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Science Magazine (AAAS, Washington DC) 2 Nov 2012 From "this week in Science" Headline: POOR CHOICES Text: Two catagories of reasons for why poor people make economically unsound choices, such as a payday loan at an extraodrinarily high rate of interest, reflect, first, the envrionment: Poor People are more likely to be living in poor [crime ridden areas]. Second, they reflect the individual: People are poor in part because of their own psychological dispositions toward impatience and impusiveness. For both cases, obtaining causal evidence ...has been challenging. Shah et al (p 682) propose a 3rd catagory of reasons wherby being poor exerts a bias on gonitive processes... not far off Mitt's view, or,for that matter, Jefferson's; with stuff like this, one can understand the leftist critique that the science establishment serves the rich. (just to be clear where I stand, I consider that stuff about impulsive poor people to be 1st cousin to Jefferson's racist description of negroes as unable to create any music, or feel tender emotions; it is th same thing, dressed up in science language)
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agree about both journalists and scientists personally, one of the things I find most detestable about journalism is how they will run a story on how confused people are about basic facts, like the rough composition of the Fed Budget (to my shame, I can't think of a specific example). And in these stories, they never, ever say, hey, aren't we to blame for the lack of knowledge in the citizenry ?? An example of confused citizenry: 1) 30Nov, the ny times had a big spread on taxes, and who pays what. They had pictures of 3 ordinary americans, with a quote from each; one lady , shown pumping gas, said, in effect, I love big bird, but we have to do something about the deficit... Now it could be that she is just innumerate, but its hard to beleive that if the avg person knew the true % of the budget that is big bird, they would be worried.
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1,000 molecules of water are sticky... ?? This has to be in some non evaporating system; my experience (microarray spotting), nL drops of water evaporate very rapidly at Room Temp, even at high humidity - and 1,000 molecules has got to be way, way smaller then a nanoliter. You could have 1,000 molecules of water as a really thin layer between two piece of mica (assuming 1 square angstrom/molecule, thats only ~2 nm square area)
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a friend just sent me quote from Black Swan >>“If you want to see what I mean by the arbitrariness of categories, check the situation of polarized politics. The next time a Martian visits earth, try to explain to him why those who favor allowing the elimination of a fetus in the mother’s womb also oppose capital punishment. Or try to explain to him why those who accept abortion are supposed to be favorable to high taxation but against a strong military. Why do those who prefer sexual freedom need to be against individual economic liberty?”<< if this is typical, reading nassim causes neuronal death
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Materialism Triumphant http://www.pnas.org/content/105/9/3593.full?sid=7422c5c9-a139-47bd-866b-78aff723d3de An article from Izihevich and Edelman on a computer model that, very roughly, simulates the brain of a cat Abstract The understanding of the structural and dynamic complexity of mammalian brains is greatly facilitated by computer simulations. We present here a detailed large-scale thalamocortical model based on experimental measures in several mammalian species. The model spans three anatomical scales. (i) It is based on global (white-matter) thalamocortical anatomy obtained by means of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of a human brain. (ii) It includes multiple thalamic nuclei and six-layered cortical microcircuitry based on in vitro labeling and three-dimensional reconstruction of single neurons of cat visual cortex. (iii) It has 22 basic types of neurons with appropriate laminar distribution of their branching dendritic trees. The model simulates one million multicompartmental spiking neurons calibrated to reproduce known types of responses recorded in vitro in rats. It has almost half a billion synapses with appropriate receptor kinetics, short-term plasticity, and long-term dendritic spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity (dendritic STDP). The model exhibits behavioral regimes of normal brain activity that were not explicitly built-in but emerged spontaneously as the result of interactions among anatomical and dynamic processes. We describe spontaneous activity, sensitivity to changes in individual neurons, emergence of waves and rhythms, and functional connectivity on different scales. Computer Simulation. The program simulating the model is written in C programming language with MPI and it is run on a Beowulf cluster of 60 3GHz processors with 1.5 GB of RAM each. Most of the simulations were performed with one million neurons, tens of millions of neuronal compartments, and almost half a billion synapses. It takes ≈10 min on the cluster to initialize the model, and one minute to compute one second of simulated data using a sub-millisecond time step. So, curenlty, a 100,000 dollar computer can run at 1/60th the speed of the brain of a cat Even the most pessimistic moores law type projection says that we should se a human level computer sometime around when P Ryan gets his 1st medicare check (and you'll stop him only by prying the gun out of his cold dead fingers) PS: the neuroscience experts gonna shred me on my inaccuracies - Bring It On !
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Greg Mankiw http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/ talks about the Diamond Saez idea of having high tax rates, and Mankiw lists a response that argues the opposite http://www.aei.org/files/2012/11/19/-should-the-top-marginal-income-tax-rate-be-73-percent_085518416524.pdf the linchpin of the response is that, *obviously* the wealthy person is worse off when marginal rates are raised. OF course, it is not *obvious* that a wealthy person is worse off with higher marginal rates (eg, if Poverty is to great you get mexico style kidnapping, or rampant drug resistant Tuberculosis, or..)
