30 December 2010

Health Insurance in the US

This (http://bit.ly/eR9hmH) is a short blog on health insurance in the
US.

The situation regarding health insurance in the US is complicated, but
the main fact is that health insurance through companies is subsidized
by tax breaks. The costs of health insurance have sky-rocketed. Even
with tax breaks, companies are opting for less expensive insurance for
them, with higher deductibles and so on. So, your company decides what
insurance you get.

My son had a trip to an ER in Ecuador for an asthma attack. It ended
up costing less than $200. The cost in the US for equivalent service
would be 10-20X more.

Brad

States hold universities accountable for graduation rates

I feel like Alaistair Cooke, reporting on US news to people outside
the US.

There are a lot of colleges controlled by state governments. They're
called "public universities."

Sometimes this is good. For instance, in regards to First Amendment
rights. The First Amendment protections applied to Federal Government
actions. A subsequent Amendment extended these rights or protections
to State and Local government actions. Court decisions have broadened
the protections to include public universities. So, a student
attending a public university in the US has First Amendment
protections.

The bad side of this is that public universities are subject to the
whims of government actions, which are often put into place without
considering the unintended consequences. It's not tough to imagine
what the unintended consequences of this action (http://n.pr/fRHgdn)
will be.

Aren't students responsible for their own graduation?

Brad

Riskiness

I like this story (http://n.pr/hWrSbf ) about the Environmental
Protection Agency and Dioxin because it concerns risk.

There's risk you can identify beforehand and risk that sneaks up on
you.

When you try to identify risk, you use tests. These tests will have
false positives and false negatives. In other words, you're going to
identify some things as risky that aren't, and vice versa.

Once you identify a risk, you have to gauge how severe is the risk. In
other words, what is the risk that something bad will happen to you,
how severe are the bad things that could happen to you, and what is
the overall risk you calculate from those numbers?

It's in the nature of government bureaucracies to use tests that have
a high false positive rate, and to act first, think later. So, you end
up with plenty of examples like dioxin, like saccharin, ...

Brad

The Dutch Sandwich

The Dutch sandwich shows up in the Dilbert cartoon:
http://ping.fm/Dpt4e

Bloomberg Businessweek explains the tax strategy: http://bit.ly/eVxk7w.

Abraham Briloff, an emeritus Professor of Accounting I hugely admire,
agrees with Dilbert and says these strategies are evil.

Judge Learned Hand says: "Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his
taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that
pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a
patriotic duty to increase one's taxes." In other words, if it's
legal, it's OK.

I am with Learned Hand on this one, but the debate will be
interesting.

Brad

Happiness and Suicide

I have been interested in the happiness literature ever since I found
out that citizens of Denmark consistently score among the happiest in
the world. Totally baffling.

This is a short blog post (http://bit.ly/e0Crw3) reports an article
that finds that suicide rates and happiness scores correlate in
geographic areas.

Brad

Bureaucratese?

http://bit.ly/hW3Qp2.

Brad

Marginal Utility

The Austrian economists emphasize the individual's marginal utility:
in other words a person will evaluate the value of something to them.
So two people will make a deal based on differences in marginal
utilities. The end result is both gain from the deal.

Anyway, here is the concept of marginal utility in action: http://bit.ly/hvYa5h.

Brad

27 December 2010

Tuberculosis in Prisons

http://bit.ly/eD5mBA.

A tuberculosis (TB) epidemic would be very very bad.

Antibiotic resistant TB is a major problem.

The concern is that resistant organisms are forming as a result of
social processes: prisons and HIV infections.

The US has a good proportion of its population in prisons. I wonder if
the US is 1st in the world now.

Brad

Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers

Car Talk is a well-known auto repair show from Boston: http://bit.ly/ggvpWV.

Brad

Real Estate cycle

I remember Charles-Henry Monchau said "The real estate cycle is 9 years."

This is data, mainly from Ireland but also from other areas in the EU,
about the downward plunge of the housing cycle: http://bit.ly/flqagq.

Brad

Economic cycles

Here is an article that finds that cycles are real: http://bit.ly/hwUT8i.
They do a spectral analysis of GDP data. In other words, they
transform data in a time series to a spectrum and find cycles,
significant statistically speaking.

There are reasons to think that cycles might not be real.

There's the Slutsky proposition (getting "slut" and "proposition" in
the same name supposedly helps as a mnemonic device), which states
that "the moving average of a random series fluctuates." In other
words, a simple mathematical manuever on a random series can produce
meaningful-looking cycles.

There's the cluster illusion, where humans, given random data, will
think it's not random and will try to ascribe meaning to the data.

There's the efficient market hypothesis, which states that, if a
market has predictable cycles, people will act to remove the cycles.

