- The magic roundabout:
- “We report a case of a woman successfully treated with FMT who developed new-onset obesity after receiving stool from a healthy but overweight donor.” You shouldn’t put hardly any stock in this because it’s just one case, but in the hypothetical universe where the effect is causal the health implications for this are massive. It’s hard to overstate the cost in human wellbeing from obesity in the US. Lowering the obesity rate by even 1% is probably worth over a billion dollars per year.
- 80,000 Hours on value drift.
- What is the state of post-(conventional!)-mortem brain-preservation techniques? And the current cost of solar versus nuclear energy? Those are Scott’s picks for the best recent comments on his excellent blog.
- More from Scott: Did falling testosterone affect falling crime?
- Boston dynamics’s pack mule is now electrically powered:
(I think they need to come up with a better noise.) HN commentary.
- Nature Physics will now make double blind peer review an option. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. One might be tempted to make double-blind review mandatory since well-known authors may try to use their status to push through mediocre papers, but this won’t work very well since they will be able to signal their identity other ways if they choose to. (Frequent citing of their own work, a certain framing or turn of phrase, etc.) Furthermore, as my office make Gordan points out, false positives are probably less of an issue than false negatives. In the end I don’t expect double blinding to accomplish too much, but it seems positive on the net and I’m happy that Nature Physics will be utilizing it.
- Another Nature Physics editorial: the UK is investing in bringing some quantum research to market, but quantum computing still has a ways to go.
- The rail gun, long touted for its military uses, is making its public debut.
- It looks like NASA has funding for a mission to Europa.
- G-suit training for a Navy pilot:
Contains some interesting discussion of muscle flexing and breathing techniques (i.e., the Anti-G Straining Maneuver, or AGSM). They get very specific about the degree of vision loss.
- Robin Hanson: Bitcoin is a big bundle, largely unknown and largely irrevocable.
- How suitable could planets orbiting red dwarf stars be for supporting life?
- Converting bare text citations to Bibtex and to DOIs. I would love to have a version of these that interfaced seemlessly with Zotero.
- Some circumstantial evidence for allergen hypotheses.
- The problem with opaque intelligence.
- Neat comment from HN:
A coincidence of units makes interstellar distances easy to visualize. One light-year is ≈63,240 AU. One mile is 63,360 inches. So if Earth was an inch from Sol, Alpha Centauri would be four miles away. Voyager probes would be 100-ish inches away, traveling about 3 inches per year.
The is more evidence for my contention that imperial units are secretly superior to the metric system for science. Remember, the speed of light is almost exactly 1 foot per nanosecond!