What I'm Reading (Oct. 14)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Oct 14, 2021
Cooking has always been chemistry you can eat, the murmurations of swallows, Capitalism, the commons, and China, and a movie about moths but not Mothra
Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

I feel a unique attraction to eating, as my body shape will attest. I am drawn intellectually to cooking because I am fascinated by combing chemicals – call it the hang-over from my “Chemcraft” chemistry sets. Cooking is chemistry we can eat.

“Scientifically guided cooking has deep roots in the history of American food. It’s apparent in early calls for standardization and precision in early hit cookbooks like The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, where Farmer obsessed over ultra-precise measurements, down to eighths of teaspoons, and standardizing measurement of the liquid’s meniscus (keep it below the line).

But the founder of modern scientific home cooking is Harold McGee, with his book On Food and Cooking (1984). On Food and Cooking is an encyclopedic, 800-page tome answering nearly every question on food science imaginable, from which proteins are in egg whites to why blueberries are blue.”

From Works in Progress, Better eats

The Nobel in Physics went to a modeler of complex systems, which help explain our world. One of those complex systems is murmurations – the gathering of starlings as the flock through the sky in the fall. I am a sucker for them. There is a large group outside my home, and they form a mini-murmuration that I can witness. This year I noticed that as they approach their landing area, they suddenly appear in the sky, reminiscent of the Rebel X-wing fighters dropping out of warp speed to face the Death Star. But I digress. Here is an article, but more importantly, many beautiful photographs of murmurations, a complex system we can all enjoy. From Nautil.us, Order Flocking Out of Chaos

“Capitalism, as a Western system, also has other features, of course, including wide-scale theft of capital from the majority of the population, of which the enclosure of the commons was one part (the commons were property rights). Society becomes divided into those who have capital, and those who don’t, who are compelled by Marx’s “whip of hunger” to work for wages. … Still, the explosion of businesses of all sizes is much of what drove the success of capitalism: the ability to DO things, and not be stuck in old forms.

This is also at the heart of much of the success of China. What Westerners don’t realize is that, despite all the cries of totalitarianism, the Chinese government is one of the most decentralized in the world: over 70% of spending decisions are made below the national level: this makes it the most decentralized national government in the developed world.”

When you need to work more than 40 hours a week to support yourself and your family, something is not right with the American Dream. From the eponymous blog of Ian Welsh, The Advantage of Permission & The Fall Of Oligarchies

‘Whose day isn’t gonna be better after watching a pink and yellow rosy maple moth fly in super-slow motion?’

From Aeon, Witness the majesty of moths taking flight at 6,000 frames per second

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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