Brad

The 1970s

Murray Edelman wrote this in in the 1970s: http://bit.ly/hvAfUs.

Although the article, like me, is a product of the US in the 1970s,
Edelman makes the point that language, one's choice of words, is in
itself biased.

Brad

Human Rights

The US concept of human rights goes back to the Declaration of
Independence, which states "endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights,... life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness..."

The Rights are enumerated in the Amendments to the Constitution. One
thing the First Amendment guarantees is Freedom of Religion. In other
words, the government should not prescribe what religion a person
should practice.

Here's Gene Policinski on a practical case involving Freedom of
Religion:
http://ping.fm/BVXgE

Brad

Search Funds

I'd never heard of Search Funds. They are for entrepreneurs. The idea
is that, for entrepreneurs, it is sometimes easier to buy a company
rather than start a company.

Probably some of you are involved in Search Funds.

Here's information:
http://ping.fm/VHwTt

Brad

Books by Martin Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein

If you register at this site (http://ping.fm/Nj0W3
books/index.php/index), you can download, for free, books by Ariel
Rubinstein and Martin Osborne.

Brad

24 December 2010

Feliz Navidad

http://ping.fm/KeLkJ

Brad

A happiness map

from the University of Leicester

http://ping.fm/e9GgU

Brad

Book Reviews, Book Notes, Literary Criticism

Here are book notes on the book Why Smart Executives Fail:
http://ping.fm/XuZ5i

It is a good idea to write or at least to consider writing a book review or book notes after reading a book.

Regarding book reviews, here are clips from the movie Metropolitan

(http://ping.fm/aQT8o)

Key quotes:
“I prefer good literary criticism”: 5:20 to 6:15.
“For me, ceasing to exist is failure”: 2:25 to 3:00.
“Downward social mobility”: 3:00 to 4:15.
“It still means having your mother go out on dates”: 0:00 to 0:40.

The movie is chock-full of quotable moments.

Brad

Business School opening in Ivory Coast

http://ping.fm/jU3eU

Brad

Christmas Songs (Jazz, mostly)

Duke Ellington Orchestra – Jingle Bells http://bit.ly/g6Kf4e

Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby http://bit.ly/gzAch5

Doris Day – White Christmas http://bit.ly/eWr7TO

Ella Fitzgerald – Sleigh Ride http://bit.ly/g0Mkzf

Vincent Guaraldi Trio – O Tannenbaum http://bit.ly/fHdvKO

Brad

21 December 2010

A.G. Gaston

The baseball manager Leo Durocher said, "Nice guys finish last."

A. G. Gaston was a nice guy who finished first (http://n.pr/hOacj3).
He was involved in the change in racial attitudes in the South (in
Birmingham, Alabama, where I lived 1987-1994) during the Martin Luther
King days in the 1960s.

Brad

Peer Review

Randomness, or luck, plays a large factor: http://bit.ly/iazE8O.

People perceive randomness as unfair: http://bit.ly/gEzG6H.

Brad

Costs of driving and owning a car

in various US cities, in a graph: http://bit.ly/gZe859.

You'd have to factor in public transportation, a big consideration in
New York City.

There's data concerning costs of flying in and out of various cities,
but I don't know where to access that.

It reminds me of our discussions in Economics concerning corruption
and where to locate a company.

Brad

Best Business Blogs

I use Google Reader A LOT.

This is one compilation of Best Business Blogs: http://bit.ly/fpgzIH.

Brad

20 December 2010

Chess-type of economic analysis

The idea is to determine where you are and then figure out what
happens when you try to move from there.

This is Michael Munger looking at political science: http://bit.ly/fyFSey.

This is looking at Malthus from an equilibrium standpoint using the
same type of analysis: http://bit.ly/i5maJP.

Brad

Ideacide

Funny story: http://bit.ly/dECQ2w.

I know Matthew May as author of The Elegant Solution, a book about
Toyota.

Brad

Blowing in the wind

http://bit.ly/e5eKfx.

Brad

Wikileaks

http://ping.fm/Ee4ja

Brad

Cutting edge of medicine

http://bit.ly/dOVyLQ.

Brad

Leaders and followers

Nice, short article on leaders and followers: http://bit.ly/hLkKx4.

Brad

Insider trading

why laws banning insider trading are bad ideas: http://bit.ly/hJr01w.

Brad

18 December 2010

Prepublication Book

Networks, Crowds, and Markets by Easley and Kleinberg: http://bit.ly/eifjX7.

Brad

Christmas in the Mall

http://ping.fm/qKRaN

It's the Hallelujah chorus. People are supposed to stand,
traditionally.

This is from my friend, Jay Canchola. I don't know where he gets these things.

Brad

1938 World Cup on film

http://bit.ly/i0bxYY.

