Like millions of other people I’m a huge fan of Kurzgesagt. I’ve “supported” them over the years by buying their posters and other doodads, so of course I immediately pre-ordered the new book by their founder Philipp Dettmer. For $22 it seemed like a good purchase. After reading it for the past month I can whole heartedly recommend this book as a way to learn about how the immune system works.
While I enjoyed this interesting Cryo-EM/Cryo-ET explainer in Nature, I’ve really been enjoying a series of YouTube videos on the functions of cellular structures. I just love that stuff. It’s a nice way to visualize what is otherwise too complex for me to learn in detail. And now I know that ATP Synthase is basically a water wheel for protons.
From Derek Lowe: Neither you nor the mixer will be improved by the HF, which is one of the last things on earth you would want to expose such equipment to, and then there’s the matter of handling the Sarin itself. These process problems have been apparent since the German efforts to scale up nerve agent production during the Second World War, and a good deal of work in the 1950s and 1960s went into figuring out how to avoid them.
AlphaFold @ CASP13: “What just happened?” « Some Thoughts on a Mysterious Universe What is worse than academic groups getting scooped by DeepMind? The fact that the collective powers of Novartis, Merck, Pfizer, etc, with their hundreds of thousands (~million?) of employees, let an industrial lab that is a complete outsider to the field, with virtually no prior molecular sciences experience, come in and thoroughly beat them on a problem that is, quite frankly, of far greater importance to pharmaceuticals than it is to Alphabet.
One of my character flaws is that I obsess about weather apps and forecast services. Maybe it’s because I don’t follow any sports so that only leaves weather to make small talk in elevators. Whatever the reason, I own a lot of weather apps. I fell out of love with Dark Sky predictions several years ago when it felt like they were consistently wrong. I moved to Weather Underground wherever I could, including in CARROT Weather.
I don’t believe much of the nutrition “science.” The studies are poorly defined and the results are rushed to a mostly illiterate media. I do, however, believe a broken clock is right two to three times a day depending on daylight savings. I haven’t found any of the studies about paleolithic diets convincing. I neither believe their historic time-lines or their claims for understanding the complex biology involved. But, I do believe in energy barriers.
Neil deGrasse Tyson on the rise of crazy flat-earth conspiracy nuts: I think that the number of people may be the same over time they just now can write a blog that the whole world has access to by a search engine. I love this YouTube series because I love spicy food. But I also love the casual conversation which is weirdly earnest when people enjoy spicy wings.
By way of Kottke, comes this excellent description of the CRISPR technology. I enjoyed the book Change Agent by Daniel Suarez a lot.1 As with his other books, the basis for the fiction is solid. The futuristic technologies he invents have a firm foundation in actual science. Which is a far cry from a lot of science fiction I read. This article by Derek Lowe is a pretty good overview of what is currently happening in the CRISPR field.
I always enjoy the work over at Information is Beautiful. This post about how scientific theories were received throughout history is very good. I’ve always assumed astronomy was the most dangerous field for heretics but this data set implies that Medicine will get you more often.
Patrick Soon-Shiong seems like a Perfect fit for the new administration.