Sulforaphane in the Goldilocks zone

This 2020 paper reviewed hormetic effects of a broccoli sprout compound:

“Sulforaphane (SFN) induces a broad spectrum of chemoprotective effects across multiple organs that are of importance to public health and clinical medicine. This chemoprotection is dominated by hormetic dose responses that are mediated by the Nrf2/ARE pathway and its complex regulatory interactions with other factors and pathways, such as p53 and NF-κB.

The stimulatory zone for in vitro studies proved to be consistently in the 1-10 μM range. Hormetic studies of SFN strongly targeted activation of Nrf2.

Capacity to activate Nrf2 diminishes with age, and may affect capacity of SFN to effectively enhance adaptive responses.

A 4-hour exposure induced a 24 hour Nrf2-mediated increase in enzymes that reduce free-radical damage in neurons and astrocytes. Repeated 4-hour treatment for four days affected an accumulation along with a persistent protection.

In the case of continuous exposure to SFN, such as taking a daily supplement, SFN treatment did not result in an accumulation of HMOX1 [heme oxygenase (decycling) 1 gene] mRNA or protein. This suggested that HMOX1 response may experience feedback regulation, avoiding possible harmful overproduction.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820315917 “The phytoprotective agent sulforaphane prevents inflammatory degenerative diseases and age-related pathologies via Nrf2-mediated hormesis” (not freely available)


One coauthor has been on a crusade to persuade everybody of this paradigm. Hormesis’ hypothesis isn’t falsifiable in all circumstances, however.

Hormetic effects may be experimental considerations. But what’s the point of performing sulforaphane dose-response experiments in contexts that are physiologically unachievable with humans? Two examples:

  1. Autism biomarkers and sulforaphane:

    “There was no concentration-dependence in the induction of any of the genes examined, with the higher (5 μM) concentration of SF even showing a slightly diminished effect for the induction of AKR1C1 and NQO1. Although this concentration is achievable in vivo, more typical peak concentrations of SF (and its metabolites) in human plasma are 1-2 μM.”

  2. Human relevance of rodent sulforaphane studies:

    “Over two-thirds of the animal studies have used doses that exceed the highest (and bordering on intolerable) doses of sulforaphane used in humans. The greater than 4-log spread of doses used in mice appears to be driven by needs for effect reporting in publications rather than optimization of translational science.”

This paper cited many hormetic effects that were human-irrelevant without making a distinction. It also had parts such as:

“The capacity for high concentrations of AITC [allyl isothiocyanate] to enhance genetic damage is not relevant since such high concentrations are not realistically achievable in normal human activities.

Humans ingest only the R-isomer of SFN via diet. Their dosing strategy adopted concentrations of R-SFN that were less than those employed to induce cytotoxic effects in cancer cells and that simulated its consumption as a dietary supplement.”


Landing eagle

Sleep

If you can stand the woo of two Californians trying to outwoo each other, listen to these five podcasts with a sleep scientist.

https://peterattiamd.com/matthewwalker1/

“Ambien, sedation, hypnotives, are not sleep.

Sleep is a life support system. It’s the Swiss army knife of health.

Lack of sleep is like a broken water pipe in your home that leaks down into every nook and cranny of your physiology.

Sleep research is not being transmitted to clinical practice.”


I live on the US East Coast. Hyperbole in normal conversations outside of urban centers is an exception.

It’s different on the West Coast. For example:

  • Interviewer assertions regarding heart rate variability should be compared and contrasted with Dead physiological science zombified by psychological research evidence that:

    “A broad base of further evidence was amassed within human cardiac, circulatory, and autonomic physiology such that the hypotheses do not work as described.”

  • Interviewer favorable comments for MDMA (Ecstasy) “to deal with issues of underlying trauma, anxiety, and depression.”

Are sulforaphane supplements better than microwaved broccoli sprouts?

Armando asked a good question in Upgrade your brain’s switchboard with broccoli sprouts:

“Is there any way to consume sulphorafane in a supplement form? Rather than have to jump so many hops to consume it from broccoli.”

That blog post referenced a 2017 study, whose sulforaphane amount was:

“100 µmol [17.3 mg] sulforaphane as standardized broccoli sprout extract in the form of 2 gel capsules.”

