Now, isn’t shooting a cop a hate crime?

December 22, 2014

Today, we’ll be serious, not sarcastic.

As everybody should know by now …

“Without provocation, an attacker ambushed and killed officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos while they sat in their marked patrol car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Area of Brooklyn … ‘They were quite simply assassinated, targeted for their uniform,’ Police Commissioner William Bratton said at a news conference.”

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Earlier in the day, the killer  posted a photo of a silver handgun and a message on Instagram in which he talked about killing police officers “in retaliation for the deaths of  Garner and Brown.”

Let’s think about that for a moment …

Read the rest of this entry »

Disruption: Automating knowledge work …

December 19, 2014

In the old days, folks fretted (or dreamed) about the effect of computerized automation in factories and ATMs replacing bank tellers.

According to a recent McKinsey report:

Physical labor and transactional tasks have been widely automated …

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Now, advances in data analytics, low-cost computer power, machine learning, and interfaces that “understand” humans are moving the automation frontier rapidly towards “knowledge work”..

Developments in how machines process language and understand context are allowing computers to search for information and find patterns of meaning at superhuman speed.

Here are a couple of examples …

Read the rest of this entry »

Gotcha: Your willingness-to-pay is showing …

December 18, 2014

Punch line: Major retailers are customizing online prices for each user, using users’ information (such as location) to determine different prices for identical items. The goal: higher price realization and higher profits. 

BLOG

Here's the scoop ...
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The state of the economy in one killer chart …

December 17, 2014

This isn’t it !

This one was in the WSJ last week.

The accompanying narrative was something like “adding jobs – full-time, not part-time —  looking good”.

Earlier this week, we showed that the WSJ data is accurate, but it’s analysis is misleading because it starts analyzing from the depth of the recession (versus before the start of the recession) … and looks at raw numbers of jobs added (without normalizing for population growth).

Again, this isn’t the killer chart, I’m talking about.

 

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Rather, I’ve pulled together my earlier analysis into one simple chart that tells the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

There’s already one big winner in the College Football Playoffs …

December 16, 2014

AdAge ran an article asking “Is the College Football Playoff the Next Super Bowl?”

Answer: Maybe … and maybe not.

The article had a couple of interesting tidbit’s about the CFP’s economics.

ESPN bought exclusive broadcast rights for 12 years of the semi-final games and national championship game as part of a 12-year media rights deal announced in 2012 that reportedly cost $7.3 billion.

Now, that’s big business!

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Buried deep in the article was an incidental piece of info that caught my eye … a sure-fire winner.

Read the rest of this entry »

Folks are still discouraged about the economy … here’s why.

December 15, 2014

It has been a while since we looked into the employment numbers … long overdue.

I was awakened by a WSJ article that put a positive spin on the November jobs report – jobs continue to be added …. and, they’re full-time jobs:

“The economy has seen a net gain of more than 6 million full-time jobs since the official end date of the 2007-09 recession, which was in June 2009. The economy has witnessed a net increase of just 311,000 part-time jobs over the same period,”

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Hmmm.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

What the Journal says is true, but not complete … and picking to start the chart at the trough of the recession obscures some of the context.

Read the rest of this entry »

What do electricity, the EZ pass, and the 3-point line have in common ?

December 12, 2014

I thought about this one last nite watching the Hoyas give Kansas a run for their money.

I often say that electricity, the EZ pass, and the 3-point line make my list as the top 3 inventions ever …

You know all about the first two. 

3-point line

Here’s the story behind the third: basketball’s 3-pointer …

Read the rest of this entry »

Do you think I’m sexy? … My ratings hang in the balance!

December 11, 2014

According to BigThink.com

The website ratemyprofessors.com has students anonymously comment on their professors’ “helpfulness,” “clarity” and “easiness.”

The punctuation point: Raters are asked where the prof is “hot” or “not.”

Four professors from Central Michigan University trolled through the data and wrote a paper examining “Attractiveness, Easiness, and Other Issues: Student Evaluations of Professors on rateMyProfessors.com.”

After conceding that the site is rife with “issues”, the authors dug in and researched the relationship between student perceptions of professor “hotness” and their evaluation of “quality of instruction.”.

Guess what?

A large percentage of American college students consider courses to be high-quality when the professor is attractive..

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As Gomer Pyle would say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

The only surprise is the magnitude and consistency of the relationship.

Profs that are “not hot” are toast.

The Central Michigan “scholars” also evaluated the relative hotness of profs by discipline …

Read the rest of this entry »

Nums: A world of battling algorithms

December 10, 2014

In my Strategic Business Analytics course, we were covering decision rules .. specifically, machine learning and algorithms.

Reminded me to flashback a cool 15 minute TED Talk.

Tech entrepreneur Kevin Slavin tells how algorithms have reached across industries and into every day life.

A couple of lines caught my attention:

  • There are more than 2,000 physicists working on Wall Street developing operational algorithms
  • Massive scale speed trading is dependent on millisecond read & respond rates …
  • So, firms are physically literally locating right next to internet routing hubs to cut transmission times
  • And, of course, there isn’t time for human intervention and control
  • “We may be building whole worlds we don’t really understand, and can’t control.”

Obviously, Slavin comes down on the side of the quants.

Worth listening to this pitch … a very engaging geek who may be onto something big.

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma >> Latest Posts

Here’s a way to end the collegiate bowl controversies … really.

December 9, 2014

The obvious became apparent to me … really!

The answer: just go back to the future.

Stay with me on this one …

 

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Let’s connect a couple of dots from the post-selection chit-chat and whining …

Read the rest of this entry »

Numbers game: College Football Playoff replaces controversy with, uh, controversy.

December 8, 2014

The College Football Playoff was supposed to end the collegiate National Championship controversy, right?

For openers, let me disclose that I’m an Ohio State fan … raised in Ohio … big brother played for the legendary Woody Hayes … many relatives only wear scarlet & gray.

And, I’m a big Urban Meyer fan … loyal readers see my E + R = O post every couple of months since it’s one of my favs.

So, I was delighted to see the Buckeyes womp Wisconsin (59-0) behind a 3rd string quarterback in his first collegiate start … strip the nation’s leading running back of his Heisman trophy hopes … and, give the CFP selection committee a heavy dose of heartburn.

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For years, college sports fans loved to hate the Bowl Championship Series … the system for designating a so-called “National Champion”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Biases: Which is more painful?

December 5, 2014

Interesting study on cognitive biases from Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow

Patients undergoing a painful medical procedure – think, colonoscopy without anesthesia – recorded their pain levels during the procedure on a range from no pain (zero) to excruciating (10).

Some of the procedures were short in duration … others were longer.

Below is the pain chart for 2 representative patients.

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The patients were asked – after the fact—how painful the procedure was.

What’s your bet?  Which patient claimed to have undergone the more painful procedure?

Read the rest of this entry »

Odds: Are casinos really that smart?

December 4, 2014

Harrah’s is a poster child for “predictive analytics” … using hard numbers to make good decisions.

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Why then – asks the IO Creative Group of tiny York, PA – did the Las Vegas big boy casinos lose over one billion dollars? Read the rest of this entry »

Sportswriter say: Advanced analytics can save the Redskins … oh, really

December 3, 2014

We’re working through predictive analytics in class these days.

So, my eyes are open for articles on the subject.

Predictive analytics.

You know, the stuff that Moneyball got rolling in baseball … and Target popularized by identifying pregnant women before the women knew they were expecting.

Let’s set the stage.

The Washington Redskins have been having (another) rough season.

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Veteran sportswriter Tony Kornheiser says advanced analytics could save the Redskins…

Read the rest of this entry »

Another swig of ‘tussin from Chris Rock …

December 2, 2014

A while ago, I posted It takes more than a swig of ‘tussin…

The punch line to the post was that Chris Rock — a very funny guy — takes his craft very seriously and toils long and hard to test and fine-tune his material.

His routine on the many uses of Robitussin (‘tussin, for short) is a comedy classic.

If you haven’t seen the ‘tussin riff– or want a refresher — click to view it now.

 

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Rock homes his skits standing up in comedy clubs … for example, he said he worked the Comedy Cellar for a week prior his recent guest spot on SNL.

In a recent interview, Rock talked about an emerging threat to his practiced work routine …

Read the rest of this entry »

Sen. Schumer awakens to gains, losses, the endowment effect

December 1, 2014

Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer caused a stir in Democrat ranks’ by observing that President Barack Obama’s insistence on revamping the healthcare system was, in Schumer’s words, “misguided” and was a major cause of the GOP’s mid-term election romp & stomp.

Schumer is still all for massive healthcare changes.

His observation is strictly political.

His reasoning:

“Democrats were targeting the uninsured, a population that  makes up only about 5 percent of registered voters. Only about one-third of the uninsured are registered or eligible to vote.”  Source

Schumer’s on the right track, but misses a bigger point: When people are forced to give up something they have, they overvalue the loss and try hard to recoup it.

Think, the higher premiums and changed doctors that millions of folks have had had to endure.

Behavioral theorists have long observed that most people are risk adverse and, due in part to an “endowment effect”, they “value” losses greater than gains.

Endowment Effect: People tend to ascribe a higher value to things that they already own than to comparable things that they don’t own. For example, a car-seller might think his sleek machine is “worth” $10,000 even though credible appraisers say it’s worth $7,500. Sometimes the difference is due to information asymmetry (e.g. the owner knows more about the car’s fine points), but usually it’s just a cognitive bias – the Endowment Effect.

The chart below illustrates the gains & losses concept.

  • Note that the “value line” is steeper on the losses side of the chart than on the gains side.
  • L & G are equivalently sized changes from a current position.
  • The gain (G) generates an increase in value equal to X.
  • The loss (L) generates a decrease in value that is generally found to be 2 to 3 times an equivalently sized gain

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For example, would you take any of these coin flip gambles?

  1. Heads: win $100; Tails: lose $100
  2. Heads: win $150; Tails: lose $100
  3. Heads: win $200; Tails: lose $100
  4. Heads: win $300; Tails: lose $100

Most people pass on #1 and #2, but would hop on #3 and #4.

OK, now let’s show how all of this relates to ObamaCare.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Lucky Strike Extra” … say,what?

November 26, 2014

Yipes.

In class I inadvertently dropped a phrase that either my Midwest roots or “maturity”, or both.

I referred to something as a “Lucky Strike Extra”.

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You know, something out of the normal routine … an added benefit.

Most of the class ignored the comment and  some rolled their eyes.

But, one student emailed me:

“I have noticed you use the expression “lucky strike extra” in class — this is an old family favorite (we call extra “freebie” birthday/Christmas gifts lucky strike extras). It is not something that you hear all that often – it inspired some sentiment just in time for the holidays.”

That got me wondering where the phrase originated.

Here’s the back story ….

Read the rest of this entry »

Gotcha: This is an unrecognized computer …

November 25, 2014

If you do any banking online, you’ve probably gotten that message at one time or another.

Maybe it was when you got a new computer … or, when you used a friend’s computer to pay a bill.

You probably didn’t think much of it.

You just answered the security questions and paid your bill.

Bet you didn’t stop to wonder: How did Bank of Boise know that this wasn’t my usual computer?

Better yet, ask: How does the bank know when I am on my regular computer?

Well, now that I’ve aroused you curiosity, the answer is ….

Your computer has its own distinctive “device fingerprints” that make it identifiable on the Net as your computer.

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I worry about stuff like this.  So, I’d thought about this one.

And, my thinking was wrong.

Here’s what’s going on …

Read the rest of this entry »

What the hell is a “devil’s advocate”?

November 24, 2014

This came in this week in class … subject was “confirmation bias” … how people naturally lock onto beliefs and only seek or notice that aligns with their going-in position.

One of the antidotes is enlisting a so-called devil’s advocate” to keep things honest.

A what?

You know, we’ve all been there …

You’re in meetings pitching an idea when some jabrone pipes in:

“Let me play the role of devil’s advocate …”

He then blasts your idea with half-baked criticisms.

As you aggressively defend your cherished idea, he backs off:

“Hey man, I’m just playing devil’s advocate”.

“Say, what? You mean your  just made up those cheap shots?”

 

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I’ve been reading books on decision making this summer.

A couple have praised the use of so-called devil’s advocates to validate ideas and arguments.

Here’s what they’re talking about …

Read the rest of this entry »

Uh-oh: Most published research findings are false…

November 21, 2014

I didn’t say it, the New Yorker magazine did, setting off a buzz in the halls of academia.

The theme of the New Yorker article –- titled “Truth Wears Off” –was that most (academic) research was flawed and not able to be replicated.  This is, the results were at best true under some special circumstances at a specific point in time, but can’t be replicated. At worst, they’re just plain bull.

Hmmm.

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Challenging the integrity of publication-driven academics?

Turns out that the New Yorker wasn’t the first mag on the beat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weird poll results … explained by the “power of free”.

November 20, 2014

 

This was a wild week for ObamaCare.

First, there’s the steady stream “You’re stupid, America” videos from Prof. Jon Gruber.

Then, the 2nd Annual Open Enrollment period started for the Federal Health Insurance Exchange.

No big news there.

But, the combo of Gruber and the Open Enrollment, got the pollsters springing into action … with the politicos spinning like tops.

A couple of Gallup polls made news … with seemingly contradictory results.

The first was headlined:

 

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The second poll reported that moe than 70% of the folks who got their insurance through the Federal Exchange rated it as “good” or “excellent” …

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Seems contradictory, right?

Is it 37% or 70%?

Let’s drill down a bit to reconcile the numbers …

Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon and the “power of free” …

November 19, 2014

Everybody knows that Amazon’s free shipping program has been a resounding success.

So much so. that the company has announced that it will be moving the minimum qualifying order up from $25 to $35 … inducing shoppers to fill  their carts fuller or switch to the highly profitable Amazon Prime program.

The free shipping program’s success was highly predictable based an an apparently inadvertent “matched market test” that Amazon did.

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Here’s the skinny on the Amazon’s inadvertent market test …

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s those shades of gray that are keeping you from making a decision …

November 18, 2014

Excerpted fro WSJ: Why So Many People Can’t Make Decisions

Some people meet, fall in love and get married right away. Others can spend hours in the sock aisle at the department store, weighing the pros and cons of buying a pair of wool argyles instead of cotton striped.

Indecisive Man

Seeing the world as black and white, in which choices seem clear, or shades of gray can affect people’s path in life, from jobs and relationships to which political candidate they vote for.

Researchers say …

Read the rest of this entry »

Have you even looked at YOUR health insurance premiums?

November 17, 2014

This headline in the NY Times caught my eye:

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The article leads with:

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled data showing that many Americans with health insurance bought under the Affordable Care Act could face substantial price increases next year — in some cases as much as 20 percent.

Now, those are exchange premiums so they don’t apply to me.

Still, the headline was shocking enough to make me take a serious look at the premiums that I pay.

What I discovered is very interesting …

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Right Brainers Will Rule the World …

November 14, 2014

Recently referenced in class a book called A whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the World.

As a hard core left-brainer, I figured I’d better pay attention to this one.

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Here’s the crux of the book …

The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers.

But, the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind — creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.

We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computerlike capabilities of the Information Age …

… to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.

Why the shift?

Because any kind of work that be reduced to repeatable rules and defined processes can be automated or shipped off-shore – even so-called knowledge work

Survival in the Conceptual Age requires thinking skills utilizing the right-side of the brain.

Specifically, “high concept” involves the capacity to:

  • detect patterns and opportunities
  • create artistic and emotional beauty
  • craft a satisfying narrative

…. and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new and distinctive.

Amazon link

What’s required to to succeed in Conceptual Age?

Read the rest of this entry »

HITS: Are you left-brained or right-brained?

November 13, 2014

HITS: HomaFiles’s Ideas To Share

For decades cognitive psychologists has characterized folks as being either left brain dominant  – logical – or right brain dominant – creative.

Browse the lists below and pick your dominant brain side – left or right.

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= = = = = 
So what? What to do?
= = = = =

Read the rest of this entry »

Biases: The favorite-long shot bias …

November 12, 2014

In gambling and economics, there’s an observed phenomenon favorite-long shot bias.

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Here’s how it works …

 

Read the rest of this entry »

This will take your breath away … guaranteed!

November 11, 2014

Even if you believe that “the end justifies the means”, this has gotta make your skin crawl.

Some background: Prof. Jonathan Gruber is an MIT economist who helped on RomneyCare in Massachusetts and was one of the primary architects of ObamaCare.

He was caught on video  speaking quite frankly about the crafting of ObamaCare.

