A better Google Scholar

Google Scholar is one of the marvels of the modern science ecosystem. Reportedly run by only a dozen of people and started a decade ago by Alex Verstak and Anurag Acharya, it's the most comprehensive and easier to use search engine there is to find scientific works including non-journal publications like preprints or even personal blogs. Whereas competitors come and go, Scholar remains. But it remains, to some extent unchanged. Sure it has added some features in recent years, described in the team's blog bu…

Wildfires in California (II): some solutions

In the previous post I introduced some key aspects of the wildfire situation in California. This followup offers some suggestions for what to do about it. We can think of firefighting as a multi-stage process that starts with a source of ignition that then progresses all the way into containment of large scale fires and evacuation of entire settlements. Accordingly at each stage there are multiple things one could do. Importantly there is no silver bullet against wildfires, and moreover there is no clever t…

Links (49)

The Science of Science, a book Dominic Cummings on the Sisyphean struggle of getting things done quickly within a government bureaucracy Stripe and Scale Ise Jingu After the new structures are built (and the fidelity of the copy has been confirmed), the previous buildings are then torn down, and any undecayed timber is saved for future rebuilding or repair. The requirement to use traditional techniques, combined with the number of buildings rebuilt, means that rebuilding Jingu is less of a cultural tradit…

Wildfires in California (I)

California has a habit of going up in flames on a yearly basis, leaving Cyberpunk-worthy scenes as a result. Why does this happen and where is it going is the topic of this post. How many acres burn every year? Is it getting worse? There is broad consensus in the scientific community that wildfire behavior is changing across the American West in general, and in California in particular. Figure 2.3 highlights trends in wildfire activity in California since 1990. All indicators shown—wildfire occurrence, tot…

Links (48)

Policy entrepreneurship at the White House Mach 12 airplanes Mach 17 airplanes A... unique interview? with Marc Andreessen? Recent interview with Peter Thiel Gene therapy for elevated LDL cholesterol I wrote a while back that "everything sleeps". Scientists looked at a new organism that has no brain (but has neurons), the hydra. It also sleeps. Can you tell fake from true paper abstracts? (Via Scott Alexander) Why is the Moscow metro so nice given that Soviet buildings are more on the brutalist e…

How to solve aging

Answers to this question can be found online in the forms of shorter and longer term roadmaps. One could infer an answer from SENS or get a list of ideas from Celine Halioua's recent take on the matter (On what the field needs rather than how to deal with the problem itself). This is just my view. An important question for anyone wanting to answer "How to solve aging" is "If aging is solved, have we then made a given individual, in normal conditions, immortal?" Or "Have we thus made…