Statuette of ancient Egyptian physician Imhotep, the first physician from antiquity known by name.
‘Over the past two decades it has become apparent that the knowledge base for clinical medicine has been corrupted by publication bias, positive result bias, the increasingly strained competition for funding and tenure, and a non-trivial amount of outright fraud.
Perhaps as a result of these problems we see a very high level of research result contradiction and retraction. Sometimes it seems everything we believed in 1999 was reversed by 2014. Retrospective studies of the sustainability of medical research has taught us that the wise physician is better to read textbooks and ignore anything that doesn’t get to the front page of the New York Times…
We can’t change the past, but what do we do with the medical literature we’ve inherited? It is vast, but we know the quality is mediocre. Can we salvage the best of it?’ (Gordon’s Notes)
‘The man who gave us the incandescent light bulb thought we should never turn out the lights at all.’ (The Atlantic).
Why it helps to put pain into words: ‘Did we lose our sense of sympathy when we lost the shared experience of pain?’ (Aeon).
‘CalTech astronomer Fritz Zwicky was the first to conceive of dark matter, supernovas and neutron stars. He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun.
If you’ve never heard of Zwicky, you’re not alone. Virtually the entire public was unaware of his accomplishments, largely due to his abrasive personality and unique gift for alienating himself from the scientific establishment. “Astronomers are spherical bastards,” he once said. “No matter how you look at them they are just bastards.”
And, while many of his theories were proven right, Zwicky also advocated what could be charitably described as “eccentric” ideas—most notably, his proposals for using nuclear explosives to reconstruct the solar system.’ (io9)
‘For decades, scientists have feared the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet—a vast swath of ice that could unleash a slow but unstoppable 10-foot rise in sea levels if it melted. So here is today’s terrible news: we now know the ice sheet is melting. And there’s pretty much nothing we can do about it.’ (Gizmodo)