Brad

Privacy issues with Facebook

http://yhoo.it/hLJVRe.

Brad

13 December 2010

I'll pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today

This is Wimpy's famous line, from the Popeye comic strip.

David Friedman (http://bit.ly/hr8QyH) points out it's not just Wimpy,
but also politicians who would like to make promises but put the debts
off to the next administration.

Brad

Is the awareness test relevant?

The awareness test (http://bit.ly/fr2qoX) and change blindness (http://
bit.ly/g5laiC) are simple and popular. The tests seem to imply that
most of the time we walk around unaware and that there are gorillas
around (we just don't see them).

My question is: Is the test relevant to everyday life? In other words,
if you meet a person who says "I see a gorilla," what are the chance
that the person is correct, versus the chance that he's crazy?

I don't know. I guess, if you're in a business that is subject to
frequent surprises, you've got to think he might be correct.

Brad

Are books cheap now?

This (http://bit.ly/fRVNSL) is a list of business books for sale from
Zubal Books. It's probably US, so it would ship from the US. I would
guess that there might be a similar company for Europe. The books are
mainly English, it looks like to me.

It's not an easy site to navigate. I went to Business or Economics,
set it to list books from earliest to now. There was a 4th edition of
Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. Carl Schurz's Honest Money and Work
(was a follow-up on Dishonest Money and Work?).

A lot of the books are $50 or less. It looks to me like people are
selling their books and prices are low, but it's not my area...

Brad

A life among the econ

William Allen's story of academic life in the UCLA Department of
Economics. http://bit.ly/evYVND.

There's a lot of good stories here: journals that won't publish your
work unless you stick in some mathematical formulas, the trials of
being a department chief, etc. He tells the stories well. I am not
sure that he gets the moral of the story right, though.

Brad

Cheating

Cheating in a business school class: http://bit.ly/eve6vz.

Cheating in Association football: http://bbc.in/eiVbos.

Brad

Siegel's paradox

http://bit.ly/ga6nrV.

Brad

12 December 2010

Optimization in business school

They're studying optimization at MIT Sloan. You can download a program
called AMPL.

http://bit.ly/hVODcZ

Brad

Berserker equilibrium

The idea behind berserker equilibrium is that there is a multiple-
players prisoners' game going on. The game payoffs are set so that, if
you make a move, everyone else will kill you. Your rational play is
not only to refrain from making a move, but to be so quiet no one else
knows you even exist to play the game. So everybody stays silent.

http://bit.ly/eZTCsE

The concept comes from a set of science fiction stories by Fred
Saberhagen: http://bit.ly/fjDtgd. Not from the berserkers, who were
Norse warriors.

Brad

Take Five

Dave Brubeck quartet: http://bit.ly/fSIgY0.

Brad

Ivo Welch's Corporate Finance

You can read it online (http://bit.ly/fAtj7g).

Brad

29 November 2010

Foreclosure crisis in the US

Here: http://bit.ly/hZia0m.

The banks have a huge paperwork problem regarding mortgages they hold. Either they can't find, or they may have destroyed, key paperwork. Then, they try to push foreclosure through the courts using possibly phony documents.

Right now there is a 18 month wait on foreclosure proceedings. So, from the home owner's point of view, if you are underwater with your mortgage and about to default, the rational thing to do is to stay in the house. You can get 18 months rent- and mortgage payment-free.

Brad

Robert Lucas on income inequality and Malthus

This is an historical review of economic growth: http://bit.ly/9M0OA1.

He makes the points that (1) productivity gains underlay economic
growth and (2) productivity gains are the cause of the income
inequality.

Brad

Niklas Blanchard's

ten books to rule them all (http://bit.ly/cpVeoX).

I am a sucker for lists of books, lists of movies, or lists of
professors that have influenced people.

Brad

Lucy Kellaway makes sense of

promoting people at random (http://bit.ly/9wVhj9).

Brad

Yes men

A Theory of Yes Men by Prendergast: http://bit.ly/eFRHTr.

The idea is that, if managers give incentives based upon subjective
data, then you'll get "Yes Men." If you don't want conformity and want
creativity, do not give incentives based subjectively.

Brad

A Fable of the OC

by Michael Munger: http://bit.ly/gY7dp2.

The OC is not only Orange County, but also Opportunity Cost. OC is a
difficult concept.

Brad

Interview on US insider trading

with a former prosecutor: http://bit.ly/ewCvIU.

Brad

19 October 2010

Types of Argument

There are at least 3 types of argument (http://www.youtube.com/watch?


v=kQFKtI6gn9Y).



One, is the dialectical. This was used by Socrates. It involves 2 or

more people holding a discussion, the goal being to advance their

understanding.



Two, is rhetorical. In this, the speaker or writer is trying to

convince an audience (http://bit.ly/aEy78A).



