Sunday, January 27, 2013

Breakfast recap 01/26/13

Not withstanding a goof-up with the date of the breakfast, I had a really good time with the about 10 people who showed up. And in an effort of both advertising our events and inclusion I thought I would write up some of the conversations I had.

I started the breakfast with a quick little talk about altruism as it is found in the vampire bat. A talk I boosted almost entirely from Radiolab. Radiolab is one of the best things available via podcast or radio. It does science journalism is a way that is accessible honest, and emotionally engaging. But back to vampires. Vampire bats share their "food" with one another based not just on kin relationships but also on friendship bonds that they build while grooming one another, an activity they spend as much as 30% of their time doing while roosting. Which is a very striking example of "good without god".

I brought up my broken record references a couple of times. Gary Taubes "Why We Get Fat" is probably the best thing I've ever read on what to eat, what not to eat, and why. There is no short version of his argument  but there are several versions of an hour long lecture that I found enormously persuasive. And you should know that I am not easily persuaded on these fronts. I point out his work because it not just tells you about food, but is also a huge step in the right direction in terms of having a real understanding of why everything else you've ever read is stupid.

My other bring it up every time I talk for more than 10 minutes is "Sex At Dawn". This book has deep implications, not just for how you understand your own sexuality, but also how you understand the evolutionary psychology of our species generally. This is easily one the five most important books I've read when it comes to understanding the contentious issues in my life and the culture around us.

Georgina and I also discussed the role of objectification in sexism. Which tangented to a discussion of pornography. I have a contentious view of the role of objectification that I may explain in more detail elsewhere, but my view is in large part informed by a paper I read by the amazing Nancy Bauer: "Pornutopia". That is a rather adult document, but it is a work of feminist philosophy.

A number of other interesting issues came up, and I would welcome comments from attendees mentioning what they thought was interesting, but those were the three that I wanted to distribute links about.

1 comment:

  1. I was hoping to get to your breakfast. Anyway, "Why we Get Fat" is amazing. It is a wonderful abridged look (Good Calories Bad Calories is the full research tome) at what is making us fat. Another great book is "The Fat Switch", which goes into some bleeding edge research on things like uric acid imbalance being partly why all carbohydrates become "toxic" instead of just sugar. And overeating of sugar may be a catalyst.

    Using the information i've lost 85lbs since August 2012. Its pretty amazing stuff.

    Anyway, I hope to have breakfast with you guys one of these weeks!