Science and Technology (December 5th 2020)

  1. Researchers find that older people can lose weight just as easily as younger people.
  2. Google DeepMind claims to have solved the protein folding problem, an important problem in medicine. This breakthrough could greatly accelerate drug development and lead to new cures. Yet,not everyone is convinced that they actually solved the problem.
  3. “Indian Americans have risen to become the richest ethnicity in America, with an average household income of $126,891 (compared to the US average of $65,316). (…) Almost 40% of all Indians in the United States have a master’s, doctorate, or other professional degree, which is five times the national average.” (source)
  4. There is a popular idea in the US currently: we should just forgive all student debts. Catherine and Yannelis find that “universal and capped forgiveness policies are highly regressive, with the vast majority of benefits accruing to high-income individuals.”
  5. Researchers successfully deployed advanced genetic engineering techniques (based on CRISPR) against cancer in mice.
  6. Researchers rejuvenated the cells in the eyes old mice, restauring their vision. (Source: Nature.)
  7. Remember all these studies claiming that birth order determined your fate, with older siblings going more in science and younger siblings going for more artistic careers? It seems that these results do not replicate very well given a re-analysis. The effects are much weaker than initially believed and they do not necessarily go in the expected direction.
  8. Older people (over 70) have less zinc in their blood. Their zinc level predicts their mortality rate. The more zinc, the less likely they are to die.
  9. Shenzhen (China) has truly driveless cars on the roads.
  10. Centanarians have low levels of blood sugar, and they are less likely to suffer from diabetes than adults in general.
  11. We have an actual treatment to help people suffering from progeria, a crippling disease.
  12. Eating eggs is quite safe.
  13. The state-of-the-art in image processing includes convolutional neural networks (CNN). Though it gives good results, it is a computationally expensive approach. Google has adapted a technique from natural-language processing called transformers to the task and they report massive gains in computational efficiency.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

2 thoughts on “Science and Technology (December 5th 2020)”

  1. It seems to me that saying older and younger in the first bullet is pretty misleading, as its older and younger than 60 years old. Am i missing something?

    1. They had people in the 18‐78-year range and they separated them into two groups, those that are under 60 and those who are older than 60. Can you elaborate in how it is misleading?

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