April 10, 2014

12:03 AM | Conference board: US real GDP was 1.9% for 2013
Last year, I offered cash stakes ($10) for anyone who would take the over on a over/under bet for US real GDP for 2013. Well, the US Conference Board finally (today) put the magic "actual value" asterisk on Q4:That means that, likelier than not, real GDP for 2013 was up 1.9%, which means that I lost the cash bet to @Brandon_Vara. Brandon, e-mail me your address and I'll get you that ten-spot -- don't spend it all at once.It should be noted that See Arr Oh, @Lewis_Lab and @UnstableIsotope all […]

April 09, 2014

6:17 PM | We're right on schedule
3:37 PM | Want to see chemical entrepreneurs in action?
Click here for the ACS ERC 2014 Showcase East, live from Boston, Massachusetts! (livestreamed via YouTube)or, watch here: Here's the official program for the day. 
1:32 PM | The magic of commerce
A re-read of The Malay Archipelago reminded me of Alfred Russel Wallace’s occasional bleeding-heart libertarian leanings. From his time in remote Dobo in the Aru Islands of Eastern Indonesia: I daresay there are now near five hundred people in Dobbo of various races, all met in this remote corner of the East, as they express […] The post The magic of commerce appeared first on Evolving Economics.
11:37 AM | Let’s stop talking about HFT for a little while
It’s unusual that I find myself in the position of defending Wall Street activities, but here goes. I just don’t think HFT is that big of a deal relative to other Wall Street evils. I have written a couple of times about HFT and I’m not a huge fan, and I don’t buy the “liquidity is good […]

April 08, 2014

6:55 PM | Weird thought for the day
There's this trope that Big Pharma doesn't develop "cures" because it will ruin the market or there's not enough incentive to do so (i.e. if they can't sell lots of pills, the market won't be big enough. Here's a good example of that thinking.)So here's Gilead's Sovaldi, which is as close to "a cure" of Hepatitis C as we've seen in a while; it sure is expensive, running about $84,000 for an entire 12-week course. Isn't this proof positive that Big Pharma will work on cures, and if it finds one, […]
10:05 AM | An Interview And A Notebook
Interview on Junk Charts Yesterday I was featured on Kaiser Fung’s Junk Charts blog in an interview where he kindly refers to me as a “Numbersense Pro”. Previous to this week, my strongest connection with Kaiser Fung was through Andrew Gelman’s meta-review of my review and Kaiser’s review of Nate Silver’s book The Signal And The […]
12:07 AM | Mr. Buffett's chemists (not really)
I'm not a member of The Cult Of Warren Buffet, but I enjoy reading Berkshire Hathaway's annual report. It's eminently readable as far as annual reports go -- you can imagine Warren Buffett sitting there, happily typing away on his computer. My favorite quote from Buffett was from the 2010 letter, where he publishes his advice to his managers on potentially questionable business moves (emphasis mine):If you see anything whose propriety or legality causes you to hesitate, be sure to give me a […]

April 07, 2014

9:30 PM | This week's C&EN
A variety of tidbits from this week's C&EN:I had no idea there were drugs to treat hearing loss, but Lisa Jarvis sets me straight. Interesting news from Ann Thayer that GSK is looking at building plants in Africa.Slightly more women faculty members are being hired. (by Sophie Rovner)Also, an interesting letter to the editor: It is upsetting that C&EN would feature an image of a burned animal being probed by a spectroscopist as some kind of evidence for progress in health […]
1:23 PM | Ignore the sunk costs
Edge has a great set of short notes by various authors on how Daniel Kahneman has influenced them. It is worth flicking through them all, but excerpts from my two favourites are below. First, some excellent advice via Jason Zweig: Anyone who has ever collaborated with him tells a version of this story: You go […] The post Ignore the sunk costs appeared first on Evolving Economics.
11:13 AM | Defining poverty #OWS
I am always amazed by my Occupy group, and yesterday’s meeting is no exception. Yesterday we decided to look into redefining the poverty line, and although the conversation took a moving and deeply philosophical turn, I’ll probably only have time to talk about the nuts and bolts of formulas this morning. The poverty line, or […]

April 06, 2014

1:20 PM | A week of links
Again, closer to a month of links: A great set of essays triggered by David Dobbs’s assault on the selfish gene. Tim Harford on big data. His piece on behavioural economics is also worth reading. Take the hype with a grain of salt. The Greg Clark show continues – an interview on Social Science bites, […] The post A week of links appeared first on Evolving Economics.

April 05, 2014

11:17 AM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Aunt Pythia is psyched to be writing today after missing a couple of days of regular posts. Aunt Pythia loves you people and understands how much you rely on her ridiculous advice, so she really goes out of her way to get up on Saturdays, stretch out on the couch in her underwear and armed only with […]
8:53 AM | A fascinating little Open Access kerfluffle with ACS Publications
I found this short piece from C&EN's Sophie Rovner pretty interesting:Online Access To ACS Publications Is Restored After Some Customers Were Unintentionally Blocked On Wednesday, a blog published information about a security feature that the American Chemical Society uses to protect the stability of its website and prevent unlicensed wide-scale downloading of its content. Curious readers who then clicked on the link provided in the post ended up disabling their institutions’ […]

April 04, 2014

9:20 PM | Pretty funny (mildly NSFW)
I don't think a passionate kiss from me would have gotten me a job, but who knows? 
4:15 PM | New STEM motto voting ends at midnight Eastern
The results so far:"Salaries Terrible, Employment Mediocre": 9 votes"Surplus Trained: Employers' Market!": 6 votes"Shortage, The Eternal Mantra": 4 votes"Sorry The Employment's Missing": 3 votes"Sure To End Miserably": 2 votes"Sack Those Employees, Mate", "Solely Technology Employment Meaningful", "Statistics Twisted, Employees Mourn": no votes so far. Voting in the comments ends at midnight Eastern time tonight. 

