose products.

As part of their study, Schiffman and her team exposed human blood cells to sucralose-6-acetate and monitored its effects. The results did not look good.

“Sucralose-6-acetate was genotoxic in human blood cells,” Schiffman said. “Genotoxic compounds can cause breaks in DNA with microscopically visible damage to chromosomes. This can cause inflammatory diseases such as IBD and even cancer.”

I got a bill from LabCorp but I can’t tell what it’s for. It literally doesn’t say what the service was and the figure doesn’t match anything my health insurer told me. This seems odd to me. Maybe I should try sending people bills for unspecified services and see if they pay me money!

I’m disputing part of some recent health insurance claim denials and I don’t want to accidentally pay the part I’m disputing. I tried calling the number on the invoice but it was just an IVR system for paying the bill, no humans. Stuff like this is pretty broken and terrible.

Relatedly, it’s annoying how it practically takes litigation (or at least 3 rounds of administrative appeals) to get an insurance to pay on stuff, even trivial things. Insurance is less insurance and more of a right to file an administrative appeal. The whole thing is so broken.

I tried sharing some of Elliot’s animal rights articles on an Objectivist Discord where there was a pre-existing thread on the topic of animal rights & consciousness, as I thought perhaps they’d be welcome (lol @ me, I guess). Only one guy responded directly but was quite negative, even saying of the article linked below that it was “pretty empty of meaning” because he disagreed about animals = complex robots and that brains are universal classical computers. “pretty empty of meaning” seemed like a silly thing to say even if he disagrees strongly. I don’t know why people want to say stuff they disagree with is meaningless when it clearly isn’t and when they clearly understood the controversial claims being made well enough to have a harsh negative reaction to them (which indicates there was some meaning conveyed).

A post was merged into an existing topic: Deplatforming and Censorship Examples

A post was merged into an existing topic: Deplatforming and Censorship Examples

Continuing the discussion from Deplatforming and Censorship Examples - #75 by JustinCEO

Sorry. Don’t feel obliged to response to this either. I was a bit torn cuz I didn’t want to create unnecessary moderation work. It also appeared that I could post in the thread. Was trying to be respectful. I was hesitant to ask because I didn’t want to be demanding/expecting a reply. I should have just followed explicit instructions about where I am allowed to post until told otherwise, though. So I’ll go back to just posting here unless expressly told I can post somewhere else (which only applies to Lonsdale thread at the moment).

Continuing the discussion from Moved, Off-Topic Posts - #7 by Elliot

I noticed that MetaCreation stopped posting shortly after I wrote a few critical reply posts to them about grammar and their manner of engaging with the forum. I hope they did not leave because of that. I think I was engaging with them in an honest and non-hostile manner, though, so I don’t think I did anything wrong (if anyone disagrees, let me know).

Atlas Shrugged, Rearden/Francisco scene:

Rearden chuckled. “If you understand that much, we have at least a sensible basis for conversation. Proceed on that. If you don’t have some fancy investment in mind, what did you want to meet me for?”

“In order to become acquainted with you.”

“That’s not an answer. It’s just another way of saying the same thing.”

“Not quite, Mr. Rearden.”

“Unless you mean—in order to gain my confidence?”

“No. I don’t like people who speak or think in terms of gaining anybody’s confidence. If one’s actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others, only their rational perception. The person who craves a moral blank check of that kind, has dishonest intentions, whether he admits it to himself or not.”

I think Francisco’s last paragraph is important and has reach way beyond the issue of just talking about the confidence of others.

It’s a common thing for people to want to kind of coast on stale judgments from the past. (It’s something I think I’ve struggled with btw, not excluding myself here.) People want to be a member of a “group” after a certain point and not have to earn the positive appraisal of others anew with each action. Most people’s conception of “community” is basically a group of people who will let you coast and not challenge you much once you’re a member. If you’re not being treated in a “friendly”/biased way by people but are being constantly challenged, then that’s not “really” a community along this definition. I think this is related to why people have complained about an alleged lack of community on CF/FI (because it’s a no-bias/no-coasting zone). I think it’s also related to broader issues of tribalism and why it’s so pervasive (because people want to coast, be biased, not have to constantly earn the positive appraisals of others, so our society is organized accordingly).

