Posted this earlier over on Posterous, but here it is again: Skier outjumps avalanche.
- Global World Product Will Not Grow at 4%+ for Five Years (Source)
- Mississippi river flood status (Source)
- SETI to stop its alien-seeking radio dishes (Source)
- WEF report on entrepreneurship (Source)
- Foreign buyers buoy Vancouver housing (Source)
- More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees, Census Bureau Reports (Source)
- Google will modify its Rio maps and downplay favelas (Source)
- The Netherlands Ranks #1 Worldwide in Penetration for Twitter and LinkedIn (Source)
- Mississippi River Cresting Near Record; 2002 as Parallel (Source)
- IPO filing activity surges; more than 30 companies file with SEC in April ((Source)
This wasn’t quite dystopian enough for me, Harvey Fineberg on neo-evolution at this year’s TED was still interesting:
- The Trouble with Catastrophe Bonds(Source)
- Bacterium that causes Legionnaires disease linked to mystery illness at Playboy Mansion (Source)
- “This Is the Renaissance of Rail.” (Source)
- Imagining a world without oil (Source)
- Liquidity as an Investment Style (Source)
- US reserve rates soar as costs fall on new technologies (Source)
- Amis on Hitchens: ‘He’s one of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen’(Source)
- “Reject Greenspan’s Bleak Vision” (Source)
Ian Morris, author of one of my favorite books of 2010 — Why the West Rules, For Now — gave a seminar on the subject recently as part of the Long Now series. Highly worthy listening.
You know that crazy-effusive double-rainbow video that went viral? Here, hands down, is the powder-skiing version. It’s serious embarra-stoke.
I was sent this by someone today on the latest madness in the Vancouver real estate market. It sort of blew my mind — 25 bidders, $655,000 premium, and 34% over the asking price for a house on 50×125 lot.
Published Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011 6:02PM EDT
2466 WEST 14TH AVE., VANCOUVER
ASKING PRICE $1,895,000
SELLING PRICE $2.55-million
PREVIOUS SELLING PRICE $531,000 (1996)
DAYS ON THE MARKET eleven
THE ACTION: This contemporary West Coast residence in Kitsilano was listed for $1.895-million on a Friday, but the first showings were held a week later. This tactic, combined with its attractive price point, helped retain the interest of so many buyers that 25 made an offer. The one accepted presented $655,000 more than the asking price.
Great new paper from Voxeu on people’s behavior around the unpredictable. In lotteries they tend to under-select recently drawn numbers, only to get for them in a big way if the number is drawn repeatedly. Reproduced here, with permission.
Japan’s trio of tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear disaster has left the world stunned. As this column points out, even the experts were shocked. But while these events were highly unlikely, they were still possible. This column uses evidence from the Danish lottery to show that people tend to adjust their expectations of future events based on only small pockets of recent experience, often at their cost.
Important events are hard to predict – a fact that is particularly hard-felt when it comes to low probability events with dramatic consequences. Nuclear catastrophe, financial crisis and the like are things that even experts struggle to predict. The difficulty stems from a lack of understanding of the underlying factors and complex interactions among causes (probabilities are not independent but conditional on other events).
Experts are thus to some extent forced to base their predictions on inference from observing the past. A difficult issue is to know when a model should be revised given that an event that has been deemed to be highly improbable happens to occur. The issue is most relevant for policy recommendations. For example, what recommendations should experts provide for the regulation of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster or for the regulation of banks in the light of the recent financial crisis?
While experts struggle to predict such events accurately, the average person is often simply baffled. They tend to misperceive randomness in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to rare events.
This can lead to a tendency to overreact to recent events, allowing their occurrence to change beliefs about future events in exaggerated ways. More specifically, many people tend to over-infer characteristics of the underlying probability distribution when observing a small number of random events. A literature pioneered by Tversky and Kahneman (1971) has identified the belief in the “law of small numbers” as the source of such over-inference.