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First the link to this week's complete list as HTML and as PDF.
Barbi et al.'s result looks like an artifact of their excessive error bars. As Feynman used to put it
“data points at the end of the diagram are no good.” But assuming it to be true, what does it really mean? Human life is unlimited in the same way as that of a radioactive atom is. We're still left with an exponential decay with a half-life of less than a year. All they claim is, that the rate of decay stops rising with age. I can't quite see the relevance.
Little money is spent on the healthy and a lot on the seriously ill. Some of those with serious conditions will die. So Einav et al. are quite correct in pointing out, that the impression that a lot of resources are
“wasted” on those dying anyway may well be an artifact. On the other hand their results too are ambiguous. What do they mean by survive? Is it that people got well again and lived on for several years or is it that they only died shortly after the end of the observation period?
Jones et al. prove that done with scientific rigour even gender studies can yield meaningful results.
Cohen supplies one more mosaic piece to the picture that it was social skills, not intelligence or technical ability, that enabled modern humans to displace Neanderthals. What is social competence? It is the ability to lie, to cheat, and successfully to manipulate others. Empathy, care, and support have amply been proven for Neanderthals, if anything it was the readiness to hurt and deceive others they lacked.
As always, what this most reminds me of is the proverbial social ineptness of engineers.
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