Friday, November 30, 2012

T-Mobile subscribers may get iPhone at last - latimes.com

"speculation is heightening" that T-Mobile USAs parent company Deutsche Telecom will announce a deal to make the iPhone available to T-Mobile users as early as next week,

via T-Mobile subscribers may get iPhone at last - latimes.com.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

high carbohydrate = high fat, the wrong kind, + cell damage

I agree. I am old enough to remember when they said weightlifting could give you "athletes heart." And teachers would refer to "dumb athletes." My coach Sim Iness who won the olympic discus said physical and mental abilities are inherited so it is unfair to label athletes as inferior because their abilities are also to some extent inherited.

In a world of fat slobs playing video games we need to have more young people getting themselves in shape. New Yorkers are in terrible physical condition and poorly informed on such issues, so the NYT article was to try to throw some information at them realizing they could not throw much (and did not know much themselves, as you note.)

That article was also complaining about girl sites such as:
http://thinspiration-pictures.blogspot.com
These girls are not too thin, they are mostly just young and/or in good shape. They will fill out when they get older. I noted the ironman triathletes were mostly very slender, similar to the girls on that site, and they were in superb physical condition.

I see way too many obese girls nowadays and wonder why they do not lose weight, especially with all the models and mannequins being so thin. I stay thin on even a high-carbo diet. It is easier to stay thin on a high-fat diet. Must be the junk food: sugar, soft drinks, candy, cakes, breads...

Newspapers should not be ridiculing people trying to stay in shape. However, many athletes go to extreme with drugs as I learned in 1997 when I started lifting weights again. I read some of the literature on what people were taking and was appalled. I don't have info but suspect many die by age 50, or have serious disease. I would not want to use any drugs so I figured I would not have a chance so quit weightlifting in order to spend more time outdoors which I prefer. I remember Arnold Schwartzenegger had open heart surgery to repair damage caused by steroid use. Steroids are mild and better understood compared to what some are taking today.

Since starting weightlifting as a teenager, I have been obsessed with getting enough protein but from natural foods. Many come with lots of fat, others with too much carbohydrate (such as milk). When I converted to marathon running and carbo loading I still was obsessed with protein because rice, wheat, rye and other carbos have little protein. I still get too much carbohydrates and do not know what the optimal protein % is. I am still getting 1/3 of each, carbos, protein, fat but suspect the optimal carbohydrate is around 0%.

My body fat is probably 15%. I remember you said yours is around 6% which is where I want to be this time next year. Should be easy as I continue to reduce carbohydrates from 1/3 down toward 0%. Unfortunately I sprained my abdominals the first 5 minutes of weightlifting after a 10 year break. Typical, as I was talking too much to the owner and a kid moving to Hawaii the next day (Kona on the big island) not paying attention. Lots of new machines to learn.

Joe,

The NYT article was very poorly written. The author has an obvious bias against weightlifting. Instead of separating issues, analyzing each issue and reaching conclusions the author throws pots of spaghetti against the wall hoping some will stick. It reminds me of many of the gun articles emanating from the NYT and similar ilk.
Many issues such as steroids, supplements, body images, obsessions et al are raised but no conclusions are reached. It is full of dangling snippets that are not explored such as "Charles Atlas bodies" and "genetics." Ever here of "personal best?"
"Supplements" as term is not defined. Substituting "high quality protein" bars for meals. That is a real no! no! Wouldn't want to cut McDonald's out of net profit on a double cheeseburger. What is a "balanced meal" anyway?
Actually the article reeks of fear by the author of a generation of toned men and women.
Many of the comments were more insightful.

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My high-fat diet is reducing my waist size which is where male hormones cause fat to be deposited. A high-carbohydrate diet becomes a high-fat diet as your body converts the carbos into triglycerides to be stored in your fat tissue. The body also burns the carbos asap to reduce damage from carbos -- may be the cause of my high energy and desire to exercise so much. Unfortunately those carbos will damage cellular proteins while waiting to be burned or shoved into fat tissue. Further, those damaging carbos trigger insulin release that will shove the carbos into the fat asap, leaving you hungry as your cells run out of fat, the main source energy. The insulin and carbos also fuel cancer. A high fat diet such as butter does not trigger hunger, insulin release and elevated blood sugar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatty_acid#Fatty_acids_in_dietary_fats
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adipose_tissue#Physiology

There is a constant flux of FFA (Free Fatty Acids) entering and leaving adipose tissue. The net direction of this flux is controlled by insulin and leptin - if insulin is elevated there is a net inward flux of FFA and only when insulin is low can FFA leave adipose tissue. Insulin secretion is stimulated by high blood sugar which results from consuming carbohydrates. In humans, lipolysis (hydrolysis of triglycerides into free fatty acids) is controlled through the balanced control of lipolytic B-adrenergic receptors and a2A-adrenergic receptor-mediated antilipolysis. Fat cells have an important physiological role in maintaining triglyceride and free fatty acid levels, as well as determining insulin resistance. Abdominal fat has a different metabolic profile—being more prone to induce insulin resistance. This explains to a large degree why central obesity is a marker of impaired glucose tolerance and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (even in the absence of diabetes mellitus and hypertension). Studies of female monkeys discovered individuals suffering from higher stress have higher levels of visceral fat in their bodies. This suggests stress promotes the accumulation of visceral fat, which in turn causes hormonal and metabolic changes that contribute to heart disease and other health problems

Abdominal fat is packed between the organs (stomach, liver, intestines, kidneys, etc.). Fat in the lower body, as in thighs and buttocks, is subcutaneous, whereas fat in the abdomen is mostly visceral. An excess of visceral fat is known as central obesity, or "belly fat", in which the abdomen protrudes excessively. The correlation between central obesity andcardiovascular disease is strong. Excess visceral fat is also linked to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammatory diseases, and other obesity-related diseases. Female sex hormone causes fat to be stored in the buttocks, thighs, and hips in women. Men are more likely to have fat stored in the belly. When women reach menopause and the estrogen produced by ovaries declines, fat migrates from their buttocks, hips and thighs to their waists; later fat is stored in the belly.

High-intensity exercise is one way to effectively reduce total abdominal fat.

Epicardial fat is deposited around the heart. It is metabolically active. It generates bioactive molecules that might significantly affect cardiac function.

http://nyti.ms/WfK9Zj

NYTimes: Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession

It is not just girls these days who are consumed by an unattainable body image. Many boys have begun to take unhealthy measures to reshape their bodies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Einstein's brain photos, cause of war, art, music

Different races have different brains, motivations, and behaviors. Much is hard wired and gives rise to wars: Humans operate with awareness of the future, which means we seek to extinguish not only a current threat but also future ones--and that can mean trying to eradicate the entire group that poses the perceived danger. Worse, as our ability to develop weapons has progressed, our ability to carry out our murderous plans advanced along with it." For the same aggressive impulse, we can do a lot more killing," says psychologist John Dovodio of Yale University. Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1848769,00.html#ixzz2DXSyvdEc
Interesting that Einstein had strong areas in music and facial expression in addition to other areas more commonly thought to be related to physics. There seems to be a connection to science, music, and acting. For example San Fernando Valley is right next to Hollywood, Music and the Los Angeles military industrial complex. Silicon valley and LBL is surrounded by and coexists with a mostly artistic culture. My Apple computers and ipod combine the science and art. Heavy metal hard rock In his book Metalheads, psychologist Jeffrey Arnett refers to heavy metal concerts as "the sensory equivalent of war."[15] Following the lead set by Jimi Hendrix, Cream and The Who, early heavy metal acts such as Blue Cheer set new benchmarks for volume. Evanescence http://youtu.be/oOmfMtHY7_U

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/einsteins-brain-was-unusual-in-several-respects-rarely-seen-photos-show/2012/11/26/19b0987a-332a-11e2-bb9b-288a310849ee_story.html?hpid=z6

Einstein’s brain was unusual in several respects, rarely seen photos show

A new study analyzes Einstein’s brain using photos taken at the time of physicist’s death. These images had never been made public.

