💠 Sunday Scaries (08/31/20)

Cell biology by the numbers, a new magazine, an honest graduation speech

Hi everyone,

Writing to you from Los Angeles, where I spent the weekend settling into a new apartment. Since I ended my long-term lease I’ve noticed two things:

  • It’s amazing how many opportunities present themselves if you’re flexible in accommodating. Since telling a few friends about my situation, I’ve received invitations to travel and stay in new places all over the country.

  • There are so many accumulated things that we take for granted, both good and bad. It’s freeing to minimize your physical footprint, but other times you reach for the broom and realize it’s in a storage locker.

What’s New For Me:

  1. My Enemy, The NounInspired by this quote from Buckminister Fuller, I wrote a short piece about why I dislike introductions. It’s shorter and more abstract than my usual writing. As a bonus, I recorded my writing process using GPT-3. You can watch it here.

In This Week’s Edition:

[🧬 Biology] Cell Biology By The Numbers: My go-to response for anyone who wants to study science but “isn’t a numbers person.” This free PDF is a great way to develop an intuitive feel for numbers, including how to do back-of-the-envelope calculations. Since the book is broken into separate chapters, or “vignettes”, you can jump around easily based on the problem you’re trying to solve. This should be required reading for incoming biology majors — I know it would have helped me enormously when I was starting my academic career.

[🏛 Culture] Works in Progress: I love this take on what a modern magazine could be. Works in Progress is a digital publication that releases new stories in issues, just like a print magazine. The first issue includes topics like culture, economics, science, and politics. Getting a new magazine issue in the mail was the highlight of my month as a child. This website makes me feel that same excitement. Keep an eye on this one.

Twitter avatar for @philmohunphilmohun.com 🌊⛵️ @philmohun
Bring back the magazine! Awesome work from @ns_whit and team! If you want to read something fresh today, check out Works In Progress. My personal favorite: The rise and fall of the industrial R&D lab

Patrick Collison @patrickc

How can you not be intrigued by a new publication with this initial raft of articles? Congrats on shipping @salonium, @s8mb, @bswud, and @ns_whit. https://t.co/T3LS5bN81t https://t.co/2RykpQhNn6

[🍎 Education] An Honest Graduation SpeechA classic from Slate Star Codex. This tongue-in-cheek graduation speech questions the value of traditional education systems. It’s well-worth reading, especially if you are considering an alternative approach to your learning journey. Plus, the author Scott Alexander has a way of making his point in a way that you can’t help but sympathize with. If you’re going to read one long-form article today, it should be this one.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday Scaries is a newsletter that answers simple questions with surprising answers. You can subscribe by clicking the link below. 👇 

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash