“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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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.

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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.

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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 …

Read the rest of this entry »

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 …

Read the rest of this entry »

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 …

Read the rest of this entry »

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 …

Read the rest of this entry »

“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”?

Read the rest of this entry »

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 …

Read the rest of this entry »

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 …

Read the rest of this entry »

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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I’ve seen the future of healthcare … and it’s not pretty.

October 10, 2014

Before I start grousing,  let me be clear about a couple of things.

First, the medical team at Georgetown Hospital is totally awesome.

Second, I like my doctor and I got to keep my doctor … mostly because I’m still working.

But, I’ve discovered that insurance and access aren’t synonymous …. and that appointment slots are getting scarcer and scarcer.

 

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In the past couple of weeks I’ve had personal experiences that have me a bit worried …

Read the rest of this entry »

Blame FoxNews … say, what?

October 9, 2014

Last week President Obama another shout-diss to FoxNews as the reason that roughly half of the country’s 300 million population think that he’s not doing such a great job.

Hmmm.

Let’s think about that.

Qualitatively speaking, , no disputing that Fox leans right and pounce’s on the Administration’s frequent miscues.

Quantitatively speaking, the President’s concern seems unfounded.

Fox boasts – with merit – that it outdraws left-leaning CNN and MSNBC combined.

That’s true.

 

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And, top dog O’Reilly draws almost 3.5 million viewers … more than 4 times what best competitor Rachel Maddow draws.

But, that’s only part of the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

The state of the economy in 2 charts …

October 8, 2014

Earlier this week, we looked at one of the no-BS economic measures: household income.

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped 8% during the recession … and has been flat after bottoming out a couple of years ago.

That means that the median real household income is still down 8% from the pre-recession peak.

 

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The drop in median household income has come despite a steady increase in average hourly wages … they’re up about 10% since the official end of the recession.

See Let’s celebrate the economy … err, let’s wait. for details

Here’s another no-BS indicator sent along by a loyal reader …

Read the rest of this entry »

Nums: Why are economists so bad at forecasting?

October 7, 2014

Wash Post had an interesting analysis titled “This graph shows how bad the Fed is at predicting the future

The crux of their argument: the Fed has a clear recent tendency to mis-forecast economic growth … not by a little, by a lot …  forecasting almost twice as rapid growth as is ultimately realized.

For example,  in 2009 the Fed was predicting 4.2 percent growth in 2011.  But then in 2010 it revised that down to 3.85 percent growth. And in 2011 they revised it further to 2.8 percent growth. And when all was said and done, the economy only grew about 2.4 percent that year. The Fed projected growth almost twice as fast as what actually happened.

 

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What’s going on?

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s celebrate the economy … err, let’s wait.

October 6, 2014

Lots of end-zone dancing last week re: the economy.

The President says that all indicators are good, and that folks who aren’t feelin’ it just “don’t get it” because they’re watching FoxNews too much.

Say, what?

Let’s look at the ultimate measure: household income.

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped 8% during the recession … and has been flat after bottoming out a couple of years ago.

That means that the median real household income is still down 8% from the pre-recession peak.

Hard to get excited about that, right?

 

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The drop in median household income has come despite a steady increase in average hourly wages … they’re up about 10% since the official end of the recession.

That’s before inflation, but the Feds keep telling us that inflation is negligible, that shouldn’t matter, right?

 

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Let’s see, average wages are going up, but median household income is stalled at a depressed level.

What’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Nums: A world of battling algorithms

October 3, 2014

Recently I gave a pitch that touched on whether quants (left-brainers) or poets (right-brainers) were on the rise.

Reminded me of 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.

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Antibiotics, anti-antibiotics, and anti-anti-antibiotics …

October 2, 2014

First, the disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV, and I don’t dispense medical advice … I just report things that I think might be of interest.

This one has two tracks: urgent care clinics and antibiotics.

Loyal readers know that I’m a proponent of Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Urgent Care Clinics.

 

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Here’s the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

What grade would YOU expect if you missed more than half of your classes?

October 1, 2014

Let’s put a couple of pieces together.

On 60 minutes, the President blamed the Intelligence Agencies – specifically, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — for failing to detect the rise of ISIS (or, ISIL, if you prefer).

Squealing sources in the intelligence agencies have leaked that the President’s Daily (Security) Briefs PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.

 

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So, what’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Carpal tunnel is so yesterday … thumb tendonitis and AHS are maladies du jour …

September 30, 2014

From the “had to see this one coming department” …

In the old days, folks who who banged computer keyboards day in and day out suffered nerve damage in their hands & wrists called carpal tunnel syndrome.

More time on tablets and phones may have abated that problem a bit … but, of course, new problems have cropped up.

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Here are the son and daughter of carpal tunnel …

Read the rest of this entry »

How much do Congressmen get paid?

September 29, 2014

With the run-up to the midterm elections, I started to wonder (again): why do these guys work so hard to get elected?  Is it worth it?

Since Congress is gridlocked  … and, since the President is end-running  Congress on most matters … th fulfillment can’t be “having an impact”.

So, it must be something else.

Money, maybe?

Raises the question: how much dough gets thrown into the pot?

 

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 Here’s the scoop…

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Want a job? Then learn to crunch nums …

September 26, 2014

McKinsey recently published a report “Big Data – The Next Frontier” that concludes:

The United States faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to  make decisions based on their findings.

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Crunch those nums …

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The rise of the (very) young CEO …

September 25, 2014

Even before Burger King splashed its inversion scheme, its  CEO, Daniel Schwartz, created quite the buzz in his first year.

Thanks to a successful restructuring of the company, BK has nearly doubled its net income and increased same store sales by 2%.

 

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While the company’s performance warrants the positive PR, the majority of articles focus on a non-financial number …

 

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“Hands up, Floyd” … say,what?

September 24, 2014

This one is from the “great moments in law enforcement” file …

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County police have been cracking down on major crime.

SWAT teams – in full riot gear – have been raiding local barbershops.

 

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What’s the criminal activity that the police are trying to tamp down?

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Gotcha: Using your own genes against you …

September 23, 2014

 NPR says …

“Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora’s box … you might learn that you’re likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.”

There’s a federal law that’s supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA.

Under GINA, it’s illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone’s genetic code.

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But the law has a loophole: It only applies to health insurance.

Some insurance can be denied or priced high because of a person’s DNA.

Here’s an example … and a prediction.

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Do better looking students get better grades?

September 22, 2014

You bet they do …

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Prof Robert Kaplan of San Diego State University conducted an experiment:

Faculty subjects were asked to grade an essay written by a student.

A photograph of the student was attached to the essay.

The grade given for the essay correlated strongly with a subjective attractiveness scale evaluated by other judges.

What is interesting is that all the subjects received the exact same essay, and the photograph attached to it was randomly assigned.

Bottom line: physical attractiveness causes graders to give essay writers better scores on their essays.

Here’s what’s going on …

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NLRB Orders CNN to Rehire 100 Employees Fired in 2003 …. say,what?

September 19, 2014

According to Variety – the entertainment industry paper of record …

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered CNN to rehire 100 workers as part of a labor dispute that originated in 2003.

 

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This initially caught my eye because of the defendant … CNN.

Demonstrating non-partisanship, the NLRB isn’t targeting Fox … it’s going after administration-friendly CNN.

And, the story gets better …

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