randomized controlled trial

160 results back to index


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Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Changed Our World by Andrew Leigh

Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Atul Gawande, basic income, Black Swan, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Indoor air pollution, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Netflix Prize, nudge unit, offshore financial centre, p-value, placebo effect, price mechanism, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, Steven Pinker, uber lyft, universal basic income, War on Poverty

Comparing conventional and computer-assisted total knee arthroplasty’, The Journal of Arthroplasty, vol. 24, no. 4, 2009, pp. 560–9; Nathaniel F.R. Huang, Michelle M. Dowsey, Eric Ee, et al., ‘Coronal alignment correlates with outcome after total knee arthroplasty: Five-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial’, The Journal of Arthroplasty, vol. 27, no. 9, 2012, pp. 1737–41. 2Sina Babazadeh, Michelle M. Dowsey, James D. Stoney & Peter F.M. Choong, ‘Gap balancing sacrifices joint-line maintenance to improve gap symmetry: A randomized controlled trial comparing gap balancing and measured resection’, The Journal of Arthroplasty, vol. 29, no. 5, 2014, pp. 950–4; Michael J. Barrington, David J. Olive, Craig A. McCutcheon, et al., ‘Stimulating catheters for continuous femoral nerve blockade after total knee arthroplasty: A randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial’, Anesthesia and Analgesia, vol. 106, no. 4, 2008, pp. 1316–21. 3J.

Harris, ‘Compression socks and functional recovery following marathon running: A randomized controlled trial’, The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, vol. 29, no. 2, 2015, pp. 528–33. 57Jenna B. Gillen, Brian J. Martin, Martin J. MacInnis, et al., ‘Twelve weeks of sprint interval training improves indices of cardiometabolic Health similar to traditional endurance training despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment’, PloS ONE, vol. 11, no. 4, 2016, e0154075. 58Jeremy S. Furyk, Carl J. O’Kane, Peter J. Aitken, et al., ‘Fast versus slow bandaid removal: A randomised trial’, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 191, 2009, pp. 682–3. 59T. Bakuradze, R. Lang, T. Hofmann, et al., ‘Consumption of a dark roast coffee decreases the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks: a randomized controlled trial’, European Journal of Nutrition, vol. 54, no. 1, 2015, pp. 149–56. 60Ateev Mehrotra & Allan Prochazka, ‘Improving value in health care—Against the annual physical’, New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 373, no. 16, 2015, pp. 1485–7. 61Specifically, the study found that twenty-eight randomised trials funded between 1977 and 1999 were responsible for an additional 470,000 quality-adjusted life years over a ten-year period: S.C.

A meta-analytic review of home visiting programs for families with young children’, Child Development, vol. 75, no. 5, 2004, pp. 1435–56. 19Megan H. Bair-Merritt, Jacky M. Jennings, Rusan Chen, et al., ‘Reducing maternal intimate partner violence after the birth of a child: A randomized controlled trial of the Hawaii Healthy Start Home Visitation Program’, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, vol. 164, no. 1, 2010, pp. 16–23; Jamila Mejdoubi, Silvia CCM van den Heijkant, Frank J.M. van Leerdam, et al., ‘Effect of nurse home visits vs. usual care on reducing intimate partner violence in young high-risk pregnant women: a randomized controlled trial,’ PloS one, vol. 8, no. 10, 2013, e78185. I am grateful to Cathryn Stephens for bringing this research to my attention. 20See the comparison of randomised and quasi-experimental results on page 1441 of Monica A.


The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect by Judea Pearl, Dana Mackenzie

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, Bayesian statistics, computer age, computer vision, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edmond Halley, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Snow's cholera map, Loebner Prize, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, personalized medicine, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Turing test

This too stands contrary to the message of this chapter: if you have identified a sufficient set of deconfounders in your diagram, gathered data on them, and properly adjusted for them, then you have every right to say that you have computed the causal effect X Y (provided, of course, that you can defend your causal diagram on scientific grounds). The textbook approach of statisticians to confounding is quite different and rests on an idea most effectively advocated by R. A. Fisher: the randomized controlled trial (RCT). Fisher was exactly right, but not for exactly the right reasons. The randomized controlled trial is indeed a wonderful invention—but until recently the generations of statisticians who followed Fisher could not prove that what they got from the RCT was indeed what they sought to obtain. They did not have a language to write down what they were looking for—namely, the causal effect of X on Y. One of my goals in this chapter is to explain, from the point of view of causal diagrams, precisely why RCTs allow us to estimate the causal effect X Y without falling prey to confounder bias.

Some people may get it because of a hereditary disposition, others because of exposure to carcinogens, and some for both reasons. Of course, statisticians already knew of one excellent way to establish causation in a more general sense: the randomized controlled trial (RCT). But such a study would be neither feasible nor ethical in the case of smoking. How could you assign people chosen at random to smoke for decades, possibly ruining their health, just to see if they would get lung cancer after thirty years? It’s impossible to imagine anyone outside North Korea “volunteering” for such a study. Without a randomized controlled trial, there was no way to convince skeptics like Yerushalmy and R. A. Fisher, who were committed to the idea that the observed association between smoking and lung cancer was spurious. To them, some lurking third factor could be producing the observed association.

The job of science is to put supposition aside and look at the facts. In 1948, Doll and Austin Bradford Hill teamed up to see if they could learn anything about the causes of the cancer epidemic. Hill had been the chief statistician on a highly successful randomized controlled trial, published earlier that year, which had proved that streptomycin—one of the first antibiotics—was effective against tuberculosis. The study, a landmark in medical history, not only introduced doctors to “wonder drugs” but also cemented the reputation of randomized controlled trials, which soon became the standard for clinical research in epidemiology. Of course Hill knew that an RCT was impossible in this case, but he had learned the advantages of comparing a treatment group to a control group. So he proposed to compare patients who had already been diagnosed with cancer to a control group of healthy volunteers.


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Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference by William MacAskill

barriers to entry, basic income, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, effective altruism, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, experimental subject, follow your passion, food miles, immigration reform, income inequality, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, job automation, job satisfaction, Lean Startup, M-Pesa, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Nate Silver, Peter Singer: altruism, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, randomized controlled trial, self-driving car, Skype, Stanislav Petrov, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, universal basic income, women in the workforce

Kremer urged Lipeyah to test his program using what’s called a randomized controlled trial: he would monitor and collect data for fourteen local schools, implementing the program in seven of them, while letting the other seven go about business as usual. By collecting data from all fourteen schools to see which fared better, he could find out if his program actually worked. In hindsight, Kremer’s idea seems obvious. Randomized controlled trials are the gold-standard method of testing ideas in other sciences, and for decades pharmaceutical companies have used them to test new drugs. In fact, because it’s so important not to sell people ineffective or harmful drugs, it’s illegal to market a drug that hasn’t gone through extensive randomized controlled trials. But before Kremer suggested it, the idea had never been applied to the development world.

Robustness of evidence? Very robust. There have been multiple randomized controlled trials and two meta-analyses supporting the efficacy of bed nets. Implementation? Extremely good. AMF has been extremely transparent and open in communication. Room for more funding? Very large. AMF could productively use $20 million in 2015. Living Goods What do they do? Run a network of community health promoters in Uganda who go door-to-door selling affordable health products such as treatments for malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia; soap; menstrual pads; contraception; solar lanterns; and high-efficiency cookstoves, and providing health-care advice. Estimated cost-effectiveness? Very cost-effective. According to the estimates from the randomized controlled trial they’re running on their project, $3,000 spent on their program would save a life and provide a number of other benefits; GiveWell estimates their cost per life saved at $11,000.

Knowing that, it’s even better if the charity has done its own independently audited or peer-reviewed randomized controlled evaluations of its programs. Robustness of evidence is very important for the simple reason that many programs don’t work, and it’s hard to distinguish the programs that don’t work from the programs that do. If we’d assessed Scared Straight by looking just at before-and-after delinquency rates for individuals who went through the program, we would have concluded it was a great program. Only after looking at randomized controlled trials could we tell that correlation did not indicate causation in this case and that Scared Straight programs were actually doing more harm than good. One of the most damning examples of low-quality evidence concerns microcredit (that is, lending small amounts of money to the very poor, a form of microfinance most famously associated with Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank). Intuitively, microcredit seems like it would be very cost-effective, and there were many anecdotes of people who’d received microloans and used them to start businesses that, in turn, helped them escape poverty.


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Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine by John Abramson

germ theory of disease, Louis Pasteur, medical malpractice, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, p-value, placebo effect, profit maximization, profit motive, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

In 1990, Wyeth-Ayerst had requested that the FDA approve Premarin for the prevention of heart disease in postmenopausal women, notwithstanding the lack of evidence from randomized controlled trials documenting such a benefit. Cynthia Pearson, of the nonprofit, independent National Women’s Health Network, pointed out in an FDA hearing that the evidence supporting this claim was weak: “You couldn’t approve a drug for healthy men without a randomized clinical trial. Even aspirin [to prevent heart disease] had to have a randomized controlled trial with healthy men.” Ms. Pearson’s argument—that the standard for the gander ought to apply to the goose—prevailed. The FDA ruled that a randomized controlled trial was necessary to justify the claim that HRT decreased a woman’s risk of heart disease. Wyeth-Ayerst agreed to perform the requisite study, confident that the results would come out in their favor.

Perhaps the strongest evidence supporting routine HRT was presented in a 1997 article published in NEJM showing that “mortality among women who use postmenopausal hormones is lower than among nonusers,” again overriding continuing concerns about the link to breast cancer. HOW DID SO MANY PEOPLE GET IT SO WRONG? It helps to take a step back and look at the methods used in medical research. The two most common types of medical studies are randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies. A simple example demonstrates how these types of studies differ and illustrates the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each. Imagine that researchers want to study the impact that running a 10-kilometer road race has on women’s health over a one-year period. The simplest way to do this would be to set up an observational study. Researchers would wait at the finish line of a local 10K race and ask women if they would be willing to participate in the study.

But perhaps when the researchers designed the questionnaire, they weren’t smart enough to include a question that identified this belief, which could be the real reason why the runners were healthier one year after the race. Without being aware of this difference between the groups, the researchers might incorrectly attribute the runners’ better health to their having participated in the race. The other way to do this study is a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of medical research. This study design provides a much more precise way to identify the factors that contribute to a particular outcome. Continuing with the example of the 10K race, researchers would find 200 women who agreed to participate in a study about the health effects of running such a race. The women would then be randomly assigned to the treatment group (to run in the race) or the control group (not to run in the race).


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Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler

"Robert Solow", 3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, impulse control, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, late fees, law of one price, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market clearing, Mason jar, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, More Guns, Less Crime, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, New Journalism, nudge unit, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, presumed consent, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

Moreover, much of what economists do is to collect and analyze data about how markets work, work that is largely done with great care and statistical expertise, and importantly, most of this research does not depend on the assumption that people optimize. Two research tools that have emerged over the past twenty-five years have greatly expanded economists’ repertoire for learning about the world. The first is the use of randomized control trial experiments, long used in other scientific fields such as medicine. The typical study investigates what happens when some people receive some “treatment” of interest. The second approach is to use either naturally occurring experiments (such as when some people are enrolled in a program and others are not) or clever econometrics techniques that manage to detect the impact of treatments even though no one deliberately designed the situation for that purpose.

One way to unfreeze people is to remove barriers that are preventing them from changing, however subtle those barriers might be. 2. We can’t do evidence-based policy without evidence. Although much of the publicity about the BIT has rightly stressed its use of behavioral insights to design changes in how government operates, an equally important innovation was the insistence that all interventions be tested using, wherever possible, the gold-standard methodology of randomized control trials (RCTs)—the method often used in medical research. In an RCT, people are assigned at random to receive different treatments (such as the wording of the letters in the tax study), including a control group that receives no treatment (in this case, the original wording). Although this approach is ideal, it is not always feasible.¶ Sometimes researchers have to make compromises in order to be able to run any sort of trial.

I have two reasons. First, I have never come across a better example of the Lewin principle of removing barriers. In this case, the removal is quite literal. Whether or not this specific implementation will ever be adopted on a large scale, remembering this example may provide someone with an inspiration for a powerful nudge in another situation. Second, the example illustrates potential pitfalls of randomized controlled trials in field settings. Such experiments are expensive, and lots of stuff can go wrong. When a lab experiment gets fouled up, which happens all too often in labs run by Humans, a relatively small amount of money paid to subjects has been lost, but the experimenter can usually try again. Furthermore, smart experimenters run a cheap pilot first to detect any bugs in the setup. All of this is hard in large-scale field experiments, and to make matters worse, it is often not possible for the experimenters to be present, on site, at every step along the way.


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Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes--But Some Do by Matthew Syed

Airbus A320, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, British Empire, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, crew resource management, deliberate practice, double helix, epigenetics, fear of failure, fundamental attribution error, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, Isaac Newton, iterative process, James Dyson, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, mandatory minimum, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, publication bias, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, Shai Danziger, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, Yom Kippur War

., 201 Krumboltz, John, 140, 141 Kuhn, Thomas, 42n Lamarckism, 108, 109, 111n Lancaster, Captain James, 56 Lane, David, 145, 146 language, 17, 28–29, 88–89 Lanir, Zvi, 221 lean start-ups, 141–45 Leape, Lucian, 9 Leibniz, Gottfried, 201 Leversha, Brian, 240, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247–48 Leversha, Carol, 242, 243 Lexington Airport (Kentucky), 26 liberalism, 285 Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114, 217–19, 221–25 Lind, James, 14n linear model, of technological change, 131–33 line-ups, 115–16 litigation, 16, 32 Little Bets (Sims), 139 Lorentz, Hendrik, 202 Lowe, Paddy, 179–80, 183, 184 Luffingham, Tim, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 246 Lysenko, Trofim, 108–9, 110 Maclaren, Owen, 195 Magee, Brian, 277, 278, 288 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, 9 Malpass, David, 96 Manzi, Jim, 186, 187 Maoism, 110 Mao Zedong, 110 marginal gains, 178–91 corporate world examples of, 184–86 cycling and, 173, 178, 179 defined, 179 limitations of, 189–90 Mercedes Formula One racing team and, 179–84 randomized control trials (RCTs) and, 175, 176–77 speed-eating and, 188 Marshall, Larry, 82 Martin, Andrew, 81 Martin, Dorothy. See Keech, Marian Marxism, 108, 110 masking tape, 195 mathematics/mathematicians, 125–26, 271–72 World War II, role in, 35–37 Mayer, Marissa, 185 McAlesher, Robert J., 163 McBroom, Malburn, 21, 22, 23–25, 27, 28, 29, 40 McClinton, Mary, 49–50 McGrath, Michael, 78–79 McRaney, David, 35 Mechnikov, Ilya, 109 media, and blame, 234–35 Baby P case and, 236–38 Medical Errors and Medical Narcissim (Banja), 88 medicine, 32. See also health care history of, 13–14 randomized control trials (RCTs) and, 157–58 Meese, Edwin, 68 memory, 113–14, 117 Mendel, Gregor, 108 Mendenhall, Forrest, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29 Menezes, Jean Charles de, 114 Menger, Karl, 34 Mercedes, 179–84 “A Method of Estimating Plane Vulnerability Based on Damage of Survivors” (Wald), 37 Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, 54–55 Mika, Michele, 165 Mill, John Stuart, 285 Mills, Judson, 75 mindset, 257–61, 264–65, 270–72, 273, 276, 279, 287–88 minimum viable product (MVP), 141–42, 286 miscarriages of justice.

., 84–85 surgery, 3–6, 15–16, 18 Swinmurn, Nick, 143 Syria, 92 systematic review, 164–65 system safety, 17, 18, 45 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, 44–45, 133, 135 Tavris, Carol, 75, 93 Taylor, John, 95, 96 TD-Gammon, 134–35 Team Sky, 171–73, 179 technology/technological change, 19, 39, 131–35 bottom-up testing and learning and, 132–34 linear model of, 131–33 theory and, 133–34 Tellis, Gerard J., 205 temporal difference learning, 134–35 testing, 128–49 AIDS/HIV, strategies to combat, 147–49 lean start-ups and, 141–45 narrative fallacy as obstacle to, 135–38, 147–49 perfectionism, dangers of, 140–41 randomized control trials (RCTs) (See randomized control trials (RCTs)) of Scared Straight program efficacy, 160–65 software design and, 138–40 technological change and, 131–35 Tetlock, Philip, 99 theory, 133–34, 212 theory of relativity, 42, 133, 192, 195, 202 thermodynamics, laws of, 132 Think Like a Freak (Kobayashi), 187–88 Thomas, Dorothy, 201 Thompson, W. Leigh, 268 Thomson, Donald, 115 3M, 144 Time, 39, 53 time, perception of, 28–29, 30, 59 Tour de France, 171–73 Toyota Production System (TPS), 48–49, 51, 290 Toy Story (film), 207 Toy Story 2 (film), 207, 208–9 training, 30–31, 47–48 trial by jury, 118, 119 Tyson, Neil deGrasse, 111–12, 113, 114, 117 Uncontrolled (Manzi), 187 Unilever, 125–26, 128, 137, 147 unindicted co-ejaculator theory, 81 United Airlines, 21–25 United Airlines 173, 20, 27–31, 39, 40, 84 United Kingdom criminal justice system reforms and, 117 health care and, 10, 18, 54–55 math proficiency in, 271 United States of America DNA testing and, 84 economics and, 94–97, 98 entrepreneurship culture and, 270–71 health care and, 9–10, 17, 32, 49–54, 55–56, 106 math proficiency in, 271 US Airways Flight 1549, 38, 39–40 U.S.

But first we will ask: How is this possible? How can something be a failure when the statistics seem to show that it is a success? How can it be failing when virtually every expert is lining up to endorse it? To answer that question we will examine one of the most important scientific innovations of the last two hundred years, and one that takes us to the heart of the closed-loop phenomenon—and how to overcome it. The randomized control trial. II Closed loops are often perpetuated by people covering up mistakes. They are also kept in place when people spin their mistakes, rather than confronting them head on. But there is a third way that closed loops are sustained over time: through skewed interpretation. That was the problem that bedeviled bloodletting, practiced by medieval doctors. The doctors had what seemed like clear feedback on what worked and what didn’t.


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The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40 by Jonathon Sullivan, Andy Baker

complexity theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, indoor plumbing, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, phenotype, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the scientific method, Y Combinator

Int J Psych Med 2011; 41(1):15-28. Carpinelli RN, Otto RN. Strength training. Sports Med 1998;26(2):73-84. Carter JG, Potter AW, Brooks KA. Overtraining syndrome: causes, consequences and methods for prevention. J Sport Human Perf 2014;2(1). Castaneda C, Layne JE, Munoz-Orians L, et al. A randomized-controlled trial of resistance exercise training to improve glycemic control in older adults with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2002;25:2335-2341. Castaneda C, Layne JE, Munoz-Orians L, et al. A randomized controlled trial of resistance exercise training to improve glycemic control in older adults with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2002;25(12):2335-41. Chang EY, Moses DA, Babb JS, Schweitzer ME. Shoulder impingement: objective 3D shape analysis of acromial morphologic features. Radiology 2006; 239:497-505.

Neurobiol Aging 2005; 26(1):31-35. Cooney GM, Dwan K, Greig CA, et al. Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013; doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004366.pub6 Cornelissen VA, Fagard RH, Coeckelberghs E, Vanhees L. Impact of resistance training on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Hypertension 2011;58:950-958. Cornellisen VA, Fagard RH. Effect of resistance training on resting blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Hypertension 2005;23(2):251-259. Cotman CW, Berchtold NC, Christie LA. Exercise builds brain health: key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation. Trends Neurosci 2007;30(9):464-472. Cotman CW, Berchtold NC. Exercise: a behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity. Trends Neurosci 2002;25(6):295-301.

This abnormal form of hemoglobin can still carry oxygen, but its accumulation in the blood is a marker for the metabolic syndrome, the onset of Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. I suspect HbA1c may also exert direct pathological effects, although this is not known for certain. An important systematic analysis of the data on progressive resistance exercise (that is, actual training) by Irvine and Taylor,22 encompassing 9 randomized controlled trials and 372 experimental subjects, found that strength training led to reductions in HbA1c in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Data on the beneficial effect of resistance training on insulin sensitivity and metabolic syndrome goes back decades,23 although its implications have been slow to percolate up into the consciousness of the public, or even the modern medical mind. Multiple studies demonstrate that muscular strength is inversely associated with the incidence of the metabolic syndrome.24 In other words, the stronger you are, the less likely you are to display the hellish constellation of visceral obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and systemic inflammation that points the way to the Sick Aging Phenotype.


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The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Dr. Elissa Epel

Albert Einstein, epigenetics, impulse control, income inequality, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, survivorship bias, The Spirit Level, twin studies

Yoga improves quality of life and mood for people across different types of illnesses,9 reduces blood pressure, and possibly inflammation and lipids.10 Yoga has recently been shown to increase spine bone density if practiced long term.11 QIGONG Qigong is a series of flowing movements; with its emphasis on posture, breathing, and intention, it is a kind of moving meditation. Qigong is part of the wellness program of ancient Chinese medicine, a practice that has been developed and refined for more than five thousand years. Much like Kriya Yoga, Qigong induces a state of concentration and relaxation by integrating the body and mind. It is supported by thousands of years of practice but also the best kind of scientific evidence—randomized, controlled trials. For example, Qigong reduces depression12 and may improve diabetes.13 In a trial of Qigong on cell aging, researchers examined people with chronic fatigue syndrome. They found that people who practiced Qigong for four months had significantly greater increases in telomerase, and reductions in fatigue, than people who were assigned to a wait list.14 A teacher showed the volunteers how to do Qigong for the first month, and then they practiced on their own at home, thirty minutes a day.

His program integrates stress-management techniques with other lifestyle changes. He wanted to see how this program might affect cell aging, so he studied this in men with low-risk prostate cancer. The men ate a diet high in plants and low in fat; they walked for half an hour, six days a week; they attended weekly support group sessions. They also practiced stress management on their own, with gentle yoga stretches, breathing, and meditation. In a prior randomized, controlled trial, this program was shown to slow or stop the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. At the end of the three months, the men’s telomerase had also increased. Further, those who had greater reductions in their distressing thoughts about prostate cancer had the larger increases in telomerase, suggesting that stress reduction contributed to the improvements seen.15 He followed a subgroup of these men for five years, and the ones who adhered to the program had significantly lengthened telomeres by 10 percent.

., “Loving-Kindness Meditation Practice Associated with Longer Telomeres in Women,” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 32 (August 2013): 159–63, doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.04.005. 39. Smeets, E., K. Neff, H. Alberts, and M. Peters, “Meeting Suffering with Kindness: Effects of a Brief Self-Compassion Intervention for Female College Students,” Journal of Clinical Psychology 70, no. 9 (September 2014): 794–807, doi:10.1002/jclp.22076; and Neff, K. D., and C. K. Germer, “A Pilot Study and Randomized Controlled Trial of the Mindful Self-Compassion Program,” Journal Of Clinical Psychology 69, no. 1 (January 2013): 28–44, doi:10.1002/jclp.21923. 40. This exercise is adapted from Dr. Neff’s website: http://self-compassion.org/exercise-2-self-compassion-break/. For more information on developing self-compassion, see K. Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself (New York: HarperCollins, 2011). 41.


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A Pelican Introduction: Basic Income by Guy Standing

bank run, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, intangible asset, job automation, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, labour market flexibility, land value tax, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, open economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, universal basic income, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working poor, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Cash transfer schemes that at present are overwhelmingly targeted at ‘the poor’ have the potential to prepare the way for basic income.2 But four factors have so far impeded the transition – a belief in ‘targeting’ (only the poor should receive the cash), ‘selectivity’ (some groups should have priority), ‘conditionality’ (recipients should be required to undertake certain actions or behave in certain ways), and ‘randomization’ (policy should only be introduced when it has been tested, or evaluated, by randomized control trials, and thus be ‘evidence-based’). This chapter briefly surveys findings from cash transfer schemes of most relevance for basic income and then considers the outcomes of genuine basic income pilots. But the fourth factor needs to be dealt with first, since a fetish with a particular method of evaluation risks distracting attention from what is most important and delaying progress in policy implementation. In randomized control trials (RCTs) of cash transfers, some people are given cash, others are not, and the results for the two groups are compared over time. This methodology is derived from medical trials, where some patients are given a treatment, some are not given a treatment and some are given a placebo.

Everyone in the village, including children but excluding over-sixties already receiving a social pension, was given a very small basic income of N$100 a month (worth US$12 at the time or about a third of the poverty line), and the outcomes compared with the previous situation. The results included better nutrition, particularly among children, improved health and greater use of the local primary healthcare centre, higher school attendance, increased economic activity and enhanced women’s status.41 The methodology would not have satisfied those favouring randomized control trials that were coming into vogue at the time. No control village was chosen to allow for the effects of external factors, in the country or economy, because those directing the pilot felt it was immoral to impose demands, in the form of lengthy surveys, on people who were being denied the benefit of the basic income grants. However, there were no reported changes in policy or outside interventions during the period covered by the pilot, and confidence in the results is justified both by the observed behaviour, and by recipients’ opinions in successive surveys.

There was also a substantial fall in petty economic crime such as stealing vegetables and killing small livestock for food. This encouraged villagers to plant more vegetables, buy more fertilizer and rear more livestock. These dynamic community-wide economic effects are usually overlooked in conventional evaluations, and would not be spotted if cash was given only to a random selection of individuals or households and evaluated as a randomized control trial. Another outcome, unplanned and unanticipated, was that villagers voluntarily set up a Basic Income Advisory Committee, led by the local primary school teacher and the village nurse, to advise people on how to spend or save their basic income money. The universal basic income thus induced collective action, and there was no doubt that this community activism increased the effectiveness of the basic incomes.


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Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, liberation theology, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

See also Health Downer, Ann, 136–138, 207 Dowries, 19–20, 175 Driver, Julia, 274(n4), 275(n5) Dudamel, Gustavo, 194 Duflo, Esther, 77–78, 82, 236–237(n14), 240–241(n14), 240(n8), 271(n9) The Dumbest Generation (Bauerlein), 10 Duncan, Arne, 10, 12–13, 117 Dutch disease, 158, 259(n9) Dweck, Caro, 250(n12) Dybul, Mark, 136–137 Dziko, Trish Millines, 114–115, 162 Easterly, William, 213, 236(n1) Ebola, 254(n25) Echeverría Álvarez, Luis, 193 Economics behavioral economics, 143–145, 258(n2) critique of, 95, 155–156, 169, 263(n41) development, x, 170, 174–188, 189, 196, 245(n61), 255(n40), 268(n20) education, 142–145, European Enlightenment, 96–98 happiness, 88 health care, 42–44, 137–138 India’s high-tech economy, 182–185 studies of education, 8, 12, 31, 77–82 studies of microcredit, 59–61 mainstream economics, 82 measurement, 91–92 mobile phones and development, x technological determinism of, 20 See also Business and entrepreneurship; Incentives; Inequality; Randomized controlled trials; Social enterprise, Tech Commandments Education and training adult education, 122–125 classroom management, 115–116, 118–119 computer literacy, 9, 17–20, 105, 122–125 computer programming, 114–115, 120–121, 125–127, 248(n25) democracy, 255–256(n40) early childhood, 77–80, 240(n10), 263(n43) girls’ education, 142–146, 263(n43) Indian Institute of Technology, 183–185 India’s Backward Class, 139–142 intrinsic growth effects, 143–146 lack of technical support for faculty and staff, 5–7 microcredit beneficiaries, 67–68, 71–72 nonformal education, 77–80, 240(n10) parental status and achievement, 250–251(n13) poverty alleviation, 67–68 questioning the value of, 255(n40) randomized controlled trials, 8, 12, 31, 77–82 recommended use of technology, 114–121 reform movement, 275(n5) return on investment, 142–149, 263(n43) rote learning, sustainability, 146–149 teaching to the test, 94–95 technology policy, 116–118 technology strategy for schools, 119–121, 248(n25) upgrading technology or skills, 122–125 variety of experience, 257(n46) See also Ashesi University; Capacity building; Gamification; Mentorship; Shanti Bhavan school; Technology Access Foundation Egg-drop contest, 211 Effort, role in outcomes.

You have to look at the non-digital context. Similarly, to better understand our technology fixation, it’s important to recognize its larger social and historical context. As I began to doubt the hype around packaged interventions, I wanted to see if I could bypass their problems. Maybe there were other approaches to social change. So I engaged with three ideas that have growing support – randomized controlled trials, social enterprises, and happiness as a goal. These are largely unrelated efforts, but they all have great merit and are well-regarded within their specializations. Promisingly, each had a potential claim to exorcising the curse of packaged interventions. The Randomista Revolution In July 2011 I visited a school in Kotra, a little village in southern Rajasthan. The small hut had white plaster walls and a thatched roof.

What made this project unique was that world-renowned researchers had used a rigorous methodology to establish something that seemed to contradict the Law of Amplification. The research team was led by Esther Duflo, a brilliant MIT economist who counts among her honors a MacArthur “genius grant” as well as the John Bates Clark Medal, a good predictor of future Nobel laureates. As a pioneering member of the Abdul Lateef Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), Duflo has been a tireless advocate for the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to verify the value of antipoverty programs. This is the methodology used in clinical medicine, whereby a control group establishes a baseline against which the effectiveness of a treatment can be compared. In applying the rigor of hard science to social questions, Duflo and her colleagues are revolutionaries. Rivals and supporters have nicknamed them “randomistas.” In a paper describing the effort, Duflo and her colleagues reported dramatic results.


The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease by Lanius, Ruth A.; Vermetten, Eric; Pain, Clare

conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, delayed gratification, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, impulse control, intermodal, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, p-value, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, theory of mind, twin studies, yellow journalism

W. and Fonagy, P. (1999). Effectiveness of partial hospitalization in the treatment of borderline personality disorder:€A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1563–1569. 61. Bateman, A. W. and Fonagy, P. (2001). Treatment of borderline personality disorder with psychoanalytically oriented partial hospitalization:€An 18-month followup. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 36–42. 62. Bateman, A. and Fonagy, P. (2008). 8-year follow-up of patients treated for borderline personality disorder: Mentalization-based treatment versus treatment as usual. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 631–638. 63. Bateman, A. and Fonagy, P. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of out-patient mentalization-based treatment versus structured clinical management for borderline personality disorder.

A controlled evaluation of cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress in motor vehicle accident survivors. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41, 79–96. Schnurr, P. P., Friedman, M. J., Engel, C. C. et al. (2007). Cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in women; a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 297, 820–830. Schnurr, P. P. Friedman, M. J., Foy, D. W. et al. (2003). Randomized trial of trauma-focused group therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder:€results from a Department of Veterans Affairs cooperative study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60, 481–489. Mueser, K. T., Rosenberg, S. D, Haiyi Xie, M. et al. (2008). A randomized controlled trial of cognitivebehavioral treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in severe mental illness. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 259–271. Grunert, B. K., Weis, J. M., Smucker, M.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37, 4S–26S. 45. Stallard, P. (2006). Psychological interventions for posttraumatic reactions in children and young people:€A review of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 895–911. 46. Cohen, J. A., Mannarino, A. P., Berliner, L. and Deblinger, E. (2000). Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy for children and adolescents:€An empirical update. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15, 1202–1223. 47. Cohen, J. A., Deblinger, E. E., Mannarino, A. P. and Steer, R. A. (2004). A multisite, randomized controlled trial for children with sexual abuse-related PTSD symptoms. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 393–402. 48. Brady, K. T., Dansky, B. S., Back, S. E., Foa, E. B. and Carroll, K.


he Wisdom of Menopause (Revised Edition) by Northrup, Christiane

epigenetics, financial independence, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, women in the workforce

Transdermal progesterone cream for vasomotor symptoms and postmenopausal bone loss. Obstet Gynecol, 94, 227–228. 19. Stearns, V., Beebe, K. L., Iyengar, M., & Dube, E. (2003). Paroxetine controlled release in the treatment of menopausal hot flashes: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 289, 2827–2834; Loprinzi, C. L., Sloan, J. A., Perez, E. A., et al. (2002). Phase III evaluation of fluoxetine for treatment of hot flashes. J Clin Oncol, 20, 1578–1583; Loprinzi, C. L., Kugler, J. W., Sloan, J. A., et al. (2000). Venlafaxine in management of hot flashes in survivors of breast cancer: A randomized controlled trial. Lancet, 356, 2059–2063. 20. Goldberg, R. M., Loprinzi, C. L., O’Fallon, J. R., et al. (1994). Transdermal clonidine for ameliorating tamoxifen-induced hot flashes. J Clin Oncol, 12, 155–158. 21. Irvin, J. H., Domar, A.

., & Setchell, K. (June 1999). Dietary soy isoflavones favorably influence lipids and bone turnover in healthy postmenopausal women. Endocrine Society’s 81st Annual Meeting Synopsis. 23. Taku, K., et al. (2007). Soy isoflavones lower serum total and LDL cholesterol in humans: A meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr, 85 (4), 1148–1156; Zhuo, X. G., Melby, M. K., & Watanabe, S. (2004). Soy isoflavone intake lowers serum LDL cholesterol: A meta-analysis of 8 randomized controlled trials in humans. J Nutr, 134, 2395–2400. 24. Anderson, J. W., Johnstone, B. M., & Cook-Newell, M. E. (1995). Metaanalysis of the effects of soy protein intake on serum lipids. N Engl J Med, 333 (5), 276–282. 25. Hall, W. L., et al. (2005). Soy-isoflavone-enriched foods and inflammatory biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women: Interactions with genotype and equol production.

Cyclic medroxyprogesterone increases bone density: A controlled trial in active women with menstrual cycle disturbances. Am J Med, 96, 521–530; Adachi, J. D., et al. (1997). A double-blind randomized controlled trial of the effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate on bone density of women taking oestrogen replacement therapy. Br J Obstet Gynaecol, 104, 64–70; Prior, J. C., et al. (1997). Premenopausal ovariectomy-related bone loss: A randomized, double-blind, one-year trial of conjugated estrogen or medroxyprogesterone acetate. J Bone Miner Res, 12 (11), 1851–1863. 40. Rossouw, J. E., et al. (2002). Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: Principal results from the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 288 (3), 321–333. 41. Lindsay, R., Gallagher, J. C., Kleerekoper, M., & Pickar, J. H. (2002). Effect of lower doses of conjugated equine estrogens with and without medroxy-progesterone acetate on bone in early postmenopausal women.


Psychopathy: An Introduction to Biological Findings and Their Implications by Andrea L. Glenn, Adrian Raine

epigenetics, longitudinal study, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), statistical model, theory of mind, twin studies

With some forms of intervention, it is possible for both participants and clinicians to be blinded as to group status. This ensures that the results will not be affected by the participants’ or clinicians’ knowledge of the treatment group. When evaluating treatment research it is important to carefully consider the design of the study. As mentioned in Chapter 8, randomized controlled trials are beneficial for two reasons: (1) we make progress in understanding what forms of interventions are effective and (2) we are able to test cause-and-effect relationships (Tremblay 2008). Randomized controlled trials are one of the most rigorous ways of determining whether a particular factor plays a causal role in the development of an outcome. For example, consider an intervention in which pregnant women are randomly assigned to a group that participates in a smoking cessation program (that is effective in reducing maternal smoking) or a control group that does not participate.

Tremblay (2008) suggests that in order to actually test causal mechanisms that contribute to aggression, we need the type of true Biosocial and Environmental Influences >> 147 experiments that are regularly done with rats and monkeys. Since we cannot experimentally introduce stressors to the environment, the alternative is to manipulate the environment by providing an intervention. He states, “[E]xperimental preventive interventions can kill two birds with one stone: identify basic mechanisms leading to [aggression] and identify effective preventive interventions” (p. 2618). Randomized controlled trials, which monitor effects of the intervention on gene expression, brain functioning, and behavior, will be extremely useful in improving our understanding of how environmental factors contribute to the development of psychopathy. Conclusions A common misunderstanding is that biological factors are determined by genetics alone. Many do not consider the possibility that many biological correlates of psychopathy or criminal behavior can be the result of environmental influences.

In addition, research has begun to demonstrate the biological changes that can result from psychosocial interventions, suggesting that biological factors can be targeted through traditional forms of therapy. Thus, ultimate solutions to the problem of psychopathy could be both natural and, in some cases, surprisingly simple. The gold standard for prevention and treatment studies is the randomized controlled trial, in which participants are randomly allocated to treatment or control groups and the groups are treated identically except for the experimental treatment. Less controlled study designs may be able to detect associations between an intervention and an outcome, but they cannot rule out the possibility that the association may have been caused by a third factor. Randomizing participants into groups ensures that there are no systematic differences in other factors (e.g., willingness to participate in the intervention) that may affect outcomes.


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The Estrogen Fix: The Breakthrough Guide to Being Healthy, Energized, and Hormonally Balanced by Mache Seibel

longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), women in the workforce, working poor, Yogi Berra

., “The Mortality Toll of Estrogen Avoidance: An Analysis of Excess Deaths among Hysterectomized Women Aged 50 59 Years,” American Journal of Public Health 103, no. 9 (September 2013): 1583–88. 10G. L. Anderson et al., “Effects of Conjugated Equine Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women with Hysterectomy: The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial,” JAMA 291, no. 14 (April 14, 2004): 1701–12. 11A. Z. LaCroix et al., “Health Outcomes after Stopping Conjugated Equine Estrogens among Postmenopausal Women with Prior Hysterectomy: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” JAMA 305, no. 13 (April 6, 2011): 1305–14. 12T. S. Mikkola, P. Tuomikoski, H. Lyytinen et al., “Estradiol-Based Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy and Risk of Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality,” Menopause 22, no. 9 (September 2015): 976–83. 13T. S. Mikkola, P. Tuomikoski, H.

., “Effects of Short-Term Estrogen Treatment on the Neointimal Response to Balloon Injury of Rat Carotid Artery,” American Journal of Cardiology 85, no. 10 (May 15, 2000): 1276–79. 51G. L. Anderson et al., “Effects of Conjugated Equine Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women with Hysterectomy: The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial,” JAMA 291, no. 14 (April 14, 2004): 1701–12. 52A. Z. LaCroix et al., “Health Outcomes after Stopping Conjugated Equine Estrogens among Postmenopausal Women with Prior Hysterectomy: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” JAMA 305, no. 13 (April 6, 2011): 1305–14. 53D. O. Stram et al., “Age-Specific Effects of Hormone Therapy Use on Overall Mortality and Ischemic Heart Disease Mortality among Women in the California Teachers Study,” Menopause 18, no. 3 (March 2011): 253–61. 54M. Wellons et al., “Early Menopause Predicts Future Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA),” Menopause 19, no. 10 (October 2012): 1081–87. 55P.

Van Gessel, “Low-Dosage Esterified Estrogens Opposed by Progestin at 6-Month Intervals,” Obstetrics & Gynecology 98, no. 2 (August 2001): 205–11. 45S. Palacios et al., “A 7-Year Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial Assessing the Long-Term Efficacy and Safety of Bazedoxifene in Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis: Effects on Bone Density and Fracture,” Menopause 22 (2015): 806–13. 46P .V. Pinkerton, J. A. Harvey, K. Pan et al., “Breast Effect of Bazedoxifene-Conjugated Estrogen: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Obstetrics & Gynecology 121, no. 5 (2013): 959–68. 47R. Kegan, B. S. Komm, K. A. Ryan, et al., “Timing and Persistence of Effect of Conjugated Estrogen/Gazedoxifene in Postmenopausal Women,” Menopause 23, no. 11 (November 2016): 1204—13. 48de Villiers et al., “Global Consensus Statement,” 203–4. 49W. Wuttke, Ch. Gorkow, and H. Jarry, “Dopaminergic Compounds in Vitex Agnus Castus,” in Phytopharmaka in Forschung und klinischer Anwendung, ed.


Bulletproof Problem Solving by Charles Conn, Robert McLean

active transport: walking or cycling, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset allocation, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, future of work, Hyperloop, Innovator's Dilemma, inventory management, iterative process, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, nudge unit, Occam's razor, pattern recognition, pets.com, prediction markets, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, stem cell, the rule of 72, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, time value of money, transfer pricing, Vilfredo Pareto, walkable city, WikiLeaks

Broaden your data sources: In every area of life, individual/workplace/society, there are core government and private data sets that everyone has access to. Sometimes these are terrific, but everyone has them, including your competitors, and there are often methodological issues in their collection. It is worth considering whether there are options for crowd sourcing alternative data, whether prediction markets cover your topic or could be induced to, or whether your interest area is amenable to some form of A|B testing or randomized controlled trials. Custom data collection costs have come down substantially and new data sets can yield insights very different from the obvious mainstream analyses. Tools such as Survey Monkey are simple to use and can bring customer, competitor, and supplier perspectives that may be especially insightful. How does this all get put in place in real‐life settings in your teams? Often by the cues and behaviors of the team leader, like the case in Exhibit 4.7.

How would you make this decision faced with so many disparate pieces of information? As in most problem solving you need to gather some facts. In Rob's case, he read a Finnish study in The New England Journal of Medicine that indicated that when there is low discomfort and age‐degenerative meniscal tear, there is no significant improvement from APM compared to physical therapy. The research method involved a particular kind of randomized control trial termed a sham control, where participants weren't aware of whether they had the procedure or not. The conclusions of the 12‐month follow‐up were that the outcomes for the APM surgery were no better than for the sham APM surgery, notwithstanding that “both groups had significant improvement in primary outcomes.”15 Rob also wanted to assess whether he should wait for a new technology solution to develop, such as stem‐cell treatment or a printable hydrogel meniscus.

But when we can set up a good experiment, they can have great explanatory power. Experiments can be useful for evaluating different types of interventions. For example, a randomized‐controlled experiment can help you test whether a specific new program offering individuals incentives to walk five miles per day reduces obesity better than an existing program, controlling for all other factors. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) require you to recruit a pool of participants, and randomly allocate participants into two or more treatment groups and a control group. In this case, the treatment is the new exercise incentive program. They work particularly well when you want evidence that a specific intervention is the likely cause of a change in outcome. By randomly allocating the treatment and control groups, you ensure that all other characteristics of this group—like demographics, general health status, baseline exercise rates, and diet—vary only at random.


pages: 743 words: 189,512

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz

Albert Einstein, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Gary Taubes, Indoor air pollution, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Upton Sinclair

Westman was the first physician researcher to take Atkins up on that offer to go through all those medical files. He visited Atkins’s office in New York City in the late 1990s and was impressed by his success in helping patients to lose weight and improve health. But he decided that the files weren’t good enough. “I need science,” he told Atkins. Westman knew that the only way to make sense of various anecdotal accounts was to do randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of medical evidence. So he, along with a few colleagues around the country, started conducting those trials. This new group of researchers entering the field were young and relatively ignorant about the professional sandpit into which they’d be sinking. Gary Foster, for instance, a professor of psychology at Temple University who took part in a landmark trial comparing different diets in 2003, says he had no idea that including the Atkins regime in his study would be so contentious.

., “Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial,” Journal of the American Medical Association 295, no. 6 (2006): 655–666; Ross L. Prentice et al., “Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Invasive Breast Cancer: The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial,” Journal of the American Medical Association 295, no. 6 (2006): 629–642; Ross L. Prentice et al., “Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Cancer Incidence in the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 99, no. 20 (2007): 1534–1543. In writing this book: The author has no conflicts of interest; she has never received any financial or in-kind support, either directly or indirectly, from any party with an interest related to any of the topics covered in this book. 1. The Fat Paradox: Good Health on a High-Fat Diet Observers estimated that: Vihjalmur Stefansson, The Fat of the Land, enlg. ed. of Not by Bread Alone (1946, repr., New York: Macmillan, 1956), 31; calculated by the author from Hugh M.

., “Tracking of Serum Lipids and Lipoproteins in Children over an 8-Year Period: The Bogalusa Heart Study,” Preventive Medicine 14, no. 2 (1985): 203–216. Cochrane concluded: Vanessa J. Poustie and Patricia Rutherford, “Dietary Treatment for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2 (2001): CD001918–CD001918. rigorous study on this hypothesis: Benjamin Caballero et al., “Pathways: A School-Based, Randomized Controlled Trial for the Prevention of Obesity in American Indian Schoolchildren,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, no. 5 (2003): 1030–1038. “major contributor of growth failure”: Andrew M. Prentice and Alison A. Paul, “Fat and Energy Needs of Children in Developing Countries,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72, suppl. (2000): 1253S. He compared some 140 Gambian infants . . . 8 pounds more than the Gambians . . . : Ibid., 1259S–1260S. 5 percent of energy as fat: Ibid., 1261S.


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The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat by Tim Spector

biofilm, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, David Strachan, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Steve Jobs, twin studies

Diet and feeding pattern affect the diurnal dynamics of the gut microbiome. 12 Casazza, K., N Engl J Med (31 Jan 2013); 368(5): 446-54. Myths, presumptions, and facts about obesity. 13 Betts, J.A., Am J Clin Nutr (4 Jun 2014); 100(2): 539–47. The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in lean adults. Dhurandhar, E.J., Am J Clin Nutr, (4 Jun 2014); 100(2): 507–13. The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. 14 de la Hunty, A., Obes Facts (2013); 6(1): 70–85. Does regular breakfast cereal consumption help children and adolescents stay slimmer? A systematic review and meta-analysis. 15 Brown, A.W., Am J Clin Nutr (Nov 2013); 98(5): 1298–308. Belief beyond the evidence: using the proposed effect of breakfast on obesity to show two practices that distort scientific evidence. 16 Desai, A.V., Twin Res (Dec 2004); 7(6): 589–95.

Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. 6 Risk and Prevention Study Collaborative Group, N Engl J Med (9 May 2013); 368(19): 1800–8.n-3. Fatty acids in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. 7 Qin, X., Int J Cancer (1 Sep 2013); 133(5): 1033–41. Folic acid supplementation and cancer risk: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. 8 Burdge, G.C., Br J Nutr (14 Dec 2012); 108(11): 1924–30. Folic acid supplementation in pregnancy: Are there devils in the detail? 9 Qin, X., Clin Nutr (Aug 2014); 33(4): 603–12. Folic acid supplementation with and without vitamin B6 and revascularization risk: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. 10 Murto, T., Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand (Jan 2015); 94(1): 65–71. Folic acid supplementation and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene variations in relation to in vitro fertilization pregnancy outcome. 11 Huang, Y., Int J Mol Sci (14 Apr 2014); 15(4): 6298–313.

Dairy and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review of Recent Observational Research. 11 Tachmazidou, I., Nature Commun (2013); 4: 2872. A rare functional cardioprotective APOC3 variant has risen in frequency in distinct population isolates. 12 Minger, D., Death by Food Pyramid (Primal Blueprint, 2013) 13 Chen, M., Am J Clin Nutr (Oct 2012); 96(4): 735–47. Effects of dairy intake on body weight and fat: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. 14 Martinez-Gonzalez, M., Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis (Nov 2014); 24(11): 1189–96. Yogurt consumption, weight change and risk of overweight/obesity: the SUN cohort. 15 Jacques, P., Am J Clin Nutr (May 2014); 99(5): 1229S–34S. Yogurt and weight management. 16 Kano, H., J Dairy Sci (2013); 96: 3525–34. Oral administration of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus OLL1073R-1 suppresses inflammation by decreasing interleukin-6 responses in a murine model of atopic dermatitis. 17 Daneman, N., Lancet (12 Oct 2013); 382(9900): 1228–30 A probiotic trial: tipping the balance of evidence?


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Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo

Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Cass Sunstein, charter city, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, experimental subject, hiring and firing, Kickstarter, land tenure, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, microcredit, moral hazard, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, urban planning

In doing so, we were following a long tradition of development economists who have emphasized the importance of collecting the right data to be able to say anything useful about the world. However, we had two advantages over the previous generations: First, there are now high-quality data from a number of poor countries that were not available before. Second, we have a new, powerful tool: randomized control trials (RCTs), which give researchers, working with a local partner, a chance to implement large-scale experiments designed to test their theories. In an RCT, as in the studies on bed nets, individuals or communities are randomly assigned to different “treatments”—different programs or different versions of the same program. Since the individuals assigned to different treatments are exactly comparable (because they were chosen at random), any difference between them is the effect of the treatment.

To get them started, BRAC designed a program in which they would be given an asset (a pair of cows, a few goats, a sewing machine, and so on), a small financial allowance for a few months (to serve as working capital and to ensure they would not be tempted to liquidate the asset), and a lot of hand-holding: regular meetings, literacy classes, encouragement to save a little bit every week. Variants of this program are currently being evaluated in six countries, using randomized control trials (RCTs). We were involved in one of these studies, in partnership with Bandhan, an MFI in West Bengal. We visited households before the program was started and heard, from each of the families that were selected for the program, stories of crisis and desperation: A husband was a drunkard and regularly beat his wife; another died in an accident, leaving a young family behind; a widow was abandoned by her children; and so forth.

More than half the schools got nothing at all. Inquiries suggested that a lot of the money most likely ended up in the pockets of district officials. It is easy to get depressed by such findings (which have been corroborated by similar studies in several other countries). We are often asked why we do what we do: “Why bother?” These are the “small” questions. William Easterly, for one, criticized randomized control trials (RCTs) on his blog in these terms: “RCTs are infeasible for many of the big questions in development, like the economy-wide effects of good institutions or good macroeconomic policies.” Then, he concluded that “embracing RCTs has led development researchers to lower their ambitions.”3 This statement was a good reflection of an institutionalist view that has strong currency in development economics today.


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Why Nudge?: The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism by Cass R. Sunstein

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, energy security, framing effect, invisible hand, late fees, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, nudge unit, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler

Reiner, Are You Willing to Be Nudged into Making the Right Decision, Slate (Aug. 13, 2013) (emphasis in original), available at http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/08/13/research_shows_when_nudging_works_and_when_it_doesn_t.html. 8. Susan Parker, Esther Duflo Explains Why She Believes Randomized Controlled Trials Are So Vital, The Center for Effective Philanthropy Blog (June 23, 2011), http://www.effectivephilanthropy.org/blog/2011/06/esther-duflo-explains-why-she-believes-randomized-controlled-trials-are -so-vital. Duflo develops these ideas in detail in her 2012 Tanner Lectures. See Esther Duflo, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation & Dev. Econ., Mass. Inst. of Tech., Tanner Lectures on Human Values and the Design of the Fight Against Poverty (May 2, 2012), http://economics.mit.edu/files/7904.

It makes far more sense to say that people display bounded rationality than to accuse them of “irrationality,” and for many purposes, bounded rationality is just fine, producing outcomes that are equal to or perhaps even better than what would emerge from efforts to optimize by assessing all costs and benefits. With respect to errors, more is being learned every day. Some behavioral findings remain highly preliminary and need further testing. There is much that we do not know. Randomized controlled trials, the gold standard for empirical research, must be used far more to obtain a better understanding of how the relevant findings operate in the world.22 Even at this stage, however, the underlying findings have been widely noticed, and behavioral economics, cognitive and social psychology, and related fields have had a significant effect on policies in several nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

On the general point, see Andrei Shleifer, Psychologists at the Gate, 50 J. ECON. LITERATURE 1080 (2012). 21. See HEURISTICS: THE FOUNDATIONS OF ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR (Gerd Gigerenzer et al. eds., 2011). 22. Michael Greenstone, Toward a Culture of Persistent Regulatory Experimentation and Evaluation, in NEW PERSPECTIVES ON REGULATION 111 (David Moss & John Cisternino eds., 2009). For a number of discussions of randomized controlled trials, including nudges, see ABHIJIT V. BANERJEE & ESTHER DUFLO, POOR ECONOMICS: A RADICAL RETHINKING OF THE WAY TO FIGHT GLOBAL POVERTY (2011). 23. See SUNSTEIN, supra note 9. 24. See, e.g., id.; see also Theresa M. Marteau et al., Changing Human Behavior to Prevent Disease: The Importance of Targeting Automatic Processes, 337 SCIENCE 1492 (2012) (exploring role of automatic processing in behavior in the domain of health). 25.


Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth by Stuart Ritchie

Albert Einstein, anesthesia awareness, Bayesian statistics, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, coronavirus, correlation does not imply causation, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Growth in a Time of Debt, Kenneth Rogoff, l'esprit de l'escalier, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Milgram experiment, mouse model, New Journalism, p-value, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, publish or perish, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Thomas Bayes, twin studies, University of East Anglia

Sure enough, the clinicians rated the treatments with the hyped abstracts as being more beneficial. Importantly though, the effects in this study were relatively small, with p-values that were just below the 0.05 threshold. I’d want to see a replication before I put too much faith in the study – hence its relegation to just an endnote here. Isabelle Boutron et al., ‘Impact of Spin in the Abstracts of Articles Reporting Results of Randomized Controlled Trials in the Field of Cancer: The SPIIN Randomized Controlled Trial’, Journal of Clinical Oncology 32, no. 36 (20 Dec. 2014): pp. 4120–26; https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2014.56.7503 71.  Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes within Us and a Grander View of Life (New York: HarperCollins, 2016). 72.  Timothy Caulfield, ‘Microbiome Research Needs a Gut Check’, Globe and Mail, 11 Oct. 2019; https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-microbiome-research-needs-a-gut-check/ 73.  

Eiseman et al., ‘Fecal Enema as an Adjunct in the Treatment of Pseudomembranous Enterocolitis’, Surgery 44, no. 5 (Nov. 1958): pp. 854–59; https://www.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov/pubmed/13592638 75.  Wenjia Hui et al., ‘Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Treatment of Recurrent C. Difficile Infection: An Updated Randomized Controlled Trial Meta-Analysis’, PLOS ONE 14, no. 1 (2019): e0210016; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210016; Theodore Rokkas et al., ‘A Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Exploring the Role of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Recurrent Clostridium Difficile Infection’, United European Gastroenterology Journal 7, no. 8 (Oct. 2019): pp. 1051–63; https://doi.org/10.1177/2050640619854587 76.  Microbiome and depression, anxiety and schizophrenia: Jane A. Foster & Karen-Anne McVey Neufeld, ‘Gut–Brain Axis: How the Microbiome Influences Anxiety and Depression’, Trends in Neurosciences 36, no. 5 (May 2013): pp. 305–12; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2013.01.005; T.

Although this may change: a report in 2017 indicated that some courts in China were calling for the death penalty (not metaphorically, as with the notion of retraction as ‘science’s death penalty’ for a paper, but literal execution) for cases of scientific fraud. The founders of Retraction Watch explain why that’s a bad idea: Ivan Oransky & Adam Marcus, ‘Chinese Courts Call for Death Penalty for Researchers Who Commit Fraud’, STAT News, 23 June 2017; https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/23/china-death-penalty-research-fraud/ 100.  Wang et al., ‘Positive Results in Randomized Controlled Trials on Acupuncture Published in Chinese Journals: A Systematic Literature Review’, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 20, no. 5 (May 2014): A129–A129; https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2014.5346.abstract cited in Stephen Novella, ‘Scientific Fraud in China’, Science-Based Medicine, 27 Nov. 2019; https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/scientific-fraud-in-china/https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2014.5346.abstract 101.  


Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, illegal immigration, Internet of things, mandatory minimum, millennium bug, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, payday loans, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, self-driving car, Skype, Snapchat, subscription business, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

(Recall Harold Pollack’s “equation” for violence: a couple of young guys plus impulsivity plus alcohol plus a gun.) What if the program could slow down or interrupt a young man’s rage, so that a dispute over a basketball game wouldn’t end in a murder? In May 2009, Youth Guidance won the Crime Lab’s “innovation challenge” and received funding to scale up its work to 18 schools. One condition of the funding was that the work would be studied via a randomized control trial (RCT).II The key question that would be studied was: Would BAM reduce arrests—especially for violent acts? Youth Guidance was taking a risk in agreeing to this. The probability, in general, of finding a large, significant result in a social-science RCT is pretty low—which is not hard to understand when you realize that interventions might act upon only one or two variables within the overwhelmingly complex and interconnected system that is the human life.