His basic message:

“The bill was written in a tortured way … to be sure that the CBO didn’t score the mandate as a tax …  otherwise the bill would die … so, it was written to do that … with regards to the subsides … if people figured out that healthy pay in to give sick people money, it wouldn’t have passed … lack of transparency is a huge political advantage … and basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or what … that was critical to getting the bill to pass … yeah, it would be better to be transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

Watch the video … it’s even more chilling to hear Prof. Gruber say the words: Obfuscate and bank on American stupidity.

How do these guys sleep at night?

 

 

P.S. Another Gruber video will get wide play in the next couple of months.

He’s on tape saying that the specific language in the bill that only provided subsidies for folks going through state exchanges was intentional to motivate states to build exchanges,

Now, ObamaCare supporters are claiming it was just a typo that didn’t represent intent.

Well, the Supreme Court has signed on to settle the matter … with life & death consequence for ObamaCare.

This is gonna get interesting …

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#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

Dilemma: The case of the lost concert tickets …

November 10, 2014

 

A classic “framing” question from Kahneman’s Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow

Here’s the situation:

A woman has bought two $80 tickets to the theater.

When she arrives at the theater, she opens her wallet and discovers that the tickets are missing.

$80 tickets are still available at the box office.

Will she buy two more tickets to see the play?

 

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Most (but, not all) survey respondents answer that the woman will go home without seeing the show.

Let’s try another situation …

Read the rest of this entry »

Turnout: About the Dems’ highly touted GOTV ground game … and other ironic twists.

November 7, 2014

The United States Elections Project estimates that only 36.6% of eligible voters cast a ballot on Tuesday.

That’s pretty ironic since the Dems were, before the election, boasting about their predictive analytics and their unstoppable get-out-the-vote organization.

I haven’t been hearing much on the news about the GOTV machine that failed to get-out-the-vote.

 

 

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So, what happened?  Here are a couple of hypotheses to ponder Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday: A bad night for pollsters … and some other folks.

November 6, 2014

The election results looked a lot different than the pollsters predicted.

Pat Roberts was supposed to lose … he won by a comfortable margin.

Joni Ernst “might” eek out win … she romped.

Mark Warner was supposed to be popping champagne corks by 8 o’clock … he got less than 50% and the VA race hasn’t been officially called yet.

What happened?

Nate Silver’s 535 has nailed the symptoms … but not the cause.

 

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Bottom line: Silver’s crew observes that there was an average 4-point polling bias in favor of the Dems ….

Read the rest of this entry »

Another look: Is a college degree is worth it?

November 5, 2014

Lots has been written recently re: the economic value of a college degree.

Let’s boil it down to 3 key charts …

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First, the cost side of the equation …

Sky-rocketing tuitions are loading students with an enormous amount of post-graduation debt.

While other forms of consumer debt have held relatively constant for the past 10 years, student loans have soared from “only” $200 million in 2004 to over $1 trillion today.

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That’s the cost.

What about the benefits side?

Read the rest of this entry »

Nate Silver has spoken …

November 4, 2014

Former darling of the left for having predicted President Obama’s hefty win over Mitt Romney, stats-jock Nate Silver has given his final pre-election prediction:

76% chance that the Republicans take control of the Senate today … with odds trending their way.

 

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Silver’s prediction slides between the high-end Washington Post (97%) and CNN (95%) … and the low-balling New York Times (70%).

That means that there’s a 100% chance that Silver gets neither savant accolades, nor hoot-calls …  his prediction is stuck in the middle.

#HomaFiles

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

Maybe government does do some things right … (Did I really say that?)

November 4, 2014

Loyal readers know that I’m a small government guy … I’m with Reagan that government isn’t the solution, it’s usually the problem.

I think that the Federal government is collectively inefficient (i.e. bloated and wasteful) and, with increasing frequency, totally incompetent.

There are a couple of exceptions: the Military, the FBI, and — hold your hats on – the pre-Obama NASA

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It used to be that I was pro-NASA and pro-space exploration because of emotion.

I can still remember being glued to the TV during the first moonwalk.

Even as a teenager, I felt a pang of excitement and national pride.

Later, I was able to rationalize the spending when I saw my older  brother selling stuff from the space program to commercial businesses.

