Science and Technology links (April 13 2024)

      1. Our computer hardware exchange data using a standard called PCI Express. Your disk, your network and your GPU are limited by what PCI Express can do. Currently, it means that you are limited to a few gigabytes per second of bandwidth. PCI Express is about to receive a big performance boost in 2025 when PCI Express 7 comes out: it will support bandwidth of up to 512 GB/s. That is really, really fast. It does not follow that your disks and graphics are going to improve very soon, but it provides the foundation for future breakthroughs.
      2. Sperm counts are down everywhere and the trend is showing no sign of slowing down. There are indications that it could be related to the rise in obesity.
      3. A research paper by Burke et al. used a model to predict that climate change could reduce world GPD (the size of the economy) by 23%. For reference, world GDP grows at a rate of about 3% a year (+/- 1%) so that a cost of 23% is about equivalent to 7 to 8 years without growth. It is much higher than prior predictions. Barket (2024) questions these results:

        It is a complicated paper that makes strong claims. The authors use thousands of lines of code to run regressions containing over 500 variables to test a nonlinear model of temperature and growth for 166 countries and forecast economic growth out to the year 2100. Careful analysis of their work shows that they bury inconvenient results, use misleading charts to confuse readers, and fail to report obvious robustness checks. Simulations suggest that the statistical significance of their results is inflated. Continued economic growth at levels similar to what the world has experienced in recent years would increase the level of future economic activity by far more than Nordhaus’ (2018) estimate of the effect of warming on future world GDP. If warming does not affect the rate of economic growth, then the world is likely to be much richer in the future, with or without warming temperatures.

      4. The firm McKinsey reports finding statistically significant positive relations between the industry-adjusted earnings and the racial/ethnic diversity of their executives. Green and Hand (2024) fail to reproduce these results. They conclude: despite the imprimatur given to McKinsey’s studies, their results should not be relied on to support the view that US publicly traded firms can expect to deliver improved financial performance if they increase the racial/ethnic diversity of their executives.
      5. Corinth and Larrimore (2024) find that after adjusting for hours worked, Generation X and Millennials experienced a greater intergenerational increase in real market income than baby boomers.

Daniel Lemire, "Science and Technology links (April 13 2024)," in Daniel Lemire's blog, April 13, 2024.

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Daniel Lemire

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

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