And the nurse explains the basics: how to breast-feed, swaddle a baby, transition babies to whole foods, brush a child’s teeth, and so on. Beyond the parenting instruction, a crucial part of the work is simply to be a caring human being who’s there to support the mother. To show her how to take care of herself so that she can care for her child. To help her navigate the complexities of working while raising a child. To listen when the pressures of life seem overwhelming. Three major randomized controlled trials of NFP have been conducted in the United States: in Elmira, New York; Memphis, Tennessee; and Denver, Colorado. The studies have shown that the program consistently improves maternal health, child safety, and well-being. Among the specific impacts were reductions in smoking during pregnancy, preterm births, infant mortality, child abuse and maltreatment, and criminal offenses by the mother, Food Stamp payments, and closely spaced pregnancies (second births within 18 months of the first).

Concerns like these explain why programs like NFP, which could create enormous social benefit, simply can’t get funded at the level they deserve. But there are experiments underway to fix the wrong pocket problem. A group in South Carolina designed a “pay for success” model that could fund a wide expansion of NFP’s work. Here’s how they set it up: In 2016, NFP received a $30 million infusion of cash to expand its work in the state, and the results of its efforts will be assessed over six years via a randomized control trial. If the work is successful, according to several measures agreed upon in advance, then the state government would be positioned to fund the work permanently. The magic of the arrangement is that the state government doesn’t take a big financial risk upfront, because the trial stage was mostly funded from outside. So if NFP proves a valuable investment, South Carolina will reap the rewards; if it doesn’t, the state isn’t out much.


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The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable--And How We Can Get There by Vincent T. Devita, Jr., M. D., Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, double helix, mouse model, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, stem cell

Also bad news: Under the Kefauver-Harris Amendment, or “Drug Efficacy Amendment,” of 1962, proof of efficacy was to be determined in “adequate and well controlled trials.” The act mentions only the use of historical controls—that is, data from previous studies. The amendment did not require new randomized controlled trials, as people often think. The requirement for these new trials—often an unnecessary impediment in early drug trials—was added by the FDA in its interpretation of the regulations: another FDA grab. Today we seem to be mindlessly wedded to the use of randomized controlled trials. They have their place. But randomized clinical trials can be unethical. Doctors sometimes have strong beliefs about the effectiveness of treatments being compared in a randomized trial—often with good reason. And if they truly believe that the treatments are effective—while a placebo given to some patients is not—then it is their duty as physicians to tell patients so.

Experienced investigators, following their instincts, had skipped trying the drug alone, because they knew it worked best as part of a cocktail of drugs, just as we had found in treating many other kinds of cancers. Fearing the FDA would approve this practice, he testified before the ODAC to protest his agency’s own positions. (He told me in a recent phone call that had he testified as an FDA employee, he would have had to support its position.) Young wanted data on cisplatin tested alone in testicular cancer and in a randomized controlled trial against other treatments, as required in the Code of Federal Regulations, his bible. Our data in childhood leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease had already shown the need for drugs to be used in combination to cure cancers. What Young wanted to do—treating patients with a single agent, cisplatin—would have meant jeopardizing the lives of patients. (When cisplatin was ultimately approved, it proved part of the curative combination chemotherapy treatment for Lance Armstrong, who had very advanced metastatic testicular cancer in his lungs and even in his brain.)

It had been noted, anecdotally, that some patients who present with kidney cancer that has already spread to their lungs go into a remission when you remove the primary tumor—the involved kidney. This was once considered a rash thing to do. Why subject patients to expensive major surgery when they already had widespread cancer? There was no proof it worked, just the observation of a few overzealous (or very astute) doctors. In 2001, we did get some evidence in the form of two randomized controlled trials.10 Half of patients who had a new diagnosis of metastatic kidney cancer were treated with interferon, a mediocre treatment for kidney cancer, while the other half were treated with removal of the diseased kidney plus interferon. In both studies, the survival of patients who had a kidney removed was significantly longer.11 What was the primary tumor doing to influence the growth of metastases?


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Give People Money by Annie Lowrey

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, full employment, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, late capitalism, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, mobile money, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, post scarcity, post-work, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, total factor productivity, Turing test, two tier labour market, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

She also looked at the negative-income-tax experiments conducted by the United States government in the late 1960s and 1970s, as the administrations of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon sought more and better ways to tackle the problems of deep poverty, a lack of engagement with the labor force, and the dissolution of the family. (Negative income taxes, or NIT, boost a household’s income rather than reducing it.) The government conducted NIT pilots in seven states during the Brady Bunch years, the first randomized control trials in the United States. (In a curious historical wrinkle, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were involved.) In most cases, there was some reduction in work effort. In a large experiment conducted in Seattle and Denver, for instance, the employment rate fell by a considerable four percentage points. If that were to happen in the United States today, it would mean more than 5 million fewer people working.

First, wouldn’t it make people lazy, in effect paying them to stop working? Wouldn’t a safety net fast become a hammock, as Republicans are so fond of claiming? As we saw, that argument has been disproven conclusively in higher-income countries. Much the same turns out to be true in developing countries and among the world’s very poor. A prominent group of economists recently looked at randomized control trials of government cash-transfer programs from Honduras, Indonesia, Morocco, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. They found that receiving cash had no effect on the number of hours worked or the propensity to work, for both men and women. Indeed, the cash-transfer programs seemed to boost the amount that men worked, in some cases. Another sweeping review did find that recipients of cash transfers worked less.

“We have built a model meant to scale while keeping costs low,” Faye said. “Next year, GiveDirectly could move something like $150 million. The only thing preventing us from getting there, and to $300 million the next year, is capital.” * * * Before launching its UBI pilot, GiveDirectly provided large lump-sum payments to the poorest people in a given village rather than distributing small payments for a long time to everybody. A randomized control trial, the gold standard for research in academic economics as well as a number of other disciplines, demonstrated that these cash transfers had powerful effects. After receiving payments of $404 or $1,525, household assets increased by 58 percent. Business and agriculture income increased by 38 percent, with an implied annual rate of return of 28 percent. Children were 42 percent less likely to go a whole day without eating.


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The Menopause Thyroid Solution by Mary J. Shomon

clean water, Gary Taubes, life extension, megacity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

This is in contrast to some American diets that may include as much as 60 grams of soy protein a day, from various processed forms of soy, soy supplements, soy milk, and so on. So far, the proven benefit that soy proponents can offer is that substituting soy protein for animal protein can slightly reduce cholesterol levels. But can soy foods help hot flashes? The evidence is mixed. In fact, in eight different randomized controlled trials of soy foods, only one of the studies found a significant reduction in the frequency of hot flashes, but several showed a slight reduction in frequency. Generally, there’s little published evidence to support the idea that increasing soy isoflavone intake from food or supplements substantially improves hot flashes. At the same time, we know that Asian women, who traditionally have a higher amount of soy in the diet, have much lower rates of hot flashes than American women.

“Revealing Estrogen’s Secret Role in Obesity.” Press release, August 13, 2007. Anderson D., et al. “Menopause in Australia and Japan: Effects of Country of Residence on Menopausal Status and Menopausal Symptoms.” Climacteric 2004; 7(2): 165–174. Anderson, G. L., Limacher M., Assaf A. R., et al. (2004). “Effects of Conjugated Equine Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women with Hysterectomy: the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 291(14): 1701–12. Arafah, Baha. “Increased Need or Thyroxine in Women with Hypothyroidism during Estrogen Therapy.” New England Journal of Medicine 2001 (June 7): 1743–1749. Arendt, Josephine. “Safety of Melatonin in Long-Term Use.” Journal of Biological Rhythms 1997; 12(6): 673–681. Arthur, J.R. “Selenium and Iodine Deficiencies and Selenoprotein Function.”

American Journal of Public Health 2001; 91(9): 1435–1442. Brownstein, David. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live without It (3rd ed.). Medical Alternatives Press. 2008. Brownstein, David. The Miracle of Natural Hormones. Medical Alternatives Press. 2006. Brownstein, David. Overcoming Thyroid Disorders. Medical Alternatives Press. 2002. Butt, Debra A., et al. “Gabapentin for the Treatment of Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Menopause 2008; 15(2): 310–318. Cagnacci, A., et al. “Season of Birth Influences the Timing of Menopause.” Human Reproduction. 2005 Aug; 20(8): 2190–3. Casper, Robert, et al. “Menopausal Hot Flashes.” Up to Date in Endocrinology and Diabetes 2006 (September). Ceccarelli, Claudia, and Walter Bencivelli. “131I Therapy for Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Leads to an Earlier Onset of Menopause: Results of a Retrospective Study.”


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The Hidden Half: How the World Conceals Its Secrets by Michael Blastland

air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, cognitive bias, complexity theory, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, epigenetics, experimental subject, full employment, George Santayana, hindsight bias, income inequality, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, nudge unit, oil shock, p-value, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, selection bias, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, twin studies

He said it showed how ‘the mere fact that something has happened a certain number of times causes animals and men to expect that it will happen again’.1 Russell felt for the chicken – felt for its intellectual predicament, at least. Even so, he managed to imply that it had been foolish. And yet, while it’s true the chicken was a creature of habit, expecting to be fed that fateful day simply because it had always been fed before, was that really so bad? We could make a case for the chicken’s good judgement. Philosopher Nancy Cartwright jokes that a randomized controlled trial on the relationship between chickens turning up in the farmyard and being fed (run during the summer) would have confirmed the chicken’s belief. In any case, what’s wrong with expecting a little regularity in life? It doesn’t seem a lot to ask. In fact, it’s hard to see how we would cope without it. Imagine if nothing was consistent – if your job changed overnight, every night; if friends became hostile without warning; if the bed you usually slept in suddenly ceased to be yours; if arrest was a lottery.

In short, we’re a lot like the chicken, as Russell says, which would be fine, except that the chicken dies, brutally. What that illustrates is how deep-rooted and necessary it usually is to think that our knowledge of cause and effect is dependable enough to travel; but also how vulnerable that expectation can be to factors that we do not know we do not know. Nancy Cartwright’s semi-joke that a randomized controlled trial would have backed up the chicken’s belief is to point out how much contextual detail you would need to know about the behaviour and social structure of farmers, farms and Christmas in order to understand what it is you are looking at when you watch the chicken being fed every day. All this, for the chicken, is a vital hidden half. It would have to go all the way back to the farming problem and survey the relevance of everything simply to know what might be relevant.

See, for example, the blogs and columns of Noah Smith of Bloomberg View for a discussion of this trend. 10 Abhijit Banerjee, ‘Inside the Machine’, Boston Review, March/April 2007. 11 See ‘Buzzwords and Tortuous Impact Studies Won’t Fix a Broken Aid System,’ jointly authored by fifteen leading economists: Guardian, 16 July 2018. 12 Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team, ‘Applying Behavioural Insights to Organ Donation: Preliminary Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial’, December 2013. 13 Tim Harford, ‘Behavioural Economics and Public Policy’, Financial Times, 21 March 2014. Full disclosure: Tim is also presenter of More or Less, a radio programme I helped start some years ago. 14 Quoted by Tim Harford, in ‘Behavioural Economics and Public Policy’ cited above. 15 In public health, this has been referred to as ‘particularism’: are there general explanations why some places grow healthier and others don’t, or does each trajectory have its own explanation?


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The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk M. D.

anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling, different worldview, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nelson Mandela, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, theory of mind, Yogi Berra

Heckman, “Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children,” Science 312, no. 5782 (2006): 1900–2. 37. D. Olds, et al., “Long-Term Effects of Nurse Home Visitation on Children’s Criminal and Antisocial Behavior: 15-Year Follow-up of a Randomized Controlled Trial,” JAMA 280, no. 14 (1998): 1238–44. See also J. Eckenrode, et al., “Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect with a Program of Nurse Home Visitation: The Limiting Effects of Domestic Violence,” JAMA 284, no. 11 (2000): 1385–91; D. I. Lowell, et al., “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Child FIRST: A Comprehensive Home-Based Intervention Translating Research into Early Childhood Practice,” Child Development 82, no. 1 (January/February 2011): 193–208; S. T. Harvey and J. E. Taylor, “A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Psychotherapy with Sexually Abused Children and Adolescents, Clinical Psychology Review 30, no. 5 (July 2010): 517–35; J.

Feinstein, “Rapid Treatment of PTSD: Why Psychological Exposure with Acupoint Tapping May Be Effective,” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 47, no. 3 (2010): 385–402; D. Church, et al., “Psychological Trauma Symptom Improvement in Veterans Using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique): A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 201 (2013): 153–60; D. Church, G. Yount, and A. J. Brooks, “The Effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on Stress Biochemistry: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 200 (2012): 891–96; R. P. Dhond, N. Kettner, and V. Napadow, “Neuroimaging Acupuncture Effects in the Human Brain,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 13 (2007): 603–616; K. K. Hui, et al., “Acupuncture Modulates the Limbic System and Subcortical Gray Structures of the Human Brain: Evidence from fMRI Studies in Normal Subjects,” Human Brain Mapping 9 (2000): 13–25. 2.

Grossman, et al., “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Health Benefits: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Psychosomatic Research 57 (2004): 35–43; K. Sherman, et al., “Comparing Yoga, Exercise, and a Self-Care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Controlled Trial,” Annals of Internal Medicine 143 (2005): 849–56; K. A. Williams, et al., “Effect of Iyengar Yoga Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain,” Pain 115 (2005): 107–117; R. B. Saper, et al., “Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain in a Predominantly Minority Population: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial,” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 15 (2009): 18–27; J. W. Carson, et al., “Yoga for Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer: Results from a Pilot Study,” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 33 (2007): 331–41. 8. B. A. van der Kolk, et al., “Yoga as an Adjunctive Therapy for PTSD,” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 75, no. 6 (June 2014): 559–65. 9.


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The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, clean water, colonial exploitation, Columbian Exchange, creative destruction, declining real wages, Downton Abbey, end world poverty, financial innovation, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, John Snow's cholera map, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, new economy, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, structural adjustment programs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trade route, very high income, War on Poverty

These arguments have led to a movement toward more careful evaluation, often with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials as the best way of finding out whether a given project worked and, beyond that, of finding out “what works” in general. (In randomized controlled trials, some “units”—people or schools or villages—get treated, and some—the controls—do not, with units assigned to one of the two groups at random.) According to this view, aid has been much less effective than it would have been had past projects been seriously evaluated. If the World Bank had subjected all of its projects to rigorous evaluation, the argument goes, we would by now know what works and what does not work, and global poverty would have vanished long ago. Those who favor randomized controlled trials—the randomistas—tend to be very skeptical of typical self-evaluations by NGOs, and they have worked with cooperative NGOs to help strengthen their evaluation procedures.

One key innovation in managing cardiovascular disease was the discovery that diuretics—cheap pills, sometimes called “water pills” because they increase the frequency of urination—are effective antihypertensives, meaning that they reduce high blood pressure, one of the major risk factors for heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Diuretics … help rid your body of salt (sodium) and water. They work by making your kidneys put more sodium into your urine. The sodium, in turn, takes water with it from your blood. That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on the walls of your arteries.”7 An important randomized controlled trial from the U.S. Veterans Administration was published in 1970,8 and thereafter practice changed quickly in the United States. One of the characteristics of the U.S. health-care system is that innovations tend to be introduced very quickly—not only the good ones like antihypertensives, but also many that are of dubious value. Britain, with its cash-constrained and centrally run National Health Service, tends to be much slower and more cautious about introducing medical innovations—today it has a National Institute of Clinical Excellence, with the splendid acronym NICE, to test new products and new procedures and make recommendations—so even the cheap and effective diuretics took a while to be adopted.

Those who favor randomized controlled trials—the randomistas—tend to be very skeptical of typical self-evaluations by NGOs, and they have worked with cooperative NGOs to help strengthen their evaluation procedures. They have also persuaded the World Bank to use randomized controlled trials in some of its work. Finding out whether a given project was or was not successful is important in itself but unlikely to reveal anything very useful about what works or does not work in general. Often, the experimental and control groups are very small (experiments can be expensive), which makes the results unreliable. More seriously, there is no reason to suppose that what works in one place will work somewhere else. Even if an aid-financed project is the cause of people doing well—and even if we were to be absolutely sure of that fact—causes usually do not operate alone; they need various other factors that help them to work.


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Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again by Eric Topol

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, blockchain, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, digital twin, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Google Glasses, ImageNet competition, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nudge unit, pattern recognition, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, text mining, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

., “Depression: A Change of Mind.” Nature, 2014. 515(7526): pp. 185–187. 46. Firth, J., et al., “The Efficacy of Smartphone-Based Mental Health Interventions for Depressive Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” World Psychiatry, 2017. 16(3): pp. 287–298. 47. Aggarwal, J., and W. Smriti Joshi, “The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Mental Health,” DQINDIA online. 2017. 48. Fitzpatrick, K. K., A. Darcy, and M. Vierhile, “Delivering Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Young Adults with Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Using a Fully Automated Conversational Agent (Woebot): A Randomized Controlled Trial.” JMIR Ment Health, 2017. 4(2): p. e19. 49. Knight, “Andrew Ng Has a Chatbot That Can Help with Depression.” 50. Lien, T., “Depressed but Can’t See a Therapist? This Chatbot Could Help,” Los Angeles Times. 2017. 51.

Chief among these is to change patterns of maladaptive thinking or behavior—to “help people to identify and change negative, self-destructive thought patterns.”45 The digital version of CBT is more simply defined: talk therapy. It appears to have similar efficacy for treating depression (at least mild to moderate types) as the labor-intensive face-to-face visits with a mental health professional. There are plenty of CBT mobile apps including Lantern, Joyable, MoodGYM, and Ginger.io. A meta-analysis of eighteen randomized control trials of more than 3,400 patients using twenty-two smartphone apps for treating depression showed significant improvement, and those apps based on CBT were particularly effective.46 All those apps studied involve interactions with human beings, but not all apps rely on human interaction. Wysa, a penguin chatbot, has attracted 50,000 users who engaged in a million conversations in just three months; more than five hundred wrote in comments to say how much it helped with their mental health problem.47 Woebot uses an instant messenger app to conduct sessions with users.

It uses deep learning to peg the relationship between a person’s heart rate and physical activity, to prompt the user to record an electrocardiogram if his or her heart goes off track, and to look for evidence of atrial fibrillation. AliveCor’s watch exemplifies the type of assistance developed to date. I won’t try to review every possible example here, but I will cover enough to give you a flavor of where we stand in this nascent phase of the medical AI coach. There’s an important common thread here: no randomized, controlled trials have been shown to improve outcomes. Instead, the products have largely relied on small retrospective or observational studies. It’s a major hole in their stories that needs to get filled in. Nevertheless, the developments are worth examining. Diabetes has been a popular target. Onduo, a company formed by Verily and Sanofi, is perhaps furthest along because it combines smartphone AI recognition of food and meals, continuous glucose sensor data, and physical activity (or what is really just steps taken) to provide coaching via texts.


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The End of My Addiction by Olivier Ameisen

Albert Einstein, epigenetics, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), statistical model

A. et al. (2004) Prevalence and co-occurrence of substance use disorders and independent mood and anxiety disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Archives of General Psychiatry 61, 807–816. Johnson, B. A., Ait-Daoud, N., Bowden, C. L. et al. (2003) Oral topiramate for treatment of alcohol dependence: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet 361, 1677–1685. Johnson, B. A., Ait-Daoud, N., Akhtar, F. Z. et al. (2004) Oral topiramate reduces the consequences of drinking and improves the quality of life of alcohol-dependent individuals: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of General Psychiatry 61, 905–912. Kampman, K. M., Pettinati, H., Lynch, K. G. et al. (2004) A pilot trial of topiramate for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 75, 233–240. Kranzler, H. R., Wesson, D. R., Billot, L. et al. (2004) Naltrexone depot for treatment of alcohol dependence: a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

, O’Malley, S. S. et al. (2005) Vivitrex Study Group. Efficacy and tolerability of long-acting injectable naltrexone for alcohol dependence: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 293, 1617–1625. Grant, B. F., Stinson, F. S., Dawson, D. A. et al. (2004) Prevalence and co-occurrence of substance use disorders and independent mood and anxiety disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry 61, 807–816. Johnson, B. A., Ait-Daoud, N., Bowden, C. L. et al. (2003) Oral topiramate for treatment of alcohol dependence: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet 361, 1677–1685. Koob, G. F. (2000) Animal models of craving for ethanol. Addiction 95 (Suppl 2), 573–581. Nielsen, J. F., Hansen, H. J., Sunde, N. et al. (2002) Evidence of tolerance to baclofen in treatment of severe spasticity with intrathecal baclofen.

But I was impressed by the fact that the article was in The Lancet, one of the world’s three most influential medical journals, along with The New England Journal of Medicine and The Journal of the American Medical Association. The other articles I had found were all in smaller, specialized journals. Moreover, the topiramate study was larger and longer than the baclofen studies in the other articles, and it was a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of modern medicine. Last but not least, it was brand-new. “This must be the cutting edge,” I thought. It seemed like my best hope yet for achieving complete abstinence from alcohol. I went to the medical library at the Pompidou Centre to read the entire article and make a photocopy. Over a ten-day period, I tapered my baclofen dose down to zero. I used my doctor’s medical card to purchase topiramate, and then I followed the Lancet article’s protocol, taking topiramate for a total of twelve weeks and escalating the dose from 25 to 300 milligrams a day.


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Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, charter city, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, fear of failure, financial innovation, George Akerlof, high net worth, immigration reform, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, land reform, loss aversion, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, place-making, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, smart meter, social graph, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, urban sprawl, very high income, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y2K

Gordon Allport, a professor of psychology at Harvard, formulated what he called the contact hypothesis in 1954.81 This is the idea that under appropriate conditions, interpersonal contact is one of the most effective ways to reduce prejudice. By spending time with others, we learn to understand and appreciate them, and as a result of this new appreciation and understanding, prejudice should diminish. The contact hypothesis has been intensively studied. A recent review identifies twenty-seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating Allport’s idea. Overall, these studies find that contact reduces prejudice, although the review calls attention to the importance of the nature of the contact.82 If this is right, schools and universities are obviously key. They bring together young people from different backgrounds in a single location, at an age when everyone is much more plastic. In one large US university, where roommates were assigned at random, a study found that white students who happened to end up with African American roommates were significantly more likely to endorse affirmative action, and that white students assigned roommates from any minority group were more likely to continue to interact socially with members of other ethnic groups after their first year, when they had full freedom in choosing whom to associate with.83 This process of socialization could start even earlier.

In the data both will show up at the same place, valuing the internet at the price of two hours of time. But obviously they are different, and treating them the same may lead us to vastly underestimate the value of the internet. Faced with the possibility that we could be either massively overvaluing the internet or the other way around, scholars looked for other ways to measure its value to consumers. In particular, there were several randomized control trials of what happened when the experimenter (with the permission of the participant) blocked access to Facebook (or social media more generally) for a random group of individuals for some relatively short period of time. The biggest of these experiments, which involved more than two thousand participants paid to deactivate Facebook for a month, found that those who stopped using Facebook were happier across a range of self-reported measures of happiness and well-being and, interestingly, no more bored (perhaps less).

A rule of thumb in the social investing world is that 10 percent of the ventures work out (the rest fold) and only 1 percent reach significant scale. The issue is more that it is difficult to identify those supposedly life-changing new products and services, and efforts to do so often meet a frustrating lack of interest from the people whose lives are supposed to be changed. Electricity is a case in point. In a recent randomized controlled trial in Kenya, researchers partnered with Kenya Rural Electrification Authority to offer electricity connection at different prices in different communities. The demand fell very sharply as price rose, and villagers were not willing to pay anywhere near what would have been sufficient to cover the cost of connecting to the grid (not to mention building the grid).86 The frugal engineering world is littered with many similar disasters, from the $100 laptop to educate the world (which actually costs $200 and has been shown to have no impact on what children actually learn),87 to cleaner cookstoves that nobody wanted,88 to various water-filter technologies89 and innovative latrines.90 A lot of the problem seems to be that these innovations take place in a void, insufficiently connected to the lives they wish to change.


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Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes

California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial

Eating less saturated fat was one of the multiple interventions tested. When the disappointing results were published in 1982, The Wall Street Journal headline said it all: “Heart Attacks, a Test Collapses.” *In September 2009, the World Health Organization’s Food and Agricultural Organization published a reassessment of the data on dietary fat and heart disease. “The available evidence from [observational studies] and randomized controlled trials,” the report stated, “is unsatisfactory and unreliable to make judgment about and substantiate the effects of dietary fat on risk of CHD [coronary heart disease].” *This was the trial of calorie-restricted diets carried out by researchers from Harvard and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center by Frank Sacks and his colleagues that I discussed in chapter 2. An editorial that accompanied the article in the NEJM explained the concept of HDL as a “biomarker for dietary carbohydrate” this way: “When fat is replaced isocalorically by carbohydrate, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol decreases in a predictable fashion

Journal of the American Medical Association. Mar 7;297(9):969–77. Godsland, I. F. 2009. “Insulin Resistance and Hyperinsulinaemia in the Development and Progression of Cancer.” Clinical Science. Nov 23;118(5):315–32. Harris, M. 1985. Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture. New York: Simon and Schuster. Hession, M., C. Rolland, U. Kulkarni, A. Wise, and J. Broom. 2009. “Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials of Low-Carbohydrate vs. Low-Fat/Low-Calorie Diets in the Management of Obesity and Its Comorbidities.” Obesity Reviews. Jan;10(1):36–50. Hooper, L., C. D. Summerbell, J. P. Higgins, et al. 2001. “Reduced or Modified Dietary Fat for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (3):CD002137. Howard, B. V., L. Van Horn, J. Hsia, et al. 2006. “Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial.”

World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research. 2007. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Washington, D.C.: American Institute for Cancer Research. Yancy, W. S., Jr., M. K. Olsen, J. R. Guyton, R. P. Bakst, and E. C. Westman. 2004. “A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Versus a Low-Fat Diet to Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine. May 18;140(10):769–77. Chapter 19: Following Through Allan, C. B., and W. Lutz. 2000. Life Without Bread: How a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life. New York: McGraw-Hill. Kemp, R. 1972. “The Over-All Picture of Obesity.” Practitioner. Nov;209:654–60. ——. 1966. “Obesity as a Disease.” Practitioner. Mar;196:404–9. ——. 1963. “Carbohydrate Addiction.”


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Bad Pharma: How Medicine Is Broken, and How We Can Fix It by Ben Goldacre

data acquisition, framing effect, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income per capita, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Simon Singh, WikiLeaks

Iain Chalmers was the first to raise TGN1412 and anti-arrhythmics as examples of the harm done when individual early trials are left unpublished. They are the best illustrations of this problem, but you should not imagine that they are unusual: the quantitative data shows that they are just two among many, many similar cases. 11 Antman EM, Lau J, Kupelnick B, Mosteller F, Chalmers TC. A comparison of results of meta-analyses of randomized control trials and recommendations of clinical experts. Treatments for myocardial infarction. JAMA. 1992 Jul 8;268(2):240–8. 12 Here is the classic early paper arguing this point: Chalmers Iain. Underreporting Research Is Scientific Misconduct. JAMA. 1990 Mar 9;263(10):1405–1408. 13 Sterling T. Publication decisions and their possible effects on inferences drawn from tests of significance – or vice versa.

