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Comment author: CellBioGuy 24 March 2017 10:20:18PM 7 points [-]

PhD acquired.

Comment author: username2 10 March 2017 03:59:49PM 1 point [-]

I'm rooting for you!

Comment author: CellBioGuy 12 March 2017 02:19:35AM 1 point [-]

It is in! Now 2 days to put together final edits for my committee, 2 weeks to seminar/defense, and then a week or so for final revisions... interesting to see 6 years in 133 pages.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 09 March 2017 05:27:15PM *  10 points [-]

27 hours to PhD thesis submission. Science is hard.

EDIT first allnighter in a long time.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 27 February 2017 08:53:38AM *  1 point [-]

Why is the end of a PhD maintained as such a stressful and panic-filled process?

Comment author: James_Miller 11 February 2017 04:03:45AM 2 points [-]

But the weird shit that harms reproductive fitness is under negative selection.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 February 2017 04:59:31AM *  4 points [-]

But it still sticks around. Simple adaptationism is wrong and all kinds of other processes are also at work in evolving systems, especially in multicellular animals with structured populations and piddlingly tiny population sizes compared to microbes.

Comment author: James_Miller 09 February 2017 04:22:09PM *  7 points [-]

The podcast, part of Carlin's excellent Hardcore History series, is called "The Destroyer of Worlds". The podcast has convinced me that Truman was a horrible president. After the United States had a monopoly of atomic weapons our two sane courses of action would have been to either maintain this monopoly by threatening to go to war if another nation developed atomic weapons, or to have made an all out push for peace with the Soviet Union to avoid a future arms race. Instead, Truman used the monopoly to engage in short-term bullying of the Soviets, while doing nothing to hinder their development of atomic weapons thus guaranteeing that they would eventually have thousands of atomic weapons aimed at us. I bet in most branches of the multiverse arising out of 1953, millions of Americans die in nuclear war by 2017.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 February 2017 03:02:16AM *  1 point [-]

Nothing lasts forever, especially global hegemony.

Comment author: James_Miller 10 February 2017 08:52:06PM 6 points [-]

In the short run yes, but in the long run the only stable equilibrium is for our values to become evolution's values.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 11 February 2017 02:58:52AM 2 points [-]

Humans are FULL of weird shit that is not adaptive.

Comment author: turchin 05 February 2017 09:45:20PM 0 points [-]

Thanks, fascinating!

Comment author: CellBioGuy 07 February 2017 12:48:21AM *  0 points [-]

I've managed to find someone overlaying the ice core records of the last few interglacials for their own purposes, and although I think this diagram is poorly calibrated in terms of absolute temperature I think it is a reasonable diagram for comparing stability:


It certainly looks to a first glance like our interglacial is significantly FLATTER in terms of average temperatures (in the particular place in Antarctica that this core was taken) than those of the last 500,000 years. The ~23k year age of the reported seeds falls in the middle of the flattish bit of the red line before the rise at the start of the interglacial.

Interesting question if there is a hysteresis to agriculture.

Comment author: turchin 01 October 2016 11:59:17PM 1 point [-]


Comment author: CellBioGuy 05 February 2017 09:33:06PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Grothor 01 February 2017 09:03:20PM *  7 points [-]

I'm a cyclist and a PhD student, and I've noticed some patterns in the way that my exercise habits affect my productivity. I get a lot of data from every ride. While I'm riding, I measure heart rate and power, and if I'm outside, I also measure distance and speed. I've found that the total amount of energy that I produce, as measured by the power meter on my bike, is a useful metric for how I should expect to feel the rest of the day and the next day. In particular, if I generate between 800 kJ and 1000 kJ, I usually feel alert, but not worn out. If I do less, I feel like I've not had enough exercise, and I either feel restless or like my body is in lazy recovery mode. If I do more, I feel physically worn out enough that it's hard to work for an extended period of time, especially on the days that I am working in the lab.

What I think is most curious about this is that it is relatively independent of my fitness or the intensity of the ride. If I go balls-out the whole time, it takes slightly fewer kJ to make it hard to focus, and if I go super easy, it takes a bit more. It's the same with fitness. The difference between the power I can sustain for an hour when I'm in form for racing vs when I've barely been riding at all is about 25-30%, but the difference in the amount of mechanical work to make me unproductive is about 10%. (You might notice this gives me an incentive to stay in shape; I can do the same amount of work for the same productivity boost in less time when I'm more fit.)

So, what's definitely true is that the amount of work I put in on the bike is a useful metric for maximizing my productivity. What's unclear is if the amount of work is in some way fundamental to the mental state that it puts me in. The most obvious possibility is that it mainly has to do with the number of calories I burn; this is consistent with the finding that I need to do more work to feel tired when I'm more fit, since training will make you more efficient. But it's not obvious to me why this would be the case. When I'm in poor shape, an 800 kJ ride will have a much more drastic effect on my blood sugar than it will when I'm fit enough to race. It would be useful to venture outside the 800-1000 kJ range on days when I need to get work done.

I don't really know enough physiology to get any further than this. Does anybody else have experience with this sort of thing? Does anyone have empirically testable hypotheses? (Non-testable or not-testable-for-me hypotheses may be interesting as well.)

Comment author: CellBioGuy 03 February 2017 06:23:37AM *  3 points [-]

People like to think of their brains as some kind of separate regulating thing compared to the rest of their bodies. They're not. Everything is mushed together in a common mileu and the sheer degree of crosstalk between your nervous system and everything else is enormous, through both the general chemical environment and fibers that have nothing to do with the consciously available senses.

Humans did not evolve sitting around writing theses. They evolved spending energy in an active way, possibly with wide variation from day to day. It is completely unsurprising to me that there is an amount of energy use that makes one feel clearer and more productive compared to the sedentary graduate student, and that that can vary from person to person and over time in the same person as their physiological state adapts and changes.

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