Wednesday assorted links


#4: "Look, Squirrel!"

Someone attempted to troll me about "things we believe which are not so." What is really the truth on self harming policies and populism. See also:

So one solution to the boarder crisis is end the drug war so migrants can keep their jobs at home? I think this is a compromise position I could live with.

I take heroin as an import over Fentanyl any day.

3. Here's the full sentence in the abstract of the part quoted in the blog post together with the sentence that precedes it: "We use security-level data on U.S. portfolios to demonstrate that the reconnect of U.S. foreign bond purchases to exchange rates is largely driven by investment in dollar-denominated assets rather than by foreign currency exposure alone. Our results support the narrative emerging from an active recent literature that the US dollar’s role as an international and safe-haven currency has surged since the global financial crisis." Is reading only the part of the abstract quoted in the blog post a bit misleading? Or am I just supporting a narrative emerging in recent criticism of economic research and writing?

One of my favorite movie quotes applies. From "My Cousin Vinny," "Everything that guy just said is bullshit."

Thank God no one in policy power will read it and no politician will understand it: no harm, no foul.

Now read this by Trump's nominee to the Fed:

2. Are there any benefits of fentanyl over opium, aside from it being more concentrated and therefore easier to smuggle? If not, then legalization of opium would go a long way to reducing the fentanyl trade.

3. It’s amazing how the US made out the best from the financial crisis despite being the cause. According to Credit Suisse, Americans gained 40% of all new global wealth created since 2008 and an amazing 58% of all new wealth created since 2013 ( With numbers like this, it’s hard to fathom how some could feel exploited by third-worlders. I think the mighty dollar plays a big role in our success. In fact, I first became aware of our exorbitant privilege when I went to change money at an airport for the first time (in the 90s) and saw how the spread was tiny for my US dollars but huge for people coming from some smaller nations with less widely-used currencies.

4. The austerity leads to far-right support theory seems contradicted by Spain, where far-right parties have gained little ground despite one of the deepest austerities in Europe. What is the explanation there? Spain still has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, but has fast GDP growth. That tells me that contrary to conventional wisdom slow growth causes more unrest than high unemployment.

Fentanyl is synthetic and relatively cheap to make. It’s also routinely used as medicine.

If La Wik can be believed, fentanyl is less fun than heroin, so all things being equal, I think heroin users prefer heroin.

The core dangers of fentanyl come from dosage issues: it’s much more potent than heroin, 2 milligrams is potentially a fatal dose (vs 75+ mg for heroin), and I guess cutting or dosing fentanyl when you are used to heroin is a minefield.

My suspicion is fentanyl causes two problems. The first is the mundane dosage challenge, which is that if you don’t know what you’re doing or what mix of heroin and fentanyl you’re dealing with, it’s easily to accidentally get dead. I assume dealers consider dead clients bad for business, and most addicts don’t want to die, so eventually there will be a modicum of street knowledge to reduce the number of accidental overdoses.

The second problem is the general opioid abuse crisis, in which fentanyl plays a role as a cheap, readily available opioid. Regardless of whether you reduce accidental overdoses, opioid abuse (like alcohol abuse) is just a statistical part of of having a population of users, and opioid abuse (like alcohol abuse) is likely to result in a certain level of debility and death in its chronic users.

"opioid abuse ... is just a statistical part of of having a population of users"

What does that mean?

Fentanyl also seem to be the simplest opioid molecule that enters blood brain.

"eventually there will be a modicum of street knowledge to reduce the number of accidental overdoses"

Mixing solids to fully distribute a small amount of extremely active ingredient sounds hard. I mean you could let a cement mixer run dry for an hour, but that dust ..

3. It’s amazing how the US made out the best from the financial crisis despite being the cause. A

Yeah, we wave our magic wands and Fortis, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and every financial services firm in Iceland run off and ruin their balance sheets.

#6: Watch out, prior!

Why? Here is the title from the link - 'Climate shock: Moving to colder climates and immigrant mortality'

Further, here is the first line from the highlights - 'Immigrants who move between countries with a similar climate experience a mortality advantage.' The weather in this region of Germans and the DC region is quite similar.

This citation concerns what the paper found - 'However, those who move from a warmer to a colder climate do not. In fact, they have higher cardiovascular mortality rates when compared to the native population.'

To be honest, it seems like someone fumbled their attempt to summarize what they thought they were linking to.

No, the climate is colder and the GDP is clearly lower. Enjoy your truncated last days.

Nice joke =)

But the real life is more boring haha. An stereotypical case of immigrants "who move from a country with a higher GDP per capita" is poor retired people. They can't afford to live at home after retirement: poor Brits in Spain, poor Americans in Baja, poor Germans in Portugal.

a) this means that warming climate in the US and Europe will be good for the tropicales heading this way; b) corollary: this could in itself get Trump to take climate change seriously; c) Memo to New Yorkers who retire to Florida and Arizona: you can't go home again.

"That tells me that contrary to conventional wisdom slow growth causes more unrest than high unemployment."

I would tend to agree. High growth means the ambitious have outlets for their energy and that the average person tends to see evidence of obvious progress.

1. Good to see that such questions are being empirically studied! The more years I spend in practice as a physician, the more I have come to realize that so much of what we confidently believe and recommend to patients is often based more on "tradition" than high-quality evidence...

"a group of patients that should have the best possible information on health care service efficacy"

The trouble with the extra knowledge that physicians claim is that some of it is not remotely true.

The trouble with the extra knowledge that physicians claim is that some of it is not remotely true.

And you know that how? Some other physician told you so?

Critical reading. And a far better grasp of statistics than the average physician.

Most physicians, after all, rely on what a colleague told them he thought he remembered was said in a conference seminar that he had attended half-cut.

The Guardian piece on life satisfaction and social media use is interesting, but it leaves the reader asking whether people who used social media fifty percent less/more than average during the decade under examination were more or less satisfied with their lives. It would also be useful to compare life satisfaction levels of teenagers in the pre-social media nineties, to their twenty first century successors.

#4 If England was not eliminated early at the Euro 2016 soccer competition, they would have voted remain.

True that. Thank God, elites in Berlin, Brussels, and London exercised their vetoes.

Referenda and democracy suck.

5. Let's interview teen age girls about life satisfaction, then come up with a result precise to one decimal point.


The Guardian would be interested.

Ok here is the funding.

I'll make sure that happens.

I’m watching. Secret Service, dismissed!

“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy, He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

4. Did austerity induce Brexit?

Debt per GDP doubled from 2006 to 2016, so I am confused about who did austerity. The more likely cause is that the UK reached a debt limit and the districts most dependent on government handouts suffered the worst. That means Brexit is the result of too little austerity earlier, around 2012.

What we have instead is a faction of economists shading the data, frankly, a common fraud and easily spotted.

Or, in other words, the very definition of recession is the losers lose, sorry, and that is what they found.

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