The good powder (snow) the bad powder (erythritol) and the ugly powder (kratom)

What happens when you lose ten pounds in a week; ultra-processed foods exposed; do not work out on kratom. This is Link Letter 75!

The good powder (snow) the bad powder (erythritol) and the ugly powder (kratom)
Mount Baldy after the big storm.

Now I'm sick, but earlier this week had the otherworldly once-in-a-lifetime privilege of skiing in the nearly one hundred inches of fresh powder in the San Gabriel Mountains. One of the better parts of skiing is when you are riding up on the chairlift, enjoying a forest-bath, watching people navigate the slope down below (there is, blessedly and cursedly, nothing else to do or look at). There was so much snow that there was no way for the proprietors of the mountain to make sense of it the usual ways, running a groomer over the surface or evening it out with snowmaking machines. But because of that, the embrace of chaos was total.

Everyone was falling. Men truly laughed as children, trying to cut a turn and landing face first. In the next ten feet, would you slide right over the surface or end up ass over teakettle in a drift? There was no telling. On a clear it's possible to see all the way down into the Los Angeles valley. But it started to snow again only a couple hours into the day, until parking lot dissolved away. Ghostly trees coated in frost and ice faded up into the mountain. We were suspended, enclosed in snow above and below and all around.


~Discord Pick of the Week: Trans powerlifter JayCee Cooper won her discrimination suit against the tragically retrograde USAPL. Sit down, the USAPL!~

An Outside Magazine writer rode a chairlift for seven hours to get the man-on-the-street read on the skiing landscape. This really plucked my heartstrings, as a person of skiing experience. Gloria Liu notes that one of the reasons for both the decline of and insane competitiveness for skiing resources is climate change shuttering the tiny and cheap ski pumps like where I learned to ski (still $25 for a half-day lift ticket for kids at Royal Mountain!).

A holistic disordered-eating screening tool that doesn't focus exclusively on medical symptoms.

“Bare minimum” Mondays.

The science of oats.

What happens when you lose 10 pounds in a week.

A 3-D-printed basketball that never needs to be reinflated.


Often there is a certain classicism and elitism that settles in around discussions of “ultra-processed” foods. Access to nutritious foods is a disgrace in the U.S., and diet-related health issues are not a matter of personal resolve. But there is also a kind of… I want to call it “postnutritionism,” where PepsiCo et al. have worked hard to position the “ability” to “choose” ultra-processed foods as some kind of human right that needs defending. (One of the things I hate about writing for internet is having to couch everything, but couch couch couch I don’t mean that no one should ever eat processed foods, I do it all of the time, it’s not a moral transgression, it’s just not a factor in nutrition that many people understand well or are terribly aware of.)

Anyway—some guy came up with a new food classification system called NOVA, where foods are basically ranked from unprocessed (a carrot; chicken thighs) to “ultra-processed” (Doritos; Diet Mountain Dew). At minimum, food processed-ness seems like an increasingly relevant factor that, say, the USDA’s MyPlate is not terribly equipped to deal with. If we can, for the first time ever, manage to turn this into a way to inform people without extending it all the way into “you are a good/bad person if you x” territory, that will be amazing.

Please do not panic about the artificial sweetener x cardiac event study from this week; it's, once again, reporters not knowing how to read an academic journal.

Related to the new TikTok “Bold Glamour” filter:

“I can’t remember what I looked like as a teenager. It’s strange, being part of the generation with the most prodigious digital footprint in human history and still being unable to piece together a version of my adolescent face that makes sense. I have pictures—maybe too many pictures–—but they’re all on social media, and any picture I posted publicly had been run through enough filtering and photoshopping apps to build a new self from scratch.”

BetterHelp said it wouldn’t sell private customer data, and then, it did. It hurts me every time a podcast reads this company's ads.

Katie Way tried working out on kratom so you don’t have to (please don’t even think about touching a kratom).

A new app to hate and avoid.


“I began, if not to turn away from the mythical notion of a man to ‘complete’ me, to accept that there was no love out there for me. I chose mountains instead.”

“When a feminine attribute is revalued… the gender coding just gets flipped.”

I gotta say—I’ve been to the top of the tomato-based-dishes-from-scratch mountain, your soups, your sauces. They are simply not worth it. They save you no money, they take forever. As long as we live in a world with Rao’s in it, I won’t be spending my precious life cooking a tomato down.

Reminder that I'm doing a little talk at the Ann Arbor Downtown Library March 24 at 6:30PM! I'm extremely excited to meet you all in person.

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—