Friday Links

1. The Life Cycle of Medical Ideas

I was always taught that there were two kinds of medicine. Real medicine, which has been proven to work by studies. And alternative medicine, which has been proven not to work by studies but people still use it anyway because they are stupid.

This dichotomy leaves out the huge grey area of “things that seem like they will probably work, and a few smaller studies have shown very promising results, but no one has bothered to do larger studies, or if they have they have never really been incorporated into medical practice for reasons I can’t put my finger on.”

2. Don’t Use Hadoop, Your Data Isn’t That Big

What is big data can quickly devolve into penis size comparisons (my data is bigger than yours), but if your data fits in RAM it’s not big, it’s hardly even data.

3. Related: Bayes and Big Data. I think it’s interesting, but (i) there is a lot of effort in quasi-Bayesian method [1] and (ii) small data is still very important.

4. Are some people chimeras?

5. This whole post just rubs me the wrong way.

It’s science as another interest group with the same whiny confusion of inputs and outputs. And classism of I’m a scientist, pay me more than a lowly sanitation worker just upsets my stomach as thus the notion that getting 5-10 years of graduate school entitles you to a six-figure salary. Seriously, the author says that it is what one ought to get for all that schooling.

Almost makes me want to wish for a cut to the NIH budget as a disgusted response to all the entitlement.

(cf. NeuroDojo)

[1] Quasi-Bayesian is a term I coined just now to mean approximate Bayesian for computation tractability.

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