Two Views of Pain

Somewhere in NE Italy. It was about 1/2 km long and very hard to keep the front wheel on the ground:

I believe this was on the Passo San Pelligrino. I was having problems with low blood pressure so it was much more difficult than it should have been.

The payoff for the pain is the feeling of being fully alive and having done it…plus a little scenery.

…and eating like a guilt-free pig at the end of the day.

Pseudo Random News and Comment

Jeb Bush Slams Republican Anti-Immigrant Stance as Loser  Proof that the sun even shines on a dog’s ass once in a while: Jeb gets one right – though his reasoning is unsurprisingly shot full of holes. A family trait.

Guesthouse / HHF architects + Ai Weiwei  Screw the guests, I’m taking this one.

ISM House / I.R.A  Too closed for my taste, particularly in that setting, but I still like it.

Urinary protein excretion—even in the normal range—raises diabetics’ heart risks I guess my paranoia about peeing protein is justified.

Human, soil bacteria swap antibiotic-resistance genes: study  Damn commie bacteria! To each according to his needs.

Harvard Plunges Into Samsung Circle Of Hell As Record 125 Undergrads Probed For Plagiarism  It’s not their fault, they had yet to take an ethics course so had no way to know they were doing anything wrong, and were taken in by the “sharing is caring” file sharing slogan. Or their parents’ example. Not sure which.

EFF Sues to Get Secret Court Rulings Showing Feds Violated Spy Law   Government employed judges ruling on the legality of government action, based on the government’s interpretations of legality. Good luck with that.

Moving toward regeneration: Scientists show how pluripotent stem cells mobilize in wounded planarian worms  A long way from being able to get them to march on command.

Focus Media – the key post: Four interpretations of the accounts  Most likely a mixture of B,C and D. It’s just the way things are done. Looting public companies is a way of life and you simply can’t operate on any scale in China without bribes. There is no point in running a company that falls completely under interpretation D since there’s little money to be made absent looting. Further, anyone who thinks they can discern related parties in China is delusional. It’s a constantly shifting web, spanning generations, remote family connections, former classmates back to grade school, former business partners, neighbors, friends, and/or whomever is convenient in the current circumstances. I have immense respect for their abilities in this game, but there is no way in hell I will ever knowingly play it by investing there. But I’m sure the self-described smartest guys in the room from Wall St. will have no trouble figuring it out.

Lance Armstrong cycling debacle slowly coming to a boil:

Hamilton says Armstrong gave him EPO before 1999 Tour de France Pimping the new book with some details.

USADA responds to Liggett’s claims of bribery in Armstrong case  Long time apologist for LA has lost it. Maybe his long friendship with Lance and a partnership with LA and Paul Sherwin in a Ugandan gold mine has influenced his judgment.

Armstrong: I won the Tour de France seven times  Yes, he did. But, even though everyone was doping, he appears to be the only one who was able to make positive tests disappear and get advance warning of surprise tests. The UCI is still waiting to see how much dirt was spilled to USADA before deciding how to CYA.

If the UCI gets control of the Armstrong case and buries it, look for a breakaway cycling federation to form, and threats of cycling being booted from the Olympics.

No, Dude, China is Not “Okay”  Several interesting points in this. My favorite quote: “According to the National REO Brokers Association, more than 50 percent of homebuyers nationwide are investors, paying 5 to 25 percent above market prices.”  When I think of investors, I think of Buffett and Klarman. Does getting into bidding wars and paying above market prices sound like something they would do? Sounds more like unrepentant flippers and late-night infomercial watchers to me.

20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Autopsies  Good pre-meal reading for dieters.

Genome Brings Ancient Girl to Life  Fascinating stuff. I still have some doubts about the methodology and assumptions based on a sample of one.

What Makes Work Worth Doing? This always seems to elude me.

Hemoglobin Targets for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients with Anemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis  I think until these studies account for baseline pre-CKD Hb levels it will never make any sense. Someone who is naturally 16 Hb should have different results when raised back to 13 than someone whose pre-CKD level was naturally 11. Data availability is a big problem though.

Hula found to be a promising cardiac rehabilitation therapy  Unfortunately it probably won’t work if you only watch.

