Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (April 29th, 2018)

12 thoughts on “Science and Technology links (April 29th, 2018)”

  1. jld says:

    re. Software reliability:
    IMHO the purported better reliability of functional software is an artifact of “selection”, being more difficult to begin with functional software is practiced by smarter people thus ensuring better results.
    I think the same occurred with objects languages.
    Alas, with time the new technology becomes less intimidating, the usual morons encroach the field and the niceness falters…

  2. I don’t eat whole wheat bread because of fibre (which I always believed was a fad). I eat it because it tastes better (it tastes of something, which that pre-sliced blotting paper does not).

  3. Mueen says:

    Regarding the fiber study, the study clearly states:

    “The quality of evidence was low. The high risk of bias of included studies, small sample size, large number of missing data and the use of indirect measures gave us little confidence on the findings of this review.”

    If the authors have little confidence in the conclusions, then so do I.

    (Incidentally, I take high fiber foods to avoid hemorrhoids – did not even know about bowel cancer).

    Finally, in the US, there’s no good correlation that wheat bread has more fiber than white bread. I assiduously check the nutrition information and most of the wheat bread in the general supermarket had negligible fiber. I have to hunt to find bread that has significant fiber (e.g. 3g or more per slice).

    1. If the authors have little confidence in the conclusions, then so do I.

      This is a meta-review. What they are effectively saying is that there is lack of evidence.

      (Incidentally, I take high fiber foods to avoid hemorrhoids – did not even know about bowel cancer).

      Is there evidence that high fiber foods prevent hemorrhoids? That is, that long-term consumption of fiber makes you less likely to suffer from hemorrhoids?

      Please take into account that reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation. And chronic constipation is a risk factor for hemorrhoids.

      1. Mueen says:

        Hi Daniel,

        Sorry I did not reply earlier – I was expecting email notification if someone responded.

        Regarding the fiber study, I stand corrected.

        Regarding fiber and constipation, my understanding is that it is actually a lack of water intake along with the fiber (or so my doctor told me). The water softens up the fiber. In fact, a lot of fiber+water can lead to diarrhea.

        Regarding fiber and hemorrhoids, it’s not the fiber per se that helps. It is the straining during constipation that creates them. As for research on it, I’ll have to check. There are various causes of hemorrhoids, though – and straining is only one of them. I would imagine if there are other reasons one is getting them, fiber may not help.

        I know it is not evidence, and only an anecdote, but: I used to have hemorrhoid issues. My fiber intake was probably a fifth of the recommended amount. Once I increased it significantly, I stopped suffering from them.

  4. Mueen says:

    As for podcasts, if you have a smartphone, check out the PocketCasts App (not free, but worth it). It will let you subscribe and download in advance (where you have Wifi), so you can listen without incurring data costs. For me it’s a must for every road trip.

    1. I will give it a try. The practical difficulty of pre-downloading podcasts is that podcasts appear on a daily basis.

      1. Mueen says:

        The practical difficulty of pre-downloading podcasts is that podcasts appear on a daily basis.

        If you actually want them on a daily basis, PocketCasts can be set to download them automatically for you when connected to Wifi. I don’t know if they have features like expiration, etc. I only download when I go on road trips.

  5. Christopher Chang says:

    “It follows that a key to success is to take failure well.”

    Yes, but this is trickier than merely always pressing on in the face of negative outcomes. For instance, how many of the borderline scientists who received bad news early on, and left academia as a consequence, became happier with their lives than the borderline scientists who remained? How many of them arguably contributed more to society in their new career than they did in their old one?

    These numbers are difficult to estimate, of course, and it is even more difficult to reach agreement with others on such estimates; but they must be kept in mind. Failure contains a probabilistic signal that maybe you should focus on something at least slightly different, and underaccounting for it can be as problematic as overaccounting for it.

    1. I agree. So there are two variables. One is the direction you are headed, and the other one is the energy you are expending. You want to change direction when needed, but you don’t want to lower your energy. It is one thing to work around obstacles, to redirect your energy… it is another to give up.

  6. Nellie says:

    I love how the scientific community trys to lump all ‘female’ or ‘male’ experiences into one field.

    As if human being experiences aren’t completely unique to all other.
    You are male: therefore :
    You are female: therefore :
    Can we stop thinking in binary terms for once?
    Humans are not, true, or false.
    Hell a rat, is not true or false. An atom is not true or false.
    Let’s not limit everything because we are limited.

    1. Victor says:

      It seems that you don’t grasp that statistics works, no matter if you like it or not. We are unique (or we want to believe that), but we also follow some patterns. As rats do. And those patterns can be studied and, sometimes, predicted. Have you heard about marketing? It works because we follow some patterns of behavior. So, what’s the point of your comment, apart from showing no understanding of what “humans”, “males” or “females” words means in studies?