Getting ahead of theory, experiment, ourselves

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Science journalist Laura Spinney wrote an article in The Guardian on January 9, 2022, entitled ‘Are we witnessing the dawn of post-theory science?’. This excerpt from the article captures its points well, I thought: Or take protein structures. A protein’s function is largely determined by its structure, so if you want to design a drug that blocks or…… Continue reading Getting ahead of theory, experiment, ourselves

Hiding from the machine

From ‘A Single Laser Fired Through a Keyhole Can Expose Everything Inside a Room’, published by Gizmodo on September 8, 2021: The keyhole imaging technique, developed by researchers at Stanford University’s Computational Imaging Lab, is so named because all that’s needed to see what’s inside a closed room is a tiny hole (such as a…… Continue reading Hiding from the machine

Google Docs: A New Hope

I suspect the Google Docs grammar bot is the least useful bot there is. After hundreds of suggestions, I can think of only one instance in which it was right. Is its failure rate so high because it learns from how other people use English, instead of drawing from a basic ruleset? I’m not saying…… Continue reading Google Docs: A New Hope

Injustice ex machina

There are some things I think about but struggle to articulate, especially in the heat of an argument with a friend. Cory Doctorow succinctly captures one such idea here: Empiricism-washing is the top ideological dirty trick of technocrats everywhere: they assert that the data “doesn’t lie,” and thus all policy prescriptions based on data can…… Continue reading Injustice ex machina

Hey, is anybody watching Facebook?

The Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013 kicked off a flurry of social media activity that was equal parts well-meaning and counterproductive. Users on Facebook and Twitter shared reports, updates and photos of victims, spending little time on verifying them before sharing them with thousands of people. Others on forums like Reddit and 4chan started…… Continue reading Hey, is anybody watching Facebook?