Travelling, Transforming, and Teaching: My March
Subtitles are lame (but informative!). Just kidding! Hope you have fun reading this :)
I was designing socks the other day and wasn’t sure how long they should be. Then the answer became clear: 12 inches, to fit in one foot!
Welcome back to my newsletter. Hope you had a marvelous March.
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 17-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, and a cool Alzheimer’s lab project.
Our study has begun! Yay. Wet-lab stuff is happening and we are applying to grants/funding opportunities, planning development + our final validation study (especially in terms of the legal and statistical logistics), and creating content.
Mindsets and Philosophy
Here are some thoughts I’ve been having!
I’ve been thinking a lot about sentience recently, as prompted by ChatGPT and Bing Chat coming out. First off, about how to define sentience. That one is probably the most difficult question. Sure, feeling and thinking are big parts of it — but what are feelings anyways? Sure, humans feel, but do animals feel? They feel pain, certainly. How about AI systems? Does Bing Chat’s profession of love count as a feeling, even though they likely just generated text that would (to the bot) make sense in a conversation? How does AI become sentient if not? Basically, I have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.
Sometimes I see people make decisions purely based on ideals and values. Of course, that makes sense to an extent. Your values do dictate how you see the world and act as an independent agent. But, the world is not an ideal place. This may sound like a confusing ramble, but let me make it more tangible by using an example. There’s a lot of research showing that screens aren’t ideal for early development — so some parents choose to prevent their kid from looking at screens. But a full prevention rule/no screens at all means their kid can’t watch movies or videos with friends, say hi to their family over Facetime, or watch/read educational content. So, a better decision so as not to deprive their kid of things in this world that are attached to screens is to moderate it well. Many decades ago, depriving a kid of screens wouldn’t be a big deal at all — because the world hadn’t become dependent on them (aka non-ideal in that sense). But in this dependent and non-ideal world it’s hard to enforce a pure ideal. I hope that wasn’t just a weird ramble and that maybe makes some sense? If you have questions just email me back.
Here are some recommendations from the month!
- Interesting blog post regarding a phenomenon in psychology: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/
- Online Scrabble Engine that I’m a HUGE Fan of: isc.ro (the people I’ve met there are so sweet as well!)
Here are some fun shoutouts:
Another (!) thank you to Dr. Moody, Dan, Dr. Ewald, Zak, and Dr. Wolfe for all your advice and help re Biotein’s initial study!
Thank you to Rob for a fascinating discussion regarding your work!
Thank you to Ravi (again!) for your help with the dementia project (again, specifically with debugging and answering my various questions)!
Thank you to everyone reading this. Even if I didn't mention you this month. you probably helped me a lot. Thank you!
In April, I’ll be working on Biotein, less school but still some, coding, and my work on Alzheimer’s!
Reach out to me if you want to talk about human longevity, brain aging, (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)