Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (May 4th 2019)

  1. It is often believed that colleges help class mobility… if you were born poor, college can help your rise up. So is there more class mobility when more people go to college? Maybe not:

(…) researchers have characterized a college degree as a great equalizer leveling the playing field, and proposed that expanding higher education would promote mobility. This line of reasoning rests on the implicit assumption that the relatively high mobility observed among college graduates reflects a causal effect of college completion on intergenerational mobility, an assumption that has rarely been rigorously evaluated (…) I find that once selection processes are adjusted for, intergenerational income mobility among college graduates is very close to that among non-graduates.

  1. How many people does it take to form a group? The answer appears to be “at least 5”.
  2. The productivity of a computer science professor is not sensitive to where they got his PhD, but it is correlated with their place of employment.
  3. If you have ever taken management classes, you know about Maslow’s pyramid of human needs. However, Maslow never proposed such a pyramid.
  4. Twenty years ago, Microsoft introduced a mouse that did away with the mechanical ball and replaced with with a digital camera and lights.
  5. Rats were given olive oil, sunflower oil or fish oil. Rats consuming sunflower oil have a shorter lifespan.
  6. Seed oils are a source of Omega 6. It appears that keeping your consumption of Omega 6 low (compared to your Omega 3 intake) is important to reduce cardiovascular events.
  7. Shifting our energy production from coal to gas would allow us to meet our climate stabilization targets.
  8. Many studies find that red meat is associated with higher cancer rates. It is not known whether it is a mere correlation or a causal factor. However, if you narrow down your investigation to Asia, the correlation disappears. The association between red meat and cancer is apparently specific to the Western civilization.
  9. It appears that 60% of all bird species come from Australia.
  10. A new Alzheimer’s-like disease has been identified (it is called “LATE”).