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That feeling you get when something a long time coming finally does come out

I have always admired prolific writers like Matthew Yglesias and Scott Alexander — both now on Substack, and not by accident — for their ability to produce tens of thousands of words daily, My admiration being tampered somewhat by ChatGPT and other LLMs, which are about as intellectually and factually rigorous as Alexander, and slightly less so than Yglesias; some sacrifices do have to be made in the name of productivity. on top of the random bite-sized thoughts posted on social media. There are only so many words I can read and write in a day, and for the better part of the last year, my language IO has been preoccupied by helping clean, analyze, interpret, and write up the results of a single clinical trial, which are now finally out in The Lancet Neurology. Yes, my highest impact factor paper to date is in a neurology journal. Go figure.

The paper is about our clinical trial which used the body’s own immune system to treat autoimmune disease — and a particular one at that, myasthenia gravis — via technology that up until now has only been used against cancer (CAR T cells). It has made a decent impact since it came out less than two days ago. It got a write-up in The Economist, for one. Endpoints News as well. Evaluate Vantage got the best quote — it is at the very end of the article. And there is a whole bunch of press releases: from National Institutes of Health, University of North Carolina, Oregon Health and Sciences University, and of course Cartesian Therapeutics.

What went on yesterday reminded me that Twitter is not going anywhere any time soon: all of the above releases were to be found only there, not on a Mastodon instance, the journal’s own media metrics do not — and can not, at least not easily — trawl the Fediverse for hits, and I can’t just type in “Descartes–08”, “myasthenia gravis CAR-T”, or “Cartesian” into a Mastodon search box and get anything of relevance. One could, of course, argue that you wouldn’t get anything of relevance on Twitter either, most of the discussion consisting of people who have barely read the tweet, let alone the article. And one would be correct. And while most of the non-Web3/crypto tech world has moved out, it looks like people in most other fields, from medicine to biotechnology to the NBA commentariat, are maintaining substantial Twitter presence.

This will, of course, have no impact on my commitment to staying out of the conversation to the extent possible while maintaining a semi-regular schedule of 500-character posts, which may now, IO bandwidth having opened up, become a tiny bit longer. Thank you for reading!

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