Science and Technology links (May 15th 2021)

  1. There were rainforests near the south pole 90 million years ago.
  2. Though commercial exchanges are typically win-win for both the buyer and the seller, people tend to view the buyer as more likely to be taken advantage of.
  3. People with low self-esteem are more likely to blame the political system for their personal problems.
  4. Moscona find compelling evidence that the introduction of patents for plants in 1985 was followed by increased innovation.  This suggests that government interventions in agriculture can help increase productivity and entice further research and development.
  5. Ahmed et al. find that employers favour female candidates. Men are especially well advised to stay away from female-dominated fields:

    Male applicants were about half as likely as female applicants to receive a positive employer response in female-dominated occupations.

    Female applicants do not suffer from such discrimination according to this study. Note that this new study only supports earlier findings. For example, Williams and Ceci find that academic female applicants have an enormous advantage over academic male applicants:

    Contrary to prevailing assumptions, men and women faculty members from all four fields preferred female applicants 2:1 over identically qualified males with matching lifestyles (single, married, divorced), with the exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference.

    We also view managers as less moral when they fire women according to Reynolds et al.

  6. Working from home may not reduce output, but it seems to reduce productivity in the sense that workers need more hours to get the same work done. Importantly, this remains true even after accounting for the reduction in commute time. That is, it would appear that though people do not have to commute, they reinvest all of that time, and more, into their work. It applies to both people with children and people without children though the negative effect is more pronounced with people having children. (It is only a single study so it should be taken with some skepticism.)
  7. The gut of infants is free from microbial colonization before birth.
  8. Worldwide, since 2000, we have gained the equivalent of France is forest ground.
  9. We can transplant fresh ovaries in mice, and we might soon be able to do so in women.
  10. The amount of insulin in your blood increases as you age, robustly, irrespective of other factors. In layman’s terms, you are getting more and more diabetic over time.
  11. Scientists create early embryos that are part human, part monkey.


Daniel Lemire, "Science and Technology links (May 15th 2021)," in Daniel Lemire's blog, May 15, 2021.

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Daniel Lemire

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

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