Several imprecisions in this essay on IRBs should not detract from its key point: social sciences don’t need IRB oversight, biomedicine needs it to be less byzantine and more transparent. Status quo is untenable.


📚 Taleb the prophet, writing about cryptobros and the summer of 2022 back in the early 2000s.

Financial instruments come and go but human stupidity and greed are forever.


Give a lecture once and you help a few hundred people (if you’re lucky). Post the lecture to YouTube and you help millions. 7 years later, I am yet to find a better guide to academic writing.

NB: it’s good to have a live audience.


📚 Re-reading Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness for the first time since covid hit. From the preface, on intellectual immodesty. There is a direct line from this to the catastrophic early response to the pandemic.

BTW, our company is called Cartesian but we are Montaignes at heart.


“Whether hot or cold water freezes faster remains unknown.”

Thus begins a wonderful Quanta Magazine article about the “Mpemba effect”, named after a Tanzanian teenager who saw something funny happen to his home-made ice cream. Reality is complicated.


“A lot of people simply won’t read a 15-page whitepaper, but will be impressed by flowcharts. By making the language of Web3 meandering and impenetrable and by building a culture that is very self-referential, investors make criticism harder to come by.”

Today’s Galaxy Brain newsletter is about Web3, but replace “whitepaper” with “manuscript” and “investors” with “researchers” and you get bad science in a nutshell.


“If you are trying to figure out a thinker and his or her defects, see if you can spot that person’s “once-and-for-all” moves. There will be plenty of them.”

Cowen is right, though we can debate whether early closure is a defect or a feature.


“This contains a combination of various life-extension medicines (metformin, ashwagandha, and some vitamins), and covid defense gear: a CO2 meter… masks, antigen tests and fluvoxamine.”

The reddest of crypto world’s red flags is their belief in longer life through chemistry.


More art deco than brutalism? Yes, please.


Hard to say what’s better here, the article or the illustrations that accompany it. Good job, FT Magazine.