A scrapbook of things I’ve come across that I thought were worth reading, and various other notes

N.B. in my opinion, everything here is worth reading.

St. Paul was so eloquent that when he got through, King Agrippa said, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

"Science walks forward on two feet, namely theory and experiment […] Sometimes it is one foot that is put forward first, sometimes the other, but continuous progress is only made by the use of both.

physicist Robert Millikan

“The fact that it survives NASA’s budget cuts is partly attributable to its wide appeal. Scientific skepticism not withstanding, laymen are intrigued by this bold search for life on another planet.”

did scientific skepticism have a different meaning? It occurs to me: it valid to say that the modern-day concept of scientific skepticism is a certain way?

“According to Masursky, some of the scientists developed many of their ideas as the debates went along, and they were forced to analyze quickly new facts at the table. The photogeologist recalled that while Tom Young and Jim Martin had kept pressing the working group for timely decisions, the managers had obviously understood the need for extended debate and had never tried to stifle interchange of ideas. Young and Martin, despite all kinds of external pressure, had managed to protect the scientific integrity of the landing site working group.

[bold mine] a

Jim Porter, keeping minutes for this meeting, reported that both Tyler and his colleague Gordon Pettengill “laced their presentations strongly with tutorial material which greatly enhanced the ability of the group to understand and correctly interpret their findings.”

N.B. Definitely something to keep in mind when writing.

Doubling the Cube

“It was the citizens of Delos who consulted the oracle at Delphi, seeking a solution for their internal political problems at the time, which had intensified relationships among the citizens. The oracle responded that they must double the size of the altar to Apollo, which was a regular cube. The answer seemed strange to the Delians, and they consulted Plato, who was able to interpret the oracle as the mathematical problem of doubling the volume of a given cube, thus explaining the oracle as the advice of Apollo for the citizens of Delos to occupy themselves with the study of geometry and mathematics in order to calm down their passions.”

“Some of the quotes appearing in this article, especially those from people strongly disagreeing with me on a personal level, have been made without linking the source. Also, I altered the wording, while making sure the substance stayed untouched, to make them less easy to discover using search engines. Although the statements have been made in public, there is no point in pointing fingers at someone else. I am quoting these people exemplarily to make a point about the reasoning used against my opinion, and singling out individuals would only fuel personal conflicts, which I am not at all interested in.”

“Something in us needs to castigate the present in the light of an unrealistically rosy past.”

-Stephen Jay Gould, The Flamingo’s Smile

I’ve been designing boards (and fouling them up) for nearly two decades. I’ve learned many tricks but the biggest lesson is to make sure, regardless of the number of cut traces or green wire fixes need to be made, that 100 percent of the circuit is working before you order another round of boards. If you just find the first error and order new boards, you’ll quickly discover you just fixed the first error.

Twiv 802 - shane mentions thhere was little precident on immune responses for previous viruses - ties in with better preparedness lab leak not a good question

second, shane is really, really good at what he does! answers questions very clearly and carefully

22:17 cool discussion of what makes mhd hard

A soft place: NASA APOD’s forum, asterisk.

I would also remark that whatever happened at NYJM would not have happened if all decisions had to be taken collectively by the whole editorial board, which is the policy on several journals I have been on the board of. According to Igor Rivin, the policy at NYJM is very different: “No approval for the full board is required, or ever obtained. The approval of the Editor in Chief is not required.” I find this quite extraordinary: it would seem to be a basic safeguard that decisions should be taken by more than one person — ideally many more.

The same 1-editor-error caused the publication of that MDPI vaccine paper.

The discussions around open access often stray into the idea that there’s so much chaff that editorial systems can’t keep up. It seems, however, that the processes required to circumvent many of these issues are straightforward; they are simply not being implemented for

“False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”

  • Charles Darwin

Instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action,
we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all."

  • “Pericles referring to the city State of Athens during the Peloponnesian War
    (431 - 404 BCE)”

Seems like a textbook example of a useless patent. Duress code invented in 1986; specific reverse code patented by a different person in 1994.

Some efforts to implement begin in 2009; patent expired in 2014.

Alfvén’s disagreements with Chapman stemmed in large part from trouble with the peer review system. Alfvén rarely benefited from the acceptance generally afforded senior scientists in scientific journals. He once submitted a paper on the theory of magnetic storms and auroras to the American journal Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity only to have his paper rejected on the ground that it did not agree with the theoretical calculations of conventional physics of the time.[9] He was regarded as a person with unorthodox opinions in the field by many physicists,[10] R. H. Stuewer noting that “… he remained an embittered outsider, winning little respect from other scientists even after he received the Nobel Prize…”[11] and was often forced to publish his papers in obscure journals. Alfvén recalled:

When I describe [plasma phenomena] according to this formalism most referees do not understand what I say and turn down my papers. With the referee system which rules US science today, this means that my papers are rarely accepted by the leading US journals.[12]

  • [30:20] A programming language designer should be responsible for the mistakes made by programmers using the language. It is a serious activity; not one that should be given to programmers with 9 months experience with assembly; they should have a strong scientific basis, a good deal of ingenuity and invention and control of detail, and a clear objective that the programs written by people using the language would be correct. free of obvious errors and free of syntactical traps.
  • [31:40] This was the idea that led me to the idea of using proof and formal verification of programs as logical and mathematical models, is a method of conducting research into the design of good programming languages

EMH: What you need is some editorial skill in your self-expression. Between impulse and action there is a realm of good taste begging for your acquaintance.
SEVEN: I find your self-expression ponderous.