Of course, last week’s incidents provided two additional rapid-fire proof points.

Read the rest of this entry »

In praise of tough teachers …

November 3, 2014

My students are likely to cringe at this post which kinda legitimizes my teaching style.

Uh-oh …

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According to a recent WSJ article:

The latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine lead to a single, startling conclusion: It’s time to revive old-fashioned education.

Not just traditional but old-fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands.

Why?

Because here’s the thing: It works.

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Of course, that conclusion flies in the face of the kinder, gentler philosophy that has dominated American education over the past few decades.

The conventional wisdom holds that teachers are supposed to tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads.

Projects and collaborative learning are applauded; traditional methods like lecturing and memorization — derided as “drill and kill” — are frowned upon, dismissed as a surefire way to suck young minds dry of creativity and motivation.

But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

And the following eight principles explain why …

Read the rest of this entry »

Nums: Who is likely to do a better job – Federal government workers … or zombies?

October 31, 2014

I guess Zombies are a rage these days, so Rasmussen  must have felt obligated to pop that question to a broad sample of Americans.

 

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Here’s what Rasmussen found ..,

Read the rest of this entry »

Some people just shouldn’t vote!

October 30, 2014

Since we’re in the stretch run to an election …

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder whether “one man, one vote” makes sense.

Polls routinely reveal that a majority of Americans have marginal knowledge of government, politics, and political issues.

Try this: ask folks to explain the difference between the Federal deficit and the Federal debt … ask them where the money money that funds, say unemployment benefits, comes from.

Jason Brennan is a young prof at MSB … his research is at the nexus of ethics and politics.

He has written an insightful book called The Ethics of Voting

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Here’s the  essence of Jason’s argument …

Read the rest of this entry »

Uh-oh: Most published research findings are false…

October 29, 2014

I didn’t say it, the New Yorker magazine did, setting off a buzz in the halls of academia.

The theme of the New Yorker article –- titled “Truth Wears Off” –was that most (academic) research was flawed and not able to be replicated.  This is, the results were at best true under some special circumstances at a specific point in time, but can’t be replicated. At worst, they’re just plain bull.

Hmmm.

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Challenging the integrity of publication-driven academics?

Turns out that the New Yorker wasn’t the first mag on the beat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Are you a maximizer or satisficer?

October 28, 2014

interesting piece from the WSJ

Psychology researchers have studied how people make decisions and concluded there are two basic styles.

“Maximizers” like to take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing.

“Satisficers” would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).

“Maximizers are people who want the very best.

Satisficers are people who want good enough,”

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Take the quick test below to see if you’re a maximizer or satisficer…. and see what the implications are.. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Why aren’t Dems boasting about the jobs they “created”? I’ve got a hunch …

October 27, 2014

Last week, the NY Times took aim at the Obama-deniers – the Dem Senatorial candidates who wont even admit that they voted for the guy (even though they voted with the guy over 90% of the time).

Specifically, the Times blasted:

But one of the reasons for his unpopularity is that nervous members of his own party have done a poor job of defending his policies over the nearly six years of his presidency, allowing a Republican narrative of failure to take hold.

Few voters know that the 2009 stimulus bill contributed heavily to the nation’s economic recovery, saving and creating 2.5 million jobs.

I can nit pick that it should be “recovered” not created … and I could point out that full-time jobs are being replaced with part-time jobs … and I could pile on by mentioning that most of the jobs are in the low pay hospitality and retail industries.

But, I won’t do that, because I want to make another point.

 

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Let’s flashback to the Obama Stimulus …

Read the rest of this entry »

She’s back … like a virgin (of course).

October 24, 2014

I have been looking for a reason to reprise Sister Cristina, and I got it.

You know, Sister Cristina, the singing nun who went viral on her way to winning the Italian version of The Voice.

Well, she’s released. her first single.

Appropriately (?), it’s a cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” … slower tempo with naughty parts cleaned up.

All profits go to the Vatican since Sister Cristina took the nun’s vow of poverty.  That’s a bummer.

.click to view

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Need a pick-me-up? 

Here’s a stroll down memory lanes with #SisterAx’s path to victory and stardom.  Guaranteed to put a smile on your face … Read the rest of this entry »

Proposed Changes For The 2022 World Cup …

October 23, 2014

Man, was I excited when I spotted that headline.

