Some longer form reads to start your weekend:

A Critique of Grantham and Gordon: The Prospects for Long-term Growth (Advisor Perspectives)
•  It’s time for CEOs to stop obsessing over shareholder value (The Economist)
• Why Can’t India Feed Its People? (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Worse than AOL/Time Warner: From H.P., a Blunder That Seems to Beat All (NYT)
• 5 Statistics Problems That Will Change The Way You See The World (The Atlantic)
• As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living (NYT)
• The Truce On Drugs (NY Magazine)
• A Three Act Journey in the Land of the Screenwriting Gurus (Los Angeles Review of Books)
• Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964) (Filmsite)
• How to Use iTunes 11’s Awesome New Features (and Bring Back the Old iTunes Look) (Life Hacker) see also Apple Rolls Out a Cleaner iTunes (Pogue)

What are you reading?


Beware dangerous cliff

Source: The Economist

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

22 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. VennData says:

    Lions coordinator defends Suh, blasts Schaub – Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham defended embattled defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and took a shot at Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub on Friday.

    “…Of course it’s Shaub’s fault. You just can’t stand there with your balls hanging out and expect not to get kicked. I’m laughing at the idea of someone thinking they can get away with blaming this on someone like Ndamukong for whom the integrity of the game comes first, last, always. I’d kick Shaub in the balls if I had half a chance, myself. And admit, so would you.”

  2. VennData says:

    Human Evolution Enters an Exciting New Phase

    “…If you could escape the human time scale for a moment, and regard evolution from the perspective of deep time, in which the last 10,000 years are a short chapter in a long saga, you’d say: Things are pretty wild right now. In the most massive study of genetic variation yet, researchers estimated the age of more than one million variants, or changes to our DNA code, found across human populations. The vast majority proved to be quite young. The chronologies tell a story of evolutionary dynamics in recent human history, a period characterized by both narrow reproductive bottlenecks and sudden, enormous population growth…”

    Not according to GOP standard-bearer Mark Rubio. In fact, keeping things the same, unless Democrats want it, did it, or it might help them in any way.

    The GOP, Evolution-deniers. Oh, but you support them for your tax cuts, not their science denial, right GOP voter?

  3. craig.r.jackson says:

    I haven’t noticed any great concern by management for shareholder. Dividends are skimpy. Management pays itself huge stock options which it promptly exercises and sells back to the company through share repurchase plans almost always at high prices. Management pays itself massive salaries, often much more than the company itself earns in profits. Management has almost no financial interest in the company. The whole thing is a scam. Small investors are better off investing in small beaten down companies where management owns a significant interest and a come back is likely. Large investors need to buy the entire company, eg Warren Buffett and Burlington Northern. Mutual funds are not good investment vehicles, neither is the S&P500.

  4. gkm says:

    I would really suggest to cease posting the “5 Statistical Problems…” article to stop the countenancing of popular delusions. To the point: the Monty Hall Problem is factually wrong. The solution as explain is not correct because, to put it in simplest terms, the solution is not robust.

    If the original contestant were replaced, after the first door is revealed, by a different person, acting on the available information at the time there would be no reason to change doors. This is of course because the probabilities at that point are 50/50. Said another way, or as a friend of mine who’s smarter than I am put it, he wouldn’t even pick a door just telling Monty to get one out of the way because in the end you’ve got a 1 in 2 chance at the car. The rest is showmanship.

    There are some problems with the other items in the article as well but they are more nuanced. It is just sad to see this kind of thing propagated. This might be more revealing as to the psychology of why people have a real problem stock picking: they get caught up in the showmanship.


    BR: When you make the 1st selection, you are choosing 1 out of 3 doors — your odds are 33% of picking the winner. After the reveal, the odds on the switch are 50/50.

    That’s the reason to switch — trading a 33% probability for a 50% probability.

