Category: Personal Stuff
Kenneth T. Jackson: The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn (Neighborhoods of New York City)
Leonard Benardo: Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges and More Got Their Names
Conway Morris: Life's Solution
June came and went very, very fast. Although I announced that I had finished writing the GenoType Diet several months ago reality, alas, kicked in. So today, as many people celebrate a sort of independence, I am still working out the final kinks to the diets for each GenoType. I am greatly assisted in this by the software package that I wrote called the DDE (D'Adamo Diet Equalizer). The DDE is a program that allows me to query the vast databases that I have developed over the years and interface these databases with other database such as the SR19 Food and Nutrition Database from the US Department of Agriculture.
Using the DDE to generate the diets has been a revelation. I can filter data based on over 250 different elements in the diet; PCB, dioxins and mercury in fish; 5 classes of phenolics; over 12 different classes of antioxidants; low or high bacterial overgrowth residues; lectin content, and on and on. The DDE is available for use by IfHI Masters. If you have taken the certification and want to use the DDE contact the IfHI Office and they'll send you the password to get in. If you're interested, you can read the DDE User Manual.
My friend Bob turned me on to a great way of making bread that involves no kneading and yields absolutely wonderful results. Here is a movie from the NY Times. Of course they are using wheat flour. I'm letting my first loaf rise overnight as I write this blog. I used spelt, flaxseed husk and buckwheat. As per Bob's advice, I ordered a cast iron Dutch oven from Amazon, which, along with the long rise, give the most outrageous crust you can imagine.
I've been gardening a lot this year. And swimming. Discovered a neat trick for bugs: Neem Oil. Since it doesn't strongly affect humans, mammals, or beneficial bugs, farmers use neem oil as an insecticide and miticide to keep away pests like aphids and white flies. Neem oil even protects crops from fungal infections such as mildew. Since we have a lot of deer in Connecticut, I've also become quite fond of Bobbex, a natural deer repellent.Also been listening to shortwave radio for the first time since I was a kid. Boy, how many summer nights did we kids struggle to to locate Radio Nauru, just so we could get the QSL (verification) card? Shortwave is a nice window on the world, since the 24 hour crisis reporting we in America call 'news' seems increasingly cynical and transparent.
Quiet around the house. Kids are off to summer camps and intensives: Claudia to Tuft's in Boston for an SAT Prep Intensive, Emily to Maine for camp. Martha and I have really enjoyed these last few days of making dinner together and luxuriating in the yard. Still, you don't need much time to start missing them.. Father's day was a hoot. I finally got my wish: An Evil Knievel tee shirt.
Last week we had a great marketing meeting with the team over at Random House. What offices! The conference room overlooked Central Park South. Nice, talented bunch of people they have over there. We met my new editor, Stacy Creamer, in person for the first time. Stacy is really wonderful to work with â€“ I feel that she will make the GTD a better book. Perhaps all these rewrites had a purpose. Each has given the book a new level of depth and clarity. I suspect many of you will find the book surprisingly accessible and chatty despite its apparently complicated premise.
Had a few obligations to tie up last week in the EU, which allowed for a few days rest and relaxation in the south of Spain. The area is one of my favorites, with good food, sunshine and great culture. Revisited the famous Mezquita (mosque) in Cordoba, one of the true architectural delights of the world. At one time the second largest mosque in the world, the mosque was turned into a cathedral with the Christian capture of the city in the 12th century. Although there are numerous naves to various saints, these are all relatively underwhelming when compared to the intoxicating forest of columns, spandrels and arches that immediately confronts the visitor.
Here are a few pictures that don't do it justice:
The wonder of having two teenage daughters is that at the end of the day I'd calculated that we'd spent more time (45 minutes) at the local department store (El Corte Ingles) then at what is widely considered one of the greatest buildings in the world (35 minutes). Oh well, I have my video tapes.
Also took the time to reread James Mitchener's wonderful book Iberia which should be mandatory for all who visit the country. Although written in the 1950's and '60s, it is still a fresh and relevant look at the Spanish psyche, written by a true student and devotee.
During our all too brief time we stayed at a few of the government run hotels, called paradors. They are often in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. Surprisingly from my last visit, in addition to the often ponderous local fare, which can vary from great to abysmal, there are now special menus for vegetarians and celiac diners, which are what we often chose from.
