The “blueprint” for the cell phone I’m posting from (including the blueprints for its components) specifies how basically every detail needs to be laid out. There’s a formal sense in which we can say the blueprint contains about the same amount of information as the phone itself.
Not so our brains. There’s not nearly enough information in our genome to specify how all the connections in our brains get wired up.

Most of that comes from learning within the environment.

The information in our brain’s structure vastly exceeds that in its blueprint.
.@mikha_ehl and I used to say that only a little bit of the information it takes to make a tiger is in the tiger’s genome. The vast majority of it is in the jungle.
A new pre-print addresses these issues in a formal way. This looks extremely interesting.

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More from @CT_Bergstrom

15 Mar
"College students are bombarded with liberal indoctrination on campuses. But travel can be life's greatest classroom, so let them come to Florida for a little sunshine and a lesson in how individual liberties can be preserved responsibly..." #NotTheOnion…
"So it all gets a little blurry, but Skeezer was reading aloud from the Federalist while my boy H-dawg and I were doing doing body shots off this chick from Akron—and the next thing I knew I woke up with `Liberty or Death' tattooed across my..." [dry heaves]
"Much of the spring-break travel scare revolves around the effort to discredit Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis"

"Perhaps some of his critics perversely hope that a calamitous outbreak here will give them a chance to blame Florida, the state progressives love to loathe."

h/t @bhrenton
Read 4 tweets
14 Mar
The Chicago Manual of Style is not definitive on this point. Should I use be "a" or "an" in the following?

(Leave your rationale in the replies if you like)
As many of you have noted, it depends on how you read the number 1868. The Chicago manual of style gets me that far, but doesn't tell me how that number should be read.
Further background.

This is not a date, it's reference to a deleted chunk of DNA. The abbreviation bp is short for base pair. (I'd have written it out if not for the absurdly short character limits on twitter polls).
Read 4 tweets
12 Mar
I've taken down a tweet about research delays due to bickering about overhead rates, because I guess I was unclear.

My point is not that the UW is bad. It's that the entire system is dreadfully inefficient.

That comes to a head when this sort of thing delays COVID research.
Because universities rely on overhead to keep the lights on, their incentives are to generate grant revenue rather than good science—and researchers are pushed accordingly.

I wrote about this with Kevin Gross a couple of years ago.…
Federal agencies typically pay much higher overhead rates than foundations do. Therefore researchers face subtle and not-so-subtle pressures to fund their work former rather than the latter sources—and these include frictions and delays in obtaining and spending foundation funds.
Read 4 tweets
10 Mar
This graph from a paper on long covid among children is making the rounds.

Symptoms can be serious in kids, and long covid seems possible for them.

But this figure needs context.

1) These percentages are for kids who were reported to suffer symptoms for longer than 4 weeks.
2) The survey was sent to parents who joined an association for families of children suffering fro long covid.

3) These are reports from a survey of parents not symptoms as diagnosed by a physician.

The paper:…
"Links to the survey site on JotForm were disseminated on the closed Facebook group LongCOVIDKids."
Read 4 tweets
9 Mar
Just finished an amazing planning call for the event below. My fellow speakers @DrMelissaClarke and @raelnb have so much to say about COVID misinformation, particularly around vaccination. I’ll say a few words to set the stage, and then turn things over to them.
I learned more from a quick call with @DrMelissaClarke
than I do in any full day of work. She is on the steering committee of @BCAgainstCOVID and is a critical voice on COVID's impacts on the Black community.

Check out her weekly show Excuse Me Doctor:

Speaker @raelnb is doing excellent reporting particularly around vaccine hesitancy, and opened my eyes to the new facets of the problem and new threats from organized disinformation.…
Read 4 tweets
7 Mar
If Richard Dawkins read a little bit more of the philosophy of science that he purports to despise, he would know the difference between an epistemological framework, and the ontological truths it aims to uncover.
“Science is not a social construct.”

I’ve heard six year-olds refer to the actual entities — black holes and dinosaurs and x-rays and such — as “science,” but by ten years of age people tend to distinguish between the object of study and the method used to study it.
A number of the Dawkins fans in the replies seem to think this is a non-issue or a cheap shot.

It’s actually what I work on.

Here’s a short explanation of why the socially constructed nature of science matters.

No postmodernism. I promise.…
Read 4 tweets

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