Three, is debate-style, where 2 or more speakers are trying to score

points off each other and win.



You don't want to think you'll be in 1 kind of argument and find out

you're in another. You might not have prepared properly.

Brad

Chilean miners, cartels, and moral hazard

In cartels, individual members have an incentive to cheat
(http://bit.ly/cuDEQs).

Brad

29 September 2010

Personalities and Economists

This is not for Javi.

For me, I like the know the personality of the economist when I'm
reading one of his or her papers. The personality helps my memory,
which needs all the help it can get. The trouble is, it's hard to find
out about personality.

Here's one guy at Columbia University (http://ping.fm/YYWe6
Indexmuppet.htm) who shows his personality on his web-page. He's from
Spain (a country on the Iberian peninsula). He likes football. He has
a list of quotes when a person predicts failure for something and it
turns out to be a raging success (e.g., Bill Gates: "Why would anyone
ever need more than 640K of RAM?"). Fun, fun, fun.

Another place to look for personality, in the US, is the website
ratemyprofessors.com. Here are his students describing the guy:
http://ping.fm/P5sxE A red pepper
indicates the professor is hot, meaning he or she is good-looking.

28 September 2010

This article (http://bit.ly/9DxQoq) is about people who are not good
at something (like humor) but are not aware of it.

In medicine, there is a condition called anosognosia, meaning the
patient is ill but is not aware of it. For instance a person might
have had a stroke, but, because of the location of the stroke, they
don't realize they've had a stroke or that they have weakness,
although it's abundantly clear to everyone else.

The question is: what are you not good at, but don't know it? or, do
you know what you don't know?
I heard Jake Adelstein (http://bit.ly/cgTxVY) interviewed today on a
BBC radio show. He is an investigative reporter, involved mainly
looking into organized crime in Japan. He says that, in Japan,
organized crime is supported, or at least not discouraged. The idea is
that you WANT to have monopolies in crime.

WHAT!? Well, economically, the idea is that, with monopolies, you get
companies that don't reach and don't particularly try to reach the
production frontier. You get fewer entrepreneurs, fewer SMEs, and less
innovation.

I do recall Baumol (http://bit.ly/beE8yC) wrote that entrepreneurs
will innovate. In good economic times, they'll work on things that are
good for society; but, in bad economic times, they'll work on things
that are bad for society. You just can't stop them.

Well, if you support organized crime, the idea is that the organized
crime bosses will drive the entrepreneurs away from doing things that
are bad for society.

At least, in theory.

I wonder what are the unintended consequences of this?
The big news this summer was the HP Board's summary dismissal of CEO
Mark Hurd over what seemed a minor issue involving an inappropriate
relationship with a female contractor, a former soft-core porn
actress. Hurd received a golden handshake and was dismissed. His many
supporters pointed out that Hurd was a numbers guy (not a people
person) and that HP had done well in his tenure. Hurd then went on to
accept a job at Oracle. That move led to a lawsuit by HP. On it
goes...

Here (http://bit.ly/9DcyiD) is a blog posting regarding HP's earnings
claims during and just after the Hurd era, showing that HP did not do
well financially and how the numbers people tried to cover it up.
This (http://ping.fm/iUyuR) is a famous
documentary. Barbara Kopple films a coal miners' strike in Kentucky in
1973. I hope people outside the US can watch films on hulu.
This article (http://bit.ly/aU74r6) concerns the performance of
various wines in wine competitions. They found "that winning a gold
medal was significantly influenced by chance alone." I am not sure
what's the take-home message from the article, so obviously more work
needs to be done in this area. Here are some possible take-homes
(obviously an incomplete list):

1) If it tastes good, it is good. Don't worry what the experts say,
because they can't agree.

2) The wine experts, enthusiasts, and snobs (i.e., my brother-in-law)
have no idea what they're talking about, and they're fooling
themselves if they think they do. This is another example of the
Kruger-Dunning effect.

3) It's like the Coke-Pepsi taste tests. The message is: you're buying
the name on the label. The name is part of the tasting experience.

4) People couldn't tell the difference between neat alcohol mixed with
grape juice and a high-quality wine.

30 August 2010

Another aspect of bullying is that the perpetrator doesn't recognize what he's doing.
2008-8-29

"THIS AFTERNOON I RECEIVED A POST IT NOTE IN THE READING ROOM ASKING HOW I WANTED TO BE NOTIFIED OF EEGs S TO BE INTERPRETEDTO BE INTERPRETED OVER THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND. I GUESS I THOUGHT THIS PROCEDURE, AS LEAST FOR MYSELF, WAS ALREADY ESTABLISHED BUT JUST IN CASE NOT PLEASE REVIEW THE NOTES BELOW WITH ALL EEG TECHS AND IF ANY QUESTIONS PERHAPS WE SHOULD MET TO CLARIFY.

