- I am repeatedly told off by my sciency friends for reading Psychology Today blogs. Apparently, Psychology Today is the “Cosmo of the science world”, and should be shunned. But I stick to them for the simple reason that they occasionally throw up some gems among the inane examination of introverts and people who choose to be single. For example, today Ray B. Williams outlines some studies that show emotion trumps 'rational logic' when it comes to stock markets:
The analysis suggests investors often make decisions based on emotions such as regret, disappointment, pride and contentment. All behaviors were consistent with what the researchers term “counterfactual thinking”—looking back at what could have been—and suggest that investors are motivated by a desire to avoid regret and instead feel pride.
Although, to be honest, I am not sure why we needed these studies to “prove” the irrationality of markets. If stock markets were based on rational thinking, more investors would be quoting the likes of Warren Buffett than loud pundits like Jim Cramer.
- Fiscal Policy in America has been paralysed for at least as long as the Republicans have held the House of Representatives, and we are again on the cusp of doom. If you have not being paying attention to the latest drama, John Cassidy at the New Yorker has a good guide to get you up to speed:
…Congress doesn’t pass budgets anymore: it’s too much trouble. Instead, the lawmakers keep the federal government going by passing bills that fund it for limited periods. The latest one is due to expire on September 30th. If it isn’t renewed, great swaths of the federal government, including the national parks and many Washington departments, will have to shut down until a new spending bill is agreed upon.
The second showdown will come a few weeks later, when the Treasury Department, which helps fund other branches of government by issuing tens of billions of dollars of new debt every month, reaches its current borrowing limit… If Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit before it is breached, the Treasury could be forced to default on some of its loans, which, depending on whom you believe, would cause turmoil in the markets or send the earth spinning off its axis.
- The Verge has an interesting story about a new spoon that has been designed for people with Parkinsons. Because of their tremors, many Parkinsons sufferers have to use uncomfortable braces while eating, or just struggle through without any assistance whatsoever. The spoon detects the”direction and force” of a tremor, and moves in the opposite direction to negate them as best as possible.
Lift labs, the company behind the product, infers its product is better than current eating aids like braces, which lock joints in place to force users' hands to be still. It says its product allows the patient's hand to shake, avoiding the discomfort sometimes caused by braces.
- A new study by the REA – the company behind the Australian Real Estate behemoth Realestate.com.au – has thrown up some interesting results. It turns out that Gen Y are more optimistic than other generations about their current and future finances, and that 72% of Gen Yer's are willing to consider co-buying a property.
- And John Perlin over at National Geographic has an incredible article on the multi-millennia history of solar energy:
houses have been designed since Neolithic times to scoop up sunlight in winter; that over the last three thousand years people have used solar concentrators to focus sunlight to light fires, during the Renaissance, to solder metal, and by the nineteenth century, to run steam engines; that since the end of the nineteenth century a solar water heater industry has developed and spread throughout the world; and that as far back as the 1870s, scientists and technologists have discovered and used certain solid state materials to convert sunlight directly into electricity…
That is all.