The Biology of Risk | John Coates

John Coates; The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: How Risk Taking Transforms Us, Body and Mind; Penguin; 2013-09-24; 252 pages; kindle: no, paper: $5+SHT.


John Coates; The Biology of Risk; an oped; In Sunday Review of the New York Times (NYT); 2014-06-07.

John Coates is a research fellow at Cambridge who traded derivatives for Goldman Sachs and ran a desk for Deutsche Bank. He is the author of “The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: How Risk Taking Transforms Us, Body and Mind.”

<quote>The Fed could dampen this cycle. It has, in interest rate policy, not one tool but two: the level of rates and the uncertainty of rates. Given the sensitivity of risk preferences to uncertainty, the Fed could use policy uncertainty and a higher volatility of funds to selectively target risk taking in the financial community. People running factories or coffee shops or drilling wells might not even notice. And that means the Fed could keep the level of rates lower than otherwise to stimulate the economy.</quote>


Via: backfill



The cortisol studies aren’t at issue so much as the choice of starting point for the financial causality claim.  Taking 1960 or 1950 as the starting point seems to give different results; i.e. less obvious causality.



Source: StockCharts

Selecting Eff ective Means to Any End: Futures and Ethics of Persuasion Pro filing | Kaptein, Eckles

Maurits Kaptein, Dean Eckles; Selecting E ective Means to Any End: Futures and Ethics of Persuasion Pro filing; In Persuasive Technology; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Volume 6137, 2010; pages 82-93 (12 pages); landing.


Interactive persuasive technologies can and do adapt to individuals. Existing systems identify and adapt to user preferences within a specifi c domain: e.g., a music recommender system adapts its recommended songs to user preferences. This paper is concerned with adaptive persuasive systems that adapt to individual di fferences in the effectiveness of particular means, rather than selecting di fferent ends. We give special attention to systems that implement persuasion profiling, adapting to individual differences, in the e ffects of influence strategies. We argue that these systems are worth separate consideration and raise unique ethical issues for two reasons:

  1. their end-independence implies that systems trained in one context can be used in other, unexpected contexts and
  2. they do not rely on, and are generally disadvantaged by, disclosing that they are adapting to individual di fferences.

We use examples of these systems to illustrate some ethically and practically challenging futures that these characteristics make possible.


  1. Introduction
  2. Adaptive persuasive technologies
    • Ends and means adaptation
  3. Influence Strategies and implementations
  4. Persuasion profiles
  5. Consequences of means-adaptation
    1. End-independence
      • Implications of end-independence
    2. Non-disclosure
      • Implications of non-disclosure
  6. Ethical Considerations
  7. Limitations
  8. Conclusions


Forensic Identification of GSM Mobile Phones | Hasse, Gloe, Beck

Jakob Hasse, Thomas Gloe (dence), Martin Beck (T.U. Dresden); Forensic Identification of GSM Mobile Phones; In Proceedings of IH & MM Sec (huh?); 2013-06-17; 10 pages.


With the rapid growth of GSM telecommunication, special requirements arise in digital forensics to identify mobile phones operating in a GSM network. This paper introduces a novel method to identify GSM devices based on physical characteristics of the radio frequency hardware. An implementation of a specialised receiver software allows passive monitoring of GSM traffic along with physical layer burst extraction even for handover and frequency hopping techniques. We introduce time-based patterns of modulation errors as a unique device-dependent feature and carefully remove random effects of the wireless communication channel. Using our characteristics, we could distinguish 13 mobile phones at an overall success rate of 97.62% under realworld conditions. This work proves practical feasibility of physical layer identification scenarios capable of tracking or authenticating GSM-based devices.


  • Paul Marks; Any cellphone can be traced by its digital fingerprint; In New Scientist; 2013-08-01.

    • Jakob Hasse et al.
    • Technical University of Dresden
    • Testing: N=13 devices (the ones “laying around their lab”)
    • Scope: 2G phones
    • Precision: identify the source handset with an accuracy of 97.6 per cent.
    • Quotes, Jakob Hasse:
      • “Our method does not send anything to the mobile phones. It works completely passively and just listens to the ongoing transmissions of a mobile phone – it cannot be detected.”
      • [Results on 2G only but] “defects are present in every radio device, so it should also be possible to do this with 3G and 4G phones.”
    • Quotes. attributed to random other people, for color & balance:

Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage | Ezell, Atkinson

Robert D. Atkinson, Stephen J. Ezell; Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage; Yale University Press; 2012-09; 440 pages; kindle: $17.


