Inside Lulumahu Falls

No, it’s not a porn movie. Just a photo looking up the right side of the falls.

From earlier on the trail

These posts may generate more traffic on the trails than they do on the blog. When we got to the falls there were half a dozen people there, which was the first time I’ve seen anyone there. Previous post is here.

Pseudo Random News and Comment

Get Ready for the New Investment Tax Make plans accordingly. The best response is to have no income at all, but it carries a few downsides.

On The Corrosion of Moral Leadership  “You cannot legislate for moral behavior, but you can make sure that everyone knows what’s right, and what’s not, and set an example.” Nothing funnier than the US complaining about Chinese censorship while working on a kill switch.

Report: Fujii faked data in at least 172 papers  As my dad used to say, if you’re going to do something, do it right. In this case, that attitude is demonstrated by showing a real commitment to fraud.

Rejection of Unfair Offers Can Be Driven by Negative Emotions, Evidence from Modified Ultimatum Games with Anonymity  The markets can be very anonymous and many feel the market is unfair. This study shows how that can lead to very unprofitable decisions.

Positive news from the EZ  It continues to amaze me that people think replicating the US bank bailouts is a positive for wealth creation.

Vital Signs  The importance of fevers, and rationality.  I’ve found just taking one baby aspirin every three days is enough to increase how often I get sick. I try to compensate by raising by body temperature through exercise.

New technique could reduce number of animals needed to test chemical safety Completely ignores genetic variation within species so will assuredly underestimate the risks.

Study of retired NFL players finds evidence of brain damage  Lawyers, start your engines.

Pseudo Random News and Comment

Record radiation levels detected at Fukushima reactor  But they’ve already said everything is OK, and that should be enough since there are things we shouldn’t question, according to many in the media.

Geckos evolved sticky feet many times | Not Exactly Rocket Science  If Nature enforced IP and copyright there would be a lot of dead lizards, and probably everything else too.

Informed Consent and Placebo Effects: A Content Analysis of Information Leaflets to Identify What Clinical Trial Participants Are Told about Placebos  Inadequate information about placebos may be defeating the purpose of using them in studies by minimizing the effects.  One guess whether this is a problem in psychiatric drugs.

Avoiding unforced errors in investing  Praise for investment mediocrity.

Americans favor Obama to defend against space aliens: poll  Why? Not that it matters because the reasons for voting for one versus another are all equally ridiculous.

First Is Best  In getting chosen.

Swimming Exercise Prevents Fibrogenesis in Chronic Kidney Disease by Inhibiting the Myofibroblast Transdifferentiation  Interesting result. I’ve long wondered about alternating very intensive/extensive exercise with complete recovery as a means of recovering function.

Supreme Court has once again ruled in favor of who signs their paychecks. Power. For the next round of bailouts the middleman can now be cut out and people forced to directly pay banks and other losers in the marketplace who know how to win in politics. This must be the bottom for housing since the government can now force you to buy houses. Everything the government could ever do is in some way a tax. The kill list is a tax on your dependents. Discarding principles to get a desired outcome is always the path to ruin.

Sometimes, cheating is allowed  …and sometimes it becomes standard operating procedure.

DNSChanger Trojan Still in 12% of Fortune 500  In a couple of weeks IT graduates will have a much better idea which companies to target in their job search.

London Whale Trade Explodes, Current Estimate of JP Morgan Losses as High as $9 Billion  and that’s this week’s number. I have confidence it can be even more grand.

Good News For Spies and Dictators: ‘FreedomBox’ Is In Danger of an Early Death  If you have the skills, saving the world isn’t a bad use of your time.

PSA of the week: Guest Post: Americans Are Being Prepared For Full Spectrum Tyranny

Pseudo Random News and Comment

As I often say, you are the only thing over which you have real control. How To Deal With Crappy People, PART TWO  has some great advice on using that to deal with the inevitable.

Is General Intelligence Compatible with Evolutionary Psychology? Very interesting piece on general intelligence. It does seem to exist, despite what you may think.

The New King of Hawaii   I think most likely both residents and Ellison will end up unpleasantly surprised.

CNN journalist: don’t be nosy  Although pieces like this CNN fawning bootlicker’s are disgusting what has bothered me more in the last decade is that nobody tries to hide their evil any longer. Nixon had a lot of dirty tricks but tried hard to hide them, and ultimately had to resign when some of those deeds came to light. The response in the last decade has become near complete indifference to being discovered because they no longer have reason to fear any consequences, and mainstream journalists seem to take pride that they are the ones chosen to dispense the party line.

Half of inhaled diesel soot gets stuck in the lungs: study  I feel sorry for people in Beijing and elsewhere with similarly enhanced air.