Continuing the discussion from Capitalism Means Policing Big Companies - #18 by Elliot

I received what I thought was a highly deceptive mailing from an energy company that, from past experience, I already knew has a practice of high pressure/dubious sales tactics, and I actually tweeted at various people who I thought might care with a picture of it, but nobody cared or got back to me or anything (not even to tell me to report the issue via a more official channel - just literally no reply). I think that’s common, which means that even if you’re an observant consumer who sees something going wrong and tries to bring people’s attention to it, you’ll often just get silence or a shrug, which doesn’t really encourage marginally motivated people to come forward with complaints. The highly motivated people who will follow up are those people who have already been screwed, but by that point the fraud has already taken place and the fraudsters might have already absconded with their gains, dissipated the money, or moved onto their next scam. Not a great system.

I asked ChatGPT for a list of keto suitable foods organized by amount of potassium per net carb. This seems like something for which ChatGPT could actually be useful and save some time.

Incidentally I’m exploring a hunch about low potassium causing me problems based on 1) some symptoms I’ve had 2) the observation that my potassium intake is much lower than recommended on my nutrition tracker, 3) a change in perspective on the potential importance of vitamins and nutrients as a result of reading Why I Left Orthodox Medicine and discussing the ideas in it a bit.

I’m not sure why you think ChatGPT would be good at this. At first glance, this is something I would expect ChatGPT to be bad at - I would expect it to be making up at least some of the numbers, or using the wrong numbers in some places, and would want to double check all of its numbers myself.

Did you double check the numbers?

Interesting. I think my understanding of ChatGPT’s capacity for “hallucinating” stuff is different than yours. I thought it was more of a narrow issue that was particularly problematic for certain things like legal citations or tax law issues. I figured that with something like nutritional info, which is widely available from a variety of sources, ChatGPT would be more safe. This seemed more akin to running a query on database and then manipulating some info a bit in excel, so I thought it’d be right up ChatGPT’s alley. Might need to re-examine my ideas there.

No, I only checked the avocado figures. Since seeing your message, I checked the numbers for chard, spinach and zucchini as well. They seem about right (a little variation here or there, but then different sources give slightly different numbers. Nothing seemed way off).

The tax law stuff is widely available too, and pretty clearly written out. I don’t see why that would be a special case. (I also have more to say about the tax stuff from earlier, but I will reply to that separately.) My experience with ChatGPT is that it gets details wrong, but it does so confidently, in a way that would make any table of data it provides unreliable. If it can’t find an answer to something, it will just make one up. And there is no way to know looking at a table which things it got from a proper source, and which things it made up. It doesn’t give sources and it doesn’t tell you which things it made it. So, imo, that makes any data from ChatGPT unreliable. You would have to check every single piece of data yourself if you actually wanted to use the data.

ChatGPT also does things like give the wrong authors for books, or make up books entirely. That information is also widely available. I see that as a general issue with being unreliable, not a narrow issue.

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I don’t think that’s actually what happened. I actually asked it more than one question to see if it would give inaccurate extension info for other things too.

E.g., I asked it about HSA deadlines and got this:


When do I have to make my HSA contribution by?


The deadline for making contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) for a given tax year is the tax filing deadline for that year, which is typically April 15th of the following year.

For example, if you want to make a contribution for the 2022 tax year, you have until April 15th, 2023, to make your contribution. However, it’s important to note that if you file for an extension to file your tax return, your deadline for making contributions to your HSA will also be extended until the deadline for filing your tax return, which is typically October 15th.

Though I also got the correct answer when I asked the same question with slightly different wording. It wasn’t consistent.

I also asked it about the deadline to pay taxes and got the wrong answer:


What is the deadline for paying your taxes?


The deadline for paying your federal income taxes in the United States is April 15th of each year, unless that date falls on a weekend or holiday, in which case the deadline is moved to the next business day. However, if you file for a tax extension, the deadline to pay your taxes is extended to October 15th.

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