Books Of Interest: February 15, 2015

I found two books over the weekend that I thought may be of interest to our readers:

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The Patient Will See You Now     Eric Topol

Since I have started working at the health department, I have become intrigued by electronic medicine and the options that it holds. I found this video from the author that may be of interest. There is a nice review of the book in The New York Times Book Review.

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Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest For Nutritional Perfection     Catherine Price

There was an article in the Sunday Review portion of the New York Times today about this and since I am a Type 2 diabetic I thought I might find it of interest. Taking a large number of vitamins such as Ray Kurweil fascinates me.

Books Of Interest: January 20, 2014

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The Upside Of Down: Why The Rise Of The Rest Is Good For The West     Charles Kenny

We have all heard that America is in a decline, but the author argues that America’s decline is due to the rise of other nations and that it will be of benefit to us because we will be able to receive goods and services of equal value in other countries at a much lower cost than we do now.

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The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped The History Of Life     Alan De Querioz

The author explains how closely-related species that are separated by great distances are determining their own future by traveling by various means from continent to continent. This book looks very interesting and I plan on moving it up in my pile.

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Join The Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform The World     Tina Rosenberg

This came out in 2011 and I ran across an editorial in The New York Times and the title fascinated me and I found out the author explores the positive nature of peer pressure through our connections with one another.

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The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, And Prosperity In A Time of Brilliant Technologies     Erik Brynjolsson and Andrew McAfee

The authors explain with the full advent of digital technologies what the impact will be on our personal lives, the cultural effects as well as the infrastructure advances. This appears to go along with Average Is Over by Tyler Cowen which I have reported on previously and am finishing up.

Currently Reading: The Trials Of Jacob Mach By Kevin Sack

I finished this article, The Trial of Jacob Mach, this afternoon from The New York Times Magazine and it is what I needed to read about determination, overcoming challenges and meeting our goals at whatever the cost.idn_7.jpg (550×350)

Mr. Mach has entered Atlanta‘s police academy and he is struggling. He was having difficulty in the firearms qualifying test. Officer Crowder was encouraging him at this point by helping him realize he had been through so much more than this in his life. I absolutely love these next two paragraphs and I wanted to share them with you:

“Jacob realized that Officer Crowder had a point. He certainly had overcome more. There was the death of his father, a rebel soldier, in the Sudanese civil war; the bombardment of his village by government tanks and planes; the barefoot trek at age 7, along with thousands of other tiny refugees, to a camp in Ethiopia; the loss of comrades to lions in the bush and crocodiles in the Gilo River; the starvation so severe that he eats leaves and watched friends drink their own urine.

He lost track of his mother for four years after new strife forced the boys to flee on foot back to southern Sudan. At 12, he had to escape the shooting again, this time hiking to the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, where he managed for 10 years on one meal a day. In 2001, after the United States granted refugee status to nearly 4,000 people who had been christened the Lost Boys of Sudan, Jacob was deposited in a drab apartment in Clarkston, Ga., just outside Atlanta. He arrived at age 21 with one change of clothes and a three-month guarantee of government support. There he confronted an alien world of flush toilets and microwave ovens, of impenetrable job applications and accents barely recognizable as English.”

Mr. Sack has done a remarkable job in telling this young man’s story and I give this a five star rating as a must read about the American Dream. I love this last quote from Jacob in the article:

“You know,” Jacob observed, “American dream is a continuous process.”

Books Of Interest, November 24, 2013

I ran across these from several sources and I put them on my to read list:

The Compatibility Gene      Daniel M. Davis

This was recommended by Bill Bryson in www.theguardian.com in their November 22, 2013 online issue and takes the reader on a six decade journey involving numerous scientists and through the history of transplants and immunology. Compatibility genes, according to the author, may affect the choice of partners, the connections between the nervous system and immune system as well as how pregnancy is possible.

