Quanta Magazine explains how a retired German statistician, who used to work in the pharmaceutical industry, discovered a proof of a conjecture that statisticians had been unsuccessfully trying to prove for several decades, but was ignored because he didn’t send it to a prestigious journal. By the way, I didn’t know Quanta Magazine, but it seems really good.
The same magazine also published this piece about recent work in biology which suggests that the rate of evolution depends on the timescale under consideration. This means that biologists may have to revise the dates for some evolutionary events.
The Guardian published a long piece on the information wars that took place in 2016. The author is clearly distressed that the mainstream media is losing its monopoly on propaganda, though she doesn’t understand that it’s what really bothers her, but it’s still interesting.
A study apparently shows that, with the exception of Jews in Ethiopia, Georgia and India, Jews in various parts of the world are genetically more similar to each other than to the people who live around them. This is consistent with the result of previous studies, but when you think about it, it’s still amazing that people who have been separated for so long have managed to prevent gene flow with the surrounding populations for that whole time.
Claus Staecker argues that Jacob Zuma’s recent cabinet overhaul is a coup in all but name. I don’t know enough about South African politics to know whether it’s an exaggeration, but I sure know enough to know that Zuma is a clown.