Cognitive Ther Res 1977;1:161–75. 39 Ernst E, Resch KL. Reviewer bias – a blinded experimental study. J Lab Clin Med 1994;124:178–82. 40 Abbot NE, Ernst E. Publication bias: direction of outcome less important than scientific quality. Perfusion 1998;11:182–4. 41 Emerson GB, Warme WJ, Wolf FM, Heckman JD, Brand RA, Leopold SS. Testing for the Presence of Positive-Outcome Bias in Peer Review: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Nov 22;170(21):1934–9. 42 Weber EJ, Callaham ML, Wears RL, Barton C, Young G. Unpublished research from a medical specialty meeting: why investigators fail to publish. JAMA 1998;280:257–9. 43 Kupfersmid J, Fiala M. A survey of attitudes and behaviors of authors who publish in psychology and education journals. Am Psychol 1991;46:249–50. 44 Song F, Parekh S, Hooper L, Loke YK, Ryder J, Sutton AJ, et al.

Being a modern pharmaceutical company. BMJ. 1998 Oct 31;317(7167):1172–80. 59 De Angelis C, Drazen JM, Frizelle FA, Haug C, Hoey J, Horton R, et al. Clinical trial registration: a statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. The Lancet. 2004 Sep 11;364(9438):911–2. 60 Mathieu S, Boutron I, Moher D, Altman DG, Ravaud P. Comparison of Registered and Published Primary Outcomes in Randomized Controlled Trials. JAMA. 2009 Sep 2;302(9):977–84. 61 Wieseler B, McGauran N, Kaiser T. Still waiting for functional EU Clinical Trials Register. BMJ. 2011 Jun 20;342(jun20 2):d3834–d3834. 62 Prayle AP, Hurley MN, Smyth AR. Compliance with mandatory reporting of clinical trial results on ClinicalTrials.gov: cross sectional study. BMJ. 2012;344:d7373. 63 A good (but brief) overview of how to try and get info from non-academic sources is here: Chan A-W.


The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, a Nd My Life by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

back-to-the-land, epigenetics, index card, longitudinal study, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, place-making, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

They’re also less likely to worry over and “catastrophize”: Carson JW, Carson KM, Jones KD, et al. A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia. Pain. 2010 Nov;151(2):530–39. They feel less fatigue and a greater sense of “emotional well-being”: Banasik J, Williams H, Haberman M, et al. Effect of Iyengar yoga practice on fatigue and diurnal salivary cortisol concentration in breast cancer survivors. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2011 Mar;23(3):135–42. Their pain lessens as their mood grows more positive: Speed-Andrews AE, Stevinson C, Belanger LJ, et al. Pilot evaluation of an Iyengar Yoga program for breast cancer survivors. Cancer Nurs. 2010 Sep–Oct;33(5):369–81. Six months of yoga reduces fatigue: Oken BS, Kishiyama S, Zajdel D, et al. Randomized controlled trial of yoga and exercise in multiple sclerosis.

The science of yoga: The risks and rewards (New York: Simon & Schuster 2012), 84–87. Chapter Twenty-four The Mayo Clinic recently reported that acupuncture: Martin DP, >Sletten CD, Williams BA, et al. Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Jun;81(6):749–57. For women with PCOS: Raja-Khan N, Stener-Victorin E, Wu X, et al. The physiological basis of complementary and alternative medicines for polycystic ovary syndrome. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jul;301(1):E1–E10. the strong eye to help strengthen the weak one: Zhao J, Lam DS, Chen LJ, et al. Randomized controlled trial of patching vs acupuncture for anisometropic amblyopia in children aged 7 to 12 years. Arch Ophthalmol. 2010 Dec;128(12):1510–17. reducing the degree of pain we actually feel: Radiological Society of North America.

Am J Cardiol. 2010 Sep 15;106(6):856–59. lowering inflammation in patients with diabetes: Tan SA, Tan LG, Lukman ST, et al. Humor, as an adjunct therapy in cardiac rehabilitation, attenuates catecholamines and myocardial infarction recurrence. Adv Mind Body Med. 2007 Winter;22(3–4):8–12. combating depression: Shahidi M, Mojtahed A, Modabbernia A, et al. Laughter yoga versus group exercise program in elderly depressed women: A randomized controlled trial. Int J Geriatr Psych. 2011 Mar;26(3):322–27. protecting the immune system: Berk LS, Felten DL, Tan SA, et al. Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during the eustress of humor-associated mirthful laughter. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Mar;7(2):62–72, 74–76. and improving the quality of life for breast cancer survivors: Cho EA, Oh HE. Effects of laughter therapy on depression, quality of life, resilience and immune responses in breast cancer survivors.


Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal by Erik Vance

fixed income, hive mind, impulse control, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, side project, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Yogi Berra

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112, no. 25 (June 23, 2015): 7863–67. doi:10.1073/pnas.1504567112. Jussieu, Antoine Laurent de. Rapport de l’un des commissaires chargés par le roi, de l’examen du magnétisme animal. Herissant, 1784. Kaptchuk, Ted J., Elizabeth Friedlander, John M. Kelley, M. Norma Sanchez, Efi Kokkotou, Joyce P. Singer, Magda Kowalczykowski, Franklin G. Miller, Irving Kirsch, and Anthony J. Lembo. “Placebos Without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” PLOS ONE 5, no. 12 (2010): e15591. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015591. Kong, Jian, Rosa Spaeth, Amanda Cook, Irving Kirsch, Brian Claggett, Mark Vangel, Randy L. Gollub, Jordan W. Smoller, and Ted J. Kaptchuk. “Are All Placebo Effects Equal? Placebo Pills, Sham Acupuncture, Cue Conditioning and Their Association.” PLOS ONE 8, no. 7 (July 31, 2013): e67485. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067485.

“Classical Conditioning of Analgesic and Hyperalgesic Pain Responses Without Conscious Awareness.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112, no. 25 (June 23, 2015): 7863–67. doi:10.1073/pnas.1504567112. Kaptchuk, Ted J., Elizabeth Friedlander, John M. Kelley, M. Norma Sanchez, Efi Kokkotou, Joyce P. Singer, Magda Kowalczykowski, Franklin G. Miller, Irving Kirsch, and Anthony J. Lembo. “Placebos Without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” PLOS ONE 5, no. 12 (December 2010): e15591. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015591. Keesner, Simon, Christian Sprenger, Katja Wiech, Nathalie Wrobel, and Ulrike Bingel. “Effect of Oxytocin on Placebo Analgesia: A Randomized Study.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 310, no. 16 (October 23–30, 2013): 1733–35. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.277446. Koban, Leonie, and Tor D.

“Methods of Coping With Social Desirability Bias: A Review.” European Journal of Social Psychology 15, no. 3 (July 1, 1985): 263–80. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2420150303. Olanow, C. Warren, Raymond T. Bartus, Tiffany L. Baumann, Stewart Factor, Nicholas Boulis, Mark Stacy, Dennis A. Turner, et al. “Gene Delivery of Neurturin to Putamen and Substantia Nigra in Parkinson Disease: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial.” Annals of Neurology 78, no. 2 (August 2015): 248–57. doi:10.1002/ana.24436. Owens, Justine E., and Martha Menard. “The Quantification of Placebo Effects Within a General Model of Health Care Outcomes.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17, no. 9 (September 2011): 817–21. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0566. Samuels, A. S., and C. B. Edisen. “A Study of the Psychiatric Effects of Placebo.”


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Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict by Eli Berman, Joseph H. Felter, Jacob N. Shapiro, Vestal Mcintyre

basic income, call centre, centre right, clean water, crowdsourcing, demand response, drone strike, experimental economics, failed state, George Akerlof, Google Earth, HESCO bastion, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, Internet of things, iterative process, land reform, mandatory minimum, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, natural language processing, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, statistical model, the scientific method, trade route, unemployed young men, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey

Barack Obama substantially expanded the use of RCTs for federal programs, along with other evidence-based measures such as “tiered evidence” grant programs, Pay-for-Success initiatives, and the establishment of the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team. Tom Kalil, “Funding What Works: The Importance of Low-Cost Randomized Controlled Trials,” The White House blog, 9 July 2014, https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/07/09/funding-what-works-importance-low-cost-randomized-controlled-trials, accessed 24 February 2016. 23. Christine C. Fair, Rebecca Littman, Neil Malhotra, and Jacob Shapiro, “Relative Poverty, Perceived Violence, and Support for Militant Politics: Evidence from Pakistan,” Political Science Research and Methods 6, no. 1 (2018): 57–81. 24. Even in our survey experiment in Pakistan we had to be very vigilant about the ethics of our actions.

It is easiest to understand how these approaches help us get at causality by starting with randomized experiments—the gold standard for identifying causal effects in one place and time—and then covering methods that we turn to when randomized experiments are impossible. During the twentieth century the natural sciences worked out an efficient way to draw a line from cause to effect, the randomized controlled trial (RCT). The best way to test a new drug is to draw a large group of test subjects, randomly assign them to a treatment group, who receive it, and a control group, who do not, and measure the difference in results between the two groups. Randomization provides, on average, the real-world counterfactual we mentioned earlier. It allows researchers to say with confidence that all other observable factors have been averaged out and the effect of the drug is therefore simply the difference between the average measured outcome in treated subjects and that in control subjects.

The Pantawid Pamilya program gives cash to poor households if their children attend school and get regular health checks. It also has a maternal health component: to qualify for the grants, expectant mothers must get regular checkups, attend family development education sessions, and use health professionals at childbirth. To allow World Bank researchers to rigorously evaluate the effects of the program, the government rolled it out by randomized controlled trial in part of the country. Of a sample of 130 villages, a treatment group of 65 received the program in 2009, while a control group of equal size was held back, not receiving the program until 2011. The World Bank study provided evidence that this CCT made successful progress toward its specific development targets.67 Day care enrollment rose 11 percentage points (to 76 percent in treatment villages as compared to 65 percent in control villages), school attendance rose to 95 percent relative to 91 percent (among controls), antenatal care was received by 64 percent of new mothers versus 54 percent, and so on.


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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes

Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, Drosophila, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, invention of agriculture, John Snow's cholera map, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, unbiased observer, Upton Sinclair

The arguments on sick populations and preventive public health are compelling, but they come with four critically important caveats. First, Rose’s logic does not differentiate between hypotheses. It would invariably be invoked to explain why studies failed to confirm Keys’s fat hypothesis, and would be considered extraneous when similar studies failed to generate evidence supporting competing hypotheses. It is precisely to avoid such subjective biases that randomized controlled trials are necessary to determine which hypotheses are most likely true. Second, as Rose observed, all public-health interventions come with potential risks, as well as benefits—unintended or unimagined side effects. Small or negligible risks to an individual will also add up and can lead to unacceptable harm to the population at large. As a result, the only acceptable measures of prevention are those that remove what Rose called “unnatural factors” and restore “‘biological normality’—that is…the conditions to which presumably we are genetically adapted.”

As a result, a joint 1997 report of the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, entitled Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer, said this: The degree to which starch is refined in diets, particularly when the intake of starch is high, may itself be an important factor in cancer risk, as may the volume of refined starches and sugars in diets. Epidemiological studies have not, however, generally distinguished between degrees of refining or processing of starches, and there are, as yet, no reliable epidemiological data specifically on the effects of refining on cancer risk. Cleave’s saccharine-disease hypothesis may be intuitively appealing, but it is effectively impossible to test without a randomized controlled trial. If Cleave was right, then epidemiologists comparing populations or individuals with and without chronic disease have to take into account not just sugar consumption but flour, and whether that flour is white or whole-grain, and whether rice is polished or unpolished, white or brown, and even how much beer is consumed compared with, say, red wine or hard liquor. They might have to distinguish between table sugar and the sugar in soft drinks and fruit juices.

The pattern is precisely what would be expected of a hypothesis that simply isn’t true: the larger and more rigorous the trials set up to test it, the more consistently negative the evidence. Between 1994 and 2000, two observational studies—of forty-seven thousand male health professionals and the eighty-nine thousand women of the Nurses Health Study, both run out of the Harvard School of Public Health—and a half-dozen randomized control trials concluded that fiber consumption is unrelated to the risk of colon cancer, as is, apparently, the consumption of fruits and vegetables. The results of the forty-nine-thousand-women Dietary Modification Trial of the Women’s Health Initiative, published in 2006, confirmed that increasing the fiber in the diet (by eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) had no beneficial effect on colon cancer, nor did it prevent heart disease or breast cancer or induce weight loss.


pages: 228 words: 119,593

Practical Manual of Thyroid and Parathyroid Disease by Asit Arora, Neil Tolley, R. Michael Tuttle

Drosophila, epigenetics, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selection bias

Much of the evidence of this chapter has been taken from the most recent national guidelines. Where appropriate within the text, references have been classified into the definition of types of evidence based on Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (1992). MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS Level Type of evidence Ia Evidence obtained from meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials Evidence obtained from at least one randomized controlled trial Evidence obtained from at least one well-designed controlled study without randomization Evidence obtained from at least on other type of well-designed quasi-experimental study Evidence obtained from well designed nonexperimental descriptive studies Evidence obtained from expert committee reports or opinions and/or clinical experience of respected authorities Ib IIa IIb III IV REFERENCES 1.

The structure of each chapter differs from most of the other textbooks on this subject. An evidence appraisal section is included at the end of most chapters. Key points and multiple choice questions are also included which reinforce important points and ensures the reader re-address their understanding of the disease. The book as a whole is easy to read, with highlighted case studies included where appropriate that are informative and educational. As there are no randomized controlled trials for this pathology, most conclusions are based on large non-randomized retrospective data analyses and the personal philosophy of the individual treating physician. Large databases, such as the SEER database and the National Cancer Database (NCDB), are quite helpful in correlating one’s personal philosophy to the ‘best practices’ shown in the large data that is available. Primary care physicians will find this an excellent resource for reference purposes, and it will update the endocrinologist, endocrine surgeon and specialist treating thyroid cancer.

Although their size is not a completely reliable indicator of biological behaviour, nodules measuring 5 mm or less do exhibit higher rates of false-positive ultrasound (US) findings coupled with lower rates of adequate fine needle aspiration (FNA) results.12,13 Thus, imaging and fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) can sometimes confound the appropriate management of a thyroid nodule. Thyroid imaging 37 The increased incidence of PTC is not associated with a rise in disease-specific mortality which may, in part, reflect our increased use of thyroid imaging in recent times.14 In the absence of randomized controlled trials, it is difficult to reconcile the relatively low mortality rates from PTC with the apparently high risk features of incidentalomas shown in recent studies. FNA of all thyroid nodules certainly has enormous resource implications. The diagnostic accuracy of FNAC for thyroid malignancy is around 95% with an inadequacy rate of 10%, so if all cytologically suspicious or inadequate nodules were excised, a substantial number of patients would undergo unnecessary thyroid surgery.15 US is the best primary imaging modality for the assessment of thyroid nodules.


pages: 317 words: 100,414

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The solution lay in statistics: Randomly assigning people to one group or the other would mean whatever differences there are among them should balance out if enough people participated in the experiment. Then we can confidently conclude that the treatment caused any differences in observed outcomes. It isn’t perfect. There is no perfection in our messy world. But it beats wise men stroking their chins. This seems stunningly obvious today. Randomized controlled trials are now routine. Yet it was revolutionary because medicine had never before been scientific. True, it had occasionally reaped the fruits of science like the germ theory of disease and the X-ray. And it dressed up as a science. There were educated men with impressive titles who conducted case studies and reported results in Latin-laden lectures at august universities. But it wasn’t scientific.

The rate of the development of science is not the rate at which you make observations alone but, much more important, the rate at which you create new things to test.11 It was the absence of doubt—and scientific rigor—that made medicine unscientific and caused it to stagnate for so long. Putting Medicine to the Test Unfortunately, this story doesn’t end with physicians suddenly slapping themselves on their collective forehead and putting their beliefs to experimental tests. The idea of randomized controlled trials was painfully slow to catch on and it was only after World War II that the first serious trials were attempted. They delivered excellent results. But still the physicians and scientists who promoted the modernization of medicine routinely found that the medical establishment wasn’t interested, or was even hostile to their efforts. “Too much that was being done in the name of health care lacked scientific validation,” Archie Cochrane complained about medicine in the 1950s and 1960s, and the National Health Service—the British health care system—had “far too little interest in proving and promoting what was effective.”

If crime went up, that might show the policy was useless or even harmful, or it might mean crime would have risen even more but for the beneficial effects of the policy. Naturally, politicians would claim otherwise. Those in power would say it worked; their opponents would say it failed. But nobody would really know. The politicians would be blind men arguing over the colors of the rainbow. If the government had subjected its policy “to a randomized controlled trial then we might, by now, have known its true worth and be some way ahead in our thinking,” Cochrane observed. But it hadn’t. It had just assumed that its policy would work as expected. This was the same toxic brew of ignorance and confidence that had kept medicine in the dark ages for millennia. Cochrane’s frustration is palpable in his autobiography. Why couldn’t people see that intuition alone was no basis for firm conclusions?


pages: 365 words: 96,573

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

Albert Einstein, epigenetics, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Khan Academy, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell

To avoid another attack, they breathe far too much and eventually become hypersensitized to carbon dioxide and panic if they sense a rise in this gas. They are anxious because they’re overbreathing, overbreathing because they’re anxious. Feinstein found some inspiring recent studies by Alicia Meuret, the Southern Methodist University psychologist who helped her patients blunt asthma attacks by slowing their breathing to increase their carbon dioxide. This technique worked for panic attacks, too. In a randomized controlled trial, she and a group of researchers gave 20 panic sufferers capnometers, which recorded the amount of carbon dioxide in their breath throughout the day. Meuret crunched the data and found that panic, like asthma, is usually preceded by an increase in breathing volume and rate and a decrease in carbon dioxide. To stop the attack before it struck, subjects breathed slower and less, increasing their carbon dioxide.

., “Prolonged Expiration down to Residual Volume Leads to Severe Arterial Hypoxemia in Athletes during Submaximal Exercise,” Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology 158, no. 1 (Aug. 2007): 75–82; Alex Hutchinson, “Holding Your Breath during Training Can Improve Performance,” The Globe and Mail, Feb. 23, 2018, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/holding-your-breath-during-training-can-improve-performance/article38089753/. Just a few weeks: E. Dudnik et al., “Intermittent Hypoxia-Hyperoxia Conditioning Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Older Comorbid Cardiac Outpatients without Hematological Changes: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” High Altitude Medical Biology 19, no. 4 (Dec. 2018): 339–43. And much more. A British study of 30 rugby players showed those trained in “normobaric” levels of 13 percent oxygen (equivalent of an altitude of 12,000 feet) had “twofold greater improvements” over controls training in normal sea-level air after just four weeks. A European study of 86 obese women showed hypoxia training led to a “significant decrease in waist circumference” and significant reduction in fat over controls.

., Breathe to Heal: Break Free from Asthma (Breathing Normalization) (Breathing Center, 2016), 246; “Buteyko Breathing for Improved Athletic Performance,” Buteyko Toronto, http://www.buteykotoronto.com/buteyko-and-fitness. Sanya Richards-Ross: “Buteyko and Fitness,” Buteyko Toronto, http://www.buteykotoronto.com/buteyko-and-fitness. They all breathed better: Thomas Ritz et al., “Controlling Asthma by Training of Capnometry-Assisted Hypoventilation (CATCH) Versus Slow Breathing: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Chest 146, no. 5 (Aug. 2014): 1237–47. “very strange happening”: “Asthma Patients Reduce Symptoms, Improve Lung Function with Shallow Breaths, More Carbon Dioxide,” ScienceDaily, Nov. 4, 2014, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141104111631.htm. A half-dozen other clinical trials: “Effectiveness of a Buteyko-Based Breathing Technique for Asthma Patients,” ARCIM Institute—Academic Research in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 2017, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03098849.


pages: 240 words: 65,363

Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Barry Marshall: ulcers, call centre, Cass Sunstein, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, Everything should be made as simple as possible, food miles, Gary Taubes, income inequality, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, medical residency, Metcalfe’s law, microbiome, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, transatlantic slave trade, éminence grise

How often did they run? One executive told us, with obvious pride, that the company had bought newspaper inserts every single Sunday for the past twenty years in 250 markets across the United States. So how could they tell whether these ads were effective? They couldn’t. With no variation whatsoever, it was impossible to know. What if, we said, the company ran an experiment to find out? In science, the randomized control trial has been the gold standard of learning for hundreds of years—but why should scientists have all the fun? We described an experiment the company might run. They could select 40 major markets across the country and randomly divide them into two groups. In the first group, the company would keep buying newspaper ads every Sunday. In the second group, they’d go totally dark—not a single ad.

., as quitter, 208–9 eating competitions, 53–61 economic approach, 9 economics: cause and effect in, 26–27 free disposal in, 88 Nobel Prize for, 25n predictions in, 25–27 economy: and crime, 68, 207 and religion, 72–73 education: and poverty, 75 and terrorists, 171 education reform, 50–52, 91 Einstein, Albert, 93 Eisen, Jonathan, 83 embezzlement, corporate, 90 Emperor’s new clothes, 88 Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure, The (Epstein), 184–85 energy conservation, 112–15 “entrepreneurs of error,” 22 environment, and crime, 69 Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), 132 Epstein, Steve, 184–85 error, entrepreneurs of, 22 ethics, failures in, 184–85 Europe, capitalism in, 73 evanescent field effect, 195 excellence, practice leading to, 96 expectations, 8, 63–64, 67, 102 experiments: artificial nature of, 40–41 and brainstorming, 193 in cause and effect, 35–37, 39 evanescent field effect in, 195 expert knowledge in, 39 extrapolation algorithm in, 24 feedback in, 38–47, 192–93 field, 41 Freakonomics, 200–205 on human beings, 81–82 in Intellectual Ventures, 193–94 laboratory, 40–41 in microbes, 84–86 natural, 40 on potential inventions, 193–96 randomized control trials, 37, 39 in social issues, 39–40 wine quality, 42–47 experts: dart-throwing chimps vs., 24 outside their fields of competence, 27–28 practice to become, 96 predicting the future, 23 in scientific experimentation, 39 seriousness of, 96 extrapolation algorithm, 24 eyeglasses, 92n facial hair, 204 facts, opinion vs., 20 failure: celebrating, 193, 195–96 ethical, 184–85 feedback from, 192–93 forecasting, 198–99 of O-rings, 197, 198 premortem on, 199 as victory, 194 false positives, 158–59, 161, 162 famine, causes of, 66–67 fat, eating, 182–83 fecal transplants, 85–86 feedback: bread baking, 34–35 in experiments, 38–47 gathering, 35–38, 62 and learning, 34–38 voting, 35 financial relationships, 125–26, 130 focus, 102 folklore, 78, 80 food prices, 107–8 fortune-tellers, 31 Franklin, Aretha, 208 Freakonomics, 67, 69 Freakonomics Experiments, 200–205 Freaks: becoming, 211 having fun, 95 free disposal, 88 Fryer, Roland, 75–77 fun, 95–98 and children, 96, 100 of Freaks, 95 in music, 208–9 trickery as, 152 work as, 97, 109, 129, 206–8 writing books, 209 gambling, online, 99–100 game theory, 142–43 gamification, 96 gaming the system, 135 genetic racial differences, 77 Germany: Nazi Party in, 73n religion in, 70–73 schoolteachers in, 180–81 Glaeser, Edward, 22 Glewwe, Paul, 91 global warming, 168–71 goals, unattainable, 199–200 “go fever,” 197 Goldstein, Robin, 43–47 golf, 205–6 Good Samaritan laws, 108 Google, and driverless car, 174–76 Great Recession, 68 greenhouse gases, 131–33 guilt, test of, 144–49 gullibility, 102, 159–61 gun laws, 68 hacking, 177 Haganah, 152 “hammers,” 102 happiness: and marriage, 8–9 and quitting, 201, 204–5 HCFC-22, 132 health care: in Britain, 14–16 causes of illness, 83, 85 and folklore, 78, 80 and poverty, 75 ulcers, 78–86 heart disease, blacks with, 75, 77 hedge funds, and taxes, 70 Helicobacter pylori, 80–83 herd mentality: and conventional wisdom, 10 and incentives, 113–15, 172 Herley, Cormac, 157, 159–61 Herron, Tim “Lumpy,” 206n Hitler, Adolf, 189, 210 homicide rates, falling, 67–69 hot-dog-eating contest, 53–61 Hseih, Tony, 151 human body: as a machine, 95 complexity of, 78, 94–95 Hussein, Saddam, 28 hydrofluorocarbon-23 (HFC-23), 131–33 ideas: cooling-off period for, 88 generating, 87–88 junkyard as source of, 94 sorting bad from good, 88 ideology, 172 “I don’t know”: cost of saying, 29 entrepreneurs of error, 22 extrapolation algorithm, 24 and impulse to investigate, 47–48 reluctance to say, 20, 28, 39 as war prevention, 28 ignorance, 168–69 incentives, 105–35 backfiring, 131–34 bribes, 105–6 cash bounties, 133 charity, 117–25 communal, 7, 29 of customers, 128–30 designing, 115, 135 herd-mentality, 112–15, 172 and lying or cheating, 143 as manipulation, 134 money, 107–11, 113, 133 moral, 112–16, 135 for predicting the future, 29–30 social, 112, 113 true, 111–15 understanding, 8 at work, 108–9 income gap, 72–73 India: cobra effect in, 133 pollution in, 132 indulgences, sale of, 70 Industrial Revolution, 13 inmates, freeing, 40 innovation, risks in, 193 insults, 180–81 Intellectual Ventures, 193–94 Internet: predictions about, 26 scams on, 156–58 inventions, 193–95 investigation, impulse of, 47 Iraq War, 28 Israel, bullet factory in, 152–54 Italy, philanthropy in, 73 Janus, Tim “Eater X,” 61 Japan: adoptees in, 1n eating contests in, 55–56 manners in, 57 Jewish Brigade, 153 job application process, 149–52 “Jump” (Van Halen), 138 Kahneman, Daniel, 172 Keegan, John, 210 Kissinger, Henry A., 127 Klein, Gary, 199 knowledge: dogmatic, 25 faking, 22–26, 28–29, 47 and feedback, 34–38 “I don’t know,” 20, 28, 29, 47–48 learned from parents, 50 opinion vs., 20 Kobayashi, Takeru “Kobi,” 52–64, 140n Kobayashi Shake, 59 Krugman, Paul, 25 Langley, John, 207n learning, and feedback, 34–38 Leeson, Peter, 146–47 Lester, David, 33–34 letting go, 210 Levitt, Steven D., as quitter, 205–8 licensing, 51 life insurance, and terrorists, 163–65 limits: accepting or rejecting, 62, 63–64 artificial, 63, 64 lottery: no-lose, 98–99 state monopolies, 99 loved-one relationships, 125–26 Luther, Martin, 70–72 M&M’s: bribing a child with, 105–6 in contract clause, 141–42 magic: and adults, 102–3 and children, 101–4 double lift, 101–2 and perception, 101 watching from below, 103–4 manipulation, 134 Mao Tse-tung, 127 marathons, 204–5 marriage, and happiness, 8–9 Marshall, Barry, 79–83, 84–85, 94–95 MBA, cost of, 191 McAfee anti-virus software, 159 McAuliffe, Christa, 197 McDonald, Allan, 197–98 measurement, 8 medicine: blockbuster drugs, 79 causes of illness, 83 and folklore, 78, 80 heart disease, 75, 77 tradition in, 82 ulcers, 78–86, 94–95 memories, negative, 180 Meng Zhao, 91 Metcalfe’s law, 26 Mexico City, pollution in, 131 microbial cloud, 83 middle ground, choosing, 7 milk necklace, weight of, 107 money: as incentive, 107–11, 113, 133 saving, 97–99 spending, 98–99 throwing good after bad, 191 monopolies, lotteries as, 99 moral compass, 31–34 and suicide, 32–34 moral incentives, 112–16, 135 Morton Thiokol, 197–98 Moses, story of, 187 Mullaney, Brian, 117–25, 130 Myhrvold, Nathan, 195 name-calling, 180–81 NASA, 197–98 Nathan (prophet), 187–88 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, 53–61 National Health Service (NHS), 14–16 natural experiments, 40 negative memories, 180 negative thinking, 64 Newton, Sir Isaac, 89 New York Times, 209 Nicklaus, Jack, 205 Nigerian scam, 154–61, 162 Nixon, Richard M., 127 Nobel Prizes, 25n, 83 no one left to blame, 33–34 “nudge” movement, 172 obesity, 107–8, 182–83 obvious, 65, 92–93, 100 Ohtahara syndrome, 14–15 online gambling, 99–100 Operation Smile, 118–19 opinion, 10, 20, 171–73 opportunity cost, 191–92, 199 overthinking, 103 Palestine, and bullet factory, 152–54 parents: and crime prevention, 70 learning from, 50 and traffic accidents, 178 Park, Albert, 91 patents, 193 Peace of Augsburg, 71 penalty kick (soccer), 3–7, 29 perception, 101 peritonitis, 79 perspective, 104 persuasion: difficulty of, 167–73 it’s not me, 173 name-calling, 180–81 new technology, 174–77 “nudge” movement, 172 opponent’s strength, 177–79 perfect solution, 173–74 storytelling, 181–88 Peru, slavery in, 74 Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, 115–16 philanthropy, 73 Ping-Pong, 127 planos (glasses with plain lenses), 92n policymakers, 97 political predictions, 23–24, 171 pollution, 131–33, 176 pooling equilibrium, 143 Porter, Roy, 78 postmortem, 199 poverty: causes of, 66 health and education, 75 practice, importance of, 96 predictions: accuracy of, 24 difficult, 23, 176 dogmatism in, 25 economic, 25–27 end of the world, 30 inaccurate, punishments for, 30–31 incentives for, 29–30 in politics, 23–24, 171 of stock markets, 24–25, 29–30 of store opening, 196–97 by witches, 30–31 preferences, declared vs. revealed, 112 premortem, anonymous, 199 pretense, 104 priestly rigging, 146–47, 148–49, 152, 154 private benefit vs. greater good, 7, 29 private-equity firms, 70 prize-linked savings (PLS) account, 98–99 problem solving: asking the wrong questions in, 49–50, 62 attacking the noisy part, 51 barriers to, 63–64 in complex issues, 23, 35, 66–67, 89–90 difficulty of, 2 in eating contests, 53–61 economic approach to, 9 education reform, 50–52 experiments in, see experiments generating ideas, 87–88 incentives understood in, 8 and moral compass, 31–34 negative thinking in, 64 obvious cause, 65, 92–93 “perfect” solution, 173–74 redefining the problem, 52, 61–62 “right” vs.

