Why we sleep: unlocking the power of sleep and dreams

There is controversy around some of the claims made in this book, so I don’t take any single point of evidence extremely seriously. But the person who critiqued the book also has some weird ideas about sleep,For instance, he believes that we evolved in a sleep-deprived environment so sleep deprivation must be healthier for us. so in the end I think I probably side with the sleep scientist for most issues except when he seems extreme.
Read more

the inherent subjectivity of reality

These are some thoughts I’ve had while listening to a Lex Fridman interview with Edward Frenkel, a mathematician at UC Berkeley working on mathematical quantum physics. In the information age, we like to see everything as computation. But what do we mean when we say that something is computation? We mean that a physical system with predictable interactions has a meaningful result. If we somehow learned that the universe was computational in nature, the only thing that adds is that the universe’s state is meaningful somehow.
Read more

The last speakers: the quest to save the world's most endangered languages

This book argues that language loss is always bad, but that we can do something to save it. While the stories in the book leave me feeling like every language lost is a terrible cost, I think it’s inevitable as our species merges into a global society due to technology. I think we ought to prioritize the proper treatment and respect of marginalized and alternative cultures, including their languages and how these cultures want to maintain them.
Read more

The gene: an intimate history

These are notes I made after finishing the book, so they’ll be more heavily weighted toward concepts discussed near the end. The first half of the book was primarily dedicated to a history of genetic research, which I think helped the reader understand the issues discussed in the latter half. playing God permalink It seems like our identity derives from a complicated combination of genes and chance environmental effects. Part of our strength as a species has been our natural variation, and to begin editing the genome is to assume that we can do it better than evolution has done up until this point.
Read more

A short history of nearly everything

We are extremely lucky to be here, and even more lucky to be able to appreciate it. Let’s not waste it.