Into The Silence     Wade Davis

This was recommended by Stephen Frears in www.theguardian.com in their Friday, November 22, 2013 online issue and details how British climbers including George Mallory tackled Mt. Everest in the 1920’s through new details, letters and diaries. The author spent over ten years bringing all this material together to write this book.

Mt Everest aerial 2005

Mt Everest aerial 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Promised Land: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Israel     Ari Shavit

This was recommended in The New York Times Book Review of November 24, 2013 and the author tackles the crises as well as the pressures, both internal and external, that Israel is facing and how its history has played a part in explaining where they are today.

If Mayors Ruled The World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities     Benjamin R. Barber

This was recommended in The New York Times Book Review of November 24, 2013 and the author explores that our world with all the problems we are facing are best handled by cities rather than nations. The author shows that cities are better equipped to handle these problems because of indifference to borders, pragmatism, cooperation and participation.

Exodus: How Migration Is Changing Our World     Paul Collier

This was recommended in The Atlantic in the November, 2013 issue and the author relates this from several perspectives: from the migrants viewpoint, from the people the migrant’s leave behind and also from the countries in which they migrate.  The author shows that even though migration is simple economically, it does have immense complex effects.

Currently Reading The Emperor Of All Maladies

I have picked this book up several times to read and keep putting it aside as I felt I would not really get into it. How wrong I was!!! This book so far is an exquisite look at the history of cancer and how people viewed it. A quote from page 26 typifies this mentality:

“The social outcry about cancer also drifted into silence. After the brief flurry of attention in the press, cancer again became the great unmentionable, the whispered-about disease that no one spoke about publicly. In the early 1950’s, Fanny Rosenow, a breast cancer survivor and cancer advocate, called the New York Times to post an advertisement for a support group for women with breast cancer. Rosenow was put through, puzzingly, to the society editor of the newspaper. When she asked about placing her announcement, a long pause followed. ‘I’m sorry, Ms. Rosenow, but the Times cannot publish the word breast or the word cancer in its pages. ‘Perhaps,’ the editor continued, ‘you could say there will be a meeting about diseases of the chest wall.’ Rosenow hung up disgusted.”

We certainly have come a long way in at least the discussion of cancer and I hope and pray we will conquer it soon!!!

Reading Of Interest September 23, 2013

Wildfire burns in Eastern Washington

Wildfire burns in Eastern Washington (Photo credit: Washington State Department of Natural Resources)

Into The Wildfire: What Science Is Learning About Fire And How To Live With It    Paul Tullis

This article is from the Sunday New York Times Magazine and is an excellent article about fire and how researchers are determining which fires to manage and which to put out. The article was a little over my head and I will have to reread it but I believe this paragraph puts into perspective in what the researchers are trying to accomplish:

From page 46 of the article:

“The Fire Sciences Lab is hoping to come up with a physics-based model that would incorporate the findings. More than that, they want their research to lead to a better understanding of fire and hence better decisions in the field. The dynamics that Finney, Cohen and their collaborators have observed would explain a lot of fire behavior that has puzzled firefighters—a wildfire suddenly spreading rapidly without wind, say, or failing to be tamped down by cooler, moist night air. “There may be a general principle that can be applied to every wildfire,” Finney said.”

An excellent article that I will have to go over again to get a better understanding.

Sweden and Obamacare

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Image via CrunchBase

I ran across this article in the Sunday June 16th edition of The New York Times entitled:

What Sweden Can Tell Us About Obamacare” by Robert Frank

I highly recommend this article as it shows the glaring problems with healthcare and how we need to embrace change. I am not endorsing Obamacare but I am endorsing change. I think this quote is appropriate:

“The United States spends more than $8,000 a person per year on health care, well more that twice what Sweden spends. Yet health outcomes are far better in Sweden along virtually every dimension. Its infant mortality rate, for example, was recently less than half that of the United States. And males aged 15-60 are almost twice as likely to die in any given year in the United States than in Sweden.”