Last October, I began wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
My diabetes has never been bad. I’ve never needed insulin. The Family Practitioner who started me on Piaglitazone and Metformin never even uttered the word “diabetes.” He said “I’m going to put you on some meds to control your blood sugar, which is a bit too high.” Soon he dropped the Piaglitazone.
Since my Doc was sort of proactive, I suspect that I never actually made it past “pre-diabetes,” which I think is pretty much the same as “metabolic syndrome.” I’ve known I had metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes for more than 30 years. And while my doctors (past and present) seemed to consider my A1C of 6.2 pretty good, I looked at it, and at the scale, and eventually said “maybe I put weight on so easily because of what high blood sugar does,” and began thinking that CGM technology might help me control that.
That thought became a reality shortly thereafter when I learned of Levels Health. Through them, I got a Dexcom G6 CGM. This is my personal, subjective report.
First, using a CGM requires some acclimation. Levels didn’t mention that CGM sensors only last about 10 days, and each one measures serum glucose differently. I had to figure that out by looking at the Dexcom app and puzzling over the blank next to “last calibration date.” Yes, you do need to calibrate your CGM sensor unless you want merely to get an idea of the direction your serum glucose is moving twelve times an hour.
Thus, second, the ads for Dexcom that say “no more finger pricks” are exaggerating. You need finger pricks in order to calibrate the new CGM sensor. In my experience, I really need two finger-pricks per sensor: one when glucose is low, another when it’s high. I only calibrated my current sensor at low glucose, and I’m all but positive that it’s exaggerating the rise caused by benign meals that have not been a problem before. Still, two finger-pricks in ten days is much better than what some diabetics experience.
Third, there’s only one good place on my arms to wear a CGM, and if I sleep on that arm with a CGM, it’s apt to disrupt the sensor’s operation. What that means is that my phone is likely to erupt in the dead of night with shrill false alarms (overriding the “off” switch on the phone) of dangerously low blood sugar. Were I frankly diabetic, especially Type I, that no-opt-out alarm might save my life, but for me it’s a definite bug, not a feature.
Fourth, in my experience, the area where I habitually insert the CGM sensor becomes sensitive, giving off stinging sensations and other unpleasant sensations at times.
Fifth, my CGM sensors have intermittent outages where they cease communicating with the app. For that reason, I hesitate to push my luck by swimming or sinking into a hot bathtub, even though that’s supposed to be okay for up to 20 minutes. My hygiene grade is down a bit.
Sixth, it really is interesting, after 30+ years of metabolic syndrome, to watch in more objective terms how a single meal can send my glucose soaring, with all that implies.
Seventh, it worked. I dropped my A1C from 6.2 to 5.7 in four months. I lost a modest amount of weight. Then my new doctor (the old one, younger than me, retired) monkey-wrenched things by saying that he didn’t like diabetics to have A1C that low, for fear of their blood sugar dropping dangerously low. (The likelihood of me ever observing a diet so strictly that I drive my blood sugar too low seems vanishingly low.) I also broke through a weight-loss plateau, though total weight loss with CGM remains modest.
Eighth (and here I pivot), it turns out that controlling serum glucose, for me at least, means eating a low-carbohydrate diet. I know how to do that without a monitor.
Finally, there’s something about CGM that feels to me like biohacking, like quantifying things that really require only generality, like being a control freak. And biohacking seems adjacent to transhumanism, with which I want nothing whatever to do.
So I have told Levels not to ship my next CGM order. I plan to continue a low-carb diet. I plan to do occasional pin-pricks before and after planned binges. If you are pre-diabetic or put weight on too easily, I would recommend giving a look at Levels Health and CGM for a while to get in touch with your very own metabolism.
I haven’t even ruled out returning to CGM during my year-long Levels Health membership. But in a few weeks, I’m done with CGM to give me “metrics” (beyond my weight) on the effects of low-carb eating.
One historical analogy does seem salient to me, though: the drugs [gender clinics] now give to gender-dysphoric teens are very closely related to the drugs they used to “cure” Alan Turing of his gayness. Every time I think of that I shudder.
