I don't think we learn a lot through the number. It might be that multiple genes are regulated by the same mechanism and turning that mechanism down brings us forward.

Yeah it doesn't say much. For one thing I'd say it's just about all of the genes that are differentially expressed, if you look hard enough. Regardless, that doesn't tell us how many of them really matter with respect to the things we care about, how many causal factors are at work, or how difficult it will be to fix. Doesn't rule out a single silver bullet aging cure (though other things probably do)

OP here. Having learned more statistics since I last posted - I reckon it could be as simple as exploring various interactions (effect modifications) in the data with respect to additional SNP's. The issue would be that interactions require greater sample sizes to avoid spurious results and most genetics research has woefully low sample sizes which would only be harder to overcome when inching towards more personalised medicine based on individual genomes.

Yes that's the case. To get enough data we probably need lots of in vitro experiments. Remember that data is not equal to information - even really big sample sizes wouldn't be enough to resolve the combinatoric explosion. What I mean in that comment up there (I posted it before it was finished, I think) is that there are ~23k genes in the genome, so even under the absurdly simple assumption that there's only one mutation possible per gene, you have half a billion possible combinations of gene breakages, which you will never ever be able to get enough of a sample size to look at blindly.

It's just.... I feel like I can imagine a system that would be better than pen and paper.

That means there's a possible startup.

Ha, in theory, but it looks like the guys at TeXmacs are already selling the product for free, so no dice...

Would it make sense to write on a tablet and have the computer do OCR? (Hypothetical system.)

Yes, that would also be great, but I a) I can't afford such a tablet, and b) I strongly suspect that the OCR would be inaccurate enough that I'd end up wishing for a keyboard anyway. Hell accurate voice recognition would be better, but I'm still waiting for that to happen...

Excellent! I will mention that I have occasionally had it crash on me (this was in the past, probably an older version of the software, so take it with a grain of salt -- but you might want to be slightly more paranoid about saving your work regularly than you would be with, say, a simple text editor).

Been using it for an hour now,and yes, it's crashed on me once, but no more than half the other programs I use. Already seeing the benefits of it when I spent half an hour doing something, realised there was a mistake at the start, and could then just find/replace stuff instead of scrunching the paper up into a ball and cursing Pierre Laplace. Also I don't have to deal with the aesthetic trauma of viewing my own handwriting. Outstanding.

I tend to use TeXmacs for this. It's a WYSIWYG document editor; you can enter mathematics using (La)TeX syntax, but there are also menus and keyboard shortcuts. It's free in both senses. No symbolic-manipulation capabilities of its own, but it has some ability to connect to other things that do; I haven't tried those out.

Mathematica isn't that far from what you want, I think, and it has the advantage of being able to do a lot of the symbolic manipulation for you. But, as you say, it's really expensive -- though if you haven't checked out the home and (if applicable) student editions, you should do so; they're much cheaper. Anyway, the fact that to me it sounds close to what you want makes me suspect that I'm missing or misunderstanding some of your requirements; if you could clarify how it doesn't meet your needs it may help with suggesting other options.

YES. Thank you so much. Texmacs seems to be exactly what I wanted.

Would any of these be useful? That's just a list I found by Googling /MathJax editor/. I'm not familiar with any of them. MathJax is a Javascript library for rendering mathematics on web pages. The mathematics is written in MathML.

I use pen and paper, and switch to LaTeX when I have something I need to preserve. It's not very satisfactory, but since anything I might want to publish will have to go through LaTeX at some point, there's no point in using any other format, unless it had a LaTeX exporter. And pen and paper is far more instant than any method I can imagine of poking mathematics in through a keyboard.

pen and paper is far more instant than any method I can imagine of poking mathematics in through a keyboard.

Yeah... I think I just have to bite this bullet. If you do math professionally and the people you know work onto pen and paper, then that's the answer.

It's just.... I feel like I *can imagine* a system that would be better than pen and paper. There's so much tedious repetition of symbols when I do algebra on paper, and inevitably while simplifying some big integral I write something wrong, and have to scratch it out, and the whole thing becomes a confusing mess. writing my verbal thoughts down with a keyboard is just as quick and intuitive as a pen and paper. There must be a better way...

I don't know either of a program that solves your problem. But writing a transcompiler from mathematical markdown (mathdown?) to Latex should not be that difficult in F#. It should be a fun excercise, if you write the formal grammar.

Yeah I can imagine doing that all right - I wouldn't actually mind writing in latex even, the problem is the lag. Building a latex document after each change takes time. If the latex was being built in a window next to it, in real time, (say a 1 second lag would probably be fine) there'd be no problem. I'm not looking to publish the math, I just want a thought-aid.

Why isn't there a good way of doing symbolic math on a computer?

I want to brush up on my probability theory. I hate using a pen and paper, I lose them, they get damaged, and my handwriting is slow and messy.

In my mind I can envisage a simple symbolic math editor with keyboard shortcuts for common symbols, that would allow you to edit nice, neat latex style equations, as easily as I can edit text. Markdown would be acceptable as long as I can see the equation in it's pretty form next to it. This doesn't seem to exist. Python based symbolic math systems, like 'sagemath', are hopelessly clunky. Mathematica, although I can't afford it, doesn't seem to be what I want either. I want to be able to write math fast, to aid my thinking while proving theorems and doing problems from a textbook, not have the computer do the thinking for me. Latex equation editors I've seen are all similarly unwieldy - waiting 10 seconds for it to build the pdf document is totally disruptive to my thought process.

Why isn't this a solved problem? Is it just that nobody does this kind of thing on a computer? Do I have to overcome my hatred of dead tree media and buy a pencil sharpener?

View more: Next

Here's a much better article criticizing evo-psych. I think it goes a little too far in some places, and I've posted it before, but those looking for something a bit more structured and well argued would do well to start here.