New Science

Most of all, I want our scientific institutions to empower young [George] Churches, rather than try to ruin their lives.

Peter Attia on Nicotine

  • For about the next three or four years, he was on and off nicotine gum somewhere between four and eight milligrams a day and found it to be quite beneficial in terms of his mental focus
  • More recently, Peter discovered nicotine containing pouches
  • He always thought the gum tasted gross (too much sugar/sweetness) whereas the pouches are mostly flavorless
  • With the pouches, you’re just basically just getting a pretty high dose of nicotine and it’s bypassing the liver so it actually hits you quicker

Killing TurboTax as persistent HN theme:

Dozens of threads on this topic. Maddening to HN readers but impossible to unseat.

We expect 300k fewer births than usual this year in the US

Historic Tropical Cyclone Tracks

Like streamers of splattered paint, the tracks of nearly 150 years of tropical cyclones weave across the globe in this map.

Toledo War - Wikipedia

The Toledo War (1835–36), also known as the Great Toledo War, the Michigan–Ohio War or the Ohio–Michigan War, was an almost bloodless boundary dispute between the U.S. state of Ohio and the adjoining territory of Michigan .

The single military confrontation of the “war” ended with a report of shots being fired into the air, incurring no casualties.

Can Horse Racing Survive? | The New Yorker

Every registered thoroughbred in the world is descended from one of three stallions: the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian. These “foundation sires” came to England from the Middle East around the turn of the eighteenth century, and their offspring turned out to have an unprecedented combination of speed, agility, and endurance

Why is the Gaza Strip blurry on Google Maps? | Hacker News

Google Maps has much higher-res imagery in Pyongyang compared to Gaza.

Another strange thing I found that might not be super well known (I didn’t know about it) is that all GPS data in China is offset by a nonlinear psuedo-random amount. If you turn on the satellite view in Google Maps and look at various cities in China, you’ll see that the road and business overlay is off by anywhere from 50m to 500m. And the strangest thing is that it’s not a consistent offset from place to place. Turns out this is very intentional, and China uses a different geographic coordinate system than the rest of the world. WGS-84 is the most common coordinate system, but China uses GCJ-02, sometimes called Mars Coordinates. Part of GCJ-02 is an algorithm that obfuscates the results. So applying any GCJ-02 coordinate to a globe using WGS-84 coordinates gets distorted like a funhouse mirror. It’s easy to find open source libraries to convert WGS-84 to GCJ-02 and vice versa. But Google Maps doesn’t do it, for political reasons I suppose? I’ve read that if you open Google Maps within China the mapping data is correct, but have no way to test that.

You Aren’t Actually Mad at the SATs (Freddie deBoer)

If you ask “how well do the SATs predict college performance?,” you are necessarily restricting your independent variable to /those who took the SAT and then went to college/. But many take the SAT and do not go to college. By leaving out their data, you’re cropping the potential strength of correlation and underselling the predictive power of the SAT. When we correct statistically for this range restriction, which is not difficult, the predictive validity of the SAT and similar tests becomes remarkably strong.

BPF for Storage: An Exokernel-Inspired Approach

The overhead of the kernel storage path accounts for half of the access latency for new NVMe storage devices. We explore using BPF to reduce this overhead, by injecting user-defined functions deep in the kernel’s I/O processing stack. When issuing a series of dependent I/O requests, this approach can increase IOPS by over 2.5× and cut latency by half, by bypassing kernel layers and avoiding user-kernel boundary crossings. However, we must avoid losing important properties when bypassing the file system and block layer such as the safety guarantees of the file system and translation between physical blocks addresses and file offsets. We sketch potential solutions to these problems, inspired by exokernel file systems from the late 90s, whose time, we believe, has finally come!

systemd: The Good Parts - Christine Dodrill

Designing Branch: Sustainable Interaction Design Principles - Branch

Branch is a magazine about tech and climate change.

/Branch/ was also designed to be ‘Demand Responsive’ to adapt to and reflect the physical infrastructure of the internet and the energy behind it. Utilising data from a grid intensity API and the user’s location, /Branch/ has different interface designs that are shown dependent on the current energy demand and fossil fuels on the grid where the user is.