1. WHEN THE TECH IS NOTIFIED OF AN EEG TO BE DONE I WANT TO BE PAGED WITH A TEXT MESSAGE INDICATING THE APPROXIMATE TIME OF COMPLETION. THIS CAN BE DONE BY CALLING THE MUNSON OPERATOR AT 935-5000.

2. THEN WHEN THE EEG HAS BEEN COMPLETED AND IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING DOWNLOADED PLEASE SEND A SECOND PAGE TO INDICATE THE EXAM IS READY TO BE INTERPRETED AND REQUEST THAT I CALL TECH TO CONFIRM THAT I HAVE RECEIVED THE MESSAGES.

3. IF ANY SIGNIFICANT DELAY OCCURS IN THE EXAM AN ADDITIONAL PAGE TO INFORM ME WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

4. IF THERE ARE ANY PROBLEMS OR QUESTIONS RE CONTACTING ME REGULAR LAND LINE CALLS TO MY HOME AT 946-5611 OR TO MY INFREQUENTLY ANSWERED CELL 734-474-7683 COULD ALSO BE ATTEMPTED. AND IN ADDITION EMAILING ME AT MCSALON@GMAIL..COM OR SREC@CHARTERINTERNET.COM MIGHT ALSO BE ATTEMPTED.

AS ALWAYS MORE INFORMATION THAN NECESSARY IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN INSUFFICIENT INFO."

29 August 2010

My blog http://ping.fm/WUJBu is where you will find the entire posting.
There must be other analogies to bullying. Perhaps someone banging on a gavel repetitively, without stopping. Ordinarily, the goal is to get quiet or perhaps to get attention, but if the gavel-banging goes on and on, without purpose, then it is similar to bullying.
2008-9-14

"A PATIENT HIELERORMSBEE IS ON MY LIST. I HAVE NO PAPERWORK. WHEN WAS THIS DONE? I WAS NOT NOTIFIED

SEEMS WE ARE HAVING PROBLEMS OF PATIENTS BEING PROPERLY SET UP FOR INTERPRETATION. SEE ALSO PREVIOUS EMAILRE 2 PATIENTS NOT ON THE READER. "
"A PATIENT HIELERORMSBEE IS ON MY LIST. I HAVE NO PAPERWORK. WHEN WAS THIS DONE? I WAS NOT NOTIFIED

SEEMS WE ARE HAVING PROBLEMS OF PATIENTS BEING PROPERLY SET UP FOR INTERPRETATION. SEE ALSO PREVIOUS EMAILRE 2 PATIENTS NOT ON THE READER. "

27 August 2010

It can be difficult to understand the concept that, while none of the emails meets bullying standards, the series does. I'd use an analogy: each individual brush-strokes does not make a painting, but all the brush-strokes do.
2010-5-7

"ONCE AGAIN THERE ARE ERRORS IN MY TIMECARD FOR EEG INTERPRETATIONS.

1. MY FIGURES INDICATE 15 REGULAR INTERPRETATIONS, NOT 13

2. MY FIGURES INDICTE 3 CAROTID INTERPRETATIONS, NOT 1

I HAVE REVIEWED THESE DATA WITH THE TECH OF THE DAY PEGGY. SOME OF THESE APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN ASCRIBED TO DR EVANS INSTEAD OF MYSELF.

PLEASE REVIEW THIS ADDITIONAL DISCREPANCY AND FORWARD CORRECTED DATA AND ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION TO MYSELF IN A SUPPLEMENTAL CHECK SO IT WILL NOT BE CONFUSING AT THE TIME OF THE NEXT SCHEDULED PAY PERIOD COMPENSATION.

IS THERE NOT SOME WAY TO HAVE TECHS OR WHOMEVER CORRECTLY ANNOTATE INTERPRETERS REGARDLESS OF WHO IS ON THE CALL SHEET WHICH IS FREQUENTLY CHANGED AND SOMETIMES NOT UP TO DATE? PLEASE!"

These emails are all from one person.

26 August 2010

Another important aspect of bullying is the pattern, in addition to the repetition. In other words, you may see each individual email as within boundaries, but the sum of the emails is bullying.
2010-5-14

"YESTERDAY I REQUESTED AND OLD TRACING 09-750 BE LOADED ONTO THE ACTIVE DATABSE SO THAT I COULD COMPARE THE EXAM WITH A NEW STUDY ON THIS PATIENT 46-12-44.

TODAY I RECEIVED A POST IT NOTE (UNSIGNED) THAT STATES "WE CANNOT ACCESS THE DISK THIS STUDY IS ON SORRY."

PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL RE THE FOLLOWING QUERIES.

1. WHY IS THE DATA INACCESSIBLE? IS IT MISSING, CORRUPT OR WHAT?

2. ARE THERE OTHER SIMILAR INSTANCES OF MISSING DATA--IF SO PLEASE ENUMERATE.

3. HAVE ATTEMPTS BEEN MADE TO CORRECT THIS AND OTHER SIMILAR DEFICIENCIES?

THANKS"

This is another email. Is it bullying?

Brad

25 August 2010

Bullying? (August 7, 2010)

"thanks for interpreting the ssep on my icu patient today.
however there does seems to be a lack of communication re when these studies can be ordered and expected to
be interpreted. this same patient could have had the exam on Friday but no ep trained tech was available. I
would request that a mechanism be put in place to notify on call neurologists when ssep studies cannot be
done due either to tech or interpreter unavailability. it is not good to tell a family you have an exam that may help
them with decisions and then not to be able to provide the service promptly. thanks"

ep is evoked potentials; ssep stands for somatosensory evoked potentials.
It's part of the definition of bullying that it's a repetitive activity. One problem when you're facing a bullying situation is that some episodes have passed before you realize what's going on. If you complain about the bullying, you may be asked: Why now? With the other episodes, you did not complain.

24 August 2010

Boss-employee bullying http://huff.to/9qe1Td

27 July 2010

http://bit.ly/ajqEhq Peter Klein on the BP oil spill. 1) Liability caps may have led to moral hazard. 2) Principal-agent problem arises with leasing (the drilling platform). 3) A flatter, decentralized corporate structure (BP's trend) may lead to faster response times and flexibility, but also to coordination failure and moral hazard.

19 July 2010

Are stock buybacks a form of legal insider trading and shouldn't they indicate the stock will achieve a superior return? No: http://bit.ly/caJSyc.

14 July 2010

Can you film police while they are "doing their jobs"? http://bit.ly/cZqXj2.
Hayek interviewed by top economists, from Universidad Francisco Marroquin: http://bit.ly/9vvN4O.
According to this, you can fight the tax assessment on your home. Many counties try to hold the assessment stable, although values may have dropped: http://bit.ly/9uGZ8U.
GSK did an "under-the-radar" study to look into the cardiovascular risk of Avandia, then hid the study results: http://bit.ly/bWv3FI.
Ghostwritten article by GSK on Avandia, with Stephen Haffner as lead: http://bit.ly/auXGRz.
FDA Avandia reviewer is excluded from FDA Avandia discussions: http://bit.ly/d42D1l.
Jeffrey Pfeffer's new article "Power Play," published in HBR, is available here: http://bit.ly/dlmxIK.
International Affairs: http://ping.fm/cV5QD This is great.
Learn foreign languages for free: http://bit.ly/aFtdKa.
The films of Andrei Tarkovsky (e.g., Solaris) are available online: http://ping.fm/SP39b

13 July 2010

It's hard to overestimate the damage GSK has done to itself. They employ an academic hit man, hide negative data, ban employees from pharma gossip sites, improperly obtain articles before publication, and more. Read about it here: http://bit.ly/bT0eWn.

12 July 2010

Toyota and Tesla might reopen the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California: http://bit.ly/9bJGlN.
Toyota makes threats to SIU after its professor has a theory for the acceleration accidents. http://bit.ly/ah6kkG. I smell cover-up.

11 July 2010

From Volokh Conspiracy: The current estate tax situation is a perverse incentive. People with large estates benefit by dying before the year is out: http://bit.ly/dCzwUb.
Michael Shedlock on Seattle's pension plan problems: http://bit.ly/9Sb761. Its problems are related to defined benefit plans.
Free downloads of articles at Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy: http://ping.fm/08LRe From the Federalist Society. HT: Frankenblog.
She took a chance on herself. Now work is fun: http://nyti.ms/ddVgjW.
Carpe Diem gives an example of the U-Haul index: http://bit.ly/bq9u9c.
Quicker to read books compared to ebooks: http://bit.ly/d0X7g3. HT: naked capitalism.
Black hole blows gas bubble. Black holes gain energy and then eject energy, usually as X-rays. http://bit.ly/a2d0VG. HT: naked capitalism.

08 July 2010

Free online courses: http://ping.fm/GMbOB
GPO deals don't consider possibility of innovations: http://bit.ly/cmUKwY.
Woman nearly loses health insurance over one cent shortfall: http://ping.fm/XVkK5

02 July 2010

Swatch's Nicolas Hayek has died: http://bit.ly/dx6XOw.
Dendreon's prostate cancer vaccine will cost $93,000 per patient per year! http://bit.ly/9FtDLI. That's got to be a joke.