Finally,  FIFA was going to do something to  juice the scoring and amp up excitement of the games.

 

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Fasten your seatbelts, here’s what’s coming …

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Your tax dollars at work …

October 22, 2014

According to WashPost

Government records show that tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for (or cleared of ) misbehavior or are disputing a demotion.

While disputing a demotion?

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Here are some details that’ll make you cringe …

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If anybody asks, just say “I forget” …

October 21, 2014

Excerpted from USA Today

Studies also have shown that voters don’t always remember accurately just who it was they backed before.

Why?

“Voters who defect from their party … are more likely to ‘forget’ this over time and to report a vote more consistent with their current party identification”

“Reports of past vote also correlate with current preferences.”

That’s to say, if the candidate gets elected and disappoints, some voters revise history and claim that they never voted for the bum.

A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll in a half-dozen states with key Senate races underscore the point.

 

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Here’s what’s going on …

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MBA: Career-switching is back in fashion …

October 20, 2014

According to Business Week: “More MBA grads are switching careers as the job market improves.”

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Here are the details …

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“Going to hell in a handbasket” … say, what?

October 17, 2014

This week, a poll finally asked a question that really cuts to the chase:

Which better describes how you feel about the way things are going in the world these days?

  • a) Things are going to hell in a handbasket
  • b) Everything will be alright
  • c) Don’t know

 

 

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Started me wondering:

What’s up with a goofy idiom like “going to hell in a handbasket”?

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Even if you’re smart, you might not be logical …

October 16, 2014

Jacked from researchers at the Univ. of Toronto …

“Although intelligence as measured by IQ tests is important, so is the ability to think rationally about problems.

The surprise is that less intelligent people usually perform just as well as highly intelligent people on problems that test rationality.”

Below is a question to test if you’re a rational (i.e. logical) thinker … or just smart

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Question

The XYZ virus causes a disease in one in every 1,000 people.

A test always correctly indicates if a person is infected.

The test has a false-positive rate of five per cent.

In other words, the test wrongly indicates that the XYZ virus is present in five per cent of the cases in which the person does not have the virus.

What is the probability that an individual testing positive actually has the XYZ virus?

Answer

Most people say 95 % … but the answer is 2%.

If one in 1,000 people has the disease, 999 don’t.

But with a five per cent false-positive rate, the test will show that almost 50 of them are infected (5% X 999 = 49.95 = approx. 50).

Of 51 patients testing positive, only one will actually be infected.

And, 1 divided by 51 is about 2%

“The math here isn’t especially hard. But thinking the problem through is tricky.”

Source

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Life: E + R = O

October 15, 2014

OK, I.m a control freak.

There, I said it.

Along the way, somebody passed along a memorable observations:

“You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can always control the the way you respond to it.”

Fast forward.

A couple of night’s ago, I was watching a replay of an Ohio State football game..

The announcers said that Urban Meyer – OSU’s head coach —   preaches the E+R=O principle to his players … even has them wear wristbands.

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Say, what?

I ran and googled E+R=O

Answer: Event + Response = Outcome

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Hmmmm … sounds familiar.

And, there’s more …

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What do colleges have in common with Kohl’s?

October 14, 2014

I oft say that anybody who pays sticker price at Kohl’s should look over their shoulder to make sure that Darwin isn’t chasing them.

Maybe the same should be said of parents who pay list price tuition to fund their kiddies through college.

Lots of talk re: how college costs are soaring.

According to the WSJ

Published tuition rates have soared in the last decade, but only a small percentage of families actually pays full freight.

Between grants to needy students and merit scholarships to entice other desirable candidates, schools these days are giving back nearly 50% of gross tuition revenue in the form of aid and awards.

In other words, list prices are going up, but more stuff is being sold at sale prices.

 

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Increasingly, colleges are using pricing methods previously the domain of airlines and discount retailers …

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Georgetown ranked #1 in …

October 13, 2014

LinkedIn data mines its rolls, scores the career progress of members in several disciplines, and then ranks schools based on the members’ career progress scores.

In the current ranking, Georgetown’s undergraduate program was ranked #3 in Finance and #1 in Investment Banking.

Take that, Wharton.

 

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click to see the Top 25

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