<quote>The authors explore how a weak innovation economy not only contributed to the Great Recession but is delaying America’s recovery from it and how innovation in the United States compares with that in other developed and developing nations. Atkinson and Ezell then lay out a detailed, pragmatic road map for America to regain its global innovation advantage by 2020, as well as maximize the global supply of innovation and promote sustainable globalization.</quote> ref


Claimed: <quote>[W]hen a machine replaces a worker, there is a second order effect: the organization using the machine saves money and that money it flows back into to the economy either through lower prices, higher wages for the remaining workers, or higher profits. In all three cases that money gets spent which stimulates demand that other companies respond to by hiring more workers.</quote>


Via: backfill

Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time | Johnson, Zhao, Hunsader, Qi, Johnson, Meng, Tivnan

Niel Johnson, Guannan Zhao, Eric Hunsader, Hong Qi, Nicholas Johnson, Jing Meng, Brian Tivnan; Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time; In Nature Scientific Reports; 2013-09-11; landing


Society’s techno-social systems are becoming ever faster and more computer-orientated. However, far from simply generating faster versions of existing behaviour, we show that this speed-up can generate a new behavioural regime as humans lose the ability to intervene in real time. Analyzing millisecond-scale data for the world’s largest and most powerful techno-social system, the global financial market, we uncover an abrupt transition to a new all-machine phase characterized by large numbers of subsecond extreme events. The proliferation of these subsecond events shows an intriguing correlation with the onset of the system-wide financial collapse in 2008. Our findings are consistent with an emerging ecology of competitive machines featuring ‘crowds’ of predatory algorithms, and highlight the need for a new scientific theory of subsecond financial phenomena.


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Consequences of Repeated Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption in Football Players | Marchi, Bazarian, Puvenna, Janigro, Ghosh, Zhong, Zhu, Blackman, Stewart, Ellis, Butler, Janigro

Nicola Marchi, Jeffrey J. Bazarian, Vikram Puvenna, Mattia Janigro, Chaitali Ghosh, Jianhui Zhong, Tong Zhu, Eric Blackman, Desiree Stewart, Jasmina Ellis, Robert Butler, Damir Janigro. Consequences of Repeated Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption in Football Players; In PLoS ONE; 2013; 8 (3): e56805 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056805


The acknowledgement of risks for traumatic brain injury in American football players has prompted studies for sideline concussion diagnosis and testing for neurological deficits. While concussions are recognized etiological factors for a spectrum of neurological sequelae, the consequences of sub-concussive events are unclear. We tested the hypothesis that blood-brain barrier disruption (BBBD) and the accompanying surge of the astrocytic protein S100B in blood may cause an immune response associated with production of auto-antibodies. We also wished to determine whether these events result in disrupted white matter on diffusion tensor imaging (DT) scans. Players from three college football teams were enrolled (total of 67 volunteers). None of the players experienced a concussion. Blood samples were collected before and after games (n = 57); the number of head hits in all players was monitored by movie review and post-game interviews. S100B serum levels and auto-antibodies against S100B were measured and correlated by direct and reverse immunoassays (n = 15 players; 5 games). A subset of players underwent DTI scans pre- and post-season and after a 6-month interval (n = 10). Cognitive and functional assessments were also performed. After a game, transient BBB damage measured by serum S100B was detected only in players experiencing the greatest number of sub-concussive head hits. Elevated levels of auto-antibodies against S100B were elevated only after repeated sub-concussive events characterized by BBBD. Serum levels of S100B auto-antibodies also predicted persistence of MRI-DTI abnormalities which in turn correlated with cognitive changes. Even in the absence of concussion, football players may experience repeated BBBD and serum surges of the potential auto-antigen S100B. The correlation of serum S100B, auto-antibodies and DTI changes support a link between repeated BBBD and future risk for cognitive changes.