“wrong” way of, 7–8 thinking small, 88–92 Protestant Reformation, 70 Protestant work ethic, 72–73 public policy, 97 punishment, 30–31 pushups, 64 questions: answering “I don’t know,” 20, 22, 24, 28, 29, 39, 47 cause-and-effect, 23 from children, 87 complex, 22, 23, 47–48 in decision making, 202–4 from readers, 1–2 uncomfortable, 167 wrong, asking, 49–50, 62 quitting, 190–210 benefits of, 200 bias against, 191, 192, 205 Freakonomics Experiments, 200–205 and happiness, 201, 204–5 letting go, 210 opportunity cost vs., 191–92 sunk costs vs., 191, 192 unattainable goals, 199–200 racial difference, genetic, 77 randomized control trials, 37 Rapture, 39 Red Herring magazine, 25 relationships: authority-figure, 125 changing, 125–30, 135 collaborative, 125, 130, 134 decision-making about, 202–5 diplomatic, 126–27 financial, 125–26, 130 loved-one, 125–26 us-versus-them, 125 religion: and the economy, 72–73 in Germany, 70–73 and income gap, 72 R.E.M., 208 Right Profile, The, 208–9 right vs. wrong, 31–32 risk, as part of work, 194 risky behavior, 90–91 rock band, 208–9 Roe v.


pages: 623 words: 448,848

Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives by Dean D. Metcalfe

active measures, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, impulse control, life extension, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, statistical model, stem cell, twin studies

Acta Paediatr 2000;89:165–71. 103 Abrahamsson T, Jakobsson T, Fagerås Böttcher M, et al. Probiotics in prevention of IgE-associated eczema: a double blind randomised placebo-controlled trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;119:1174–80. 104 Taylor AL, Dunstan JA, Prescott SL. Probiotic supplementation for the first 6 months of life fails to reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis and increases the risk of allergen sensitization in high-risk children: a randomized controlled trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;119:184–91. PA RT 2 Adverse Reactions to Food Antigens: Clinical Science Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives, 4th edition Edited by Dean D. Metcalfe, Hugh A. Sampson, and Ronald A. Simon © 2008 Blackwell Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-405-15129-0 8 CHAPTER 8 The Spectrum of Allergic Reactions to Foods Stacie M. Jones and A. Wesley Burks KEY CONCEPTS • Immunoglobulin E-mediated food allergy is the most common and well-recognized form of food hypersensitivity. • Allergic reactions to food range from mild to life threatening. • Risk factors for life-threatening anaphylaxis are important to recognize. • Atopic dermatitis and asthma are allergic conditions in which hypersensitivity to a food(s) may play a role in disease activity. • A subset of patients with eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders may have food allergy-induced symptoms.

Comparisons made at 1–2-year and 3–4-year follow-ups with 12 control subjects who did not have food allergy and 5 subjects with food allergy who were noncompliant with their diet showed that the 17 food-allergic subjects with appropriate dietary restriction demonstrated highly significant improvement in their AD compared with the control groups. The amount of time for resolution of their food hypersensitivity was also reduced. Lever et al. [42] performed a randomized, controlled trial of an egg exclusion diet in 55 children who presented to a dermatology clinic with AD and possible egg sensitivity identified by radioallergosorbent (RAST) testing before randomization. True egg sensitivity was confirmed by DBPCFC after the trial. The 55 children were randomized either to a 4-week regimen in which mothers received general advice on the care of AD and additional specific advice from a dietician about an egg elimination diet (diet group), or to a control group in which only general advice was provided.

Allergy and intolerance to flavouring agents in atopic dermatitis in young children. Allerg Immunol (Paris) 1994;26:204–10. 116 Wuthrich B, Kagi MK, Hafner J. Disulfite-induced acute intermittent urticaria with vasculitis. Dermatology 1993;187:290–2. 117 Wuthrich B. Adverse reactions to food additives. Ann Allergy 1993;71:379–84. 118 Nettis E, Colanardi MC, Ferrannini A, Tursi A. Sodium benzoate-induced repeated episodes of acute urticaria/ angio-oedema: randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol 2004;151:898–902. 119 Rance F, Dutau G, Abbal M. Mustard allergy in children. Allergy 2000;55:496–500. 120 Figueroa J, Blanco C, Dumpierrez AG, et al. Mustard allergy confirmed by double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges: clinical features and cross-reactivity with mugwort pollen and plant-derived foods. Allergy 2005;60:48–55. 121 Hansen TK, Bindslev-Jensen C. Codfish allergy in adults.


pages: 280 words: 79,029

Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our WorldÑFor the Better by Andrew Palmer

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, break the buck, Bretton Woods, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Innovator's Dilemma, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, loss aversion, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Network effects, Northern Rock, obamacare, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Thales of Miletus, transaction costs, Tunguska event, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Vanguard fund, web application

., 32 Keys, Benjamin, 48 Kharroubi, Enisse, 79 Kickstarter, 172 King, Stephen, 99 Klein, David, 182 Krugman, Paul, xv Lahoud, Sal, 166 Lang, Luke, 153, 161–162 Laplanche, Renaud, 179, 184, 188, 190, 193–194, 196–197 Latency, 53 Law of large numbers, 17 Layering, 57 Left-digit bias, 46 Lehman Brothers, x, 44, 65 Lending direct, 84 marketplace, 184 payday, 200 relationship-based, 11, 151, 206–208 secured, xiv, 76 unsecured, 206 See also Loans; Peer-to-peer lending Lending Club, 172, 179–180, 182–184, 187, 189, 194–195, 197 Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci), 19 Lerner, Josh, 59 Lethal pandemic, risk-modeling for demographic profile, 230 exceedance-probability curve, 231–232, 232 figure 3 historical data, 228–229 infectiousness and virulence, 229–230 location of outbreak, 230–231 Leverage, 51, 70–71, 80, 186, 188 Leverage ratio, 76–77 Lewis, Michael, 57 Liber Abaci or Book of Calculation (Fibonacci), 19 LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), 41 Liebman, Jeffrey, 98 Life expectancy government reaction to, 128–129 projections of, 124–127, 126 figure 2 ratio of young to older people, 127–128 Life-insurance policies, 142 Life-settlements industry, 142–143 Life table, 20 Limited liability, 212 Liquidity, 12–14, 39, 185–186 List, John, 109 The Little Book of Behavioral Investing (Montier), 156 Lo, Andrew, 113–115, 117–123 Loans low-documentation, 48–49 secured, 76 small business, 181, 216 student, 164, 166–167, 169–171, 182 syndicated, 41 Victory Loans, 28 See also Lending; Peer-to-Peer lending Logistic regression, 201 London, early fire insurance in, 16–17 London, Great Fire of, 16 London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), 41 Long-Term Capital Management, 123 Longevity, betting on, 143–144 Loss aversion, 136 Lotteries, 212, 213 Low-documentation loans, 48–49 Lumni, 165, 168, 175 Lustgarten, Anders, 111 Lynn, Jeff, 160–161 Mack, John, 180 Mahwah, New Jersey, 52, 53 Marginal borrowers assessment of, 216–217 behavioral finance and, 208–214 industrialization of credit, 206 microfinance and, 203 savings schemes, 209–214 small businesses, 215–219 unsecured lending to, 206 Wonga, 203, 205, 208 Marginal borrowers (continued) ZestFinance, 199, 202, 205–206 Maritime piracy, solutions to, 151–152 Maritime trade, role of in history of finance, 3, 7–8, 14, 17, 23 Market makers, 15–16, 55 MarketInvoice, 195, 207, 217–218 Marketplace lending, 184 Markowitz, Harry, 118 Massachusetts, use of inflation-protected bonds in, 26 Massachusetts, use of social-impact bonds in, 98 Matching engine, 52 Maturity transformation, 12–13, 187–188, 193 McKinsey & Company, ix, 42 Mercator Advisory Group, 203 Merrill, Charles, 28 Merrill, Douglas, 199, 201 Merrill Lynch, 28 Merton, Robert, 31, 113–114, 123–124, 129–132, 142, 145 Mian, Atif, 204 Michigan, University of, financial survey by, 134–135 Microfinance, 203 Micropayment model, 217 Microwave technology, 53 The Million Adventure, 213–214 Minsky, Hyman, 42 Minsky moment, 42 Mississippi scheme, 36 Mitchell, Justin, 166–167 Momentum Ignition, 57 Monaco, modeling risk of earthquake in, 227 Money, history of, 4–5 Money illusion, 73–74 Money laundering, 192 Money-market funds, 43, 44 Monkeys, Yale University study of loss aversion with, 136 Montier, James, 156–157 Moody, John, 24 Moody’s, 24, 235 Moore’s law, 114 Morgan Stanley, 188 Mortgage-backed securities, 49, 233 Mortgage credit by ZIP code, study of, 204 Mortgage debt, role of in 2007–2008 crisis, 69–70 Mortgage products, unsound, 36–37 Mortgage securitization, 47 Multisystemic therapy, 96 Munnell, Alicia, 129 Naked credit-default swaps, 143 Nature Biotechnology, on drug-development megafunds, 118 “Neglected Risks, Financial Innovation and Financial Fragility” (Gennaioli, Shleifer, and Vishny), 42 Network effects, 181 New York, skyscraper craze in, 74–75 New York City, prisoner-rehabilitation program in, 108 New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 31, 52, 53, 61, 64 New York Times, Merrill Lynch ad in, 28 Noncorrelated assets, 122 Nonprofits, growth of in United States, 105–106 Northern Rock, x NYMEX, 60 NYSE Euronext, 52 NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), 31, 52, 53, 61, 64 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), 128, 147 Oldfield, Sean, 67–68, 80–84 OnDeck, 216–218 One Service, 94–95, 105, 112 Operating expense ratio, 188–189 Options, 15, 124 Order-to-trade ratios, 63 Oregon, interest in income-share agreements, 172, 176 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 128, 147 Overtrading, 24 Packard, Norman, 60 Pandit, Vikram, 184 Park, Sun Young, 233 Partnership mortgage, 81 Pasion, 11 Pave, 166–168, 173, 175, 182 Payday lending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, survey on, 200 information on applicants, acquisition of, 202 underwriting of, 201 PayPal, 219 Peak child, 127 Peak risk, 228 Peer-to-peer lending advantages of, 187–189 auction system, 195 big investors in, 183 borrowers, assessment of, 197 in Britain, 181 commercial mortgages, 181 CommonBond, 182, 184, 197 consumer credit, 181 diversification, 196 explained, 180 Funding Circle, 181–182, 189, 197 investors in, 195 Lending Club, 179–180, 182–184, 187, 189, 194–195, 197 network effects, 181 ordinary savers and, 184 Prosper, 181, 187, 195 RateSetter, 181, 187, 196 Relendex, 181 risk management, 195–197 securitization, 183–184, 196 Peer-to-peer lending (continued) small business loans, 181 SoFi, 184 student loans, 182 Zopa, 181, 187, 188, 195 Pensions, cost of, 125–126 Perry, Rick, 142–143 Peterborough, England, social-impact bond pilot in, 90–92, 94–95, 104–105, 112 Petri, Tom, 172 Pharmaceuticals, decline of investment in, 114–115 Piracy Reporting Centre, International Maritime Bureau, 151 Polese, Kim, 210 Poor, Henry Varnum, 24 “Portfolio Selection” (Markowitz), 118 Prediction Company, 60–61 Preferred shares, 25 Prepaid cards, 203 Present value of cash flows, 19 Prime borrowers, 197 Prince, Chuck, 50–51, 62 Principal-agent problem, 8 Prisoner rehabilitation programs, 90–91, 94–95, 98, 108, 112 Private-equity firms, 69, 85, 91, 105, 107 Projection bias, 72–73 Property banking crises and, xiv, 69 banking mistakes involving, 75–80 behavioral biases and, 72–75 dangerous characteristics of, 70–72 fresh thinking, need for, xvii, 80 investors’ systematic errors in, 74–75 perception of as safe investment, 76, 80 Prosper, 181, 187, 195 Provisioning funds, 187 Put options, 9, 82 Quants, 19, 63, 113 QuickBooks, 218 Quote stuffing, 57 Raffray, André-François, 144 Railways, affect of on finance, 23–25 Randomized control trials (RCTs), 101 Raphoen, Christoffel, 15–16 Raphoen, Jan, 15–16 RateSetter, 181, 187, 196 RCTs (randomized control trials), 101 Ready for Zero, 210–211 Rectangularization, 125, 126 figure 2 Regulation NMS, 61 Reinhart, Carmen, 35 Reinsurance, 224 Relendex, 181 Rentes viagères, 20 Repurchase “repo” transactions, 15, 185 Research-backed obligations, 119 Reserve Primary Fund, 44 Retirement, funding for anchoring effect, 137–138 annuities, 139 auto-enrollment in pension schemes, 135 auto-escalation, 135–136 conventional funding, 127–128 decumulation, 138–139 government reaction to increased longevity, 128–129 home equity, 139–140 life expectancy, projections of, 124–127, 126 figure 2 life insurance policies, cash-surrender value of, 142 personal retirement savings, 128–129, 132–133 replacement rate, 125 reverse mortgage, 140–142 savings cues, experiment with, 137 SmartNest, 129–131 Reverse mortgages, 140–142 Risk-adjusted returns, 118 Risk appetite, 116 Risk assessment, 24, 45, 77–78, 208 Risk aversion, 116, 215 Risk-based capital, 77 Risk-based pricing model, 176 Risk management, 55, 117–118, 123, 195–197 Risk Management Solutions, 222 Risk sharing, 8, 82 Risk-transfer instrument, 226 Risk weights, 77–78 Rogoff, Kenneth, 35 “The Role of Government in Education” (Friedman), 165 Roman Empire business corporation in, 7 financial crisis in, 36 forerunners of banks in, 11 maritime insurance in, 8 Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs), 209–210 Roulette wheel, use of in experiment on anchoring, 138 Royal Bank of Scotland, 186 Rubio, Marco, 172 Russia, mortgage market in, 67 S-curve, in diffusion of innovations, 45 Salmon, Felix, 155 Samurai bonds, 27 Satsuma Rebellion (1877), 27 Sauter, George, 58 Save to Win, 214 Savings-and-loan crisis in US (1990s), 30 Savings cues, experiment with, 137 Scared Straight social program, 101 Scholes, Myron, 31, 123–124 Science, Technology, and Industry Scoreboard of OECD, 147 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 54, 56, 57, 58, 64 Securities markets, 14 Securitization, xi, 20, 37–38, 117–122, 183–184, 196, 236 Seedrs, 160–161 Sellaband, 159 Shared equity, 80–84 Shared-equity mortgage, 84 Shepard, Chris, xii–xiii Shiller, Robert, xv–xvi, 242 Shleifer, Andrei, 42, 44 Short termism, 58 SIBs.

Job-training programs, for example, often focus on inputs such as the number of participants and outputs such as the number of graduates from a scheme, rather than on the numbers who secure employment. That is like measuring the number of widgets a factory produces in an hour, but not how many of them are sold. The result is that money—a lot of money—is being pumped into programs that are not actually delivering decent results. Between 1990 and 2010, ten federal government social programs in the United States were evaluated using randomized control trials (RCTs), a method of randomly assigning people between one group whose members are receiving certain services and another group whose members are not. Measuring the difference in outcomes between the two tells you how useful a specific program is. Nine of the ten federal programs were found to have weak or no positive effects: they were a waste of taxpayers’ money.4 Some initiatives actually end up doing harm.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

Over two million K–12 students take at least one class online. At these online schools, the degree of contact with flesh-and-blood teachers varies. Instructors might answer questions by email, phone, or videoconference, supplemented by periodic meetings, class trips, and “live,” in-the-classroom exams. It’s often for less than half the price of a traditional K–12 schooling experience. The world still awaits systematic, rigorous (randomized control trial) studies of all of these methods of learning, and it is too early to say what is working and what is not. Nonetheless, we do know two things for sure. First, very often the online methods are much cheaper and also more flexible than the previous alternatives. Second, some learners—quite possibly a minority—love the online methods. We can thus expect that online education in its various manifestations will likely represent a fair-sized chunk of the future of the sector.

We still haven’t dispensed with models, because there are a few models we believe in pretty strongly, such as that when price goes up, people usually buy less of that good or service, all other things being held equal. But those are old theories and the real action and value-add comes from the data and its handling, including data from field experiments, laboratory experiments, and from randomized control trials. The underlying models just aren’t getting that much better, and when the underlying models are more complicated, they very often are not more persuasive to the typical research economist. I would sum up the blend as follows: (a) much better data, (b) higher standards for empirical tests, and (c) lots of growth in complex theory but not matched by a corresponding growth in impact. Mathematical economics, computational economics, complexity economics, and game theory continue to grow, as we would expect of a diverse and specialized discipline, but they are if anything losing relative ground in terms of influence.

That included data about income, new jobs or businesses, failure to repay loans, and many other features of their daily economic lives. The basic question was a pretty simple one: whether the group with access to the microcredit did better. It turned out they were more likely to have started their own businesses and thus a classic paper was born. Most people see this as the most important study of microcredit, in addition to another large-scale randomized control trial from Dean Karlan at Yale University. It’s a long way from grabbing a publicly available database from a government agency, without much worrying about the quality or meaning of the numbers, and running some regressions. Setting up the entire field experiment is also a uniquely human contribution and it does not approximate any task that is replicable with smart machines. Outside of economics, a computer program will look at a lot of numbers, search for patterns in a more complex way than current empirical researchers can do, and report back the results.


The End of Pain: How Nutrition and Diet Can Fight Chronic Inflammatory Disease by Jacqueline Lagace

longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

., “Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: A 12-year prospective study,” Am J Public Health, vol. 87, 1997, p. 992–97; K. Michaelsson, H. Melhus, R. Bellocco et al., “Dietary calcium and vitamin D in relation to osteoporotic fracture risk,” Bone, vol. 32, 2003, p. 694–03. A. Bischoff-Ferrari, B. Dawson-Hughes, J.A. Baron et al., “Calcium intake and hip fracture risk in men and women: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 86, 2007, p. 1780–90; J.A. Kanis, H. Johansson, A. Oden et al., “A metaanalysis of milk intake and fracture risk: Low utility for case finding,” Osteoporos Int, vol. 16, 2005, p. 799–04. C.S. Johnston, S.L. Tjonn, P.D. Swan et al., “Low-carbohydrate, highprotein diets that restrict potassium-rich fruits and vegetables promote calciuria,” Osteoporos Int, vol. 17, 2006, p. 1820–21.

Loken, “Dietary fat and the risk of breast cancer: A prospective study of 25,892 Norwegian women,” Int J Cancer, vol. 63, 1995, p. 13–17; J. Green and C.R. Kleeman, “Role of bone in regulation of systemic acid-base balance,” Kidney Int, vol. 39, 1991, p. 9–26. 136. H.M. Macdonald, A. J. Black, L. Aucott et al., “Effect of potassium citrate supplementation or increased fruit and vegetable intake on bone metabolism in healthy postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 88, 2008, p. 465–74; S.A. New, C. Bolton-Smith, D.A. Grubb et al., “Nutritional influences on bone mineral density: A cross-sectional study in menopausal women,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 65, 1997, p. 1831–39; H.M. Macdonald, S.A. New, M.H. Golden et al., “Nutritional associations with bone loss during the menopausal transition: Evidence of a beneficial effect of calcium, alcohol, and fruit and vegetable nutrients and of a detrimental effect of fatty acids,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 79, 2004, p. 155–65. 137.

Gawinowicz, “Nonenzymatic glycation of bovine serum albumin by fructose (fructation): Comparison with the Maillard reaction initiated by glucose,” J Biol Chem, vol. 264, 1989, p. 3674–79. 86. M. Kretowicz, R.J. Johnson, T. Ishimoto et al., “The impact of fructose on renal function and blood pressure,” Int J Nephrol, 2011:315879. Epub July 17, 2011. 87. M. Madero, J.C. Arriaga, D. Jalal et al., “The effect of two energy restricted diets, a low-fructose diet versus a moderate natural fructose diet, on weight loss and metabolic syndrome parameters: A randomized controlled trial,” Metabolism, vol. 60, no. 11, 2011, p. 1551–9. 88. D.I. Jalal, G. Smits, R.J. Johnson and M. Chonchol, “Increased fructose associates with elevated blood pressure,” J Am Soc Nephrol, vol. 21, 2010, p. 1543–49. Epub July 1, 2010. 89. Ibid., note 27. 90. Ibid., note 33. 91. D. Stellato, L.F. Morrone, C. Di Giorgio and L. Gesualdo , “Uric acid: A starring role in the intricate scenario of metabolic syndrome with cardio-renal damage?”


The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly

airport security, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, Bob Geldof, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, clean water, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, end world poverty, European colonialism, failed state, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, George Akerlof, Gunnar Myrdal, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land tenure, Live Aid, microcredit, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, publication bias, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, structural adjustment programs, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers

A World Bank study of evaluation in 2000 began with the confession, “Despite the billions of dollars spent on development assistance each year, there is still very little known about the actual impact of projects on the poor.22 After years of pressure, the IMF created an Independent Evaluation Office in 2001. The World Bank in 2004 laudably created a Development Impact Evaluation Task Force. The task force will use the randomized controlled trial methodology discussed in chapter 2 to assess the impact of selected interventions on the intended beneficiaries. The task force has started two dozen new evaluations in five areas (conditional cash transfers in low-income countries; school-based management; contract teachers; use of information as an accountability tool for schools; and slum upgrading programs). It remains to be seen if the evaluation results change the incentives to do effective programs in the operational side of the World Bank.

This includes the ten-step M&E program (step 3: “NAC [National AIDS Councils] and stakeholders engage in an intensive participatory process to build ownership and buy-in, particularly for the overall M&E system and programme monitoring”). There is also the list of thirty-four indicators (none of which involves monitoring “core transmitters”), the nineteen-point terms of reference for the M&E consultant to the NAC, and the “summary terms of reference for specialized programme activity monitoring entity.” The accepted scientific standard for any program evaluation, the randomized controlled trial, did not make it into the manual. The Kitty Genovese Effect Winston Moseley killed Kitty Genovese, a twenty-eight-year-old bar manager, in Queens, New York, in 1964. Her murder is the first news story I remember from my childhood. As Moseley first stabbed Kitty, neighbors heard her screams but didn’t call the police. Moseley drove away and then came back and stabbed her some more, till she died.

Then hold the aid agencies accountable for their results by having truly independent evaluation of their efforts. Perhaps the aid agencies should each set aside a portion of their budgets (such as the part now wasted on self-evaluation) to contribute to an international independent evaluation group made up of staff trained in the scientific method from the rich and poor countries, who will evaluate random samples of each aid agency’s efforts. Evaluation will involve randomized controlled trials where feasible, less pure statistical analysis if not, and will at least be truly independent, even when randomized trials and statistical analysis are not feasible. Experiment with different methods of simply asking the poor if they are better off. Mobilize the altruistic people in rich countries to put heat on the agencies to make their money actually reach the poor, and to get angry when the aid does not reach the poor.


pages: 442 words: 94,734

The Art of Statistics: Learning From Data by David Spiegelhalter

Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Bayesian statistics, Carmen Reinhart, complexity theory, computer vision, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Hans Rosling, Kenneth Rogoff, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, Netflix Prize, p-value, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, replication crisis, self-driving car, speech recognition, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus

We need an intervention group, who will be given statins, and a control group who will be given sugar pills or placebos. Allocation of treatment: It is important to compare like with like, so the treatment and comparison groups have to be as similar as possible. The best way to ensure this is by randomly allocating participants to be treated or not, and then seeing what happens to them – this is known as a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Statin trials do this with enough people so that the two groups should be similar in all factors that could otherwise influence the outcome, including – and this is critically important – those factors that we don’t know about. These studies can be huge: in the UK Heart Protection Study carried out in the late 1990s, 20,536 people at raised risk of a heart attack or stroke were randomly allocated to take either 40 mg of simvastatin daily or a dummy tablet.3 People should be counted in the groups to which they were allocated: The people allocated to the ‘statin’ group in the Heart Protection Study (HPS) were included in the final analysis even if they did not take their statins.

If both small and large values of T indicate inconsistency with H0, then the two-sided P-value is the probability of observing such a large value in either direction. Often the two-sided P-value is simply taken as double the one-sided P-value, while the R software uses the total probability of events which have a lower probability of occurring than that actually observed. quartiles (of a population): the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles. randomized controlled trial (RCT): an experimental design in which people or other units being tested are randomly allocated to different interventions, thus ensuring, up to the play of chance, that the groups are balanced in both known and unknown background factors. If the groups show subsequent differences in outcome, then either the effect must be due to the intervention or a surprising event has occurred, whose probability can be expressed as a P-value.