Pseudo Random News and Comment

After a tweet yesterday from @FloatPath that the right-handed live 9 years longer than left-handed people on average, I had to do some more research to see if I should radically overhaul my calendar. The conclusion: “After Cohen’s original study sparked a wave of interest in the subject, multiple more recent studies have found no corroborating data to support his claims.”  I feel so much better now.

Left Handedness and Increased Mortality – Is there a link?
LEFT HANDERS EARLY DEATH MYSTERY, 5 articles thereon

For diabetics, a steady job is good for your health   I think beyond financial considerations, good blood sugar control is a matter of minimizing variables with set routines, and a job may promote a regimented lifestyle. In return you may get more of it, so I guess that’s the upside. But I’m still not going to get one.

Chocolate: A sweet method for stroke prevention in men?  No mention of which candy company sponsored this, but I’m going to assume it’s totally unbiased and definitive.

Experimental Low-Calorie Diet Gets Puzzling Results in Monkeys  More details, and confusion, on the CR diet. Age made a difference and I’ve read elsewhere that how the caloric restriction is implemented makes a difference in adults – the slower the better. I’m doing it so slowly it’s often undetectable other than in my mind. See also NYT Severe Diet Doesn’t Prolong Life, at Least in Monkeys  – which mentions a 5′ 9″, 130 lb MD who, not surprisingly, is a believer despite the latest results.

Young Children Consider Merit when Sharing Resources with Others Consistent with the cheat as much as you can get away with principle.

Yet another tick-borne illness emerges in U.S.  Yippee!

Is This The Fed’s Secret Weapon?  Heaven help us all if they resort to this. If they were actually omniscient enough to successfully implement it, they’d also be smart enough to have avoided the need. In fact, the same could be said of all their actions.

Morality for robots?  I think the best approach is harm minimization. If intelligent, autonomous robots are assumed, then the best approach is to be nice to them and hope they’re smart enough to recognize the benefits of doing the same in return.

What Happens To All That Digital Goodness You Have Purchased After You Die? This is really only a problem if you use the cloud and thus your transfers to heirs are monitored by the supposed content owners.

The TSA’s Infamous ‘Behavior Detection’ In Action: Mandatory ‘Chats’ About Every Detail Of Your Trip The closest I’ve come to a conversation with the TSA was when I asked the guy groping me if I could request a woman. He told me the rules prohibited that. I suggested he file a sex discrimination suit since he was clearly more qualified to grope a woman, and there must be a lot of women who are more qualified to grope men than he was. He smiled.

Would You Infect Yourself With Worms For Better Health?  My definition of civilization has long been the absence of internal parasites so it isn’t high on my list. If/when the science is there I’ll start considering it, but macro-critters are a big step up from bacteria.

Gun Control — on the Government’s Guns  The Empire State Building fiasco should make for a more receptive audience for this, but it probably won’t.

New intellectual testing regimen identifies ‘exceptional’ chimp  In the old, pre-PC, sense of the word. It’s bad enough there are Terminator analogues everywhere. Now it’s planet of the apes.

Strong female portrayals eliminate negative effects of violent media  Watching Haywire or Hanna is now scientifically approved. I hate these studies for a variety of reasons, most seriously because they have such inadequate controls and blinding is impossible, which means the results are most likely only a reflection of the investigators beliefs, biases, and funding sources.

Low Volume Is Nothing to Worry About Over medium to long time frames rallies have to be low volume. In the chart in this piece, bottoms have high volume, as many would expect, and the major top also has high volume. Therefore the only thing the other rallies can be is low volume. Get over it.

Pseudo Random News and Comment

236 – The maximum number of times Lance Armstrong could have been tested in his career. Half what his PR team is claiming of late.

Exercise can help cancer patients, but few oncologists suggest it  Cutting recurrence rate by 50% seems to good to be true, but even if it’s half that it’s still a damn good number, with no adverse effects.

Bad Trades as a Macro Parable  A more expansive view of what constitutes trading always warms my heart.

More easily influenced when we follow our heart  And more easily influenced by people who most resemble them. I’m patenting myself so nobody can do that to me.

Beliefs drive investors more than preferences, study finds  But emotions influence those beliefs, so it’s not as cut and dry and presented here.

