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Official BBO Hijacked Thread Thread No, it's not about that

#3941 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-04, 10:30

Stian Westlake, chief executive of the Royal Statistical Society, in October 2020 said:

From remote working to online shopping, Covid-19 has been a great accelerator of pre-existing trends. One phenomenon it has supercharged is our love-hate relationship with statistics, data and algorithms. The threat of the pandemic has made us crave data: millions pore over R numbers; the technicalities of vaccine trials and testing accuracy, once of interest only to biostatisticians, are front-page news.

But Covid-19 has also cranked up our latent data-phobia. Can we trust the statistics our governments are publishing about the virus? Might track-and-trace apps unacceptably compromise our privacy? Covid even gave the UK its first algorithmic political scandal, as the grades of school leavers unable to sit exams due to lockdown were downgraded by what the prime minister described as a “mutant algorithm”.

In How to Make the World Add Up, Tim Harford, the FT’s Undercover Economist, offers us 10 rules for how to think effectively about numbers and data in a world where statistics matter more than ever. His tips are refreshingly human, and grounded as much in common sense as quantitative wizardry.

Rule One is “search your feelings” — because our emotional biases often get in the way of looking sensibly at situations, even if our maths are flawless. Rule Seven advises us to demand openness when dealing with algorithms, without which their limitations can often be hidden. Such advice would certainly have helped avoid the UK’s exam grading fiasco, which, as the Royal Statistical Society observed at the time, was less a case of a mutant algorithm and more to do with a lack of transparency.

Statistical integrity has an important role to play in the book, with an eloquent plea for governments to invest in honest statistics. This feels particularly urgent at a time when the US government is attempting to intervene in the running of the national census for transparently political motives.

But Harford is at pains to point out that responsible statistical practice is about more than keeping the dodgy numbers out. He explicitly contrasts his book with Darrell Huff’s classic How to Lie with Statistics — said to be the best-selling statistics book ever, published in 1954 and still in print. For Huff, statistics were a cute trick, mainly useful for politicians and advertisers to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Harford takes a more positive view: the right statistics can be a force for good, and we should delight in their usefulness.

The rules are wise and useful, and should be taken to heart by anyone who deals with numbers and data. But what makes this book such a delight are two other, more unexpected qualities.

Our emotional biases often get in the way of looking sensibly at situations, even if our maths are flawless

The first is Harford’s entertaining sense of mischief, which lends a twist to several of the stories in the book. We learn that Huff cashed in on his publishing fame with an inglorious second career as a tobacco lobbyist, turning his cool scepticism into a weapon to try to discredit the well-evidenced case that smoking causes cancer. During a fascinating discussion of the replication crisis in psychological research — a scandal in which many famous findings were found to be the result of random chance, combined with questionable research design — Harford gently notes that these findings form the backbone of more than a few non-fiction blockbusters (books that might well grace the reader’s own shelves).

The book’s other distinctive virtue is a beguiling sense of curiosity that manifests itself in the range of captivating anecdotes. We learn about everything from the psychology of passing off a fake Vermeer (lesson: it’s easiest to be fooled if you want to believe the lie) to the investment strategies of Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes (flexibility is good, and sometimes you learn this by being wrong).

Just as important is the book’s appreciation of curiosity for its own sake — in Orson Welles’s words, “once people are interested, they can understand anything in the world”.

As such, How to Make the World Add Up brings out an important paradox of statistics as a discipline. We tend to think of statistics as a practical subject, helping us analyse problems, from how to identify effective vaccines to how to contain viral outbreaks. Like mechanical engineering or software development, it has clear worldly benefits, and obvious economic returns. But Harford’s book also highlights the conceptual importance of statistics. It offers us a way of thinking seriously about uncertainty, providing a framework for how we understand the world, and training ourselves not to be deceived.

How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers, by Tim Harford, The Bridge Street Press, RRP£20, 352 pages

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#3942 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-04, 14:19

It's peak strawberry week here in Virginia. If you roast them and store them in the fridge, you can enjoy them for a month or two. Ha! I highly recommend this roasting technique: https://food52.com/r...d-strawberries. You can't beat fresh, sweet strawberries but this comes pretty close.
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#3943 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-11, 21:14

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Steph Curry on fire.
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#3944 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-12, 09:33

Fun read: John McPhee interview
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#3945 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-15, 06:10

Anna Holloway, who runs a bookstore and cafe in Gardiner, Montana said:

We already have a town of stranded people, the last thing you want is a town of stranded people with no coffee in the morning,

https://www.nytimes....896ed87b2d9c72a

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#3946 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-June-16, 10:24

View Posty66, on 2022-May-12, 06:50, said:

Ethan Buchman, a founder of Cosmos, a hub for blockchains said:

Everyone knows that these algorithmic stablecoins aren’t safe. They have these downside dynamics.