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Susan Patton, and then came the blowback and forth, and forth and back

After Ms. Patton’s outburst, the chattering classes are still going at it … months later … In fact the mommy track concept has been up for ping-pong debate for more than half a decade now … in fact one can say that this subject is evergreen …

In archaeological order (original at the bottom)


Original Trigger

Susan Patton; Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had; letter to the editor of the Daily Princetonian; 2013-03-29; landing.

The Previous Generation

  • ; Marry Him!; In The Atlantic; 2008-03-01; 5800 words (very long)
    Teaser: The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough

    • Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, a book, 2007.
    • Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Catching a Man
    • Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School.
    • Mikki Morrissette; Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman’s Guide,

Ethos Operating System


  • Xen
  • MinimaLT, previously noted


All Publications

An annotated computer systems security bibliography; Jon A. Solworth, editor (broken link 2013-07-11)

W. Michael Petullo; Rethinking Operating System Interfaces to Support Robust Network Applications; Ph.D. Dissertation; University of Illinois, Chicago; 2013; 260 pages.


This dissertation describes the network programming environment provided by Ethos, an operating system designed for security. Often, the interfaces provided by existing systems are very low-level. Experience shows that programmers on these systems have difficulty managing the resulting complexity when writing network applications. They must implement or integrate their own key isolation, encryption, authentication protocols, and authorization policies. Administrators must con figure the same, often independently for each application. Ethos eases the burden on application programmers and system administrators by providing more abstract interfaces and reducing code duplication. Instead of relying on applications to protect secret keys, Ethos keeps them in kernel space and allows their indirect use by applications through cryptographic system calls (e.g., sign). Ethos encrypts all network traffic and performs network authentication at the system level. Moving these protections to the operating system kernel allows Ethos to provide more informed access control, reducing the need for application-internal controls. Thus Ethos provides a number of security properties unavailable in other systems. In many cases, Ethos application developers can write robust applications with zero lines of application-speci c security code. Likewise, administrators do not need to learn application-specifi c confi guration options. Instead, the majority of their work uses system-wide mechanisms, affecting all applications individually and the system in aggregate. Many of the protections provided by Ethos sound straightforward to implement. However, we shall show that the system design that makes them possible is highly interconnected and not entirely self-evident. For example, how can Ethos authenticate at the system level when it is impossible for a system administrator to know every user that may be encountered on the Internet? In other cases, our design decisions became feasible only recently due to developments in hardware. Our hope is that our design appears clean, concise, and possibly — in retrospect — somewhat obvious.

W. Michael Petullo, Xu Zhang, Jon A. Solworth, Daniel J. Bernstein, Tanja Lange; MinimaLT: Minimal-Latency Networking Through Better Security; In Some Conference; 2013; 13 pages.


Minimal Latency Tunneling (MinimaLT) is a new network protocol that provides ubiquitous encryption for maximal confi dentiality, including protecting packet headers. MinimaLT provides server and user authentication, extensive Denial-of-Service protections, and IP mobility while approaching perfect forward secrecy. We describe the protocol, demonstrate its performance relative to TLS and unencrypted TCP/IP, and analyze its protections, including its resilience against DoS attacks. By exploiting the properties of its cryptographic protections, MinimaLT is able to eliminate three-way handshakes and thus create connections faster than unencrypted TCP/IP.

W. Michael Petullo, Jon A Solworth; Poster: Rethinking Operating System Interfaces to Support Robust Applications; In IEEE Security Something Something; 2012; poster; 2 pages.


In current systems, application developers must provide substantial security-critical code — including code to handle authentication — in their applications. The result is that application flaws often undermine system security. We are building Ethos, an Operating System (OS) that leverages the kernel’s complete mediation property to guarantee more security protections—including network encryption and authentication—across all applications. Here we provide an overview of Ethos and a subset of its system call interface.