Most People Say They Are Safe Drivers, Want New Auto Assist Tech Anyway  So which is “you?” The one that thinks you’re great, or the one that thinks you need help? Both? Neither? The ability to hold such conflicting thoughts and beliefs makes the idea of a unitary self hard to defend.

Oxytocin Increases Heart Rate Variability in Humans at Rest: Implications for Social Approach-Related Motivation and Capacity for Social Engagement  Are they talking about sex? I don’t feel the need to raise my heart rate for just a conversation.

Pettis: Hard commodity prices will halve in 2 years  Deceptive headline alert. Much more measured views in the actual article.

A Critique of the Methodology Of Mises & Rothbard “That is not to say that interest rate spikes and high inflation cannot emerge further down the line. But these predictive failures were symptomatic of deduction-oriented reasoning…”   A number of points I disagree with in this piece. Primarily, the failures described are ones of over-reaching and speculation rather than Austrian economics. Predicting hyperinflation after massive expansion of money and credit isn’t an economic prediction. In that situation economics only allows a prediction of prices being higher than they would have otherwise been. Depending on the circumstance this could be a very large increase, a very large decrease or anything in between. Predicting which of a multitude of possible outcomes it will be is speculation, not economics. Using economic statistics and other data is technical analysis and as such can be helpful in speculation, but also, reliant as it is on the past to predict the future, at best only works until it suddenly doesn’t. Proper theory on the other hand continues to produce accurate, if extremely limited, predictive ability. Not the sort that can be used to generate tomorrow’s news today, but which can predict something will end badly, though never exactly how or when it will happen. That isn’t what people want from economics, so they always try to overreach in search of the holy grail, or just the chance to say I told you so.

Relative Strength of Indexes as a Future Return Indicator  Basically worthless, which is probably why I never look at them.

Shared Lock  Interesting chunk of low tech security.  Also looks like you could hacksaw the L mechanism to gain access even if the locks were impenetrable. Plus half the county appears to have access already.

Shifty, but secure eyes What is the total number of people to have participated in eye saccades studies? This sounds like another case of the bad science of fingerprinting in the making. Someone starts saying they are unique and reliable after comparing a small number of people, and it just snowballs from there without ever being rigorously tested.

Dad’s brain means more than his money  Inheriting a fortune is pointless if you can’t hold onto it. That takes more than a few brain cells.

‘Penis-head’ fish discovered in Vietnam  This sounds too good to be true. Now we know from what critter creationists evolved.

Earphones ‘potentially as dangerous as noise from jet engines,’ according to new study  When I can tell what you’re listening to from 5 feet away on a noisy street, you’re going to be deaf in record time.

Calorie restriction doesn’t slow ageing, monkey study suggests  Healthier but still dead on schedule.

Zynga Chief Creative Officer to Resign  Don’t bother clicking through, I only mention this because I find it hilarious they have something as brazenly oxymoronic as a “Chief Creative Officer.”  Such a clueless B-School approach to the problem. “I command you to be creative! NOW!”

Pseudo Random News and Comment

Translation: To Know What’s Wrong With China, Look At Her Construction  (Via Sinocism)  Scary stuff, but not surprising. There is a limit to how fast concrete can be poured and cured and still attain the required properties. I think it’s very likely most of the new construction has exceeded that limit, even without sticks, stones and feed bags as additives.

Sweet & Sour Channel Stuffing and the Shanghai Swan Dive  A beautiful example of the wonders of central planning. But many still plead for more from the Fed and every other branch of government. There seems to be more real dissent about that in China than in the US. Or maybe the internet merely magnifies the same small percentage of voices in the wilderness.

Study questions technique to repair ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms  Since practice and volume definitely improve surgical performance, the unexpected result could be a matter of lower skill levels due to fewer surgeries with the newer  technique.

Midlife fitness staves off chronic disease at end of life: study  Use it or lose it strikes again, and again, and again, and…

Prehistoric bugs from 230 million years ago found in amber (Update)  The gall mites in particular made me think of Warren Buffett. Find a fairly simple, workable strategy and stick with it for millions of years.

How a virus might make you diabetic later in life  Viruses have long been fingered in the development of Type I, now CMV gets the finger for Type 2. Since CMV infection rates in China are significantly higher than the US it implies there should be more Type 2 diabetics too. Not the case from what I’ve seen but there have been some recent stories about substantial increases in incidence, so maybe better detection will prove that to be true.