Albert Einstein is widely regarded as a genius, but how did he get that way? Many researchers have assumed that it took a very special brain to come up with the theory of relativity and other insights that form the foundation of modern physics.

A study of 14 newly discovered photographs of Einstein’s brain, which was preserved for study after his death, concludes that the brain was indeed highly unusual in many ways. But researchers still don’t know exactly how the brain’s extra folds and convolutions translated into Einstein’s amazing abilities.

The story of Einstein’s brain is a saga that began in 1955 when the Nobel Prize-winning physicist died in Princeton, N.J., at age 76. His son Hans Albert and his executor, Otto Nathan, gave the examining pathologist, Thomas Harvey, permission to preserve the brain for scientific study.

Harvey photographed the brain and then cut it into 240 blocks, which were embedded in a resinlike substance. He cut the blocks into as many as 2,000 thin sections for microscopic study, and in subsequent years distributed slides and photographs of the brain to at least 18 researchers around the world. With the exception of the slides that Harvey kept for himself, no one is sure where the specimens are now, and many of them have probably been lost as researchers retired or died.

Over the decades, only six peer-reviewed publications resulted from these widely scattered materials. Some of these studies did find interesting features in Einstein’s brain, including a greater density of neurons in some parts of the brain and a higher than usual ratio of glia (cells that help neurons transmit nerve impulses) to neurons. Two studies of the brain’s gross anatomy, including one published in 2009 by anthropologist Dean Falk of Florida State University at Tallahassee, found that Einstein’s parietal lobes — which might be linked to his remarkable ability to conceptualize physics problems — had a very unusual pattern of grooves and ridges.

But the Falk study was based on only a handful of photographs that had been made available by Harvey, who died in 2007. In 2010, Harvey’s heirs agreed to transfer all of his materials to the U.S. Army’s National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring.

For the new study, published Nov. 16 in the journal Brain, Falk teamed up with neurologist Frederick Lepore of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and Adrianne Noe, director of the museum, to analyze 14 photographs of the whole brain from the Harvey collection that had never been made public. The paper also includes a “road map” prepared by Harvey that links the photographs to the 240 blocks and the microscopic slides prepared from them in hopes that other scientists will use them to do follow-up research.

The team compared Einstein’s brain with those of 85 other people and found that the great physicist did indeed have something special between his ears. Although the brain is only average in size, several regions feature additional convolutions and folds rarely seen in others. For example, the regions on the left side of the brain that facilitate sensory inputs into and motor control of the face and tongue are much larger than normal; and his prefrontal cortex — linked to planning, focused attention and perseverance — is also greatly expanded.

“In each lobe,” including the frontal, parietal and occipital lobes, “there are regions that are exceptionally complicated in their convolutions,” Falk says. As for the enlarged regions linked to the face and tongue, Falk thinks that this might relate to Einstein’s famous quote that his thinking was often “muscular” rather than done in words.

Although this comment is usually interpreted as a metaphor for his subjective experiences as he thought about the universe, “it may be that he used his motor cortex in extraordinary ways” connected to abstract conceptualization, Falk says.

Albert Galaburda, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, says that “what’s great about this paper is that it puts down . . . the entire anatomy of Einstein’s brain in great detail.” Nevertheless, Galaburda adds, the study raises “very important questions for which we don’t have an answer.” Among them are whether Einstein started off with a special brain that predisposed him to be a great physicist, or whether doing great physics caused certain parts of his brain to expand.

Einstein’s genius, Galaburda says, was probably due to “some combination of a special brain and the environment he lived in.”

He suggests that researchers now attempt to compare Einstein’s brain with that of other talented physicists to see if the brain’s features were unique to Einstein or are also seen in other scientists.

Falk agrees that both nature and nurture were probably involved, pointing out that Einstein’s parents were “very nurturing” and encouraged him to be independent and creative, not only in science but also in music. (Falk’s 2009 study found that a brain region linked to musical talent was highly developed in Einstein’s brain.)

“Einstein programmed his own brain,” Falk says, adding that when physics was ripe for new insights, “he had the right brain in the right place at the right time.”

Thinspiration pictures to fight disease

Motivation to end the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease,....

Thinspiration pictures.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

now publishers

Aims & Scope

The Critical Finance Review publishes leading academic research in all areas of financial economics. Compared to its peers, it will take more risks to try to attract more controversial and provocative papers.

via now publishers.

Hundreds of websites urging girls to starve for perfection - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent

Between 400 and 500 websites promoting anorexia and related eating disorders, which are visited by thousands of young girls each day, have been identified in the first review to quantify the phenomenon.They tell people how to stay thin, promoting diets of 400-500 calories a day compared with a recommended 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men, backed by coffee, cigarettes and diet pills.They encourage “starving for perfection” featuring pictures of celebrities such as Keira Knightley and Victoria Beckham and advocate “thinspiration” backed by images of thin bodies.In one year, more than 500,000 people visited the sites

via Hundreds of websites urging girls to starve for perfection - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent.

UCLA critical finance review

Now is a good time to write an in-depth criticism of financial theories and associated lame practices that have degraded the performance of the USA economy.

Ivo Welch (from Bavaria?) moved from Yale to UCLA and is starting such a journal aptly named "Critical Finance Review". Not an easy task. There are already too many finance journals.
http://www.bus.lsu.edu/academics/finance/faculty/dchance/Research/Finance_journals.htm

He charges $300 to submit a paper and expects to reject 90% of submissions, most in 1 week. The Journal of Finance only charges $70 and some journals do not charge at all. He still is worried about too many submissions (taxpayer expenditure financed research that helped liberalize the derivatives that led to the 2008 crash).

Judea Pearl at UCLA is also starting a journal on causal inference in statistics using graph theory similar to mine. Interesting question: How does risk "cause" return by the trading of risk averse investors? It is probably not be possible to infer that from the data as often asserted by financial academics. Judea Pearl might be a useful ally to attack some of the nonsense in finance.

UCLA has great weather, beaches and movie stars. Might be a good place to present, get feedback, and finish 2 papers. Both Ivo Welch and Judea Pearl have great reputations and will put a lot of work into each article to help make it a success. Tony Lawson at Oxford UK would be another useful ally. All 3 would take considerable convincing, and often do not agree with each other.

Below is some of the strategy for launching a new top journal. 2 new journals did join the top tier of 3 top finance journals, so there are now 5.

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the CFR also believes that critiques are an underserved niche. Consequently, it will tend to take a more favorable view than other journals towards them. Moreover, the journal has unusual latitude in the kinds of papers it can publish. Unusual papers could include critical papers and eclectic papers.


  • The CFR likes controversial, provocative, interesting, and unusual papers, especially if it believes that these papers will have impact.

  • the CFR will also publish papers that are short (5-10 pages), critiques of published papers, empirical pitfalls and and so on.

  • The CFR will take chances -- and therefore will occasionally publish papers that will turn out to be incorrect.



