Daniel Lemire's blog

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Science and Technology links (November 12 2023)

  1. Vitamin K2 supplements might reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and of all-cause death (Hasific et al. 2022). You find vitamin K2 in some Gouda cheeses and in eggs.
  2. Most of the water on Earth is salinated (in the oceans) and cannot be consumed. Fresh water is often scarce. Yet Israel is desalinating water for less than a dollar per cubic meter.
  3. People living in South America engaged in warfare for 10,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans (Standen et al. 2023).
  4. The last glacial period ended about 12,000 years ago and last about 100,000 years. About 26,000 years ago, all of Canada was covered by a permanent ice sheet. Thus many of us were taught in school that human beings first colonized America about 12,000 years ago by the Bering land bridge, that existed back then between modern-day Russia and modern-day Alaska. The evidence accumulates that there were human beings in America much earlier than initially thougth. They would have been present 21,000 to 23,000 years ago in New Mexico. We even have their footprints.
  5. As recently as 20,000 years ago—not long in geological terms—Britain was not, in fact, an island. Instead, the terrain that became the British Isles was linked to mainland Europe by Doggerland, a tract of now-submerged territory where early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers lived, settled and traveled (McGreevy, 2020). Correspondly, there were human beings in Ireland 31,000 years ago.
  6. Gray et al. (2023) argue that the limited freedom that children enjoy in our modern societies is leading to a rise in mental disorders.
  7. Most people cannot understand the bat and ball problem, even after the solution is given. The problem can be stated as follows: “A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” ChatGPT can solve it:
  8. When hiring, we find a slight bias in favour of females in male-dominated fields, and a strong bias in favour of females in female-dominated fields (Schaerer et al., 2023). Overall, people greatly overestimate gender biases in hiring.
  9. Retinol, a common cosmetic product, keeps one’s skin younger.
  10. Unwarranted financial optimism might be the result of low cognitive abilities.