in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: July 7, 2023

Declining Sperm Count: Much More Than You Wanted To Know. There’s been a lot of talk about the fact that studies show that sperm count has been decreasing in men around the world for the past few decades. We’ve written about it before. But Scott Alexander took a deep dive into the research and found that it’s a toss-up as to whether sperm counts are actually declining. The problem is that sperm count tests are highly variable. Tests in the 1980s showed more sperm counts than tests done in the 1970s, and some countries are showing a bigger decline than others. It’s also hard to suss out what’s causing the decline. Is it plastics? Pesticides? Porn? Obesity? It’s all rather unclear.

Jacob Howland on the Hidden Human Costs of AI. AoM podcast guest Jacob Howland appeared on Russ Roberts’ (another AoM guest!) podcast to discuss the philosophical implications of AI, like ChatGPT and DALL-E. Howland argues that by outsourcing our tasks and thinking to computers, our rational faculties — the things that make us human — will atrophy and in the end, may cost us our freedom as agenic beings. 

Dominion Strength Leather Lifting Straps. If you barbell train, at a certain point you might want to consider using lifting straps when you deadlift. Lifting straps allow you to pull heavier and continue to work on your posterior chain without having to worry about your grip. I did a full write-up on how to use lifting straps a few years ago. My go-to lifting straps for the past few years have been these leather ones from Dominion Strength. They’ve lasted much longer than the heavy-duty cotton ones I’ve used in the past. 

The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh. Bill Walsh transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst team in the NFL to a team that won five Super Bowls. In The Score Takes Care of Itself, Walsh shares the leadership philosophy that guided him during this process. While it’s great for people leading teams, the insights in the book are also applicable to transforming and improving on a personal level. An important key insight is setting a high standard of performance and clearly and consistently communicating it to your team. If you consistently meet that standard of performance, the score will take care of itself. Focus on the process and not just the outcome.

Quote of the Week

It is great to have friends when one is young, but indeed it is still more so when you are getting old. When we are young, friends are, like everything else, a matter of course. In the old days we know what it means to have them.

—Edward Grieg

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