What I'm Reading (Oct. 6)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Oct 06, 2022
Renewables Let’s talk about Puerto Rico Becoming a master The greatest engine of social justice, human rights, and equality
Image by succo from Pixabay

“There’s a weird internet cult of renewables haters, and also the strange case of the state of Texas, where renewables are the number two source of electricity but politicians pretend they hate them.

…. The reason Texas — a very conservative state with a locally powerful oil and gas extraction industry — has so much renewable electricity is that large swathes of Texas are very windy, and building wind farms in windy places is a very cost-effective way to make electricity.

And in a place where overall electricity demand is rising, both due to population growth (in Texas) and due to ongoing electrification of vehicles and home heat, renewables buildout does an enormous amount to reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution.”

There is no one energy source unless you count the sun. Matthew Yglesias, in his blog Slow-Boring considers the need to diversify. Beating climate change absolutely requires new technology.  By the way, if you are interested in knowing more about fossil fuels and our future, consider the book How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil.


Puerto Rico goes in and out of my awareness. Growing up on the West Coast, my first dim recollection was West Side Story.  Then I thought about Puerto Rico when I learned that all penicillin manufacturing was moved to Puerto Rico to avoid contamination of other medications with penicillin. Now, a good friend is working on resolving PR’s ongoing fiscal problems. But Xochitl Gonzalez, who writes a newsletter for The Atlantic, has a more consistent view.

“In pan-Latino culture, the label of sucio is almost like a public-service announcement. It’s an intra-community warning that the aforementioned person has a track record of untrustworthy, shifty, shady behavior. That in that person’s wake is a trail of heartbreak and betrayals. And that, if you are going to engage with this person, you should proceed with caution.

What is unique to the label of sucio—the thing that makes it so difficult to translate—is that it’s rarely doled out after a one-off slip of questionably moral behavior.”

From The Atlantic, America, the sucio What should we do?


I have always thought of my surgical training as training in a craft following the ancient steps of apprentice, journeyman, and perhaps with luck, master. So this article quickly caught my eye, especially since a fellow surgeon wrote it.

“The drive to become expert – to become as good as we can be, at whatever we’ve chosen to do – is something we all share. It is not about external markers of success, such as moving up the career ladder or becoming more marketable (though that may happen too). It’s an internal, ontological process; a shift in the nature of who you are, not just what you can do. It’s a commitment to developing your own potential as a person, to pushing your limits. It transcends short-term goals and waypoints.”

From Pysche, How to become an expert.

And then a topic near and dear to my heart and that of ACSH.

“In this disaggregated, decentralized system, journals play the essential role of middlemen. They assess research’s importance, vet its quality, and, on approval, usher it into the marketplace of ideas. Of course, they can’t be perfectly apolitical, because they’re human; but, traditionally, they aspire to be ideologically neutral so that the political inclinations of editors don’t supersede the scientific expertise of researchers. We want them to act as quality controls, not political checkpoints. [Emphasis added]


From Persuasion, The Danger of Politicizing Science

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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