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  • Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

    Posted by David Foster on April 13th, 2015 (All posts by )

    Peter Thiel is interviewed by Tyler Cowen, in a conversation that ranges from why there is stagnation “in the world of atoms and not of bits” to the dangers of conformity to what he looks for when choosing people to why company names matter.

    Evaporative cooling of group beliefs.  Why a group’s beliefs tend to become stronger rather than weaker when strong evidence against those beliefs makes its appearance.

    More academic insanity:  the language police at the University of Michigan.

    Why Sam Sinai became a computer scientist instead of a doctor

    A National Archives official, in an e-mail comment that the people were not supposed to see:   “We live in constant fear of upsetting the White House”

    Why a pact with Iran throws Arab liberals under the bus  (“liberals” used here in the archaic and largely obsolete sense of “people who believe in liberty”)

    Garry Trudeau  (he wrote a cartoon called Doonesbury–is it really still being published?) gives his thoughts on the Charlie Hebdo murders perpetrated in the name of Islam–by accusing the cartoonists of “hate speech” and denouncing “free speech absolutism.”

    The secret Republicans of Silicon Valley

    Baseball, the stock market, and the dangers of following the herd

    Antoine de St-Exupery’s original watercolors  for The Little Prince

     

    12 Responses to “Worthwhile Reading & Viewing”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Re: “Baseball, the stock market, and the dangers of following the herd”

      It depends on the herd. Some herds are buying stocks and other herds are avoiding them.

      The wisest course might be to think for yourself and limit your risk.

    2. David Foster Says:

      Jonathan–indeed, among those under 35 or so, stock ownership seems very low. Unfortunately, it was also very low many S&P points ago.

      One of the points he is making is that in certain professions (money managers, in this case) it may be safer to follow the herd and lose than to depart from the herd and win.

    3. David Foster Says:

      Also, of course, herd-following is a common phenomenon *within* organizations…whether corporations, government agencies, or “nonprofits.” See Bulldog’s story about a “Big Data” project, here at Maggie’s:

      http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/26049-Are-We-Overly-Reliant-on-Data.html

    4. Kirk Parker Says:

      FYI: the link about Saint-Exupery seems to go to your FB page instead.

    5. Mike K Says:

      The medical EMR discussion is interesting and I have been complaining about it for some time. This is my last year teaching medical students and part of the reason is the EMR. I used to read the charts when the students were in examining patients and then I would know what they’d missed, if anything. Now, it is difficult to get access and takes forever to get any data. X-rays, for example, are on another system altogether. The lab data is somewhere else that I haven’t found. I feel for the students but I just am tired of trying to fight the bureaucrats and their systems.

      I wrote a letter to the Dean last fall and he called me. He told me, “This (what I told him) cannot be true !” I asked him when he had last taken care of patients but that was not what he wanted to hear. I was talking to guy in IT a couple of weeks ago and I told him the best programmers work for Google, the second best for Amazon and the worst for medical record vendors. He agreed.

      The EMR is good in theory and I used to be an enthusiast but that was 25 years ago when a few pioneers were doing very interesting things. The EMR is now a commodity.

    6. David Foster Says:

      Kirk–thanks. Fixed.

    7. David Foster Says:

      Mike…in one egregious EMR case I’ve heard about, the main problem was the installation–decision on not only what system to use, but how to configure it was done without meaningful consultation with the hospital’s medical staff. A total debacle, which resulted in some high-level terminations.

    8. Kirk Parker Says:

      … which resulted in some high-level terminations.

      People died as a result???

    9. David Foster Says:

      Kirk…not that I’m aware of, but docs and nurses felt the situation had created undue risk. “Terminations” here is the sense of “people getting fired”

    10. Richard Says:

      I think this is a cold link : “We live in constant fear of upsetting the White House”

    11. David Foster Says:

      Richard…wow, I’m not doing so well with the links today. Now fixed.

    12. tyouth Says:

      from the baseball/stock market post: “Since growth has been tepid and inflation benign, there is obviously something amiss.”…with high stock prices… I’d suggest that the inflation that is being caused by monetary policy and is being seen (especially) in stock prices. That is not so “benign”. It is a tax, as others have said here, on those with these investments. Of course, IMHO, when real cost of living prices double every 15 or 20 years (no matter what official say)…that’s not exactly benign either.