Ivo Welch
Abitur 1982 Alexander-von-Humboldt Gymnasium, Schweinfurt Germany
B.A. 1985 Columbia University (Computer Science)
M.B.A. 1989 The University of Chicago
Ph.D. 1991 The University of Chicago
Assistant Professor 1989-1995 UCLA
Associate Professor 1995-1998 UCLA
Professor 1998-2001 UCLA
Professor 2000-2005 Yale University
Professor 2004 Brown University
Chair of Finance and Economics Professor 2011-UCLA Fred Weston Chair of Finance

http://www.critical-finance-review.org/journal.aspx?product=CFR&id=FAQ






Frequently Asked Questions




  1. To what quality-level does the CFR aspire?

  2. Why the name "Critical Finance Review"?

  3. Is the CFR more critical than other journals and/or focused on critical papers?

  4. What are the unusual choices that the CFR plans to make?

  5. Why submit your best papers to the CFR?

  6. Should junior faculty submit to the CFR?

  7. Is this journal too personality focused?

  8. What are the biases of the editor (Ivo Welch)?

  9. Is the strong editoral approach of the CFR inviting nepotism?

  10. Is the strong editoral approach of the CFR inviting ignorance?

  11. How can an author influence the editorial process?

  12. The editor is an idiot.

  13. The referee is an idiot.

  14. What can an author do if the paper was rejected?

  15. Why does the journal have so many associate editors?

  16. What exactly do the associate editors do?

  17. What exactly do referees do?

  18. Does the CFR have a preference for writing style and tone?

  19. Are critical papers more welcome? Are confirming papers unwelcome?

  20. Are papers written by PhD students treated differently?

  21. Is the CFR a refereed journal?

  22. Is the CFR an "e-journal"?

  23. Are CFR publications on the web?

  24. What if there are not enough good papers to publish two issues per year?

  25. What is the journal's policy towards data and programs?

  26. What about other new journals?

  27. What is the journal's relation with the SFS and the AFA?

  28. What will be the submission fee?

  29. What will the journal do if the refereeing process produces surplus?

  30. What if there are so many papers that the editors can no longer review each paper with due care?

  31. What will the journal do if it loses money?

  32. Where can you send suggestions? Misgivings? Questions?




  1. To what quality-level does the CFR aspire?




The CFR aspires to be a top finance journal, on par with the current three top journals, the JF, JFE, and RFS. This is especially the case with respect to paper impact and visibility. The CFR will be quite content to publish only 10-20 papers per year in the interest to maintain high quality and in order to give its papers high visibility.

Starting a new journal is partly a coordination problem -- if researchers believe that a journal is 1A, then it is 1A -- and authors will not be reluctant to send their best papers to this journal. The CFR will not start up unless it has papers that allow the first few issues of the journal to be at least as good and interesting as the top three journals. Fortunately, right now, potential papers for the first two issues look better than we could have hoped for. (Early issues will contain disproportionally more individually solicited papers.) All authors have the option to withdraw their submitted and accepted papers if they do not agree that the CFR meets this quality standard. Submitting authors therefore do not risk publication in a B journal, but they do risk a delay of 6-9 months at the CFR if the CFR fails in attracting the right papers and does not start up.

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Why the name "Critical Finance Review"? Simple: All combinations of "finance", "financial economics", "review", and "journal" were already taken. We wanted a name with a unique abbreviation and a lower probability of confusion with existing journals.

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Is the CFR more critical than other journals and/or focused on critical papers? The dictionary defines two distinct meanings for critical:

fault-finding and very important. The CFR will strive primarily to publish high-impact original financial economics papers of all kinds. However, the CFR also believes that critiques are an underserved niche. Consequently, it will tend to take a more favorable view than other journals towards them. Moreover, the journal has unusual latitude in the kinds of papers it can publish. Unusual papers could include critical papers and eclectic papers. The best way to think of the CFR's relation to critical papers is to think of the JFE's early relation to empirical and corporate finance papers, and the RFS's early relation to theoretical and market-microstructure papers.

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What are the unusual choices that the CFR plans to make? The CFR will not be a carbon copy of existing journals. Simply put, it wants to be an authors' journal, rather than an association, publisher, or referee journal. To do so, it will distinguish itself in a number of ways.

Editorial Focus


  • The CFR likes controversial, provocative, interesting, and unusual papers, especially if it believes that these papers will have impact.

  • Although the CFR will mostly publish standard academic papers, it will also publish papers that do not fit the standard paper formula. For example, this could be papers that are short (5-10 pages), critiques of published papers, review papers, papers that lay out the empirical pitfalls and challenges in some literatures, and so on. (For more information, please read about unusual papers.)

  • The CFR will take chances -- and therefore will occasionally publish papers that will turn out to be incorrect. Of course, the CFR would prefer never to publish a wrong paper, but it is willing to take risks in order to publish the rare paper that does make a difference.



A natural consequence of the mission of the CFR is that it is more inclined to publish non-results (i.e., statistically insignificant results) that are contrary to published significant results.

Editorial Process


  • The CFR will use editorial judgment more liberally than existing journals. On the plus side, a more liberal use of editorial judgment will reduce the noise that arises from the draw of the referee. On the minus side, it will allow more room for the editors' professional biases. See the discussion of biases below.

  • Unless submitting authors request it explicitly, unless the editor has a strong personal bias (positive or negative), or unless the paper is too far outside the expertise of the editor, the refereeing process at the CFR will be as follows:


    • The editor will desk-reject two out of three papers. This initial selection means that about half of the decision about a paper will be made before the paper is ever sent to a referee. The CFR hopes that many negative answers will be made within about 1 week.

    • Once sent out to a referee, a paper should have a roughly even chance of acceptance.

    • The CFR frowns on more than one revision before final acceptance or rejection. It expects to accept papers after the first revision. In many cases, the referees are not even asked to consent to the revision.



    The end effect of this process is that the CFR will have a rejection rate similar to that of other top journals. The advantage of this streamlined editorial process for authors is that it shortens the time before a final decision is made. After papers have received a revise-and-resubmit, they are only rarely rejected.

  • The CFR allows rejected papers to be submitted again. Of course, unless there are dramatic changes, a rejected paper will likely meet the same fate again. A previously rejected paper does need to be accompanied by a description of what has changed since the rejection.

  • The CFR actively seeks recommendation for papers to solicit. If you know of a great interesting and provocative paper, please send an email to the CFR editor.



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Why submit your best papers to the CFR?


  • The CFR review process begins with an active editor. This means that it will be more consistent in decisions across papers compared to existing journals which rely more on the draw of the referee.

  • A positive view of the editor on the paper can be viewed as the equivalent of a revise-resubmit at another journal in terms of the probability of eventual publication. The editor also makes most of the call of whether a paper is interesting, although the referee may on occasion override it. Authors won't have to wait for months to learn that an anonymous referee did not find the paper to be interesting.

  • The editor will sometimes not shy away from asking referees to focus more on offering constructive critisms than on pointing out all the issues that cannot be fixed. Most approaches have unfixable drawbacks. Papers should clearly acknowledge such weaknesses, and such weaknesses may not be automatic reasons for rejection.

  • The CFR has a top editorial board.

  • Papers that have survived the editorial judgment are more likely to draw a referee who is a well-known, senior researchers, and who is aware that the paper has survived the editor.

  • The CFR will have a very quick turn-around time in cases of many rejections.

  • The CFR will accept papers with fewer revision rounds. Papers should be published after only one round.

  • The CFR plans to publish unusual papers (critical paper, shorter papers, etc.).

  • The first version of a paper often has weaknesses. A rejection by another journal closes the door for future versions of the paper. In contrast, the CFR will allow a rejected paper to be submitted a second time. A very different later version of a paper thus can get a second chance. (And, the more different, the better the chances -- it may be best to submit a paper first to the CFR and last to the CFR.)

  • The CFR has very lax formatting requirements for a first submission. Authors do not have to spend a day to make their submission conform to the journal's style.

  • The journal will be widely distributed -- as widely as the JF, JFE, RFS, etc. Readership and visibility of articles should be about the same.



Journals are, in many ways, self-fulfilling prophesies. As a profession, we would be better off with one journal that is quite different from its peers. Help us make this come true by sending us your best papers.

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Should junior faculty submit to the CFR?

It is a risk for junior faculty to submit their best papers to any new journal. However, given that senior authors are sending their best work to the CFR (signaling that it is a 1a journal -- look at the first issue when it comes out), and given that the CFR has different tastes (and there may be few easy mainstream outlets for more unusual papers), it may well be the case that some junior faculty will choose to submit to the CFR, anyway. This should all the more be the case if the editor has solicited the paper.

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Is this journal too personality focused? For better or worse, this journal is indeed more or less Ivo Welch's creation -- in the same sense that the JFE was originally more or less Michael Jensen's creation. The CFR wants to copy the best aspects of this model. (For example, the CFR will use editorial discretion more than association journals and take more risks.)

The positive aspect is that the CFR has fewer coordination, inertia, and editorial continuity issues. The incentives are right. If the editor screws up or loses interest, the CFR will be a failure. It is in the full interest of the editor to make the CFR an ongoing success. The negative aspect of this arrangement is that the CFR will be idiosyncratic and biased in its taste. (This is defensible for one journal, but it would not be defensible for most journals.) Another negative aspect is that the succession plans are not yet worked out. (While I, Ivo Welch, am alive, interested, and active, I plan to edit the journal. I am doing this because I want to create a different kind of academic outlet. I have not yet focused on what happens if get run over by a truck.)

