Monday, October 13, 2014

Knowledge, the internet is the true Renaissance Man

The Renaissance Man of myth and legend was a man that knew everything.  It may have been possible once, long long ago to have been able to acquire most, I doubt all, of the knowledge of mankind within one's lifetime.  The amount of knowledge then was pretty limited and really only covered a few subjects and branches of science.  So, it might have been possible.  In today's world, there are people that seem to have a claim to enormous knowledge and identify themselves as true Renaissance men.  I'm sure you know a few, they are people that we colloquially refer to as "Know-It-Alls".  I know a few, was married to one, and they are all around us penetrating social groups with their particular brand of uninvited oratory on every subject discussed and volunteering their own experiences and unsought opinions into conversations.  Some people reading my blog might think that describes me, however it isn't true, I am actually quite timid and withdrawn in groups and quietly offer my knowledge only when asked.  And, the big one, I am never afraid to say "I don't know."

We live in a marvelous age, the internet has become our Renaissance Mind.  It contains the sum total of available knowledge and it is there for us to learn at the touch of just a few buttons.  As a child I profess to spending hours and hours reading through the old Funk and Wagnells Encyclopedia that my mother got one volume at a time for shopping at a local grocer that offered them as a promotion, one volume at a time with a minimum purchase.  I read them all.  As a youth I was a knowledge junkie.  And a math whiz. To this day I know what this is    

Three semesters of college calculus and my overall GPA at the time I earned my Masters was just 3.78, probably because when I first went to college I took Fortran, and to this day I can't think like a programmer, it just isn't in my mind to do so.  I learned to speak Latin in high school, probably forgotten it all now, but software programming, wow, not for me.  But I do have a sort of analytical mind and I thrive on learning things.  Not so much geared toward the applied mathematics anymore, my drive for knowledge now encompasses a lot of cooking, as well as the stuff I write about here, how our government has failed the citizens and big agribusiness and drug companies have decided that money is more important than safety.  I think that the billions of dollars in fines levied against the drug industry for just those things justifies my concerns toward them.  However the agribusinesses just haven't killed enough of our citizens to attract our wrath and cause the regulatory agencies to bypass the prevailing system of corruption and actually perform their functions and begin to regulate the flow of toxins into our food supply.

No one can know everything, but the true Renaissance Men of our time are those that can correlate widely diverse bits of data and reach conclusions that ordinary people never would believe possible.  It all begins with thinking outside the box.  Here is a remarkable website that I just love. (Sciencelab) This site gives to the reader a ton of information about common (and not so common) chemical compounds used in industry.  Everything from cinnamon oil to mercury.  It also gives us the toxicity of those compounds.  And the fascinating study of the LD50 for each of them.  And let's differentiate that from the other toxicity study, the LC50.  This LC50 is more virulent and defines what amount in aerosol form measured in parts per million within the atmosphere, does it take with an exposure of four hours to kill fifty percent of test subjects, generally large mammals.  Our interest is in the LD50, or the amount of a compound that when ingested will kill fifty percent of the test subjects within a given time frame, generally the standard is two weeks.  This is interesting information.  Did you know that if you give rabbits 320 milligrams of cinnamon oil per kilo of body weight, that fifty percent of them will die.  Makes me think about how sick a lot of those people got from doing the internet stunt of swallowing a tablespoon of cinnamon on camera just to get on the net.

However this site also gives us really useful information about some of the toxins in our food supply, like one of my favorites, Azodicarbonamide.  I detail how nasty the stuff is here on my blog at this entry (Poison)   And this is just one of the multitudes of chemicals that the FDA has allowed into our food system, simply because some corporations want those chemicals and have found uses for them that make more money for them.  And there are a lot of them.  Just for fun, let's look at the most popular and widely used preservative in the food industry, BHA.  Look it up.  We see that it is a Class 2B carcinogen.  Testing shows it to be Mutagenic to bacteria and yeasts and the big one, chronic exposure causes system and organ damage.  It is the most widely used preservative in our food supply.  It kills bacteria, it's cheap, it has no discernible flavor on its own, and it is approved for use by the FDA. 

I believe the FDA needs to hire a few Renaissance Men to look at the internet more.  It would appear that they don't have ANY at all right now.

1 comment:

  1. It's the formula for finding the area of the elipse formed from a plane intersecting a cone. Change one function and it becomes the similar formula for intersecting with a cylinder.