Weekly Digest

Weekly Digest 8/9/18

Yuval Noah Harari book extract – He makes the point that there has never been a point in history when there wasn’t fake news, but makes the distinction that just because all sides tell lies at some point doesn’t mean that the sides are equally false. He also creates a dichotomy between power and truth which I found interesting. (3,300 words)

Barry Ritholtz on New York’s Uber/Lyft bill – New York City is proposing to limit the number of Uber and Lyft cars in the city for a year. Barry points out their logical errors, and his piece is filled with many basic economic and statistical lessons. The ride-hailing apps have allowed consumers to obtain a ride for a fairer price at an opportune time (try hailing a cab in the rain before these apps), and with less racial discrimination. The bill cites 6 taxi suicides is a base attempt to use tragedy to manipulate public opinion. But, as Barry points out, the rate of suicide of taxi drivers, however tragic, is in line with the general suicide rate. (850 words)

Study finds “polygenic score” that can explain 11% of the variation in level of educational attainment, higher than the 7% explained by household income – Studying the genetics behind education is a highly sensitive topic that evoke concerns about eugenics, so the authors of the study make sure to note that they do not make any policy or practical advice from this study and that any advice from it would be premature. Regardless, the study is still interesting since we all agree on the importance of household income in educational attainment, yet according to the study, it explains less than genetic variation. Of course, much more research is needed, and I echo the sentiments of the researchers. (1,300 words)

The sex of the researcher giving mice injections of Ketamine affected the response of the mice – Mice were affected by the sex of the researcher by detecting the researcher’s scent. Ketamine only acted as an antidepressant for mice when injected by male researchers. Whether this has an effect for other experiments is to be determined. (800 words)

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