Books, music, etc. from July 2015


Minger’s Death by Food Pyramid has some good warnings against the missteps of the nutrition profession, government nutrition recommendations, and fad diets. Minger is mostly excited by Weston Price ideas about nutrition. I haven’t examined that evidence base, but I’d be surprised if e.g. we actually had decent measures of the rates of cancer, etc. in the populations Price visited. His work might elevate some hypotheses to the level of “Okay, we should test this,” in which case my question is “Have we done those RCTs yet?”

Ansari & Klinenberg’s Modern Romance was mildly amusing but not very good.


This month I again listened to dozens of jazz albums while working on my in-progress jazz guide. This month, I started finally got to the stage where I hadn’t heard many of the albums, so I had lots of new encounters with albums I enjoyed a lot:

Albums I liked a lot, from other genres:


Ones I really liked, or loved:

  • Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan (2014)
  • Noah Baumbach, While We’re Young (2014)
  • Abderrahmane Sissako, Timbuktu (2014)
  • Judd Apatow, Trainwreck (2015)


  1. stuart says

    Hi Luke

    You’re very impressed with Chomsky’s references. How many of them do you actually follow up? How many of them would have to be bogus in a way that Chomsky would have to have known they were bogus for you to revise your opinion of him.

    Have you followed up many of the criticisms (from someone like Oliver Kamm) and resolved that Chomsky is in the right in those disputes?

    • Luke says

      I’m not sure I’d say I’m “very impressed” with Chomsky’s references. I’m just glad he bothers to have references at all, which is more than I can say for many people I’ve read on these topics. There is this project.

      I’d very much like to read the smartest criticisms of Chomsky (on these topics) that you know of, especially ones which cite their sources like Chomsky does. Which pieces by Kamm or others would you recommend?

  2. stuart says

    It depends on how much you want to read. Here are some posts from Kamm on Chomsky’s handling of source materials (he makes the point that Chomsky seldom includes page numbers, which often makes it very difficult to check).

    Here is a post recounting Chomsky misquoting his own book.
    I did check the book and Chomsky does write what Kamm says he does.

    (The links in the post are dead. Here are ones that work

    Here is a critique of his Cambodia essay that he wrote with Herman

    It is really far to long but the original essay ( includes this quote “Space limitations preclude a comprehensive review, but such journals as the Far Eastern Economic Review, the London Economist, the Melbourne Journal of Politics, and others elsewhere, have provided analyses by highly qualified specialists who have studied the full range of evidence available, and who concluded that executions have numbered at most in the thousands…”

    The analysis “provided” by the Economist was a letter to the editor that the Economist published.

    Brad DeLong and Richard Posener have also written critiques. There are lots of others.

    • Luke says

      Thanks! In the long run, I probably want to read quite a few critiques of Chomsky, so if you can spare the time to dig up the links to critiques by DeLong, Posner, and others, I’d likely make use of them.

  3. stuart says

    Here are some, though they don’t focus much on the references and maybe they’re not really what you’re after. So much of Chomsky’s output, even his books, is in interviews or articles which aren’t referenced. (review of Failed States)

    The Posner critique is in his book Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline. I can’t find the relevant bit online, but if I remember it’s only a few pages.

    Here’s the exchange with Hitchens after 9/11

    Kamm has lots of other detailed posts and is writing or planning to write a book on Chomsky.

    Obviously there are more passionate critiques from the right (what you get if you Google Chomsky criticisms), but I’m not terribly interested to see what David Horowitz has to say about Chomsky.

    I’ve followed enough of his references to be convinced that while his quotes are strictly accurate, he interpolates like mad and very often does not accurately represent the source. Kamm’s posts linked to in my comment above are pretty representative.

  4. stuart says

    I thought I posted another comment with more links. Did it not go through, or did it not make it through moderation?

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