Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (September 22nd, 2018)

  1. Apple benefits from the chip-making technology of a company called TSMC. This company has surpassed Intel in transistor density. Thus, in some sense, the microprocessors in Apple’s latest iPhone are more advanced than the microprocessors you find in brand-new PCs.
  2. Here is a provocative opinion piece: For decades, the medical community has ignored mountains of evidence to wage a cruel and futile war on fat people, poisoning public perception and ruining millions of lives.
  3. Narcolepsy might be an autoimmune condition (source: Nature).
  4. A major insurer wants to include the use of fitness trackers (like the Apple Watch) as part of its policies (source: BBC).
  5. Economics might go against our deeply held instincts (source: New Scientist).
  6. Medical researchers in universities receive grants to conduct clinical trials, but they do not register the results contrary to what the regulations stipulate:

(…) compliance is particularly lacking at universities conducting drug trials. These also include German universities such as Berlin (Charité), Heidelberg and Cologne (0%).

  1. The number of ruminant animals in the United States is roughly the same today as it was 200 years ago (Source: Nutrition Today).
  2. Open-source software is an international phenomenon that enables free collaboration from people all over the world. Code from Japanese and Canadians is more likely to be accepted into projects whereas code from Germany and Brazil is less likely to be accepted, with Americans being in the middle.
  3. Rangel found in her thesis that, at least some of the time, people rate software code more highly when they are told it is from a female developer:

Respondents were asked to score source code written by a fictive male or female developer, (…) participants were randomly assigned one of four code examples (…) the fictive female author was scored higher than the fictive male author. These unexpected results support the need for further understanding of the complexities of gender related to software engineering, and should not provide a foundation for complacency in regard to improving female participation in software engineering.

(Source: Northcentral University)

  1. People who consume one diet drink a day ‘three times more likely to suffer stroke or dementia’ (Source: The Independent)
  2. Wheat gluten intake increases weight gain according to an article in Nature. (Source: Nature)1. Treating fever may lead to a higher mortality rate. (Source: Surg. Infect.)
  3. Physical activity does not influence obesity risk. (Source: International Journal of Epidemiology)
  4. Despite claims by the World Health Organization (WHO) that eating processed meat causes colon cancer and red meat probably causes cancer, the observational data used to support the claims are weak, confounded by multiple unmeasured factors, and not supported by other types of research needed for such a conclusion. (Source: Animal Frontiers)
  5. We might be able to prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s by clearing the brain from senescent cells, using new drugs called senolytics. (Source: Nature)