01 July 2010

Update on Pfizer's Trovan trial: http://bit.ly/bHuUin. It would have been better to have done the study right in the 1st place...
Streisand effect? I hope so.

Quackwatch (http://ping.fm/lc7Rt) has received a "cease and desist" letter from Algis Augustine (http://ping.fm/E98oJ14Legal/dd_suit.html), representing the "licensed CLIA laboratory" Doctor's Data. Doctor's Data is the lab that doctors doing chelation therapy use for determining heavy metal toxicity. The more chelation these guys do, the better, so they will find the lab that finds the highest levels of heavy metals (http://ping.fm/z1F2a01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/urine_toxic.html). CLIA licensing is obviously not as stringent as I thought. Perhaps this is another example of government regulatory failure.

Quackwatch, a valuable website, could use any help you can give it. There is only one Quackwatch, but there is a need for many more.
Debreu's book Theory of Value can be downloaded at no charge here: http://bit.ly/d3O9Vx. HT:Falkenblog.
Good news! The Dow is down! The dividend yield of the Dow is now more than the T-bond yield: http://bit.ly/bZyYfO.
States starting to cut back on pensions for state employees: http://bit.ly/ao2dyj. For the auto industry, unions insisted on defined benefit plans. That may have been a mistake. I wonder if a person could auction their pension on e-bay???

30 June 2010

Medical ghostwriting, by Grassley's committee: http://bit.ly/dsQYk4. HT: Margaret Soltan, University Diaries.
UK Vodka best in world: http://bit.ly/aXwS70. Take this with a bit of tonic. In wine ratings, the rating varies from contest to contest, randomly. If you can't tell which wine is the best, how can you tell which is the best vodka?
Just-in-time for disaster? http://bit.ly/99qVxB. The idea of JIT is to shove your warehousing costs off to the suppliers. The risk is that the suppliers won't keep sufficient supplies for disaster. This is a hidden risk.

28 June 2010

The government looks into ghostwriting of scientific articles in medical journals: http://bit.ly/d6eM9U. The well-established procedure is: (1) pharmaceutical company does a study, (2) pharmaceutical company maintains the database, (3) pharmaceutical company hires a medical writer to write the article, and (4) pharmaceutical company arranges with a top academic professor to put his or her name as the lead author. Ghostwriting, if it were a Harvard student putting his name on the product, would be considered plagiarism. The student would typically be expelled.
High Dudgeon, or blowing the whistle at KCUMB on Peltz: http://ping.fm/CmXzL Morals of the story: One, whistleblowers are terrified of being found out; two, if you do whistleblow, blow OUTSIDE the organization and try to create a paper trail.
Dr. Matthew Mintz of George Washington Univ fails to disclose financial conflict of interest with GlaxoSmithKline to Forbes: http://ping.fm/z9zOf (1) Failure to disclose may lead to assumption of bias, but does full disclosure lead to assumption of no bias? (2) People who have conflicts of interest are usually the last to realize it.
Michael Shermer on Fraud in Science: http://bit.ly/dCcCJE. Recognition of the difference between deception and self-deception depends upon determination of intent. This is difficult. First, you have to pick the person who makes the determination. Second, they have to make the determination.
Aristotle, self-sufficiency, and its consequences: http://ping.fm/1d6V1

27 June 2010

The macroeconomic equivalent of shrouded attributes: http://bit.ly/aZym9L.
Decades ago, Buffett bought Cities Service. Now it's Venezuela-owned. http://bit.ly/9OnC8D.

26 June 2010

Freee e-books: http://ping.fm/WxEgE
Journal of Economic Perspectives is available on line for free: http://bit.ly/bYs7Jm

24 June 2010

Competition increases cheating, particularly when individuals are performing poorly: http://bit.ly/ctsiXA
How much is a CEO worth? http://bit.ly/bQ5J96. I am looking for the Graef Crystal article upon which this is based.

22 June 2010

Danes always score themselves as happy: http://bit.ly/ae5cF7.

21 June 2010

I just heard Luis Rojas Marcos talk about Overcoming Adversity and he was great.

12 June 2010

Online course on statistical multilevel modeling: http://bit.ly/9Yifi. from AGelman
Pharma companies influence disease-specific organizations: http://bit.ly/dqL5Q8

05 June 2010

Wooden on leadership: http://bit.ly/9jnjcB

01 June 2010

Mommy, what's a basis point? http://bit.ly/csWiLE
Salmon on university endowments, mainly Harvard: http://bit.ly/caDO9v.
SLAPP: Strategic lawsuit against public participation. http://nyti.ms/a8Rea3.
Picture of massive sinkhole in Guatemala: http://bit.ly/cspNDF
Bastiat's "That which is seen and that which is not seen": http://ping.fm/NSPlS from Landsburg.

