Quotes & Links #51


1) andrewgelman.com: The illusion of the illusion of control

2) quantamagazine.org: Strange Stars Pulse to the Golden Mean

Learned, a neutrino physicist at the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, has a pet theory that super-advanced alien civilizations might send messages by tickling stars with neutrino beams, eliciting Morse code-like pulses. “It’s the sort of thing tenured senior professors can get away with,” he said.

Let’s hope the aliens are not going to kill us.

3) fusion.net: Your sexual peak might coincide with your booze peak
I’m not convinced of the Kinsay scale, but alcohol certainly is a prime reason for most sexual encounters. ;)

4) medium.com: How Does QE Work? A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Instead, it appears that bond purchases worked through a pure “brute force” effect — when demand for a particular issue went up, the yield for that issue was affected without spilling over into other bonds.

5) esoltas.com: High Polarization, Big Deficits

So the story fits: More or less balanced budgets from the 1940s to the 1970s, and then structural budget deficits from the 1980s onward, with the outlier of the Clinton administration.

Reminded me of a paper by Christian Breuning titled “The more things change, the more things stay the same: a comparative analysis of budget punctuations” about partisan effects (or lack thereof) on the budget.

6) scilogs.de: Der Wert von Biodiversität als Ausdruck unseres Unwissens

In Fachkreisen gibt es zwar auch keinen Konsens, was Biodiversität denn genau sei, der Begriff selbst legt aber schon einmal zwei Wesensmerkmale nahe: Zum einen geht es um Vielfalt, zum anderen um „Biologisches“.

Ich hätte auch nicht gedacht, dass der Begriff so neu ist. Macht aber Sinn, weil man vorher über so was nicht viel nachgedacht hat/nachdenken musste.

7) blog.opower.com: A massive solar eclipse will hit Germany on March 20th. This data shows why utilities worldwide should pay attention.
Interesting.

8) scientificamerican.com: Why People “Fly from Facts”

Of course, sometimes people just dispute the validity of specific facts. But we find that people sometimes go one step further and, as in the opening example, they reframe an issue in untestable ways. This makes potential important facts and science ultimately irrelevant to the issue.

Well, you can, kind of, dispute most facts. But yes, facts alone will not solve your problems.

9) slatestarcodex.com: Book Review – Willpower

I really want to know what willpower is. It seems like one of the big challenges of my life; I never have enough willpower for everything I want to do, and I’d at least like to have a theory of what I’m up against.

I’d like to know, too.

10) washingtonpost.com/wonkblog: Saying yes to a $1,357 dress: What Americans spent on weddings in 2014

A new survey of 16,000 brides by XO Group, which owns wedding website TheKnot.com, found that the average cost of a wedding excluding a honeymoon was $31,213 in 2014, a five-year high.

Woah. So much money for a wedding. I understand that the venue might be expensive, but so much money for an engagement ring? Why not buy better food?! I’d like to know what the average number of attendees is.

11) washingtonpost.com/monkeycage: How to make scientific research more trustworthy

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