Assorted links

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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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