Stop assuming so much

Ben Kuhn thinks dispensing life advice is underrated and that we should do it more. In that spirit, here's some of it. When making decisions we take a lot for granted. Most of this is fine, and it's not really feasible to avoid making assumptions completely. If you go out to buy bread, you're assuming the bakery you're going to is open, that they have the bread you want, and that you are not going to get murdered on the way there. You could, in principle, before taking any action, check on Google Maps that …

Limits and Possibilities of Metascience

Introduction Michael Nielsen and Kanjun Qiu (N-Q) recently published a lengthy essay (30k words) on meta science. Over the past year or two I have been publishing here on meta-scientific topics as well, totaling around 80k words (at this point these are more books than essays!), going into the minutiae of various foundational papers and talking points. The points I make throughout my work are sometimes rarely found elsewhere in writing though they are often discussed in person in the metascience community (…

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Are technologies inevitable? Scott Aaronson and Tim Nguyen "Quantum Computing: Dismantling the Hype" & "Refuting Weinstein and Wolfram's theories of everything" France has a meta-court Neurosymbolic reasoning making progress New meta-science research showing that the scientific ecosystem does not discriminate against novel research. Regardless of their prior opinion, I expect no one will change their mind based on this paper. Tools for thought as cultural practices, not computational…

Images and Words: AI in 2026

In a previous Links post, and in a recent tweet I expressed my relative lack of excitement about what a lot of people are doing with what I called "the AI stuff" (narrowly, large language models and diffusion models, collectively "generative AI"; excluding e.g. Tesla's FSD or AlphaFold). In an even earlier tweet, I asked Twitter if we had learned anything new from LLMs yet, as opposed to LLMs telling us what we (the internet) already knew; the conclusion being that we have not. Nostalgeb…

Blinking lights to slow down Alzheimer's?

In a post in my Alzheimer's series I discussed the not-so-promising monoclonal antibodies against amyloid beta. There are a few other therapies one could discuss, especially tau antibodies, but first I wanted to examine a particular one that has nothing to do with the most popular approaches currently on their way to the clinic. This is a relatively shallow examination of the topic, focused on the question of whether it works, and less so on how it works. That intervention is GENUS, or Gamma Entrainment Usi…

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Rain is a startup that fights wildfires. They now have a second version of their system, a large unmanned drone. I was not particularly enthusiastic about that first drone, but their second iteration looks promising. I amended my wildfires post accordingly. Orexin and the quest for more waking hours (thread) Scannell on predictive validity in drug discovery Matt Levine on crypto. I didn't learn anything surprising (been following the space for years), but the piece hits some of the themes I had in mind for …