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What are the biases of the editor (Ivo Welch)? As the editor, I (Ivo Welch) would like to state what I think my professional biases are that will guide my editorial decisions:

I tend to like applied research. This tends to favor empirical work, but theory can of course be applied, too. It does not matter whether a paper is technical or informal. It is important that a paper uses a method appropriate to the economic question at hand. For some questions, the methods need to be complex. For others, the methods can be simple. Given a question, if the point of the paper can be clearly conveyed in a simpler fashion, I prefer the simpler fashion.

For theory work, if the model is to be taken literally, then generality and distributional assumptions are important. Such is often the case in econometric or asset-pricing papers (e.g., in options or derivatives related work). In corporate finance, where models are necessarily ignoring most of the complexity of real-life firms, there is rarely a need for great generality. Such models are typically just illustrations of economic forces. Of course, it is important to understand how results change if the model assumptions are changed or generalized, but this need not be at the highest level of formality.

For empirical work, I tend to like papers that are focused on explaining a very specific theory and/or phenomenon, and papers that have good quasi-experimental identification. I also tend to like papers that are more descriptive and show the relative importance of different effects (even if the first-order effects seem less interesting). Not every paper has to have the same strengths.

I don't trust half of what I read in the top journals. The results often seem too good to be true. I am concerned that this is due to a publication bias in favor of papers that find what they want to find.

I believe that it is good that not everyone shares my perspective. Diversity is valuable. If the CFR were the profession's main publication outlet, or if it were an association journal, it could not indulge such biases. It is both a strength and a weakness of the CFR that it has editorial biases.

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Is the strong editoral approach of the CFR inviting nepotism? This is a danger that the editor will be acutely aware of. The CFR will strive hard to remain free of personal biases. If its decisions become biased in favor of certain researchers because they are friends of the editors, then the CFR will be a miserable failure. Of course, as just stated, the CFR will have biases with respect to the types of papers that it will publish.

Of course, the danger of nepotism is not exclusive to the CFR. Editors of other journals also exercise a lot of discretionary power, although it is often less visible. For example, editors can send a paper that they do not like to referees that they expect to be less friendly. Or, they can send a paper to multiple referees until they find one that they like. The CFR avoids such "perfunctory refereeing," thus saving the authors' and referees' time.


If I, Ivo Welch, believe that a personal relationship with an author, positive or negative, will unduly bias my decision on a paper, I will rely on an associate editor to help the CFR make the editorial decision.

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Is the strong editoral approach of the CFR inviting ignorance? The first editorial hurdle is that the submitted paper is interesting to a non-specialist. If the authors cannot communicate why an interested but non-expert editor should be thrilled to publish the paper, then the CFR is just not the right journal for the paper. There are many great papers that just don't fit the CFR. We have great association and specialty journals that may be better outlets for such papers. If the paper seems interesting to the editor, the refereeing process is the substantive hurdle to bring more specific subject expertise to bear.

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How can an author influence the editorial process? First, the author can request that an editor other than Ivo Welch take over the main deciding role. Second, the author can request that the CFR revert to the more ordinary refereeing process (i.e., without going through the upfront editorial hurdle), the editorial decision will come after the referee report. In such cases, the decision will be influenced more by the recommendations of the referee.

Either should be clearly indicated in the submission letter.

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The editor is an idiot. This may well be true. However, please realize that being an editor is an incredibly difficult job. It is impossible to get every decision right. In fact, with 90% rejection rates, it may well be that the majority of editorial decisions at top finance journals are incorrect. The CFR will get many decisions wrong, too. When it comes to editorial decisions, there is not only an objective, but also a subjective element -- and this is all the more so for the CFR. The consolation for authors is that there are multiple outlets. Other journals rely more on referees, so papers should get different hearings. Other editors will have different subjective views, so that the different kinds of editorial biases will hopefully balance out. Of course, this will not always be the case. Many good papers have never been published. (And many bad papers have been.) The Gans-Shepherd (JEP, 1994) paper is an excellent description of what has happened in the editorial process to some of the most famous papers today.

Please, never view rejections of papers as personal rejections. The CFR will never reject papers based on personal opinions about authors.

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The referee is an idiot. Read Roy Baumeister about how to react to a rejection. Unlike other journals, the CFR uses fewer referees and does not encourage endless revisions.

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What can an author do if the paper was rejected?


  • Appeal the decision. The appeals process is the same as it is at the Review of Financial Studies. This process also applies to papers that the CFR has rejected without sending them to a referee. In cases of such appeals, the CFR will not make a call, but rely on referees and associate editors to make the call.

  • Submit a changed version of the paper as a new submission. Of course, unless the paper has changed significantly, the paper will be even more quickly rejected the second time. Even when it has changed, knowing that a paper has previously been rejected clearly does not help a paper's chances a second time. An author should probably only do this if the changes have been major. Otherwise, the author is wasting everyone's time (and money). It is often better to submit the paper to another journal instead.



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Why does the journal have so many associate editors? First, because it can. The quality of the editorial board is second to none. Second, the CFR hopes that, at the outset, the paper flow will be low enough to allow it to rely primarily on associate editors for refereeing. Empirically, junior faculty members tend to be more the and less forgiving than senior faculty members. They tend to focus more on the flaws in a paper, rather than on its promise and potential. In sum, the CFR hopes to give submissions better editorial service.

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What exactly do the associate editors do? Associate editors perform the following duties:


  • They provide advice and suggestions to the CFR's editor.

  • They recommend suitable articles for solicitation.

  • They referee up to 4 papers per year.

  • They handle up to 1 paper per year as main editor, such as when the editor feels less qualified or more conflicted and/or when an author requests it.



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What exactly do referees do? It is true that they have less power over the "accept/reject" decision than they do in other journals. (As experts, they can of course sometimes spot fatal flaws than a non-expert editor cannot.) However, if the CFR publishes a paper, where the editor allowed the authors to ignore the comments of the referee, then the referee will be invited to write a non-anonymous 3-5 page note. This note will be printed following the paper itself. It can point out the weaknesses that the referee had also brought up in the referee report itself. Thus, the paper's authors have the incentives, at the very least, to acknowledge the shortcomings pointed out by the referee and explain to readers whether they should be concerned.

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Does the CFR have a preference for writing style and tone?


  • An abstract should focus not on the research process but on the research results. An abstract that closes with "we evaluate the data in the context of our model" is inferior to one that closes with "we find that variable x can explain about 20% of the variation in variable y."

  • An introduction should serve one purpose: explain to the audience why they should be thrilled to read the paper. What is it that they learn that they did not know before? Why are the findings interesting? What are the implications? How does the economics work? If a paper does not win the reader's interest by the time (s)he has read the abstract and introduction, the paper will likely not be memorable -- and be rejected.

  • Stick the "related literature" discussion into its own section, either after the introduction or before the conclusion. Do not take up the introduction with long discourses about other papers. Of course, if the paper critiques an original paper, then this other paper deserves plenty of space in the introduction.



Although this advice may be wise for submissions to other journals, it applies all the more for a journal like the CFR, in which the editor takes a more central role. With hundreds of papers to decide on, an author must convince the editor in 5 pages or less that the CFR needs to accept the paper.

Writing tone is highly subjective. Some referees consider more informal language to be unprofessional. Others consider an informal tone to be useful in making a paper more accessible. The CFR mildly prefers a more accessible writing style.

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Are critical papers more welcome? Are confirming papers unwelcome? A critical paper is relatively more welcome at the CFR than it would be at the JF, JFE, or RFS. Having said this, the CFR is not a journal of critical papers.

The journal also welcomes short successful replication of its published papers that confirm the results, although these will appear only on the website, in proximity to the original papers. Typically, such papers should replicate the results exactly, followed by a set of novel robustness tests.

