Everything is the best

After hearing a lot of use of the word “zen” in Gödel, Escher, Bach, I decided to read a little bit about it. I started with Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, which I found pretty delightful and completely opaque. Once of the stories goes,

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Big data cracks elusive Bible code

Cambridge, Mass.— Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that they have solved an ancient mystery. Using “big data” algorithms, a team of computer scientists, mathematicians, and Biblical Hebrew scholars were able to decode the secret meanings of the Old Testament.

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Pepper mills, antibiotics, and the FDA

In the US, we mostly take the purity of our food and drugs for granted. I think the exception proves the rule: many people are surprised that dietary supplements, including herbal supplements, are regulated differently than drugs, under an “assumption of safety”. Essentially, you can put whatever you want in there, and the FDA will only investigate your supplement if they have a particular reason to. This means that many dietary supplements contain real drugs. In 2015, an NBA player was discovered unconscious in a brothel, and the subsequent investigation revealed that one of the “herbal”, “Viagra-like” supplements he was taking were just actual Viagra masquerading as an herb.

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There are merits to diversity beyond productivity

I just finished a two-year tenure as diversity officer for the board that represents graduate students in my PhD department. In talking about diversity in a results-driven engineering/start-up world, I have found a focus on one merit of diversity. I lament the diversion from the its other merits.

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