Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (March 9th, 2018)

  1. The Audi A8, which goes on sale this year, will be the first car to offer Level 3 autonomy, which means that as a driver, you are expected to be able to relinquish control of the car to the computer in most instances.
  2. Standard tests do predict how well you will do in college with reasonable accuracy.
  3. On the topic of psychology being in trouble as a field… introductory psychology textbooks are misrepresenting the science of intelligence:

(…) over 93 per cent of the books covered Gardner’s multiple intelligences and over 89 per cent covered Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence, even though neither of these theories are mainstream or well-supported by evidence (…) In contrast, fewer than a quarter of the books covered the most strongly supported contemporary, hierarchical theories (…) Other common inaccuracies included promotion of the idea that it is not possible to measure intelligence in a meaningful way (…), and claims that intelligence is only relevant in academic settings (…). Among the logical fallacies in the books is what’s known as Lewontin’s fallacy “ this idea, advanced in six of the books, states that because humans share about 99 per cent of the same genes, that genes cannot therefore have a role in the differences between individuals or groups. (…) Twelve other fallacies appeared in the books such as (…) claiming that intelligence doesn’t exist because it is a collection of abilities (…), Warne highlights issues around the discussion of the taboo topic of race and IQ; textbook authors overplaying the role of stereotype threat, and authors having a tendency to overestimate environmental influences on intelligence (…)

  1. According to several news reports: Luck plays a significant role in how succesful you are. The article that generated this discussion proves nothing of the sort. More critically, it is unclear whether believing that success comes through luck is a good belief to hold. I prefer to assume that I am responsible for the outcomes, both positives and negatives.
  2. Nature reports on nanorobots that can deliver cancer medicine in a targetted manner.
  3. According to the famous Harvard economist Rogoff, a bitcoin might be worth only $100 in ten years. I dicussed Rogoff’s work earlier regarding the Reinhart-Rogoff case.
  4. According to an article in Nature, genetics explains only a small part of differences in how long a person lives.
  5. Visible light affects how long worms live, still in Nature. It means you must control for lightning when trying to reproduce experiments on worms.
  6. Inviting men with no symptoms to a one-off test for prostate cancer does not save lives according to results from the largest ever prostate cancer trial conducted over 10 years. That more medical testing does not save more lives is unintuitive, but it is well known in epidemiology.