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Are papers written by PhD students treated differently? Submission of a paper to the CFR by a PhD student requires a local tenure-track research faculty member to have signed off on the paper (as if he were a first referee). (A critical paper can make a good second-year or third-year paper for a PhD student.)

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Is the CFR a refereed journal? Yes. Every paper that is published will have survived the refereeing process.

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Is the CFR an "e-journal"? No. The CFR is a real journal, with print editions. This is more a signal than a need -- nowadays, most faculty access journal content through the internet. The publisher is being published bynowpublishers.com. This is intentional. The larger publishers (and especially Elsevier) are not as easy to motivate first to "do good" by the profession and only to worry about profits later.

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Are CFR publications on the web? Yes. Electronic access will be at least as wide and unrestricted as it is for other top journals. (Access will also be available through JSTOR and other journal content aggregators.) Authors can post their published papers on their personal web sites.

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What if there are not enough good papers to publish two issues per year? The journal will not compromise its standards. In this case, the journal will reduce its publication frequency. It may issue as few as one issue every two years. If the frequency becomes lower, the CFR may cease publication.

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What is the journal's policy towards data and programs? The CFR will follow the lead of the JF, JFE, and RFS, and adopt the common policy. (The policy has not yet been finalized.) However, the intent of the CFR will be as follows:


  • It must be possible for third parties to replicate a paper.In a science, it must be possible to detect mistakes. This requirement does not mean that the authors must share the data, that the data be freely available, or that everybody can get the data. It only means that a reasonable number of objective researchers with resources to spare should be able to acquire the data to replicate the study. If the data is hand-collected from proprietary information, a reasonable embargo period of, say 5 years, should allow authors to exploit their data set. Thereafter, the minimum requirement is that authors must be willing to share the data with a small number of research teams that have been vetted by the CFR.

  • The computer programs must be shared with the journal for public posting.The authors have zero obligation to provide free support for their programs to readers. (In the distant future, if the journal has the resources, it will try to help answer questions about the programs to deflect effort from the original authors.) The CFR believes that, in the long-term, posting the programs should free authors from third-party inquiries.

  • The authors must trace at least a few data points as examples.This may mean working out for, say, five different firm-months, what the inputs into the main regression are. (For example, for a study that relates accruals to stock returns, this could mean showing the exact accruals calculation for IBM in 2008 that become an input into regressions.) This will make it easier third parties to determine whether their basic calculations are correct.



The CFR reserves the right to grant exceptions to this policy.

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What about other new journals? The Society of Financial Studies has just started two new journals, also with about the same timeline as this journal. One focuses on corporate finance (the RCFS), the other on asset pricing (the RAPS). We hope that these new journals will be successful. The current small circle of three top-tier journals has become counterproductive. With the same referees at the three current top journals (and the large effects of even small random referee noise), the system has settled into an inferior Nash equilibrium, where all authors submit their top papers to the same journals, which, although they are very alike, thus are the top journals.

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What is the journal's relation with the SFS and the AFA? The CFR is associated with neither association. However, the same researchers that are involved with these two organization, their journals, and other financial economics journals will also be involved with the CFR. The CFR sees other journals not so much as competition than as coopetition. With typical journal rejection rates of over 90%, and a lot of noise in the refereeing process, there are many good papers that fall through the cracks (and many bad papers that stick, too). (And, as luck would have it, the incoming editor of the RFS is David Hirshleifer, Ivo Welch's long-time coauthor, confident, and friend.)

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What will be the submission fee? For a typical size paper (30 pages, plus 10 pages of tables and figures),


  • For subscribers, the submission fee is $250. This is roughly the average of the fees at other journals, such as the JF ($70 for members), RFS ($200 for members), the JFQA ($220), and the JFE ($500 for subscribers).

  • For non-subscribers, the submission fee is $300. Becoming a member is a good deal.



For significantly shorter paper, the CFR refunds submission fees at its own discretion. (The point of discretion is to reduce "gaming" of paper length by changing margins and font-size.) If an author submits a 10 page paper (incl tables), expect a submission fee of about half the normal charge. A second submissions of a previously rejected paper will not qualify for such a refund.

The CFR does not charge lower submission fees for desk-rejects. This policy is partly to ensure record-keeping simplicity, partly because even rejected papers still cost the editors' time, and partly because many authors will hopefully submit a mix of both types of papers to the CFR over the years.

The submission fee is intentionally high to deter submissions of unfinished and marginal papers, so that the editorial team can pay closer attention to submitted papers.

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What will the journal do if the refereeing process produces surplus? It will reduce subscription fees and increase refereeing compensation. If there is still money left, then the CFR will use the money to support PhD students (from any university) to replicate the papers in the journal itself.

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What if there are so many papers that the editors can no longer review each paper with due care? It will increase submission fees.

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What will the journal do if it loses money?

It will be financed by the editor.

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Where can you send suggestions? Misgivings? Questions? Please email ivo.welch. If you do not receive an acknowledgement within 2 weeks, chances are that your email died in a spam filter. In this case, try rephrasing your email and sending it from another email account. If this still fails, please call the journal. FYI, the editor highly prefers email, so a telephone call should be a last resort.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

culprits MF global collapse, low fat diet to dumb down the population

Sunny high 70, not a cloud in the sky.

Germany had the world's most advanced science and music establishment before WWII dismantled it. They were well aware of the problems of carbohydrates in the diet, even before the discovery of insulin, etc. This 7 foot Swedish Doctor discusses a little of this history (that I am also reading in a book) and how doctors are now re-discovering what the Germans once knew:
http://www.dietdoctor.com/
He discusses how the modern low-fat diet causes people to get fat and how a low-fat is related to many degenerative diseases.

I wonder if the USA federal government may be pushing low-fat diets to cause Alzheimers, dementia and other diseases to make voters dumb enough to vote for Obama and to be dependent on government for life essentials. Junk food manufacturers probably have too much influence on government while healthy hunters, fishermen and gardeners do not. Government programs such as WIC (women infants children) are mostly carbohydrates that probably cause low mental performance among those children http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIC#Items_provided as we have seen in the schools.

Republicans are probably right to criticize the MF Global corruption. But they are not totally innocent. They had many years under Bush to straighten out the regulations.

It amazes me how much stupidity and corruption I see in the financial industry and politics (they feed off each other). Similarly food & politics, drugs & politics, wars & politics.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/04/21/corzine_amid_scandal_is_among_obamas_top_bundlers.html

Jon Corzine -- under federal and congressional investigation following accusations that the securities firm he headed illegally took clients' funds before collapsing -- is among President Obama's top re-election campaign bundlers, raising at least $500,000, according to the campaign’s filing Friday with the Federal Election Commission. Corzine, the former New Jersey senator and governor, and former head of Goldman Sachs,

No one at MF Global has been accused of wrongdoing. The 100-page report, which some Democrats dismissed as a sort of public shaming of Obama administration watchdogs, further traced the MF Global debacle to the firm’s top executives. Republicans placed blame on the former chief executive, Jon S. Corzine, a onetime Democratic senator and governor of New Jersey,

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/11/15/house-report-details-collapse-of-mf-global/

House Report Faults MF Global Regulators



Representative Randy Neugebauer, Republican of Texas, led the panel that issued the 100-page report.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated PressRepresentative Randy Neugebauer, Republican of Texas, led the panel that issued the 100-

WASHINGTON — When MF Global was on the brink of collapse, chaos and confusion spread not only among the firm’s executives in New York, but also among its regulators in Washington, according to a report released on Thursday.

In the final hectic hours before the brokerage firm’s bankruptcy more than a year ago, regulators at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission instructed MF Global to transfer $220 million to plug a hole in customer accounts. The firm agreed — over the objections of the Securities and Exchange Commissionand other regulators.

Upon learning of the futures commission’s orders, the chairwoman of the S.E.C., Mary L. Schapiro, responded in an e-mail to a colleague: “Without telling us? That is unacceptable.”

