Hello world. This blog represents a whimsical first approach to some topics that aren't whimsical at all.
Tau is the name of a microtubule-associated protein. It's also the name of a special function from number theory.
Owing to their geometry and complexity, there is a large literature of outre speculation about the biophysics of microtubules. Back when I took a regular interest in that topic, I remember wondering idly if the mathematical tau function would ever turn out to be relevant for the dynamics of tau the protein. This was not a totally arbitrary speculation; the tau function is the sort of high-powered math that is potentially relevant to a low-dimensional physical system with a nontrivial dynamics.
Meanwhile, back in the present day, I affiliate myself in a qualified way with both "transhumanism" and "quantum-mind theories". I stipulate that my affiliation is qualified, because I would dissent from some common transhumanist ideas (such as the idea that a digital simulation of a brain could or would be conscious) and I'd also reject most of what is said about "the quantum mind". In fact, it's because I believe that the locus of consciousness probably has to be something like a quantum condensate, rather than a "program", that I don't believe in conscious simulations.
The occasion for the launch of a "tau-squared" blog is provided by the work and intellectual positions of Athena Andreadis, an American neuroscientist. Her day job involves research into tau's role in dementia - "Tau splicing and the intricacies of dementia" is a nice recent paper where she reviews the state of her field - but she also dabbles as a futurist and culture critic, and she's written polemics against both transhumanism and quantum-mind theories, while nonetheless being into her own version of long-term futurism.
I don't especially want to get into the polemics of these obscure culture wars, at least not here. Instead, what I propose to do is to just return to my old whimsy about the tau function being related to the function of tau, as a step towards more serious engagement with the scientific issues. "One measures a circle, beginning anywhere." If the idea is to investigate whether something highly nontrivial could be going on in microtubule dynamics, a tau-tau conceptual collision is as good a place as any to begin.