Via: backfill, backfill

Advertising Papers & Demonstrations | VLDB 2013

Via: Accepted Papers & Demonstrations; Very Large Data Bases; 2013-08-26 -> 2013-08-30


(Industrial) Papers of Interest


  • MillWheel => Google
  • F1 => Google, 2 papers
  • Quantcast File System (QFS) => Quantcast
  • Turn DMP => Turn
  • WOO => Yahoo!
  • Unicorn => Facebook
  • Scuba => Facebook
  • A/B Testing on HADOOP => eBay
  • Piranha => Twitter


  • MillWheel: Fault-Tolerant Stream Processing at Internet Scale; Tyler Akidau, Alex Balikov, Kaya Bekiroglu, Slava Chernyak, Josh Haberman, Reuven Lax (Google), Sam McVeety (Google), Daniel Mills, Sam Whittle
  • F1: A Distributed SQL Database That Scales; Jeff Shute (Google), Radek Vingralek (Google), Bart Samwel (Google), Ben Handy (Google), Chad Whipkey (Google), Eric Rollins (Google), Mircea Oancea (Google), Kyle Littlefield (Google), David Menestrina (Google), Stephan Ellner (Google), John Cieslewicz (Google), Ian Rae (UW Madisoni)
  • The Quantcast File System; Silvius Rus (Quantcast), Jim Kelly (Quantcast)
  • Overview of Turn Data Management Platform for Digital Advertising; Hazem Elmeleegy (Turn Inc.), Yinan Li (Turn Inc), Yan Qi (Turn Inc), Peter Wilmot (Turn Inc), Mingxi Wu (Turn Inc), Santanu Kolay (Turn Inc), Ali Dasdan (Turn Inc), Songting Chen (Facebook Inc)
  • Online, Asynchronous Schema Change in F1; Radek Vingralek (Google), Ian Rae (UW Madison), Eric Rollins (Google), Jeff Shute (Google), Sukhdeep Sodhi (Google)
  • WOO: A Scalable and Multi-tenant Platform for Continuous Knowledge Base Synthesis; Mandar Rahurkar (Yahoo Labs!), Kedar Bellare (Yahoo Research), Carlo Curino (Microsoft), Ashwin Machanavajjhala (Duke University), Peter Mika (Yahoo! Labs Barcelona), Aamod Sane (Yahoo!)
  • Unicorn: A System for Searching the Social Graph; Michael Curtiss (Facebook), Iain Becker (Facebook), Tudor Bosman (Facebook), Sergey Doroshenko (Facebook), Lucian Grijincu (Facebook), Tom Jackson (Facebook), Sandhya Kunnatur (Facebook), Soren Lassen (Facebook), Philip Pronin (Facebook), Sriram Sankar (Facebook), Guanghao Shen (Facebook), Gintaras Woss (Facebook), Chao Yang (Facebook), Ning Zhang (Facebook)
  • Scuba: Diving into Data at Facebook; Janet Wiener (Facebook), Vinayak Borkar (Facebook), Subbu Subramanian (Facebook)
  • Optimization Strategies for A/B Testing on HADOOP; Andrii Cherniak (University of Pittsburgh), Huma Zaidi (eBay Inc), Vladimir Zadorozhny (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Piranha: Optimizing Short Jobs in Hadoop; Khaled Elmeleegy (Twitter)

Previously & Separately

Grandpa and the Snapper: The Wellbeing of the Elderly Who Live with Children | Angus Deaton, Arthur Stone

Angus S. Deaton, Arthur Stone; Grandpa and the Snapper: The Wellbeing of the Elderly Who Live with Children; NBER Working Paper No. w19100; 2013-06; 27 pages.


  • Method:
    • Cantril ladder running from 0 (the worst possible life for you) to 10 (the best possible life for you).
    • Using the Gallup Healthways Wellbeing Index data from the United States, which has collected 1,000 daily observations from adults (aged 18 or older) from the beginning of 2008 through to the end of 2012
  • (from the concluding paragraph) <quote>In places where fertility is high, the elderly generally have relatively higher life evaluation when they live in a household containing a person under 15, and where fertility is low, they generally have lower life evaluation. Where high fertility is seen as desirable, older people do not feel that their life is compromised by living in a family with a young child. In such countries, they are also less likely to be angered, stressed, or worried by the presence of children. Our results are consistent with the view that the negative evaluative and emotional consequences for the elderly of living with children are most likely a consequence of the fertility transition.</quote>


Liberellas versus Konservatives: Social Status, Ideology, and Birth Names in the United States | J. Eric Oliver, Tomas Wood, Alexandra Bass

J. Eric Oliver, Tomas Wood, Alexandra Bass (U. Chicago); Liberellas versus Konservatives: Social Status, Ideology, and Birth Names in the United States; Paper presented at the 2013 Midwestern Political Science Association Annual Meeting; 2013-04-01; 47 pages.