Exercise is key in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Diet made little difference.

Ray Dalio: Don’t Assume That Germany Will Bail Europe Out; Consider The “Fat Tail” A Significant Possibility  I’d say very significant. The more the losers stick together and refuse to go, the more sense it makes for Germany to exit.

Fiat Money Kills Productivity  Numbers, like these, don’t prove cause and effect in economics but this is something long predicted by Austrian theory of the business cycle.

Stockton CA Files Bankruptcy, Largest City Ever; Unions and Pension Promises Primarily to Blame; Death Trap for Cities; What’s the Solution?  Sure took them long enough.

Falling Dominoes  Another shell game with credit explodes. Yet credit shell games remain popular, and nearly unquestioned, in the EU and elsewhere.

Pseudo Random News and Comment

RING / APOLLO Architects & Associates  Another one from Apollo. This does such a great job of keeping the city out while bringing the sky and light in, creating a nice oasis. I really like the way the spaces and details create a subtle flow within the minimalist style.

More potential support for intuitive decision-making. Continuous Evolution of Statistical Estimators for Optimal Decision-Making

Thinking of a loved one eases painful memories  Not as simple as it sounds since loved ones are often the source of painful memories.

Real House Prices and Price-to-Rent Ratio  This level of certainty about anything related to human behavior, especially markets, is dangerous. Especially when the supposedly impossible has happened before or the prediction rests on a host of shaky assumptions.

The Worldwide QE Quagmire  Money everywhere = 1/3 of world GDP in the last few years. I don’t know why they’re worried about counterfeiters.

E-Mail Accounts More Valuable than Bank Accounts  Considering how little the typical American has in their bank account why should they care?

Stem cell transplantation into mouse cochlea may impact future hearing loss therapies  Induced pluripotent stem cells from adults caused tumors.

Now you too can be a signed artist with the soon to be largest label in the world. Just don’t expect too much from it – just like the other labels.. Want To Be A ‘Signed’ Musician? Any And All Records Will Take You

Brain Activity in Fairness Consideration during Asset Distribution: Does the Initial Ownership Play a Role?  I get attached to my money too.

Dropbox Bans BitTorrent Startup Boxopus Over Piracy Concerns  That didn’t take long. Who says fear of punishment can’t change behavior? Uncle Sam is always watching.

Higher vocabulary ~ higher income | Gene Expression  People just think you’re smarter when you use words they don’t know, and that’s probably in part what leads to higher income. People are always concluding I’m smart before I think I’ve said anything remotely insightful and vocabulary seems to be the best explanation.

More sex, please. Hormone, oxytocin, shows potential as weight-loss treatment

Chinese Target U.S. Homes  It’s starting to sound so much like the late 80’s Japanese Invasion it’s scary.

Philip Pilkington: Neoclassical Economics and the Foreclosing of Dissent – The Inner Death of a Social Science  Excellent piece on how economics drives heretics from the church field.

4 Suggestions for Halting the Lethality of Cancer Nothing earth shattering but it’s best to do what you can.

A Serial Bomber in Phoenix  Just because they got hacked doesn’t mean they don’t write some good stuff. Very interesting.

How You Feel What Another Body Feels  The refinement of mirror neurons.

My First Year As An Orphan

One year ago today I became an orphan. My father died of multiple myeloma last year, following my mother’s death from acute myeloid leukemia in 2008. Since then I’ve done a lot of thinking about life and death. I’d like to be able to say I’ve learned some grand eternal truth that I can now reveal, but if I did I don’t yet know what it is. They both taught me more than I will ever realize, and in reflecting on their lives they will probably continue to do so for the rest of my life.

I think for the most part Mom got what she wanted from life. Raising a family seemed to always be her biggest goal and greatest reward – though she said having smart kids probably helped a lot in that regard. In 2007, after years of what she termed torture being treated for successive recurrences of lymphoma, when presented with the treatment options for acute myeloid leukemia she choose to refuse them all. I don’t think she ever regretted it. I had to admit, looking at the odds of the different options, it appeared to be the best trade possible. Five months later she died, on her second day in the hospice, having toughed it out at home as long as she could. Dad and my sister had taken her a TV the night before so I told Dad, “Well, I guess she really must not have liked that TV.” It got a laugh despite the circumstances, but in reality it was the only thing I could think to say.

Blinded by the ignorance and arrogance of youth, and having been a crime against nature from age six when I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, I used to think I would fight death every step of the way, by any means necessary. But after going through kidney failure and being so drained of energy I sat for four hours without the resources to muster even a single thought, I understood her choice. With enough age or illness you reach a point where the only choices that remain are how you want to be tortured, and where the step from being to nothingness no longer seems that significant.

