Assorted links

by on August 27, 2009 at 10:46 am in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. What's the chance you'll die in the next year?  Here is a new calculator.

2. Markets in everything: revenge flyers.

3. One good way to think about why placebo effects are getting stronger.

4. The conference bike: will it make meetings longer or shorter?

5. The P vs. NP problem and its importance.

6. Incompetence as a signaling device.

1 Ryan August 27, 2009 at 10:56 am

What? Rocks getting cleaner with water is *not* the “placebo effect,” but rather “effects of the placebo.” This might seem like a minor difference, but it is hugely important. The author basically accuses Wired of making a mistake that only he himself is making.

2 rhhardin August 27, 2009 at 11:44 am

Incompetence as signalling: One of the ways Peter proposed to defeat the Peter Principle is a display of incompetence of a kind that prevents promotion.

Scientists use it all the time to avoid becoming managers.

3 PM August 27, 2009 at 12:10 pm

The comments at the placebo article do a fairly good job of demystifying this a bit. The Wired article was a bit misleading, and many people read it as though a) it was evidence that drug companies and their products are bad/silly/pointless and/or b) there was some mystical process going on whereby people were being found to heal themselves better and better.

4 David August 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm

We’re not sure what happened. It certainly did get a lot of hits, but that doesn’t appear to be it. The IT guys are having at it right now.

5 efp August 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I would have thought the placebo effect was measured against a no treatment control, not the drug. That’s pretty dumb.

I wonder if there’s a systematic difference in the placebo effect between effects that are reported by the patient (like for anti-depressants) vs. something measured (like cholesterol levels).

6 anon August 27, 2009 at 9:33 pm

If you are healthy and without diabetes, the Reynolds Risk Score is designed to predict your risk of having a future heart attack, stroke, or other major heart disease in the next 10 years.

7 Andrew August 28, 2009 at 6:44 am

conference bike? Thank goodness high speed rail captured the technocrat imagination first.

8 arbitraryaardvark August 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Maybe someone with more math than I have can give examples of how to use the conference bike to demonstrate NP-complete problems.

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