I have been giving many talks lately about the macro condition of the economy, including a recent one in Canada to some insurance executives. In… [cont.]
Intriguing new inattentional blindness study:
You do not talk about Fight Club if you do not notice Fight Club: Inattentional blindness for a simulated real-world assault
Inattentional blindness—the failure to see visible and otherwise salient events when one is paying attention to something else—has been proposed as an explanation for various real-world events. In one such event, a Boston police officer chasing a suspect ran past a brutal assault and was prosecuted for perjury when he claimed not to have seen it. However, there have been no experimental studies of inattentional blindness in real-world conditions. We simulated the Boston incident by having subjects run after a confederate along a route near which three other confederates staged a fight. At night only 35% of subjects noticed the fight; during the day 56% noticed. We manipulated the attentional load on the subjects and found that increasing the load significantly decreased noticing. These results provide evidence that inattentional blindness can occur during real-world situations, including the Boston case.
Not sure I agree with this perspective on why live sports only work when live, but it’s interesting. I have watched events many times on delay — especially cycling, geek that I am — and I don’t care if it’s live, or if I know the results. That said, the perspective makes its own sense.
“If this game has already ended and I don’t know anything about what happened, it was probably just a game”: This sentence is so obvious that it’s almost nonsensical, but I suspect it’s the one point that matters most. It’s the central premise behind the entire concept of “liveness,” which is what this whole problem comes down to.
Economic activity next week:Economic indicators (CR)Earnings reports (Earnings.com)
Some articles and papers worth reading:Buffett: How… [cont.]
Fresh perspective on tired subject:
‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy
Daniel J. Solove
George Washington University Law School
San Diego Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 745, 2007
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 289
In this short essay, written for a symposium in the San Diego Law Review, Professor Daniel Solove examines the nothing to hide argument. When asked about government surveillance and data mining, many people respond by declaring: “I’ve got nothing to hide.” According to the nothing to hide argument, there is no threat to privacy unless the government uncovers unlawful activity, in which case a person has no legitimate justification to claim that it remain private. The nothing to hide argument and its variants are quite prevalent, and thus are worth addressing. In this essay, Solove critiques the nothing to hide argument and exposes its faulty underpinnings.
A 1950s-era tourist cabin for sale by the city of Aspen is proving most difficult to get rid of due to the high cost of hauling it away, although it’s still on the market if anyone is interested.
The Deep Powder cabins were part of Aspen’s lodging inventory for about 50 years, but were displaced by the redevelopment of the Limelight Lodge. Figuring there was historic value, the city saved two of the cabins, and has been looking for preservation-minded owners since 2006. The cabins have been sitting at the edge of Willoughby Park since then.
No one local could be found, so in March, the cabins were listed on PublicSurplus.com, an eBay-like website for government property. The two cabins sold for $500.99 and $661. However, the buyer of the more expensive cabin pulled out, telling the city he could not get a permit to haul the 600-square-foot cabin across state lines. The buyer of the cheaper cabin is still planning to pick up his purchase, and will be breaking it up into pieces for the move to Divide, Colo., said city historic preservation planner Sara Adams.
Useful NYT interactive graphic of popular words/themes in 40 commencement speeches around the U.S. this season. Not much “science” sadly, but lots of “world”.
Interesting new study on financial literacy. A tiny amount of interest goes a long way.
Financial Literacy around the World: An Overview
Annamaria Lusardi, Olivia S. Mitchell
NBER Working Paper No. 17107
Issued in June 2011
NBER Program(s): AG
The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.
In an increasingly risky and globalized marketplace, people must be able to make well-informed financial decisions. Yet new international research demonstrates that financial illiteracy is widespread when financial markets are well developed as in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, and the United States, or when they are changing rapidly as in Russia. Further, across these countries, we show that the older population believes itself well informed, even though it is actually less well informed than average. Other common patterns are also evident: women are less financially literate than men and are aware of this shortfall. More educated people are more informed, yet education is far from a perfect proxy for literacy. There are also ethnic/racial and regional differences: city-dwellers in Russia are better informed than their rural counterparts, while in the U.S., African Americans and Hispanics are relatively less financially literate than others. Moreover, the more financially knowledgeable are also those most likely to plan for retirement. In fact, answering one additional financial question correctly is associated with a 3-4 percentage point higher chance of planning for retirement in countries as diverse as Germany, the U.S., Japan, and Sweden; in the Netherlands, it boosts planning by 10 percentage points. Finally, using instrumental variables, we show that these estimates probably underestimate the effects of financial literacy on retirement planning. In sum, around the world, financial literacy is critical to retirement security.
Some very good stuff in David Einhorn’s full analysis of Microsoft from the Ira Sohn conference a few weeks back:
Ballmer’s problem is that he is stuck in the past, and is at best a caretaker in an industry demanding constant innovation. He’s allowed competitors to beat Microsoft in huge areas including search, mobile communication software, tablet computing, and social networking. But even worse, his response to these failures has been to pour tremendous resources into efforts to either buy or develop his way out of these holes.