Science and Technology links (May 11th, 2018)

  1. It looks like avoiding food most of the day, even if you do not eat less, is enough to partially rejuvenate you.
  2. Google researchers use deep learning to emulate how mammals find their way in challenging environments.
  3. We know that athletes live longer than the rest of us. It turns out that Chess players also live longer.
  4. Google claims to have new pods of TPUs (tensor processor units) reaching 100 petaflops. I don’t know if this number makes sense. It seems higher than many supercomputers. Some estimates indicate that our brains have about 1 exaflop, so if you put 10 pods together, you should have enough computational power to match the human brain. If Google has this technology, I’d consider it to be a massive step forward.
  5. Gwern Branwen has a fantastic essay on the genetics of the novel Dune. In the novel, thousands of years are spent improving human genetics. Gwern suggests that this is wrong:

    even the most pessimistic estimates of how many generations it might take to drastically increase average human intelligence (…) might be 20 generations, certainly not thousands of generations

    The point seems to be that there is no need to wait for the emergence of new genes. Instead, we just have to select the right alleles in many genes which is far easier.

  6. In a clinical trial, weight loss cured most people of type 2 diabetes.
  7. There is currently no cure for male pattern baldness. A drug called WAY-316606 has been found to cure baldness… in mice. I could use more hair.

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