Locators in italics refer to figures and tables A A/B tests 107 absolute risk 31–2, 36–7, 383 adjustment 110, 133, 135, 383 adjuvant therapy 181–5, 183–4 agricultural experiments 105–6 AI (artificial intelligence) 144–5, 185–6, 383 alcohol consumption 112–13, 299–300 aleatory uncertainty 240, 306, 383 algorithms – accuracy 163–7 – biases 179 – for classification 143–4, 148 – complex 174–7 – contests 148, 156, 175, 277–8 see also Titanic challenge – meaning of 383 – parameters 171 – performance assessment 156–63, 176, 177 – for prediction 144, 148 – robustness 178 – sensitivity 157 – specificity 157 – and statistical variability 178–9 – transparency 179–81 allocation bias 85 analysis 6–12, 15 apophenia 97, 257 Arbuthnot, John 253–5 Archbishop of Canterbury 322–3 arm-crossing behaviour 259–62, 260, 263, 268–70, 269 artificial intelligence (AI) 144–5, 185–6, 383 ascertainment bias 96, 383 assessment of statistical claims 368–71 associations 109–14, 138 autism 113 averages 46–8, 383 B bacon sandwiches 31–4 bar charts 28, 30 Bayes, Thomas 305 Bayes factors 331–2, 333, 384 Bayes’ Theorem 307, 313, 315–16, 384 Bayesian hypothesis testing 219, 305–38 Bayesian learning 331 Bayesian smoothing 330 Bayesian statistical inference 323–34, 325, 384 beauty 179 bell-shaped curves 85–91, 87 Bem, Daryl 341, 358–9 Bernoulli distribution 237, 384 best-fit lines 125, 393 biases 85, 179 bias/variance trade-off 169–70, 384 big data 145–6, 384 binary data 22, 385 binary variables 27 binomial distribution 230–6, 232, 235, 385 birth weight 85–91 blinding 101, 385 BMI (body mass index) 28 body mass index (BMI) 28 Bonferroni correction 280, 290–1, 385 boosting 172 bootstrapping 195–203, 196, 198, 200, 202, 208, 229–30, 386 bowel cancer 233–6, 235 Box, George 139 box-and-whisker plots 42, 43, 44, 45 Bradford-Hill, Austin 114 Bradford-Hill criteria 114–17 brain tumours 95–6, 135, 301–3 breast cancer screening 214–16, 215 breast cancer surgery 181–5, 183–4 Brier score 164–7, 386 Bristol Royal Infirmary 19–21, 56–8 C Cairo, Alberto 25, 65 calibration 161–3, 162, 386 Cambridge University 110, 111 cancer – breast 181–5, 183–4, 214–16, 215 – lung 98, 114, 266 – ovarian 361 – risk of 31–6 carbonated soft drinks 113 Cardiac Surgical Registry (CSR) 20–1 case-control studies 109, 386 categorical variables 27–8, 386 causation 96–9, 114–17, 128 reverse causation 112–15, 404 Central Limit Theorem 199, 238–9, 386–7 chance 218, 226 child heart surgery see heart surgery chi-squared goodness-of-fittest 271, 272, 387 chi-squared test of association 268–70, 387 chocolate 348 classical probability 217 classification 143–4, 148–54 classification trees 154–6, 155, 168, 174, 387 cleromancy 81 clinical trials 82–3, 99–107, 131, 280, 347 clustering 147 cohort studies 109, 387 coins 308, 309 communication 66–9, 353, 354, 364–5 complex algorithms 138–9 complexity parameters 171 computer simulation 205–7, 208 conclusions 15, 22, 347 conditional probability 214–16 confidence intervals 241–4, 243, 248–51, 250, 271–3, 335–6, 387–8 confirmatory studies 350–1, 388 confounders 110, 135, 388 confusion matrixes 157 continuous variables 46, 388 control groups 100, 389 control limits 234, 389 correlation 96–7, 113 count variables 44–6, 389 counterfactuals 97–8, 389 crime 83–5, 321–2 see also homicides Crime Survey for England and Wales 83–5 cross-sectional studies 108–9 cross-validation 170–1, 389 CSR(Cardiac Surgical Registry) 20–1 D Data 7–12, 15, 22 data collection 345 data distribution see sample distribution data ethics 371 data literacy 12, 389 data science 11, 145–6, 389 data summaries 40 data visualization 22, 25, 65–6, 69 data-dredging 12 death 9 see also mortality; murder; survival rates deduction 76 deep learning 147, 389 dependent events 214, 389 dependent variables 60, 125–6, 389 deterministic models 128–9, 138 dice 205–7, 206, 213 differences between groups of numbers 51–6 distribution 43 DNA evidence 216 dogs 179 Doll, Richard 114 doping 310–13, 311–12, 314, 315–16 dot-diagrams 42, 43, 44, 45 dynamic graphics 71 E Ears 108–9 education 95–6, 106–7, 131, 135, 178–9 election result predictions 372–6, 375 see also opinion polls empirical distribution 197, 404 enumerative probability 217–18 epidemiology 95, 117, 389 epistemic uncertainty 240, 306, 308, 309, 390 error matrixes 157, 158, 390 errors in coding 345–6 ESP (extra-sensory perception) 341, 358–9 ethics 371 eugenics 39 expectation 231, 390 expected frequencies 32, 209–13, 211, 214–16, 215, 390 explanatory variables 126, 132–5 exploratory studies 350, 390 exposures 114, 390 external validity 82–3, 390 extra-sensory perception (ESP) 341, 358–9 F False discovery rate 280, 390 false-positives 278–80, 390 feature engineering 147, 390 Fermat, Pierre de 207 final odds 316 financial crisis of 2007–2008 139–40 financial models 139–40 Fisher, Ronald 258, 265–6, 336, 345 five-sigma results 281–2 forensic epidemiology 117, 391 forensic statistics 6 framing 391 – of numbers 24–5 – of questions 79–80 fraud 347–50 funnel plots 234, 391 G Gallup, George 81 Galton, Francis 39–40, 58, 121–2, 238–9 gambler’s fallacy 237 gambling 205–7, 206, 213 garden of forking paths 350 Gaussian distribution see normal distribution GDP (Gross Domestic Product) 8–9 gender discrimination 110, 111 Gini index 49 Gombaud, Antoine 205–7 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 8–9 Groucho principle 358 H Happiness 9 HARKing 351–2 hazard ratios 357, 391 health 169–70 heart attacks 99–104 Heart Protection Study (HPS) 100–2, 103, 273–5, 274, 282–7 heart surgery 19–21, 22–4, 23, 56–8, 57, 93, 136–8, 137 heights 122–5, 123, 124, 127, 134, 201, 202, 243, 275–8, 276 hernia surgery 106 HES (Hospital Episode Statistics) 20–1 hierarchical modelling 328, 391 Higgs bosons 281–2 histograms 42, 43, 44, 45 homicides 1–6, 222–6, 225, 248, 270–1, 272, 287–94 Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) 20–1 hospitals 19–21, 25–7, 26, 56–61, 138 house prices 48, 112–14 HPS (Heart Protection Study) 100–2, 103, 273–5, 274, 282–7 hypergeometric distribution 264, 391 hypotheses 256–7 hypothesis testing 253–303, 336, 392 see also Neyman-Pearson Theory; null hypothesis significance testing; P-values I IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer) 31 icon arrays 32–4, 33, 392 income 47–8 independent events 214, 392 independent variables 60, 126, 392 induction 76–7, 392 inductive behaviour 283 inductive inference 76–83, 78, 239, 392 infographics 69, 70 insurance 180 ‘intention to treat’ principle 100–1, 392 interactions 172, 392 internal validity 80–1, 392 International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) 31 inter-quartile range (IQR) 51, 89, 392 IQ 349 IQR (inter-quartile range) 49, 51, 89, 392 J Jelly beans in a jar 40–6, 48, 49, 50 K Kaggle contests 148, 156, 175, 277–8 see also Titanic challenge k-nearest neighbors algorithm 175 L LASSO 172–4 Law of Large Numbers 237, 393 law of the transposed conditional 216, 313 league tables 25, 130–1 see also tables least-squares regression lines 124, 125, 393 left-handedness 113–14, 229–33, 232 legal cases 313, 321, 331–2 likelihood 327, 336, 394 likelihood ratios 314–23, 319–20, 332, 394 line graphs 4, 5 linear models 132, 138 literal populations 91–2 logarithmic scale 44, 45, 394 logistic regression 136, 172, 173, 394 London Underground 24 loneliness 80 long-run frequency probability 218 look elsewhere effect 282 lung cancer 98, 114, 266 lurking factors 113, 135, 394–5 M Machine learning 139, 144–5, 395 mammography 214–16, 215 margins of error 189, 199, 200, 244–8, 395 mean average 46–8 mean squared error (MSE) 163–4, 165, 395 measurement 77–9 meat 31–4 media 356–8 median average 46, 47–8, 51, 89, 395 Méré, Chevalier de 205–7, 213 meta-analysis 102, 104, 395 metaphorical populations 92–3 mode 46, 48, 395 mortality 47, 113–14 MRP (multilevel regression and post-stratification) 329, 396 MSE (mean squared error) 163–4, 165, 395 mu 190 multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) 329, 396 multiple linear regression 132–3, 134 multiple regression 135, 136, 396 multiple testing 278–80, 290, 396 murders 1–6, 222–6, 225, 248, 270–1, 287–94 N Names, popularity of 66, 67 National Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyle Survey (Natsal) 52, 69, 70, 73–5 natural variability 226 neural networks 174 Neyman, Jerzy 242, 283, 335–6 Neyman-Pearson Theory 282–7, 336–7 NHST (null hypothesis significance testing) 266–71, 294–7, 296 non-significant results 299, 346–7, 370 normal distribution 85–91, 87, 226, 237–9, 396–7 null hypotheses 257–65, 336, 397 null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) 266–71, 294–7, 296 O Objective priors 327 observational data 108, 114–17, 128 odds 34, 314, 316 odds ratios 34–6 one-sided tests 264, 397–8 one-tailed P-values 264, 398 opinion polls 82, 245–7, 246, 328–9 see also election result predictions ovarian cancer 361 over-fitting 167–71, 168 P P-hacking 351 P-values 264–5, 283, 285, 294–303, 336, 401 parameters 88, 240, 398 Pascal, Blaise 207 patterns 146–7 Pearson, Egon 242, 283, 336 Pearson, Karl 58 Pearson correlation coefficient 58, 59, 96–7, 126, 398 percentiles 48, 89, 398–9 performance assessment of algorithms 156–67, 176, 177 permutation tests 261–4, 263, 399 personal probability 218–19 pie charts 28, 29 placebo effect 131 placebos 100, 101, 399 planning 13–15, 344–5 Poisson distribution 223–4, 225, 270–1, 399 poker 322–3 policing 107 popes 114 population distribution 86–91, 195, 399 population growth 61–6, 62–4 population mean 190–1, 395 see also expectation populations 74–5, 80–93, 399 posterior distributions 327, 400 power of a test 285–6, 400 PPDAC (Problem, Plan, Data, Analysis, Conclusion) problem-solving cycle 13–15, 14, 108–9, 148–54, 344–8, 372–6, 400 practical significance 302, 400 prayer 107 precognition 341, 358–9 Predict 2.1 182 prediction 144, 148–54 predictive analytics 144, 400 predictor variables 392 pre-election polls see opinion polls presentation 22–7 press offices 355–6 priming 80 prior distributions 327, 400 prior odds 316 probabilistic forecasts 161, 400 probabilities, accuracy 163–7 probability 10 meaning of 216–22, 400–1 rules of 210–13 and uncertainty 306–7 probability distribution 90, 401 probability theory 205–27, 268–71 probability trees 210–13, 212 probation decisions 180 Problem, Plan, Data, Analysis, Conclusion (PPDAC) problem-solving cycle 13–15, 14, 108–9, 148–54, 344–8, 372–6, 400 problems 13 processed meat 31–4 propensity 218 proportions, comparisons 28–37, 33, 35 prosecutor’s fallacy 216, 313 prospective cohort studies 109, 401 pseudo-random-number generators 219 publication bias 367–8 publication of findings 355 Q QRPs (questionable research practices) 350–3 quartiles 89, 402 questionable research practices (QRPs) 350–3 Quetelet, Adolphe 226 R Race 179 random forests 174 random match probability 321, 402 random observations 219 random sampling 81–2, 208, 220–2 random variables 221, 229, 402 randomization 108, 266 randomization tests 261–4, 263, 399 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) 100–2, 105–7, 114, 135, 402 randomizing devices 219, 220–1 range 49, 402 rate ratios 357, 402 Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves 157–60, 160, 402 recidivism algorithms 179–80 regression 121–40 regression analysis 125–8, 127 regression coefficients 126, 133, 403 regression modelling strategies 138–40 regression models 171–4 regression to the mean 125, 129–32, 403 regularization 170 relative risk 31, 403 reliability of data 77–9 replication crisis in science 11–12 representative sampling 82 reproducibility crisis 11–12, 297, 342–7, 403 researcher degrees of freedom 350–1 residual errors 129, 403 residuals 122–5, 403 response variables 126, 135–8 retrospective cohort studies 109, 403 reverse causation 112–15, 404 Richard III 316–21 risk, expression of 34 robust measures 51 ROC (Receiver Operating Characteristic) curves 157–60, 160, 402 Rosling, Hans 71 Royal Statistical Society 68, 79 rules for effective statistical practice 379–80 Ryanair 79 S Salmon 279 sample distribution 43 sample mean 190–1, 395 sample size 191, 192–5, 193–4, 283–7 sampling 81–2, 93 sampling distributions 197, 404 scatter-plots 2–4, 3 scientific research 11–12 selective reporting 12, 347 sensitivity 157–60, 404 sentencing 180 Sequential Probability Ratio Test (SPRT) 292, 293 sequential testing 291–2, 404 sex ratio 253–5, 254, 261, 265 sexual partners 47, 51–6, 53, 55, 73–5, 191–201, 193–4, 196, 198, 200 Shipman, Harold 1–6, 287–94, 289, 293 shoe sizes 49 shrinkage 327, 404 sigma 190, 281–2 signal and the noise 129, 404 significance testing see null hypothesis significance testing Silver, Nate 27 Simonsohn, Uri 349–52, 366 Simpson’s Paradox 111, 112, 405 size of a test 285–6, 405 skewed distribution 43, 405 smoking 98, 114, 266 social acceptability bias 74 social physics 226 Somerton, Francis see Titanic challenge sortilege 81 sortition 81 Spearman’s rank correlation 58–60, 405 specificity 157–9, 405 speed cameras 130, 131–2 speed of light 247 sports doping 310–13, 311–12, 314, 315–16 sports teams 130–1 spread 49–51 SPRT (Sequential Probability Ratio Test) 292, 293 standard deviation 49, 88, 126, 405 standard error 231, 405–6 statins 36–7, 99–104, 273–5, 274, 282–7 statistical analysis 6–12, 15 statistical inference 208, 219, 229–51, 305–38, 323–8, 335, 404 statistical methods 12, 346–7, 379 statistical models 121, 128–9, 404 statistical practice 365–7 statistical science 2, 7, 404 statistical significance 255, 265–8, 270–82, 404 Statistical Society 68 statistics – assessment of claims 368–71 – as a discipline 10–11 – ideology 334–8 – improvements 362–4 – meaning of 404 – publications 16 – rules for effective practice 379–80 – teaching of 13–15 STEP (Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer) 107 storytelling 69–71 stratification 110, 383 Streptomycin clinical trial 105, 114 strip-charts 42, 43, 44, 45 strokes 99–104 Student’s t-statistic 275–7 Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) 107 subjective probability 218–19 summaries 40, 49, 50, 51 supermarkets 112–14 supervised learning 143–4, 404 support-vector machines 174 surgery – breast cancer surgery 181–5, 183–4 – heart surgery 19–21, 22–4, 23, 56–8, 57, 93, 136–8, 137 – hernia surgery 106 survival rates 25–7, 26, 56–61, 57, 60–1 systematic reviews 102–4 T T-statistic 275–7, 404 tables 22–7, 23 tail-area 231 tea tasting 266 teachers 178–9 teaching of statistics 13–15 technology 1 telephone polls 82 Titanic challenge 148–56, 150, 152–3, 155, 162, 166–7, 172, 173, 175, 176, 177, 277 transposed conditionals, law of 216, 313 trees 7–8 trends 61–6, 62–4, 67 two-sided tests 265, 397–8 two-tailed P-values 265, 398 Type I errors 283–5, 404 Type II errors 283–5, 407 U Uncertainty 208, 240, 306–7, 383, 390 uncertainty intervals 199, 200, 241, 335 unemployment 8–9, 189–91, 271–3 university education 95–6, 135, 301–3 see also Cambridge University unsupervised learning 147, 407 US Presidents 167–9 V Vaccination 113 validity of data 79–83 variability 10, 49–51, 178–9, 407 variables 27, 56–61 variance 49, 407 Vietnam War draft lottery 81–2 violence 113 virtual populations 92 volunteer bias 85 voting age 79–80 W Waitrose 112–14 weather forecasts 161, 164, 165 weight loss 348 ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ 351–2 wisdom of crowds 39–40, 48, 51, 407 Z Z-scores 89, 407 PELICAN BOOKS Economics: The User’s Guide Ha-Joon Chang Human Evolution Robin Dunbar Revolutionary Russia: 1891–1991 Orlando Figes The Domesticated Brain Bruce Hood Greek and Roman Political Ideas Melissa Lane Classical Literature Richard Jenkyns Who Governs Britain?


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Period Repair Manual, Second Edition: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods by Lara Briden, Jerilynn Prior

crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, stem cell

PubMed PMID: 8478958 254: Morimoto Y, Conroy SM, Pagano IS, Isaki M, Franke AA, Nordt FJ, et al. Urinary estrogen metabolites during a randomized soy trial. Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(2):307-14. PubMed PMID: 22293063 255: Calcium-d-glucarate monograph. Altern Med Rev 2002;7(4):336-339 256: Siahbazi S, Behboudi-Gandevani S, Moghaddam-Banaem L, Montazeri A. Effect of zinc sulfate supplementation on premenstrual syndrome and health-related quality of life: Clinical randomized controlled trial. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2017 Feb 11;. PubMed PMID: 28188965 257: Posaci C, Erten O, Uren A, Acar B. Plasma copper, zinc and magnesium levels in patients with premenstrual tension syndrome. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1994 Jul;73(6):452-5. PubMed PMID: 8042455 258: Atmaca M, Kumru S, Tezcan E. Fluoxetine versus Vitex agnus castus extract in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

A double-blind controlled trial of oligoantigenic diet treatment. Lancet. 1983 Oct 15;2(8355):865-9. PubMed PMID: 6137694 270: Mauskop A, Varughese J. Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2012 May;119(5):575-9. PubMed PMID: 22426836 271: Chiu HY, Yeh TH, Huang YC, Chen PY. Effects of Intravenous and Oral Magnesium on Reducing Migraine: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician. 2016 Jan;19(1):E97-112. PubMed PMID: 26752497 272: Gonçalves AL, Martini Ferreira A, Ribeiro RT, Zukerman E, Cipolla-Neto J, Peres MF. Randomised clinical trial comparing melatonin 3 mg, amitriptyline 25 mg and placebo for migraine prevention. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2016 Oct;87(10):1127-32. PubMed PMID: 27165014 273: Boehnke C, Reuter U, Flach U, Schuh-Hofer S, Einhäupl KM, Arnold G.

PubMed PMID: 28042649 432: http://www.americanhairloss.org/types_of_hair_loss/effluviums.asp 433: Murata K, Noguchi K, Kondo M, Onishi M, Watanabe N, Okamura K, et al. Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract. Phytother Res. 2013 Feb;27(2):212-7. PubMed PMID: 22517595 434: Fischer TW, Burmeister G, Schmidt HW, Elsner P. Melatonin increases anagen hair rate in women with androgenetic alopecia or diffuse alopecia: results of a pilot randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2004 Feb;150(2):341-5. PubMed PMID: 14996107 435: Personal communication with Dr. Jerilynn Prior. Acknowledgments Thanks again to all my patients who entrusted me with their period problems. You helped me to learn what works for period health and also to trust in what works. Thanks to the readers of my blog and first book. Your comments and questions helped me to better understand and communicate the ideas and concepts I am putting forward.


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Every Patient Tells a Story by Lisa Sanders

data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, high batting average, index card, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan

Instead a small but vocal group of doctors and patients refused to accept these results, refused even to accept the designation of Post–Lyme Disease syndrome. They clung, instead, to “chronic Lyme disease” and insisted that these symptoms did reflect an ongoing infection that warranted continuing treatment with antibiotics. They countered the randomized controlled trials with research of their own, which often showed improvement in patients given antibiotics. But none of these studies compared the antibiotics against a placebo. The randomized controlled trials showed that while patients getting antibiotics did improve, so did those getting the saltwater placebo. Studies done without the placebo had no way of telling whether the antibiotics were really effective or if the improvement was due to something in the normal ebbs and flows of any human condition.

That first look through the skin, into the inner structures of the living body, laid the groundwork for the computerized axial tomography (CT) scan in the 1970s and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the 1990s. Blood tests have exploded in number and accuracy, providing doctors with tools to help make a definitive diagnosis in an entire alphabet of diseases from anemias to zoonoses. Better diagnosis led to better therapies. For centuries, physicians had little more than compassion with which to help patients through their illnesses. The development of the randomized controlled trial and other statistical tools made it possible to distinguish between therapies that worked and those that had little to offer beyond the body’s own recuperative powers. Medicine entered the twenty-first century stocked with a pharmacopeia of potent and effective tools to treat a broad range of diseases. Much of the research of the past few decades has examined which therapies to use and how to use them.


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The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis by Julie Holland

Berlin Wall, Burning Man, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, mandatory minimum, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Stephen Hawking, University of East Anglia, zero-sum game

One must always worry about potential confounders (other variables that are associated with both the exposure and outcome) and explain the apparent relationship between them. There are many possible confounders of an association of cannabis and psychosis. One is other drug use. That is, if cannabis is a gateway drug to the use of other drugs such as hallucinogens, then it may be the other drugs that are really contributing to schizophrenia, not the original cannabis use. Also, causation cannot be definitively established short of doing what is called a randomized controlled trial, in which cannabis would be administered to healthy young people at random who would then be followed to see who developed psychosis. Clearly this alternative is unethical. But the problem with the prospective cohort study is that people may have characteristics that increase risk for both the exposure and the outcome. For instance, if young people destined to develop schizophrenia are themselves somewhat odd, this oddness might make them more likely to use cannabis.

The annual incidence of symptomatic peripheral neuropathy associated with HIV/AIDS has been estimated at 36 percent (Schifitto et al. 2002), with estimates of the prevalence of neuropathy of 30 to 55 percent, rising with severity of disease (Husstedt et al. 2000). CANNABIS AND HIV-ASSOCIATED PAIN The treatment of pain is an important reason why many persons living with HIV use cannabis. To date, no randomized, controlled trials of prescription cannabinoid products for HIV-associated pain have been conducted, but there have been several studies of the safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis for HIV-associated peripheral neuropathy. Donald Abrams and his team pioneered the studies of cannabis and HIV/ AIDS with a safety study evaluating the effects of oral THC and smoked cannabis on plasma levels of antiretroviral medications.

Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, 1992: www.monit­oringthefutur­e.org/pubs.html#papers. Accessed May 7, 2010. Baker, D., G. Pryce, J. L. Croxford, et al. “Cannabinoids Control Spasticity and Tremor in a Multiple Sclerosis Model.” Nature 404 (2000): 84–87. Barber, E. M. Pre-historic Textiles. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989. Barrowclough, C., G. Haddock, N. Tarrier, et al. “Randomized Controlled Trial of Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Family Intervention for Patients with Comorbid Schizophrenia and Substance Use Disorders.” American Journal of Psychiatry 158 (2001): 1706–13. Beal, J. E., R. Olson, L. Laubenstein, et al. “Dronabinol as a Treatment for Anorexia Associated with Weight Loss in Patients with AIDS.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 10 (1995): 89–97.


Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom, Molyn Leszcz

cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, deskilling, epigenetics, experimental subject, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, the scientific method, traveling salesman, unbiased observer

Speca, P. Brasher, P. Geggie, and S. Page, “A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Psychoeducational Support Group for Partners of Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients,” Psycho-Oncology 9 (2000): 303–13. 37 Leszcz, “Group Therapy.” 38 S. Folkman and S. Greer, “Promoting Psychological Well-Being in the Face of Serious Illness: When Theory, Research, and Practice Inform Each Other,” Psycho-Oncology 9 [2000]: 11–19.) Not surprisingly, integrating these coping dimensions creates particularly powerful interventions as noted by R. Lazarus, “Toward Better Research on Stress and Coping,” American Psychologist 55 (2000): 665–73. 39 D. Kissane et al., “Cognitive-Existential Group Psychotherapy for Women with Primary Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Psycho-Oncology 12 (2003): 532–46. V. Helgeson, S.

When managed-care economics dictated a massive swing to brief, symptom-oriented therapy, reports from a multitude of well-funded research projects on brief therapy began to appear in the literature. At the same time, the bottom dropped out of funding sources for research on longer-term therapy, despite a strong clinical consensus about the importance of such research. In time we expect that this trend will be reversed and that more investigation of the effectiveness of psychotherapy in the real world of practice will be undertaken to supplement the knowledge accruing from randomized controlled trials of brief therapy. Another consideration is that, unlike in the physical sciences, many aspects of psychotherapy inherently defy quantification. Psychotherapy is both art and science; research findings may ultimately shape the broad contours of practice, but the human encounter at the center of therapy will always be a deeply subjective, nonquantifiable experience. One of the most important underlying assumptions in this text is that interpersonal interaction within the here-and-now is crucial to effective group therapy.

Ormont, “The Role of the Leader in Resolving Resistances to Intimacy in the Group Setting,” International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 38 (1988): 29–45. 60 D. Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (New York: Bantam Books, 1995). 61 S. Barlow et al., “Leader Communication Style: Effects on Members of Small Groups,” Small Group Behavior 13 (1982): 513–81. 62 S. Borgers, “Uses and Effects of Modeling by the Therapist in Group Therapy,” Journal for Specialists in Group Work 8 (1983): 133–39. 63 E. Kuipers et al., “London–East Anglia Randomized Controlled Trial of Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy for Psychosis: I. Effects of the Treatment Phase,” British Journal of Psychiatry 171 (1997): 319–27. 64 A. Bandura, E. Blanchard, and B. Ritter, “The Relative Efficacy of Desensitization and Modeling Approaches for Inducing Behavioral, Affective, and Attitudinal Changes,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 13 (1969): 173–99. A. Bandura, D. Ross, and S.


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Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik

airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Donald Davies, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, white flight

In development economics, new evidence has led to policy innovations in health, education, and finance that have the potential to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Another way we can observe the transformation of the discipline is by looking at the new areas of research that have flourished in recent decades. Three of these are particularly noteworthy: behavioral economics, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and institutions. What’s striking is that all these areas have been greatly influenced, and in fact stimulated, by fields from outside economics—psychology, medicine, and history, respectively. Their growth disproves the claim that economics is insular and ignores the contributions of other cognate disciplines. In some ways, the rise of behavioral economics marks the greatest departure for standard economics because it undercuts the benchmark, almost canonical assumption of economic models: that individuals are rational.

., 101n pressure groups, 187 price ceilings, 28 price controls, 28–29, 94–97, 150, 185 price elasticities, 14, 180–81 price fixing, 179 prices: in bubbles, 152–58 business cycles and, 125–26, 129, 132 consumers and, 119, 129 in efficient-markets hypothesis, 157 minimum wages relative to, 143 Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School at, 30 principal-agent models, 155 Principle of Comparative Advantage, 52–55, 59–60, 139, 170 prison cell upgrades, 192, 194 prisoners’ dilemma, 14–15, 20, 21, 61–62, 187, 200 privatization, 98, 161, 162 production functions, 119, 122 productivity, 120–21, 122–25, 141 Progresa, 4, 105–6 property rights, 87, 88, 98, 205 Prospera, 4, 105 “Protection and Real Wages” (Stolper and Samuelson), 58n, 140n public spending: business cycles and, 128–29, 131–32 economic growth and, 76–78, 114 quantitative easing, 135 Rajan, Raghu, 154 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), 202–4, 205 randomized field experiments, 105–7, 173, 202–5 rational bubbles, 154 rational choice, 33n rational expectations, 132 rationality postulate, 202–3 rationing, 64–65, 69, 95 Reagan, Ronald W., 49 real business cycle (RBC) models, 101n reasoning, rule-based vs. case-based forms of, 72 Recession, Great, 115, 134–35, 152–59, 184 recessions: fiscal stimulus and, 74–75, 128, 130, 131–37, 149, 150, 171 inflation and (stagflation), 130–31 reform fatigue, 88 regulation, 143, 155, 158–59, 160–61, 165–66, 208–9 Reinhart, Carmen, 76–78 relativity, general, 113 rents, 119, 120, 149, 150 revenue sharing, 124 reverse causal inference, 115 Ricard, Samuel, 196 Ricardo, David, 52–53, 139, 196 risk, 110, 141, 165 Great Recession and, 153–54, 155, 158, 159 Robinson, James, 206 Rodrik, Dani, 35n Rogoff, Kenneth, 76–78 Rubinstein, Ariel, 20 rule of law, 205 Russia, 166 Rustichini, Aldo, 71n Ryan, Stephen, 107 sales tax, 180–81 Samuelson, Paul, 31, 51–52, 53, 58n, 125, 140n Sandel, Michael, 189, 191–92, 194 Sargent, Tom, 131–32, 134 UC graduation speech and, 147–48 savings: globalization and, 165, 166 in Great Recession, 153 investment and, 129–30, 165–67 scale economies, 108, 122 Schelling, Thomas, 33, 42, 62 Schultz, Theodore W., 75n Schumacher, E.


