Friday, November 25, 2022

Black Friday Links

  • The use of technology does not prevent us at all from using the graceful forms of the Roman, Moslem, or Gothic arches. They are much more efficient and effective in concrete and steel than in stone. [Minoru Yamasaki]
  • By the 1990s, the Big Sprout industrial complex had had enough and started to look into ways to Make Brussels Great Again. A study published in 1999 by scientists from the seed and chemical company Novartis managed to pinpoint the specific compounds that gave Brussel sprouts their undesired bitterness: two glucosinolates called sinigrin and progoitrin. This helped to prompt a number of seed companies to sift through gene banks to look for old varieties of vegetables that happened to have low levels of the bitter chemicals, according to NPR. These less bitter varieties were then cross-pollinated with modern high-yielding ones, aiming to get the best of both worlds: a better-tasting product that could be cultivated on an industrial scale. After years of patience, they eventually produced a crop that was both tasty and economically viable. And just like that, the former glory of Brussels sprouts was restored, shifting this vegetable from a culinary pariah to a prized side dish. [link]
  • The mustard oil bomb, formerly known as the glucosinolate–myrosinase complex, is a chemical herbivory defense system found in members of the Brassicaceae (or cabbage family). The mustard oil bomb requires the activation of a common plant secondary metabolite, glucosinolate, by an enzyme, myrosinase. The defense complex is typical among plant defenses to herbivory in that the two molecules are stored in different compartments in the leaves of plants until the leaf is torn by an herbivore. The glucosinolate has a β-glucose and a sulfated oxime. The myrosinase removes the β-glucose to form mustard oils that are toxic to herbivores. The defense system was named a "bomb" by Matile, because it like a real bomb is waiting to detonate upon disturbance of the plant tissue. [wiki]
  • It’s Thanksgiving week. What about the fact that non-Western countries have gotten Western science (not Science in the form of cloth masks and vaccines that don’t prevent infection or transmission, but science as taught prior to 2020) for free? Shouldn’t these non-Western countries give thanks for Western science and engineering and maybe even give money (as an offset) for Western science and engineering? How much are Michelle Faraday‘s descriptions of electrical phenomena worth? For a poor country that wishes to set up a power grid, what are Katherine Clerk Maxwell’s Equations worth? For people in poor countries who don’t want to die from infection, how much value did they receive from being handed the work of Louise Pasteur? If they want to get from place to place without having to build roads, aren’t they getting a lot of value from Katharine Wright‘s invention of the first practical flying machine? (assembled and piloted by her brothers) If they enjoy communicating and being entertained, they’re getting value from Wilma Shockley‘s invention of the transistor, no? If they don’t want to starve to death, they need the fertilizers that are made via the process that chemists Frida Haber and Carla Bosch developed. It doesn’t make sense to start money flowing until both credits and debits have been tallied, does it? If we did that accounting, wouldn’t we likely find that poor countries were getting a lot more than $600 billion in value from Western science and engineering? [Phil G]
  • We can’t raise our families by ourselves in our own islands. We need each other. And if we are going to resist the temptations this age offers to create our own realities through the metaverse, we are going to have to recover everyday joys and pleasures in thick community—like reading and praying as a family, cooking and eating together, singing folk songs with our kids, playing live music around the campfire, and limiting our reliance on screens. So this group of families had pledged to keep kids off social media and smartphones for the next year, to limit parental use of technology, and to cultivate habits of attention and presence, all toward the ultimate end of loving God with our whole hearts. We’d recognized that our children need the limits as well as the disciplines of freedom—and so did we adults. After all, it does little good to think we can teach our kids how to be free from the tyranny of technocracy if we’re checking Twitter at the ball game, Instagramming our daily lives, and Googling our way through life. It quells the cause if we claim to be a localist when our most-tread locale is the Twitterverse. [Tessa Carman]
  • Without pedigree collapse, a person's ancestor tree is a binary tree, formed by the person, the parents (2), the grandparents (4), great-grandparents (8), and so on. However, the number of individuals in such a tree grows exponentially and will eventually become impossibly high. For example, a single individual alive today would, over 30 generations going back to the High Middle Ages, have 230 or roughly 1,000 million ancestors, more than the total world population at the time. This paradox is explained by shared ancestors, referred to as pedigree collapse. Instead of consisting of all different individuals, a tree may have multiple places occupied by a single individual. This typically happens when the parents of an ancestor are related to each other (sometimes unbeknownst to themselves). For example, the offspring of two first cousins has at most only six great-grandparents instead of the usual eight. This reduction in the number of ancestors is pedigree collapse. It collapses the ancestor tree into a directed acyclic graph. [wiki
