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The Body of Knowledge

Use Your Brain

Tue Jul 30 2019
GrowthMuscle Fiber TypesInterpreting ScienceAdvancementsComputing PowerStatistical SignificanceHuman Performance ResearchSocial MediaTechnology


The episode covers topics such as growth and muscle fiber types, interpreting science, advancements in research, statistical significance, computing power, social media, and technology. It explores the implications of Andy Galpin's research on muscle fiber growth and discusses the challenges in interpreting scientific results. The episode also highlights advancements in computing power and its impact on scientific analysis. Additionally, it delves into the issues surrounding social media and emphasizes the importance of responsible technology use.


Advancements in Computing Power

Computing power has revolutionized scientific analysis by enabling comprehensive data analysis, Bayesian frameworks, and addressing reproducibility problems.

Interpreting Science

Interpreting science is challenging due to small sample sizes and lack of diversity. Robustness can be established through large-scale studies and result replication.

Central Database for Human Performance Research

The motor pack central database allows for the collection and analysis of molecular exercise data. Machine learning and an integrated approach to human performance research are also discussed.

Statistical Significance and Contextualization

The .05 threshold in statistical significance should be interpreted as a signal to explore further, not an absolute fact. Context and interpretation are crucial in determining significance.

Social Media Impact

Social media has both positive and negative impacts. Regulation, effective curation, and mindful use are necessary to mitigate its problems.


  1. Growth and Muscle Fiber Types
  2. Interpreting Science and Advancements
  3. Central Database and Human Performance Research
  4. Statistical Significance and Computing Power
  5. Computing Power and Scientific Analysis
  6. Social Media and Technology
  7. Internal Conflict and Gratitude

Growth and Muscle Fiber Types

00:00 - 07:41

  • The podcast episode is focused on growth and muscle fiber types.
  • Andy Galpin has been doing interesting research on the growth of muscle fiber types.
  • The research may have profound implications for performance, fitness, health, and wellness.
  • They plan to cover muscle growth in detail in a later episode but briefly touch upon it in this one.

Interpreting Science and Advancements

07:17 - 13:55

  • Interpreting science is difficult due to small sample sizes and lack of diversity in participants.
  • To establish robustness, we need to see the same effect across different subject lines and situations.
  • However, conducting large-scale studies is expensive and there is little incentive for result replication.
  • New guidelines from NASA and NIH will bring more clarity, accuracy, and precision to various fields of study.
  • The Precision Medicine Initiative aims to provide individualized health recommendations based on personal data.
  • Computing power has made it easier to analyze large databases and identify patterns in genetic markers.
  • Central databases allow anyone to mine the data for research purposes.

Central Database and Human Performance Research

13:29 - 19:45

  • Science is creating a central database called the motor pack to collect molecular data on exercise.
  • Machine learning can predict outcomes with precision and at a faster rate than humans.
  • Computing power enables the collection and analysis of more data in health and wellness research.
  • The field of human performance research is moving towards an integrated approach, considering multiple systems of the body.
  • Federal funding for research grants is highly competitive, especially for young researchers.
  • A study involving multiple sets of twins aims to explore nature versus nurture in exercise effects.

Statistical Significance and Computing Power

19:34 - 26:15

  • The .05 threshold in statistical significance was never meant to be an absolute fact, but rather a signal to keep looking and replicate studies.
  • With big data, it is possible to make anything look statistically significant, even if the effect is not meaningful.
  • Context and interpretation are crucial when determining the significance of statistical results.
  • The Bayesian framework allows for quantifying prior belief and posterior belief in statistical analysis.

Computing Power and Scientific Analysis

25:46 - 32:40

  • Computing power allows for a more comprehensive analysis of data in science.
  • The Bayesian framework quantifies prior beliefs and updates them based on observed data.
  • Big data and sophisticated methods are more intuitive and align with how the mind works.
  • Quantifying historical context is important in balancing prior beliefs with new data.
  • Using a significance threshold of 0.05 may no longer be necessary in scientific analysis.
  • Thoroughness, critical thinking, and contextualization are essential in scientific research.
  • Computing power has transformed both science and technology by enabling meaningful applications.
  • The speaker feels reinvigorated as a scientist due to the potential of computing power and the Bayesian framework.
  • There have been reproducibility problems in science, but computing power can help address them.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of responsible use of computing power in both fields.

Social Media and Technology

32:13 - 38:53

  • Social media started off as a positive thing, but now we're realizing the problems it brings.
  • Humanity will likely come out of the social media era with lessons learned and changes made.
  • Similar to alcohol, we need to regulate and create stop cues for social media use.
  • User-generated content is here to stay, but we need to figure out how to curate it effectively.
  • Purpose and intent should guide our use of technology.

Internal Conflict and Gratitude

38:30 - 42:25

  • The hosts acknowledge the internal conflict they have regarding social media and their brick and mortar business.
  • They encourage listeners to consider the context of their actions, especially for businesses.
  • Kenny emphasizes that they are not saying everything about social media is bad, but there are issues that need to be addressed.
  • They ask listeners to help spread the message about their podcast since they have been off the air for a while and lost some of their audience.
  • The hosts express gratitude for listeners' support.