Although I have family in the north of Spain (near Barcelona) we were not in country long enough to travel the distance necessary to visit them, however hopefully in the fall we'll get a chance to shoot up there.
Returning back to New York's JFK airport we were assaulted by the aftereffects of a rather large ice storm, which blanketed the area with almost a foot of snow, which then compacted down to a blue stone-like ice, so I spent my first day back chiseling out our cars from the snowy depths.
IfHI 2007 has hit the magical 60 day mark, which traditionally ramps up my stress levels a bit. Personally, I feel more comfortable going into this conference that with either of the prior two, having perhaps a surplus of material for the first time.
Enjoying Rex Dwyer's wonderful book about programming bioinformatic computer code Genomic Perl. Not for the fainthearted, but gosh, what a treasure trove!
Decided to take a break from working on the final third of The Genotype Diet and post a little blog. I've been almost addicted to getting this manuscript as informational as possible, but also trying to skirt a thin line between being too technical as to off-put people who want to try it but are easily frustrated by complexity. To that effect I've be so indebted to many of the wonderful mathematical tools which have been so helpful in allowing these true genetic archetypes to emerge from the hue and cry of all the conflicting information that we hear of when we read about the risk factors or diseases linked to single genes.
Unlike most other diet books, including those that I have written in the past, this system is quite flexible. Over time, and with proper catalysts, it is actually possible to transition from one series of food recommendations into another, hopefully passing the improvements onto subsequent generations as well. I think this is probably the greatest breakthrough with the GTD concept: that genetics and environmental influences can point the way to a ever improving and evolving diet rather that just function as a simple deterministic tool with no beginning, middle and end.
It will be nice to get this book monkey off my back and get back to life as other people know it. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. It has been a wonderful process of discovery and I'll look back on this last year as one of the more fruitful and rewarding in recent memory. But deadlines are deadlines. I'm dreaming about putting a new ceiling in the laundry room and doing a bit of sheet rocking there as well. Anything other than something having to do with computers!
The Holidays were quiet and homespun â€“just the way I like them. Did a lot of group cooking and menu planning.
Tomorrow and Friday I do what are called "Satellite Radio Toursâ€? to mark the tenth anniversary of the publication of Eat Right for Your Type. What happens is they connect you by phone to various AM radio stations, one right after the other, during the morning drive time and you go on for about 5-10 minutes, after which they move you one to the next station. You do it for about four hours, starting first on the East Coast and working, as with the sun, westward. It grueling, but infinitely better than the dreaded "Author Toursâ€? of years gone by. Some people like that kind of stuff. Not me.
Martha gave me a fascinating book called "The Demon Under the Microscope" by Thomas Hager. It is the story of the discovery of the antibiotic properties of the Sulfa class drugs by the chemists a Bayer in the period between the wars. Great book if you like history with a bit of good science writing thrown in as well.
Was saddened to hear of the death the great Joseph Barbera who with William Hanna produced all those great Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 1960's, friends to all kids of that age home from school with with measles, chicken pox and head colds. My favorite was "The Flintstones", a very droll paleo-suburban take on "The Honeymooners" which featured my favorite cartoon bit character, "Joe Rockhead."
Rockhead's entire role usually consisted of dancing an exhausted Wilma around the room as his feet created this almost electron cloud of activity ---all the time repeating "I'm telling you Wilma, Fred won't be back for at least an hour."
Perhaps the reason Joe Rockhead is not better known is that Hanna-Barbera drew him differently in every episode he appeared in. This is the only know picture of him on the internet:
Well, that's it for now. Stay warm and safe.
Busy writing weekend-- made more enjoyable by having finally migrated to topics that do not require much of an educational pre-buildup; just good old simple depictive writing. Grab this, measure this, do that. Went over to my little sailboat yesterday with Martha and together we managed to get most of the jackets, bottles, and whatnot out and into the garage. It was a great summer sailing around Long Island Sound. The winds were kind and consistent and the kids are now old enough to savor the experience. Winter just seems extra long and dreary when you can sail with your family and friends in such a great body of water.