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not that B Frank has an axe to grind here I mean, as head of the House Banking Committee, it is not like he failed to hold some hearings, or fight for more bright line rules in Dodd Frank, as opposed to opaque regulatory processes that favor the big banks, is it ? oh, wait....
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why is it morally or ethically ok for us in the USA to hire doctors and nurses who have been trained, at great expsense, in other, much poorer countries ? Shouldn't we at least repay Costa Rica the cost of training ? Scooping up Doctors and Nurses is scarecely different then organ harvesting
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s On the top of page 31, Bartling et al say that they show that the marxian view, that firms can abuse employees, is true. wow. I mean, employers can abuse employees: that has gotta be a contender for a Nobel... The idea that in our messy, chaotic, changing real world, that some simple rules can describe how firms act, just seems so silly, although there is one rule: when labor is in surplus, employers will abuse employees. (I've often thought that the Simon theory of employment paper was a put onjob mocking economists...)
Toggle Commented Nov 22, 2012 on Marx vs Coase at Economist's View
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In the times today is an article about the Gay vote,5% of the electorate, 3:1 for obama "I think it would be a mistake for the [gop] party to abandon its moral values," said J. HOgan Gidley, the national communications director for Rick Santorum's 2012 presdidential run. Instead, Mr. Gidley said .....low ..support among gay voters can be outweighed by better messaging to other voters" In stalingradian parody mode, Obersturmführer Gidley is fighting the last war, still convinced that the Southern Strategy can be updated with Gays as the bad guys, while the tanks of the Obama 1s Armored "Harvey Milk" Division rolls over the Santorum mounted Uhlans..
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Perhaps Brad can hoist from the comments of Nov 1936 (wasn't that the as maine goes so goes vt election >) I wonder what the GOP in fighting was like at that point - maybe it was still an eastern estab thing, and there was no pubic fighting I guess my point is, like the rise of succession, the GOP will persist
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Mencken there are single acres in Europe that house more first rate men then all of the states south of the Potomac (written in 1917) http://writing2.richmond.edu/jessid/eng423/restricted/mencken.pdf I always this hyperbole, but maybe not. Mencken, who appears as an awful racist by todays standards, attributes this to the devastation of the Civil War. I think that historians trace much of this to the defense of slavery in the period 1820-1860; the intellectual defense of slavery truly did require an enormous closing of the southern mind. so, one has to ask, what cataclysmic event has caused the closing of the Kansas mind ? I don't know anything about KS, but it has to do with the misfortunes of the rural economy, simply cause there is nothing else. (yes a crude beardian interpretatio of history, that equates al quaeda with lack of jobs for college grads)
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From my reading of today's W S Journal, the party line is that Obama's scorched earth negative campaign is responsible for the Romney loss (I know, hard to take seriously, but this is the WSJ oped; the lead editorial today would be a good homework assigment in logical fallacys) On todays "the connection" radio talk on NPR's boston station WBUR, the very polished and articulate Frum had a convincing spiel: tax cuts propelled a GOP majority for 30 years, but that message is now old; people want to hear about wage stagnation and medical costs (what frum didn't say, the "southern strategy" no longer works.) The Connection also featured Vigurie, who was incoherent, but in line with those who think that true tea partiers win (these people seem to have forgotten the primary campaign, when the tea partiers lost; oh, no, wait, that was the evil Romney brainwashing the GOP primary voters...) Todays NY Time http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/health/dream-team-of-behavioral-scientists-advised-obama-campaign.html?hp a long and *very* interesting story about how the Obama campaign replaced gut feeling consultants with the best of social science, eg the psychologically appropriate way you counter "obama = muslim" is not to deny it (people just remember the original charge) but to affirm an alternative "obama = christian". In a way it was really scary - you can see the start of a benevolent orwellian state here.
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there are some other explanations... lets start with some from std econ theory, that people are rational actors who try to maximize their gains since very few non economists understand anything but basic math, this insulates a profession with few insights from criticism people with math get paid more you don't have to go out and do grubby research, but just sit back in your office and write elegant equations an alternative explanation is that economics has no real explanatory power, so it resorts to fancy math to disquise that fact. I read P Krugman's discussin the other day which started off, roughly, lets assume the economy has borrowers and lenders only...immediate transition to deep math..it seems like pathology: you create these simple models that can't possibly be realistic enough to be worthwhile, then populate them with fancy math. I have a feeling taht one day, hopefully soon, someone like feynman is going to roast the whole profession.
Well, I'm glad to see that you PhD econ types are finally figuring out what the rest of us knew a long time ago: 5 bucks an hour flippin burgers aint' a union job at the steel mill. Maybe another 20 years, you will understand that free trade is not always a good idea (and don't give me that theoretical BS that free trade is always good; like they say, in theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they ain't.)
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Jun 24, 2011