This week on Sinica, we are delighted to present a show on Tu Youyou, the Chinese scientist who recently shared a Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of the anti-malaria compound artemisinin, thus making her the first citizen of the People's Republic of China to receive the Nobel Prize in the natural sciences. [standalone mp3 file]
October 21, 2015
Meta Recommendations Christina Larson – Beijing’s Test Tube Baby<a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/29/beijings-test-tube-baby-china-science-zhao-bowen-bgi-start-up-gene-mapping-dropout/">http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/29/beijings-test-tube-baby-china-science-zhao-bowen-bgi-start-up-gene-mapping-dropout/</a>Jeremy Goldkorn Ian Johnson – Nobel Renews Debate on Chinese Medicine<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/world/asia/nobel-renews-debate-on-chinese-medicine.html?_r=0">http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/world/asia/nobel-renews-debate-on-chinese-medicine.html?_r=0</a>Andrew T. Smith and Yan Xie – A Guide to the Mammals of China<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Mammals-China-Andrew-Smith/dp/0691099847">http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Mammals-China-Andrew-Smith/dp/0691099847</a>Ian JohnsonSean hsiang-lin Lei - Neither Donkey Nor Horse: Medicine and the Struggle over China’s Modernity<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Neither-Donkey-nor-Horse-Weatherhead/dp/022616988X">http://www.amazon.com/Neither-Donkey-nor-Horse-Weatherhead/dp/022616988X</a>Christina Larson Eric Vance - Why Nothing Works <a href="http://discovermagazine.com/2014/julyaug/14-why-nothing-works">http://discovermagazine.com/2014/julyaug/14-why-nothing-works</a>Ted Genoways – Corn Wars <a href="http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122441/corn-wars">http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122441/corn-wars</a>Kaiser KuoChristina Larson – Can the Chinese Government Get its People to Like G.M.O.s?<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/can-the-chinese-government-get-its-people-to-like-g-m-o-s">http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/can-the-chinese-government-get-its-people-to-like-g-m-o-s</a>Mike Chinoy – Follow the Money<a href="http://china.usc.edu/assignment-china-follow-money">http://china.usc.edu/assignment-china-follow-money</a>David MoserTed Kaptchuk - The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Web-That-Weaver-Understanding/dp/0809228408">http://www.amazon.com/The-Web-That-Weaver-Understanding/dp/0809228408</a>Volker Scheid – Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China: Plurality and Synthesis<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Medicine-Contemporary-China-Plurality/dp/0822328720">http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Medicine-Contemporary-China-Plurality/dp/0822328720</a>
October 22, 2015
How to listen this? There is no link for the mp3-file and the player on top right hand corner on this page plays nothing.
October 22, 2015
LumiPanda爸 said on October 22, 2015How to listen this? There is no link for the mp3-file and the player on top right hand corner on this page plays nothing. May I second that?
October 22, 2015
http://freakonomics.com/2015/10/15/how-to-win-a-nobel-prize-a-new-freakonomics-radio-episode/A glimpse into how the Nobel prize winners are decided
October 23, 2015
As a physics guy, skeptic and ex-Christian, this hits close to home.First, science is just a way to not fool yourself (and as Feynman said, you're the easiest person to fool), an agreement with reality that it gets to be the boss and decide what's true. That's all it is. When some dude 100,000 years ago tried banging different rocks together to see which one made sparks, he was doing science. Science isn't western, it's universal.Now, TCM proponents tend to have beef with two aspects of modern medicine which came up in the program. Important not to confuse them:First is the tendency to look for a single active ingredient. Researchers do this because it simplifies and accelerates experiments, simplifies later manufacturing, potentially reduces side effects, and makes it easier to discover the drug's effective mechanism. But it's not a necessity as far as using science to figure out what works, and certainly doesn't mesh well with TCM. No need to die on this hill.Second is the insistence on doing clinical trials to establish efficacy. This is of course crucial. Why? Because people and environments are different and the placebo effect is real. If you just give a concoction to a bunch of sick people, and some of them feel better, you haven't learned very much. Perhaps those people would've gotten better anyway, or perhaps they got better due to the placebo effect, or perhaps there is a helpful active ingredient. You just don't know if you're fooling yourself.If you repeat this procedure many times over hundreds of years and pass around the anecdotal evidence, sometimes you learn a little more, but you also hopelessly muddy the waters and strengthen the placebo effect. Every time someone says "Take this; my grandma has been taking this for half her life and she's very healthy" a thousand screaming kittens are cast into oceans of boiling acid.Placebo-controlled double blind trials are the simplest way we've come up with to not fool ourselves about which drugs, herbs, etc. actually work (which is why it's so hard to establish the efficacy of fire cupping or acupuncture or chiropractry -- what placebo would you use? On the other hand, homeopathy is super easy to falsify).It's not about some arbitrary or prejudiced standard of evidence. It's about not fooling ourselves.