Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quotes of the day

The economy sucks up people who know [math and science], and the pay and the respect of working for Google or Microsoft, ... or Goldman Sachs (Heaven help them, ... uhhh, just kidding) is a heck of a lot more than there is to teaching in a high school.--Jim Simons

I consider high frequency trading to be natural, and definitely socially useful. What's happened is, that as the markets have become more electronic, and computers have been applied for generating prices and accepting trades, the markets have grown tremendously more liquid. The bid-ask spread has come down. The fellas of old that used be specialists on the floor were supposed to be the market and they were full of baloney, and they would create wide spreads and at the first sign of trouble they would disappear. ... There was a glitch, I think they called it the 'Flash Crash' ... and for 8 minutes or so, some parts of the market took a dive. It came right back. ... In 1987, when the stock market crashed it went down 25% in half a day and didn't recover for 6 months, 'cause there was nobody there on the other side. ... Yes, I consider high speed trading socially useful, and those people who argue against it are wrong.--Jim Simons

[Jim] Clark was particularly irked by the disclosures surrounding Abacus. He had met with Paulson & Co. founder John Paulson in August, 2006 and been impressed by the hedge fund manager’s plans to bet against the subprime-mortgage market. His Goldman brokers talked him out of investing with Paulson, describing him as a bit player, Clark says.--Richard Teitelbaum

Sentiments on how the country is doing break down along partisan lines. Among Democrats, 14 percent said the country is doing very well, while another 51 percent said it is doing fairly well. Thirty-five percent of Democrats said the country is doing badly. Just one percent of Republicans surveyed said the country is doing very well and 24 percent said it is doing fairly well, while 76 percent said it is doing pretty badly or very badly. Independents’ views are middling, with 41 percent saying the country is doing well, while 49 percent said it is doing badly.--Jennifer Epstein

Do we think the administration has even considered that the problem [the slowing pace of new drugs coming out of the pharmaceutical industry] might be the huge costs imposed on new drug development by the FDA?--Jeffrey Miron

As states struggle with enormous deficits and exploding pension costs, some analysts are urging Congress to enact a law enabling states to declare bankruptcy the way municipalities can under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code. This is a bad idea. A state bankruptcy provision could create more problems than it solves. Bankruptcy proponents understandably worry that states such as California and Illinois are so deep in the hole they may end up petitioning Congress for federal relief. To forestall this possibility, the argument goes, even the threat of bankruptcy would give governors and legislators a powerful new weapon for forcing concessions from recalcitrant public employee unions. Yet state officials committed to cutting costs already have options for putting the squeeze on their unions.--E.J. McMahon

Here we go again with the political grandstanding around the idiotic "debt ceiling" -- idiotic because it's defined in a fixed number of dollars instead of a percentage of GDP.--Steven Conover

The experimental study reported here employed one of the most compelling visual cues of female sexual attractiveness (low waist-to-hip ratio) to test the influence of news anchor sexualization on audience evaluations of her as a professional and their memory for the news that she presents. Male participants saw the sexualized version of the anchor as less suited for war and political reporting. They also encoded less news information presented by the sexualized than her unsexualized version. Conclusions were drawn in line with evolutionary psychology expectations of men’s cognitive susceptibility to visual sex cues.--Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Lelia Samson

Is it better to test sexual compatibility as early as possible or show sexual restraint so that other areas of the relationship can develop? In this study, we explore this question with a sample of 2035 married individuals by examining how soon they became sexually involved as a couple and how this timing is related to their current sexual quality, relationship communication, and relationship satisfaction and perceived stability. Both structural equation and group comparison analyses demonstrated that sexual restraint was associated with better relationship outcomes, even when controlling for education, the number of sexual partners, religiosity, and relationship length.--Dean Busby, Jason Carroll & Brian Willoughby

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