Dad had an ischemic stroke less than two months before Mom died, and his Parkinson’s symptoms got sharply worse after the stroke as well. Unsurprisingly, when Mom died his motivation and frustration both took big turns for the worse. It was the only time I ever saw him cry, for which he needlessly apologized. But even with the effects of the stroke, Parkinson’s, and the rapid loss of energy and coherence as the multiple myeloma rapidly progressed, I never got the impression he was ready to call it a day. In contrast to Mom, I think he had significant regrets about how he had lived his life. He grew up in a very small town, leaving for the first time when he joined the Navy, and the love of travel and adventure he felt escaping its confines never left him. But with marriage and children he felt he never had much chance to act on it.

The most shocking thing he ever told me was that he admired me for walking away from my first real job and moving to Hawaii. It was so much at odds with the way he had lived his life it had never occurred to me he might feel that way. He said he wished he’d had the guts to do something like that when he was young. Instead he stayed more than 35 years in a job he found so frustrating and stressful he developed a heart arrhythmia and an assortment of other health problems. Almost all of them had disappeared within a year of his retirement and that unintended lesson was one of the biggest I learned from him. Some things people assume they have to do just aren’t worth it. Choices may seem daunting but they always exist.

It’s easy to assume a near death experience will change your life. Beyond the death of my parents, I’ve had a few of my own and they can certainly shake things up, but only temporarily. Without realizing it you soon drift back into something uncomfortably similar to your previous routine, in both thoughts and actions. When a revelation about your life hits, for fuck’s sake do something about it. It may be years before the combination of awareness and motivation comes along again. Make a change that lastingly alters your course before mean-reversion forces you back into the rut.

After my mother died I made some significant changes in my life. All she wanted was for me to be happy so I quit farting around on a number of fronts and finally did something about them. I quit working, I sold my house, and redoubled my efforts to find the right woman. All have turned out well. My father’s death has had more subtle effects, mostly in pushing me to always watch that my actions reflect my priorities in life. But I’m also trying to complete a circle of sorts. The first house they ever bought was a custom mid-century modern (with a pole lamp that I still have) that I think was always his favorite. He taught me a lot about building and remodeling when I was young so we’re looking for a place to put all those skills to use and do an updated version of that house for ourselves.

That someone like my mother should ever have to die is a great tragedy. She was a genuinely good person and a truly great mother, and the world could certainly use more of those. But, despite his relative shortcomings, I still feel my father’s death was the greater tragedy because he felt part of his life had been squandered and no matter how long he lived it could never be recovered.

For whatever reason people have often asked me about the meaning of life. Maybe because I don’t talk much they assume I must know some big secret. My answer is always the same: The meaning of life is whatever you make it. Not the sort of answer anyone wants since it lacks the panache of “42” and just leads to another question: What do you want to make it? But, if you look inside, you probably already know that answer. Have the guts to act on it.

Pseudo Random News and Comment

The unknown risks of China’s Trusts  I’ve read a few mentions of the Chinese trust business and got a few chills. This explains why.

Experimental insulin drug prevents low blood sugar  Interesting, but no mention of why it worked.

Prions and cancer: A story unfolding  Kinky little bastards apparently causing more trouble.

The Decreasing Impact of QEs / Twists  As always, those expecting miracles should expect to be disappointed.

Is There a Limit on Central Bank’s Ability to Inflate? Depends on the definition of inflate, but there are certainly limits. I agree the Euro is doomed. Either Greece starts the dominoes falling or Germany exits to avoid the specter of another Weimar disaster. Doesn’t mean the union itself has to fail, there’s no reason a union has to have a common currency, whether it’s countries, states or cities.

Exercise, even mild physical activity, may reduce breast cancer risk Development of a pill to eliminate the exercise requirement should be well underway soon.

5 Things Every Presenter Should Know About Humans

Confusion Helps Us Learn  I’ve always been a very fast learner, apparently due to consistently reaching a point of maximum confusion.

For the love of god keep the kids from reading this! Economist shows the value of moving back with mom and dad

Instead get the dream-crushing little brats to read this and change the locks once they move out.  How to Break Into Security, Ptacek Edition

Choosing when and how to die: Are we ready to perform therapeutic homicide?  I think the choice should be allowed but I also can’t help thinking about the Monty Python “But I’m not dead yet!” plague sketch.

China and the shiny stuff  Makes the case for higher demand in China. I’ve never heard it mentioned as an option but it could be like the brutal official now buried outside the village – something you just do but never talk about.

Thinking about choice diminishes concern for wealth inequality  Maybe deep down personal responsibility and choices are still important.

A Cruel and Unusual Record  Jimmy Carter continues his terribly unfashionable habit of trying to bring ethics and morality into politics.