That's code for scams is it? I have limited sympathy though. My antisocial side is losing patience with people being scammed after years of warnings
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#3947 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-June-16, 10:29

Quote

Stian Westlake, chief executive of the Royal Statistical Society, in October 2020 said:
<long review of a stats book>


Is everything here code?

I try to avoid ad hominem attacks on arguments but I checked the WebSite of Nesta which is supposedly about social benefit but apppears to be more about tech sales. Could say the same about many "trusted" institutions (not naming names). Also scary when a mental health conference or pharmacology conference (I found) is all about apps and AI (just an interesting aside - to me at least)

I think being a consultant is much easier these days. (Sorry we can't help you but) We have an algorithm and app that can help

I do appreciate the sad reality of attracting the ignorant market with bells and whistles but it used to be intellectual pursuits, complex ideas and debates that attracted high quality people and money. We can't help you because of these complex issues to be discussed. Rather than we can help you with this box of tricks. (EDIT I know that claim is not strictly true - read the history books if anyone remembers history)
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#3948 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-19, 07:24

From Tyler Cowen's conversation with Marc Andreessen:

Quote

COWEN: What’s the main problem that needs to be solved by tech for hybrid meetings or hybrid workplaces to really succeed over the longer run?

ANDREESSEN: Yes I’m not convinced . . . Look, in the long, long run . . . I’ll pick a new science fiction. The movie Kingsman, which is a funny spy movie spoof — they have the conference room scenes, where all the British agents are meeting around the conference table, and it turns out, they’re all virtual. They’re all wearing their augmented reality glasses, and so, they’re all seeing holograms of each other.

There are going to be technological approaches — virtual reality, augmented reality — in the future that give you basically the recreation of a physical meeting environment. They already exist. These things already exist. Our friend Balaji [Srinivasan] is teaching courses right now in VR in a virtual classroom. These technologies do already exist. That will happen. I think that will be a big deal.

Having said that, I don’t think that’s necessarily the goal. I don’t think that a hybrid meeting is necessarily an equilibrium, or at least a primary equilibrium. I’m not sure if it’s something that you need to center in on. The reason I say that is because, one, it’s reductive, or it’s looking backwards, which is to say, we used to have in-person meetings, and now we have some people remote, so now we need hybrid meetings. It’s working backwards from that.

Well, there’s another way to think about that, which is, actually, maybe we shouldn’t try to have hybrid meetings. Maybe, in fact, hybrid meetings are the exact wrong idea. Maybe they’re the wrong idea because, maybe, instead of combining the best elements of being local and being remote, maybe they combine the worst elements of being local and being remote.

And maybe instead, what we want to do is shift more to the edges, and we want to have — number one, we want to have communication systems and management systems that are really built for remote work, first and primarily. And we have some of those, and some of those now work really well. Then maybe, when we get people together, we don’t want to have meetings. Maybe we want to have very immersive, very social, very human bonding — a much more intense level of actual human interaction and relationship building than you have in a meeting.

Take a step back on this. The office is an artifact of the technology of a time and place. I mentioned the Second Industrial Revolution. The office is a derivation of the factory. There was the factory and the idea of mass production, and then there was the idea of all the time-and-motion studies and all these guys who did that. And out of that, you go back, look at the history — you’ve got schools, you’ve got jails as you see them today, and then you’ve got offices. It’s this idea that you have to bring people together in this highly orchestrated, mechanistic, mass way.

Empires — fun historical fact: The Roman Empire was not run out of offices. They ran the world, yet there was no office. There was no office building. The Roman aristocrats worked out of their homes, and then they went to the Senate, and then [laughs] they went to their country house. There was no office building for administering the Roman Empire. I don’t know about the British Empire. I’m guessing they probably didn’t have a lot of offices. They maybe had a couple of offices in London, but they probably didn’t have a lot of offices either.

And he's a Deadwood fan!
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#3949 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-June-20, 08:06

It appears I have been wrong-the capitol of Texas is Moscow:




Quote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in Texas formally rejected President Joe Biden's election in 2020 as illegitimate and voted in a state-wide convention that wrapped up this weekend on a party platform that calls homosexuality an "abnormal lifestyle choice."