  5. S Brennan says:

    [It’s time for CEOs to stop obsessing over shareholder value (The Economist)]

    It’s too bad Schumpeter was so heavy handed in his second half of the article…I know one has to please his masters, but it made the article somewhat schizophrenic…still, I suppose, one should be grateful that the magazine reports any of the glaringly obvious flaws of modern managers.

  6. Conan says:

    Here is some interesting graphs on Energy from Business Insider:

    9 Charts That Show Why People Have Begun To Whisper About ‘Saudi America’

    IT’S OVER: Why Everyone Is Losing Hope For Green Energy

  7. Conan says:

    Forgot this one about Coal I was surprised at the growth and how much was used and exported:

    Stunning Photos Of The World’s Future Energy Source

  8. ilsm says:

    Strangelove is factier than fiction.

    Tea party towns in NH have banned fluoridation for years. Is NH run by “psychotic, impotent” former Air Force officers.

    New Hampshire’s “Joe Mc Carthy” wannabe, junior senator’s husband is/was a national guard pilot.

    “Air Force command base of a psychotic, impotent bomb-group commander who is zealously convinced that the Russians have devised water fluoridation to weaken American men – filmed with a cinema verite, documentary style” Dr. Strangelove…….

    May be reason Sen Ayotte needs to share the small screen with MC Cain, Mc Connell and Gramm!

  9. Mike in Nola says:

    I never could understand the compulsion to amass huge music collections and walk around with things stuck in your ears all day. But, apparently, a lot of people do. I wonder if anyone is doing a long-term study on hearing loss in the iPod generation.

    I used to have a v. good sound system back in the 70-80′s, but listening to it was too much like work. I like music or an audiobook or a podcast to pass the time when I’m not involved in serious thought, like while cooking or driving long distances or if I have to follow the wife around shopping. Got hooked on audiobooks and podcasts on the six hour drives between Houston and NOLA which I did for w few years. On planes they put me to sleep and if I’m thinking, sound is too distracting.

  10. Mike in Nola says:

    For the desktop/laptop crowd, it appears that reports of MSFT’s death are greatly exaggerated. IE is gaining ground again.

    I find accelerators in IE addictive which is why I keep using it. Makes it easy to look up things on Wikipedia, Amazon, Newegg, IMDB, etc. without leaving the page you are looking at. I personally have issues with IE10 because you can make it so untrackable and ad-proof that many sites don’t work well or are slow, in which case I fall back on Firefox. Even some of MSFT’s own sites have issues. But, every time I go to a site where I’ve turned off tracking protection so the author’s can make a few bucks on ads and then I see an ad for what I was recently looking at on Amazon or Newegg, it makes me want to re-enable the anti-tracking lists.

    Judging by the flat yellow line at the bottom of the second chart, it doesn’t look like Macs are going to take over the world anytime soon.

  11. streeteye says:

    Unless I’m mistaken (wouldn’t be the first time), the conclusion from the last statistics problem is wrong.

    Didn’t prove treatment B was better, just that the people who got treatment B weren’t as sick – more people had the more treatable condition.

    It’s as if home sales in NY spike because of a tax artifact, and you conclude that prices nationwide are going up because the average national price went up.

  12. streeteye says:

    Cialdini – 6 secrets of persuasion – video

  13. Mike in H-town,

    have you seen any of..

    “…”It’s against our policy to carry anything that’s grown with GMOs in it,” says one employee, caught on camera.

    But according to Organic Spies, anywhere from 20% – 30% of Whole Foods products contain GMOs. See the full video at:

    When asked whether Whole Foods products contain GMOs, another employee says, “Absolutely not. Because the bottom line for all Whole Foods is no preservatives, no additives, no added growth hormones, no GMOs, absolutely, that’s for everything.”

