Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Water Cooler

Links you may have missed this week:

In Atlantic's Facebook, Google, and the Economics of Time, Derek Thomson shows that while Google is, indeed saving people gobs of time, much of that saved time gets squandered on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg wins. The end.

Women dominate nursing field, yet men make more (USA Today). Gender discrimination? Wait, really? Normally I'm open to that. In this case, it feels strained.

In This is Why You Shouldn’t Believe that Exciting New Medical Study, at, we learn (as we all knew) that almost all our favorite foods both cause and prevent cancer:
Studies that show cancer was caused (or prevented) by various things. Each red dot is a study.
Just don't eat. Just don't eat.

"I should have known that Pez would destroy me" is one of many priceless utterances in's How a Michigan Farmer Made $4 Million Smuggling Rare Pez Containers into the U.S., by Jeff Maysh, a searingly mordant investigation of how one man's over-the-top PEZ obsession led to riches—then rags.

Morgan Housel's 3000th post on, I’m Just Now Realizing How Stupid We Are, recaps 38 poignant lessons learned while covering Wall Street. Most involve humility.

After San Diego police deploy body cams: “Complaints have fallen 40.5% and use of 'personal body' force by officers has been reduced by 46.5% and use of pepper spray by 30.5%.” Via the LA Times.

Shale Gas: An Orgy of Overproduction (by Arthur Berman) cites plenty of recent stats to show that nat-gas frackers are in much worse financial shape, generally, than oil drillers yet continue to try to boost production in what's obviously a collapsing market, as if the answer to "we're losing money" is "we'll make it up on volume." According to Berman, 2014 negative cash flow for frackers reached $15.5 billion (more than double 2013's $7.2 billion). Expect to see many gas-weighted drillers (Berman names the names) go bust soon.

Meanwhile, EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook forecasts $52 WTI oil (average price) for 2015, while putting a 95% confidence interval for the market's expectations of monthly average WTI prices in June 2015 at $36/bbl to $80/bbl based on current volatility levels. Completely missing from the pre-Yemen EIA analysis is a recognition that by year's end, improving relations with Iran will almost certainly result in that country bringing 6 million barrels a day of additional oil onto the world market, representing a more than 6% increase in (world) production, with attendant fresh downward pressure on oil prices.

In The Coming China Crisis, Richard Vague explains why China is now sitting on top of the greatest accumulation of bad debt in history—greater, even, than the U.S. in 2008, or Japan in the 1990s. Any number of scenarios (some not quite as dire as others) might play out, but the ascendancy of the Chinese economy to Master of the Universe status is no longer a given. Read the article to learn how to decode what's going on in the People's Republic.

From the Jet Propulsion Laboratory comes word that NASA's Curiosity rover has found undeniable evidence of nitrates on Mars, not in tiny amounts but in parts-per-thousand amounts. On earth, nitrates are formed biologically from fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. On Mars, it's not known where all the nitrates came from. Scientists speculate that it formed through "meteorite impacts and lightning," which is only a bit more believable than saying it arose through aliens discarding cured meats everywhere. Some kind of nitrogen cycle apparently existed at one time on Mars. Probably when the planet was 20% covered by water.

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Have you checked out my free book Mental Health Myths Debunked? Tons of info, tons of live links, lots of straight talk about depression, meds, therapy, psychiatry, mental health trends, statistics, and more. And you know me, I call bullshit on bogus ideas (then give URLs to the actual data). You can download the book (ePub or PDF) at NoiseTrade. Do it now while it's free.

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Hey listen, the following list of people who retweeted me yesterday might not be 100% complete, but it's as good as I can do with my silly notifications-scraping hack. In any case, you should get busy following the folks shown below. They're fantastic Twitter networkers, and they retweet! (Click their pictures; the pics are live links.)

Have you added your name to our mailing list? What the heck are you waiting for, a personal invitation from @TheTweetOfGod

Also please visit when you have a chance, and share that link with someone you know who might be suffering from anxiety or depression.  


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