What I Am Reading September 7th

Related articles

Why do we get sick?
Why are factory farms exempt?
Why does adoption seem more difficult than IVF?
Are shoppers more angry?


“Since its inception, medicine has focused almost exclusively on the “how” questions of disease, largely setting aside the “why.” By tackling the missing why question—why our bodies are vulnerable to disease in the first place—evolutionary medicine supplies an exciting new layer of understanding.”

By only asking how we often choose treatment over prevention. Can evolutionary medicine provide a new lens? From Areo, Why Do We Get Sick? The New Science of Evolutionary Medicine


“ “These factory farms operate like sewerless cities,” said Tarah Heinzen, legal director of environmental nonprofit Food and Water Watch. Animal waste is “running off into waterways, it’s leaching into people’s drinking water, it’s harming wildlife, and threatening public health.”

Yet in practice, the Environmental Protection Agency appears to be largely fine with all that.”

Why are our farmers exempt from many of our clean environment initiatives? Is it a concern about family farmers, or is this just another special interest? From Vox, The myths we tell ourselves about American farming


Dr. Billauer has written extensively on surrogacy, so perhaps I am more attuned when I read this.

“Recently, a close friend told me how much he wanted to be a parent one day. I asked if he’d consider adopting. Suddenly, he became hesitant—pausing before admitting that he’d like to have children who were biologically related. His answer wasn’t unusual … For most of Western history, it was a given that a parent would want their children to be their direct progeny. A child’s biological provenance was believed to ground the parent-child relationship in a hardwired, irrevocable bond. … Yet this prioritization of biological inheritance (“biologism,” as some call it) has recently become unsettled.”

From Wired, a very intriguing discussion, Preferring Biological Children Is Immoral


“From 1870 to 1910, the number of service workers in the United States quintupled. It’s from this morass that “The customer is always right” emerged as the essential precept of American consumerism—service workers weren’t there just to ring up orders, as store clerks had done in the past. Instead, they were there to fuss and fawn, to bolster egos, to reassure wavering buyers, to make dreams come true. If a complaint arose, it was to be resolved quickly and with sincere apologies.

…Tipping ratcheted up the level of control that members of the middle class could exercise over the service workers beneath them: Consumers could deny payment—effectively, deny workers their wages—for anything less than complete submission.”

Could the service economy help explain the bad behavior of customers? This piece from the Atlantic argues yes. American shoppers are a nightmare. I would add that this may also help us understand the “burnout” of the worker bees in our healthcare system: the nursing aides, nurses, and physicians.