Assorted links

by on August 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Future behavior is seen as more intentional than past behavior.

2. In what field are blind mathematicians most likely to work?

3. Lessons for gift-giving: give cash and honor requests.

4. The silent bank run in Greece, continued, some amazing stories.

5. Via Chris F. Masse, the world’s safest asset class (and it is French, some explanation here).

6. Chileans throw fruit and small stones at the rescued miners.

7. Excellent Ezekiel Emanuel piece on cancer drugs and price controls.

TallDave August 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

4. This issue is extremely interesting, thanks for keeping us up to date.
7. Meanwhile, it’s hard to even get tests for dichloroacetate because it’s an orphan. There’s also a huge institutional problem with incrementalism — the cost of failure is high, so the incentive is toward things that are likely to work but are only small improvements. This kind of thing plagues government-funded research generally — fusion research has the same problem, where everyone knows tokamaks and laser ignition (NIF) willl never compete with light-water fission even in the best case scenarios, but they have the intertia and the experiments are lower risk so they get billions while higher-risk concepts like FRCs or Polywells that might actually lead to an economically competitive technology get scraps.

Brookston Holiday August 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

3. It seems to me that there is an area between a gift explicitly asked for and a “surprise” gift. The best gifts in my experience have been things someone has expressed interest in or mentioned in passing that is then remembered weeks or months later, as it combines the best of both categories.

Noah Yetter August 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm

A more radical approach would be to take Medicare out of the generic cancer drug business entirely. Once a drug becomes generic, Medicare should stop paying, and it should be covered by a private pharmacy plan.

Ohhhhhh, so close! And yet so far.

Why should a generic drug be paid for by a plan of any kind? If these drugs are $3 a dose, anyone should be able to pay for them out of pocket.

Rahul August 8, 2011 at 8:27 am

Aren’t there expensive generics?

Andrew' August 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

You could pay for the generics because not paying for them subsidizes alternatives. However, you could have a cap on payouts which would encourage the use of generics based on price rationing.

jqhart August 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

1. An act in the past might have been accidental. But if you know somebody will act some way in the future, how can you know that other than by knowing that they _intend_ to act that way? People quite properly assign more intentionality to the future act. Doh! Since this asymmetry isn’t a bias, but in fact is a rational interpretation of such scenarios in the real world, the authors’ conclusion that “This difference in temporal orientation could potentially lead to policies that are more draconian, and enforcement that is more lenient” than it should be”, doesn’t follow. The policy malformations occur, in the opposite direction, if we took the academics’ advice.

I never cease to be amazed by the hubris of academics who overlook such basic factors and then accuse their subjects, those rubes, of suffering from hopelessly biased thought processes which only said academics can correct. The vast majority of the time, reflection reveals that the intuition of the rubes has it right and it is the assumptions of the academics that are hopeless.

Anonymous August 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

Your comment reflects exactly the bias discussed in the paper. Someone was murdered yesterday. Somebody will be murdered tomorrow. Ceteris paribus, how can you possibly say that the one tomorrow is more intentional than the one yesterday?

jqhart August 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Wow. How can a point so obvious zoom straight over so many people’s heads? _How do you know_ somebody will be killed (not “murdered” — murder automatically implies intent) tomorrow, unless somebody _intends_ to kill that person? In the real world, which is what people’s intuitions are based on. that’s practically the only way you could know such a thing.

Whereas, if somebody was killed yesterday, that might well have been an accident.

Amazing how lack of Asperger’s syndrome so readily becomes “bias.”

Anonymous August 9, 2011 at 9:29 am

So, someone who is killed tomorrow can’t be as a result of an accident? It can only be by accident if it happens yesterday? That’s idiotic.

Someone will be murdered tomorrow. Someone will misreport on his taxes next year. Why should where the event takes place in time affect how intentional it is? There is absolutely no reason to imagine that those who cheat on their taxes in the future do so more intentionally than those who did it in the past. Yet, that’s exactly what the paper finds.

Maybe you’re proposing a reason that this happens (it sounds like you’re arguing for something like linguistic norms). That’s fine, but that doesn’t make it not a bias.

Norm August 8, 2011 at 2:12 am

My order of preference for gifts is: 1) the very rare surprise that introduces me to something new I like 2) gifts I ask for 3) most surprise gifts.
I am difficult to buy gifts for and don’t generally like receiving them because I am not very materialistic and have enough money to get those things I do want and I hate waste. I have never been able to feel “it’s the thought that counts” when I receive something I won’t use/enjoy, so I have to fake it..ugh.
All that said the most wonderful gifts are those surprises that bring unexpected pleasure!

Rahul August 8, 2011 at 8:30 am

#2

It’d be interesting to know how many smart blind men became mathematicians just because they were blind? If one is disabled and high IQ then math becomes even more interesting as a career option.

Seth C August 9, 2011 at 3:19 am

An economics/ethnic food joke. Somehow, this is not surprising.

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