Blog: Jahrdammerung

Date: 2018-Dec-08 21:22:51 EST

A few other things today...

  • Been thinking about recent improvements in our ability to understand differences in gene expression between cell-lineage, thanks to some internal lectures. There are some good papers on the topic; it feels like progress towards understanding the topic is going well.
  • I've come to the position where I feel the recent death by a missionary to a closed tribe was a good thing, in the sense that they clearly didn't want him there, they should be able to control their borders, and (less substantial, more flavouring) missionaries are generally doing harm to the world. Took me some time to hit certainty, but I'm there now.
  • This is a good write-up of the existing thankfully-broadly-held concerns about letting people colonise Mars soon. It's irrevocable enough of an event that I think we should shoot down anyone trying until there's broad consensus that it won't limit our scientific goals.
  • Fun article on the physics of geckos running on water
  • It's been unfortunate to watch nationalism in Russia going even more mainstream than here. This dumping on Kant is not surprising - from one angle it's odd he was nominated to begin with given that he wasn't Russian, and that the region he was born in is both an exclave of Russia and one where there was considerable ethnic cleansing after WW2. Even if we decide that cleansing was either acceptable (not what I think) or understandable (which I think). In modern times, Kant would probably be considered German. Still, the anti-Kant vandalism remains an ugly marker, and Vice-Admiral Mukhametshin comes off as either unintelligent or someone whose passions exceed his reasonability.
  • Finding ways to help ex-convicts find jobs and improve their life trajectory is a huge win. They're a little radical for my tastes, but their results are more important I think.
  • It's pretty rough when the university you attend loses its accredition and then closes up. I'm wary of the for-profit motive at a university level, in that a number of things stop working if they might close up shop (even things like asking for confirmation that someone has the degree they claim). They may be intrinsically too-critical-to-fail, and merit takeover and insurance before they can even start, in order to avoid the unfairness of circumstances like this.
  • I'm intrigued at this criticism of the big index funds, in that the current system makes it possible/likely that we could have a unified governance of large business across the nation or world through a surprising route.