One answer in A pair of broccoli sprout studies was No:

  • “Plasma and urinary levels of total SFN [sulforaphane] metabolites were ~3–5 times higher in sprout consumers compared to BSE [broccoli sprout extract] consumers.
  • In sprout consumers, plasma concentrations were 2.4-fold higher after consuming the second dose than after the first dose.
  • Calculated SFN bioavailability from broccoli sprouts exceeded 100%.”

That study was from 2015, though. Are better products than broccoli sprout extracts available now?


Image from the US Library of Congress

During Week 5 of Changing an inflammatory phenotype with broccoli sprouts, back in May when I still believed impossible things like we would:

I contacted a distributor of a dried broccoli sprout powder for evidence of their claim:

“Independent assays confirm that EnduraCELL yields more Sulforaphane per gram and per dose than any other broccoli sprout ingredient available! These assays showed that EnduraCell yields around 3.5 times more SULFORAPHANE than the next highest broccoli sprout product.”

I’ve asked three times for the lab assays. They declined each time to provide the data. In correspondence the company founder said:

“Each 700 mg capsules yields around 15mg sulforaphane.”

The company founder has written several reviews, one of which is entitled Sulforaphane and Other Nutrigenomic Nrf2 Activators: Can the Clinician’s Expectation Be Matched by the Reality? In Section 6.5 Sulforaphane it stated:

“By calculation, MYR [myrosinase]-active whole broccoli sprout supplement yielding 1% SFN could deliver 10 mg SFN per gram of powder, corresponding to ~12 grams of fresh broccoli sprouts (dried powder retains ~8% moisture).

The 2017 study’s dosage of “100 µmol [17.3 mg] sulforaphane as standardized broccoli sprout extract” weighed a gram or less, for a 1.73% sulforaphane yield. A broccoli sprout powder may have a 15 mg / 700 mg = 2.14% sulforaphane yield.

Using calculations from Estimating daily consumption of broccoli sprout compounds and Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts, I eat 131 grams of 3-day-old broccoli sprouts daily. That would be 131 g / 12 = 10.9 grams of a broccoli sprout powder.

The equivalent sulforaphane dosage would be 10.9 g x 21.4 mg per gram = 233.3 mg! That’s obviously too high. What isn’t right?

Subsequent investigation of a distributor’s site found this table:

autism sprout powder

The study referenced for equivalence was Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Calculations:

  • The 100 µmol sulforaphane amount for 90 kg participants weighed 17.73 mg per https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sulforaphane.
  • The equivalent broccoli sprout powder sulforaphane yield is 0.01773 / 3.6 g = 0.4925%. That’s 5 mg of sulforaphane per gram of broccoli sprout powder.
  • 0.4925% / 2.14 % = 0.23. Decrementing the above sulforaphane weight gives 233.3 mg x .23 = 54 mg.

The answer to my question What isn’t right? I relied on private correspondence rather than what a vendor publicly disclosed.


I’m not particularly concerned about analytical uncertainties for myself. Whatever the numbers are, microwaving techniques for fresh broccoli sprouts increase them.

I immerse 3-day-old broccoli sprouts in 100 ml distilled water, then microwave them on 1000W full power for 35 seconds to achieve up to but not exceeding 60°C (140°F) per Microwave broccoli to increase sulforaphane levels. Worst-case estimates are 52 mg sulforaphane with microwaving.


My answer to Armando’s question would be No for sulforaphane supplements. I’d consider a whole broccoli sprout powder after lab assays were personally verified.

Week 10 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts

To follow up Week 9 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts:

1. I increased three of eight upper body exercises by 50% through adding another set. I did it because I didn’t feel muscle exhaustion after two sets like I’d previously felt. 🙂

Cognitively, see A claim of improved cognitive function and its follow on Upgrade your brain’s switchboard with broccoli sprouts.

2. It’s been inspirational at times, and at other times, dull, duller, dullest, to do what’s necessary and keep on track. But the efforts paid off when Week 9 was unlike any previous week!

I expressed appreciation in Our model clinical trial for Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts because scientific evidence provides great bases for intentional behavior. It’s still up to me to voluntarily carry out my part. And why wouldn’t I act when my healthspan and lifespan are the consequences? Except…

What if I’d been:

  • Tired of the hassle, or bored with self-imposed discipline, or lazy, and quit?
  • Projecting personal problems onto others, such that improving my present and future became less important than act-outs?
  • Distracted by, or believed propaganda, or participated in Madness of Crowds behavioral contagion, and missed day after day of required actions?

