by stjeanluc - February 25th, 2017 1:49 pm
Courtesy of Jean Luc
Good article about facts and why we reject them:
New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.
By Elizabeth Kolbert
In “Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us” (Oxford), Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, and his daughter, Sara Gorman, a public-health specialist, probe the gap between what science tells us and what we tell ourselves. Their concern is with those persistent beliefs which are not just demonstrably false but also potentially deadly, like the conviction that vaccines are hazardous. Of course, what’s hazardous is not being vaccinated; that’s why vaccines were created in the first place. “Immunization is one of the triumphs of modern medicine,” the Gormans note. But no matter how many scientific studies conclude that vaccines are safe, and that there’s no link between immunizations and autism, anti-vaxxers remain unmoved. (They can now count on their side—sort of—Donald Trump, who has said that, although he and his wife had their son, Barron, vaccinated, they refused to do so on the timetable recommended by pediatricians.)
The Gormans, too, argue that ways of thinking that now seem self-destructive must at some point have been adaptive. And they, too, dedicate many pages to confirmation bias, which, they claim, has a physiological component. They cite research suggesting that people experience genuine pleasure—a rush of dopamine—when processing information that supports their beliefs. “It feels good to ‘stick to our guns’ even if we are wrong,” they observe.
The Gormans don’t just want to catalogue the ways we go wrong; they want to correct for them. There must be some way, they maintain, to convince people that vaccines are good for kids, and handguns are dangerous. (Another widespread but statistically insupportable belief they’d like to discredit is that owning a gun makes you safer.) But here they encounter the very problems they have enumerated. Providing people with accurate information doesn’t seem to help; they simply discount it. Appealing to their emotions may work better, but doing so is obviously antithetical to the goal of promoting sound science. “The challenge that remains,” they write toward the end of their book, “is to figure out how to address the tendencies that lead to false scientific belief.”
by stjeanluc - February 14th, 2017 11:32 am
By Jean Luc
These GOP guys were so worried about Hillary's email server and now we find out that we had something close to a Russian mole in the White House. In the meantime, Trump keeps on using his unsecured phone, had high level conversation in his resort in front of dinner guests! It's getting so bad that rumors are now circulating that the NSA is not sharing information with the WH:
By KEVIN DRUM
….Our spies have had enough of these shady Russian connections—and they are starting to push back….In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move.
And I wonder what Trump sent to Putin for Valentine's Day.
by stjeanluc - February 5th, 2017 7:40 pm
Best returns since the elections – small caps, financials, oil and … Russia!
Worst – Treasuries, Mexico and the yen.
Brazil on a tear since the last rate hike and nat gas not liking higher rate although there is no correlation that I can see. Most likely just global warming (oops, said it) at work!
by stjeanluc - December 25th, 2016 8:40 pm
Brownback wants Trump to emulate what he did in Kansas because it worked so well:
By RICHARD RUBIN and WILL CONNORS
Sam Brownback, the Kansas governor whose tax cuts brought him political turmoil, recurring budget holes and sparse evidence of economic success, has a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Do what I did.
In 2013, Mr. Brownback set out to create a lean, business-friendly government in his state that other Republicans could replicate. He now faces a $350 million deficit when the Kansas legislature convenes in January and projections of a larger one in 2018. The state’s economy is flat and his party is fractured…
I think I would want to stick to what actually does work!
by stjeanluc - December 19th, 2016 8:53 pm
Courtesy of Jean Luc
Wow, this looks more and more like the dying years of the Roman Republic (before it became an empire). The triumvir changing the laws to allow themselves the freedom to take any office they wanted and rule outside the laws:
Newt Gingrich said Monday that President-elect Donald Trump could simply pardon members of his administration who may break anti-nepotism laws, adding that Trump's business ties require "a whole new approach" to addressing potential conflicts of interest in the presidency.
“In the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon,” Gingrich told WAMU’s Diane Rehm on Monday morning. “It is a totally open power, and he could simply say, ‘Look, I want them to be my advisers. I pardon them if anyone finds them to have behaved against the rules. Period.' Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority.”
Gingrich was referring to a federal anti-nepotism law that could prevent Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, respectively, from serving in his administration. Previously, Gingrich suggested Trump may need a waiver from Congress to have Kushner work in his administration.
What's next – proscription?
by stjeanluc - October 7th, 2016 2:29 pm
Good article on investing success:
There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.
Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his success is realizing that the former couldn’t happen without the latter.
by stjeanluc - September 30th, 2016 7:32 pm
A thought from Jean-Luc:
Every day that goes by brings more shady deals from Trump's past – now Cuba, more stuff about his foundation, his taxes! No wonder he doesn't want to release his taxes either – who the heck knows is buried in there.
In the meantime, Trump gets up at 5:00 AM to tweet about Alicia Machado! What a despicable coward little man-child!
Atrios sums up my feelings:
I admit I find it hard to keep up the sense of humor about things these days. We laughed a lot during the Bush years, didn't we, my fellow pony aficionados. Trump should just make me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh. But with Bush we could sorta pretend that people voted for him because they didn't quite see him for what he was. There's no doing that with Trump. Trump is Trump. He won't win, but a lot of people… a lot of people… are going to vote for him.
by stjeanluc - September 28th, 2016 12:52 pm
Good riddance – cleaned up a lot of frauds there:
In early 2009, the seven largest publicly traded college operators were worth a combined $51 billion. Today, they’ve been all but wiped out.
When Barack Obama took office, America’s seven largest publicly traded college operators were worth a combined $51 billion, with more than 815,000 students enrolled at campuses spread across the country. The schools were flooded with with people seeking shelter from the recession, returning to school to pick up new skills.
Almost eight years later, the industry has been decimated. The seven largest listed operators are worth just over $6 billion, and the most valuable company in the sector has spent the last two years desperately trying to become a non-profit. Two of the largest companies in 2009 are now bankrupt, and two more are in the process of being taken private.
That's one place where the free market only added ways to defraud desperate people and the government.
Watch this too:
by stjeanluc - September 13th, 2016 11:39 am
"When you let the free market take over, the little people get screwed and bankers get rich. Chile tried privatizing retirement plans and surprise, surprise, fund manager ate the profits… Pretty sure the results would be the same here…" ~ Jean-Luc
Among free-market fans, Chile's privatized pension plan has long been held up as a model for us to follow. The problem, as the Financial Times notes today, is that it's performed pretty dismally. Daniel Gross suggests that it was all well-intentioned, but for some reason just didn't work out:
underplayed story. It wasn't corrupt — just turned out to be something of a disaster. https://t.co/n20qXlv5Qs
— Daniel Gross (@grossdm) September 12, 2016
— Justin Elliott (@JustinElliott) September 12, 2016
by stjeanluc - July 27th, 2016 1:08 pm
Looks like we are down to about 10 companies for our consumer goods:
Just like banks, airlines and cable companies!
Explore the full-size version of the above graphic in all its glory.
If today’s infographic looks familiar, that’s because it originates from a well-circulated report that Oxfam International puts together to show consolidation in the mass consumer goods industry.
We are sharing it because we believe it is important for you to be aware of who is supplying the different brands and goods served on your dinner table.