  • Republicans have been under Trump’s spell for six years now, so the fact that things started to go sour after Dobbs indicates that abortion may have helped Democrats more than any other issue. We know this in part because abortion itself was on the ballot last night in 5 states, and the pro-choice position universally ran ahead of Democratic candidates, sometimes by a very wide margin. [Richard Hanania]
  • Defeated politically and running out of money after a ranch deal gone bad, Theodore Roosevelt began writing his epic history of the conquest of the American West in 1888. He wove a sweeping drama, well documented and filled to the brim with Americans fighting Indian confederacies in the north and south while dealing with the machinations of the British, French, and Spanish and their sympathizers. Roosevelt wanted to show how backwoodsmen such as Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton, followed by hardy pioneer settlers, won the United States the claim to land west of the Alleghenies. Heroism and treachery among both the whites and the Indians can be seen in his rapidly shifting story of a people on the move in pursuit of their manifest destiny. By force and by treaty the new nation was established in the east, and when the explorers and settlers pushed against the Mississippi, everything west of the river was considered part of that nation. [link]
  • It is my very firm belief that the diet and lifestyle approach to maintain health in the cancer-free state and to prevent cancer is radically different from the diet and lifestyle approach that will support cancer treatment. The path to cancer prevention is to nourish detoxification and immune surveillance. When this fails, we need to shift our focus to restraining cancer growth and killing cancer. We know we have reached this point of failure if we are diagnosed with cancer. At this point, it is still important to nourish detoxification and immune surveillance, but we must realize that many things that do this will also promote cancer growth or interfere with our efforts to kill the cancer. Since restraining cancer growth and killing the cancer now take priority, we must redesign our health program to make those goals central. This may mean restricting protein and other nutrients that would otherwise be healthy to consume abundantly. Some nutrients can be used strategically to help kill the cancer (like high-dose intravenous vitamin C, when paired with oxidative chemotherapy). Nutrients that have a risk of promoting cancer growth or protecting cancer from being killed may be strategically alternated with cancer-killing therapy. If the cancer-killing therapy neutralizes the cancer for a period of time, this allows a window wherein focus can shift to nourishing the patient. [Chris Masterjohn]
  • I've been in wine shops across the country that won't sell Silver Oak, the same way that a cool indie bookstore might shun Danielle Steel. One such retailer in suburban Dallas, who didn't want to be identified for fear of alienating his Silver Oak-drinking friends, explained that he stocked many more interesting wines. Gary Fisch, owner of Gary's Wine shops in New Jersey, which sells a good amount of Silver Oak Cabernet, said he thought that dislike of the wine was a bit of a bandwagon phenomenon. "Silver Oak is the wine that's sexy to hate." The winery's aging process is a possible factor in the Silver Oak controversy. Unlike just about every other Cabernet made in Napa Valley, Silver Oak is aged in American oak, which adds sweet notes of vanilla and, some even say, coconut. (Silver Oak makes its own barrels.) The more commonly used French oak is far more subtle, with spicy aromas. And yet Silver Oak also has a large, and very passionate, following. The winery produces just under 100,000 cases of their two Cabernets annually, and their tasting room has won raves from amateur drinkers and wine professionals alike. [WSJ]
  • The Adams Memorial is a grave marker for Marian Hooper Adams and Henry Adams located in Section E of Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. The memorial features a cast bronze allegorical sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (which he called, The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding, but was often called in the newspapers, "Grief"). Saint-Gaudens' shrouded-figure statue is seated against a granite block which takes up one side of a hexagonal plaza, designed by architect Stanford White. [wiki]
  • Despite his objections, Weinman is still best remembered as the designer of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, a design now used for the obverse of the American Silver Eagle one-ounce bullion coin, and the "Mercury" dime along with various medals for the Armed Services of the United States. Among these are the identical reverses of the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the American Campaign Medal. Weinman was one of many sculptors and artists who employed Audrey Munson as a model. [wiki]
  • "I wanted to wear a blue Brioni dress shirt and tie, and Mark wanted to wear a crisp white Eton shirt." George Clooney, the couple’s 8-month-old golden retriever, dressed up for the day in a floral collar made with a steel gray grosgrain ribbon adorned with hellebores, piers, roses, hydrangea, and Italian pittosporum. [Vogue]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Democrats and Republicans steal elections, any political analysis that doesn't start from there is is laughable.