Factoids Of The Day: 5.24.2016

From The Economist, May 21st-27th, 2016

“The Grim Prospect”

“In America some 40m people are prescribed antibiotics for respiratory problems every year. In 2013 a paper published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy estimated that two-thirds of those people may well not have needed the antibiotics they got.”

From Time Magazine, May 16, 2016

“The Brief”

“Medical errors kill 251,454 people every year, making them the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer, according to a new paper in the BMJ. They study’s authors called on the CDC to let doctors list these mistakes as a cause of death.”


Articles Of Interest From The Archives

The New Economies Boom And Bust Towns From the October, 2013 issue of The Atlantic, As usual, an insightful article from Richard Florida about cities in the U.S.

Where Is Lending Headed In The U.S.? If you don’t know about peer-to-peer lending you need to check this out from Time Magazine, July 27th, 2015

A Look At The Other Side Of Sports In High School Amanda Ripley does a great job in showing the other side of high school sports in the October 2013 issue of The Atlantic.

Joseph Mitchell From The New Yorker’s Nemesis I am fascinated with anything written by Joseph Mitchell of New Yorker fame and anything about Joe Gould is up my alley.

How Do I Invest When Markets Go Down? From the September 19th issue of The Economist and very thought-provoking.

Book Of Interest: July 14th, 2015

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I ran across this book,Two Hours: The Quest To Run The Impossible Marathon, while reading The Economist this week and it reminded me of reading The Sports Gene by David Epstein. The author, Ed Caesar, explores the role genetics and how it is involved in top-level sports and how a young Kenyan, Geoffrey Mutai, may be the candidate to break the barrier of two hours in the marathon.

According to this book review in The Economist:

“The increasing popularity and professionalization of running 26 miles and 385 yards (42.2 km) saw the world record in the four decades to 1990 by nearly 19 minutes. In the last 25 years, elite runners have lowered it by almost another four minutes. In 2014, for the first time, the marathon was run in under two hours, three minutes.”

This looks to be extremely interesting if you are interested in seeing the potential of men and women in sports and the unbelievable sacrifices that they must make in attaining their goals. I need to pick it up and put it in my pile but I must remind myself that it does not come out until October of this year.

Statistics Of Interest: January 14, 2014

I found these statistics of interest and thought I would share:


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An excerpt below from the article:

“In general, Americans don’t use more health care than citizens of other countries. But we pay a lot more for the health care we do get. Data gathered by the International Federation of Health Plans show that an MRI costs, on average, $1,121 in the United States and $363 in France. An appendectomy costs $13,851 in the United States and $4,782 in Switzerland. A birth by cesarean section costs $3,676 in the United States and $606 in Canada. A bottle of Nexium — a common acid-reflux drug — costs $202 in the United States and $32 in Britain. (Related: “Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France”.)”

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From The Economist January 11th- January 17th, 2014

From the Leaders Section and The $9 Trillion Sale

This is an unbelievable excerpt:

“America’s federal government owns nearly 1m buildings (of which 45,000 were found to be unneeded or under-used in a 2011 audit) and about a fifth of the country’s land area, beneath which lies vast reserves of oil, gas and other minerals; America’s “fracking” revolution has so far been almost entirely on private land. The Greek state’s largest stock of unrealised value lies in its more that 80,000 non-heritage buildings and plots of land. With only one holiday home for every 100 in Spain, Greece should be able to tempt developers and other investors at the right price. Analysts at PWC reckon Sweden has marketable state-owned property worth $100 billion-120 billion. If that is typical of the OECD, its governments are sitting on saleable land and buildings worth up to $9 trillion-equivalent to almost a fifth of their combined gross debt.”

Statistics From The Economist October 19th-25th, 2013

These statistics are from the article “Trouble at the lab,” from the The Economist October 19th-25th, 2013 and which I find fascinating.

From Page 26:

“The idea that the same experiments always get the same results, no matter who performs them, is one of the cornerstones of science’s claim to objective truth.”

Also from Page 26:

“When an official at America’s National Institute of Health (NIH) reckons, despairingly, that researchers would find it hard to reproduce at least three-quarters of all published biomedical findings, the public part of the process seems to have failed.”

From Page 27: The difference in errors which I believe is quite important in understanding not just lab experiments but how we make our decision making process better.

“Scientists divide errors into two classes. A type I error is the mistake of thinking something is true when it is not (also known as a “false positive”). A type II error is thing something is not true when in fact it is (a “false negative”).

Also from page 27:

“Negative results account for just 10-30% of published scientific literature, depending on the discipline. This bias may be growing. A study of 4,600 papers across the sciences conducted by Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh found that the proportion of negative results dropped from 30% to 14% between 1990 and 2007.”

We will have the synopsis of part 2 of the article tomorrow, but it seems to me, thus far, that the advent of open-access journals and the basic greed of researchers to get published are wiping out as it said in the first quote, the cornerstone of science.

Interesting Facts From The Economist August 17th-23rd, 2013

Newgate Prison, Bristol c18th

Newgate Prison, Bristol c18th (Photo credit: brizzle born and bred)

I ran across this article in The Economist about prison reform on page 23 and thought it may be of interest. I found this quote eye-opening even though I knew part of the story.

“America has the world’s largest prison population. China, which has more than four times as many people and nobody’s idea of lenient judiciary, comes a distant second. One in 107 American adults was behind bars in 2011—the highest rate in the world—and one in every 34 was under “correctional supervision” (either locked up or on probation or parole). A black man in America is 3.6 time more likely to be incarcerated than a black man in 1993 in South Africa, just before apartheid ended.”

I was stunned by the correctional supervision statistics and wondered how do you even begin to fix this mess. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Interesting Statistics From The Economist August 10th-16th, 2013

National emblem of the People's Republic of China

National emblem of the People’s Republic of China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wanted to share these statistics with our readers from The Economist, August 10th-16th, 2013.

“In January of 2013 the air of Beijing hit a level of toxicity 40 times above what the World Health Organization deems safe. A tenth of the country’s farmland is poisoned with chemicals and heavy metals. Half of China’s urban water supplies are unfit even to wash in let alone drink. In the northern half of the country air pollution lops five-and-a-half years off the average life.”

Also, this speaking of the rapid growth of China:

“The scale and speed of China’s development-it consumes 40-45% of the world’s coal,copper, steel, nickel, aluminum and zinc-means it is doing so fast. Since 1990 the amount of CO2 pouring from Chinese smokestacks has risen from 2 billion tons a year to 9 billion-almost 30% of the global total. China produces nearly twice as much CO2 as America. It is no longer merely catching up with the West.

I know most people know about China’s rapid growth but I wanted to share this with our readers. I was not aware of how high a percentage of commodities they were using.