159: TZ Discussion – A Little Too Clever By Half

Justin and Jason discuss Jason Cohen‘s WP Engine, the idea for a Kickstarter-like site that would allow customers to prepay for a pre-launched service, getting AnyFu out the door and lessons learned so far, the man-made super flu that could kill half of humanity, why musicians and other creatives seem to get progressively worse over time, 17 Jedi mind tricks for persuading people, understanding theĀ Hype Cycle, selling brand name training shoes in India, and the latest on Justin’s juice diet.

  1. Zach says:

    As always, love the podcasts. Congrats on the good medical health Justin!

    This relates to last episode re: robotics, if you haven’t seen it already, “Big Dog” is very cool. The section on ice is uncannily human: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

    Ironically enough, I was listening to your podcast while performing cell culture today. As your friendly neighborhood academic biologist, I’m going to come to the defense of the superflu research.

    The press talks about bioterrorism a lot and gets it wrong in two critical dimensions: it is both easy and hard to perform bioterrorism.

    In this scenario, mutational studies of viruses are not terribly difficult, theoretically or technically, to perform. Any competent virologist could design this study. The knowledge base to support this kind of research is well established, this was merely an application of known techniques to the flu. Excluding this from the literature doesn’t really accomplish anything.

    Conversely, bioterrorism is hard because you need facilities and funding. No one is going to create a global pandemic in their basement. There was a big commotion several years ago when the Black Plague and anthrax were sequenced. This is the same situation. You need reagents, equipment and skilled labor. A hostile government might have these, but they could do it anyway (see previous point).

    So it really boils down to this: when the virus evolves in the wild and creates the next Spanish flu, do you want scientists to have a head start on understanding how it works or not? The question isn’t “if” – it’s “when”. Each flu season is literally a roll of the dice to see if the next Spanish flu has evolved.

    Hope that wasn’t too gloomy for you guys =)

  2. Helmut Granda says:

    Haven’t heard the whole podcast but WP does already have their VIP service similar to WP-engine. VIP.wordpress.com

  3. While I haven’t gone as full blown as you Justin on the Juice diet thing I did cut almost all meat and dairy out of my diet and I will admit I have a considerably larger amount of energy. I also discovered that I prefer fruits and vegetables most of the time over meat now-days. I don’t know what it was but all of a sudden meat just didn’t have the same appeal it did before.

    One thing that is great (although I liked this before I rarely had it) was bread with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Great snack which I am eating quite a lot.

    A good experiment to try anyway. I have just continued doing it because it seems my taste buds have changed.

  4. Norman Smith says:

    Ah, my reddit secret santa was SOO freaking awesome. Giving a donation to get a shout out for me nearly made me crash the car whilst laughing!

  5. Hey Jason thought you might like this, you and luck surface area were mentioned on Mixergy, http://mixergy.com/weinberg-duckduckgo-interview/