Getting the boat over to the winter mooring was a scream. Literally. That day featured absolutely stupendous seas and 30 knot winds. Photographs never seem to do justice to the height of waves, but this photo of your humble blogger (with two sweaters underneath his coat) gives a slight idea of the beating my friend and I took that day. I don't normally wear my hats "homeboy style", but if the visor was in front I can assure you that the hat would have been floating some place in the background.
The other night we made salmon on a plank of cedar wood. I used a ginger-soy dressing that was wonderful, plus lots of garlic. You soak the plank in water for 15 minutes, then put the fish on it, add the fixings, then pop into the over at about 450 for about 15 minutes per pound. Some sautÃ©ed squash and onions, rice and we had a feast. Be advised though that the plank does make some smoke and if you have smoke alarms, you'll need to get your exhaust fans going!
After a week home writing, it's nice to be back in the clinic. The combination of the two (writing and seeing patients) rounds out the day nicely, especially if I can get in a bit of exercise. Someone showed me an article in one of the glossy weekly magazines about how an actress named Jennifer Lopez is following the BTD as an aid to having a healthy pregnancy. Good for her! It can't hurt, and often accomplishes miracles by itself when other methods of fertility have failed.
Speaking of miracles...
Time magazine had a discourse between Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins breathlessly advertised on the cover as "Science Versus God" or some similar dribble. In a rather underwhelming exchange, atheist Dawkins seemed to come out ever so slightly the worse, since Collins appeared every bit as rigorous a scientist, but felt compelled to admit that there were things in existence that he felt could not fall under the realm of scientific scrutiny. On the other hand, I got the impression that Dawkins rules out the existence of God simply because he feels that God is an improbability. Thus my problem with cover sales pitch: It should have been titled, "Science Without God Versus Science with God", since Collins (the coordinator of the US Human Genome Project) is not exactly the type of guy to go around blowing smoke out his mouth, dancing in a grass skirt.
I rather enjoy both of their writings, but each for different reasons. Dawkins, best known for his book The Selfish Gene, has a great clarity of vision that I admire and his thoughts are usually laid out in a rational step-wise order that a computer programmer geek (such as I) can appreciate. However, there is a persistently Cromwellian vehemence to some of his writings; especially when it comes to having a belief in anything other than the belief in having no belief.
Collins, who recently wrote The Language of God, is far cuddlier. He feels that "moral law" (as characterized by the writings of Kant) indicates there is such a thing as right and wrong, and there are some things that you "ought" to do, and some things that you "ought not" to do. In the Time discussion Dawkins pretty much makes it clear that he views things as having the ability to be bad or good, but denies that there is a bad or good.
I bring this point up because these types of media discussions just further convince me of the relative bankruptcy of language --which itself is a sure sign that the discussion is headed towards philosophy and away from any sort of objectivity.
My advice is to, skip the Time article, read Dawkin's The God Delusion and Collins' Language of God. Finally, read Stephen Jay Gould's classic article on nonoverlapping magisteria and draw you own conclusions.
Thomas Kuhn's little book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions identified the problem almost fifty years ago: Normal science tends to reward "puzzle-solvers" who choose only to work within the existing paradigm. Rival paradigms are incommensurable; they simply cannot understand each other through their own conceptual framework and terminology.
That's good news for Time. They can do this again next year.
I've found a neat quiz that purports to help determine your 'world view'.
What I especially like about this quiz is that you could agree with the premise along a spectrum, so that ticking a box in the middle translates into a sort of "I don't know, I don't care" answer, which is probably why I typed as a having a 'postmodern' world view.
"You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis."
Interestingly, the Blood Type Diet has been described in several articles as "The first postmodern diet."
If I remember correctly, in the Meyers Briggs world I'm something like a 'rational architect' or whatever, but I think this little quiz does a better job of putting you on the horns of a dilemma than does the MBI, which seems to just really attempt to describe you as something you probably already knew you were.
Coincidentally enough, I'm reading a little book called On Certainty by Ludwig Wittgenstein, which has a lot of interesting, aphorism-type stuff in it (in addition to some daunting philosophy and math). Right off the bat, a quote (p. 49) caught my eye and probably explains why my view of the world was such a dead-heat between existentialist and postmodernist:
"Knowledge is in the end based on acknowledgement."
Try it. You'll like it.