Fox civil war
Fox news is supposed to be separate from Fox opinion, and the few times I’ve watched the former, that seems broadly true. But that doesn’t mean that there’s perfect mutual understanding and harmony:
- On Nov. 9, 2020, host Neil Cavuto cut away from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as she made unsubstantiated claims of a stolen election. “Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue to show you this,” Cavuto said on the air. For this, Fox News Senior VP (and former Trump White House press aide) Raj Shah labeled Cavuto a “brand threat” in a message to top corporate brass.
- Hannity and Carlson tried to get Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fired for fact-checking a Trump tweet about Dominion and noting that there was no evidence of votes being destroyed. “Please get her fired. Seriously… What the fuck?” Carlson texted Ingraham and Hannity on Nov. 12, 2020. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” Hannity exploded on top execs, including one who panicked and wrote that Heinrich “has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted” with Fox
- On Nov. 19, 2020, after Fox broadcasted the now-infamous Giuliani and Powell press conference about Dominion, then-White House correspondent Kristen Fisher got in trouble for fact-checking their bogus claims. Per the filing, “Fisher received a call from her boss, Bryan Boughton, immediately after in which he emphasized that higher-ups at Fox News were also unhappy with it, and that Fisher needed to do a better job of, this is a quote, respecting our audience.”
Nick Cattogio, Fox News Hates Its Viewers
White race hucksters — it’s all about the incentives
if you want a job in DEI – especially an enviable senior position like [Rachel Elizabeth] Seidel [a/k/a Raquel Evita Saraswati] enjoys – being a person of color is explicitly an advantage, as those job listings pretty much universally list coming from a minority background as an advantage in the hiring process. If you create an advantage, people are going to pursue that advantage. Whether or not such a pursuit is ethical is not really relevant to the basic question of incentives and behavior. But like so much else in our contemporary racial conversation, there’s an element of unreality here, as every new Dolezal results in a round of shaking heads and “why would somebody do this?” But it’s obvious why they’re doing it. Progressives created the incentives that are provoking the behavior! This is the world we’ve made.
But the incentives are still unmentionable. As I wrote a couple years ago, we’re in this permanently unsettled position regarding efforts to diversify institutions: all right-thinking people are meant to support such efforts, but if you speak directly about the impact of those efforts – if you acknowledge that programs intended to benefit some minorities in a selection process result in some minorities benefitting in that selection process – then that’s an impermissible microaggression that suggests minorities aren’t deserving. I invite you to go into certain circles of Twitter and say “a lot of Black students get into Ivy League schools because of affirmative action.” You’d be pilloried. But the people pillorying you would all be supporters of affirmative action programs… which exist to get more Black students into Ivy League schools. You must support the intent of the programs but deny their effects. You need to advocate for affirmative action that helps Black and Hispanic students get into elite colleges; you are never to say that some Black and Hispanic students got into college because of affirmative action. But the latter statement forbids expressing precisely the condition endorsed by the former. It’s all deeply bizarre and a product of our permanently-enflamed racial discourse.
Freddie deBoer, We’ll Get Dolezals Until the Incentives Change
But Freddie states the other side, too:
With both the Dolezal phenomenon and affirmative action, we’re laboring under an inability to frankly reflect on racial progress and benefits that accrue to being a people of color. The reasons for this are eminently understandable; there’s a fear of taking the focus off of all the work we still have to do to achieve racial equality, and of seeming to suggest that the benefits for people of color I’m talking about are of anything like the same scale or intensity as the challenges they face. They aren’t, of course. But if part of our duty as people opposed to racism is to create social structures that address inequality, some of those structures are going to result in benefits to people of color that could potentially be exploited. The only other alternative is the kind of racial fatalism that’s admittedly quite popular, the belief that we can never create any benefits for people of color at all.
More recent Freddie:
Facebook makes me feel the way I feel when I’m in a hospital.
High admiration for the speech I despised
It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
At those words, spoken by George W. Bush on January 20, 2005 (and penned by the late Michael Gerson), I repudiated my notional membership in the Republican Party. (I call it “notional” because Indiana doesn’t register voters by party, and while I consistently voted Republican primary ballots, I was never a party activist, precinct chairman or such.) I probably also uttered some sort of epithet and commented that Dubya had just declared perpetual war.
