"Everybody’s Business"

Review of Tyler Cowen's new book. This is a point that I don't think can be repeated often enough:

Cowen addresses some common criticisms of big companies—that too many are monopolistic, for example, and that more should be broken up. Monopolies do exist, but many, if you look closely, are in heavily regulated industries where misguided government policies raise the cost of entry and allow a few companies to dominate. Health-insurance firms have consolidated into giants to deal with all the regulation now demanded of them. Cable television offerings were restricted for years thanks to local governments handing out exclusive territorial licenses. Only recently, with the rise of online streaming, has technological innovation created a path around the cable monopoly, decreasing prices. And, of course, housing prices have skyrocketed in certain markets because of inadequate supply caused by government restrictions on building.

"Make Physics Real Again Why have so many physicists shrugged off the paradoxes of quantum mechanics?"

Review of a book that explains and describes the history of Bohr's view of quantum mechanics--famously glossed as "Shut up and calculate!" versus Einstein's--who stated that Bohr's view meant "Spooky action at a distance".

I can see some merit in both views. But in the end, I have to go with a long-standing inclination: give the points and bet on Big Al.

"This Reporter Took a Deep Look Into the Science of Smoking Pot. What He Found Is Scary."

This appears online at Mother Jones(!)--no, make that "!!" It's a review of a recent book by Alex Berenson, former investigative reporter for the New York Times(!), Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence. The review summarizes what Berenson found: a lot of research about marijuana's possible harm that was ". . . hardly Reagan-esque, drug warrior hysteria."

But what about reverse causality--some people with mental health issues use marijuana to self-medicate? There is research that at least purports to address that and it still concludes there is evidence of serious health risk.

But what about all the high school and college kids who smoked pot in the '60s and '70s seemingly without ill effects except for the now cliché hunger for munchies and a bit of sleepiness? To me, the most arresting paragraph of the piece is this:

Before talking to Berenson, I didn’t realize it was possible to smoke your way to the ER. I smoked plenty of weed in high school and so did all my friends, and none of us jumped off a balcony or killed anyone—we could barely get off the couch. But the marijuana sold today is not what we smoked, which at 1 percent to 2 percent THC was the equivalent of smoking oregano. Today’s weed is insanely more potent, as are products like “wax” and “shatter”—forms of butane hash oil designed to be vaped or dabbed that come pretty close to 100 percent THC. And these high-potency products usually contain very little CBD oil, the ingredient in cannabis that’s supposed to account for many of its supposed health benefits.

Very much related: another review of Berenson's book by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker (!!!): "Is Marijuana As Safe As We Think?" (Summary: maybe not, but a whole lot more research should be done.)

(Links via Powerline.)

As I write, the reviews of the book on Amazon are 60% five-star and 37% one-star. I read all the one-star reviews and except for two they are hundreds of miles away from being serious attempts to refute the book's argument. The two semi-serious reviews both accuse the author of cherry-picking the research while providing absolutely zero references to support that accusation.