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From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: sci.physics
Subject: Re: Why is Einstein so famous?
Date: 23 Jun 1999 07:20:15 GMT

In <7ko7cr$ctr$> writes:
>In article <7ko5un$6aj$>,
> (Jim Carr) wrote:
>>Andreas wrote:
>>} P.S. How many people on the street know who is the President of the U.S.

   I find that demented older folks-- both Republicans and Democrats--
are more likely to remember the president's wife's name than his.  I
find this somehow strangely amusing.  They can remember Hillary when
they can't remember how we got into WW II.  And they were 20 when that

   But it's sad, the state of American education.  How many people know
where India Ink comes from?  Who's buried in Grant's tomb?  What
creature the Canary Islands named after?

   Today in rounds we talked about a senior citizen who Cuban and
didn't like here Meals on Wheels.  Somebody was remarking how
interesting it was that foods of various cultures get spicier the
farther toward the tropics you go.  I said this wasn't exactly a
coincidence, that before refrigerators, spices were valuable not as
flavoring agents but rather food preservaties due to being antioxidants
and anti-microbials, and so naturally they got used more in the
tropics.  Everybody looked at me and said: "Gee, you're full of
trivia."  Folks, I hate to tell you this, but this kind of thing isn't
"trivia."  It's really basic history about why the world is the way it
is.  What high schools don't teach any more, I suppose.

   So I asked them some basic questions, ala Jay Leno.  Why do skin
tones get lighter the farther North you go?  They got that.  Why not in
Eskimos?  They got that.  So why is it a general maxim of medical
ultrasound exams, that "the darker the skin, the harder the exam" (is
to do)?  They hadn't a clue.  I suggested they think about it.  No
luck.  So what about a patient's body makes an ultrasound exam
difficult to do, in general?  Some of them suggested fat.  "Right, I
said.  Now tell me."  Still no clue.  Argghhh.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Herbs Can Add Zest, Antioxidant Benefits to Meal
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 09:27:49 -0800
Message-ID: <a5lp8v$897$>

De Math wrote in message
>Herbs Can Add Zest, Antioxidant Benefits to Meal
>Wed Feb 27, 5:30 PM ET
>NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A healthy diet doesn't have to taste
>bland. Many common herbs used to spice up a meal are loaded with
>antioxidants, according to researchers at the US Department of
>Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland.

Which is not a coincidence, of course. Spices have historically not been
used so much in foods to make them taste better, as to PRESERVE them. Which
is why the closer the source of the ethnic cuisine to the equator (and lack
of natural refrigeration), the spicier it's likely to be.

Some of the preservative functions of these things are antibacterial, but
many of the others simply act to prevent free radical oxidation of
unsaturated oils. That's what they're there for in the plants themselves, of
course (spices are often plant seed extracts, which are there to protect the
unsaturated oils in seeds).


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