The Invention of Recombinant DNA Technology
> In the early 1970s, a momentous series of events in the history of science unfolded at points around the San Francisco Bay. Lines of inquiry pursued at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco converged on a set of discoveries that vastly expanded the productive capabilities of molecular genetics, disrupted the customary rhythms and routines of the scientific community, sparked bitter disputes about risks and responsibilities in scientific experimentation, and generated a tsunami of technological change that spread rapidly across multiple domains of productive activity and all around the globe.
> The first recombinant molecule containing DNA from different organisms was assembled late in 1971, in Paul Berg’s laboratory at Stanford. Berg hoped to transduce bacterial and mammalian cells with a recombinant virus in order to study gene expression systems, but subsequently chose not to carry out the planned experiments. He was persuaded by scientific colleagues to consider potential biohazard risks before moving ahead.
> The technology for propagating and expressing recombinant genes was invented by Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer in 1973. It enabled the transformation of bacterial cells into living factories for the directed manufacture of select proteins. The technology was immediately recognized as a tool without parallel in genetics research, and was soon applied to practical ends in a wide variety of fields including medicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, chemicals, and energy. It has since transformed the world in which we live.
> The history is complicated.
Mapping snowfall in the United States
> This map shows every inch of snow that fell on the lower 48 this year
Jim Simons, the Numbers King
> Algorithms made him a Wall Street billionaire. His new research center helps scientists mine data for the common good.
Is the Modern Mass Extinction Overrated?
On human facilitated speciation and alternative reactions to climate change. Longish read.
The Scientific Intelligencer
The Secret Lives of Leonardo da Vinci
How to Be a Know-It-All
> What you learn from the Very Short Introduction series.
> Some of these books are concise introductions to topics you might later wish to pursue in greater depth: Modern India, say, or Shakespeare’s Tragedies. Others, like “Teeth,” contain pretty much everything the average layperson would ever want or need to know. All of them, however, take their Very Short commitment seriously. The length of each book is fixed at thirty-five thousand words, or roughly a hundred and twenty pages. (See Very Short Introduction No. 500, “Measurement.”)
Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real
Or perhaps not, but the replication crisis is real.
> The replication crisis as it’s understood today may yet prove to be a passing worry or else a mild problem calling for a soft corrective. It might also grow and spread in years to come, flaring from the social sciences into other disciplines, burning trails of cinder through medicine, neuroscience, and chemistry. It’s hard to see into the future. But here’s one thing we can say about the past: The final research project of Bem’s career landed like an ember in the underbrush and set his field ablaze.
“Mindless Eating,” or how to send an entire life of research into question
I think the lesson is if you’re going to be a sloppy statistician, don’t get too sloppy or people will look into your back catalog.
Toward sustainable insights, or why polygamy is bad for you
> Buckle up! Today we’re going to be talking about statistics, p-values, and the multiple comparisons problem.
A nice intro to very basic stat testing. Also sounds like a useful but dangerous tool. Find me all the correlations! Now tell me if they’re spurious. Could be tricky.
Follow up post and paper: https://blog.acolyer.org/2017/01/26/the-truth-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth-a-pragmatic-guide-to-assessing-empirical-evaluations/
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: a pragmatic guide to assessing empirical evaluations
> The sin of inscrutability occurs when poor exposition obscures a claim.
> The sin of irreproducability occurs when poor exposition obscures an evaluation
> The three sins of reasoning are the sin of ignorance, the sin of inappropriateness, and the sin of inconsistency.
Gates Foundation research can’t be published in top journals
> One of the world’s most influential global health charities says that the research it funds cannot currently be published in several leading journals, because the journals do not comply with its open-access policy.
Including Nature itself.
10 top investments from the history of technology
Science for sale, science for sale, step right up and get your science.
> Bonhams annual History of Science and Technology sale is a regular feature on the auction calendar each December in New York.
Some sweet pictures if you’re more of a window shopper. A 1936 television apparently cost £100 new, which doesn’t sound like much at all, but accounting for inflation and so forth, that’s half a house.
Electric Corsets, the Original Wearable Devices
Some great advertisements here for electric belts to literally recharge yourself.
Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine
What happens when you hire a famous physicist to work on your super parallel computer, as a summer intern no less?
> Feynman’s router equations were in terms of variables representing continuous quantities such as “the average number of 1 bits in a message address.” I was much more accustomed to seeing analysis in terms of inductive proof and case analysis than taking the derivative of “the number of 1’s” with respect to time.