The 100-page report, which some Democrats dismissed as a sort of public shaming of Obama administration watchdogs, further traced the MF Global debacle to the firm’s top executives. Republicans placed blame on the former chief executive, Jon S. Corzine, a onetime Democratic senator and governor of New Jersey, who they said increased a bet on European debt without regard for internal controls or the danger to clients.The e-mails of regulators, cited in an “autopsy” report from Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee’s oversight panel, portray a “disorganized and haphazard” approach to oversight from an alphabet soup of federal agencies. The regulators, the Republicans said, struggled to communicate even as MF Global was reeling.

Jon S. Corzine, MF Global's chief, center, was criticized by the Republicans for resisting efforts to rein in his trading in European sovereign debt.David Goldman for The New York TimesJon S. Corzine, MF Global’s chief, center, was criticized by the Republicans for resisting efforts to rein in his trading in European sovereign debt.

Mary Schapiro, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesMary Schapiro, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Rather than rein in his risk-taking, Republicans said that regulators afforded Mr. Corzine a long leash.

“We didn’t need additional regulation. We needed regulators actually doing their job,” Representative Randy Neugebauer, a Republican from Texas who led the investigation as chairman of the oversight panel, said at a news conference on Thursday.

Citing “an apparent inability” of the regulators to coordinate their actions, Republicans suggested that investors and customers would be better served if the S.E.C. and the futures commission streamlined their operations or combined into a single agency.

But that proposition is fraught with political peril. Lawmakers have sought to merge the two agencies for decades, only to scuttle the plans in the face of opposition. The Senate and House agriculture committees — clinging to the power and campaign donations that come with overseeing the futures commission — are often the first to object.

After the financial crisis, as lawmakers debated the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, federal authorities again put forward the idea of combining the agencies. But legislators reached a bipartisan consensus that such a change would spread confusion at a time when the financial industry was barely back on its feet.

On Thursday, federal officials were skeptical of the House panel’s suggestions. While some top S.E.C. and Congressional officials say they support a merger, others doubt it is politically feasible unless another crisis erupts. One Congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity dismissed the House panel’s recommendation as a “power grab.”

In a somewhat surprising move, Republicans released the report without the support of House Democrats. On Wednesday, the oversight panel’s top Democrat, Representative Michael Capuano of Massachusetts, declined to endorse the Republicans’ findings, saying that while he agreed with a number of the conclusions, he needed additional time to review the document. Mr. Capuano said he would soon file an addendum to the report.

The report, the outgrowth of several Congressional hearings with MF Global’s executives and other officials, is the culmination of a yearlong investigation that sought to chronicle the firm’s undoing and rebuke those at fault. The House panel’s findings stemmed from dozens of interviews with former employees and more than 240,000 documents.

The report leveled some of its harshest criticism on regulatory agencies, which it blamed for breakdowns in communication.

Two days before the collapse of the firm, top S.E.C. officials joked about three regulatory conference calls all being scheduled for 10 a.m. “Ahhhh, coordination in action!” Ms. Schapiro, the S.E.C., chairwoman, wrote in an e-mail. (People briefed on the matter insisted that the calls were meant to coordinate efforts among regulators on different continents regarding a number of matters.)

The House panel also noted that one senior regulator “wished” the S.E.C. would have informed other authorities about plans to impose higher capital requirements on MF Global in the early summer of 2011. A spokesman for the S.E.C., John Nester, said in a statement that the agency notified the C.F.T.C. about its plans in August, about two months after the issue first arose.

Futures commission officials declined to comment.

The report further scolded the C.F.T.C. for not informing other regulators that MF Global was using an obscure loophole to tap customer accounts. In an interview with the House panel, an S.E.C. official said the loophole allowed the firm to use its customer accounts as an “A.T.M.”

The report also took aim at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Republicans argued that the New York Fed “should have exercised greater caution” when approving MF Global’s application for the coveted status of selling securities on the Fed’s behalf.

But much of the report’s criticism was trained on Mr. Corzine, who resisted efforts to curb his authority over the European trades.

The chief executive pushed back against demands by the firm’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, that the company account for its sovereign debt holdings in a way that would have reduced its profitability, according to the report.

And when MF Global’s chief risk officer argued that the European bet had grown too big, Mr. Corzine effectively stripped the executive of the ability to check that trade. Oversight of Mr. Corzine’s trading was eventually delegated to the firm’s board, which tended to support its chairman.

The panel’s report also suggested that MF Global executives painted a darker picture of the firm’s health in private. Despite assuring investors during a public earnings call in late October that executives “feel good” about the brokerage firm’s finances, one executive described a major unit as being “currently unable to fund itself” in an internal e-mail.

No one at MF Global has been accused of wrongdoing.

While lacking a full bipartisan endorsement, the document is the most significant government effort yet to address MF Global’s errors.

Authorities investigating MF Global’s collapse are leery of filing criminal charges against the top executives, suspecting that chaos and lax controls — not criminality — resulted in customer money going missing. And while regulators are still pursuing civil enforcement actions, in which the burden of proof is less, officials have not yet decided to act.

MF Global’s customers remain in the lurch. Farmers and ranchers, who traded futures contracts through MF Global to protect themselves from the price swings of their crops, have recovered about 82 percent of their money but are still owed millions of dollars.

James W. Giddens, the court-appointed trustee seeking to recover $1.6 billion for MF Global’s customers, has joined a lawsuit against several top MF Global executives, including Mr. Corzine.

“Please do not get the impression that these people will be made whole,” said Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican who oversees the full House financial committee. “These are real people. This is not just a number.”

Saturday, November 24, 2012

fresh water for survival: droughts

I like living in a rainy environment with huge fresh-water lakes. Multicultural west Texas and new Mexico are very dry. The Texas drought has moved north into Nebraska. Still Nebraska gets a lot of rain, just not as much as before. Some parts of Texas are much drier than the driest part of Nebraska. Nebraska has the most aquifer water. Unfortunately the Ogallala aquifer is running out of water especially in Kansas, Oklahoma, Amarillo and Lubbock Texas. Eventually some will have to abandon their farms. Lubbock almost ran out of water this year 6" of rain the whole year. They dug a pipeline to a different lake. Tastes bad but it is water. Smog-free sunshine is also important to health (smog filters out the healthiest wavelength of light.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer


Joe:
Interesting attachments. I did not know that Kansas, Nebraska were so drought prone. Yes, Texas has qutie a bit too, but not as bad. I wonder why the former is so bad when it sits over the biggest aquifer in the country. My family in Nebraska raise corn and have no problem getting water for crops. I suspect the graph measures rainfall, and not available water.
Rich


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Friday, November 23, 2012

glucose fructose: cancer, arthritis, alzheimers, heart attack....

This Swedish doctor has some videos on the "new" learning on carbohydrates http://www.dietdoctor.com/about Unfortunately much of this was known in Germany 100 years ago but lost circa WWII when the German, the world's most advanced, science and music institutions were dismantled by WWII.

Fructose does not raise insulin levels so does not cause diabetes as does glucose. Fructose is sweeter than glucose so people can use less of it and thus suffer less damage. For athletic recovery, fructose stays in the liver to replenish stores of glycogen so is not a problem. Otherwise the liver converts fructose into small grainy LDL that burrows into the arterial walls causing athersclerosis and heart attacks [youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=dBnniua6-oM]
However, glucose elevates blood sugar, insulin, and IGF (insulin related growth factor) that fuels cancer and forms AGE advanced glycation endproducts and cross-links proteins causing aging, dementia, leathering of all tissues -- joints, tendons, muscles, eyes, brain,... That is why starvation diets extends life in all animals -- starvation keeps insulin down. That is why I enjoy fasting, skipping breakfast and lunch, etc. -- for hours I burn off my own fat which is the perfect fuel. Adipose tissue pulls carbohydrates and fats out of the bloodstream and stores them as triglycerides. Then it smoothly breaks down the triglycerides into the 3 component essential fatty acids required for life. Adipose tissue is extremely active. Unfortunately adipose tissue does not release fatty acids at the same time that it taking in carbohydrates. That is why fat people feel hungry even while eating carbohydrates -- they are starved for the needed fatty acids. The carbohydrates block the needed fatty acids from being released.

