science

An Idiotic Exhibit

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?”

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.

ForecastAdvisor and Weather Services

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.

An Inconvenient Meal

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.

Hot Tyson

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.

CRISPR Explainer Link

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.

Mavericks and Heretics Link

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.

Better, Faster, More Comprehensive Manure Distribution Link

If you’re interested in what an actually researcher thinks of the Microsoft announcement about intering the oncology research fied, there’s no better blog to turn to than In the Pipeline: Put shortly – and these sorts of stories tend to put actual oncology researchers in a pretty short mood – the cell/computer analogy is too facile to be useful. And that goes, with chocolate sprinkles on it, for all the subsidiary analogies, such as DNA/source code, disease/bug, etc.

The Moral Economy

It’s a long holiday this weekend in the U.S. Here are a couple of excellent articles about the “Moral Economy” to keep you busy during your travels and parties. What’s the moral economy? Well, read them. They aren’t just smart, they are well written and often humorous. The Moral Economy of Tech by Maciej (of Pinboard.in fame): As computer programmers, our formative intellectual experience is working with deterministic systems that have been designed by other human beings.