I may not have ever experienced Week 9’s intermediate-term benefits!

If I keep going past ten weeks, what long-term benefits could be expected?

Our model clinical trial didn’t say how researchers decided on a ten-week period for subjects to consume broccoli sprouts every day. I asked a study coauthor about trial duration, but no answer yet.

A few of the same coauthors answered generally in Reviewing clinical trials of broccoli sprouts and their compounds:

Biomarkers of effect are early stage end-points, for instance the modulation of phase 2 enzymes by glucosinolates. They need more time than biomarkers of exposure to be influenced by the dietary treatment.

Hence, length or duration of the study must be defined according to the biomarker measured to be modified, that is, to define perfectly the time of exposure to observe changes in relevant parameters. Gene expression is one important target for glucosinolates, and it requires a sufficient period of exposure to (de)activate signaling pathways involved.

It is crucial to find appropriate biomarkers of effect that are linked to later disease outcomes, and more investigation is needed in this sense. Post-study follow-up can be of great value in assessing the persistence of certain effects, or in discovering those that appear more long-term.

3. I’ll go into a clinic on Sunday for Day 70 truth tests. Here they are: Day 70 results from Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts!

Week 9 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts

To follow up Week 8 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts:

1. This week has really been different.

A. Physically, on Friday Eve I worked out per my usual upper-body-workout-every four-days routine. I felt strong, and on one exercise I increased the weight by 33%. No problem doing the same number of reps and sets! Keeping good form was challenging.

Per Week 7, I eight-count each concentric rep slowly, then perform each eccentric rep to the same count, with a goal to reach muscle exhaustion during each set. Then pause and do another set.

What changed? Could I have done all this before?

No. I’d tried, making baby steps with increasing weight and keeping good form. But now I can, and I’ll do it again, along with other physical challenges.

B. Seven of this week’s blog posts may be evidence of improved cognitive function. Awakening was how it felt.

Is A claim of improved cognitive function sufficient evidence?

C. This 35th blog post for May comes after 30 posts in April. It wasn’t my goal to do one a day. It’s my goal to Surface Your Real Self. Did a few of them help?

I hope to do other things with my life in June. But the fact remains that humans are herd animals. We “think in herds, go mad in herds, while they [we] only recover their [our] senses slowly, one by one.” We’ll stay in the Madness of Crowds phase until enough people refuse to be propagandized.

2. As a result of reading A pair of broccoli sprout studies, I changed practices to start batches with one tablespoon of broccoli seeds twice a day so I could consume broccoli sprouts twice daily. Right now it’s a PITA task that requires optimization.

The two studies’ findings were:

  1. Broccoli sprouts are better than supplements.
  2. Eating sprouts twice a day is better than eating them once a day.
  3. When in doubt, refer back to Item 1.

3. I reordered broccoli seeds and will receive them next week. In the meantime, I introduced yet another unknown by consuming sprouts that came from a different vendor:

These seeds are smaller. Hundreds of seeds and seed coats annoyingly pass through my strainer, which didn’t happen with larger seeds. 3-day-old sprout sizes are smaller, and they smell and taste different.

This vendor put “seed” four times on their label. The other vendor didn’t bother to put “seed” even once on their broccoli seed package label.

Like other vendors, they prefer buzzword marketing with “microgreen” and “sprouting” rather than provide useful consumer information such as number of seeds and broccoli variety characteristics. Will people buy “Broccoli Sprouting Seeds” but won’t buy Broccoli Seeds? Do people say “Cool beans!” anymore?

My reorder states there are ~720,000 broccoli seeds in that 5 lb. package. I’ll update with its volume after it arrives.

See Week 10 of Changing to a youthful phenotype with broccoli sprouts for follow ups.

I’m kind of asleep right now

This should stay up on YouTube for a while since it uses satire. If it used informed opinions like:

YouTube would censor it.

“I’ll stay at home for the rest of my life if they tell me to. Who knows how to make the best choices for my health and my life? Definitely not me.

The last thing you want is for people to have the freedom to make their own choices and then experience the consequences of their choices.

This new scientific data is irrelevant to me. I already made up my mind when I was the most frightened, and I’m going to keep on believing what makes me the most frightened. Because it’s more congruent to my being that way.

The more scared I am, the more obedient I am.

