Pseudo Random News and Comment

Saw this the other day but didn’t link to it. For the 1st Time Ever, a Majority of the Unemployed Have Attended College  Now I understand the significance. There has been a 40 year inflation in requirements for jobs at every level, I think mostly due to the Vietnam War increasing college attendance to avoid the draft, HR departments started requiring college degrees for jobs that in no way required them, simply as a way to weed out more applicants. The trend has fed on itself since, to the point where even an accounting clerk position will mandate a masters degree. We have now reached the pinnacle of this cycle of stupidity: being unemployed now requires a degree.

Facebook – Cry Me a River. Expands on the moron investor theme.

A Prescription for Improving Drug Formulary Decision Making  I have very mixed feelings about this. On one hand it is good to inject some rationality into what has largely been an exercise in cost-cutting and rationing; on the other hand it continues the practice of ignoring the need for individualized medicine, which the last decade of human genome research has – I thought – made so bleeding obvious.

Neil Heywood death investigation reopened by Chinese authorities  …and asking an American forensics expert for assistance. Curiouser and curiouser.

Study shows that fever during pregnancy more than doubles the risk of autism or developmental delay  Interesting after the recent flu shot prevents still birth story.

Lessons in Trust from Web Hoaxes

Make no mistake – male bosses’ errors matter Sexism!

Wearing two different hats: Moral decisions may depend on the situation  You aren’t who you think you are. In the right situation you will surprise yourself.

Reading all the housing headlines and punditry you’d think housing had recouped two-thirds of the losses. It hasn’t. Housing: Permits, Starts, Completions

Crowdfunding for Research Dollars: A Cure for Science’s Ills? It would probably more align the interests of researchers and consumers. But I suspect that would mean a lot of cosmetic surgery funding, which is the last place that needs it.

Dollars and sense: Why are some people morally against tax?  Rationality?

How the Facebook Fiasco May Escape the Reg FD Noose  Anyone surprised? I could argue it’s good news that this time a big deal was made of what has been standard operating procedure. As I keep saying, regulation isn’t going to do what you think. Ever.

Well-connected brains make you smarter in older age  Refers to your own brain, not a collection of others.

Texting made possible for the illiterate  Who else was using it?

Exercising in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond  A use it or lose it reminder for us old farts.

Dementia patients reveal how we construct a picture of the future A flawed picture since it largely extrapolates the past.

Study finds voter genetics may predict election outcomes  Now we know what all the political sex scandals are about. They’re just trying to sway the mix of the gene pool more in their favor. Who said they can’t engage in long-term thinking?

Assessment and Implication of Prognostic Imbalance in Randomized Controlled Trials with a Binary Outcome – A Simulation Study  Fun with statistics. I really don’t think any statistical manipulations, bootstrapping, etc can significantly alter the unfortunate fact that statistics are used when you don’t know what the causal factors are or what results to expect. No matter how many ways such ignorance is sliced and diced it’s still ignorance. Good study design, multiple trials, simple statistics and the bulk of evidence are far more meaningful and robust…but not at all useful to a pharmaceutical company cherry picking small studies to gain approval.

Tinnitus Severity Is Reduced with Reduction of Depressive Mood – a Prospective Population Study in Sweden  Just plain odd. If you look at depression as an attempt to induce change and restore homeostasis, maybe the tinnitus is a way of nagging a little.

Over 99% of Federal Reserve Bank Enforcement Actions Are Resolved Without Admission of Guilt  This seems to miss the obvious. At some point continual regulatory failure needs to be taken as a sign to try something else. Public choice theory has some good points.

Some more bullish views this time. China links

Maybe I’m not reading this carefully but it seems to consider gold sitting in a vault as “gold backed.”  It’s only gold backed if you can redeem the currency for gold on demand, any time, at any financial institution. Otherwise it’s just a symbolic marketing ploy. Will China Make the Yuan a Gold-Backed Currency?

The World’s Biggest Hedge Fund Hotel Just Got Bigger – 226 Hedge Funds Owned Apple As Of March 31  And the funniest thing is all 226 of them think they will be able to get out before the other guy. Very slow learners.

Common Scents: Plants Constantly Catch a Whiff of Their Neighbors’ Perfume  Plants are doing things all around you, behind your back. So much for vegetarian moral superiority.

For monogamous sparrows, it doesn’t pay to stray (but they do it anyway)  I’m not sure this is the appropriate conclusion. I don’t think any evolutionary theorist would argue the benefits of good genes need be immediately apparent or even at all useful in the current environment. Mixing things up more would likely only be a large benefit when the environment changes significantly. The penalty this shows declines over time so it would be revealing to see what the situation is after a few more decades have passed. An isolated island overrun with researchers is probably not the most challenging environment.

Calcium supplements linked to significantly increased heart attack risk  Great! I get to choose between broken bones or a heart attack.


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