Maybe Mass Testing is not a Good Idea

For the last weeks I was very convinced that mass testing would be one of the best ways to make reopening societies safer. This piece from Michael Hochman on had me think about that. The idea is that frequent testing allows us to identify asymptomatic spreaders. But simply mass testing everyone regularly won’t solve the problem alone.

Even with testing every two weeks and a 24-hour lag in results, universal testing would catch less than half of asymptomatic carriers


On Negative Probabilities
Everybody likes pictures. So here is a picture of Richard Feynmann

In 1987 Richard Feynman wrote an article arguing in favor for negative probabilities. The question should not be: “do they exist?” but rather: “are they useful?”. People have for centuries denied the existence of negative numbers – but thinking about negative money as debts is undeniably useful. How would you do that with negative probabilities? The idea is to loosen the requirement that probabilities must be strictly positive in … more

Is Divorce Contagious?

Getting babies is contagious. If people around you start having babies, you are yourself more likely to get one. Getting obese can be contagious. Can getting a divorce be contagious as well? From an article from the Pew Research Center:

A research team headed by Rose McDermott of Brown University analyzed three decades of data on marriage, divorce and remarriage collected from thousands of residents of Framingham, Massachusetts.

McDermott and her colleagues found that study participants were


Coronavirus and Human Experiments

Bryan Caplan makes a couple of very interesting points supporting human experiments to learn more about Covid-19. I personally don’t like his framing on demagogues, but his piece is well worth a read. While there have already been people voluntarily signing up for vaccine trials, Caplan’s argument goes much further when he suggests investigating basic properties of the pandemic that can only be known through human experiments. From his piece:

To find the true IFR [infection-fatality-rate], you recruit


On Reversing Aging

David Sinclair on a new paper about age reversal (Twitter Link)

Sinclair reviews an exciting new paper. From the Twitter thread:

18 rats were divided into three groups. 6 young rats (30 weeks old), 6 old rats (109 weeks old) & 6 old rats (also 109 weeks old) treated with plasma fractions from the young rats.

Blood was drawn at regular intervals for analyses to monitor the impact and cognitive functions were assessed 4 times. DNA methylation profiles


Iran Has A Legal Market Where You Can Sell Your Kidney

Link of the day: Iran has a legal market for organs

Wow. It was only today that I learned that you could actually officially legally sell your organs on a kidney market in Iran. To anyone. You register with the government, they pay for the procedure and you get $4,600 for it after everything is done. Consequently, Iran neither has a waiting list nor a shortage of organs. From the LA Times article:

Since 1993, doctors in Iran have performed


The Relationship between Income and Terrorism

Link of the day: The Changing Nonlinear Relationship between Income and Terrorism

This is a nice paper about terrorism and income.

We devise a terrorism Lorenz curve to show that domestic and transnational terrorist attacks are each more concentrated in middle-income countries, thereby suggesting a nonlinear income–terrorism relationship.

They also give quite an interesting overview of the history of international terrorism.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the secular leftists, including the nationalist Palestinian and Irish groups, were the dominant transnational


A Platform For Charity Bets

A couple of months ago I started offering charity bets to anyone willing to bet with me. The winner gains eternal glory, the loser helps the world by donating to effective charities. This was pretty fun and so the thought came up to turn this into a platform (app / website). I here present the current plan I have in mind. There are obviously quite a lot of decisions to make and you can find a full overview of different … more

Wednesday, 13.05.2020 – Paper: Firms Covered In the Media Experience Trading Momentum

Link of the day: Media Makes Momentum

If you’re interested in trading and stock markets, this paper might be for you:

Relying on 2.2 million articles from forty-five national and local U.S. newspapers between 1989 and 2010, we find that firms particularly covered by the media exhibit, ceteris paribus, significantly stronger momentum. The effect depends on article tone, reverses in the long run, is more pronounced for stocks with high uncertainty, and is stronger in states with high investor individualism.