Yes, I would like a mandatory vaccine. Sometimes the best medicine is like the best sex: non-consensual. They work on the same premise.

It’s pretty well proven that being proactive and taking care of your health won’t keep you healthy. Our only hope is in the pharmaceutical companies protecting us. They have a very good track record of never harming anyone.

I’d like two microchips please. Just to keep me extra safe. Or maybe we should just do a baby step, and use a mandatory tracking app on our phone to keep us safe and then go to the microchips.”

 

It was known to everybody that the lockdown would cause a catastrophe

To follow up If people don’t stand up for their rights, their rights will be forgotten which YouTube has taken down, here are excerpts from a subsequent interview which YouTube has also taken down:

“If you don’t present bad news, that’s not good news for the media.

On April 17, the Director of the CDC presented at the Presidential Briefing, this graph. Its a count of hospitals reporting some sort of symptom that might be influenza. If the number of people who show up at the hospital peaked around March 18th, that means the number of infections peaked around March 8th.

People don’t go to the hospital for their first symptoms. They give it three or four days, and if it doesn’t get better, then they go to the hospital.

If infections peaked around March 8th, then shutting down schools and the economy ten days later is totally absurd. Shutting down the economy ten days after the curve had already turned down is heartless.

New York hospitals were not overflowing. They were laying off people. 500 sick people is a drop in the bucket for the New York City hospital system.

It may have been unfortunate for the patients that there were so many respirators. That’s a different story.

Double-checking never happened with these models. You’re never off by orders of magnitude. You’re off by 10, 20, 30%. [The Imperial College model for UK deaths from COVID-19 changed from 510,000 to 20,000 IIRC] That was more than two orders of magnitude.

It was known to everybody that the lockdown would cause a catastrophe.

Isolating the nursing homes would have been the thing that would have prevented deaths, and would have prevented hospitals from becoming overloaded. Not letting children and young adults from becoming infected and developing immunity would not prevent the load on hospitals.

You don’t need to do anything to prevent a respiratory disease from running. What you should do – and what was not done in the United States – was to protect the elderly. From the experience in Italy, we already knew that the vast majority of people who died were people in their seventies, eighties, nineties, who had comorbidities.

We also had that in Seattle, people with comorbidities died in nursing homes. At that point in time, one should have isolated at least the nursing homes.

To isolate the children, who are not at risk, and put those at risk at risk, is a catastrophe. It’s a human catastrophe that should have never, ever, happened.

I don’t know where the government finds these so-called experts who don’t understand the very basics about epidemiology.

I have never heard of him and never read any publications on epidemiology by Bill Gates but maybe I overlooked some of his qualifications.

I don’t understand this mantra that ‘We will never go back to normal.’ Why not? The virus is gone. Let’s go back and have a life.

If people would be more active. If they would take part in political decisions. If they would be more awake. If they would fight for their democratic rights. This would never have happened.

It’s a failure of the people to take control of the government, and let the government take control of them.”


The Professor misunderstood the United States form of government. As a general principle, the federal government doesn’t order states to do such and such.

Florida, for example, did exactly what the Professor suggested, “protect the elderly.” Other states didn’t, like Washington, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and especially New York. Don’t know why those states’ residents don’t demand responsibility and accountability.

The Professor didn’t adequately present aspects of human behavior. For example, he cited a CDC chart of a drop in hospital reporting of influenza-like symptoms for his arguments without also citing the media frenzy to scare people away from hospitals for fear that they would catch COVID-19. So of course there were fewer instances of influenza-like symptoms reported by hospitals.

He also said “The virus is gone” but that statement had qualifications. Parts of this interview misplaced their relevant contexts.

We believe what we need to believe

While getting ready for bed tonight, I mused about how my younger brother had such an idealized postmortem view of our father. As he expressed six years ago in an obituary for our high school Literature teacher:

“I’ll remember my favorite teacher and how much he’s meant to my life. My father and Martin Obrentz were the two people who made me care about the things that make me the person I am today.”

Believe what you need to believe, David. But like I said five years ago in Reflections on my four-year anniversary of spine surgery:

“I don’t remember that my three siblings ever received a paddling or belting, although they were spanked. Even before he retired, 17 years before he died, the Miami-Dade County public school system stopped him and the rest of their employees from spanking, whipping, beating, and paddling children.”