Despite much public speculation, there is little scholarly research on whether or how ideology shapes American consumer behavior. Borrowing from previous studies, we theorize that ideology is associated with different forms of taste and conspicuous consumption: liberals are more drawn to indicators of “cultural capital” and more feminine symbols while conservatives favor more explicit signs of “economic capital” and masculine cues. These ideas are tested using birth certificate, U.S. Census, and voting records from California in 2004. We find strong differences in birth naming practices related to race, economic status, and ideology. Although higher status mothers of all races favor more popular birth names, high status liberal mothers more often choose uncommon, culturally obscure birth names. Liberals also favor birth names with “softer, feminine” sounds while conservatives favor names with “harder, masculine” phonemes. These findings have signficant implications for both studies of consumption and debates about ideology and political fragmentation in the United States.



  • (was
  • <quote>With the approval of the California Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, the data were drawn including the first names of all children, mothers, and fathers (where available), and the mother’s education, race, ethnicity, and addresses. By cross-referencing the listed address with Google maps, the longitude and latitude of for each respondent with an identiĕable address record was calculated. With arcGIS, this geographic information was used to identify the census tract of each birth mother, which was then matched with demographic data from 2000 U.S. Census. In addition, the geocodes were used to identify the voting precinct of each mother and, using precinct shape files, the voting records from the general election of 2004, which are stored in the Statewide Database for the State of California archived at the University of California. Together, these files provide a profile of both the individual characteristics of each mother and the demographic and political characteristics of their neighborhoods.</quote>

Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility | de Montjoye, Hidalgo, Verleysen, Blondel

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Cesar A. Hidalgo, Michel Verleysen & Vincent D. Blondel; Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility; In Scientific Reports; 2013-03-25; accepted: 2013-02-04, received: 2012-10-01; 5 pages.


We study fifteen months of human mobility data for one and a half million individuals and find that human mobility traces are highly unique. In fact, in a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier’s antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals. We coarsen the data spatially and temporally to find a formula for the uniqueness of human mobility traces given their resolution and the available outside information. This formula shows that the uniqueness of mobility traces decays approximately as the 1/10 power of their resolution. Hence, even coarse datasets provide little anonymity. These findings represent fundamental constraints to an individual’s privacy and have important implications for the design of frameworks and institutions dedicated to protect the privacy of individuals.


Overearning | Christopher Hsee, Jiao Zhang, Cindy Cai, Shirley Zhang

Christopher K. Hsee, Jiao Zhang, Cindy F. Cai, Shirley Zhang; Overearning; In Psychological Science; landing; 2012-08-28. 20 pages.


High productivity and high earning rates brought about by modern technologies make it possible for people to work less and enjoy more, yet many continue to work assiduously to earn more. Do people overearn—forgo leisure to work and earn beyond their needs? This question is understudied, partly because in real life, determining the right amount of earning and defining overearning are difficult. In this research, we introduced a minimalistic paradigm that allows researchers to study overearning in a controlled laboratory setting. Using this paradigm, we found that individuals do overearn, even at the cost of happiness, and that overearning is a result of mindless accumulation—a tendency to work and earn until feeling tired rather than until having enough. Supporting the mindless-accumulation notion, our results show, first, that individuals work about the same amount regardless of earning rates and hence are more likely to overearn when earning rates are high than when they are low, and second, that prompting individuals to consider the consequences of their earnings or denying them excessive earnings can disrupt mindless accumulation and enhance happiness.


Also backfill

How Institutions Think | Mary Douglas

Mary Douglas; How Institutions Think; Syracuse University Press; 1st edition; 1986-07; 146 pages.
The Frank W. Abrams Lectures


  • Purity and Danger
  • Natural Symbols
  • Implicit Meanings
  • risk and Blame

Mentioned in Review

  • Olson Logic of Action
  • Ludwig Fleck; The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact (Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache)
    on the discovery of syphilis
  • Berger Social Construction of Reality

Privacy technologies: An annotated syllabus | Arvind Narayanan

Via: Arvind Narayanan; Privacy technologies: An annotated syllabus; In His Blog; 2013-04-16.