The party's embrace of unfounded electoral fraud allegations in a bedrock Republican state came as a bipartisan congressional committee seeks to definitively and publicly debunk the false idea that Biden did not win the election.

Biden received 7 million more votes than rival Donald Trump. Biden also received 306 votes from the Electoral College, more than the 270 needed to win.





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#3950 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-21, 04:32

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Jeff Overs BBC
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#3951 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-June-21, 11:48

I mistakenly posted this in the Trump thread, moving it where I meant to put it

Random advice sought:

As I've mentioned in various threads I have a friend in Russia that I've been supporting on and off both with her mental health and in a small way financially. Her bank is not one of the specifically sanctioned ones

Pre Ukraine war, I transferred money in roubles with no issues via one of the commercial money transfer organisations, but they now don't deal with Russia.

Last time I transferred money in pounds, got ripped off 10-15% on the rate, but the money got there.

Now it appears there's a minimum fee been brought in that's considerably more than I normally transfer for transfers in pounds, dollars or Euros.

Is there any way of organising a transfer in roubles ? because I can't find anybody that will do it.
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#3952 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-June-26, 21:51

https://www.theonion...tion-1849106921

The Caviar Coup: Roe v Whey
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#3953 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-June-28, 20:38

There seem to be quite a few ships at sea.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#3954 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-June-30, 15:40

Fun read: Paul Goldschmidt: Man, machine, MVP? ‘This guy’s a robot’ by Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic. A few excerpts:

Quote

Ever see a hitter hold a bat up to his ear and tap it to measure its sound? The hitter is making a subjective judgment on the quality of the wood, not one based on objective data. Paul Goldschmidt, during one of his first spring trainings with the Cardinals, stunned his teammates by bringing a new level of analysis to his selection of bats.

Former Cardinal Matt Carpenter recalls Goldschmidt taking every bat he planned to use for the season, 50 or 60 perhaps, and measuring the exit velocity off each one. A team employee developed a chart to show him which bats produced the best results. Goldschmidt then divided the bats according to the quality of wood, separating ones he would use in batting practice from ones he would use in games.

“Paul is not superstitious,” Carpenter says. “He was just going to figure out, ‘Let me give myself the best chance every time I step in there with this bat. If this bat is truly harder than the other ones, then why not use it?’”

Goldschmidt is just as thoughtful, just as analytical, about every aspect of his profession.

Quote

A little more than two months before his 35th birthday, Goldschmidt is a leading contender for National League Most Valuable Player, an award for which he finished second in 2013 and ’15 and third in ’17. Going into Wednesday’s games, he led the league in batting average (.347), on-base percentage (.429) and slugging percentage (.639), all by significant margins. He is a four-time Gold Glove winner for his defense at first base. Yet to his teammates, opponents, coaches and manager, the care Goldschmidt puts into seemingly his least consequential skill, baserunning, is the most vivid example of his relentlessly painstaking approach to the sport.

The average fan probably does not notice one of Goldschmidt’s trademark baserunning techniques, much less think it matters. Yet to Cardinals manager Oli Marmol, it is one of Goldschmidt’s defining acts on a baseball field. When running the bases, Goldschmidt always strikes the bag with his right foot first.

Coaches preach such form as the best way to make the quickest turn possible, stay on a direct line, cut down the distance to the next base. Younger Cardinals hitters, trying to follow Goldschmidt’s lead, will look into the dugout if they erroneously lead with their left foot, acknowledging their mistake.

Such details matter to Goldschmidt, and when seeking an edge with his base-running, he doesn’t stop there. On close plays at first, he tries to land with his foot as flat as possible at the front tip of the bag. The less time his foot is in the air, the quicker he can touch the base, the better his chances of getting a close out call overturned by replay.

Every so often, Goldschmidt will register an infield single or beat out a double play by employing such a maneuver. He preaches it to teammates during spring training and practices it before games. A safe call at first might be the difference between winning and losing. The final score might be the difference between reaching the postseason and falling short.

“Slugging first basemen, they don’t work on that kind of stuff,” Carpenter says. “But Paul Goldschmidt does.”

Quote

The most unique aspect of Goldschmidt’s approach to hitting, however, is the method he employs when he feels something is amiss.

“When I don’t feel right with my swing, when anybody in the history of the game doesn’t feel right with their swing, they go to the batting cage, or they go to their hitting coach, or they go on the field for BP and they just grind over it,” Carpenter says.

Goldschmidt?

