- The BBC reports that diversity and anti-bias training is of little use and may even be counterproductive if the goal is reduce biases:
“The effect of bias training is very weak if you look at the long run,” says Kalev. “A company is better off doing nothing than mandatory diversity training.”
Some research warns that such training may spur more racism by enticing people to think in terms of “races”.
- Our ancestors frequently died of smallpox, and it did not affect just kids or the poor:
[Louis XIV] was a man who almost died of smallpox when he was 9 years old and lost nearly all of his legitimate heirs — his son, a grandson and a great-grandson — along with his younger brother, another grandson and a great-grandson, to smallpox. Eventually, he was succeeded by his second great-grandson, who became Louis XV and died (you guessed it) of smallpox.
In America, smallpox is usually associated with the decimation of Native Americans, but Europeans were not immune to the disease. As late as the 18th century, for example, smallpox killed about 400,000 Europeans annually. The overall mortality rate was 20% to 60%. Among infants, it was more than 80% and was one of the reasons for the low overall life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. The disease was eradicated in 1980. Today, we don’t think of smallpox any more than we think of the bubonic plague, which, in five short years, killed almost one-third of all Europeans in the 14th century.
- Eating well is associated with high greenhouse gas emissions:
After adjustment for energy intake, high-nutritional-quality diets had significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions (+9% and +22% for men and women, respectively) than did low-nutritional-quality diets.
- It seems that the extended ice age our ancestors survived was caused by several volcanic eruptions. This was only a few thousands years ago.
- In the UK, coal use has fallen to levels so low that it compares with pre-industrial levels.
- Though the population in the Western world is aging quickly, the number of people affected by dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s) is falling. We do not know why.
- We are reportedly renaming genes to avoid the limitions of Microsoft Excel. (This should be an object of shame for Microsoft.)
- Mammals like human beings have a limited ability to recover from brain damage. In particular, we are not very good at producing new neurons. However, recent work shows that other cells in the brain can become neuron stem cells (neurons able to produce other neurons) in response to injury.