What I'm Reading (Aug. 11)

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Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome
The scent of a woman
Chaos is present everywhere, in physical and biological worlds.
The meat paradox

“She was trying very hard to be a cannabis influencer,” a former coworker at a weed company says. “Cute blond girl eating edibles: that was the premise.” By 2016, Moon had amassed over 14,000 followers on Instagram.

Then she started vomiting. She puked every few months at first, and then every time she got on an airplane, and then every day. Her mom got her an appointment in early 2018 with a gastrointestinal specialist who suggested, to Moon’s horror, that her digestive issues might be caused by all the cannabis she was consuming—a rare disorder called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS.”

The story of an influencer with only a high school degree attempting to stop the research of a neurologist and psychopharmacologist. From the MIT technology review, The feud between a weed influencer and scientist over puking stoners Shades of Dr. Lev.

I’ve written before about our sense of smell and bonding, but a new wrinkle adds to my understanding of the bond between baby and mother.

"Even before babies can see well, they have a robust sense of smell. An infant’s ability to detect odours is so strong that newborns will prefer the scent of their mother’s breast and clothes over those of other people4. One idea for why this preference develops so early is that human amniotic fluid seems to contain individualized chemical signatures that prime the developing fetus to be attracted to their parent.”

From Nature Briefings, Unpicking the link between smell and memories

“Chaos reflects predictability over time. A system is said to be stable if it changes very little over a long timescale, and random if its fluctuations are unpredictable. But a chaotic system — one ruled by nonlinear responses to events — may be predictable over short periods but is subject to increasingly dramatic shifts the further out you go.”

The weather is a chaotic system, but for a long time, we have found little evidence of the impact of tiny fluctuations in biologics, like the periodic algae blooms. In our linear way, we ascribe them to pollutants or temperature; sometimes, when we are “sophisticated,” we might consider both. As it turns out, there are many variables with differing impacts over differing intervals. From Quanta, Hidden Chaos Found to Lurk in Ecosystems

“…“the meat paradox”: the mental dissonance caused by our empathy for animals and our desire to eat them."

Australian psychologists Steve Loughnan, Nick Haslam, and Brock Bastian coined the term in 2010 as the “psychological conflict between people’s dietary preference for meat and their moral response to animal suffering.” We empathize with animals — after all, we are animals ourselves — but we’re also hardwired to seek calorie-dense, energy-rich foods. And for most of human history, that meant meat.”

From Vox, How Gordon Ramsay’s lamb slaughter joke explains our confusing relationship with meat