01.16.23

Underrated aspects of the “genetic singularity”

We now know that human traits are largely:

  1. additively composed of thousands of non-pleiotropic genomic variants,
  2. largely independent without noticeable tradeoffs between different traits at the margin, and
  3. increasingly predictable from genetic data as models improve and biobanks get larger.

For simplicity I will define the “genetic singularity” as the point when people become freely able to explore the high-dimensional space of human genetic variation without restriction, easily selecting or editing embryos with +5 standard deviation boosts to tens or hundreds of desirable traits. In my view, this is inevitable and is perhaps 1-2 decades out.

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Posted in Biology | 2 Comments »
12.13.22

レビュー:ESSE DUE (パスタ、ケーキ)

赤坂においてイタリア料理の店。安い上にとても美味しかったです。料理の範囲が印象的でした。総合評価:4.5/5

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12.12.22

レビュー:初音(餡蜜)

東京の名店「甘味処初音」のレビュー。総合評価:3.5/5

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11.15.22

What happened at Alameda Research

If you want to read a poorly researched fluff piece about Sam Bankman-Fried, feel free to go to the New York Times. If you want to understand what happened at Alameda Research and how Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), Sam Trabucco, and Caroline Ellison incinerated over $20 billion dollars of fund profits and FTX user deposits, read this article. (And follow me on Twitter at @0xfbifemboy!)

To be clear, we still don’t have a perfect understanding of what exactly happened at Alameda Research and FTX. However, at this point, I feel that we have enough information to get a grasp on the broad strokes. Through a combination of Twitter users’ investigations, forum anecdotes, and official news releases, the history of these two intertwined companies becomes progressively less hazy, slowly coalescing into something resembling a consistent narrative.

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Posted in Crypto | 74 Comments »
11.11.22

The doomer case for the final death of crypto

to pick up the pieces and formulate one concrete picture of what the future might look like. Perhaps none of this will happen! Perhaps crypto will blossom into the foundations of a new financial system based on transparency and equal access! But even if you’re bullish, shouldn’t you try to think through the worst case scenarios?

Well, without further ado, everyone loves a bit of baseless prognostication, so…

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Posted in Crypto | 14 Comments »
11.5.22

A sociocultural comparison of Japanese and American high schools

Any anime appreciator has surely asked themselves: “Are Japanese high schools really like this?” After reading Thomas P. Rohlen’s Japan’s High Schools, I would be inclined to respond, “yes.”

In 1983, Rohlen published an anthropological study of the Japanese high school system based on a year’s worth of fieldwork across five different Japanese high schools in the city of Kobe. Upon reading this account of Japanese high school life, I could not help but draw comparisons to the American high school system ー comparisons which are deeply unflattering to America! Despite wide criticism of its inflexible, exam-focused educational system, the portrait of Japanese students in Rohlen’s study was striking in its description of their independence and extracurricular engagement.

High school is typically considered to be a formative gateway into the adult life of a university student. This is all the more true in Japan, where the admissions process sorts students into tiers of vastly differing abilities, in stark contrast to the robust mixing of socioeconomic classes in elementary and middle schools. I summarize some particular areas of interest below, which I hope to be of as much interest to my reader as they were to me.

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Posted in Japanese | 9 Comments »
10.20.22

My recipe for homemade bagels

This is a recipe for homemade bagels that I have used many times with great success. The key is to age the poolish for a couple days, let the formed bagels proof in the fridge for an extended duration, and boil them in water with barley malt syrup added.

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Posted in Cooking | No Comments »
10.19.22

Limited evidence for neurotoxic effects of popper usage

“Poppers,” or inhaled alkyl nitrites, constitute a class of quasi-legal recreational drugs used to enhance sexual experience primarily through their vasodilatory effects. Thus far, the risks of alkyl nitrite inhalation remain poorly understood among the population of recreational users. Two concerns about potential neurotoxicity are often raised: first, comparison to other classes of inhaled organic solvents, and second, reference to a murine study by Cha et al. in 2016. These concerns do not appear to be well-founded. However, isopropyl nitrites specifically, rather than isobutyl or amyl nitrites, are known to cause adverse ophthalmic reactions and may pose a general neurotoxic risk. If isopropyl nitrites are avoided and recreational use is sufficiently limited, overall neurotoxic risk appears low.

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Posted in Biology | No Comments »
10.19.22

A practical, low-cost supplementation regime of vitamins C, B2, and E before recreational use of alkyl nitrates as partial prophylaxis against adverse effects

“Poppers,” or inhaled alkyl nitrites, are commonly used recreationally to enhance sexual experience. Usage of inhaled nitrites is associated with both acute and chronic toxicity, but understanding of practical risk management strategies remains poor.1 Here, we examine one of the primary adverse effects of inhaled nitrites, methemoglobinemia. Drawing from an extensive assortment of published data, we propose that recreational users of poppers take oral antioxidant supplements (3 g vitamin C, 400 mg vitamin B2, and 800 mg vitamin E) two hours before anticipated usage. This supplementation regime has the potential to modestly ameliorate short-term methemoglobinemia associated with inhalation of alkyl nitrites.

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Posted in Biology | No Comments »
10.5.22

A translation of Iwamura Tooru’s “A Great Scream” (大叫喚)

From the Minato City website:

1870-1917. Art historian and art critic. The firstborn son of a government official, Takatoshi Iwamura. From 1888, for five years he studied art in the United States and Europe. In Europe he learned painting techniques and read the history of Western art at the Academie Julien in Paris. When he returned to Japan, he formed the Hakubakai with Kiyoteru Kuroda, whom he met in Paris. He later became a professor at the Tokyo Art School (now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music). He also served as judge for a Ministry of Education art exhibition and devoted himself to founding the National Association of Art.

This short story was published in 1909. Source text.

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Posted in Japanese | No Comments »