16 May 2010

Sal Khan & the Khan Academy: http://bit.ly/9cA0xi.

15 May 2010

Group dynamics and innovation: http://bit.ly/9kPsow
Oops! I just got my MBA from IE. Does this put paid to the idea of getting education during a recession? http://bit.ly/alWU6x

14 May 2010

From IESE: Pfeffer on Power (http://bit.ly/b3vUJe).

13 May 2010

Peter Klein's new book is out: http://bit.ly/dd02Sg.

11 May 2010

Robin Hanson on how NYSE rules caused the recent market meltdown: http://bit.ly/cs7syp
Recent business books recommended by Michael Roberto: http://bit.ly/9wfCb1
Futebol finance is a Portuguese RSS feed. You can translate to many languages (not Russian or Chinese though) or brush up on your Portuguese: http://bit.ly/dpTsPh
Zug.com, a site for pranks: http://www.zug.com/. Now, I need a site for cranks.
Harvard Endowment Funds bet against Goldman Sachs, lose: http://bit.ly/cGmaYB
Robert Samuelson on Greece and the "farewell" state: http://bit.ly/bk5ibm

10 May 2010

Bebchuk et al on Learning and the disappearing association between governance and returns: http://bit.ly/dcz5Ya
Niall Ferguson on catastrophic collapse: http://bit.ly/aOBQyM
Felix Salmon and Barry Nalebuff on how much to invest in stocks: http://bit.ly/b9V2K
"What's wrong with price gouging?": http://bit.ly/95iD8U. HT: Mankiw.
NatureNews goes open-access: http://bit.ly/cZqy0x
Markets in everything: using hair to sop up oil spill oil: http://bit.ly/9rwWwR
Letterman top 10 on Goldman Sachs: http://bit.ly/cFg5cp
1) Editor of Medical Hypotheses publishes article by Peter Duesberg. 2) Editor is sacked. http://bit.ly/bxUBAW

06 May 2010

Schools will now provide a list of days students CAN'T wear the US flag: http://bit.ly/9KQHYj.

04 May 2010

Steve Hanke on the Fed blowing bubbles: http://bit.ly/dp1atb. From Division of Labour.
Austro-Athenian Empire remembers Kent State and what it meant: http://bit.ly/cj5xxS.
Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine on GM "paying back the TARP loan in full": http://bit.ly/9d3wjm. HT:ProfessorBainbridge

02 May 2010

One hour video on Richard Feynman: http://bit.ly/VxOB.
Michael Roberto's review of Youngme Moon's new book on strategy: http://bit.ly/akTkCV.

25 April 2010

Seth Godin: Who judges your work? http://bit.ly/aRRf6y.

12 April 2010

We have 2 international students staying with us: Erik (Ecuador) and Rixi (Hong Kong).

09 March 2010

EMR; fMRI; Alzheimer and smoking

Alexander Friedman: "Today’s electronic medical records are written for the benefit of insurance companies, which scrutinize each doctor’s note carefully for billing purposes."

Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies: Watch those fMRI studies. Some are reporting correlations not only too high to be believed, but higher than possible.

Cigarette Smoking is a Risk Factor for Alzheimer's Disease: An Analysis Controlling for Tobacco Industry Affiliation: Tobacco company-sponsored studies report lower correlations between smoking and getting Alzheimer's. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Zamboni hits a bump

Two serious adverse events, Stanford halts CCSVI procedure.

Where will new treatments for stroke come from

by Howells and Donnan. Includes a table with NNT data for stroke treatments.

McDonald criteria 2001

Here.

22 February 2010

Free ebooks on economics and business

All,

There are free books at http://bookboon.com/. I don't recognize the authors' names, but the books look good (and they're free, at least free for the price of registration).

Brad

Opportunity Cost

All,

Here is Michael Munger, Chairman of Political Science at Duke, explaining opportunity cost ("the OC" traditionally refers to Orange County): http://bit.ly/cC0HPD.

Brad
All,

Ricardo's comparative advantage idea is one of the most important, poorly understood, and underused concepts in economics. It applies not just in foreign trade, but everywhere there is trade. Even dividing up the household chores might involve comparative advantage.

Here is Nobel Prizewinner Paul Krugman explaining the idea: http://bit.ly/rK0sh. Here you can get a free ebook of Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy and Taxation: http://bit.ly/brRjNO.

Brad

14 February 2010

Free Game Theory Book

Game theory started and grew at the RAND Corporation. You can download John D. Williams's The Complete Strategyst here (http://www.rand.org/pubs/commercial_books/CB113-1/). Look below "Add to Cart," where it says "Download pdf version here."

Failure

How do you know failure? It is not as easy as it seems. Here, from CFO.com, is an article by McCann on the subject, for companies: http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/14473961.