“He goes to the training room.”

When Goldschmidt visits the training room, it is not because he is hurt. He’s simply looking to get his body aligned properly, adjust a hip, ankle or any other body part necessary for him to unleash his powerful swing. In his mind, if his swing is off, it’s because his body is off. That’s how confident he is in what he does at the plate.

I love that he understands the importance of alignment which Alexander technique practitioners can relate to (try watching a hundred or so people walking along a sidewalk and observing how many move seemingly effortlessly and with poise). I remember seeing my favorite bridge software developer sitting somewhat slump shouldered at the Buffett Cup in Dublin and thinking he could save a lot of energy by improving his posture. :)
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#3955 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-July-05, 13:21

He Dropped Out to Become a Poet. Now He’s Won a Fields Medal.
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#3956 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-July-07, 11:31

Matt Levine at Bloomberg said:

https://www.bloomber...alled-the-shots

If you sell nickel futures at a price of $25,000 per ton, and then the price of nickel futures goes up to $100,000 per ton, then in some simple arithmetic sense you have lost $75,000 per ton. If you sold 100 tons of nickel futures, then you have lost more than $7 million. But if you sold 150,000 tons of futures, the math changes a bit; it becomes non-linear and relativistic. If you sold 150,000 tons of nickel futures at $25,000 per ton, and then the price goes up to $100,000, your banks will call you up and say “uh you have lost $11 billion, can you pay that please,” and you will say “I would prefer not to,” and an insane series of events will happen:

  • The nickel exchange will cancel a bunch of trades and declare that actually the market price of nickel is $48,000 per ton, magically reversing most of your losses.
  • Then the exchange will call you and say “okay let’s close you out of that trade at $48,000 per ton.”
  • Then you will say “no, this is still too much money for me to lose, I prefer not to.”
  • Then your banks will say “well okay how much are you willing to lose?”
  • You will say “I would close out this trade at $30,000, that’s how much money I am willing to lose.”
  • Your banks will say “okay fine, we’ll wait for nickel prices to go back below $30,000, meanwhile we’ll just lend you the money to stay in the position.”
  • They will.
  • Eventually nickel prices will go below $30,000 and you will get out of the trade at a modest loss.
  • If prices never go below $30,000 then I guess your banks are very sad, but honestly they’re pretty sad about all of this anyway.

I cannot stress enough that this is not how it works if you are a small customer. This is the white-glove treatment that only the biggest customers get. If you are big enough, you get to tell the exchange how much money you’re willing to lose, and the exchange and your banks will make sure you don’t lose more than that.

Here is a wild Bloomberg News story about Xiang Guangda, the Chinese metals tycoon who runs Tsingshan Holding Group Co., who is nicknamed “Big Shot,” and who blew up the London Metals Exchange in March.

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#3957 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-July-07, 12:03

An additional benefit of being a Big Shot is that Billy Joel will write a song about you.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#3958 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-July-07, 15:37

Clownfall

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The Economist: said:

Boris Johnson’s government has collapsed at last. For months Britain’s prime minister wriggled out of one scandal after another. Now, irretrievably rejected by his own mps, he has accepted that his premiership is over. He has asked to stay until the autumn, but he should go immediately.

Mr Johnson was brought down by his own dishonesty, so some may conclude that a simple change of leadership will be enough to get Britain back on course. If only. Although Mr Johnson’s fingerprints are all over today’s mess, the problems run deeper than one man. Unless the ruling Conservative Party musters the fortitude to face that fact, Britain’s many social and economic difficulties will only worsen.

Right up until the end Mr Johnson clung desperately to power, arguing that he had a direct mandate from the people. That was always nonsense: his legitimacy derived from Parliament. Like America’s former president, Donald Trump, the more he hung on the more he disqualified himself from office. In his departure, as in government, Mr Johnson demonstrated a wanton disregard for the interests of his party and the nation.

Although the denouement took almost two excruciating days, his fate was sealed on July 5th when two cabinet ministers resigned. The catalyst was the behaviour of his party’s deputy chief whip, accused by two men of a drunken sexual assault. Downing Street lied about what the prime minister had known of the whip’s record of abuse, and sent out ministers to repeat its falsehoods—just as it had months earlier over illegal parties in the pandemic. Despairing of yet another scandal, over 50 ministers, aides and envoys joined an executive exodus so overwhelming that the bbc featured a ticker with a running total to keep up. In the end the government had so many vacancies that it could no longer function—one reason Mr Johnson should not stay on as caretaker.

