A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: August, 2017

Read — 2017/08/27

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Tesla’s push to build a self-driving car sparked dissent among its engineers“, by Ianthe Jeanne Dugan & Mike Spector (Wall Street Journal). My takeaway from this article: Elon Musk is a visionary who is not afraid to wring people dry, loose talent, and over-sell his product. Not my preferred business practices. But Tesla seems to have built huge industry leads.
  2. How student internships saved a Chicago school“, by Chris Berdik (The Atlantic).
  3. The startup behind these sneakers is skyrocketing in popularity — and it’s easy to understand why after trying them“, by Amir Ismael (Insider Picks).
  4. In a polarized America, can a middle party rise from the ashes?“, by Daniel Malloy (OZY). A (viable) third-party in American politics?
  5. Electric cars are not necessarily clean“, by David Biello (Scientific American).

    [E]lectric cars are only as good [read: clean] as the electricity that charges them.

  6. Gasoline vs electric — who wins on lifetime global warming emissions? We found out“, by Rachael Nealer (Union of Concerned Scientists).

    [E]xcess manufacturing emissions [associated with battery electric vehicles] are offset within 6 to 16 months of driving.

Read — 2017/08/13

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Tech’s damaging myth of the loner genius nerd“, by Claire Cain Miller (NY Times).
  2. A new kind of classroom: no grades, no failing, no hurry“, by Kyle Spencer (NY Times).
  3. New York Times op-ed: women had better sex under socialism“, by Joshua Caplan (Gateway Pundit).

James Damore, Google, and free speech

Given what (little) I know about the James Damore story, there seem to be more important issues in the world: potential nuclear war, exploitation of workers, burgeoning nationalism and racism, physical aggression against women, wanton destruction of the environment, etc.

The firing of James Damore falls perfectly in line with the effective dismissal of the Christakis couple at Yale and the uproar at and subsequent resignation of Larry Summers over his comments about women in science [2] (overshadowing his dubious handling of the “Shleifer affair” [3]). Perhaps one could argue that this pattern of squelching alternative (even unappealing) viewpoints is serious enough to merit a spot on the top-issues list.

People in general, and Americans in particular, have never struck me as particularly skillful at distinguishing between hate speech and speech they hate. In America, liberals are often faulted as the main culprits of de facto censorship, but I don’t think self-labeled conservatives do a great job encouraging, accepting, or even tolerating alternative viewpoints. (Look at how conservative politicians talk over people beginning to express a different point of view.)

The most interesting excerpt from Mr. Damore’s document comes from the “Background” on page 2, where he writes (emphasis is mine)

open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow

How many of us embrace or go out of our way to engage in such discussions (growth opportunities?).

A letter by James Damore addressing his firing appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Also worth reading is the BBC article by Angela Saini titled “What Google engineer James Damore got wrong“.

Let’s end this post with a healthy dose of humor, grâce à Bill Maher. Caveat lector: This linked video ends with commentary by “Secular Talk” with some, ahem, “lazy diction” of the four-letter variety.

Read — 2017/08/11

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Genetically engineering pigs to grow organs for people“, by Sarah Zhang (The Atlantic).
  2. CRISPR slices virus genes out of pigs, but will it make organ transplants to humans safer?“, by Kelly Servick (Science).
  3. The neuroscientist using AI to level the recruiting field“, by Zara Stone (OZY).
  4. Amazon and Whole Foods: what’s next?“, by Laura Stevens (Wall Street Journal).

Read — 2017/08/10

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The 28-year-old physicist looking to revamp India’s educational system“, by Sushmita Pathak (OZY). A survivor turned star performer turns his gaze toward making the educational system work for everyone.
  2. The death of the internal combustion engine” (The Economist). The progress and growing pains to expect from electric vehicles in the decades ahead.
  3. Why English is such a great language for puns” (The Economist).

Stress fractures

  1. Mayo Clinic
    1. Stress fractures: symptoms and causes
    2. Stress fractures: self-management
  2. Sports-health
    1. Don’t miss the signs of a stress fracture“, by Carrie DeVries (Sports-health).
    2. Stress fracture diagnosis“, by Adam B. Yanke, MD (Sports-health).
  3. 5 phases of stress fracture recovery“, by Marion Herring (
  4. Stress fractures and stress reactions of bone: a chronic repetitive stress injury“, by Stephen M. Pribut, DPM.