I wasn’t wrong, and I don’t regret my independence. But maybe I should have listened attentively to the rest of that second inaugural address:
I remember being startled the moment I heard the words. My ears flinched. I wasn’t sure if I had heard what I thought I had heard. I looked around at the bundled-up men and women shivering on the Mall with me to see if they had heard the same thing I had. They were politely clapping their mittened hands. I thought I caught an undercurrent of murmuring, as if they didn’t know what to make of it.
Some critics called it “messianic” and “extraordinarily ambitious,” and accused Bush of announcing a “crusade.” The conservative columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan said the speech “left me with a bad feeling, and reluctant dislike,” because it had “no moral modesty,” no “nuance.” The goal of ending tyranny was “somewhere between dreamy and disturbing,” a case of “mission inebriation.” “This world is not heaven,” she chided.
But, as Gerson later noted, “in the speech, this goal is immediately and carefully qualified.” Bush noted that ending tyranny “is not primarily the task of arms,” that “freedom, by its nature, must be chosen,” and that “when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own.” It was “the concentrated work of generations,” and “America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling.” Noonan was wrong: Bush was remarkably and explicitly humble and realistic in describing the goal of ending tyranny, which elevated his vision further.
This was no utopian or imperial mission to conquer the world in the name of saving it. It was a statement of principle, sketching an orienting framework within which to understand who we are and what we stand for. Bush was pointing to a polestar, a single fixed point to help guide the ship of state through the storms and winds that would always come.
The problem with the speech’s legacy is not the presence of moral ambition, which is necessary, but that we failed to take note of the rest of the speech, after the declared goal of ending tyranny. We forget the humility and realism, and we forget that Bush went on to speak of the importance of character, integrity, and family; of community, religion, and service to others with “mercy, and a heart for the weak.” He called on Americans to embrace love for their neighbors and to “abandon all the habits of racism.” Ambition without character does indeed lead to arrogance, moral compromise, and failure, Bush seemed to be saying, even as he warned that character without ambition is too passive in the face of evil.
Bruni on DeSantis
So now Ron DeSantis is wishy-washy. A bit of a wimp. Or at least runs the risk of looking like one.
That’s a fresh sentiment discernible in some recent assessments, as political analysts and journalists marvel at, chew over and second-guess his failure to return Donald Trump’s increasingly ugly jabs.
I wish I agreed. I’m no DeSantis fan. But where those critics spot possible weakness, I see proven discipline. Brawling with Trump doesn’t flex DeSantis’s muscle. It shows he can be baited. And it just covers them both in mud.
Supreme Court shortlist
Perry Bacon Jr. said the quiet part out loud in his Washington Post column, titled There is only one way to rein in Republican judges: Shaming them.
So at least in the short term, there is only one real option to rein in America’s overly conservative judiciary: shame.
Democratic politicians, left-leaning activist groups, newspaper editorial boards and other influential people and institutions need to start relentlessly blasting Republican-appointed judges. A sustained campaign of condemnation isn’t going to push these judges to write liberal opinions, but it could chasten them toward more moderate ones.
Bacon names and shames federal judges who halted the student loan cancellation policy (Erickson, Grasz, Pittman, and Shepherd), judges in the CFPB funding case (Engelhardt, Willett, and Wilson), and judges in a recent Second Amendment case involving domestic violence restraining orders (Wilson, Ho, and Jones). We should thank Bacon for helping to assemble the next Supreme Court shortlist.
Be it remembered …
Trump’s lying began with the crowd size of the 2017 inaugural and ended with his denial of the 2020 election results. In between these two events, it was, indeed, literally, morning, noon, and night—without ceasing.
Live Not by Lies From Neither the Left Nor Right
Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.
You can read most of my more impromptu stuff here (cathartic venting) and here (the only social medium I frequent, because people there are quirky, pleasant and real). Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly or Reeder, should you want to make a habit of it.