Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dodging a bullet

Back in the 1950s, Sabin and Salk developed polio vaccines. Salk’s vaccine was inactivated. Sabin’s vaccine was live, but used a weakened strain, strong enough to cause an immune reaction, but weak enough not to cause polio. The live version … Continue reading

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Freedom of medicine

There are people that think that we could have much faster medical progress via a basically libertarian approach: decrease or abolish government regulation of drug development. Or permit companies to market new drugs without first proving that they work. Nutritional … Continue reading

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Subsocieties

Every now and then a group secedes from general society and goes its own way. Sometimes they end up living a very different kind of life. Less often, that different way of life persists. I’m thinking of the Puritans, the … Continue reading

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Islam and the Americas

I was thinking about the Islamic response to the discovery of the Americas. As far as I can tell, there wasn’t any. They absorbed new crops like maize, and new diseases like syphilis, but I can’t think of a case … Continue reading

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The Secret Histories

I was reading Strategikon (of Maurice, not Kekaumenos), a handbook of military strategy probably authored by the Emperor Maurice. it occurred to me that the practical military knowledge it contained was effectively secret knowledge, not usually available to enemies of … Continue reading

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School’s out

I saw a note by Razib Khan, in which he mentioned that psychometric research suggests that people plateau in their knowledge base as adults. I could believe it. But I’m not sure it’s true in my case. One might estimate … Continue reading

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Goolie Chits

A goolie chit, also known as a blood chit, is a notice addressed to whoever, promising a reward for giving assistance to the bearer, payable when he shows up somewhere safe. For example, in World War I, RAF pilots in … Continue reading

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