Cozy futurism

Last year I tweeted about something I called cozy futurism; Cool-shit futurism (space colonization, moon telescopes, tech for the sake of tech to some extent) vs cozy futurism (urban reform, renewable energy, solving climate change; focusing on specific problems and having tech as an ends) are categories I've been thinking about recently— José Luis Ricón Fernández de la Puente (@ArtirKel) November 10, 2020 Recently there were a series of tweets that got me thinking again about the same idea; Spac…

Links (46)

A roundtable on Richard Hamming Combination therapies are very rare, but on my view underrated, outside of oncology. A paper on their origin, in the treatment of tuberculosis. Related work. Noah Smith interview with Patrick Collison and explainer on inflation A call for a new World Fair Some social science bashing coming from social scientists Andrew Gelman Private cities in China Fusion startups continue to make progress Spencer Greenberg on self-control The New Space Race, with some cost charts In case yo…

New Models for Funding and Organizing Science

In a previous post in the Fund People, not Projects series I talked about a potential new structure for a hypothetical funding agency. That was just one proposal among many one could make. This post has a set of other such proposals, along with a brief justification for why it might be a good idea. The proposals are not fully fleshed out but they are meant to be inspirational, and intended to be more broadly in the right direction than precisely ready for implementation. The Young Researchers Research Insti…

The levers of NIH: Paths to reform

In my Fund People, Not Projects post series I discussed various reforms that have been proposed to change the way science is funded. NIH is the world's largest science-funding entity (or entities), singlehandedly funding 60% of global non-private life sciences research in 2013. Given the possibilities of the life sciences, it is of interest to understand what one would have to do if one wanted to implement these reforms at NIH. Do you just need to convince the Director of an Institute to get changes approve…

Thoughts on Mariana Mazzucato's Entrepreneurial State

Back in 2015-2016 I wrote a series of posts criticizing the book "The Entrepreneurial State" by Mariana Mazzucato. While I'm not going to add much new to what I wrote back then, here I wanted to clarify what the critique amounts to in a concise way, providing a guide for all those posts. The earlier posts of the series are in Spanish and you can find them linked there but in what follows I'll just link to the English ones. First, read this to understand the context in which the book appeared. One …

What is aging?

What follows are some thoughts on the question "what is aging". Initially there is a meandering back and forth around the concept using a non-biological example (pyramids), later we get to a more concrete definition of aging, and using that to cast some light on various questions like whether aging is a disease or not. You can see a video companion to this essay here. A paper from last year (Cohen et al., 2020a) pointed to the lack of consensus within gerontology ("aging research") as to…