The wars over the minimum wage literature continue

Anton Howes on how innovation spreads and can be fostered; he points to getting people in contact with inventors and innovators broadly is key. This seems right from my own experience.

Matt Clancy on the Applied Turn in economics

Does education improve health? Those two things are correlated, but the correlation is probably not causal.

Eli Dourado on environmental review slowing things down

Excessive use of professional licensing make US healthcare more expensive than it otherwise would be; and some of these are state-dependent

AIC is better than GDP at capturing the intuitive notion of standard of living than GDP does. For example Luxembourg has a GDP per capita of ~2x that of the US, but their standard of living (how much each person can consume) is lower.

Thread on the GDP per capita & productivity decoupling


Ilan Gur on why it's not possible to bring back Bell Labs and what to do instead

Dietz Vollrath on the great stagnation, that may have started earlier than most people think

One possibility is that it just so happens that around 1965 when the Boomers hit the labor market, the pace of innovation or technological change or something slowed down. And that it slowed down just enough to offset the increase in input growth, and left us with the same growth rate of output. You cannot rule that out. You could probably even make an okay case for this by talking about how the build-out of the electric grid or phone service or the interstate highway system were winding down starting in 1965?

But that also seems kind of coincidental. A different story is that the economy kept expanding at about 3.3% per year after 1965 for some fundamental reasons like continued technological change or even continued expansion in natural resource use, and that we then tried to stuff a whole outsized generation of workers into that same economy (along with extra buildings so they’d have a place to sit). Like “Okay, your parents own the company so we have to find something for you to do, so why don’t you sit here and move these papers from that file to that one.” [...]

One reason I might be wrong about all that is what happened in 2001-18. We’re looking now at the tail end of the Boomers work life. They’re kind of at their career peaks around 2000, and then start the process of extracting themselves from the workforce. You can see the drop in both labor hours growth (from 1.55 to 0.44%) and the drop in capital growth (from 3.98 to 2.54%) that occur. But output growth does not stay around 3.3%. Instead it drops to 2.05%. With the end result that productivity growth stays low, and in fact drops a little more (from 0.75 to 0.61%).

And him as well on TFP agnosticism

Why does the US have the best research universities?

Inflation is eating away the purchasing power of R01 grants

Tacit knowledge in science, a case study using the measurement of quality factors (Q) in sapphire in the context of the LIGO project

General bio

It now may be possible to monitor arbitrary protein concentrations in blood.

Liquid-Liquid phase separation and its relevance for cellular organization. Some back and forth on how good the data is behind that.

A lengthy read on noninvasive glucose monitoring

Cancer cells are having sex and we were not aware of it

A lifespan (diet) intervention is more effective than metformin at reducing the incidence of diabetes

Progeria cured in mice via high efficiency AAV delivery of a CRISPR-Cas9 editor (video)

Bruce Booth 2020 biotech review

The FDA’s CDER approved 53 new medicines in 2020, sharing 2nd place of all time with 1996 and a few approvals behind record-breaking 2018. This during a year when the FDA was massively strapped for the COVID response. Some great new medicines are now available for patients: Trodelvy for triple negative breast cancer, Danyelza for pediatric neuroblastoma, Risdiplam for SMA, and Tepezza for thyroid eye disease, to name a few. Many new medicines were approved for rare diseases again this year, like Duchenne, progeria, other others. Including rare cancers, more than two-thirds of recent approvals fit the rare disease definition. We even saw at least two infectious disease medicines for Ebola and Chagas.

Can we learn about processes in cells throughout the body just by looking at blood? Yeah, in particular a new paper looks at chromatin (How packed DNA is) to do this.

Worms can pass down memories to their progeny. And acquire memories from other worms? [Note that a friend who works close to this area thinks this lab's track record is not particularly good, even if the result itself may be true]

What is on the BioNTech vaccine and what does it do?

Doing some mitochondria lines reverses cognitive deficits? Huh?

T cells can stay around for longer by getting extra telomeres from antigen-presenting cells. HUH?

Thread on Eric Lander. See also this.


Aging as a contagious disease (within an organism)

The clock man, Steve Horvath (And a lengthy list of coauthors) has a new aging clock! This time applying to all mammals. Here Josh Mitteldorf reviews this new work (Not necessarily endorsing everything Josh says there)

Supplementing NAD (NR,NMN) is popular among anti-aging enthusiasts. But what if that increases cancer risk?

Sea lions, walruses, and seals also may get Alzheimer's. But, the author of that piece notes, should we be doing that kind of research? Are we going to be using those as animal models?

One more for the stiffening of tissues as aging hallmark

DNA repair goes down with aging. Why?

Lygenesis, a company that wants to use lymph node to grow back mini organs (think the thymus, that shrinks with age) will be doing a Phase 2 study of their therapy.

Plasma dilution has been shown to reverse some age-related deterioration before. Now, a small group of self-experimenters did an experiment to see what it does in humans.

Mitteldorf on aging clocks. Some nitpicks to make (He seems to make the same mistake I made originally with these clocks; namely that if epigenetic noise is random then the clocks wouldn't pick anything up. However this noise is biased: if a site is supposed to be methylated, aging can only either do nothing and demethylate it. The distribution of noise is not normal but more like lognormal, with a nonzero mean)

Laura Deming's immortal yeast project

Latest review of NAD metabolism in aging, including the latest findings on CD38

Various feedback loops that could explain various age-related diseases and why the get progressively worse with age

Want to learn about aging? Read this thread from Martin Borch Jensen. And want an extra scoop of plasma proteomics? Martin has you covered as well.


Nanoparticles carrying calcium and citrate work against cancer?

Shutting down mitochondria work against cancer?

Cancer cell metabolism during metastasis


In case you missed the excellent WSB meme magic, here's a compilation of the best.

The replication crisis: mathematics edition

David Chapman on why "the map is not the territory" is problematic

Scott Alexander on Glen Weyl and technocracy

The Jan Hendrik scandal, or how a Bell Labs scientists fooled the community for years

The road towards 63 GHz transistors?

Alvaro de Menard on expertise

Chris Olah on developing research taste

Josephson junctions are generally used as components for quantum computers. But apparently they can also be used for classical computers tome them faster and more efficient.

A reason why Israel is going faster than other countries at vaccinating, their yoloing disregard for strict process.