A visual encyclopedia of megastructures (h/t @Ben_Reinhardt)
City Journal on the campaign to save the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant (h/t @atrembath). Also, sign the petition (via @isabelleboemeke and @juliadewahl)
Bringing the Tasmanian tiger back from extinction (h/t @QuantaMagazine)
Before the germ theory, flies were merry companions; after: “germs with legs”
When the polio vaccine was developed, placebo-controlled RCTs were ethically controversial
When Charles Kettering was told that Lindbergh had flown the Atlantic alone, he replied: it certainly couldn’t have been done with a committee
How recent is our ability to test for specific viruses with PCR?
What are good rules to identify bad popsci? (@acesounderglass)
Is anybody working on editing genes that make you sleep less without any negative consequences? (@bolekkerous)
John Carmack has raised $20M for a startup to build AGI (@ID_AA_Carmack)
Stated vs. revealed preference for funding high-risk research (@michael_nielsen)
Carl Sagan on the 1939 New York World’s Fair: “where the future became a place” (@camwiese)
What are good rules to identify bad popsci?
The tweet asks to identify bad articles based on the headline. Given that the headline is usually not written by the person who wrote the article, that seems like a bad idea.
RCTs still have to be justified via “equipoise” that we don’t know whether the results will be beneficial or not. Trials will be ended early if that stops being the case, or will be designed initially to minimize the problem by eventually giving all patients the treatment. The still ongoing COVID vaccine trials unblinded participants once other vaccines became available, for one example. The polio vaccine case they make clear that these solutions don’t work due to the seasonal outbreaks making it all or nothing. But it seems like the obvious solution for them is, if they could manufacture N doses, take 2N volunteers. Presumably volunteers outnumbered doses.
What I couldn’t find from Wikipedia just now is why confidence was so high ahead of time for this trial. It wasn’t just Salk: he sold 9 million doses before the trial completed. But there had a already been at least two failed vaccines, one failing from lack of safety and one of efficacy. Why not a third?