July 2021

  • Those shy, demure, reticent Asian women

    It’s hard to believe that Um Jung-hwa (red hair) is 52 years old. Lee Hyori is in her forties. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXE2Ykf8fXQ

  • A Movie Intransigent

    (scavenged from an earlier, now-defunct, blog) Spoiler Alert! – Major plot elements are discussed in this review. Don’t read this if you intend on watching the movie! The Argentinian film Amor en transito (Love in Transit), directed and co-written by Lucas Blanco has all the promises of a great romance – namely, a beautiful female lead and an ugly male one. Actually, multiply this by two – with Sabrina Garciarena as the elusive, mercurial Mercedes, and Veronica Pelaccini as the defeated, defensive Micaela. Garciarena is well-cast here – pale, cool and diamond-hard. Pelaccini, on the other hand, is a

  • What I don’t understand about the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology

    “DNA makes RNA makes protein makes money” While it is true that, in general, scientists have not much time for history – or to put it another way: Nor do I suggest that the history of science may not be profoundly interesting as history. What I am saying is that it does not often interest the scientist as science. PB Medowar (New York Review of Books, March 28, 1968, pp 3-5) But if there is a “historical” book (and I use the term “historical” cavalierly) that every scientist has read –

  • Links and Thinks 2021-07-23

    1) New study says Fox News is responsible for low vaccine rates Apparently, they controlled for confounding factors, and there was still a causal association between Fox-watching and vaccination compliance. 2) Why bad science is sometimes more appealing than good science The authors of the citation study theorize that reviewers and editors apply lower standards to “showy” or dramatic papers than to those that incrementally advance the field and that highly interesting papers attract more attention, discussion and citations. In other words, there is a bias in favor of novelty.

  • Brave New Waterworld

    So, I was interested to read this Twitter thread from Yishan Wong regarding desalination technology. If you want to know the next big thing in "real atoms" investment macro-trends, I'll tell you right now.(1/x)— Yishan (@yishan) May 11, 2021 To summarize: 1) Water is fundamental to life, and water scarcity will continue to be a critical issue. 2) The per kwh cost of producing energy by solar is now lower than from fossil fuels, and continues to fall at a rate of 50% every 4-5 years. 3) It is now cheaper to build a new

  • The Remains of the Remains of the Day

    Speaking of Ishiguro, the most important moment in the novel The Remains of the Day is near the end when Stevens finds himself sitting on a bench along a pier in Weymouth talking to a stranger. He says: “His lordship was a courageous man. He chose a certain path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but there, he chose it, he can say that at least. As for myself, I cannot even claim that. You see, I trusted. I trusted in his lordship’s wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something

  • Links and Thinks 2021-07-22

    1) Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccines against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant (Bernal et al. 2021) Only a slight difference in protection between alpha and delta, and the difference is greater after one dose vs. two doses. 2) Impact of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants on mRNA vaccine-induced immunity in uninfected and previously infected individuals (Lucas et al. 2021 – Iwasaki lab) 3) Delta Is Driving a Wedge Through Missouri Almost every COVID-19 patient in Springfield’s hospitals is unvaccinated, and the dozen or so exceptions are all either elderly or immunocompromised people. The vaccines are working as intended, but the number of people

  • Floating in an Artist’s World

    I recently had a chance to re-read Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World, first published in 1986 and the book that really brought him notice (it won the Whitbread Prize). I initially read it when it was first published, and I think I was too dazzled by the existence of the book to fully appreciate its message. It was, after all, a novel by a British writer of Japanese descent, written in English and – most importantly – self-contained. By this, I mean that it was written from the perspective of a narrator who is very much a

  • Cory Doctorow on blogging

    I would really like to blog on a more consistent basis. And I think Cory Doctorow’s approach is a good one: These repeated acts of public description adds each idea to a supersaturated, subconscious solution of fragmentary elements that have the potential to become something bigger. Every now and again, a few of these fragments will stick to each other and nucleate, crystallizing a substantial, synthetic analysis out of all of those bits and pieces I’ve salted into that solution of potential sources of inspiration. That’s how blogging is complimentary to