Friday, December 04, 2009

Quotes of the day

Literature is mostly about sex and a little about having children. Life is the other way around.--unattributed

We currently have the best politicians money can buy. I suspect it might be conducive toward better governance should this channel of undue influence be severed. Can you disagree?--Epicurean Dealmaker

On December 2nd Dogbert stepped down as CEO of Dilbert's company and was replaced by a dried-up corpse. At about the same time, GM was announcing that CEO Fritz Henderson was stepping down and being replaced by 68-year old Ed Whitacker.--Scott Adams

I learned to write narrative nonfiction. Some days the words well up inside you and you know they are coming from somewhere outside yourself. To experience that sense of grace is why writers write. ... We so rarely spend generous amounts of time with our elders. I was able to do it often and at length. It was a privilege to spend so many hours among people who had accumulated such a great store of wisdom. ... I had to work myself up over and over to find the courage to tell the truth.--Alice Schroeder

What Schumer doesn’t get is that what really “sticks America in the eye” is his protectionism. Outsourcing is a good thing. When companies go abroad, they do it because the cost savings allow them to make better products for less. This means more profit for the company and lower prices for all American consumers and businesses. Lower prices lead directly to higher standards of living. More profit leads to new investment -- often in America. Both lead to increased jobs. A Dartmouth Business school study found that companies that outsource the most are the companies that create the most employment in America.--John Stossel

Controlling for income, inflation and employment, [B. Mak Arvin and Byron Lew] find happier countries give more aid: “the happiness coefficient is positive and statistically significant at the 5% level” and “a one-unit increase in happiness leads to an increase in the donor’s aid to GDP ratio…by 0.132 of a percent.” At the same time, “aid is a significantly positive determinant of a donor’s happiness.” There seems to be a virtuous circle between a 1.31217 standard deviation increase in the joy of giving and the parameterized, rigorously assessed impact on the act of giving.--William Easterly and Laura Freschi

When we submitted the paper to risk, uncertainty, and insurance journals, the referees responded that the results were self-evident. After some degree of frustration, my coauthor suggested that the problem with the paper might be that we had made the argument too easy to follow, and thus referees and editors were not sufficiently impressed. He said that he could make the paper more impressive by generalizing the model. While making the same point as the original paper, the new paper would be more mathematically elegant, and it would become absolutely impenetrable to most readers. The resulting paper had fifteen equations, two propositions and proofs, dozens of additional mathematical expressions, and a mathematical appendix containing nineteen equations and even more mathematical expressions. I personally could no longer understand the paper and I could not possibly present the paper alone. The paper was published in the first journal to which we submitted.--David Hakes

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