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Making money out of obesity & diabetes

The pharmaceutical companies have come up with Rimonabant that will control appetite weight and perhaps inhibit smoking.

The food company Nestlé comes up with a cereal bar that will inhibit obesity and diabetes. There is money in flab and this is the most promising basis for assuming a discovery will be made which limits […]

Chinese car love

I tuned into ABC news radio this afternoon to hear a snippet on the Chinese car industry. By 2020 the Chinese market may be the biggest car market on earth – perhaps bigger than the US, with 18 million new vehicles per year and a fleet of 130 million vehicles in all. More models are […]

Correa flowers

Thanks Lee, made my day.

Mid week review

I have been busily marking exams and have just finished the last paper. Most teachers whether at schools or universities will tell you that the most uninteresting part of their work is grading assignments and exams. There are bright spots but, for the most part, it is an effort to keep your concentration and focus.Hopefully […]

Got a minute?

My work life is plagued with interruptions – people who want me to deal with their concerns right then. Alison Motluk in NewScientist this week looks at the phenomenon of ‘being interrupted’. Interruptions cost the US economy $588 billion per year. Information workers get interrupted on average every 3 minutes. The effects are severe. Being […]

Immaturity increasing: Academics as kids?

Neoteny describes a process by which paedomorphism is achieved – in neoteny, the physiological (or somatic) development of an animal or organism is slowed or delayed. So adults retain child characteristics.Biologist Bruce Charleton argues that higher education is making people less psychologically mature. The modern world is unstable so a psychological neoteny effect – retention […]

Gittins supports food policies.

Co-worker Samantha pointed out to me this article by Ross Gittens supporting a case for activist food/obesity policies based on market failure ideas.

Sweethearts not bleeding hearts

I am not a fan of advertising on blogs – and not a fan of advertising generally – but I was interested in this match-making advertisement from the conservative Ace of Spades blog.

It seems sensible – go for a partner who shares your main political precepts.

David Tilley under the knife

A powerful account of surgery and its aftermath by David Tilley at Barista. Fantasies, hallucinations and some keen observations on our health system. Well-written.

Courtesy of Tim Blair.

Water trading

Farmers are complaining about being given the right to sell off their claims to Australia’s water supplies under the National Water Policy. There are circumstances where being given a choice can make you worse-off but this is not such a situation.If a farmer facing bankruptcy is forced to sell his water rights then the sale […]

Being fat & poor: The case of Krispy Kremes

Being fat can be caused by not having enough to eat and by being poor. Budget-constrained people eat a lot of junk food because they are not in a position to make healthy food choices. If they live day-to-day on low incomes they will gravitate to pubs and fast food outlets. This is particularly harmful […]

Problem gambling at 50%?

A new study claims that up to half of poker machine players in Victoria are problem gamblers. What does ‘up to’ mean here? Under a reasonable definition of ‘problem gambling’ this estimate seems high – the Productivity Commission’s figure (for all gambling) is 15%. This is high in itself and signifies a real problem – […]

Iraq shootings

My friend and colleague Professor Imad Moosa has just heard terrible news from his home town Basra in Iraq. His brother-in-law has been shot dead and his sister critically wounded by Shia militia. She was shot in the chest and stomach.

These ordinary people’s lives have been threatened and damaged by the Iranian-supported militia that […]

The rise of cybersex

NewScientist discusses online games that lead to animated cybersex. In Second Life , a game that initially was of a non-sexual role-playing genus, a you can buy sexual positions and fetishes from minority online communities and get to the point where a nymphet will undress you and take you to bed. Couples can use it […]

Mid-week review

I’ve been trying to get my head around the debate on industrial relations reform. As a supporter of the conservative side of politics I am untroubled by Kim Beazley’s pact with the unions to emphasise the role of collective bargaining. With only 20% of the workforce unionised it won’t work – it got the thumbs-down […]

Bird Watching in Iraq (Cross-Posted at Birding Aus)

It interests me that in the midst of a chaotic war people go bird-watching. I am a pretty keen bird-watcher myself and have seen a fair number of Australian bird species. But bird-watching in a combat zone? The Economist book review section reports on bird-watching in wartime Iraq:

‘IN EARLY 2004 Jonathan Trouern-Trend of […]

Save the whales?

Should whales be treated differently from other non-human animals? Should whaling continue to be restricted or should controlled harvesting, beyond levels of ‘scientific whaling’ now practiced by Japan and Norway, be allowed? To be frank I don’t want to see any whales killed but, if pressed, my (non-vegetarian) arguments for this position fray at the […]

Adam Smith & Behavioral Economics

1. Introduction. Adam Smith is recognised in The Wealth of Nations as a proponent of self-interested behavior. Recently Ashraf et al (2005) have argued that, in Theory of Moral Sentiments, (TMS), Smith reveals himself to be an observor who anticipated much of modern behavioral economics. He also provided leads that modern economists can take up […]

Life & other contingencies

I’ve been out of town for the last few days. I went to Sydney to visit a relative who has had a serious health scare. The scare alarmed me because I care about this person.A concern that occurred to me while visiting came from awareness that my particular concerns for this person – or indeed, […]

Hooray for the Wikipedia

Information is a public good which should optimally not be priced for use. I am a big fan of the Wikipedia and use it all the time. I use it as an online encylopedia and, sometimes, simply as a dictionary.

I always keep my eye open for nonsense on it but, for the most part, […]