Reading Blog: March 2022

Voyagers: The Settlement of the Pacific (Nicholas Thomas, 2021)

npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/01/22/169980441/how-the-sweet-potato-crossed-the-pacific-before-columbus

Nomadic Life in Mongolia: Stories of the Enkhbat Family and Their Belongings (Hotta Ayumi, 2021)

Updates to Previous Reads

  • I added previous and anticipated future books to GoodReads. I was able to sort my wishlist books by star rating: Border and Rule, Gulag Archipelago, and Assata appear at the top of the list (removing those with < 10 reviews).
    There are so many books on the list before any which I actually have on hand — the supposed best of these are The International Brigades, Seeds of Science, and Tombstone.
    Top books on my already-read list are City of Darkness (yes), Unsettled (I suppose mostly reviewed by sociologists?), and Uncertain Harvest (cool).
  • A post on Chicago’s subreddit revived discussion about “The Big Shift” concept art to develop land east of Grant Park. I’ve never seen so many commenters become experts on public trust and riparian rights.
  • There’s a new video series about smallpox and eradication.
  • 2021 blog series A Chemical Hunger argues that obesity trends are due to a contaminant which Americans started consuming or bio-accumulating around 1980. It’s well-written. First the authors put more popular explanations to rest. Throughout they keep the focus on population effects over time, while acknowledging genetic variation on the individual level (reminded me of The Genetic Lottery). It also reminded me of the alternate global health strategies which could have existed from A History of Global Health.
    I’m not the right person to endorse or debunk this blog series. Though I liked the contamination theory, their top suspect (lithium) and one covered in response to comments (vegetable oils) seem less solid? With fewer studies, they’re not as easy to debate as others.
    The #1 issue I had was the authors rarely break down statistics by race or income. If you study healthcare and life expectancy in the US, you can’t miss those stats. Or bruh when the authors’ takeaway from this map is the Mississippi River?

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Nick Doiron

Nick Doiron

Web->ML developer and mapmaker.

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