Does every animal sleep?

The puzzle of sleep Sleep may seem paradoxical: Being inactive for a third of the day, in humans, means reduced chances to acquire resources or mate; plus it increases the odds of being preyed on, especially in our evolutionary past. Moreover, we also know that in our own case sleep is hard to avoid: Being awake for too long makes us tired and we progressively lose cognitive faculties, plus the more we stay awake the stronger there is of a drive to fall asleep, to the point it overrides the will not to. Eve…

Links (35)

SSC's posts on Amish healthcare (and the problems of employer-provided insurance) Related, Vinad Prasad on cancer and medical ethics. Various interesting things: most cancer drugs don't pass a cost-benefit analysis, lots of cancer drugs get through the FDA with shoddy trials (And probably don't work at all), and this is all driven by the fact that Medicare will pay whatever the drug maker asks for (With social pressure being the only limit!), and likewise insurance companies will insulate people from the co…

On building

It's time to build, writes Marc Andreessen. The piece is framed in the context of the Covid pandemic. The first part of the essay is about preparation for pandemics, Part of the problem is clearly foresight, a failure of imagination. But the other part of the problem is what we didn’t do in advance, and what we’re failing to do now. And that is a failure of action, and specifically our widespread inability to build. There is one more that can be added, besides failing to plan or build: failing to maintain…

Progress in semiconductors, or Moore's law is not dead yet

Moore's law is relentless - Jim Keller In its original formulation, Moore's law1 was about cramming more transistors in ever decreasing surfaces; by that metric Moore's law continues unabated. However that's not the most interesting thing. As much of a feat of engineering it is, most people are interested in the end-product of the semiconductor world: performance. Before moving onto that, here are some charts that show progress in the original Moore's law sense (ht Sam Zeloof for the data). Of note here…

Links (34)

Scott Alexander on high fat diets Tyler Cowen contra Tyler Cowen on Stubborn Attachments Common ownership maybe is fine Remember those old studies saying that gum disease was linked to Alzheimer's? Now a link has also been suggested for stroke and atherosclerosis. Guide to DIY biology Why conventional wisdom on education reform is wrong How did early american investors fund their ventures? How much does it cost to develop a drug? 1.3 billion USD, study claims. (Including the cost of failed research) A few r…

Links (33)

Growth and the case against randomista development How local control can accelerate housing One year, 1 lab, 16 spinouts (On the Church Lab) Fireside chat with Tyler Cowen and Tom Kalil Glial brain cells do more than thought decades ago You don't agree with Karl Popper (See also the comments) Scott reviews a review of Little Soldiers, a book on chinese preschool Fedophilia: Economists love for central banks The US is starved for talent: Paper finds very large effect (Perhaps implausibly so) on hiring an H…