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The End of Illness by David B. Agus

Danny Hillis, discovery of penicillin, double helix, epigenetics, germ theory of disease, Google Earth, impulse control, information retrieval, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, personalized medicine, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, Steve Jobs, the scientific method

I could take up the next tens of pages of this book outlining similar studies that have further confirmed what I’ve long thought to be true: vitamins don’t live up to the hype. But for fear of inundating you with too many academically minded summaries, let me briefly mention just a couple more that are more recent than those already described: • In 2010, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published a review of sixty-three randomized, controlled trials (again, the gold-standard research method) on multivitamins, finding that multivitamins did nothing to prevent cancer or heart disease in most populations. The only exception occurred in developing countries where nutritional deficiencies are widespread. • In 2009, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, published a paper after following 160,000 postmenopausal women for about ten years.

Cancerous cells could already have started to propagate, at which point the inherent DNA repair system is no longer effective. It cannot fix the cancer. The clear association between inflammation and cancer is real and has many examples. One of the most exciting recent studies was published in the June 22, 2010, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The analysis of two dozen randomized, controlled trials that were studying therapies for cholesterol found that each 10 mg/dl higher increment of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) was associated with a relative 36 percent lower risk of cancer. The relationship persisted even after adjusting for LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), age, body mass index (BMI), diabetes, sex, and smoking status. The researchers were quick to note that these association studies cannot prove cause and effect, although it’s been suggested that HDL may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that could potentially fight cancer.

Rosuvastatin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease among patients with low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein: rationale and design of the JUPITER trial. Circulation 108, no. 19 (November 11, 2003): 2292–97. Rothwell, P.M., et al. Effect of daily aspirin on long-term risk of death due to cancer: analysis of individual patient data from randomised trials. Lancet 377, no. 9759 (January 1, 2011): 31–41. Epub December 6, 2010. Sanders, K.M., et al. Annual high-dose oral vitamin D and falls and fractures in older women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 303, no. 18 (2010): 1815–22. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010 .594. Schrödinger, E. What Is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univeristy Press, 1944. Schürks, M., R.J. Glynn, P.M. Rist, C. Tzourio, and T. Kurth. Effects of vitamin E on stroke subtypes: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 341 (November 4, 2010): c5702. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c5702.


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Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Branko Milanovic, Cass Sunstein, clean water, end world poverty, experimental economics, illegal immigration, Martin Wolf, microcredit, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Peter Singer: altruism, pre–internet, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Thomas Malthus, ultimatum game, union organizing

Proving Effectiveness Long before Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld wondered which organizations would make the best use of their donations, Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded the Jameel Poverty Action Lab on the premise that we can and should use scientific methods to find out which aid projects work. As the gold standard of scientific rigor they take the random controlled trial used for testing the efficacy of new drugs. In such a trial, half the patients are randomly assigned to receive the new drug, while the other half get a placebo. Randomization ensures that the two groups are not different in any way that could affect the course of their illness or the impact of the drug. We have just seen an example of these methods—the study of the effect of loans given by the South African microfinance organization—which was carried out by associates of the Poverty Action Lab.

Thanks to controlled trials, we know that providing drugs to kill parasitical worms in Kenyan children improves learning, that education in condom use reduces the likelihood of people getting AIDS, and that offering mothers in India a cheap bag of lentils means that more of them will bring in their children for immunization.12 So why don’t we test all poverty programs this way? One reason is the cost of administering the trials. Oxfam America found that a random controlled trial of one of its microcredit programs in West Africa would cost almost as much as the project itself. The money would have come out of the budget for the project, with the result that microcredit could be extended to only half as many villages as would otherwise be possible. Oxfam did not go ahead with the randomized trial. This is an understandable decision, but it would probably pay, over the long term, for organizations to set aside some money specifically for proper studies of the effectiveness of their programs.


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Miracle Cure by William Rosen

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, biofilm, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, creative destruction, demographic transition, discovery of penicillin, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, functional fixedness, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, Haber-Bosch Process, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Louis Pasteur, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, New Journalism, obamacare, out of africa, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, stem cell, transcontinental railway, working poor

But because its mechanism worked to inhibit oxygen consumption by the bacterium, the logic went, it strengthened the action of streptomycin, which needs oxygen to enter the bacterial cells.* In his second trial, beginning in December 1948, Hill duplicated exactly the same experimental structure—same randomization, same X-ray evaluation—as his first. This time, however, he added Lehmann’s oxygen inhibitor to the treatment group. Less than a year later, the power of what would come to be known as RCT, for randomized controlled trials, was vindicated. The Medical Research Council announced that they had shown “unequivocally that the combination of PAS with streptomycin considerably reduces the risk of the development of streptomycin-resistant strains of tubercle bacilli.” The three-year survival rate using the combination of the two drugs was an almost unbelievable 80 percent.* In less than three years, penicillin and streptomycin had achieved more victories in the battle against infectious disease than anything in the entire history of medicine since Galen.

It allowed Frances Kelsey a remarkably free hand in exercising her authority to grant or withhold IND status; to her critics, this led to any number of cases in which she withheld classification based on nothing but a lack of faith in a particular investigator, or her judgment that the proposed drug was either ineffective or dangerous.* The new requirements, which would remain largely unchanged for at least the next fifty years, permanently altered the character of medical innovation. The method of validating medical innovation using randomized control trials had given the world of medicine a way of identifying the sort of treatments whose curative powers weren’t immediately obvious to clinicians (and, just as important, identifying those that seemed spectacular, but weren’t). Until 1963, however, RCTs had been a choice. The three phases of the newly empowered FDA made them a de facto requirement. Frances Kelsey’s intention was to use the objectivity of clinical trials to simultaneously protect the public and promote innovative therapies.

., 132–33, 156, 163, 171 phases, 146, 146 phenol (carbolic acid), 34, 35, 46, 56n, 86, 87, 159 philanthropy, 100, 239 Phipps, James, 13n phlegm, 7, 14 phocomelia, 282–83 pigs, 233 Pirie, Norman, 107 Plague of Athens, 13, 42, 81 pneumococci, 117, 165, 217 pneumonia, 2, 13, 35, 217, 237 pneumococcal, 76 streptococcal, 59 pneumothorax technique, 189 Polaroid, 222 polysaccharides, 110 Poughon, Julie-Antoinette, 31 Poulenc, Camille, 69 prednisone, 278 Price, Derek de Solla, 154 Priestley, Joseph, 11 Principles and Practices of Medicine, The (Osler), 8 Pringle, Peter, 202 Private Science of Louis Pasteur, The (Geison), 30 Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic, 201 Proceedings of the Society for Experimental and Biological Medicine, 201, 205 prokaryotes, 24–25, 224n Proloprim, 303 Prontosil, 67–71, 76, 111, 141, 150, 178, 217, 225, 244 protozoans, 52, 224 Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 237 Pseudomonas pyocyanea, 111 psittacosis, 247 puerperal (childbed) fever, 67–68, 72 Pure Food and Drugs Act, 73, 74, 134n, 135 putrefaction, 17–18, 20 Quaker Oats Company, 155 quinine, 176, 220 quinolone antibiotics, 299 rabies, 30–31, 44 racemic acid, 20 Radcliffe Infirmary, 112, 123, 128–30, 139, 141 Raistrick, Harold, 111, 116–17, 134 Ramón y Cajal, Santiago, 101 Raper, Kenneth, 135–36 Rawlins, George, 5 RCTs (randomized controlled trials), 212, 273, 274n, 290, 291 Rebstock, Mildred, 244–45, 247 research laboratories, 37–38 funding for, 57, 100 respirators, 108 Rhodes, Cecil John, 96, 97 Rhodes Scholarships, 96–97 Rhône-Poulenc, 76, 181, 297 Ribicoff, Abraham, 260 Richards, Alfred Newton, 100, 151–53, 161, 167–69, 177, 216, 222, 296 Richards, E. A. H., 103, 110 Richardson-Merrell, Inc., 281–83, 288 rickets, 102, 154, 230 rickettsial diseases, 245–47, 287 Rideout, Jane, 294 Rieveschl, George, 242 Riley, James Whitcomb, 239 Robert Koch Institute, 295 Robinson, Robert, 144, 149, 169–70, 174 Roche, 297 Rockefeller, John D., Jr., 99 Rockefeller, John D., Sr., 99 Rockefeller Foundation, 98–100, 108, 114, 115, 121, 127, 131–33, 145, 156 Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 114n, 190 Rockefeller University, 295–96 Rocky Mountain spotted fever, 247 Roentgen, Wilhelm, 143 Rokitansky, Carl von, 22 Romer, Kenneth, 65n Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 76, 151–52, 168 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, Jr., 71, 74 Root, Elihu, 168 Root-Bernstein, Robert Scott, 92 Rose, Wickliffe, 99 Rosengarten, Adolph, 161 Rousseau, Margaret Hutchinson, 172 Roux, Emile, 26, 44 Royal Society, 105, 122, 149, 161 Rubiazol, 69–70 Rubicam, Raymond, 163n Runge, Friedlieb, 34 Rusby, Henry, 241 Rush, Benjamin, 9–10, 73 Rutgers Research and Endowment Foundation, 191, 202–5, 215n, 216 Rutherford, Ernest, 105n Sackler, Arthur M., 227–28, 240, 272, 273 St.


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Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

This is the first written record of a comparative experiment in which a hypothesis is tested and a control group is used. A few centuries later, these events would be immortalized in the biggest bestseller ever: the Bible (see Daniel 1:1–16). But it would still be several hundred years before this kind of comparative research came to be considered the scientific gold standard. These days, we would call this a randomized controlled trial, or RCT. If you were a medical researcher, you would proceed as follows: Using a lottery system, you divide people with the same health problem into two groups. One gets the medicine you want to test and the other gets a placebo.7 In the case of bloodletting, the first comparative experiment was published in 1836 by the French doctor Pierre Louis, who had treated some pneumonia sufferers by immediately relieving them of a few pints of blood and others by holding off on the leeches for a few days.

This is nothing less than a whole new approach to economics. The randomistas don’t think in terms of models. They don’t believe humans are rational actors. Instead, they assume we are quixotic creatures, sometimes foolish and sometimes astute, and by turns afraid, altruistic, and self-centered. And this approach appears to yield considerably better results. So why did it take so long to figure this out? Well, several reasons. Doing randomized controlled trials in poverty-stricken countries is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Often, local organizations are less than eager to cooperate, not least because they’re worried the findings will prove them ineffective. Take the case of microcredit. Development aid trends come and go, from “good governance” to “education” to the ill-fated “microcredit” at the start of this century. Microcredit’s reckoning came in the form of our old friend Esther Duflo, who set up a fatal RCT in Hyderabad, India, and demonstrated that, all the heartwarming anecdotes notwithstanding, there is no hard evidence that microcredit is effective at combating poverty and illness.13 Handing out cash works way better.


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Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam

assortative mating, business cycle, correlation does not imply causation, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, ending welfare as we know it, epigenetics, full employment, George Akerlof, helicopter parent, impulse control, income inequality, index card, jobless men, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Occupy movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, school choice, selection bias, Socratic dialogue, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the built environment, upwardly mobile, Walter Mischel, white flight, working poor

Byron Egeland, “Taking Stock: Childhood Emotional Maltreatment and Developmental Psychopathology,” Child Abuse & Neglect 33 (January 2009): 22–26. Egeland was building on the classic work in attachment theory by Mary Ainsworth, “Attachment as Related to Mother-Infant Interaction,” in Advances in the Study of Behavior (New York: Academic Press, 1979), 1–51. 36. Yann Algan, Elizabeth Beasley, Frank Vitaro, and Richard E. Tremblay, “The Long-Term Impact of Social Skills Training at School Entry: A Randomized Controlled Trial” (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, November 28, 2013). https://www.gate.cnrs.fr/IMG/pdf/MLES_14_nov_2013-1.pdf. 37. Gary W. Evans, “The Environment of Childhood Poverty,” American Psychologist 59 (February/March 2004): 77–92 and works cited there; Jamie L. Hanson, Nicole Hair, Dinggang G. Shen, Feng Shi, John H. Gilmore, Barbara L. Wolfe, and Seth D. Pollack, “Family Poverty Affects the Rate of Human Infant Brain Growth,” PLOS ONE 8 (December 2013), report that directly increasing the income of poor parents has measurable positive effects on children’s cognitive performance and social behavior, strongly suggesting that the link between social class and child development is causal, not spurious. 38.

Jane Waldfogel and Elizabeth Washbrook, “Early Years Policy,” Child Development Research 2011 (2011): 1–12; Amy J. L. Baker, Chaya S. Piotrkowski, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, “The Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY),” The Future of Children 9 (Spring/Summer 1999): 116–33; Darcy I. Lowell, Alice S. Carter, Leandra Godoy, Belinda Paulicin, and Margaret J. Briggs-Gowan, “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Child FIRST: A Comprehensive Home-Based Intervention Translating Research into Early Childhood Practice,” Child Development 82 (January 2011): 193–208; “Policy: Helping Troubled Families Turn Their Lives Around,” Department for Communities and Local Government, accessed October 10, 2014, https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-troubled-families-turn-their-lives-around/activity.

Newman and Hella Winston, Learning to Labor in the 21st Century: Building the Next Generation of Skilled Workers (New York: Metropolitan, forthcoming 2015). YouthBuild has shown positive results in nonexperimental research; see, for example, Wally Abrazaldo et al., “Evaluation of the YouthBuild Youth Offender Grants: Final Report,” Social Policy Research Associates (May 2009). The Department of Labor has commissioned MDRC to conduct an experimental randomized control trial (RCT) on YouthBuild across 83 sites. Controlled experimental studies have found favorable results from such programs as Job Corps, Service and Conservation Corps, and National Guard Youth ChalleNGe; MDRC, “Building Better Programs for Disconnected Youth,” February 2013, accessed November 24, 2014, http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/Youth_020113.pdf. 64. Arthur M. Cohen and Florence B.


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The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker

assortative mating, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, old-boy network, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

Kate Hammer, “Winning Back Dropouts with a Simple Call,” Globe and Mail, May 31, 2012. 19. UNICEF, “Basic Education and Gender Equality: The Big Picture,” February 6, 2014, http://​www.​unicef.​org/​education/​index_​bigpicture.​html. 20. Dana Burde and Leigh Linden, “The Effect of Village-Based Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Afghanistan,” NBER Working Paper 18039 (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012); Dana Burde and Leigh Linden, “Bringing Education to Afghan Girls: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Village-Based Schools,” Applied Economics 5, no. 3 (2013). 21. Though I review the evidence in more detail in Chapters 6 and 7, a comparison of effects for two meta-analyses—the first of interactive book reading to stimulate literacy, the second on literacy and academic outcomes from nine one-to-one laptop programs—showed effect sizes (d) ranging from 0.36 to 0.72 in the interaction study and 0.17 to 0.28 in the laptop study.

Alan Mendelsohn et al., “The Impact of a Clinic-Based Literacy Intervention on Language Development in Inner-City Preschool Children,” Pediatrics 107, no. 1 (2001); P. E. Klass, R. Needlman, and Barry Zuckerman, “The Developing Brain and Early Learning,” Archives of Disease in Childhood 88 (2003); N. Golova et al., “Literacy Promotion for Hispanic Families in a Primary Care Setting: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Pediatrics 103 (1998); Barry Zuckerman, “Promoting Early Literacy in Pediatric Practice: Twenty Years of Reach Out and Read,” Pediatrics 124, no. 6 (2009). 3. C. E. Huebner and A. N. Meltzoff, “Intervention to Change Parent–Child Reading Style: A Comparison of Instructional Methods,” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 26, no. 3 (2005). 4. V. J. Rideout, Ulla G. Foehr, and Donald F.


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The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes From an Uncertain Science by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Atul Gawande, cognitive dissonance, Johannes Kepler, medical residency, randomized controlled trial, retrograde motion, stem cell, Thomas Bayes

A randomized study might make particular conclusions about the effectiveness of a medicine—but in truth it has only judged that effectiveness in the subset of people who were randomized. The power of the experiment is critically dependent on its strong limits—and this is the very thing that makes it limited. The experiment may be perfect, but whether it is generalizable is a question. The reverential status of randomized, controlled trials in medicine is its own source of bias. The BCG vaccine against tuberculosis was shown to have a potent protective effect in a randomized trial, but the effectiveness of the vaccine seems to decrease almost linearly as we move in latitude from the North to the South—where, incidentally, TB is the most prevalent (we still don’t understand the basis for this effect, although genetic variation is the most obvious culprit).


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Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, data acquisition, data is the new oil, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Google Glasses, high net worth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, information retrieval, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Daniel Paravisini and Antoinette Schoar examined a Colombian bank’s evaluation of small enterprise loan applicants after the introduction of a new credit scoring system.22 The computerized scoring system took a variety of information about the applicants and aggregated it into a single measure that predicted risk. Then a loan committee of bank employees used the score and their own processes to approve, reject, or refer the loan to a regional manager to decide. A randomized controlled trial, not management decree, determined whether the score was introduced before or after the decision. Thus, the score provided a good place to scientifically evaluate its impact on decision making. One group of employees was provided the score just before they met to deliberate. This is analogous to the first way to collaborate with a machine, in which the machine prediction informs the human decision.

For example, we discussed the challenges of deciding whether to recommend this book to your friend, even if you become fabulously successful at managing AI in the future. The challenge is that you do not have the data on what would have happened had you not read the book. If you want to understand what causes what, you need to observe what would have happened in the counterfactual situation. Humans can provide two main solutions to this problem: experiments and modeling. If the situation arises often enough, you can run a randomized control trial. Assign some people to the treatment (force them to read the book, or at least give them the book and maybe hold some consequential exam on it) and others to the control (force them not to read the book, or at least don’t advertise it to them). Wait and collect some measure of how they apply AI in their work. Compare the two groups. The difference between the treatment and control groups is the effect of reading the book.


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The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

airport security, cognitive dissonance, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, hedonic treadmill, Lao Tzu, Nelson Mandela, Parkinson's law, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, social intelligence, Steve Jobs

Cohen, “Functional Neuroimaging of Belief, Disbelief, and Uncertainty,” Annals of Neurology 63 (2008): 14. 4. Image generation has a powerful impact on emotions and physiological states and a high impact on brain function. See A. Hackmann, “Working with Images in Clinical Psychology,” in Comprehensive Clinical Psychology, eds. A. Bellack and M. Hersen (London: Pergamon, 1998), 301–17. 5. T. J. Kaptchuk, E. Friedlander, J. M. Kelley, et al., “Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome” (2010), http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0015591. 6. I highly recommend Robert Sapolsky’s fascinating—and free—Stanford University lecture “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” on iTunes. 7. David Rock, “SCARF: A Brain-Based Model for Collaborating with and Influencing Others,” NeuroLeadership Journal 1 (2008). 8. P. R. Clance and S.

Chabris, “Gorillas in Our Midst: Sustained Inattentional Blindness for Dynamic Events,” Perception 28, no. 9 (1999): 1059–74, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier. 3. James J. Gross, “Emotion Regulation: Affective, Cognitive, and Social Consequences,” Psychophysiology 39, no. 3 (May 2002): 281–89. 4. Ibid., 289. 5. T. J. Kaptchuk, E. Friedlander, J. M. Kelley, et al., “Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome” (2010), http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0015591. 6. Andrew Hunt, Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware, rev. ed. (Raleigh, NC: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2010). 7. Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, rev. ed. (New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2006); and B. J. Sagarin, R. B. Cialdini, W. E. Rice, and S.


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SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

agricultural Revolution, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, call centre, clean water, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Did the Death of Australian Inheritance Taxes Affect Deaths, disintermediation, endowment effect, experimental economics, food miles, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, market design, microcredit, Milgram experiment, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, presumed consent, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, selection bias, South China Sea, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, urban planning, William Langewiesche, women in the workforce, young professional

It is the triage nurse’s job to match patients and doctors as best as possible. One doc may therefore get all the psychiatric cases on a shift, or all the elderly patients. Because an old person with shortness of breath is much more likely to die than a thirty-year-old with the same condition, we have to be careful not to penalize the doctor who happens to be good with old people. What you’d really like to do is run a randomized, controlled trial so that when patients arrive they are randomly assigned to a doctor, even if that doctor is overwhelmed with other patients or not well equipped to handle a particular ailment. But we are dealing with one set of real, live human beings who are trying to keep another set of real, live human beings from dying, so this kind of experiment isn’t going to happen, and for good reason. Since we can’t do a true randomization, and if simply looking at patient outcomes in the raw data will be misleading, what’s the best way to measure doctor skill?

Semmelweis wondered if the women patients admitted to the doctors’ ward were sicker, weaker, or in some other way compromised. No, that couldn’t be it. Patients were assigned to the wards in alternating twenty-four-hour cycles, depending on the day of the week they arrived. Given the nature of pregnancy, an expectant mother came to the hospital when it was time to have the baby, not on a day that was convenient. This assignment methodology wasn’t quite as rigorous as a randomized, controlled trial, but for Semmelweis’s purpose it did suggest that the divergent death rates weren’t the result of a difference in patient populations. So perhaps one of the wild guesses listed above was correct: did the very presence of men in such a delicate feminine enterprise somehow kill the mothers? Semmelweis concluded that this too was improbable. After examining the death rate for newborns in the two wards, he again found that the doctors’ ward was far more lethal than the midwives’: 7.6 percent versus 3.7 percent.


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The Complete Thyroid Book by Kenneth Ain, M. Sara Rosenthal

active measures, follow your passion, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, place-making, placebo effect, post-materialism, randomized controlled trial, upwardly mobile

“Beta-Adrenergic Blockade for the Treatment of Hyperthyroidism.” The American Journal of Medicine 93, no. 1 (1992): 61–68. Gharib, H. “Changing Concepts in the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Nodules.” Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America 26, no. 4 (1997): 777–800. Grozinsky-Glasberg, S., et al. “Thyroxine-Triiodothyronine Combination Therapy Versus Thyroxine Monotherapy for Clinical Hypothyroidism: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (2006) 91:2592–99. Gruters, A., H. Biebermann, and H. Krude. “Neonatal Thyroid Disorders.” Hormone Research 59, suppl. 1 (2003): 24–29. Hegedus, L., S. J. Bonnema, and F. N. Bennedbaek. “Management of Simple Nodular Goiter: Current Status and Future Perspectives.” Endocrine Reviews 24, no. 1 (2003): 102–32. Henderson, L., Q. Y. Yue, C.

Greenwood, and C. M. Dayan. “Psychological Well-Being in Patients on ‘Adequate’ Doses of L-Thyroxine: Results of a Large, Controlled Community-Based Questionnaire Study.” Clinical Endocrinology 57, no. 5 (November 2002): 577–78. Sawka, A.M., et al. “Does a Combination Regimen of T4 and T3 Improve Depressive Symptoms Better than T4 Alone in Patients with Hypothyroidism? Results of a Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 88, no. 10 (2003): 4551–55. Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the American Meal. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. Siegmund, W., K. Spieker, A. I. Weike, T. Giessmann, C. Modess, T. Dabers, G. Kirsch, E. Sanger, G. Engel, A. O. Hamm, M. Nauck, and W. Meng. “Replacement Therapy with Levothyroxine Plus Triiodothyronine (Bioavailable Molar Ratio 14:1) Is Not Superior to Thyroxine Alone to Improve Well-Being and Cognitive Performance in Hypothyroidism.”

Journal of the American Medical Association 273, no. 10 (1995): 808–12. Toft, Anthony. “Thyroid Hormone Replacement—One Hormone or Two?” (editorial). The New England Journal of Medicine 340, no. 6 (February 11, 1999): 468–70. Walsh, John, et al. “Combined Thyroxine/Liothyronine Treatment Does Not Improve Well-Being, Quality of Life or Cognitive Function Compared to Thyroxine Alone: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Patients with Primary Hypothyroidism.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 88, no. 10 (2003): 4543–50. Weiss, R. E., and S. Refetoff. “Resistance to Thyroid Hormone.” Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders 1, no. 1–2 (2000): 97–108. Whitley, R. J., and K. B. Ain. “Thyroglobulin: A Specific Serum Marker for the Management of Thyroid Carcinoma.” Clinics in Laboratory Medicine 24, no. 1 (2004): 29–47.


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Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Atul Gawande, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, gender pay gap, Joan Didion, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, phenotype, pre–internet, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, Skype, stem cell, women in the workforce

Marion Sims, known as the “father of modern gynecology,” developed a groundbreaking cure for fistulas by practicing the surgery on enslaved women, whom he purchased specifically for that purpose, and later on poor Irish immigrants. In the twentieth century, medicine slowly but surely became more rooted in science. The post–World War II period saw the rise of modern clinical research—with its gold standard of the double-blind, randomized, controlled trial—and a huge influx of federal funding turned the United States into a world leader in biomedical research. But this expansion preceded any consensus that the patients involved in clinical research shouldn’t be treated as unwitting guinea pigs. At least through the sixties, it remained socially disadvantaged and/or institutionalized groups—like the poor, prisoners, soldiers, and the mentally ill—who were most likely to be used in medical studies.

But, the GAO report warned, a couple of large all-female studies, like the Women’s Health Initiative, can mask the fact that there may still be specific areas where women remain underrepresented: “By not examining more detailed data on enrollment—such as data aggregated by research area or specific to various diseases and conditions—NIH cannot know whether it is adequately including women across all of the research it supports.” Indeed, outside analyses of published NIH-funded studies tend to paint a slightly less than equal picture. A review of federally funded randomized controlled trials published in nine prominent medical journals in 2004 found that, on average, women made up 37 percent of the trial subjects. When the researchers redid the analysis for studies published in 2009—same journals, same methodology—there had been no improvement: 37 percent. And of course, the NIH, while the largest, is not the only funder in town. There’s no federal law that says research funded by private industry or foundations has to include women.

General Accounting Office, January 19, 2001, www.gao.gov/assets/100/90642.pdf. All told, women now make up a majority of patients . . . U.S. General Accounting Office, “Better Oversight Needed to Help Ensure Continued Progress Including Women in Health Research,” GAO-01-754, October 2015, www.gao.gov/assets/680/673276.pdf. “By not examining more detailed data on enrollment . . . U.S. General Accounting Office, “Better Oversight.” A review of federally funded randomized controlled trials . . . Stacie E. Geller, Marci Goldstein Adams, and Molly Carnes, “Adherence to Federal Guidelines for Reporting of Sex and Race/Ethnicity in Clinical Trials,” Journal of Women’s Health 15, no. 10 (December 2006), doi:10.1089/jwh.2006.15.1123. When the researchers redid the analysis . . . Stacie E. Geller et al., “Inclusion, Analysis, and Reporting of Sex and Race/Ethnicity in Clinical Trials: Have We Made Progress,” Journal of Women’s Health 20, no. 3 (March 2011), doi:10.1089/jwh.2010.2469.


