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Objectivism Online Forum


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  • Country
    United States
  • State (US/Canadian)
  • Real Name
    Alice Hawley
  • Copyright
    Public Domain
  • School or University
    Cornell University/Sloan-Kettering Institute
  • Occupation
    PhD Student in Genetics/Biochemistry

Alice's Achievements


Novice (2/7)



  1. Thanks for alerting me to this! I recently moved to Boston and was unaware of this speaker series. Hopefully it will additionally be an opportunity to meet other Objectivists in the area. Thanks again!
  2. I think private financing of basic science is possible. Two points: 1) The person you quoted wrote: "Basic research, however, is absolutely critical to long-term scientific advancement." If this is true, and no other source of funding is available (i.e.. from the government), then industry and/or other private donors will have to fund it. If they are unwilling to fund it, then the premise is wrong. 2) Aside from industry, another source of funding is rich philanthropists. I suspect that quite a bit of funding for basic science could be obtained from this venue.....
  3. Congrats Stella! You're amazing!
  4. The stage at which I do not accept this argument is when they "build" the 7th dimension. Basically they treat the 6th dimension (all possible outcomes over time from our universe) as a point of infinity and add another point of infinity that represents all possible outcomes of a different universe (one with a different set of initial conditions). First, this presupposes "initial" conditions for which we have no evidence (i.e. it is impossible to state as a fact right now that our universe had a beginning). Second it presupposes other universes -- what evidence do we have for other universes? Why is this taken as a given? I need to do some homework, but the way he summarized it at the end makes me think that the math of string theory requires 10 dimensions and consequently this argument attempts to rationalize an existence of 10 dimensions. I suspect that if the math of string theory required only 6 or 7 dimensions the argument would have ended there... (just as it ended at 10 dimensions). Comments? What does everyone else think?
  5. Yeah right -- and dogs are altruists too because they will bring you back a frisbee...
  6. Sorry to jump in on this thread several months after this post, but I have to correct this. It has now been shown that prions are probably misfolded proteins that are able to induce the same misfolding on healthy versions of the protein. In this way, they "propagate" their misfolded state without any requirement to invoke DNA or RNA in any way. Here is a link to the nature news article describing the evidence: Nature News I am not sure if you have to pay to see this content so I will summarize just in case. Basically the authors first showed that a prion protein in yeast was infectious; that is, transfer of only the protein could induce prion disease. Then they showed that this occurred even if they damaged the cells DNA and RNA synthesis ability. Then they showed that two different prion "strains" (same protein, different disease characteristics) could be distinguished based on structural features of the protein, suggesting that the difference between the disease characteristics was due to differences in the structural folding of the proteins. This is now the strongest theory as to how proteins themselves can be infectious. It is far from proven. So basically this example does not contradict the "central dogma". Nonetheless, science students are constantly taught models that are incomplete or incorrect. Teaching these models-as-fact definitely decreases the chances of a student identifying a different, equally plausible model. Alice PhD Student in Genetics
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