What I'm Reading (Nov. 10)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Nov 10, 2022
Precocious puberty may not be about endocrine disrupters at all File this report on baseball under “perfection is the enemy of good.” We all work for Elon Musk when we Tweet The McRib is Back, is that Good?
Image by Majaranda from Pixabay

“The emotional and behavioral haywire of adolescence is driven by a pair of interlocking mechanisms: the hormonal and the social. The hormones that are released in puberty can lead to increased risk-taking and sensation-seeking; a nine-year-old who is newly doused in these hormones may not have the same self-regulating ability to manage them that a thirteen-year-old does. And just how much self-regulation an early-developing girl must exhibit depends on her surroundings: not just the scrutiny she receives from adults, which in turn is mediated by race and class, but by the tendencies of the children and young adults with whom she interacts. An older-looking girl might be more likely to hang out with actually older girls, and do the things they do.”

COVID-19 continues to disrupt our narratives, in this instance, precocious puberty among girls. The pandemic has seen a distinct lowering of the age for girls beginning puberty. Scientists are looking increasingly at body weight and less at “endocrine” disrupters. From the New Yorker, Why More and More Girls Are Hitting Puberty Early


“The analytics revolution, which began with the movement known as Moneyball, led to a series of offensive and defensive adjustments that were, let’s say, catastrophically successful. Seeking strikeouts, managers increased the number of pitchers per game and pushed up the average velocity and spin rate per pitcher. Hitters responded by increasing the launch angles of their swings, raising the odds of a home run, but making strikeouts more likely as well. These decisions were all legal, and more important, they were all correct from an analytical and strategic standpoint.”

Over analysis is an unintended consequence of Big Data. Moneyball was the first successful use of data to alter behavior, and this Atlantic article suggests that perfection is the enemy of good.

From the Atlantic, What Moneyball-for-Everything Has Done to American Culture


“Unlike when I buy a subscription to the Jeff Bezos–owned Washington Post, for instance, or shop at the Jeff Bezos–owned Whole Foods—where I walk away with a tangible product that, down the line, enriches Jeff Bezos—at Twitter, we are the product. Sure, Musk now provides the platform. But it’s our thoughts, memes, jokes, articles that populate it with content. Participation is what creates Twitter’s value; Twitter’s value is what lines Musk’s pockets. In a strange way, you could say that time spent on Twitter is time spent working for Musk. And even if I’d consider giving my business to an asshole, I certainly don't want to work for one. (As for the idea of paying $20 a month, count me on team Stephen King.).”

From the Atlantic’s Brooklyn Everywhere, The Sole Proprietor

“Fast food involves both hideously violent economies of scale and sad, sad end users who volunteer to be taken advantage of. What makes the McRib different from this everyday horror is that a) McDonald’s is huge to the point that it’s more useful to think of it as a company trading in commodities than it is to think of it as a chain of restaurants b) it is made of pork, which makes it a unique product in the QSR world and c) it is only available sometimes, but refuses to go away entirely.”

The author believes the McRib tells us about our society in more than just our nutritional desires. Could it be? From the Awl, A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage

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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