Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Water Cooler

If China Sneezes, Does the U.S. Catch a Cold? ( U.S. exports to China in 2013 reached $122.1 billion, a 10.4% increase over 2012. That's ancient history now. Also: America's No. 1 trading partner, Canada, is officially in recession after two successive quarters of economic contraction. If the Fed were to hike rates now, strengthening the dollar even more, it would be a disaster for U.S. exports. As it is, disaster will be hard to route around.

Ways in Which the U.S. Economy Never Recovered Since 2008 ( From the article:

Inactivity rate: U.S. males, aged 25-54, not in the workforce.

Wyoming Man Had Eyeballs Stored in His Anus ( Bovine, not human. But still: "Police made a routine traffic stop early Thursday morning and got more than they bargained for when Roy Tilbott, 51, stepped out of his El Camino for a field sobriety test and Casper Police noticed several eyeballs slide from his right pant leg onto the road." Greatest, opening, sentence, ever.

EM Drive engine.
NASA Evaluates EM Drive ( At a conference in Orlando this week, Dresden University professor Martin Tajmar provided up-to-date data showing that the EM Drive developed by British inventor Roger Shawyer produces "thrust close to the actual predictions, after eliminating many possible error sources." (See story here.) The engine converts electrical energy to thrust by a mechanism still not 100% agreed upon; but the point is, after many years of tests, it's starting to look like the thing actually works, and NASA is all over it. Efficiency is not high (~1 newton of thrust per kilowatt) but is expected to go much higher as the design is refined.

Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD (

The U.S. will soon spend $1 out of every $5 on health care ( and yet we rank 49th in life expectancy, and we're tied with Slovakia for infant mortality.

The fix for police brutality may be to hire more female officers (WaPo). Research shows "female officers are less authoritarian in their approach to policing, less reliant on physical force, and are more effective communicators. Most importantly, female officers are better at defusing potentially violent confrontations before those encounters turn deadly."

9 alarming quotes from Twitter's earnings call that have Wall Street spooked ( My favorite is: "Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use." Really? Twitter is too hard to use?

Behavioral Profiling: The password you can't change ( Important. Scary. Interesting. 

Researchers Hack Air Gapped Computer with Simple Cell Phone ( The target computer needs to be running malware first. But still. It's interesting that a non-internet-ready cell phone can be made to intercept data from a non-connected computer.

Ann Rule
We Don’t Need More Optimists: Unchecked Positive Thinking Is More Dangerous than It Sounds ( Optimism can be a form of denial, postponing honest confrontation of reality.

R.I.P. Ann Rule, best-selling true crime writer, author of 33 books (, aged 83. Rule became famous with The Stranger Beside Me, about working the late shift at a suicide hotline with notorious serial killer Ted Bundy.

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 (documented, with links to sources). And you know me, I call bullshit on bogus ideas (then give URLs to the actual data). The idea that antidepressants take weeks to do anything? Myth. Most people benefit from antidepressants? Myth. Antidepressants separate from placebo in clinical trials? Largely myth. (Half the trials show separation. Half don't.) Electroshock therapy is safe and effective? Bigtime myth. But don't take my word for it: Read the science for yourself. It's all laid out (with references) in the book. Download ePub or PDF now at NoiseTrade. Tell a friend.


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