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Unread 07-13-2014, 01:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default X things you wish you had known X years ago

Singer of the "Laws Of Nature" song I just posted has a blog that I find interesting, here's a post from not too long ago that I thought was worth sharing.
Backreaction: 10 Things I wish I had known 20 years ago Ė Science Edition


1. Fundamental theorems of welfare economics and Arrow's impossibility theorem

I was absolutely disinterested in economics and sociology as a teenager. After reading some books on microeconomics, welfare economics, and social choice theory, the world made dramatically more sense to me. Thatís how the hamster wheel works, and thatís the root of most of the quarrels in politics. Now my problem is that I donít understand why most people donít understand this...

2. Exoplanets!

Are much more common than anybody expected when I was a teenager. This has really changed the way I perceive our place in the universe, and I guess that this topic gets so much coverage in the media because this is the case for many people.

3. Medicine is not a science.

I was only after I read about the Ďrecentí field of Ďevidence based medicineí that I realized I had falsely assumed medical practice is rooted in scientific evidence. Truth is, for the most part itís not. Medicine isnít a science, itís a handcraft, and this is only slowly changing. You are well advised to check the literature for yourself.

4. Most drugs are not tested on women.

Pharma companies often donít test drugs on women because changing hormone levels make it more difficult to find statistically significant effects. The result is that little is known about how the female body reacts differently to drugs than the male body. In many cases the recommended doses of certain medicines tend to be way too high for me, and had I known this earlier I would have trusted my body, not the label.

5. Capsaicin isnít water soluble.

The stuff that makes Chili spicy doesnít wash off with water, it takes alcohol or fat to get it off your tongue. Yes, this did make my life much better...

6. Genetics.

I wish I had known back then what I know today about genetic predispositions, eg that introversion, pain tolerance, response to training, and body odor have genetic factors, and I wish I had had a chance to have my DNA sampled 20 years ago.

The default assumption that I, and I think most people, bring is that other peopleís experiences are similar to our own. It never occurred to me, for example, that the other kids werenít overdramatizing, they were really hurting more. Just by looking at my daughters I would bet that Lara got my pain tolerance while Gloria didnít, and I can tell that Lara doesnít mean to hurt Gloria, she just doesnít believe it hurts as much as Gloria screams. And after reading Cainís book that covers the correlation between introversion and a neurological trait called Ďhigh sensitivityí I could finally stop wondering what is wrong with me.

7. You probably have no free will, but itís no reason to worry.

Took me two decades to wrap my mind around this. Tough one.

8. Most people talk to themselves.

Psychologists call it the Ďinternal monologueí. How was I supposed to know that pretty much everybody does that?

9. Adaptive Systems.

Adaptive systems are basically a generalization of the process of mutation and natural selection. This was really helpful to understand much of the changes in institutions and organizations, and all the talk about incentives. It also reveals that many of our problems stem from our inability to adapt. This is basically what gave rise to my this yearís FQXi essay.

10. That guy really smells good.

It was long believed that humans do not detect pheromones because the respective nerve is missing. Alas, MRI imaging settled the dispute in the 90s. The nerve, now called 'Cranial Nerve Zero' does exist. But note that while both, the olfactory and the zero nerve, end in the nostrils, the olfactory nerve does not detect pheromones and the nerves wire to different areas of the brain. Exactly what influence pheromones have on humans is still an active subject of study.
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Unread 07-13-2014, 11:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Speaking of cranial nerves, if you ever start getting a brain freeze, rub the roof of your mouth back and forth with your tongue. The friction heats the optical nerve in the top of your mouth and prevents the brainfreeze if you do it properly.

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Unread 07-13-2014, 12:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Next, dent brings us "10 old secrets the pharmaceutical corporations dont want you to know!"

#YOLO
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Unread 07-13-2014, 01:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you don't have a tongue at hand does a cock work?

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Unread 07-16-2014, 12:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Unread 07-17-2014, 10:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I know I sure love watching two hour videos that are posted with no comment ... really lets me know that it's worthwhile.

Quote:
You often seem to think that the lowest-hanging-fruit makes you some sort of comedy genius. You're just not a good person. You're spiteful, constantly negative, and bring others down to make yourself feel better. I just don't have room for that.
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Unread 07-17-2014, 11:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THEINCREDIBLEdork View Post
Next, dent brings us "10 old secrets the pharmaceutical corporations dont want you to know!"

The Alien video was my attempt at a humorous response to this, I don't really know what ID meant because he is a creature with many cloaking devices.
I kinda expected everyone here to be able to spot the difference between a professor who works on quantum gravity and an obvious conspiracy video.

I see that you managed to clock the length of the video, did you also see the title?
The Alien Agenda - What THEY don't want you to know... [Simon Parkes New Horizons 2014

or maybe the little green men?
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Unread 07-17-2014, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Who knew that we had a quantum sniffer right under our very noses the whole time?
Humans Can Discriminate More than 1 Trillion Olfactory Stimuli

I wish I had known this x years ago.

10,000 thing is almost as bad as this.
Tongue map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Unread 08-07-2014, 04:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THEINCREDIBLEdork View Post
Next, dent brings us "10 old secrets the pharmaceutical corporations dont want you to know!"
My partner has been working for big pharma for a little over a month, the training she has received regarding animal rights protestors etc is disgusting.

15% research 85% profit

I'll have to get back to you on the other 8.
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