Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Financial advisors lie – why is the sector any different?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2012-04-29

My SkepticLawyer less-lefty-than-I-am friends (in facebook) linked to "Is the Pope a Catholic" results from an experiment about financial advisors providing self-serving advice, and there is no reason I can see why the same dynamics, behaviour and outcome wouldn’t apply to the financial sector as a whole, pressuring societies into baring their collective throats to the predators.
 

"Valuable advice on investment advisors" (Tim Harford, 2012-04-28) points to a neat double-blind experiment, sending portfolios with common biases and some stupidities to financial advisors to see what would be advised.
 

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Posted in Economics and Business, Ethics, Governance, Society, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-06-26

My strengthening suspicion is that my life has fortunately come at a tragic time – lucky to see another peak of human civilization, yet with the sadness of the pointers to another fall already in sight.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way

- A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens

Let me show you some of those pointers – both the big and the small:

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Rightie politics attracts more evil support

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-10-12

One problem with the right side of politics is that the average rightie is more evil than the average leftie.

Let’s consider motivations of Evil Bastards, those both selfish and predatory.

Unless convinced of the ability to personally climb the greasy pole of leftie politics to a height enabling undue influence and improper gain (key example Stalin), the evil bastard will get no advantage from mere promotion of the leftie agenda.

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Posted in Politics, Society, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The REAL biggie is tonight

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-09-17

It’s the big game tonight.

At least, even with the worst result, the Cats won’t be blamed by the majority of fans from all teams for letting Collingwood win a premiership.

Stopping the Magpies getting a flag is more important to many than a Grand Final victory for your own team.

Go Cats!

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Mr Fox and Mr Rabbit Part 2

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-08-30

The rural independents would to well to consider the agenda of Mr Fox as carefully as they consider the agenda and costings of Mr Rabbit.

The press of Mr Fox might now be Mr Rabbit’s sock puppet, but once parliament sits, especially if Mr Rabbit is PM, the sock might be on the other hand, with Mr Fox the puppeteer.

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Photosensitive hacks

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-08-28

The Labor faithful, and lapsed true believers, could have a lot to celebrate with a minority Labor government – ideas for democratic reform long advocateded by the lefty base (and progressive right) could be dusted off, pulled from behind the bookcase where they’d been hidden by backroom hacks.

Anti-democratic forces, most brazenly the public face of the backroom hacks of the Libs, aka Mr Fox and News Ltd, are fighting this with all their power too.

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Dorsal Cervical Erythematosis

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-08-26

Abstract: Dorsal Cervical Erythmatosis (DSE) is a recently characterized disorder with epidemiological studies suggesting infection through a novel combination of aetiologies, with an infectious agent possible, despite the clinical presentation of combined psychological and perispinal skin anomalies suggesting subtle problems during creation of the neural tube.

Diagnosis: A chronic (>5 year) erythematous rash in the dorsal cervical regions and cluster of psychological symptoms (defective empathy for those with apparent low probability of kinship regardless of histocompatibility profiles, difficulty assimilating novel concepts post-adolescence), denial that any of these signs exist or present a problem for the patient, together with chronic or intense exposure to particular EMF spectra (which vary by geographic region) strongly suggests DCE.

Distribution: Incidence increases with proximity to the equator on the continents of North America and Australia, and has a positive correlation with UV incidence, and a negative correlation with melanin levels in the skin.  However, there are strange patterns of incidence within any particular city, some suburbs showing a high proportion of sufferers, other suburbs being almost DCE free.

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Adoptive chimp single dads and evolution of altruism

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-01-28

A recent paper in PLoS "Altruism in Forest Chimpanzees: The Case of Adoption" has a few things to say about costly altruism – adoption of orphans, the socio-economic conditions required for altruism, and raises the questions of why human males aren’t primary caregivers half the time, as half the chimp adopters of unrelated infants were male.

Chimp single-adoptive-dad Porthos preparing food for unrelated daughter Gia

Single dad Porthos and adopted daughter Gia - food preparation

Males managed to give good care, sometimes for years, measured by comparing the development of adopted and non-adopted kids, and were prepared to adopt non-related kids, even those not completely weaned.  In a troop that walks often, carrying an unweaned infant on your back (for many months), preparing food, searching for and waiting for an infant, is a significant investment, particularly when the rest of the troop don’t do these things for kids when the kid has a parent, natural or adoptive.

It’s a tough life for the Tai troop compared to other troops.  Tais are in an area with more leopards and many diseases such as anthrax and ebola, yet they show much greater altruism than other wild troops who have it easier, and certainly more than captive chimps who enjoy 24/7 valet service from humans.

Empathy and a willingness to go out of one’s way for unrelated unfortunates – mateship in other words – what we deem an Australian characteristic, developed in tougher times, while in today’s relatively luxurious times, getting each single cent of tax for the common wealth from voters is a nigh-impossible task if election campaigns are any guide.

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A more general feed with added whimsy

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-09

Here is the RSS of links I put up on fb with more whimsy and less politics, designed for my general-population friends.

You don’t have to be a facebook user to see the feed, I think.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Republished Key KPI

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-03

My earlier post "Missing in action – the key KPI for government", which argues that if the purpose of a political system is to enable life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then population depression indicators can be used to assess the success or failure for the entire range of government actions (and inactions), and should be released by the ABS more regularly than once a decade, is now (with minor reworking) up at up at OnLine Opinion

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Erwin’s LOLcat

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-11-14

I detest all those cute cat photos that appear regularly on otherwise sane blogs, so, it’s time to react with something probably not at all original, but hey…

If you’ve ever done physics, you’ll know the Erwin I’m talking about, and there is a good chance you know what’s over the fold, so move on… no need to waste your bandwidth… but drop a note if you know of a better "Erwin" LoLcat image.

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The town and the passion

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-09-20

The Cats

Q: Why would a Saints supporter hope for the Cats to win the premiership next weekend?

A: If they are a member of the local constabulary or owner of a local small business.

The Geelong Football club has always been different, more deeply defined by geography: even the blue and white hoops representing the waves of Corio Bay.

It’s the only team that remains true to tradition, still playing at a suburban ground, still maintaining near-universal support in the community so that a partisan comment to a stranger will almost always meet with approval, and still with a good number of players born in the region.

Indeed, on-field performance determines regional economics: there is even a 10% productivity difference on Mondays depending on whether there was a win or loss on the weekend.

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GetUp to save the net

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-08-28

(A repost of a couple of images, timely.  GetUp is giving you the chance to help prevent internet censorship idiocy with a free fax to your MP… here.)

bald_stephen_conroy_we_will_decide Read the rest of this entry »

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Contra-aphorism

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-07-19

A thousand words can use less bandwidth than a picture.

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Ratings turned on

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-07-18

I’ve just turned on the ratings facility of WordPress, for posts AND comments, although you’ll need to "go into" the short posts that have no "over-the-fold" if you want to rate them.

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