So eat fructose if you want a arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and a heart attack. Eat glucose if you want cancer, Alzheimers, aging, brittleness, diabetes,.... Grains and other carbohydrates are converted into glucose by the digestive system whether they are processed are not. Processed gets converted a little faster than unprocessed but the results are still disastrous. Most ingested carbohydrates are converted into glucose during digestion and it is the form of sugar that is transported round the bodies of animals in the bloodstream http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar
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Fructose is a much worse problem than naturally occurring glucose. We stay away from processed food.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Goldman Sachs CEO: Entitlements must be contained

Is social security and medicare the problem as this NYC banker asserts?
The failed NYC banks crashed the economy leading to big deficits.
The government also bailed out those failed banks, costing more money.
The government is also spending lots of money to fix problems caused by those banks.
If this banker is so smart why doesn't he give back his bailouts and associated costs?
And pay more taxes?
Instead of attacking people who worked all their life without bailouts and paid a higher tax rate than he did.

Goldman Sachs CEO: Entitlements must be Containedin



PLAY CBS NEWS VIDEO

(CBS News) Stocks shook off their post-election slump Monday, in part because of optimism that the president and Congress will reach a compromise on the nation's budget by the end of the year.

If they don't, there will be automatic tax increases and huge cuts in federal spending -- that so-called fiscal cliff.

It's a time bomb, according to Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, and one of the world's most influential bankers. His message to Washington? Make a deal.

BLANKFEIN: Their job is to make the country function, not to -- it's not a winning game, it's a get-along game.

PELLEY: Washington playing with fire?

BLANKFEIN: Yes.

An interview with Lloyd Blankfein is as rare as a look inside the Goldman Sachs money machine. He showed us one of seven trading floors at his Manhattan headquarters. Goldman is one of America's most successful investment banks. It had net earnings of $4.4 billion dollars last year. When we asked Blankfein how to reduce the federal budget deficit, he went straight for the subject politicians don't want to talk about.

BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations -- the entitlements and what people think that they're going to get, because it's not going to -- they're not going to get it.

PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?

BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. ... So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.

PELLEY: Because we can't afford them going forward?

BLANKFEIN: Because we can't afford them.

We wondered whether he thinks the government needs more revenue in the form of higher taxes.

BLANKFEIN: In the long run, there has to be more revenue. And, of course, the burden of that revenue will be disproportionately taken up by wealthier people. That's just logical.

PELLEY: So higher taxes on wealthier people?

BLANKFEIN: More taxes on wealthier people, to the extent that we need to raise more revenue, and we do need to raise some more revenue.

PELLEY: Why is an increase in revenue, in tax money, necessary? Why can't you just cut your way out of the deficit?

BLANKFEIN: For sure certain people in this country wouldn't like the society you would have if you did that, and personally, I don't think I would like it either, if we went as far as to close our entire budget deficit in that way.

PELLEY: What kind of society would it be?

BLANKFEIN: I think it would be one where the safety net would be more porous and lower to the ground.

Alzheimers, Agriculture, Lubbock Texas

Sunny, high 70.
I was outdoors for most of the short day getting a suntan.
I joined Anytime Fitness to get more exercise on rainy days.

I have been studying Alzheimers and senile dementia.
Everybody gets both to some degree. They both begin before birth. Sugar, flour, and other carbohydrates are the culprit. Glucose C6H12O6. Alcohol is slightly processed sugar so has the same bad effects. ethanol C2H5OH Dementia is also correlated to diabetes, obesity, cancer, and hardening of the arteries.
I worry USA government is trying to dumb down the population by too much sugar so as to produce more Democrats and Obama supporters.

Agricultural areas have terrible pollution problems.
The government does keep some records on it and produces maps but they keep these hidden from the media:
http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/usage/maps/show_map.php?year=02&map=m6033 Samples attached.

Why don't banks offer a small secure tablet computer for managing online banking?
Instead of the internet it could dial an 800 number for more security. It could be much more secure because it is special purpose and fully encrypted. It would allow customers to pay bills, do transactions, and examine their financial documents.
The device would cost a few dozen dollars but would be more secure and cheaper for the bank to manage.
it would also be easier for the consumer to use.
Each bank is different and all their systems have problems besides lack of security.

Lubbock is the opposite of Branson: flat, dry, high altitude, many Mexicans, and poor.
Branson is hilly, rugged, rainy, low altitude, no Mexicans, and rich.

I don't like the idea of living in a drought prone area. Lubbock water is polluted by agriculture, and expensive.
Branson: Sewer + water for 2000 gallons per month (1 person) is $17.87, too high considering the vast quantities of clean water around here.
Lubbock is worse: 2000 gallons water per month is 46.74 + 8.59 = $56.33 not counting sewer and there is rationing in droughts and water is polluted.
(Lubbock Water 1" meter connection $46.74 + $4.29 per 1000 gallons up to 4000 gallons then $5.46 per 1000 gallons)


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Krugman 91% tax rate - NYTimes.com

in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

Nor were high taxes the only burden wealthy businessmen had to bear. They also faced a labor force with a degree of bargaining power hard to imagine today. In 1955 roughly a third of American workers were union members. In the biggest companies, management and labor bargained as equals, so much so that it was common to talk about corporations serving an array of “stakeholders” as opposed to merely serving stockholders.

Squeezed between high taxes and empowered workers, executives were relatively impoverished by the standards of either earlier or later generations. In 1955 Fortune magazine published an essay, “How top executives live,” which emphasized how modest their lifestyles had become compared with days of yore. The vast mansions, armies of servants, and huge yachts of the 1920s were no more; by 1955 the typical executive, Fortune claimed, lived in a smallish suburban house, relied on part-time help and skippered his own relatively small boat.

The data confirm Fortune’s impressions. Between the 1920s and the 1950s real incomes for the richest Americans fell sharply, not just compared with the middle class but in absolute terms. According to estimates by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, in 1955 the real incomes of the top 0.01 percent of Americans were less than half what they had been in the late 1920s, and their share of total income was down by three-quarters.

via The Twinkie Manifesto - NYTimes.com.

Larry Kotlikoff on the Clash of Generations - YouTube

Extended interview with Boston University Economics Professor Larry Kotlikoff on his publications about a six-decade long Ponzi scheme in the US which he says will lead to a clash of generations.

via Larry Kotlikoff on the Clash of Generations - YouTube.

Market crash due to Tax Increases?

Do you think the markets may crash before Jan 1 when Obama will probably raise tax rates? Also there may be a new war in Israel and the middle east, and much higher oil prices. May be a good time to sell stocks, gold, and liquid assets before the crash. Some stock market "experts" are not all they are cracked up to be: The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today reported a 1 percent return on investments for the 12 months that ended June 30, 2012
http://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?bc=/about/press/pr-2012/july/preliminary-returns.xml

http://nyti.ms/ZV5Z9p

NYTimes: Investors Rush to Beat Threat of Higher Taxes

With potential changes in the tax code set to take place on Jan. 1, investors and business owners have begun to protect their income before the end of the year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

carbohydrates AGE: stiffening, degeneration, arthritis, atherosclerosis, blindness

