Weekly Roundup 23: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web

After 12 hours 716 hundred blogs  I present you the Weekly Wisdom Roundup “Easter Edition”

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Here are some links to articles that didn’t make our front page. Several of the articles are very insightful I highly recommend reading them. As always, the articles are from different fields but should make you a more well rounded investor. Take Care.

(Click on the titles to access the articles)


1. YouTube Launches Library of Congress Channel – Via Occulture   —Awesome Stuff

2. Intelligent YouTube: The Best Smart Video Collections Via Occulture      — Simply Amazing

2.1 Economics Blogs in a Time of Crisis: Policy, Development, Globalization, and Transformation – Via Open Anthropology – Almost desperate for blogs that cover dimensions of the economic crisis in relatively brief posts that are accessible to non-economists, I was forced to take a journey lasting a few days into the economics blogscape. Longstanding interests of mine have been political economy, globalization, and world-systems analysis, and my early reason for entering anthropology was to marry some of the background I acquired in a development-oriented International Relations program, with more “ground-level” and intimate knowledge of real human beings in real places.

3. The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing –    Via Carnegie Council Podcast

4. Brazil’s Oil Euphoria – Petrobras’s offshore bonanza may transform the country — if oil prices hold and the company can extract the crude from beneath kilometers of salt and rock.

5.Torture and the Brain – Via NeuroWorld – Do Americans feel moral outrage about torture? Even those who say they opposed the interrogation techniques of the Bush administration — they may have believed at an intellectual level that a wrong had been committed, but were they outraged? Were they angry?

6. Chimps Caught in Meat-for-Sex Scandal- Via NeuroWorld – [M]ales and females exchange meat for sex, which would result in males increasing their mating success and females increasing their caloric intake without suffering the energetic costs and potential risk of injury related to hunting. Although chimpanzees have been shown to share meat extensively with females, there has not been much direct evidence in this species to support the meat-for-sex hypothesis. Here we show that female wild chimpanzees copulate more frequently with those males who, over a period of 22 months, share meat with them. We excluded other alternative hypotheses to exchanging meat for sex, by statistically controlling for rank of the male, age, rank and gregariousness of the female, association patterns of each male-female dyad and meat begging frequency of each female

7. Psychology in an age of ecological crisis: From personal angst to collective action. Via PyschNet – Recent technological, geophysical, and societal forces have fundamentally altered the structure and functioning of human environments. Prominent among these forces are the rise of the Internet; rapid rates of global environmental change; and widening rifts among different socioeconomic, racial, religious, and ethnic groups. The present article traces the influence of these conditions on individuals’ cognition, behavior, and well-being. New theoretical questions are raised and conceptual frameworks proposed to understand how global conditions are restructuring people’s relationships with their everyday environments. New directions for psychological research and practice aimed at reducing global threats to personal and societal well-being are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

9. Pooling of Unshared Information in Group Decision Making: Biased Information Sampling During Discussion – Via CiteULink – Decision-making groups can potentially benefit from pooling members’ information, particularly when members individually have partial and biased information but collectively can compose an unbiased characterization of the decision alternatives. The proposed biased sampling model of group discussion, however, suggests that group members often fail to effectively pool their information because discussion tends to be dominated by (a) information that members hold in common before discussion and (b) information that supports members’ existent preferences.

10. The Situation of Group Effort – Via Situationist – Feel like a fool for pulling your weight when everyone else you’re working with is slacking off?Maybe you should feel like an inspiration instead: If you consistently act for the good of the team, others will be moved to follow your lead, a new study finds. That’s a bit of a surprise, says Mark Weber, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.

11. The Situation of Solitary Confinement – Via The Situationist – Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people.

12. The five ages of the brain – Via NewScientist – Throughout life our brains undergo more changes than any other part of the body. These can be broadly divided into five stages, each profoundly affecting our abilities and behaviour. But we are not just passengers in this process, so how can we get the best out of our brains at every stage and pass the best possible organ on to the next? New Scientist investigates.

13. Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory – Via NYT – Suppose scientists could erase certain memories by tinkering with a single substance in the brain. Could make you forget a chronic fear, a traumatic loss, even a bad habit.

14. How Choice Reveals and Shapes Expected Hedonic Outcome – Via JNeuroscience – Humans tend to modify their attitudes to align with past action. For example, after choosing between similarly valued alternatives, people rate the selected option as better than they originally did, and the rejected option as worse. However, it is unknown whether these modifications in evaluation reflect an underlying change in the physiological representation of a stimulus’ expected hedonic value and our emotional response to it.

15. Two nudging conversations with Richard Thaler – Via Nudge – Richard Thaler talked with NPR’s Morning Edition about whether government messages about the economy affect consumer behavior? Does economic cheerleading make a difference? (The clip runs about 4 minutes.)

16. Video: Predictably Irrational – Chapter 13: “What is Behavioral Economics?” – Via Predictably Irrational Blog

17. Odor Matching: The Scent Of Internet Dating – Via Science Daily – Dating websites will soon be able to compare partners in terms of whether the personal body odour of the other party will be pleasant to them. This has a very serious biological background.

18. Gambling Threatens National Security, Expert Warns – Via ScienceDaily — A two-decade surge of legalized gambling is chipping away at U.S. security and military readiness, not just the bank accounts of bettors, a comprehensive new collection of research on the hazards of gambling warns.

19. new book – ‘Bozo Sapiens: Why to Err Is Human’ – Via Mind On Books – Bozo Sapiens: Why to Err is Human by Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan (Bloomsbury Press, 2009) is due out next week (4/14) according to Amazon, but was available in my local bookstore today, joining the crowd of recent books on this popular topic of human error.

20. Many forms of culture. – Via PsycNet – Psychologists interested in culture have focused primarily on East–West differences in individualism–collectivism, or independent–interdependent self-construal. As important as this dimension is, there are many other forms of culture with many dimensions of cultural variability. Selecting from among the many understudied cultures in psychology, the author considers three kinds of cultures: religion, socioeconomic status, and region within a country. These cultures vary in a number of psychologically interesting ways. By studying more types of culture, psychologists stand to enrich how they define culture, how they think about universality and cultural specificity, their views of multiculturalism, how they do research on culture, and what dimensions of culture they study. Broadening the study of culture will have far-reaching implications for clinical issues, intergroup relations, and applied domains. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

22. “Just smile, you’ll feel better!” Will you? Really? – Via Cog Daily – Do people ever tell you to “just smile, you’ll feel better”? If you’re like our daughter Nora, you hear it a lot, and you get annoyed every time you hear it. Telling a teenager to smile is probably one of the best ways to ensure she won’t smile for the next several hours. But the notion that “smiling will make you feel better” has actually been confirmed by research. There are several studies demonstrating that people are happier when they smile, at least in certain circumstances.

23. How to improve group decision making – Via BPS – When it operates efficiently, a group’s decision making will nearly always outperform the ability of any one of its members working on their own. This is especially the case if the group is formed of diverse members. One problem: groups rarely work efficiently.

24. Video: Bonk- Mary Roach: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex – Via Fora Tv – Bodies…The Exhibition Celebrates the paperback release of The New York Times Bestseller BONK: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach.

25. Graphic: Consumer Purchasing Decisions – Via 4 Block World – You say “don’t buy” if you don’t need it and don’t want it, but what if it’s on sale?

26. Humans evolved as long-distance runners, – Via Seed Magazine – Ann Trason, Scott Jurek, Matt Carpenter. These are the megastars of ultra-distance running, athletes who pound out not just marathons, but dozens of them back-to-back, over Rocky Mountain passes and across the scorching floor of Death Valley. If their names are unfamiliar, it’s probably because this type of extreme running is almost universally seen as a fringe sport, the habit of the superhumanly fit, the masochistic, the slightly deranged.

