Studying, Skating, and Solving: My January
Subtitles are lame (but informative!). Just kidding! Hope you have fun reading this :).
My best friend the snowman had such a meltdown the other day…
Welcome back to my newsletter. Hope you had a delightfully snow-filled January.
For those who don't know, I'm Nina Khera. You may have met me during a meeting, or at the latest networking event in Boston. I'm a 16-year-old human longevity researcher who's working on projects from topics spanning cellular senescence (zombie cells) to epidermolysis bullosa (skin disease)!
This month I’ve done work on Biotein, school, meeting new people from university, a cool Alzheimer’s lab project, and learning more about the fundamentals of science to be a better thinker (thanks Dr. Boyden).
This month, we focused on getting IRB approval for our study (a process that is very much still in process :( ), and preparing our test’s algorithm! The former has been taking quite a while due to delays not involved with our own work, which is frustrating but is an unfortunate reality of biotech with which we must contend and have learned a lot more about due to this process.
Mindsets and Philosophy
Here are some thoughts I’ve been having!
After watching this video by Laura Gao, I was thinking about what an ideal education system that prepared students for the world and to contribute usefully to the world would look like. I think education should train people to solve problems in the world (because isn’t that the whole purpose of contributing to it?). To do that, you’ll need the basic skills to solve the problems (math, english, etc) and to learn about the problems themselves (en ever-shifting curriculum). Classes should, as a result, cover that. Tests should be practice exercises focused on the application of all these skills to solve problems, since that’s what you’ll be doing in real life. Studying would be pointless, given that the goals would be not to optimize for grades, but to learn. For mental health, students would probably need enough time for general life and to do passion projects. Thus, hours would be drastically reduced from the norm. However, there are some flaws (of course) to these ideas: what if people don’t want to problem solve? Or don’t know if they want to? How do we measure skill and progress (if it’s through the practice exercises, people might start optimizing for those numbers rather than understanding)? Let me know what you think of this. Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to know.
I wonder how you criticize art. It feels so wrong and hard to criticize the basis of someone’s soul. To criticize who they are as a person. Specifically in poetry, I’ve resorted to making suggestions to expand on certain areas, grammatical stuff, or to make certain emotions clearer (but even this one’s difficult). But, I’m sure you can do more. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to approach giving feedback from a kind yet still helpful perspective?
Here are some recommendations from the month!
- Secure waterbottle: I got some Yeti waterbottles as gifts this month, and I’ve had a pretty good experience thus far!
- Underrated athletic practice: Foam rolling! Has done wonders for my sore calves from running.
- A Really Good Overview of Aging and Etiology: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ui6mDLdqXkaXiDMJ5/core-pathways-of-aging on Less Wrong
Here are some fun shoutouts:
Thank you to Dr. Boyden for all your advice on how to become a better scientist.
Thank you to all the new incoming prefrosh I spoke to; all our conversations have been awesome and fascinating.
Thank you Zak for all your feedback and help with Biotein’s various questions about different problems.
Thank you Ravi for all your cool ideas and help regarding our project together; I am excited to make some awesome change in the world! (and thank you to everyone who listened to my excited rants about the project :))
Thank you to everyone reading this. Even if I didn't mention you this month. you probably helped me a lot. Thank you!
In February, I’ll be working even more on Biotein, school, and brain aging ideation!
Reach out to me if you want to talk about human longevity (or just life sciences in general) or anything else honestly!
Personal Website: https://ninakhera.com/
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (or just reply to this email)