Sex, Immortality and Quality Control

There are some things that need improving around here.

Sex: Testosterone declines with age. Sexual activity declines with age. Most regulatory systems in the body have feedback in both directions. Therefore, increasing sexual activity with age may offset the observed declines in sex hormone levels. Look at Hugh Hefner. Even if it doesn’t work as intended it’s still a great excuse for increased activity.

Immortality: There are no selection pressures for extreme longevity, so obviously the solution to longer life spans is to create the necessary selection pressures. Women must delay breeding for as long as possible (or longer, to enhance the selection pressure), and when the time comes only allow themselves to be impregnated by the oldest men that can do the job. For fastest results the number of 100-year-old fertile men multiplied by the number of women a 100-year-old man can impregnate per year should determine the size of the pool of eligible women. By the time I’m 100 the pool of women could be expanded to include those 80 years my junior and still maintain decent selection pressures (see here)…

Quality Control: It’s no secret the stupid breed more than the intelligent. Look at any trailer park. To improve the human race it is therefore the duty of every intelligent man to impregnate as many intelligent women as possible. The hotter the better. In fruit flies being sexy and being smart are to a large degree mutually exclusive, presumably because of the metabolic costs of trying to do both. There seems to be a similar constraint in humans so we may as well address both issues simultaneously. I expect legislation on this matter to pass Congress with ease.

Pseudo Random Links

I tracked this down after the topic came up the other day in conversation. Gladwell on the inherent futility of spying.

An update on statins. The mental fuzziness and forgetfulness is a bit disturbing, though I can’t remember why. As I said in a prior post, the more benefits a drug is supposed to have, the more you should worry about the costs.

Trying to find cheap stocks against stupid people backed by seemingly limitless cheap funds and no market discipline does not seem like a good way to construct a value portfolio” Sounds a lot like the housing market to me. And bonds, and……

Google is now offering money for Chrome exploits. Does hacking the human users count?

New research shows humans are so easily lost they end up on other continents with some regularity.

Distorted reporting about the return of “debtor’s prisons.” You can wind up in jail for failure to appear for almost anything. Why aren’t they writing about parking ticket prisons? That’s equally outrageous.

The [lack of] science behind the headlines on attractiveness. The X-Y plot of facial attractiveness vs anti-HepB surface antigen is a classic.

A piece essentially about the Dunning-Kruger effect in economists

I think this piece is really more of a critique of click whoring by some game theorists rather than a valid critique of game theory, which if nothing else is a useful reminder that what we like to think of as the result of complex moral, social and intellectual judgments can also be produced by simple mindless algorithms.

Real estate in college towns is becoming more appealing: Med students turn to prostitution to pay the bills.

TED talk on hacking devices such as cars, medical devices etc. Very cool, or scary.

FBI Kool-Aid drinker’s view of the TSA. If it’s going to remain security theater at least make it a good show. Pat downs by attractive nude screeners and your choice of gender. Any man opting for back scatter is a terrorist. Case closed.

Pseudo Random Links

Since the only reason any man is in a yoga, dance or cooking class is in the pursuit of sex this is hardly surprising, even without the pseudo scientific hormonal explanation.

Ghost town at Google+. A lack of critical mass is the issue. Everyone is waiting for everyone else to make the commitment so nothing happens. The Hangout video conferencing should get more emphasis, and increasing the maximum users in a conference would be very attractive to small, largely virtual companies.

It would be so nice for the great unwashed masses if companies competed economically rather than politically. Yahoo vs Facebook, and the rest of the patent wars are an especially egregious example.

I’m not sure this is as monumental as made out in this article but still an interesting development.

I’ve long thought that, by limiting the demand for withdrawals, 401(k) and IRA’s offer the perfect vehicle for Ponzi schemes. This may make a big ugly splash as boomers retire in larger numbers. With that in mind, this is probably not a very good sign.

It’s a mad, mad, Madoff world

Is a managed economy superior? Well, how many elite technocrats would predict a search engine algorithm would lead to this? The fatal conceit strikes again.

Why China will have an economic crisis. I disagree with some of the policy prescriptions but it’s a good description of the basic problems. The entire 20th Century was a fabulous example of central planning failing in every area in which it was tried, yet many seem intent on proving their insanity by doing it all over again and expecting different results.

This article reminded me I want to post at some point about the general folly of “improving” emotional states, particularly anxiety and pain from adverse events.

The Best Sandwich Ever Made

Ciabatta, provolone, pastrami, spicy mustard and mayo. Lay two pieces of bread flat, spread ingredients, melt in an oven, fold together. Presentation on the plate by divine providence – entirely serendipitous, entirely delicious.

Security and Tech Links

Data security when traveling to China and Russia, and elsewhere. A few examples.

This time a court rules in favor of 5th amendment rights with decryption. It’s the typically very narrow, nutless decision, but surprisingly tech literate so the judge must have had a teenage staffer write the opinion.

Security of customer-chosen PINs. Calling it poor would be an understatement.

 

Pseudo Random Links

A different route to open source.

Wikileaks tries to be relevant again with the release of the Stratfor docs.

The next round of the flu arms race is almost here.

Understanding bacterial infection strategies.

I guess I’m too hopeful about scientific progress to use tattoos for my emergency health information

Genes and drugs. Further progress in tailoring to fit the individual. I’ve seen some work with immunosuppressants but the number of related polymorphisms being found is quite high so tailoring those drugs may still require a more statistical approach.

Cancers use immunomodulation to prosper, which opens the door to countermeasures.

More welfare for millionaires. Sacramento swallows a big dose of “stadium math.

Some people are born optimists. I think there are two ways to look at this case: 1) If you are made an example to that degree you aren’t going to win regardless of the merits of your case or 2) It was a very effective scare tactic aimed at the rest of the industry and will be dropped as quietly as possible after a year to two

Housing Bottoms, Real and Imagined

A great opening from a piece on Pragmatic Capitalist: “There have been numerous media stories out over the last couple of weeks about the recovery in housing at long last.   Of course, this is the same housing bottom call that we heard in 2009, 2010 and 2011 – so why not drag it out again for 2012.  Eventually, the call will be right and they will be anointed with oils and proclaimed to be the gurus that called the bottom.  In the financial world you only have to be right once.”

Fortunately for me blogging doesn’t even require meeting that standard. When I look at the charts I see a bottom, but not the bottom. Frankly, if the housing charts were stocks nearly everyone would be calling it a dead cat bounce but when it’s a housing chart a very anemic bounce becomes the bottom. A bounce after a large drop should be energetic and in some sense proportional to the decline if it’s a real reversal – something that would get the attention of Sir Mix-A-Lot instead of the pancake flat one shown in the current charts.

I think we are years from a true bottom in housing prices. We’re really only in the first phase of value investors jumping back into the worst-hit markets. They still need to have their hopes dashed and get flushed out to pave the way for the real vultures to begin accumulating. Sales volume typically turns several years before prices move up significantly and even if you believe NAR numbers that’s still a long way off. Property cycles last 18 years on average and the bubble phases tend to be relatively short, leaving a decade or more for the bust phase in a typical cycle. Unfortunately this was anything but a typical cycle and I expect the government takeover of the mortgage market to delay the process even further.

There’s no hurry to pick a bottom. Secular down trends tend to change when nobody cares any more, not when everyone is still talking about it.