27. Why Minds Are Not Like Computers Via New Atlantis – people who believe that the mind can be replicated on a computer tend to explain the mind in terms of a computer. When theorizing about the mind, especially to outsiders but also to one another, defenders of artificial intelligence (AI) often rely on computational concepts. They regularly describe the mind and brain as the “software and hardware” of thinking, the mind as a “pattern” and the brain as a “substrate,” senses as “inputs” and behaviors as “outputs,” neurons as “processing units” and synapses as “circuitry,” to give just a few common examples.

28. Graphic: Campaign Contributions to the 110th Congress – Via Flowing Data – Line thickness represents number of shared relationships; and color represents Democrat to Democrat, Republican to Republican, and cross-party connections. There’s a zoomable version, but like a lot of network stuff it still feels cluttered. I’m sure some node interaction goodness would do this some good.

29. Embodied Persuasion: How the Body Can Change our Mind – Via InMind.Org – The link between our mind and our bodily responses has long been studied by persuasion researchers. It goes back to the use of the term “attitude” to refer to the posture of one’s body (Galton, 1884), and to the notion that attitudes may reflect—and be influenced by—expressive motor behaviors (e.g., a scowling face can indicate a hostile attitude; Darwin, 1872). Colloquially, it is common to refer to an attitude as an individual’s position on an issue, although the meaning in this case refers to an evaluative, rather than a physical, orientation.

30. Academia (kind of) Goes to War: Chomsky and His Children – Via World Affairs Journal – Speaking to a receptive audience before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August 2007, George W. Bush, for the first time in his presidency, drew an explicit parallel between the Iraq War and America’s entanglement in Vietnam. “Then as now,” the president declared, “people argued the real problem was America’s presence, and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end.”

31. New Study Sees Surge in E-Mail Outsourcing Via Chronicle – Academia has seen “explosive growth” in the outsourcing of student e-mail systems, according to a new study. Nearly 20-percent of the senior IT leaders surveyed said commercial providers now host their primary student e-mail systems, said the report from Educause, the nonproft higher-education technology consortium.

32. Incentives and Mutual Fund Performance: Higher Performance or Just Higher Risk Taking? – Via Review Of Financial Studies – We study the impact of contractual incentives on the performance of mutual funds. We find that high-incentive contracts induce managers to take more risk and reduce the funds’ probability of survival. Yet, funds with high-incentive contracts deliver higher risk-adjusted return, and the superior performance remains persistent. The top incentive quintile of funds outperforms the bottom quintile by 2.70% per year. Moreover, high-incentive winner funds from one year have a positive alpha of 0.41% per month in the following year. Focusing on funds’ holdings, we show that active portfolio rebalancing is the main channel through which incentives increase performance.

33. Optimal Versus Naive Diversification: How Inefficient is the 1/N Portfolio Strategy? Via Review Of Financial Studies – We evaluate the out-of-sample performance of the sample-based mean-variance model, and its extensions designed to reduce estimation error, relative to the naive 1/N portfolio. Of the 14 models we evaluate across seven empirical datasets, none is consistently better than the 1/N rule in terms of Sharpe ratio, certainty-equivalent return, or turnover, which indicates that, out of sample, the gain from optimal diversification is more than offset by estimation error. Based on parameters calibrated to the US equity market, our analytical results and simulations show that the estimation window needed for the sample-based mean-variance strategy and its extensions to outperform the 1/N benchmark is around 3000 months for a portfolio with 25 assets and about 6000 months for a portfolio with 50 assets. This suggests that there are still many “miles to go” before the gains promised by optimal portfolio choice can actually be realized out of sample.

34. Failure Is an Option: Impediments to Short Selling and Options Prices – Via Review Of Financial Studies – Regulations allow market makers to short sell without borrowing stock, and the transactions of a major options market maker show that in most hard-to-borrow situations, it chooses not to borrow and instead fails to deliver stock to its buyers. A part of the value of failing passes through to options prices: when failing is cheaper than borrowing, the relation between borrowing costs and options prices is significantly weaker. The remaining value is profit to the market maker, and its ability to profit despite competition between market makers appears to result from the cost advantage of larger market makers.

