Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (October 28th, 2018)

  1. If you take kids born in the 1980s, who do you think did better, the rich kids or the poor kids? The answer might surprise you:

The children from the poorest families ended up twice as well-off as their parents when they became adults. The children from the poorest families had the largest absolute gains as well. Children raised in the top quintile did no better or worse than their parents once those children became adults.

  1. Some of our cells become senescent: they are disfunctional and create trouble. We believe that it contributes to age-related diseases. Fisetin is a drug (available a supplement) that kills senescent cells and extends (median and maximal) lifespan in mice. I do not recommend taking fisetin at this time, unless you are a mice.
  2. Vegetarians report lower self-esteem, lower psychological adjustment, less meaning in life, and more negative moods. I have no idea what to make of this, apparently robust, finding. I was a vegetarian in my 20s and I was also subject to depression. I would never think that I was depressive because I ate no meat.
  3. The sea rises at a rate of 3 mm per year. It has been rising for thousands of years. Taking into account the acceleration that we anticipate due to climate change, we can expect the sea to have risen by 65 cm in 2100. Does that mean that islands will go under? Maybe not: in a study, only 14% of islands exhibited a reduction in area whereas 43% increased in size.
  4. Most processors today, outside the tiny embedded ones, use a 64-bit architecture, which means that they can process data in chunks on 64 bits very quickly. This has all sorts of benefits. A 32-bit processor, for example, has trouble counting to 5 billion. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a 32-bit software application to use more than 4GB of memory. Microsoft still publishes Windows in two editions, the 32-bit edition and the 64-bit edition. The purpose of the 32-bit edition is to support legacy applications. The two major graphics card makers (AMD and NVIDIA) have now stopped producing drivers for 32-bit operating systems. Thus, at least as far as gaming is concerned, 32-bit Windows is dying. Microsoft has promoted a 64-bit Windows by default on new computers since at least 2009.
  5. It seems that 70% of the American soldiers are “overweight”. I find it hard to believe that 60% of all American marines are overweight. Because this was determined using the body-mass-index approach, it is also possible that American soldiers are simply very muscular. Yet another statistics tells us that nearly 40% of all soldiers have a chronic medical condition and 8.6% take sleeping pills. So maybe American soldiers are not as fit as I would expect.
  6. It is often believed that men who have more testosterone have an easier time building muscle mass. It turns out that this is false, the amount of testosterone is not relevant in healthy young men.
  7. In the USA, health care costs are predicted to continue to grow at a rate of over 4%. The economy as a whole is predicted to grow at a rate between 1.4% and 2% a year on the long term. The net result is a gap of about 2% a year. If sustained over many decades, this gap would lead to the bulk of the American economy invested in health spending. People who are 65-year old or older account for a third of all health spending while young female (19 to 44) spend twice as much as their male counterparts.
  8. Cheese and yogurt are correlated with fewer cardiovascular diseases.
  9. The Haruhi Problem seeks the smallest string containing all permutations of a set of n elements. The first known solution to this problem was published anynomously on an anime posting board. A formal analysis is being written up.
  10. Cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with longevity:

In this cohort study of 122,007 consecutive patients undergoing exercise treadmill testing, cardiorespiratory fitness was inversely associated with all-cause mortality without an observed upper limit of benefit. Extreme cardiorespiratory fitness (≥2 SDs above the mean for age and sex) was associated with the lowest risk-adjusted all-cause mortality compared with all other performance groups.