In order of appearance; embellishments, corrections, errors: mine.

Talking Points HTML/PDF

What Do People Do At Work? | Michael J. Handel

Michael J. Handel (OECD, Dept. Sociology Northwestern University); What Do People Do At Work?; 2010-06-20; 53 pages.
Teaser: A Profile of U.S. Jobs from the Survey of Workplace Skills, Technology, and Management Practices (STAMP)


The original is less breathless whereas “counting” is considered part of “any math” and “reading an invoice” is a distinct category of study. The category of “computer literacy” is a distinct category. The concept “uses spreadsheets” intersects with both math use and computer use. <quote>An unexpectedly large proportion of clerical and sales workers report spending most of their time doing data entry or filling out forms (31%), which is suggestive of deskilling, but this is very atypical for the workforce as a whole.</quote>


Jordan Weismann; Here’s How Little Math Americans Actually Use at Work; In The Atlantic; 2013-04-24.

Also backfilled

The Technocrats vs Austerity

A cat fight, in three acts.  Archaeological order.

The Gloating

Mike Konczal; Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems; Some partisan blog (the New New Deal); 2013-04-16.

and more

The Rebuttals

Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff; Reinhart-Rogoff Response to Critique; In The Wall Street Journal (WSJ); 2013-04-16.

Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, Robert Pollin; Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogo ff; Working Paper Series No. 322; Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at University of Massachusetts, Amherst; 2013-04-15; 26 pages; landing.

We replicate Reinhart and Rogoff (2010a and 2010b) and find that coding errors, selective exclusion of available data, and unconventional weighting of summary statistics lead to serious errors that inaccurately represent the relationship between public debt and GDP growth among 20 advanced economies in the post-war period. Our fi nding is that when properly calculated, the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is actually 2.2 percent, not 0:1 percent as published in Reinhart and Rogo . That is, contrary to RR, average GDP growth at public debt/GDP ratios over 90 percent is not dramatically di fferent than when debt/GDP ratios are lower. We also show how the relationship between public debt and GDP growth varies signi cantly by time period and country. Overall, the evidence we review contradicts Reinhart and Rogoff’s claim to have identi fied an important stylized fact, that public debt loads greater than 90 percent of GDP consistently reduce GDP growth.

Original Works

Carmen M. Reinhart, Kenneth S. Rogoff; Growth in a Time of Debt; American Economic Review, Papers & Proceedings; Volume 100; 2010-05; pages 573-578; paywalled; ungated copy.

Carmen M. Reinhart, Kenneth Rogoff; This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly; Princeton University Press; 2009; 612 pages; kindle: $10, 2011-07-18.

Carmen M. Reinhart, Kenneth S. Rogoff; Growth in a Time of Debt; Working Paper 15639; 2010-01; 26 pages.

We study economic growth and inflation at different levels of government and external debt. Our analysis is based on new data on forty-four countries spanning about two hundred years. The dataset incorporates over 3,700 annual observations covering a wide range of political systems, institutions, exchange rate arrangements, and historic circumstances. Our main findings are: First, the relationship between government debt and real GDP growth is weak for debt/GDP ratios below a threshold of 90 percent of GDP. Above 90 percent, median growth rates fall by one percent, and average growth falls considerably more. We find that the threshold for public debt is similar in advanced and emerging economies. Second, emerging markets face lower thresholds for external debt (public and private)—which is usually denominated in a foreign currency. When external debt reaches 60 percent of GDP, annual growth declines by about two percent; for higher levels, growth rates are roughly cut in half. Third, there is no apparent contemporaneous link between inflation and public debt levels for the advanced countries as a group (some countries, such as the United States, have experienced higher inflation when debt/GDP is high). The story is entirely different for emerging markets, where inflation rises sharply as debt increases

Elevator Behaviors: Ethnography & Psychology



The Weirdest People in the World? | Henrich, Heine, Norenzayan


  • (WEIRD) societies=> Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.

Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world’s top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior – hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re‐organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.