35. How the Human Brain Weighs Costs and Benefits – Via DL PFC – ResearchBlogging.orgIt seems obvious that the value of some potentially rewarding endeavor should reflect not just the size of the reward but also the amount of effort involved in realizing it. But how do we make that decision? In business, this can be an external computation: some analyst will sit down in front of Excel and calculate the costs and benefits. It would be hard to believe, though, that cost-benefit analysis in some form originated along with the spreadsheet. In fact, many animals make highly efficient decisions about foraging strategies that involve varying rates of effort to reward. Birds are perfectly capable of it, as are rats and, of course, monkeys. It turns out that this mode of economic calculation is present not only in animals lacking man’s vaunted rationality but also in animals lacking much processing power at all. Cost-benefit analysis, then, seems to be a fundamental element of reward motivation.

36. “Good” visual examples to get you thinking – Via Presentation Zen – On their website they feature many short video presentations that you may find useful. The video presentations are not perfect, but many of them may give you some ideas for changing the way you present your supporting visuals in your talks aided by slideware. My aim, as always, is not to say that you should do it exactly like these examples on GOOD, but simply to suggest that you watch a few of these and ask yourself in what ways did the visuals work, in what ways do they need improvement, what could you copy, and so on.

37. The World Crisis: Reforming the International Financial System – Via Policy Pointers – A 7-page US essay on what steps are necessary to reform the international financial system

38. Reflecting on Risk and Security Management Via policy Pointers – A 24-page Swiss case study focusing on important risk and security aspects that most conflict transformation organisations face in their daily work

39. The Heroes of Financial Fraud – Via Atlantic – The scale of Bernie Madoff’s crimes has largely eclipsed the more interesting scam that broke around the same time: the antics of Mark Dreier, who bilked institutional investors for millions with faked securities. What we know about Madoff suggests that he may have become an almost accidental crook, like many of the accounting fraudsters of yesteryear: take big losses, cook the books to cover them until he could “catch up”, and when you realize you’re too far behind, simply ride the fraud as long as you can.

40. Historical Interest – Via Out of our archives comes a very familiar account of corporate excess . . . from 1933. It is easy now to indulge in sour morality. Three years ago it was a different story. Then it seemed that there could be no limit and no end. Our industry was ‘depression-proof.’ All the financial journals said so, and we believed it. ‘It always gets dark at night,’ we caroled. ‘People must have light at night!’ And with that as a slogan we went forth to sell more stock and build more power plants.

41. Lessons learned from last Asian crisis – Via Marketplace – Leaders of Asian nations will gather in Thailand to discuss restoring financial stability to the region more than a decade after Southeast Asia was the epicenter of another economic crisis. What has changed? Jeremy Hobson reports.

43. Top 50 Economics Blogs: Bankling – Via Finance Profess0r – The new rankings from Bankling.com are out (not exactly the BCS, but….) and FinanceProfessor.com’s blog is #24!!!

44. PPIP gaming in a nutshell – Via Interfluidity – Divide the world into the consolidated financial sector and taxpayers. Under PPIP, each dollar a “public-private investment fund” overbids provokes a net transfer to the consolidated financial sector from taxpayers. The size of transfer to the financial sector increases with the degree to which bids are overpriced, and is maximized if the true asset value is very small relative to the price actually bid. If an asset is worth $6 dollars, and financial sector actors purchase a contract for $7 while the Treasury invests alongside, the consolidated finacial sector gains a dollar. But if financial sector actors pay $70 for the same asset, the financial sector would receive a net transfer from taxpayers of up to $118. (For more detailed arithmetic, see below.)

45. Game theory and salary transparency – Via Mind YOur Decisions – In 1994, shock jock Howard Stern created a public storm and ran for the governor of New York. His campaign was regarded as a publicity stunt, but some worried his radio popularity would convert into votes and make a mockery of American politics. Luckily, the fears never materialized. Stern dropped out because he didn’t want to disclose his finances (or salary), a requirement for office.