It’s extremely important for a child to have a witness to their adverse childhood experiences. Otherwise, it’s crazy-making when these experiences aren’t acknowledged as truths by anyone else. Especially by those who saw but disavow what they saw.

It didn’t really drum into my conscious awareness until tonight that I had such a witness. It wasn’t my mother, of course, since she directed most of my being whipped with a belt, and beaten with a paddle that had holes in it to produce welts. She has denied and deflected my childhood experiences of her ever since then.

It wasn’t my siblings, regrettably for all of us. It wasn’t our Miami neighbors.

When I was twenty, I ran across a guy 300 miles north in Gainesville, Florida, named David Eisenberg, if I remember correctly. A couple of weeks after we met, he asked if my father was Fred Rice, Dean of Boys, West Miami Junior High School. He said he had been beaten by my father several times!

Those weren’t early childhood memories like mine. Those were experiences of a young man during grades 7-9 that he remembered more than a decade later.

I was shocked. It came at a time when I wasn’t ready to face facts about my life, though. I needed fantasies, beliefs to smother what I felt.


I don’t expect that the impacts of my childhood experiences will ever go away. After three years of Primal Therapy that ended a decade ago, at least mine don’t completely control my life anymore.

Dr. Arthur Janov put self-narratives of several patients’ experiences into his May 2016 book Beyond Belief which I partially curated in February 2017. It was partial because I couldn’t read much past Frank’s horrendous story in pages 89 – 105, “The Myth of a Happy Childhood.”

Forcing people to learn helplessness

Learned helplessness is a proven animal model. Its reliably-created phenotype is often the result of applying chronic unpredictable stress.

As we’re finding out worldwide, forcing humans to learn helplessness works in much the same way, with governments imposing what amounts to martial law. Never mind that related phenotypes and symptoms include:

  • “Social defeat
  • Social avoidance behavior
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anhedonia
  • Increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis sensitivity
  • Visceral hypersensitivity” [1]

Helplessness is both a learned behavior and a cumulative set of experiences. Animal models demonstrate that these phenotypes usually continue on throughout the subjects’ entire lifespans.

Will the problems caused in humans by humans be treated by removing the causes? Or will the responses be approaches such as drugs to treat the symptoms?


A major difference between our current situation and the situation depicted below is that during communism, most people didn’t really trust or believe what the authorities, newspapers, television, and radio said:

Image from Prague’s Memorial to the Victims of Communism


[1] 2014 GABAB(1) receptor subunit isoforms differentially regulate stress resilience curated in If research provides evidence for the causes of stress-related disorders, why only focus on treating the symptoms?

Flatten the Panic Curve April 13-17, 2020

To better understand our internal origins of panic, here’s Dr. Arthur Janov’s interpretation of a 2013 Iowa study Fear and panic in humans with bilateral amygdala damage (not freely available):

“Justin Feinstein did a study with those who had a damaged amygdala, the hub of the emotional system. They did not have normal fear responses. But if oxygen supplies were lowered and carbon dioxide supplies were increased, mimicking suffocation (increasing acidity of the blood) there were panic attacks.

Where in the world did those attacks come from? Certainly not from the usual emotional structures.

They believe it includes the brainstem! Because the lowering of oxygen supplies and adding carbon dioxide provoked the lower structures to sense the danger and reacted appropriately.

Very much like what happens to a fetus when the mother smokes during pregnancy and produces those same effects.”


Since those of us who chronically experience panic aren’t going into therapy over this weekend, what else can we do?

1. Stop looking at the John Hopkins Panic map.

2. Search out realistic news such as: “Change in [New York state] ICU admissions is actually a negative number for the first time since we started this intense journey.”

3. Stop clicking sensational headline links.

4. Question your information, and investigate multiple views. Trust has been lost:

  • Dr. Scott Jensen, a Minnesota physician for 35 years and state senator, on the inappropriate CDC / WHO guidelines for reporting COVID-19 deaths:

    “It’s ridiculous. The determination of cause of death is a big deal. The idea that we’re going to allow people to massage and game the numbers is a real issue because we’re going to undermine trust.

    I would never put down influenza as the cause of death. Yet that’s what we’re being asked to do here.”

  • The same day, Dr. Fauci arrogantly grouped physicians in with conspiracy theorists if they didn’t conform to these bordering-on-fraudulent CDC / WHO guidelines:

    “Every time we have a crisis of any sort, there’s always this popping-up of conspiracy theories. I think the deaths that we’re seeing are coronavirus deaths, and the other deaths are not being counted as coronavirus deaths.”