Granola and other baked carbohydrates are loaded with dangerous chemicals such as glucosepane that speeds aging and causes degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and other dementias. (So you can't even detect or understand the pathologies you experience). AGEs are one of the many disease processes caused by carbohydrates (that I am reading in an excellent book). I can see why people take Vitamin C and other antioxidants to try to stop these chemical reactions caused by mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species and redox signaling molecules http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_oxygen_species However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Best to avoid the culprit -- carbohydrates -- in the first place to restore a natural balance between anti-oxidant and pro-oxidant redox molecules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_glycation_end-product
The formation and accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) has been implicated in the progression of age-related diseases. AGEs have been implicated in Alzheimer's Disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. The mechanism by which AGEs induce damage is through a process called cross-linking that causes intracellular damage and apoptosis. They form photosensitizers in the crystalline lens, which has implications for cataract development. Reduced muscle function is also associated with AGEs. AGEs may be less, or more, reactive than the initial sugars they were formed from. They are absorbed by the body during digestion with about 30% efficiency. Many cells from tissue such as lung, liver, kidney, and peripheral blood bear the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products (RAGE) that, when binding AGEs, contributes to age- and diabetes-related chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, asthma, arthritis, myocardial infarction, nephropathy, retinopathy, periodontitis and neuropathy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucosepane
Glucosepane is a protein cross-linking product and advanced glycation end product (AGE) derived from D-glucose that has been found to make cross-links in the collagen of the eyes. Glucosepane is currently considered to be the most important cross-linking AGE yet discovered because its levels are found to be 10 to 1000 times higher in human tissue than any other cross-linking AGE. Aging leads to progressive loss of elasticity and stiffening of tissues rich in the ECM such as joints, cartilage, arteries, lungs and skin. It has been shown that these effects are brought about by the accumulation of cross-links in the ECM on long-lived proteins. Studies done on glucosepane by the Monnier group have shown that the level of glucosepane cross-links in human collagen in the ECM increases progressively with age and at a more rapid pace in people with diabetes, thus suggesting the role of glucosepane in the long-term effects associated with diabetes and aging such as arteriosclerosis, joint stiffening and skin wrinkling. As an AGE, the reaction pathway that leads to glucosepane formation is known as the Maillard Reaction, or non-enzymatic browning. The Maillard reaction is a form of nonenzymatic browning. It results from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar. Vitally important in the preparation or presentation of many types of food, it is named after chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in 1912. The Maillard reaction also occurs in the human body. A wide range of ocular diseases, particularly diabetic retinopathy, may be prevented by the inhibition of the Maillard reaction.

AGE formation, hyperglycemia results in higher cellular glucose levels in those cells unable to reduce glucose intake (e.g., endothelial cells). This, in turn, results in increased levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and FADH, increasing the proton gradient beyond a particular threshold at which the complex III prevents further increase by stopping the electron transport chain. This results in mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species, activating PARP1 by damaging DNA. PARP1, in turn, induces ADP-ribosylation of GAPDH, a protein involved in glucose metabolism, leading to its inactivation and an accumulation of metabolites earlier in the metabolism pathway. These metabolites activate multiple pathogenic mechanisms, one of which includes increased production of AGEs.

The crust of most breads, such as this brioche, is golden-brown due to the Maillard reaction. Toast, Biscuits, French Fries, Malted barley, Fried onions

Monday, November 5, 2012

How Mormon Doctrine Shapes Romney’s World View : Information Clearing House: ICH

Women are subordinate to men. People of color are, or were, morally underdeveloped compared to white people. Gays cannot become gods, i.e., will be damned. The correct political philosophy is libertarianism. The best form of government fosters free-market capitalism with minimal regulatory oversight of business and industry. Earth is only a temporary home to be used as a stepping stone, not necessarily to be preserved or conserved. War in the Middle East is inevitable as part of God’s plan for “the last days.” Lying for the cause of righteousness, such as winning the election, is morally acceptable.

via  How Mormon Doctrine Shapes Romney’s World View      :   Information Clearing House: ICH.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Carnap Hempel Correspondence rules

Too many academics don't bother learning much of what goes on in universities, even what the guy in the next office may be teaching. How many philosophers have passed exams for

1. Certified Professional Engineer
2. Certified Public Accountant
3. Chartered Financial Analyst
4. Actuarial Exams
5. Teaching Credential
6. Law Bar exams
7. Medical license exams
....?

I am reminded of Carnap or Hempel's "correspondence rules" and related concepts in this article by Feigl page 5 bottom right column of
http://www.mcps.umn.edu/assets/pdf/4.1_Fiegl.pdf

Too many elaborate theories that have no connection to reality. Economics may be the worst offender. It was irritating as a student when the professor did not understand the material that faculty in his own department are teaching. Or did not know or care what their colleagues were teaching. Or made no effort in resolving disagreements.

Needs to be more interdisciplinary work. Begin by studying what others in the same university are teaching. Universities are well suited for learning. Business is often highly secretive so as not to help competitors. Still, business and the military and NYC and DC are great for interdisciplinary conversations.

I am listening to Early Byrds, not bad. Deja Vu by Crosby Stills Nash Young is very good, deserving of Rolling Stone 114 ranking of all time. I am discovering much great new music too.

---------------

you're the 2nd person in 2 months who has made the same basic point with reference to hesse's magister ludi. though you're much better positioned within academia, so your comments need to be taken more seriously. hesse is better than he's given credit for; i like siddhartha. briefly, my view is: overall, the greater american / european academic enterprise does make real progress; but it is true that significant parts of academia do get into states of magister ludi stagnation. but eventually they break out of it.

i agree that philosophers ought to do more in other fields. i still would like to do something on economic theory; connecting searle style approaches with lawson's operation at cambridge uk would be one way to get an entry point.

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human RaceBy Jared Diamond University of California at Los Angeles Medical School


via The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.

Philosophy Economics Sex

I majored in economics after reading that Mick Jagger Rolling Stones got an M.A. degree from the London School of Economics. I figured if he could do it then I could too. Too bad I never thought about becoming a rock and roll star too -- lots of easy money in it. I played ukulele at age 10 but did not grow into a guitar. More interested in Science.

Economics came in on top while Philosophy came in at the bottom of this study. I suspect the results would hold in USA too. Original study at
http://www.studentbeans.com/studentsex2012

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2209275/Economics-students-promiscuous-campus.html

Who said economists are dull? Finance students are the most promiscuous on campus




  • Poll shows economics undergraduates have had nearly five sexual partners each at university

  • More 'glamorous' subjects like art comes near the bottom of the 'sex' table

  • Survey also shows that study is rated as far more important by students than sex



They are traditionally seen as being among the most hardworking and conscientious of students - perhaps even a little dull.

So it might come as a surprise that economics undergraduates have been found to be the most promiscuous students on campus.

A survey of 4,656 undergraduates found that economics students had nearly five sexual partners since starting university, compared to less than two for those studying environmental science.

Surprise: Economics undergraduates were found to have had nearly five sexual partners on average since starting at university

Surprise: Economics undergraduates were found to have had nearly five sexual partners on average since starting at university

The study, conducted by the StudentBeans.com website,found that undergraduates studying economics had 4.88 sexual partners since starting university, with the next most promiscuous students studying social work, community care and counselling (4.7 partners).

Next in the top five courses for romance were students of marketing (4.57 partners), while those studying leisure, hospitality, tourism and retail said they had 4.56 sexual partners on average since starting university.

Students of agriculture (4.44) came fifth in the table.

Other courses which made the top ten for student promiscuity included Engineering, and sports science.

WHO ARE THE MOST PROMISCUOUS STUDENTS



TOP FIVE:


  1. Economics

  2. Social work, community care and counselling

  3. Marketing

  4. Leisure, hospitality, tourism and retail

  5. Agriculture



BOTTOM FIVE:


  1. Philosophy

  2. Education

  3. Earth Sciences

  4. Theology

  5. Environmental Science



Bottom of the list came students studying environmental sciences who reported having 1.71 sexual partners on average since starting university, while those studying Theology were second from bottom with 2.13.

Another surprise from the sex survey - which involved students from 100 UK universities - was the relative chasteness of those studying the more fashionable subjects.

Art students (3.18 sexual partners) and media studies (3.01), for example, were in the bottom ten for sexual partners.

Another myth-busting finding of the study was that students in Britain are generally less promiscuous than many think.

Six out of ten of the total respondents said they had slept with two people or less people since starting university.

Thirty-nine per cent said they had, had only one sexual partner while five per cent had no sexual partners at all.

A small minority of students - just nine per cent - rated sex as the most important thing in their university life, compared to more than half (52 per cent) who said friends were most important.

A finding which might surprise, and please, many parents is that 29 per cent of respondents rated studying as their top priority at university.

Hardworking: Another surprise finding of the poll was that students rated studying as being far more important to their life at university than sex

Hardworking: Another surprise finding of the poll was that students rated studying as being far more important to their life at university than sex