How worried should we be about bioweapons?
Basically, this book claims – and I’m inclined to agree – that spreading knowledge about specific techniques is really, really hard. What makes a particular thing work is often a series of unusual tricks, the result of trial and error, that never makes it into the ‘methods’ of a journal.
Kinda amazing, from a James Scott perspective, that tacit knowledge is such a big deal in science, the ultimate high modernist activity.

Barriers to Bioweapons

Satellite of Love

I which I continue to post links to stuff I would have loved around the time I hacked together this blog.

Read research papers for free (legally even)
Unpaywall extension for Chrome

I know, it was more exciting when it was illegal.

Useful meta-reviews of health studies
Cochrane findings that will help you

Can't believe I didn't bookmark Cochrane studies here when I found out about them. Cochrane reviews are the antidote to pop-sci articles on health issues talking about a study that just came out with n=20 and results not yet replicated. Study shows Volvo drivers 10 times as likely to experience stress-related tinnitus, maybe.

Stuff that's interesting to me:

  • Acupuncture is pretty good
  • Antioxidants aren't that great and are maybe bad
  • Exercise is good
  • Bicycle helmets are good, so are motorcycle helmets
  • Melatonin is good for jet lag
  • Muscle relaxants are probably good for lower back pain
  • Unsaturated fat is probably better than saturated
  • Reducing salt seems good (however, my understanding is that the important thing is the salt/potassium balance, so increasing potassium might be just as good?)
  • Chinese herbal medicine might reduce cold symptoms (okay I am so down with visiting Chinatown when I feel a cold coming on, give me all the elixirs)

"We have no fucking clue how to simulate a brain."
We can’t simulate the brain of C. Elegans, a very well studied roundworm (first animal to have its genome sequenced) in which every animal has exactly the same 302-neuron brain (out of 959 total cells) and we know the wiring diagram and we have tons of data on how the animal behaves, including how it behaves if you kill this neuron or that neuron. Pretty much whatever data you want, we can generate it. And yet we don’t know how this brain works. Simply put, data does not equal understanding. You might see a talk in which someone argues for some theory for a subnetwork of 6 or 8 neurons in this animal. Our state of understanding is that bad.
Dirty Rant About The Human Brain Project

Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society
Currently featuring: visionary architecture (including houses made of living trees), timelines of timelines, cat pianos, the lawn chair balloonist.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Home & Professional Page
"Book-Jacket Style Summary: NNT is an essayist, belletrist, (literary) flâneur, researcher, and practitioner of uncertainty (“mathematical trader”) focusing on the attributes of unexpected events, with a focus on extreme deviations, the “Black Swans” (i.e. outliers), their unpredictability, and our general inability to forecast."

Also, coo-coo for cocoa puffs. I mean that in a nice way.

This is Lukas Bergstrom's weblog. You can also find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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