Weekly Newsletter

Ethics #

The Philosopher Who Says We Should Play God
The following quote sums up the article well:

So the idea that we could play god and tamper with the laws of nature, creating things that wouldn’t otherwise exist, is a red herring?

We’re playing god every day. As the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes said, the natural state for human beings is a life that’s nasty, brutish, and short. We play god when we vaccinate. We play god when we give women pain relief during labor. The challenge is to decide how to change the course of nature, not whether to change it. Our whole life is entirely unnatural. The correction of infertility is interfering in nature. Contraception is interfering in the most fundamental aspect of nature.

Sports Physics #

The Mind-Bending Physics of a Tennis Ball’s Spin
Presents the physics and history of tennis in a fun but not overly technical way.

Venture Investment #

Peter Thiel of Founders Fund Outlines Biotech Investment Ideas
Peter Thiel discusses why he made his biggest investment ever in a stem cell biotech company. I included this article because I thought the discussion of transforming biotech into an information science made a lot of sense.

DIY Biology #

Meet the Hackers Who Are Decrypting Your Brainwaves
Profiles a new group of Quantified Self folks who focus on creating affordable Brain Computer Interfaces.

GynePunk, the cyborg witches of DIY gynecology
Profiles an interesting feminist group focused on creating DIY bio tools for home gynecology. These women are doing awesome citizen science and acting on their philosophies in a badass way.

Other Contributions #

CIA Cybersecurity Guru Dan Geer Doesn’t Use a Cell Phone (Mark Malina)
I enjoyed seeing Geer’s thinking process. Geer’s views on privacy and security probably differ from my own in some ways, but his mental models and ways of thinking were clear and well-thought out.