Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feynman

What Feynman says in this video is false.

Posted in Uncategorized | 84 Comments

Scientists Against Time

Back in WWII, air defense was difficult. You were shooting at high altitude, fast-moving targets. Missing was the most natural thing in the world. One out of thousands of anti-aircraft shells hit. So, there was a need for better methods. … Continue reading

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The Silly Season

Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College In midsummer of 2018, Oumou Kanoute, a Black student at Smith College, recounted a distressing American tale: She was eating lunch in a dorm lounge when a janitor and … Continue reading

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Black Doctors, Black Babies

There’s a paper out claiming that black infant infant mortality is much higher when they’re treated by white doctors, rather than black doctors. Could it be that MCAT scores have negative predictive value? No, there’s a simpler explanation: the report … Continue reading

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A Random Walk on Scientists

A number of  epidemiologists and virologists  did not expect to see significant adaptive evolution for increased transmission in covid-19, and continue to argue against that hypothesis.  Vincent Racaniello, well-known virologist, takes this position.  So does  David Dowd, an infectious disease … Continue reading

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Lloyd Fredendall

Lloyd Fredendall was a general in the American Army in WWII, serving in North Africa. He is known primarily for being a fuck-up. His early career may have been a sign: he dropped out of West Point twice. He commanded … Continue reading

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Let me count the ways

As many virologists have stated, their expectation was that the evolution of noticeably higher-transmission variants of Cov-19 was quite unlikely. There is solid evidence that this has now happened at least three times (D614G, A222V, and B.1.1.7)  with at least … Continue reading

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Theory

Once upon a time, I was talking to a young engineer about some new wrinkle in solar concentrators.  He was enthusiastic: he thought that with a little effort, you could focus sunlight enough to generate a temperature higher than that … Continue reading

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New Guy in Town

These graphs show the results of evolutionary experiments by Richard Lenski, in which a bacterial species ( e coli) has been evolving under constant conditions for many years: tens of thousands of generations. These bacteria were not perfectly adapted to … Continue reading

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New variants

There’s a new variant of cov-19, the UK strain, that is something like 70% more infectious than previous strains. At this point its lethality seems about the same as earlier strains. Virologists, most of them, did not expect this.  I … Continue reading

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