46. Belcher on Neuroscience Journalism – Via NeuroEthics – Mimi Belcher, a postdoctoral fellow at the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project, sent me an email criticizing some recent neuroscience journalism and gave permission to post her thoughts on the Neuroethics & Law Blog. (Incidentally, it seems clear that Mimi is writing in her own personal capacity). My own views are less caustic than Mimi’s, so I’ll add a brief remark in the comments section. Here is the relevant portion of Mimi’s email which I’ve copied verbatim:

47. Evolution of Corporate Ownership – Via Harvard Law School – The evolution of corporate ownership after IPO: The impact of investor protection, which was recently accepted for publication in the Review of Financial Studies, we examine the ownership structure for newly public firms, and how that structure changes over time. We assemble new panel data on corporate ownership covering a large panel of firms in 34 countries between 1995 and 2006, including 2,700 firms that go public during this period.

48. The Silicon Valley of Water? Via Acumen Fund Blog – I recently gave a keynote address in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Engineers Without Borders, an amazing group of 12,000 students and activist-engineers who devote themselves to working on global issues at the community level, using their engineering skills as well as a values system grounded in a belief in community partnership. Exciting.

49. SSRN – Recent Papers in Derivatives – Via Money Science – Great Stuff !

50. Projecting Inflation with Demographic Data – Via Political Calculations – What if all you needed to project the rate of inflation within a nation was to simply know how the size of its labor force changed?That’s the intriguing concept we’re following up on today, as we’ve constructed a tool to do the math originally developed by Ivan Kitov, which he finds might be applied to several nations. To use the tool, you’ll need to collect the following information for your nation of interest:

51. Harvard on Today’s French Revolution – Via Skeptical CPA- “‘Eat the wealthy.’ The ferocity of the words used by some demonstrators on the eve of the Group of 20 summit evokes the worst excesses of the French revolution. Anti-capitalist anger in the west is not confined to Europe. Alexis de Tocqueville’s The Ancien Regime and the Revolution is as relevant to understanding today’s America as his deep and eye-opening thoughts on the young American republic in his Democracy in America. … Yet as a European living in America–watching news on television every night, talking to friends, colleagues or my students-

52. Making Banking Boring – Via Paul Krugman – Thirty-plus years ago, when I was a graduate student in economics, only the least ambitious of my classmates sought careers in the financial world. Even then, investment banks paid more than teaching or public service — but not that much more, and anyway, everyone knew that banking was, well, boring.

53. Emeritus Professor Joan Robinson & Friend Of Keynes (1903-1983) was a guest professor at Stanford University in May 1974 – Via AGSM

54. Video – 400 Years of the Telescope, Tonight on PBS – Via Discover Magazine – I just recently read Galileo’s Starry Messenger, which is just about to have its 400th birthday…so I’m psyched to tune in for this one tonight. See the teaser video below, and tune in at 10pm Pacific/Eastern, 9pm Central tonight (check local listings for specific airdate in your area, or visit www.400years.org).

55. Do Shopaholics Make Good Entrepreneurs? – Via Gaebler – It’s just a theory but we believe shopaholics, people who need to shop in a somewhat compulsive manner, have the potential to be great entrepreneurs. Do you agree that they’ve got a leg up on others or do you think we’ve got it all wrong?

56. Our moral thermostat – why being good can give people license to misbehave – Via Science Blogs – What happens when you remember a good deed, or think of yourself as a stand-up citizen? You might think that your shining self-image would reinforce the value of selflessness and make you more likely to behave morally in the future. But a new study disagrees.

57. Unconditional love in the brain? Via Brainethics – From time to time we bring you the quirky side of neuroscience here at BrainEthics. Now, we discover a funny little study in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging that bears the attractive title “The neural basis of unconditional love” by Mario Beauregard et al. Indeed, the study of the neural bases of preference formation, aesthetics and even love have gained much momentum since this field started just a few years ago. Fields such as neuroaesthetics and neuroeconomics seem to overlap when it comes to these studies, in which the core aim is to study the fundamental processes underlying preference formation.

About Miguel Barbosa

I run this site.

12. April 2003 by Miguel Barbosa
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