Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ebola: VOX, [don't swap body fluids with high-risk peeps]


You've heard it again and again: to get Ebola, you need to have direct contact with the bodily fluids — such as vomit, urine, or blood — of someone who is already sick and symptomatic to get the disease.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hostile Presidential Foreign Policy: UM, "Bush and Carter have the most hostile strategy"

Carter, hostile ??????????????

Economic Sanctions and Presidential Decisions: Models of Political Rationality

 By A. Cooper Drury

The influence of the president's belief system ...  President Ford has the least hostile orientation, while Presidents Bush and Carter have the most hostile strategy preferences.  President Ford would wait to use economic coercion until the hostility of the dispute was more than twice as high compared to Presidents Bush and Carter.

Negotiation: IU&c, threat point investments, payoffs, &c

economists want you to play nice, while they play nasty ...


In many economic environments agents make costly and irreversible investments(in ``guns'') that may enhance their respective threat payoffs but also shrink theutility possibilities set. In such settings, with variable threats and a variable utilitypossibilities set, it becomes possible to rank different bargaining solutions in termsof efficiency. We compare bargaining solutions within a class in which the influenceof the threat point on the bargaining outcome varies across solutions. Under sym-metry, we find that the solution in which the threat point is least influential theequal sacrifice solution Pareto-dominates the other solutions. Since the equalsacrifice solution puts the least weight on the threat point, norms against threats(that can be seen in many seemingly rhetorical pronouncements in adversarial rela-tions) can mitigate some of the costs of conflict and therefore have efficiency-enhan-cing effects.

Swiss Merc Scion: up to 18% profit margins from liquor & trickery of recruits

swissinfo A handful of families controlled the recruitment of mercenaries and built up genuine military and war enterprises with profit margin of up to 18 per cent. How did this work?J.A.d.M.: These families employed former officers, often also innkeepers to act as canvassers. They also needed a licence which was granted by the cantonal authority.These canvassers drew up contracts with the recruits, they paid them a sum of cash and informed them about their tasks and duties.It was not uncommon to use rather dubious methods to stock up the Swiss regiments. Young men were invited for a drink by the innkeeper who literally tricked them into contracts.

TYX: LSummers, need "Fed. Treasury. joint. strategy for managing USG consolidated debt"


To prevent such conflicts, the authors write, a “natural solution would be for the Fed and the Treasury to annually release a joint statement on the strategy for managing the U.S. government’s consolidated debt.” They note the Fed and Treasury have coordinated on debt management before.
Such coordination, however, would likely be interpreted as an infringement on the central bank’s independence by members of Congress who already feel that Fed and Treasury officials coordinate too closely.

Bayesian Math v Replication crisis: UP, "if people misused or misunderstood one system. just as bad"

math can't protect from incompetence, corruption, &c........


Bayesian statistics are rippling through everything from physics to cancer research, ecology to psychology. Enthusiasts say they are allowing scientists to solve problems that would have been considered impossible just 20 years ago. And lately, they have been thrust into an intense debate over the reliability of research results.

Frequentist statistics became the standard of the 20th century by promising just-the-facts objectivity, unsullied by beliefs or biases....  there’s a danger in this tradition, said Andrew Gelman, a statistics professor at Columbia. Even if scientists always did the calculations correctly — and they don’t, he argues — accepting everything with a p-value of 5 percent means that one in 20 “statistically significant” results are nothing but random noise.
The proportion of wrong results published in prominent journals is probably even higher, he said, because such findings are often surprising and appealingly counterintuitive, said Dr. Gelman, an occasional contributor to Science Times.
Looking at Other Factors
Take, for instance, a study concluding that single women who were ovulating were 20 percent more likely to vote for President Obama in 2012 than those who were not. (In married women, the effect was reversed.)

Dr. Gelman re-evaluated the study using Bayesian statistics. That allowed him look at probability not simply as a matter of results and sample sizes, but in the light of other information that could affect those results.
He factored in data showing that people rarely change their voting preference over an election cycle, let alone a menstrual cycle. When he did, the study’s statistical significance evaporated. (The paper’s lead author, Kristina M. Durante of the University of Texas, San Antonio, said she stood by the finding.)

Dr. Gelman said the results would not have been considered statistically significant had the researchers used the frequentist method properly. He suggests using Bayesian calculations not necessarily to replace classical statistics but to flag spurious results.

Others say that in confronting the so-called replication crisis, the best cure for misleading findings is not Bayesian statistics, but good frequentist ones. It was frequentist statistics that allowed people to uncover all the problems with irreproducible research in the first place, said Deborah Mayo, a philosopher of science at Virginia Tech. The technique was developed to distinguish real effects from chance, and to prevent scientists from fooling themselves.
Uri Simonsohn, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, agrees. Several years ago, he published a paper that exposed common statistical shenanigans in his field — logical leaps, unjustified conclusions, and various forms of unconscious and conscious cheating.
He said he had looked into Bayesian statistics and concluded that if people misused or misunderstood one system, they would do just as badly with the other. Bayesian statistics, in short, can’t save us from bad science

Monday, September 29, 2014

Playmakers: Dickens, "She is an edge-tool, and requires great care. She is always dangerous"

David Copperfield
by Charles Dickens

'You should be careful not to irritate her, James. Her temper has been soured, remember, and ought not to be tried.'
Rosa did not come back; and no other mention was made of her, until I went with Steerforth into his room to say Good night. Then he laughed about her, and asked me if I had ever seen such a fierce little piece of incomprehensibility.
I expressed as much of my astonishment as was then capable of expression, and asked if he could guess what it was that she had taken so much amiss, so suddenly.
'Oh, Heaven knows,' said Steerforth. 'Anything you like - or nothing! I told you she took everything, herself included, to a grindstone, and sharpened it. She is an edge-tool, and requires great care in dealing with. She is always dangerous. Good night!'
'Good night!' said I, 'my dear Steerforth! I shall be gone before you wake in the morning. Good night!'