The party will hope that its agony is now drawing to a close. But that depends on it taking the right lessons from Mr Johnson’s failure. One is about character in politics. Mr Johnson rejected the notion that to govern is to choose. He lacked the moral fibre to take hard decisions for the national good if that threatened his own popularity. He also lacked the constancy and the grasp of detail to see policies through. And he revelled in trampling rules and conventions. At the root of his style was an unshakable faith in his ability to get out of scrapes by spinning words. In a corner, Mr Johnson would charm, temporise, prevaricate and lie outright. Occasionally, he even apologised.

As a result, the bright spots in his record, such as the procurement of vaccines against covid-19 and support for Ukraine, were overwhelmed by scandal elsewhere. Behind the unfolding drama was a void where there should have been a vision. Crises were not a distraction from the business of government: they became the business of government. As the scandals mounted, so did the lies. Eventually, nothing much else was left.

Conservatives have been quick to blame everything on Mr Johnson’s character. But his going will be cathartic only if they also acknowledge a second, less comfortable truth. He was an answer to the contradictions in his party. Many of today’s Tory mps belong to the low-tax, more libertarian and free-market tradition, but others, many from northern constituencies, cleave to a new big-spending, interventionist and protectionist wing. They won Mr Johnson an 87-seat majority in the last election and are vital to Conservative fortunes in the next.

The charismatic Mr Johnson was able to lash these factions together because he never felt the need to resolve their contradictions. Instead he was for both protectionism and free-trade agreements; he wanted a bonfire of red tape even as he punished energy firms for high prices; he planned huge government spending but promised sweeping tax cuts.

This is the politics of fantasy, and you can trace it back to Brexit. In the campaign to leave the European Union Mr Johnson promised voters that they could have everything they wanted—greater wealth, less Europe; more freedom, less regulation; more dynamism, less immigration—and that the eu would be knocking on Britain’s door desperate for a deal. It worked so well that fantasy became the Tories’ organising principle.

Nowhere more than in the economy, the third lesson the next government must learn. Mr Johnson often boasted that Britain’s economic record was the envy of the world, but he was spinning words again. The truth is that the Britain he will leave behind faces grave social and economic problems.

It has the highest inflation in the g7, which lavish government spending using borrowed money could well entrench. As we wrote recently, average annual gdp growth in the decade leading up to the global financial crisis of 2007-09 was 2.7%; today the average is closer to 1.7%. Britain is stuck in a 15-year low-productivity rut. The country is forecast to have the slowest growth in the g7 in 2023.

What is more, this spluttering engine faces extraordinary demands. Industrial action is spreading from the rail unions to lawyers and doctors. As the cost of living rises, a coherent and determined government is needed to hold the line on spending. Britain is ageing. From 1987 to 2010, when the Tories took office, the share of the British population aged over 65 was steady, at 16%. It is now 19% and by 2035 will be close to 25%, adding to the benefits bill and the burden on the National Health Service, already buckling under the weight of untreated patients.

Britain also needs to speed its transition to a net-zero-emissions economy, requiring a vast programme of investment. It has ambitions to count in a world where Russia and China throw their weight around, but its armed forces are small and under-equipped. Scotland and Northern Ireland are restless in the Union and Westminster has no plan to make them content.

Britain is in a dangerous state. The country is poorer than it imagines. Its current-account deficit has ballooned, sterling has tumbled and debt-interest costs are rising. If the next government insists on raising spending and cutting taxes at the same time, it could stumble into a crisis. The time when everything was possible is over. With Mr Johnson’s departure, politics must once more become anchored to reality.

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#3959 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-July-08, 07:48

From A turning point in cancer by Eric Topol:

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We dread the diagnosis of cancer, not only because of its threat to life, but also the conventional chemotherapies that are given, with considerable toxicity. But the theme of the clusters of individualized medicine I’ve reviewed here offers a way forward that links biology and therapy. That reduces the need for chemotherapy. Moreover, as plasma cell-free tumor DNA tests get more informative, the dream of the earliest possible diagnosis of cancer may ultimately be fulfilled, and coupled with an individualized, biologic-based treatment when necessary. So at the very least, I hope you’ve now heard of some “unheard-of” important, new results that foster considerable hope for better cancer outcomes in the future.

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#3960 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-July-15, 08:17

Very cool and heartwarming to see Tiger Woods getting such a tremendous ovation as he walked up 18 at St. Andrews today. Who can forget how he played here in 2000 as he was setting the golf world on fire?
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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