    This statement is, of course, patently absurd. Even I’ve noticed all kinds of additives and preservatives in products sold at Whole Foods. And GMOs are found throughout the store, including in many so-called “natural” products that are actually made with GM corn. In fact, Natural News just revealed a list of the top 10 breakfast cereals most likely to contain GMOs… and some of them are sold at Whole Foods.

    “Whole Foods has mastered the art of bait and switch”


    also, have you taken the chance to peep out the ‘new’ Nokia WindowsPhone “Software Programmable Radios” (the 920 in ‘this’ ‘Market’..) (?)

  14. Mike in Nola says:

    Mark in Htown:

    Will take a look, but I don’t really buy that much at whole foods and I don’t really do it for the organic properties, just that the food seems to be high quality and there are a few things that aren’t easy to get elsewhere. I don’t find their bread particularly good; Randall’s has better bolillos and baguettes and Central Market better variety breads.

    BTW, have to go back to NOLA for a deposition this week. Can’t wait for the cracklings at the Best Stop and am hoping for some good Andouille for gumbo. I learned to my dismay in France that Andouille is made with intestines and not ham like here. Thought it tasted funny. I boiled the turkey carcass and am hoping to get some sausage and Andouille gumbo out of it. I doubt seriously that anything I eat heading east is gonna be organic.

    BTW#2 Is there any place in Houston that has good chicharones? I don’t mean the dry, crunchy things, but the fresh out of the fryer succulent ones.

  15. Mike in Nola says:

    Speaking of drug truces, I’ve read and heard a few reports that the new Mexican president is being looked upon favorably by the cartels and may make some kind of deals with them to restore peace and allow legal business and trade to flourish in the border areas. The Mexican war on drugs was the real thing and has killed something like 50,000 people as it’s being fought like the US fights insurgents. And, it has been just as successful and popular.

  16. gkm says:

    BR, while I’m sure you weren’t trying to reinforce my point i.e. that people just can’t for some reason see the problem with that interpretation, it does cause me to wonder exactly what cognitive bias is at play here. I’m believe it is:

    Gambler’s fallacy – the tendency to think that future probabilities are altered by past events, when in reality they are unchanged. Results from an erroneous conceptualization of the law of large numbers. For example, “I’ve flipped heads with this coin five times consecutively, so the chance of tails coming out on the sixth flip is much greater than heads.”

    Maybe that will help.


    BR: 1/2 vs 1/3 is not a fallacy — somehow thinking that past coin flips impact future ones is.

  17. Mike in H-town,

    re: BTW #2

    see some of..

    past that, I’ll have to give my Cousin a call.. not, really, that I suspect He would know, but..~

  18. Conan says:

    Folks I’ll go with Ron Paul.


    Even Forbes Magazine, says it’s time:

    Let’s Be Blunt: It’s Time to End the Drug War

    The Drug War: What is It Good For?

  19. Iwasframed says:

    5 Statistics Problems

    Love these — do em again! Just working through the solutions helps you see things differently.

    The birthday problem is clear but should be worded more precisely. The solution is based on two or more employees with the same birthday, not just two. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to apply the converse formula where P(A) = 1 – P(A’).

    Just nitpicking.

  20. streeteye says:

    The key to the Monty Hall problem is, since the host always shows goats, he is giving you new information. When you pick at the beginning you have 1/3 chance, if you picked at random after the goats are revealed you would have a 50% chance. But you’re not re-picking at random – every time you chose goats in the first round (2/3 of time), the only other goat was revealed, and switching is a winner. Easiest way to prove it to yourself is to draw a tree of all six ways to play (3 ways to pick in 1st round, switch/don’t switch in 2nd round), and count how many times you win if you switch/don’t switch.

  21. gkm says:

    With much chagrin, I have to concur with the original solution to the Monty Hall Problem. All it took to get there was creating a monte carlo simulation so I could understand the mechanics of the problem and solution, but still have my own underlying bias giving in to the solution.

    So my thanks especially to BR, and also streeteye, forcing me to push through and not get stuck with the wrong solution.