A research project has been culturing 12 populations of E. coli since 1988 and tracking their evolution. “My bias going into the experiment was that all the strains would go off in very different directions. I was thinking that the roles of chance and contingency in evolution would have been larger than they were. And over the years, we’ve actually seen just striking amounts of reproducibility. So although a typical line has improved its relative fitness compared with the ancestor by maybe 70% or 80%, the variance in competitive fitness between most lines is more like just a few per cent. So they’ve all tremendously increased, but very similarly to one another.”
Slime Mold Time Mold endorses Becca Balint for US Congress. One part of her platform jumped out to us in particular — she hopes to make rent, the largest cost-of-living expense for most people, tax deductible.
Bad news, the AI already has a secret language.
you could cook an egg on that brain [disclaimer: do not cook an egg on your brain]
Jewel-shaped greenhouse opens like a flower. We want one.
“Pentagon guru” Edward Luttwak, 79 years old, spills the beans on geopolitics, Xi Jinping’s obsession with Goethe (and Faust in particular), and what it’s like to grow up with the Mafia bosses’ children in Sicily.
Scott Alexander is running another book review contest. As former ACX Book Review bronze medalists, here are our favorites so far: The Future Of Fusion Energy for an engaging technical overview and optimistic take on fusion power in the next few decades, The Dawn Of Everything for a critical take on a provocative book and a surprisingly strong argument that prehistory was socially very much like high school, The Castrato for lots of weird facts about Castrati and speculation “that sometime this century a new landscape of biological and psychological possibilities will open up before us”, and Making Nature on how the journal Nature went from a pop science venue to a prestige publication in a surprisingly brief window. Excellent work, chaps.
New in Interactive Instruction: Mark Brown has a new platformer toolkit interactive which “drops you in to a crummy-feeling platformer – and then gives you all the tools to make it better.”
And: Interactive Typography Tutorial (kind of railroads you into specific design choices, but a good start.)
Also relevant: Nicky Case’s collection of similar projects.
Iñupiaq numerals were invented by “a bunch of middle schoolers in 1994” and are all kinds of wild and amazing.
silenceinbetween reviews a paper that asks, how much computation can a single neuron do by itself?
Twitter user long_ziti pointed us to the Reddit thread, “I know there is a correlation between elevation/altitude and suicide. I moved to a place at 8000 ft 7 years ago. I now have 6 people I know that have killed themselves. I had zero before moving here (in my 40’s). Why?” on r/askscience, and points out, “if obesity is a contaminant and that contaminant is lithium, this would be expected.”