April 03, 2014

3:25 PM | Daily Pump Trap: 4/3/14 edition
Good morning! Don't call it a comeback, but here are a few relevant or interesting positions among the many that are being posted on C&EN Jobs.Wilmington, MA: Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry is hiring junior and senior-level chemists; anyone out there know what it's like to work here?Baton Rouge, LA: I love this description in this Albemarle posting for a senior R&D chemist:The successful candidate will support our R&D activities directed toward the identification, […]

April 02, 2014

6:37 PM | Your morning troll: B.S. chemists need to be supervised, chemical engineers are teh awesome
Believe it or not, I have quite a few things to say, but I wanted to find time for this gem from a 2013 National Academies workshop on undergraduate chemistry education. (You can read it for free at the site, or you can download it, if you register.)There were lots of professors and representatives from industry at the conference. Here, John Kozarich (president of ActiveX Biosciences), Joel Shulman (professor at the University of Cincinnati), Shannon Bullard (HR director at DuPont), […]
11:05 AM | What Monsanto and college funds have in common
College I recently read this letter to the editor written by Catharine Hill, the President of Vassar College, explaining why reducing family contributions in college tuition and fees isn’t a good idea. It was in response to this Op-Ed by Steve Cohen about the onerous “E.F.C.” system. Let me dumb down the debate a bit for […]

April 01, 2014

3:15 PM | Le Chemjobber Sans Poisson d'Avril
I don't have anything for April Fool's, but I see there are a variety of interesting headlines:"Everything is catalytic", including gummy candy. That's very exciting news. Welcome to "It's the Rio Thing." (boo puns)Welcome to the Journal of Chemical-Free Chemistry.I'm glad someone has commented on my favorite scene in Good Will Hunting.Enjoy your day! 
2:13 PM | Job posting: B.S./M.S. medicinal chemist, Baltimore, MD
From the inbox, via the Lieber Institute for Brain Development: The Lieber Institute is currently seeking a BS or MS level medicinal chemist with 5+ years of experience in a pharmaceutical/biotechnology environment. The candidate should be well versed in modern synthetic methodologies, and capable of tackling difficult synthetic problems; a skilled experimentalist in the area of multi-step synthesis, purification, and characterization of organic compounds, and with a strong commitment to […]
11:29 AM | Navigating sexism does not mean accepting sexism
Not enough time for a full post this morning, but I’d like people to read a New York Times article ironically entitled Moving Past Gender Barriers to Negotiate a Raise (hat tip Laura Strausfeld). It has amazing and awful tidbits like the following: “It’s totally unfair because we don’t require the same thing of men. But if […]

March 31, 2014

3:41 PM | Not how you want organic chemists to be in the news
Some unfortunate stories: This story of a young organic chemist in the UK who committed suicide is sad; sympathies to her parents and friends. This story of a medicinal chemist whose Ph.D. has been revoked is quite interesting; don't know all the details yet. 
3:20 PM | Kansas City? Why not?
Also from this week's C&EN, stories of chemical entrepreneurship from Susan Ainsworth (emphasis mine):Just a few years ago, Patrick Kearney found himself in a place that is painfully familiar to many chemists. When his position as a senior director of medicinal chemistry at a San Francisco Bay Area biotechnology company was eliminated in 2011, he entered a challenging job market feeling as though his career had stalled. Eager to find another career path, Kearney made a decision to […]
3:13 PM | This week's C&EN
A selection of articles from this week's C&EN:From Alex Scott, an interesting set of complaints about doing business in France in the chemical industry and how high the costs are. Sinopec stealing Ineos' IP for acrylonitrile? Say it ain't so! (from Jean-François Tremblay)Interesting article by Glenn Hess on crude oil rail cars and the fight over federal safety standards. I always enjoy the new structure disclosures from ACS meetings. (by Carmen Drahl and Lisa […]
10:54 AM | Lobbyists have another reason to dominate public commenting #OWS
Before I begin this morning’s rant, I need to mention that, as I’ve taken on a new job recently and I’m still trying to write a book, I’m expecting to not be able to blog as regularly as I have been. It pains me to say it but my posts will become more intermittent until […]

March 30, 2014

3:42 PM | Hello, Toronto Star readers
If you came here from reading the article in the Toronto Star about Sheri Sangji, you may be interested in reading more about the case.Here are all of the posts that I have written on this tragic case. Here is the post with the comment about the "wrist slap".The most comprehensive article about the case is Jyllian Kemsley's "Learning from UCLA", with links to all the primary documents.  

March 29, 2014

1:11 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Aunt Pythia is so very pleased to bring you more of her pearls of wisdom this nearly-believably-spring morning. In celebration of above-freezing temperature, she’s extra cheerful and she welcomes the clouds and drizzle. After all, late March showers bring late April flowers, or something like that! Let there be blooming and cleansing! And please, after […]

March 28, 2014

6:46 PM | Interfacing GAMS and R
GAMS is perhaps THE programming language for developing and running optimization models. R is an excellent and efficient tool for analysing data, including producing attractive graphs. A tool for combining the two is provided with GDXRRW. GDXRRW acts as an interface between GAMS and R and offers facilities for the transfer of data between GDX […]
2:51 PM | The STEM contest: vote now!
Finally, it returns. Last month, I asked you all to come up with new words for the ridiculous acronym STEM, considering that, in my opinion, it confuses the issue and engenders bad thinking. Lots of you entered, and I promised that the winner would get "a certificate, a handwritten thank you note, a box of the finest Chemjobber business cards and a bag of hard candies". Well, it's time to vote. Here are the nominees that I chose:The Iron Chemist: "Salaries Terrible, Employment […]
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