While reading this novel, I felt the need to imitate Dick Diver's self-destructive state towards the end. It's probably because Fitzgerald made it seeWhile reading this novel, I felt the need to imitate Dick Diver's self-destructive state towards the end. It's probably because Fitzgerald made it seem so natural -- fitting with the constraints that Dick felt as a "kept man" of Nicole's because of her family's wealth.
Every line in this book was beautiful and simple. It was a pleasure to read from cover to cover....more
**spoiler alert** scientific journalism in regards to how to evaluate science. Persons with last names liek "Keys" are generally bad for our society (**spoiler alert** scientific journalism in regards to how to evaluate science. Persons with last names liek "Keys" are generally bad for our society (i.e. Ancel Keys, Alan Keyes, John Maynard Keynes, Alicia Keys etc). Okay I just made up that hypothesis myself. But it helps me remember Ancel Keys name. He's the Univ. of Minnesota physiologist who first demonized cholesterol despite the fact that there wasn't any conclusive evidence that it caused heart attacks or other problems.
This book is very heavy on research on science as well as the political history behind "nutritional science" which Taubes doesn't consider to be a real science because of the lack of testing of hypotheses.
He does a great job of explaining the process of fat storage in the body and the role of insulin in signaling to our bodies what to do.
The epilogue summarizes his findings in a 10 point list:
1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization. 2. The problem is the carbohydrates in the diet, their effect on insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis -- the entire harmonic ensemble of the human body. The more easily digestible and refined the carbohydrates, teh greater the effect on our health, weight and well-being. 3. Sugars -- sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup specifically -- are particularly harmful, probably because the combination of fructose and glucose simultaneously elevates insulin levels while overloading the liver with carbohydrates. 4. Thru their direct effect on insulin and blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease and diabetes. They are the most likely dietary causes of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and the other chronic diseases of civilization 5. Obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not overeating and not sedentary behavior 6. Consuming excess calories does not cause us to grow fatter, any more than it causes a child to grow taller. Expending mroe energy than we consume does not lead to long-term weight loss; it leads to hunger. 7. Fattening and obesity are caused by an imbalance-- a disequilibrium -- in the hormonal regulation of adipose tissue and fat metabolism. Fat synthesis and storage exceed the mobilization of fat from the adipose tissue and its subsequent oxidation. We become leaner with the hormonal regulation of the fat tissue reverses this balance. 8. Insulin is the primary regulator of fat storage. When insulin levels are elevated -- either chronically or after a meal-- we accumulate fat in our fat tissue. When insulin levels fall, we release fat from our fat tissue and use it for fuel. 9. By stimulating insulin secretion, carbohydrates make us fat and ultimately cause obesity. The fewer carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity. 10. By driving fat accumulation, carbohydrates also increase hunger and decrease the amount of energy we expend in metabolism and physical activity....more
A persuasive argument for the importance of a secular humanist education to higher-education. Prior to mid 19th C. our colleges' curriculum were focusA persuasive argument for the importance of a secular humanist education to higher-education. Prior to mid 19th C. our colleges' curriculum were focused on the question of "What living is for?" It was deemed to be the most crucial question for living. It valued recurrence, connection and closure -- ties to Western civilization and thought.
With the rise of the research ideal in German "universities" in mid-19th C. the disciplines of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences were never the same. There was an increasing silo-ization of the disciplines. Specialization and original research became the mantra of academia.
Kronman doesn't argue that the research ideal hasn't generated great research and ideas. Just that there should be more balance in education and in higher education curriculum for college students.
After he delves into the problems with the research ideal in humanities he looks at how the weakened field of humanities in the 1960s fell easily to political correctness. Political correctness ended up hurting the one bastion left for learning the art of living. Political orthodoxy through political correctness strangled discourse and debate at the harm to students and our culture.
Kronman successful argues for the need to restore the place of humanities in our universities in colleges so that they can once again be the spiritual leaders for our society -- providing an alternative to churches and other fundamental orthodoxies.
In terms of epigenetics vs. genetics, Bruce Lipton leans much more towards genetics although he contradicts himself when he tries to apply his theoryIn terms of epigenetics vs. genetics, Bruce Lipton leans much more towards genetics although he contradicts himself when he tries to apply his theory about biology to societies.
I loved his illustration of how cell membranes work -- using two pieces of bread, a large chunk of butter and olives! He makes it all intuitive.
He proves that the real brains of the cell is not the nucleus, as I was taught in 7th grade, but it is actually the membrane. The nucleus is more like the "gonads" -- as he calls it. It's not necessary for the cell to live. In fact, cells can live for up to 2 months without a nucleus, but without their membrane they die automatically.
It was interesting to learn tidbits about what I don't know --I'll need to check out a quantum physics book next. He makes a damn good case that biologists lack of understanding of quantum physics causes them to disregard the effects of energy on our cells.
However, in the Epilogue, Lipton starts to make connections to greater society and the ecosystem, mentioning that we need to have a communitarian (centrally controlled) system where we aren't warring with each other. Living peacefully.
Then in one of his examples he mentioned how a group of violent chimpanzees managed to reform when the most aggressive males ate some bad meat which killed them, leaving the women and less aggressive men to form a more peaceful society.
But in the previous sentence he advocates for accepting everyone in the world as they are. Doesn't this seem like a contradiction to say that we must remove the violent/aggressive elements in society while accepting them?
His ideas on biology are intriguing but I don't think that he is quite skilled at making assessments about political-economy, international relations, and other social science issues....more
Matt Bai does an excellent job of telling the story of the Progressive Movement from around 2003-2008: the constant arguments about what the ProgressiMatt Bai does an excellent job of telling the story of the Progressive Movement from around 2003-2008: the constant arguments about what the Progressive stand for, their fights for control of the party and the online movement, etc.
This serves as a useful history to inform conservatives/libertarians of what we might expect in the next few years under the Obama administration.
Fortunately, I don't think that we suffer from a lack of ideas in the ways that the progressives do. Matt mentions in his stories how the leaders of the movement talk about about wanting to find a philosophy or idea but in the end they give that goal up for strategic short-term wins.