Sunday Links

  • Reengineering a patient’s T-cells to fight off cancer- using HIV. If it works for leukemia, it could potentially work for many other types of cancer (including some breast cancers)
  • I’ve seen most of Bill Gates’s top TED Talks playlist – highly recommend the talks by Hans Rosling, Melinda Gates, Atul Gawande, Salman Khan, and Susan Cain
  • No Christmas season is complete without sitting around a fire and listening to A Krampus Carol. All I want for Christmas is a niceKrampuskarten

Friday Links

  • Live in the future, then build what’s missing” is a fantastic way to think about innovation/entrepreneurship, as Paul Graham notes. It’s also a pretty cool way to think about the life one wants to lead (like in the Avvett Brothers song, “Decide what to be, and go be it.”) If you click on just one of these links, make it this one
  • Do you want to learn about zombie-making organisms? Of course you do! If you aren’t kept awake at night by the knowledge that a wasp can cause a spider to build a “radically-different [nest], a home not for the spider but for a parasitic wasp that has been living inside it,” you don’t have an expansive-enough imagination (as an aside, Carl Zimmer – the author of this article – is a fantastic raconteur: listen to a heart-wrenching story of his – from Radiolab, naturally – here)
  • A sort-of silly article on computer-aided diagnosis (partially through the lens of Watson, the program that famously kicked Ken Jennings’s ass in Jeopardy) and a real-life Doctor House from UCSF Medical Center (Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal). Look: Watson is neat, and however society can use technology to aid diagnosis and allow physicians to focus on other items (like patient care) is wonderful… but physician diagnosis isn’t likely to completely disappear. There will always be a Dr. Dhaliwal – he or she will probably just consult Watson the same way he/she uses Epocrates (an app encyclopedia of pharmaceuticals) or Shots (similar to Epocrates but for injections) today: as an assistant
  • Connecting back to my post on Chapter Seven of The White Man’s Burden, the new PEPFAR plan explicitly disallows funding for family planning.   This is… unfortunate – family planning has been shown to be integral to reducing the fertility rate of a country (see: Bangladesh), which leads to higher economic growth, which is a good thing (something which – ostensibly – is part of the purpose of aid). Frustrating
  • Interesting emerging theory on dopamine’s role in the brain: it has more to do with motivation than pleasure. Whenever I hear about dopamine I think back to a great Radiolab segment on “Seeking Pleasure” and the micro-level workings of dopamine as an “expectations engine.” Fascinating stuff

Linkage, 4/25

Brian Williams is funny.

-The physician who falsified evidence of a link between autism and the MMR vaccine still cultivates a following.

-The right way to break bad news.

-Obesity spreads like a virus. Lehrer references James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, two researchers whose work was profiled in a New York Times Magazine article awhile back. If you are interested in learning more about any of this, pick up their book, Connected. It’s definitely worth a read.


Linkage, Easter Edition

Family-Practice physician can’t sell his practice – the saddest part of this article was, in my opinion: “He [the physician] cannot bring himself to join a large group practice or work for a hospital because he opposes their growing use of nurse practitioners for primary care.” I may have more to say about this later.

-I don’t like the ‘class warfare’ tone of this article, but the claims it makes are thought-provoking and merit discussion. It seems to me that most who discuss taxes willfully ignore the majority of the facts and are especially prone to motivated skepticism.

-Speaking of taxes: want to know where your (federal) taxes went last year? This information is unambiguously important to know for taxpayers, and something like the Third Way’s Tax Receipt could be extremely beneficial.

This high-school girl is really brave.

-Time doesn’t really slow down in crises, but this article on the neuroscientist investigating how time ‘works’ is fascinating.

-I don’t know anything of the nuances surrounding what’s been happening in Egypt, Libya, and other countries lately. Fortunately, my friend Anna does, and is passionate enough to voluntarily head to the region to report on it. Follow her on Twitter or catch up by reading her Huffington Post interview.

Happy Easter!


Linkage – May 13th

Graduation’s on Saturday, which is absurd. I’ll have more thoughts on this later, I think. What I’m reading:

Is graduating in three years crazy? Article is a little overblown – for some people, graduating in three years (whether due to financial reasons or just because they can) makes sense; for others, it’s too fast. In any event, an interesting article.

-You know how that one friend of yours who used to call you a Neanderthal? He was right.

-What makes a great teacher?

-Will a ‘Pandora for Education’ work? Too early to tell, but it’s encouraging that the New York Public School System is giving them a shot.

-Will entitlements be the death of us all? No – but this is still a thought-provoking article. Changes in Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are/will be necessary (or else America will go bankrupt, pure and simple).

-Acoustic version of Colday’s Shiver. Great song.

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Linkage

What I’m reading:

Family values in liberal states? If you read it, you’ll see why this isn’t all that surprising.

Gladwell article on spies. The cyclical back-and-forth he writes about is exactly the same with poker tells.

Obey quits Congress. The takeaway: “Frankly, I do not know what I will do next.  All I do know is that there has to be more to life than explaining the ridiculous, accountability destroying rules of the Senate to confused, angry, and frustrated constituents.”

The Trader Mentality. People hate on I-Bankers all the time, but I’m not always sympathetic to their arguments. This article shows why it’s more the machinations of the system, not the individuals.

The Risk of Greek Contagion. To me, the EuroCrisis ’10 looks eerily similar to what happened in 2008 with Lehmann – investors lose confidence and pull out money, which leads to a company being unable to act, which leads to more money being pulled out, etc. Then it dominoes. Let’s hope that Portugal/Spain/Italy aren’t next.

Kanellos the Greek protest dog.

The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook. It seems reasonable to want Facebook settings to stay at some level, and if Facebook wants you to change them, it should have to ask. Facebook has an incentive, though, to get you to share as much as possible, and knows that inertia is a powerful force (i.e., people are lazy and won’t change from the default).