Thursday, July 26, 2012

Placebo and Nocebo effects

Here's an interesting article talking about the placebo effect and it's counterpart - the nocebo effect. Not only can taking a fake medicine have positive effects, but the nocebo effect finds that people taking a fake medicine can also develop some of the side-effects of the real thing. Apparently we can trick ourselves both into getting better and developing side-effects. Article is from Discover magazine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Skydiving from 18 miles up

Check this story out: Skydiver jumps from 18 miles up

Says he's going to go for the world record and try 23 miles next, and expects to reach a speed of 690mph on his next jump. (doing the math that's falling a mile about every 5.2 seconds)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What does space smell like?

Here's something I've never heard asked or described before (from

What does space smell like?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Economy as a Garden

I thought the metaphor of the economy as a garden in this article was interesting. The metaphor is that a garden left to it's own devices quickly is over-run with weeds, but a good attentive gardener can make that garden productive. HOw applicable is this metaphor to the economy? Hard to say, but as some recent posts show, I think we probably have our share of weeds right now - most recently the big banks rigging interest rates- that need some serious trimming if they can't act better. :_)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Golden Parachute

CEO resigns after one day, gets $44 million severance

Here's another related story about possible ratings downgrade for Duke Energy after the change in leadership.

Here's more on the deal from NYTimes. Apparently it was a board of directors "coup".

Friday, July 6, 2012

More on Banks

...yet another tale of big banks as parasite - this time bid rigging in local bond issuances...

"The scam Wall Street Learned from the Mafia" - from the Rolling Stone Magazine

"It turns into a kind of unbroken M̦bius strip of corruption Рthe banks pay middlemen to rig auctions, the middlemen bribe politicians to win business, then the politicians choose the middlemen to run the auctions, leading right back to the banks bribing the middlemen to rig the bids. When we allow Wall Street to continually raid the public cookie jar, we're not just enriching a bunch of petty executives ... we're effectively creating an alternate government, one in which money lifted from the taxpayer's pocket through mob-style schemes turns into a kind of permanent shadow tax, used to maintain the corruption and keep the thieves in place. And that cuts right to the heart of what this case is all about.""

Read more:

I really am beginning to think the big banks have gotten too big - not only too big to fail, but too big to act properly even in non-crisis times. This shows they're acting like a cartel now.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Images from FUEL video game

I've recently been playing a video game called FUEL. It's mostly a racing game in a free-roam world, and I'm very impressed with the large world and the quality of graphics. I took a few screenshots just running around today and have posted them as samples.