Pseudo Random News and Comment

Parsimonious, Big Picture Behavioral Bias  If you look at the list of 107 cognitive biases linked to in the post, the most obvious explanation is they are being taken out of context to make a mountain out of a molehill. In the situations in which humans evolved they weren’t a problem or conferred a benefit, otherwise we’d be extinct. An argument I always think of when someone starts talking about needing salt tablets or electrolyte replacements when running a marathon.

Harsh Language from Lagarde: “IMF Has No Intention of Softening Terms”; From Head of Deutsche Bank: “Greece is a Failed Corrupt State”; Purposely Inflammatory Statements to Force Greece Exit  Maybe this useless debate will finally be over, but after all this time and all the nonsense being spouted it’s hard to believe they won’t manage of few more rounds of the charade.

Germany Walks Away From Greece  Another view of the Greek thingy. The most interesting bit in this is that many Greeks have stopped paying taxes, hoping to be able to pay them in plummeting drachma rather than Euros and come out enough ahead to cover any penalties. I think it’s a good bet. Penalties are likely to be waived or reduced to encourage payment if enough keep holding out post conversion and the government gets more desperate for cash.

Illegal File-Sharing Chips Away At North Korean Propaganda  What don’t they understand the West’s demonstration that it’s better to allow enough latitude to give the illusion of freedom?

JPMorgan’s debacle, and its parallels to AIG Not too surprising since they are in fact doing what they are paid to do, with a bailout waiting when the inevitable occurs (except in Iceland).

Old and New Neurons Trade Roles to Aid Memory Another way to jam more complexity into a small space. I think the biggest problem with the Connectome project isn’t the huge number of connections involved but that in the brain they are analog, not digital, and vary on multiple parameters in a single neuron – not to mention the discoveries of more active roles for glial cells and others previously assumed to be only structural.

SkyNet Wars: Presenting The Rogue Algo Responsible For FaceBook’s Downfall  Always fascinating to see the details of bots in action in the stock market. Still surprises me how dull-witted they remain. Speed and simplicity have their niche but when so much of the market is dominated by essentially a single strategy the outcome eventually isn’t going to be good.

I have a fetish for complex outcomes from simple processes. Host Plant Use by Competing Acacia-Ants: Mutualists Monopolize While Parasites Share Hosts  Ants are pretty simple but so far they’re still much more complex than the HFT bots.

Presenting The Greatest ROI Opportunity Ever  I think The Big Picture had a piece on this a few months ago but it’s still incredible what a great investment lobbying is. I think the only reason there isn’t even more investment in lobbying is that not everyone can win in the process so there are sharply diminishing returns.

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