A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: March, 2015

Read — 2015/03/29

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Learning to see data“, by Benedict Carey (NY Times). Perceptual learning and artists fast-track the acquisition of chunking, pattern recognition, intuition, and expertise.
  2. As ‘Mad Men’ comes to an end, Jon Hamm reflects on Don Draper“, by Dave Itzkoff (NY Times).
  3. Five songs on Kendall Jenner’s workout playlist right now“, by Liana Satenstein (Vogue).
  4. The one thing all confident people know“, by Mark Manson (Quartz). To break free from the negative cycle of self-doubt, focus on reforming the internal state of mind.

Science — 2015/03/06

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Einstein’s vision“, by Margaret Moerchen & Robert Coontz (Science). Introduction to the special issue of Science marking the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s paper on the general theory of relativity.
  2. Beyond general relativity“, by Michel Janssen (Science). Review of a book that illuminates Einstein’s approach to science, in particular the Solovine schema detailing the interplay between mathematical principles and empirical data.
  3. Statistics requantitates the central dogma“, by Jingyi Jessica Li & Mark D. Biggin (Science). The authors argue that (i) measures of protein and mRNA levels are subject to “substantial stochastic variation” and “reproducible biases” and (ii) transcriptional control has a greater impact on protein expression than translation.

Read — 2015/03/06

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. The weaker sex” (The Economist). Teenage girls are pulling farther ahead of their male peers in reading skills. A critical look at the low-performing end of the academic spectrum.
  2. Astronomers watch a supernova and see reruns“, by Dennis Overbye (NY Times). General relativity allows scientists multiple (and simultaneous!) views of Supernova Refsdal — and in slow-motion, thanks to time dilation.

In historical news on this day:

  1. Decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case” (NY Times, 6 March 1857).

Read — 2015/03/05

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. At least one justice is in play as the Supreme Court hears Affordable Care Act case“, by Adam Liptak (NY Times). Reports of the courtroom banter reveal that the Justices have a sense of humor. But don’t hold your breath — a decision isn’t expected until June or July.
  2. Oldest human fossil unearthed in Ethiopia“, by Devin Powell ( The Ledi jaw, 2.8 million years old.
  3. Why you should stop eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner“, by Kiera Butler (Mother Jones). The best insight in the article comes in the final paragraph:

    Don’t eat when it’s time for a meal; eat when you feel hungry…teach ourselves to pay attention to our own bodies instead of our environment.

  4. Mary Cain is growing up fast“, by Elizabeth Weil (NY Times). Excellent blend of biography, mystery, and science. 1,500 metres in under four minutes, the central governor, and the irreversible dangers of “more-is-better” training philosophy and overtraining syndrome. Interesting observation in the article:

    Years of adaptation are required to make the body’s connective tissue and small stabilizer muscles in the legs, pelvis and back durable enough to withstand the older runner’s extreme mileage. It also requires experience to develop the ability to distinguish the kind of pain that is a necessary part of training and should be tolerated from the kind that signals incipient injury.

And in historical news on this day:

  1. Churchill assails Soviet policy“, by Harold B. Hinton (NY Times, 6 March 1946).

Read — 2015/03/03

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Inside Alibaba, the sharp-elbowed world of Chinese e-commerce“, by Gillian Wong, Kathy Chu, & Juro Osawa (Wall Street Journal). “Brushing” — i.e. hiring people to fake orders and reviews — is a common strategy among sellers looking to move up the ranks of Alibaba’s search results. The practice inflates Alibaba’s volume, but to what extent the article leaves unclear.
  2. The world’s billionaires” (Forbes).

Read — 2015/03/02

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. China’s monetary policy: elusive prudence“, by S.R. (The Economist).
  2. Apple’s new job: selling a smartwatch to an uninterested public“, by Brian X. Chen (NY Times). “Companies that make watch apps will probably play an important role in defining the purpose of the Apple Watch”, even as these companies hesitate to invest heavily in watch-app development because it seems less lucrative. Clearly the solution to all these issues is a holographic screen.
  3. An uneasy relationship between telecom and tech“, by Mark Scott (NY Times). A love-hate symbiosis between service and content providers.
  4. New book by Chao Center’s Ryang challenges readers to think about the food they eat“, by Jeff Falk (Rice News). Authenticity is delicious.