2019 Sequencing Tech Speculations: Will We Actually See New Entrants?

An astute reader caught a sentence fragment about MGI in last night's Illumina JPM roundup -- the unfortunate evidence of a a mental battle over whether to put any further comments on MGI in an Illumina-centric post. So now I'll sweep that bit into a general post about not-Illumina (and not-Oxford, that will go in yet another).
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Episode #51 – Moen on the Unabomber’s Ethics

ole martin moen

In this episode I talk to Ole Martin Moen. Ole Martin is a Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Oslo. He works on how to think straight about thorny issues in applied ethics. He is the Principal Investigator of “What should not be bought and sold?”, a $1 million research project funded by the Research Council of Norway. In the past, he has written articles about the ethics of prostitution, the desirability of cryonics, the problem of wild animal suffering and the case for philosophical hedonism. Along with his collaborator, Aksel Braanen Sterri, he runs a podcast, Moralistene (in Norwegian), and he regularly discusses moral issues behind the news on Norwegian national radio. We talk about a potentially controversial topic: the anti-tech philosophy of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczysnki, and what's wrong with it.

You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher (the RSS feed is here).

Show Notes

  • 0:00 - Introduction
  • 2:05 - Should we even be talking about Ted Kaczynski's ethics? Does it not lend legitimacy to his views?
  • 6:32 - Are we unnecessarily anti-rational when it comes to discussing dangerous ideas?
  • 8:32 - The Evolutionary Mismatch Argument
  • 12:43 - The Surrogate Activities Argument
  • 20:20 - The Helplessness/Complexity Argument
  • 23:08 - The Unstoppability Argument
  • 26:45 - The Domesticated Animals Argument
  • 30:45 - Why does Ole Martin overlook Kaczynski's criticisms of 'leftists' in his analysis?
  • 34:03 - What's original in Kaczynski's arguments?
  • 36:31 - Are philosophers who write about Kaczynski engaging in a motte and bailey fallacy?
  • 38:36 - Ole Martin's main critique of Kaczynski: the evaluative double standard
  • 42:20 - How this double standard works in practice
  • 47:27 - Why not just drop out of industrial society instead of trying to overthrow it?
  • 55:04 - Is Kaczynski a revolutionary nihilist?
  • 58:59 - Similarities and differences between Kaczynski's argument and the work of Nick Bostrom, Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu
  • 1:04:21 - Where should we go from here? Should there be more papers on this topic?


Relevant Links

  • "The Unabomber's Penpal" - article about the philosopher David Skrbina who has corresponded with Kaczynski for some time


November and December 2018 RefSeq annotations – hybrid cattle, cheetah, fly & more

In November and December, the NCBI Eukaryotic Genome Annotation Pipeline released new annotations in RefSeq for the following organisms: Abrus precatorius (Indian licorice) Acinonyx jubatus (cheetah) Anas platyrhynchos (mallard) Bos indicus x Bos taurus (hybrid cattle) Cicer arietinum (chickpea) Coffea arabica (coffee) Coffea eugenioides … Continue reading

Goodbye, Mid-Range Shot

There's a space on the basketball court called "mid-range." It's actually not off-limits. In fact, people used to shoot these so-called "mid-range" shots. Read More

✚ How to Make Animated (GIF) Heatmaps in R

Using color as the visual encoding, show changes over time in two dimensions. Read More

After more than a year of back and forth, an accounting journal retracts a paper on tax avoidance

A pair of business researchers in Pittsburgh has lost a controversial 2017 paper on how institutional stock holdings affect tax strategies amid concerns about the validity of the data. The article, “Governance and taxes: evidence from regression discontinuity,” which appeared in The Accounting Review, was written by Andrew Bird and Stephen Karolyi, of Carnegie Mellon’s … Continue reading After more than a year of back and forth, an accounting journal retracts a paper on tax avoidance

Illumina JPM Talk

Illumina CEO Francis deSouza delivered his J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference talk (webcast audio, slides & Q&A audio) a week ago.  I can claim that some of my speculations came true -- just the most boring and obvious ones.  Overall, the presentation was the talk of a confident market leader.
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dbSNP build 152 uses SPDI variant notation

dbSNP build 152 is a small incremental update from build 151 provided for you to begin testing and integrating the new build products into your workflow. Build 152 uses the new system with SPDI variant notation and is now available … Continue reading

When geolocation makes everyone think you stole their phone

People show up unannounced at John and his mother Ann’s home in South Africa, looking for stolen property, but John and Ann didn’t steal anything. For Gizmodo, Kashmir Hill investigates another case of IP address and geolocation mistaken for exactness:

John and Ann’s problems weren’t necessarily caused by one bad actor, but by the interaction of a bunch of careless decisions that cascaded through a series of databases. The NGA provides a free database with no regulations on its use. MaxMind takes some coordinates from that database and slaps IP addresses on them. Then IP mapping sites, as well as phone carriers offering “find my phone” services, display those coordinates on maps as distinct and exact locations, ignoring the “accuracy radius” that is supposed to accompany them.

The victims of theft, police officers, private investigators, the Hawks (South Africa’s FBI), and even foreign government investigators showed up mistakenly at John and Ann’s door, and none of them ever tried to figure out why.

Remember when we thought Kansas had unusually high porn views per capita?

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One-year time-lapse of the weather

Along the same lines as last week’s one-year wind time-lapse, Weather Decoded provides this one-year time-lapse of the weather over the United States:

Fun. [via kottke]

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