OK, I made a smartalek comment. Forgive me, or don't, your choice.
Read the short piece, lots of folks including Ryan (I have heard him discuss CEC at demos as well) discuss soil attributes, CEC, and fertilization schemes. The difference that showed up in this piece is that the author discusses the cellular mechanisms involved in an understandable way. Understanding the biological basis of growth, water uptake and nutrient regulation is important for developing a viable ecosystem in the bonsai pot. I really don't believe that Ryan discovered America, because I remember that "Smoke", aka Al Keppler, was discussing CEC and humates and other related things on bonsai fora in the early part of this century, thus Al Keppler really discovered America!
Judy, being a scientist, I will defer to DanW's opinion, unless he is one of that ilk as well. However, the excerpts I have read look to be something most should find accessible.
I have spent the better part of the past week in San Diego at the International Plant and Animal Genome conference, I expect that the genetic and molecular tools needed to fully understand plant physiology, at an exquisite level, will soon be available. It will be fun to see where those tools can take us in bonsai and plant biology in general.