Thursday, July 31, 2008

Infant Mortality & Cuba

I have a friend that loves to tell me that Cuba has no infant mortality. Now we all know there is no such thing as zero infant mortality but what are the reported numbers for Cuba? Is the US health care system really worse than Cuba's? Here are the numbers as :

Cuba - 16 6.0 per 1,000
USA - 7.2 per 1,000

[note: This needs a citation.]

As you can see Cuba is doing better. Or are they? As per usual the devil is in the details. Have a look.

Overpopulation.Com » Blog Archive » Cuba vs. the United States on Infant Mortality
Recently released statistics on the infant mortality rate in the Western hemisphere yielded an odd conclusions — Cuba’s infant mortality rate, 16 6.0 per 1,000, is now lower than the U.S. infant mortality rate, at 7.2 per 1,000. Given Cuba’s poverty level, its 6.0 rate is very impressive, but is it accurate to say that Cuba now has an infant mortality rate lower than the United States? No.


Why? Because the United States also easily has the most intensive system of

emergency intervention to keep low birth weight and premature infants alive

in the world. The United States is, for example, one of only a handful
countries that keeps detailed statistics on early fetal mortality — the
survival rate of infants who are born as early as the 20th week of

How does this skew the statistics? Because in the United States if an
infant is born weighing only 400 grams and not breathing, a doctor will
likely spend lot of time and money trying to revive that infant. If the
infant does not survive — and the mortality rate for such infants is in
excess of 50 percent — that sequence of events will be recorded as a
live birth and then a death

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Love Me Some Hate Mongers

I can't get enough of this non-sense.

Although I'm a non practicing and non believing Jew, as long as there are people that think like this, I'll proudly defend Judaism.

Bring it, morons.

Happy? Where Do You Live?

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Market Parasites

Megan McArdle (July 30, 2008) - The death of Doha
What to say about the most recent collapse of the Doha Round? I feel like I've just gotten out of one of those relationships where you both knew it was over a year before it finally ended--practically relieved, really. It's been obvious to me since early 2007 that Doha wasn't going anywhere, and going through the motions had become a painful parody. The forward motion on trade has ground to a halt, because most trade in goods and services has been liberalised in the Western world. The remaining issues are either sacred cows, like agriculture, or require much deeper integration of sensitive areas like finance and law. Moreover, we're now at the point where poor nations can no longer simply free ride on rich country liberalization; to get further benefits from trade, they need to prise open their own markets, and few places have a political system capable of attacking those entrenched interests.

That's right folks. Uncle Juan is gonna have to sober up, get off the couch and get a job. He'll be better for it and his children will thank him.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

D4-7 Allele - The Expat Gene

I've always been a novelty seeker, so the following really caught my attention.

Sample Chapter for Lal, D.: Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century.
A recent book, American Mania, by a colleague, Peter Whybrow, director of UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, summarizes this evidence. He begins by noting that human migration is one major form of risky and novelty-seeking behavior. Only a few of our species left their ancestral home in the African savannahs and began that long walk to the ends of the earth which allowed homo sapiens to colonize the world. Who were these earliest migrants? It turns out they had a particular genetic profile. They had a higher percentage of an exploratory and novelty-seeking gene than those remaining behind. As novelty seeking and risk taking “are . . . behaviors essential to exploration and migration. . . this should be reflected in a distribution pattern of the relevant allele [the D4-7 allele gene] that is similar to the ancient migratory paths of our species.”2 How do we know this? The geneticist Luigi Luca Cavali-Sforza of Stanford University and his colleagues have provided a genetic mapping of the geographical dispersal of homo sapiens from their original home in Africa.3 Subsequently, Dr. Chauseng Chen of the University of California, Irvine,4 found that a coherent pattern emerges from this mapping “where those who stayed close to their original homeland have a higher percentage of the common D4-4 allele in the population and a lower prevalence of the exploratory and novelty-seeking D4-7 allele.”5

I wonder if this would explain why I seem to live in google reader.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Five Things I'll Likely Never Do (Again) - Age 37

1] Take on Bad Debt

Obvious, right? I may take on a loan for the purchase of property or some other fruitful endeavor but credit card or car loans (bad debt) are things of the past. I'd rather go without.

If most of our earnings are spent on an empty game of status, we should not expect much improvement in quality of life.
Hat tip to Robert Frank.

2] Not Own a Home

Outright ownership of my home (aka the bunker) has been the greatest financial achievement in my life. Talk about options!

3] Work for a boss I don't respect.

Thanks to #1 and #2, I'll never make this mistake again.

Rule 8: If you don’t respect your boss, resign before you are fired.

Sometimes you can suddenly find yourself working for someone you
despise. Listening to this walking calamity will make your face express incredulity or sniggerly turn toward those who share your outrage. If not your boss, one of his or her henchmen will notice your disloyalty. All too soon, your job becomes hell with the odds overwhelmingly favoring your being forced out as opposed to your orchestrating your enemy’s removal by a still higher-up official. Cut your losses by quitting before you are axed.

Hat tip to James Watson.

4] Breed.

Many folks reading this will feel a little uneasy at the thought of not having children but if you don't already have them, read this.

5] Let my Ego Start a Business
I was young, what can I say? What are Residual claims? Sure I know what Profit is... sorta.

Strict economists point out that much of what is conventionally called "profit," especially in a small, owner-operated business, is nothing more than wages received in a variable form. Even a successful owner-operated business-- and the bankruptcy rate is high-- often pays no more under the name of "profit" than the proprietor would have earned for the same amount of work for someone else who paid him under the name of "wages."

Hat tip to Thomas Sowell.

What 5 things will you never do again?