What I'm Reading (July 13)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Jul 13, 2023
Roundabouts vs. traffic lights Françoise Gilot and Jonas Salk Where will all the gas stations go? Those dangerous lithium batteries
Image by Lubov Lisitsa from Pixabay

Driving in Manhattan was terrific at the height of COVID and has now, once again, become horrible.

“In NYC, the traffic lights are constant signals from government. Shaping my strategy, the traffic lights determine my speed as I cruise up 10th Avenue after leaving the Lincoln Tunnel. My goal is a green light at every intersection and no pedestrians to change my pace.

Driving in Nantucket where there are no traffic lights, drivers have different incentives. Constantly, you are making decisions about how to treat someone else. At an intersection with four stop signs, we follow the unwritten rules that determine who goes first. More often than not, if a walker or a biker needs to cross the street, cars stop, drivers smile, and street crossers wave thank you. When someone is making a left turn or leaving a parking lot on a busy street, cars pause to let them enter traffic.”


The article, A New Kind of Traffic Signal, from EconLife, shared this video with one of my all-time favorite podcasters, Roman Mars.





“The first time they met, French artist Françoise Gilot seemed more interested in her salad than in Jonas Salk—somewhat embarrassing for her friend Chantal Hunt, who had insisted she join them for lunch. Chantal’s husband, John Hunt, the executive vice president of the Salk Institute, had invited Salk to their home to discuss “Institute issues.” Gilot had warned Chantal that she was tired from completing the lithograph series at the Tamarind Workshop in Los Angeles, and she needed some rest before returning to Paris. “I’m going to go have lunch at a restaurant,” she told her friend. “I don’t want to see a scientist.” Chantal said she didn’t need to talk. “Fine,” Gilot replied, “I don’t talk.”

A completely different side of Jonas Salk. From Nautil.us, The Last Love of Jonas Salk


We are undoubtedly moving toward electric vehicles, and someday there will be more charging stations than gas stations. What will become of all those gas pumps? Will they switch to electric charging? And what about those underground gas tanks?

“It was a sunny spring day, and the Arco station in North Seattle looked like any other on a busy street corner, with cars fueling up and a line of bored people waiting to buy snacks and drinks inside the convenience store. Metz knows a lot about gas stations, and it changes what he sees. Looking around, he marveled at the risks that everyone was taking, even if they weren’t aware of it. “This is a hazardous materials facility,” he told me.

Drivers pumped their tanks with gas, breathing carcinogens like benzene, the source of gasoline’s signature sweet smell.”

From the Grist, The Hidden Cost of Gasoline


So far this year, New York City has experienced 103 fires due to lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes. Those fires have resulted in 13 deaths – 126 deaths/1000 fires. For comparison, the national average is 2.3 deaths/1,000 fires. Why do those batteries keep igniting?

“Compared with older lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries, lithium-ion batteries charge faster, last longer, and pack more power into a smaller package. …But some of them are cheaply made and catch fire… Lithium-battery chemistry differs from that of most other common batteries because it uses a flammable organic electrolyte to help generate a current, part of what creates a fire risk if the battery gets too hot.​​”

From Nautil.us, Why E-Bikes Catch Fire

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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