Ghosts of Unix past, part 3: Unfixable designs

In this episode we will explore two designs in Unix which have seen multiple attempts at fixes but for which it isn’t clear that the result is even heading towards “good”. In one case a significant change in approach has produced a design which is both simpler and more functional than the original. In the other case, we are still waiting for a suitable replacement to emerge. After exploring these two “unfixable designs” we will try to address the question of how to distinguish an unfixable design from a poor design which can, as we saw last time, be fixed. (Unix signals, the unix permission model)

ACX Links

Best of Less Wrong: Seven Years Of Spaced Repetition Software In The Classroom . Describes a teacher’s experiments with Anki / Supermemo style SRS flashcards; the conclusion is that using them is complicated, they sort of work, but they helped him realize how much of learning /isn’t/ about memorizing things. I appreciated this most for its theory that it’s important to make kids learn specific facts, but not so important that they remember them; teaching someone (eg) Civil War history is “training” a “predictive model” of the Civil War, war in general, and history in general which will survive and remain useful even after the specific facts and battles are long forgotten. I think this is the strongest defense of modern education, given that we do spend lots of time teaching kids things they will definitely forget. But how would you test it?

What jobs are most disproportionately transmitted from parents to kids? (here’s the source , with more information, but it’s paywalled) In general, people who have a parent with job X are about twice as likely to have job X as a random member of the population. But programmers are 6x more likely, lawyers are 18x more likely, doctors 25x more likely, dentists 80x more likely, and journalists 94x more likely. But the most transmissible jobs all seem blue-collar, with the overall winner being textile machine operators (415x more likely, if both parent and child are male).

Tobacco giant Philip Morris…spent $ 75 million on its charitable contributions in 1999 and then launched a $ 100 million advertising campaign to publicize them.

Names of the chemical elements in Chinese

The first thing we may say about the names of the chemical elements in Chinese is that every single one of them is monosyllabic. This actually causes great problems for Chinese chemists and other scientists, as well as the lay public, since there are so many homophones and near-homophones among them and with other monosyllabic words not on the list.

The vast majority of the Chinese characters for the elements contain the “gold / metal” radical 金.  Next in number are characters that contain the “gas / vapor” radical 气.  After that comes a smaller group of characters containing the “stone / rock” radical 石.  Last, there are two characters that contain the water radical 氵/ 水:  xiù 溴 (“bromine”) and gǒng 汞 (“mercury”).  In terms of the classification of the elements by state (solid, liquid, gas, unknown) and type (metals [alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, lanthanoids, actinoids, transition metals, post-transition metals], nonmetals [halogens, noble gases, other nonmentals]), and metalloids, the division (according to character radicals) into metal, gas, stone, and water is not accurate.

As a high school student, I much preferred studying physics rather than chemistry, because I didn’t have to confront all these strange Chinese characters.  A similar reason for not majoring in chemistry may very well explain why Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical industries are still backward even today. Such a situation is reflected in poor product quality.

Fascinating how they’re all a single character, the radical for metal is on most of them, the radicals are not accurate (ie don’t match their actual classification), and some newer elements apparently don’t have a character yet

Atomic gardening - Wikipedia

plants are exposed to radioactive sources, typically cobalt-60 in order to generate mutations , some of which have turned out to be useful

The practice of plant irradiation has resulted in the development of over 2000 new varieties of plants, most of which are now used in agricultural production.

Psilocybin for depression? - Peter Attia

The trial did not show a difference between the two treatments, to mean that psilocybin was just as good as the current gold standard at treating depression. The two-armed study compared a synthetic form of the natural mushroom psychedelic compound, psilocybin , and escitalopram (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor ( SSRI ) otherwise known as Lexapro, as it will be referred to here).

Your Book Review: The Accidental Superpower - Astral Codex Ten

There’s a confusion about China. The popular conception is that companies come to China because of low labor cost. I’m not sure what part of China they go to, but the truth is China stopped being the low-labor-cost country many years ago. And that is not the reason to come to China from a supply point of view. The reason is because of the skill, and the quantity of skill in one location and the type of skill it is. The products we do require really advanced tooling, and the precision that you have to have, the tooling and working with the materials that we do are state of the art. And the tooling skill is very deep here. In the U.S., you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room. In China, you could fill multiple football fields.

Your old phone is full of untapped precious metals - BBC Future

/One tonne of iPhones would deliver 300 times more gold than a tonne of gold ore and 6.5 times more silver than a tonne of silver ore/

China National Highway 110 traffic jam - Wikipedia

A traffic jam with a wikipedia page!

The traffic jam slowed thousands of vehicles for more than 100 kilometers (60 mi) and lasted for 10 days. Many drivers were able to move their vehicles only 1 km (0.6 mi) per day, and some drivers reported being stuck in the traffic jam for five days.


This graphic alone ought to invalidate the “money can’t buy happiness” meme. “making more than $75,000 per year has no additional impact on happiness” maybe still valid, I guess?

I’ll admit I never thought to question the lead hypothesis.

Is this true?