    Telling people to trust him – a bureaucrat who hasn’t been in active practice for over three decades – because he had far superior medical judgment than did practicing doctors who for years continuously see patients?

  • Consider the evidence.
  • Don’t accept lies you feel uneasy about. Trust your internal BS detector.

Which herd will you choose to belong to?

https://nypost.com/video/bison-stampede-terrorizes-family-trapped-in-car/

or

If people don’t stand up for their rights, their rights will be forgotten

YouTube took down this interview and a follow-on interview It was known to everybody that the lockdown would cause a catastrophe.


Here’s an interview last week with a German epidemiologist, Professor Wittkowski, who isn’t on a government payroll:

“First of all the elderly and fragile should be separated from the population where the virus is circulating. Everyone else, especially the children, should keep going to school, because they will be the primary impetus for herd immunity.

Flattening the curve prolongs the time a virus stays in the population. People staying indoors keeps the virus healthy.

Like every other respiratory disease, without government intervention, the pandemic would already be over like it’s over in China and South Korea. Except, both in China and South Korea, social distancing started very close to the peak. By keeping the virus from running its course, they are now having a second wave of cases. It will keep on if we don’t let it complete.

There’s nothing to be scared about. This is a flu epidemic like others, maybe more severe. What’s changed is the internet. People get their information in a few seconds, rather than a week.

Tracking a respiratory disease is impossible. Even in times of social distancing. Nature has ways to make sure we survive.

The standard for AIDS reporting, i.e., the date of infection separated from the date of reporting, is not being followed.

If we had herd immunity now, we wouldn’t have a second wave in the fall. Herd immunity typically lasts for a couple of years. If we prevent herd immunity, it is certain that a second wave will occur.

Testing doesn’t stop anything. Antibody testing will give us estimates of herd immunity, which would be useful.

We don’t die of the virus. We die of pneumonia.

The downside of starting containment is that we should not believe that we are more intelligent than mother nature when we were evolving. Mother nature was pretty good at making sure we were a good match for the diseases that we happened to see virtually every year.

I think people, especially in the United States, are more docile than they should be. People should talk with their politicians, question them, ask them to explain. Because if people don’t stand up to their rights, their rights will be forgotten.”

Using COVID-19 as a cover story

One aspect of the coronavirus is how it’s being used for economic upheavals that weren’t previously acceptable. The view from a Hong Kong analyst:

From March 2020 MMT is now a reality:

“Under cover of the ‘coronacrisis’, we are now witnessing the introduction of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which isn’t modern and isn’t a theory.

The dollars that the government will inject into the Fed’s Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) were previously created out of nothing when the Fed monetised Treasury securities. So, the Fed creates money out of nothing. This money then goes to the government. The government then deposits some of this money into the Fed’s new SPVs, and based on this injection of ‘capital’ the Fed creates a lot more money out of nothing.

No longer will governments feel constrained by their abilities to tax the population and borrow from bond investors. From now on they will act like they have unrestricted access to a bottomless pool of money.”

The Coming Great Inflation from October 2019 showed that current developments were already in the works:

“The difference between money and every other economic good is that money is on one side of almost every economic transaction. Consequently, there is no single number that can accurately represent the price (purchasing power) of money, meaning that even the most honest and rigorous attempt to calculate the ‘general price level’ will fail. This doesn’t imply that changes in the supply of money have no effect on money purchasing power, but it does imply that the effects of changes in the money supply can’t be explained or understood via a simple equation.

The economic effects of a money-supply increase driven by commercial banks making loans to their customers will be very different from the economic effects of a money-supply increase driven by central banks monetising assets. ‘Main Street’ is the first receiver of the new money in the former case and ‘Wall Street’ is the first receiver of the new money in the latter case. This alone goes a long way towards explaining why the QE programs of Q4-2008 onward had a much greater effect on financial asset prices than on the prices that get added together to form the Consumer Price Index.

Due to the combination of the false belief that large increases in the supply of money have only a minor effect on the purchasing power of money and the equally false belief that the economy would benefit from a bit more ‘price inflation’, it’s a good bet that central banks and governments will devise ways to inject a lot more money into the economy in reaction to future economic weakness.”