ASH House / I.R.A  Another interesting Japanese house. Writeup is also a fine example of translation issues.

Focus Media – focus on movie screens  Some laugh out loud numbers and accounting at Focus. If you’re long it might not be as funny. The best money is always made when you are correct and jump in when others are afraid, but I think when it comes to China fear is a man’s best friend. Fraud is so pervasive (see above link about construction for example) and everything is so institutionally opaque that there is effectively no way to really know what you’re buying.

Is long-term weight loss possible after menopause?  Yes, if you cut out desserts. Perish the thought.

Why Humans Give Birth to Helpless Babies  Metabolic costs to the mother may trump pelvic size.

Gao Xiaosong on America  A interestingly hyperbolic view of the US through Chinese eyes.

Antibiotic residues in sausage meat may promote pathogen survival  The horror! Potentially unsafe pepperoni and salami.

Europeans got less shaded in stages  Genetics of skin color are amazingly complex. Which is a very good thing since it’s probably the only thing that has prevented the successful development of race based bio-weapons (along with high probability of blowback since the racist developers’ ancestral trees are far less pure than they like to think).

5 Reasons You Deserve To Lose Every Penny In The Market  Personally, I lean toward 100% personal responsibility. If a piano falls on your head in Yosemite, it’s your fault. You chose to be there at that time.

Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 2  Finding the line between simple and complex, beyond which great theoretical returns tend to vanish like magicians’ rabbits, is difficult, but it’s an interesting set of tests.

The Truth About Investor Flight from Equities  What I suspected. There’s still way too much interest in the public at large.

Repellent; The Magical Law of Attraction  Praise for Smile or Die and problems with swallowing the poppycock of positivity.

Reading the writing on the wall – What Ails Groupon, Yahoo, and Facebook: “Demand Generation” Advertising

Pseudo Random News and Comment

Apple/Samsung Jurors Admit They Finished Quickly By Ignoring Prior Art & Other Key Factors  Now their decision makes much more sense. Party time at Samsung.

Shocking Revelation: It Isn’t The Phone That’s Dangerous; It’s The Driver  Interesting list of associated behaviors, which basically describes every teen driver and some other stereotypical categories.

Which Asset Classes Are Most Vulnerable To ‘Policy’ Disappointment?  Interesting attempt to quantify how much of the economy is already priced in.

Variations on a theme. What does it mean? I don’t know, I’m hungry.

Eat smarter, don’t work out harder?

The Hidden Truths about Calories 

Sudden death less likely in exercise related cardiac arrests

Super glue: Tests show that adhesive could improve safety of lasik eye surgery Would have been great in old Crazy Glue commercials if some of the later surgical uses had been included.

Zebra fish point the way towards new therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis  Still a very big leap from an unusual model to clinical practice.

Lack of sleep found to be a new risk factor for aggressive breast cancers  Only 400 participants and sleep length was self reported, so take it with a shaker of salt, but still an interesting link if it holds up.

How Long Do You Want to Live? (via TBP) This kind of thinking mystifies me. I want to be immortal. If I get sick of it I can always kill myself, so why give up the option? It’s far better than getting to 90 and realizing it’s not so bad after it’s too late.

The heritability of impulse control  A lot of hard to control variables in this, as with all nature vs nurture studies, but some of you may be doomed to a lack of success by your genes…unless you use your illusory free will to change your equally illusory self.

How to Learn in Your Sleep  It may actually work in some circumstances. However, if sleep is in part to consolidate and integrate new memories, and processing capacity is limited, why would you want to burden your brain with new stuff while it’s so burdened with trying to figure out what to do with older stuff that it has made you take a break from [full] consciousness? There’s apt to be a cost.

New Real Estate Train Wreck Coming: Securitized Rentals  Good piece on the foolishness of rental securitization I mentioned before.

If even Krugman figured this out, you know it must be pretty freaking obvious. Iceland Did It Right … And Everyone Else Is Doing It Wrong

The Armstrong fallout: Thoughts and theories  Excellent summary and analysis of the PR-induced debate. Lance also never fought L’Equipe in court over the EPO positives, which was the only good proof previously made public.