Deaths in Italy attributed to COVID-19

Why have so many coronavirus patients died in Italy? from the Telegraph today:

“According to Prof Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to Italy’s minister of health, the country’s mortality rate is far higher due to demographics – the nation has the second oldest population worldwide – and the manner in which hospitals record deaths.

‘The age of our patients in hospitals is substantially older – the median is 67, while in China it was 46,’ Prof Ricciardi says. ‘So essentially the age distribution of our patients is squeezed to an older age and this is substantial in increasing the lethality.

But Prof Ricciardi added that Italy’s death rate may also appear high because of how doctors record fatalities.

‘The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.

On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,’ he says.”


Refactoring the current 4,825 deaths in Italy attributed to COVID-19 equals 579 (4,825 x .12). That number places Italy slightly above France’s 562 current total.

Evidence-based statements wouldn’t sufficiently frighten the herd, though. The article continued on to include now-obligatory, hyperbolic, unscientific WHO statements referencing a “miracle.”

Image from “Culture Audits: We Have Been Asking the Wrong Question”

Recover your sanity

Men, it has been well said:

  • Think in herds; it will be seen that
  • They go mad in herds, while
  • They only recover their senses slowly, one by one.

During the great plague, which ravaged all Europe, between the years 1345 and 1350, it was generally considered that the end of the world was at hand.

‘But the facts, my dear fellow,’ said his friend, ‘the facts do not agree with your theory.‘ ‘Don’t they?’ replied the philosopher, shrugging his shoulders, ‘then, tant pis pour les faits’ – so much the worse for the facts!”

Charles Mackay, 1841

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24518 “Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

Alfred Jacob Miller “Hunting buffalo” 1837

“Establishing the hidden communication networks in large self-organized groups facilitates a quantitative understanding of behavioral contagion.

An individual will be more likely to respond (is more susceptible) if it:

  • Is strongly connected to the initiator (short path length), and if it
  • Has neighbors which are strongly connected to each other.”

Why is it so difficult to live your own life?

Wander into creativity?

This 2019 US study investigated the context of creative ideas:

“Creative inspiration routinely occurs during moments of mind wandering. Approximately 20% of ideas occurred in this manner.

Although ideas that occurred while participants were both on task and mind wandering did not differ in overall quality, there were several dimensions on which they did consistently differ. Ideas that occurred while mind wandering were reported to be experienced with a greater sense of ‘aha’ and were more likely to involve overcoming an impasse.

The present findings are consistent with the view that spontaneous task-independent mind wandering represents a source of the inventive ideas that individuals have each day. This potential function of mind wandering may help to explain why a mental state that can be associated with significant negative outcomes is nevertheless so ubiquitous.”

“Would you say the idea felt like an ‘aha!’ moment?” and “How creative do you feel the idea was?” were the closest items to emotional measures. “How important do you think this idea is?” and several months later “How important has the idea proven to be overall?” were used to measure importance.

https://labs.psych.ucsb.edu/schooler/jonathan/sites/labs.psych.ucsb.edu.schooler.jonathan/files/pubs/0956797618820626.pdf “When the Muses Strike: Creative Ideas of Physicists and Writers Routinely Occur During Mind Wandering”

I came across this study from its reference in How Productivity Apps Can Make Us Less Productive (And Less Happy).


The study’s design missed opportunities to discover sources of creative ideas and feelings of importance. It focused on effects and intentionally disregarded causes, despite asserting that “mind wandering represents a source of inventive ideas.”

Experiments were subjectively biased for a framework that considered ideas as originating solely from a person’s thinking brain. A framework like Primal Therapy that demonstrated how ideas may arise as defenses against feelings wasn’t considered, although relevant.

Let’s use the finding “Ideas that occurred while mind wandering were more likely to involve overcoming an impasse” as an example for a Primal Therapy framework’s view:

  1. A person who has a seemingly unsolvable work problem probably encounters feelings of helplessness.
  2. Staying busy with tasks can distract them from these feelings.
  3. During times of less cognitive activity, though, these feelings can have more impetus.
  4. The resultant discomfort will trigger ideas to help ward off helpless feelings.

Regarding importance judgments, there are many needs a person develops and tries to satisfy as substitutes for real needs that weren’t fulfilled. I’ve focused on the need to feel important in blog posts such as Your need to feel important will run your life, and you’ll never feel satisfied.