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Economic Dignity by Gene Sperling

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, corporate governance, David Brooks, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, full employment, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, guest worker program, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, job automation, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, liberal world order, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, obamacare, offshore financial centre, payday loans, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, speech recognition, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Toyota Production System, traffic fines, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, War on Poverty, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

A UBI to Rise should be for anyone who qualifies regardless of how their career was disrupted. I have worked on versions of a UBI to Rise for years—in 1994,56 in my 2005 book,57 and in 2012 when President Obama proposed a version.58 It is long past time to get it done. As part of that effort, we should provide workers with childcare, transportation subsidies, and other supports critical to completing a training program and finding a new career. A randomized controlled trial of sector-based employment programs in the United States found that “help with childcare or transportation or a referral for housing or legal services can be critical to staying in training or keeping a job.”59 UBI to Rise could also be structured to give workers a shot at starting their own business, a feature that would also be more effective if it was available before job loss hit.

Sectoral training programs provide skills for a specific industry or industries in a local economy, rather than for just one company, to enable mobility across companies. And they are often facilitated by intermediaries and developed with employers’ input to ensure that the credentials and skills developed are valued by the companies that will be hiring program graduates. We are now seeing hard evidence from randomized controlled trials that these types of programs are producing strong results in giving Americans second chances and potential careers. For example, the nonprofit Year Up provides young adults in urban areas with six months of training in IT or financial services, followed by a six-month paid internship at a major firm in that sector. Participants had earnings boosts of 40 percent (more than $7,000) three years after completing the program.57 WorkAdvance focuses on helping long-term unemployed workers with training and placement services in sectors where there are both strong local demand and career advancement opportunities.

Indeed, 88 percent of the students who do not earn a high school diploma struggled with reading in the third grade.72 A large percentage of parents with means know well that individualized tutoring or coaching can be game-changing for children struggling to keep up or even excel enough to compete for selective colleges. Yet for many parents in even middle-class families—no less low-income families—an hourly tutor can be an unaffordable luxury. A randomized controlled trial evaluated the impact of two-on-one math tutoring in twelve low-income Chicago public schools in the 2013–14 academic year. Participating students received fifty minutes of math tutoring every school day by specially trained tutors organized through Match Education, now called SAGA.73 This innovation allowed Match to create a scalable model that public schools could adopt. The results of the intervention were staggering: participants learned an additional one to two years of math above what is typically learned in a year and had improved test scores, math grades, and even grades in other subjects.


pages: 302 words: 92,546

Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health by H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa M. Schwartz, Steven Woloshin

23andMe, double helix, Google Earth, invisible hand, life extension, longitudinal study, mandelbrot fractal, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Moser, P. F. Fedullo, J. K. LitteJohn, et al., “Frequent Asymptomatic Pulmonary Embolism in Patients with Deep Venous Thrombosis,” Journal of the American Medical Association 271 (1994): 223–25.[back] D. R. Anderson, S. R. Kahn, M. A. Rodger, et al., “Computed Tomographic Pulmonary Angiography vs. Ventilation-perfusion Lung Scanning in Patients with Suspected Pulmonary Embolism: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of the American Medical Association 298 (2007): 2743–53. [back] N. A. DeMonaco, Q. Dang, W. N. Kapoor, et al., “Pulmonary Embolism Incidence Is Increasing with Use of Spiral Computed Tomography,” American Journal of Medicine 12 (2008): 611–17. [back] One physician reading this thought the word illogical was a little strong. He pointed out that it is not totally illogical to look for a major abnormality even in a setting where it’s very unlikely.

See http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr47/nvs47_27.pdf.[back] See http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/uspsiefm.htm.[back] Curtin and Park, “Trends.”[back] Given the absence of good utilization data, you might reasonably wonder how I can confidently say this. First, it is what the obstetricians themselves say; see J. T. Parer, “Obstetric Technologies: What Determines Clinical Acceptance or Rejection of Results of Randomized Controlled Trials?” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 188 (2003): 1622–25. Second, the above federal survey of new mothers suggests that 83 percent of births are monitored and 64 percent of women have at least one ultrasound during the pregnancy (they do not report on home uterine monitoring). Finally, it is also the judgment of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. They wrote that “home uterine monitoring is no longer considered a part of standard obstetrical care” and that despite their recommendations to the contrary, both fetal monitoring and obstetrical ultrasounds have “become common practice in the U.S.”


pages: 302 words: 90,215

Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do by Jeremy Bailenson

Apple II, augmented reality, computer vision, deliberate practice, experimental subject, game design, Google Glasses, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), iterative process, Jaron Lanier, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nuclear winter, Oculus Rift, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, telepresence, too big to fail

They found less activation, according to the fMRI, in all five brain areas when the participants were in VR compared to the control condition. This was the first evidence to show that VR actually changes brain activity during painful procedures.9 Hoffman knew that in order to make VR pain treatments widespread he would have to convince hospitals and insurance companies to recognize VR’s effectiveness. So he and his colleagues, in 2011, took a critical step toward gaining credibility in clinical fields: a randomized controlled trial.10 These studies have larger samples and take great care to ensure the validity of the treatment and control conditions. Fifty-four hospitalized children—burn patients—participated in the study while doing physical therapy to treat the burns, which is a horribly painful experience in which the patients extend their range of motion by doing exercises. In each session, the patients spent about half of the time in VR, and the other half in the control condition, with careful attention to proper randomization to avoid order effects.

Tracie White, “Surgeries found to increase risk of chronic opioid use,” Stanford Medicine News Center, July 11, 2016, https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2016/07/surgery-found-to-increase-risk-of-chronic-opioid-use.html. 6. “Virtual Reality Pain Reduction,” HITLab, https://www.hitl.washington.edu/projects/vrpain/. 7. “VR Therapy for Spider Phobia,” HITLab, https://www.hitl.washington.edu/projects/exposure/. 8. Hunter G. Hoffman et al., “Modulation of thermal pain–related brain activity with virtual reality: evidence from fMRI,” Neuroreport 15 (2004): 1245–48. 9. Ibid. 10. Yuko S. Schmitt et al., “A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Immersive Virtual Reality Analgesia during Physical Therapy for Pediatric Burn Injuries,” Burns 37 (2011): 61–68. 11. Ibid. 12. Mark D. Wiederhold, Kenneth Gao, and Brenda K. Wiederhold, “Clinical Use of Virtual Reality Distraction System to Reduce Anxiety and Pain in Dental Procedures,” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 17 (2014): 359–65. 13. Susan M. Schneider and Linda E.


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What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear by Danielle Ofri

big-box store, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

., “Response Variability to Analgesics: A Role for Nonspecific Activation of Endogenous Opioids,” Pain 90 (2001): 205–15. 5. J. D. Levine et al., “The Mechanism of Placebo Analgesia,” Lancet 8091 (1978): 654–57. 6. A. Goldstein et al., “A Synthetic Peptide with Morphine-like Pharmacologic Action,” Life Sciences 17 (1975): 1643–54. 7. T. J. Kaptchuk et al., “Placebos Without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” PLoS ONE 12 (2010): e15591. 8. S. C. Hull et al., “Patients’ Attitudes About the Use of Placebo Treatments: Telephone Survey,” British Medical Journal 347 (2013): f3757. 9. U. Bingel et al., “The Effect of Treatment Expectation on Drug Efficacy: Imaging the Analgesic Benefit of the Opioid Remifentanil,” Science Translational Medicine 3 (2011). 10. M. R.

Ogden, “Avoiding the Term ‘Obesity’: An Experimental Study of the Impact of Doctors’ Language on Patients’ Beliefs,” Patient Education and Counseling 76 (2009): 260–64. 2. M. Tayler and J. Ogden, “Doctors’ Use of Euphemisms and Their Impact on Patients’ Beliefs About Health: An Experimental Study of Heart Failure,” Patient Education and Counseling 57 (2005). 3. N. Williams and J. Ogden, “The Impact of Matching the Patient’s Vocabulary: A Randomized Control Trial,” Family Practice 21 (2004): 630–35. 4. J. Ogden, and K. Parkes, “‘A Diabetic’ Versus ‘A Person with Diabetes’: The Impact of Language on Beliefs about Diabetes,” European Diabetes Nursing 10 (2013): 80–85. 5. P. Burdett-Smith, “On the Naming of the Parts,” British Medical Journal 311 (1995): 1406. 6. J. Blackman and M. Sahebjalal, “Patient Understanding of Frequently Used Cardiology Terminology,” British Journal of Cardiology 29 (2014): 39. 7.


pages: 89 words: 27,057

COVID-19: Everything You Need to Know About the Corona Virus and the Race for the Vaccine by Michael Mosley

Boris Johnson, call centre, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, Donald Trump, microbiome, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley

You may also need psychological support because of the high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What Drug Treatments Are Available? At the time of writing we don’t have any drug treatments that are really effective. One of the more promising is remdesivir, an antiviral drug that was first developed years ago to fight Ebola. It didn’t work that well against Ebola, but tests done in the lab suggest it may help prevent the Covid-19 virus from replicating. There has been one randomized controlled trial that showed that, on average, it reduces the time it takes to recover from Covid-19 from 15 days to 11 days. There was also a modest impact on the risk of dying, though this was not statistically significant.25 Another drug, which got a lot of attention from President Donald Trump after a small study done in France suggested it might be of benefit, is the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.


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Portfolios of the poor: how the world's poor live on $2 a day by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford

Cass Sunstein, clean water, failed state, financial innovation, financial intermediation, income per capita, informal economy, job automation, M-Pesa, mental accounting, microcredit, moral hazard, profit motive, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, transaction costs

They showed that households with signs of self-discipline problems were more likely than others to borrow through microfinance institutions featuring enforced, regular weekly payments. Though taking the loans was costlier than saving, it provided the households with an effective way to accumulate. 11. For an excellent presentation of these issues, we refer readers to Mullainathan 2005. 12. See Ashraf, Karlan, and Yin 2006. They evaluated the impact of this “commitment” saving product using a randomized controlled trial, where 1,800 customers of a bank were randomized to either receive an offer to open the new type of account or not. (Everyone already had access to a standard account.) Among those offered the new type of accounts, 28 percent opened one. After 12 months, average savings balances increased by 80 percent in the group offered the new type of account compared to the control group. This translates as a 300 percent increase for the impacts among those who actually opened the accounts—a large and meaningful increase in savings. 13.

Interview by Stuart Rutherford with Shafiqual Haque Choudhury, ASA president, November 2007. 259 NOTES TO CHAPTER SEVEN Chapter Seven 1. See Duflo, Kremer, and Robinson 2006. 2. See World Bank 2008, chap. 1. 3. Foreign investment in microfinance, for example, more than tripled between 2004 and 2006, to $4 billion. See Reille and Forester 2008. 4. For a review of early experiences with branchless banking, see Ivatury and Mas 2008. 5. New field research adapts methods from medical research, particularly the use of randomized controlled trials, to test the value and logic of financial innovations. Recently, the Financial Access Initiative, a consortium of researchers at New York University, Yale, Harvard, and Innovations for Poverty Action, has been formed to extend field trials in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Working with microfinance providers, researchers are investigating, for example, how sensitive borrowers are to changes in interest rates, the value of structured savings devices, and the impact of business training alongside credit.


pages: 436 words: 98,538

The Upside of Inequality by Edward Conard

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, bank run, Berlin Wall, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, twin studies, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

But the report concludes: It is not at all obvious that the rush to implement pre-k programs widely without the necessary attention to the quality of the program provides worthwhile benefits to children living in those disadvantaged environments. . . . Scaling up pre-k programs quickly could lead to badly run programs that might, in fact, be worse than doing nothing.34 A metastudy of 35 high-quality studies of ten much-studied preschool programs found that only half the studies used randomized control trials, the so-called gold standard of research. Of those, only three found statistically significant positive long-term results. But none of those results was linked to school-based pre-K.35 The study concludes: We know that parents and early environments play by far the most crucial role in shaping a child’s development. . . . At the same time, we do not know whether school-based pre-K programs actually affect the outcomes that really matter. . . .

Steven Barnett, et al., “Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40,” High/Scope Press (2006), http://www.highscope.org/file/Research/PerryProject/specialsummary_rev2011_02_2.pdf. 31. Ibid. 32. “Hawthorne Effect,” Wikipedia, retrieved September 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect. 33. Mark Lipsey, Dale Farran, and Kerry Hofer, “A Randomized Control Trial of a Statewide Voluntary Prekindergarten Program on Children’s Skills and Behaviors through Third Grade,” Peabody Research Institute, Vanderbilt University, September 2015, http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/research/pri/VPKthrough3rd_final_withcover.pdf. 34. Ibid. 35. Katharine Stevens and Elizabeth English, “Studies Used to Promote Pre-K Actually Make the Case for a Different Approach,” American Enterprise Institute, April 2016, http://www.aei.org/multimedia/studies-used-to-promote-pre-k- actually-make-the-case-for-a-different-approach/?


pages: 321 words: 97,661

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine by Trisha Greenhalgh

call centre, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, deskilling, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, New Journalism, p-value, personalized medicine, placebo effect, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, the scientific method

Oregon State University Press. 1986;3125–3126. 3 McAlister FA, Clark HD, van Walraven C, et al. The medical review article revisited: has the science improved? Annals of Internal Medicine 1999;131(12):947–51. 4 Oxman AD, Guyatt GH. The science of reviewing research. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1993;703(1):125–34. 5 Antman EM, Lau J, Kupelnick B, et al. A comparison of results of meta-analyses of randomized control trials and recommendations of clinical experts. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 1992;268(2):240–8. 6 Knipschild P. Systematic reviews. Some examples. BMJ: British Medical Journal 1994;309(6956):719–21. 7 Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, et al. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. Annals of Internal Medicine 2009;151(4):264–9. 8 Bruins Slot KM, Berge E, Saxena R, et al.

Does cognitive behaviour therapy have an enduring effect that is superior to keeping patients on continuation pharmacotherapy? A meta-analysis. BMJ Open 2013;3(4) doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002542[published Online First: Epub Date]. 15 Egger M, Smith GD, Altman D. Systematic reviews in health care: meta-analysis in context. Chichester: Wiley.com, 2008. 16 Fergusson D, Glass KC, Hutton B, et al. Randomized controlled trials of aprotinin in cardiac surgery: could clinical equipoise have stopped the bleeding? Clinical Trials 2005;2(3):218–32. 17 Stewart LA, Tierney JF. To IPD or not to IPD? Advantages and disadvantages of systematic reviews using individual patient data. Evaluation & the Health Professions 2002;25(1):76–97. 18 Borenstein M, Hedges LV, Higgins JP, et al. Introduction to meta-analysis. Chichester: Wiley.com, 2011. 19 Thompson SG.


pages: 138 words: 31,691

Save Your Gallbladder and What to Do if You've Already Lost It by Sandra Cabot, Margaret Jasinska

randomized controlled trial

An ultrasonographic study. Eur J Radiol. 1983 May;3(2):115-7 19. Sies CW, Brooker J. Could these be gallstones? Lancet 2005;365:1388 20. British Journal of General Practice 2004; 54:574-79 21. Am J Gastroenterology 92:132-38, 1997 22. Kumar S, et al Infection as a risk factor for gallbladder cancer. J Surg Oncol. 2006 Jun 15;93(8):633-9. 23. Glantz A, et al. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial comparing dexamethasone and ursodeoxycholic acid. Hepatology Dec 2005;42(6):1399-405 24. Glasgow RE, Mulvihill SJ (2010). Treatment of gallstone disease. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1121-1138. Philadelphia: Saunders. Index allergies - 20, 45, 49, 51, 70, 86 apple cider vinegar - 28, 37-38, 49, 51-52, 58, 64-65, 69, 71, 115, 117, 119, 122 bile - 7-16, 18-26, 28-32, 35-41, 44-45, 48-49, 54-57, 61-65, 69, 71-84, 86, 88-101, 104, 107-114, 116-117, 126-126 bile sludge - 12, 22, 63 bile stasis - 7, 22-23, 38, 84 bitter foods - 24, 26, 49, 116 blood tests - 83-84, 104 carbohydrate - 7, 16, 23, 39-41, 86, 96 castor oil - 56-57, 69 cholecystectomy (also see gallbladder surgery) - 46, 61, 87-88, 95, 110-111, 126 cholecystitis - 12, 17-18, 20, 30, 38, 61, 81, 83-84, 87, 125-126 cholestasis - 97, 107-108, 126 cholesterol - 13-16, 22-23, 29-30, 32, 35-37, 39-43, 53-55, 67, 73-74, 77-78, 91-92, 96, 107, 125 cholestyramine - 92, 111 clonorchiasis - 102 constipation - 17, 30-34, 110, 112 dairy products - 18, 33, 48, 50, 53, 69-70, 95, 113 dandelion - 25, 29, 50, 70-71, 98, 112-113 digestive enzymes - 24, 49, 55, 61, 67, 71, 73, 75-76, 112-113 ERCP - 81, 89 estrogen - 14, 16, 31-32, 107 fat - 7-8, 13-16, 19, 23, 29-30, 33, 36, 39-43, 45-48, 50, 52-55, 60, 69-70, 73-78, 89, 91-92, 102-106, 109-113, 117, 119, 125-126 fish oil - 54-55 flaxseed - 33, 54, 58, 69 gallbladder attack - 13, 16, 18-22, 30, 37, 43, 48-49, 52, 56-59, 61, 68-69, 74, 83-85, 87, 91, 93-94 gallbladder cancer - 12, 96 gallbladder flush - 7, 26, 60-67, 116 gallbladder polyps - 12, 79, 95 gallbladder surgery (also see cholecystectomy) - 6, 13, 22, 87-88 gallstones - 6-10, 12-17, 19, 21-24, 29-32, 36-49, 55, 58, 61-63, 67, 69, 71, 74, 77-81, 87, 89-92, 94-97, 108, 111, 125-126 globe artichoke - 25, 29-30, 50, 70-71, 98 gluten - 7, 15, 33, 43-45, 47-48, 50, 69-70, 86, 95, 98, 113 glycine - 35, 71, 74 HIDA scan - 44, 81-82, 94 hydatid cysts - 103 hypochlorhydria - 15, 44, 49 hypothyroidism - 15, 32 insulin resistance (also see syndrome X) - 15, 36, 39 jaundice - 62, 84, 94, 97, 99, 104, 107-108, 126 liver - 7-11, 13-16, 18, 21, 23-24, 27-32, 37, 40-44, 48, 54, 57, 62, 66, 71-76, 81-86, 89, 91-92, 97-104, 107-114, 117-119, 125-126 liver fluke - 98-102 magnesium - 34, 36-37, 59, 65, 69, 71 malic acid - 37-38, 60, 65, 71 meal plan - 51 melatonin - 38-39 milk - 33, 47-48, 50-51, 53, 70, 113, 117, 124 milk thistle (also see St Mary’s thistle) - 28 n-acetyl cysteine - 37, 98, 114 ox bile - 35-36, 49, 55, 69, 71, 112-113 pancreatitis - 85, 87, 94 peppermint - 30, 34, 59, 69, 115 porcelain gallbladder - 12, 97 pregnancy - 14-15, 84, 107-108 primary biliary cirrhosis - 5, 12, 85, 91, 97 sclerosing cholangitis - 12, 85, 97 selenium - 37, 43, 65, 95-96, 98, 114 St Mary’s thistle - 28-29, 71, 98, 112 syndrome x - 15, 36, 38-39 tapeworm - 103, 105-106 taurine - 35, 65, 71, 74, 98 ultrasound - 12, 62, 67, 80, 89-90, 95, 97, 100-101, 104 ursodeoxycholic acid - 36, 91, 97, 108 vitamin C - 10, 34, 36, 43, 71 Table of Contents Important About the Authors Introduction Chapter 1 Types of gallbladder disorders covered in this book Risk factors for gallbladder disease Symptoms of gallbladder dysfunction Symptoms of a gallbladder attack Chapter 2 The natural treatment of gallstones The seven essential strategies for treating gallbladder disease Raw vegetable juice for the gallbladder Green goodness soup for the gallbladder Raw beet salad for the gallbladder 3.


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Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think by James Vlahos

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer age, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, Loebner Prize, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

In reviewing the conversation log, I could tell that Woebot didn’t truly understand the specifics of my problem. Instead, the bot got me to reframe my issue in generalized terms that it could competently address. But that isn’t so different from what a real therapist does. When Woebot asked how I was doing after our little session, I had to admit that I felt better. Beyond subjective impressions, is there evidence supporting the efficacy of chatbot therapists? In a randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers at Woebot and the Stanford School of Medicine, seventy subjects were divided into two groups. Half were directed to get help from Woebot while the other half was instructed to consult an e-book about depression. After two weeks, all of them completed online mental health assessments. The results: The people who used Woebot had “significantly reduced their symptoms of depression,” according to a paper published in the journal JMIR Mental Health, while those in the e-book group had not.

., “Clinical interviewing by a virtual human agent with automatic behavior analysis,” Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies (September 2016): 57–63, https://goo.gl/aWRHzV. 246 The results were definitely mixed: Nick Romeo, “The Chatbot Will See You Now,” The New Yorker, December 25, 2016, https://goo.gl/BkrE6e. 246 “mental health chatbot”: X2AI website, accessed July 31, 2018, https://goo.gl/YV8nJZ. 247 “significantly reduced their symptoms of depression”: Kathleen Fitzpatrick et al., “Delivering Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Young Adults with Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Using a Fully Automated Conversational Agent (Woebot): A Randomized Controlled Trial,” JMIR Mental Health 4, no. 2 (2017): e19, https://goo.gl/s9hb6f. 248 “patterns in our speech and writing”: Guillermo Cecchi, “IBM 5 in 5: With AI, our words will be a window into our mental health,” IBM blog, January 5, 2017, https://goo.gl/BHUDvM. 11. Immortals 252 “I want to dive in”: this and all subsequent quotes from John Vlahos come from interviews with author in 2016. 252 “I will always look up to you tremendously”: Jonathan Vlahos, conversation with author, September 20, 2016. 253 “I want to create technology”: Oren Jacob, interview with author, August 2, 2015. 254 “What is the purpose of living?”


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Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B Resor Professor Of Economics Robert J Shiller

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, desegregation, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equity premium, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, income per capita, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, loss aversion, market bubble, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publication bias, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave

But COX-1 protects the lining of the stomach, and its inhibition causes ulcers.11 Overdosage of NSAIDs is thus a leading cause of death among the elderly.12 Merck had the bright idea (as did Searle) to create a drug targeted to block COX-2, but not COX-1.13 Merck developed such a drug; named it Vioxx; and got it approved by the FDA. But that approval carried with it the further stipulation of a more rigorous randomized controlled trial than had been so far conducted.14 Merck named that study VIGOR (the VIoxx Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research study). The events surrounding VIGOR will give us a feeling for why, despite our modern safeguards, we are still vulnerable to phishing by Pharma. Like publishing houses bringing out a best-selling book, the Pharmaceuticals carefully orchestrate the rollout of a blockbuster drug.

For this reason the Pharmaceuticals with a new drug take special care to midwife such articles. In selecting the authors, who will receive the data from the experiments, the drug companies are not shooting in the dark. Their many connections (including those from the research support given by the company) clue them in: both regarding who will be influential and who will be favorable. The selectees are given easy access to the randomized controlled trials required by the FDA. They are also typically given “editorial support”—less graciously known as “ghostwriting”—for the article.15 It is thus no coincidence that a higher fraction of journal articles sponsored by pharmaceutical companies are favorable to the drugs reviewed than articles funded by other sources.16 Part of drug marketing is not just about the content of the articles published; it is also about their number.


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Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin

AltaVista, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Chelsea Manning, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Graeber, Debian, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Firefox, GnuPG, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, prediction markets, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, RFID, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, security theater, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, Steven Levy, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

In 2004, Leon Hempel and Eric Töpfer, writing from the Center for Technology and Society in Berlin, analyzed studies of closed-circuit television (CCTV) use in Europe and found that many of the studies lacked control groups to compare crime trends in the areas where cameras were installed to crime trends in the wider areas without cameras, and lacked analysis of the displacement of crime from the target areas to other areas. The few studies that have used control groups show little support for the theory that cameras can prevent crime. Another Urban Institute study from 2011 analyzing the impact of surveillance cameras on crime in parking lots—and using a randomized controlled trial method—showed that the cameras made no real difference. The study compared a year’s worth of car-related crime in twenty-five parking lots near Metro stations in Washington, D.C., that had installed motion-activated cameras with identical crimes in twenty-five similar “control” parking lots with no cameras installed. Although these were digital still cameras, researchers posted signs that gave the impression of constant camera surveillance of the parking lot.

In 2004, Leon Hempel and Eric Töpfer: Leon Hempel and Eric Töpfer, “On the Threshold to Urban Panopticon?: Analysing the Employment of CCTV in European Cities and Assessing Its Social and Political Implications” (Working Paper No. 1: Inception Report, Urban Eye, January 2002), 23, http://www.urbaneye.net/results/ue_wp1.pdf. Another Urban Institute study from 2011: Nancy G. La Vigne and Samantha S. Lowry, “Evaluation of Camera Use to Prevent Crime in Commuter Parking Facilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Urban Institute, September 2011, http://www.urban.org/publications/412451.html. In 2004, the criminologists Brandon Welsh and David Farrington: Brandon C. Welsh and David Farrington, “Surveillance for Crime Prevention in Public Space: Results and Policy Changes,” Criminology and Public Policy 3, no. 3 (July 2004): 497. The authors of the Urban Institute study: La Vigne and Lowry, “Evaluation of Camera Use.”


pages: 161 words: 39,526

Applied Artificial Intelligence: A Handbook for Business Leaders by Mariya Yao, Adelyn Zhou, Marlene Jia

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, computer vision, conceptual framework, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, industrial robot, Internet of things, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Marc Andreessen, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, performance metric, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software is eating the world, source of truth, speech recognition, statistical model, strong AI, technological singularity

One of her important contributions illuminates discrimination in online advertising, where she discovered that online searches of names that are more associated with the black community are 25 percent more likely to be targeted by ads that implies the person being searched for has a criminal record.(32) Sweeney also uncovered SAT test prep services that charge zip codes with high proportions of Asian residents nearly double the average rate, regardless of their actual income.(33) While price discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, or gender is illegal in the United States, enforcement of existing law is challenging in e-commerce, where the evidence of differential pricing is obscured by opaque algorithms. In healthcare, AI systems are at risk of producing unreliable insights even when algorithms are perfectly implemented, because the availability of medical data is affected by social inequality. Poorer communities lack access to digital healthcare, which leaves a gaping hole in the medical information that is fed into AI algorithms. Randomized control trials often exclude groups such as pregnant women, the elderly, or those suffering from other medical complications.(34) Such exclusions mean that the unique physical characteristics of these patients are not incorporated into studies, which in turn affects whether tested treatment will be effective on patients who don’t share the characteristics of the original clinical volunteers. In the worst-case scenario, the treatment may actively harm the patient.


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Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

., Gómez-Baggethun, E. and Krause, T. (2015), ‘Motivation crowding by economic incentives in conservation policy: a review of the empirical evidence’, Ecological Economics 117, pp. 270–282. 58. Wald, D., et al. (2014) ‘Randomized trial of text messaging on adherence to cardiovascular preventive treatment, Plos ONE 9, p. 12. 59. Pop-Eleches, C. et al. (2011) ‘Mobile phone technologies improve adherence to antiretroviral treatment in resource-limited settings: a randomized controlled trial of text message reminders’, AIDS 25: 6, pp. 825–834. 60. iNudgeyou (2012) ‘Green nudge: nudging litter into the bin’, 16 February 2012 http://inudgeyou.com/archives/819 and Webster, G. (2012) ‘Is a “nudge” in the right direction all we need to be greener?’, CNN 15 February 2012. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/08/tech/innovation/green-nudge-environment-persuasion/index.html 61. Ayers, J. et al. (2013) ‘Do celebrity cancer diagnoses promote primary cancer prevention?’

Persky, J. (1992) ‘Retrospectives: Pareto’s law’, Journal of Economic Perspectives 6: 2, pp. 181–192. Piketty, T. (2014) Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Pizzigati, S. (2004) Greed and Good. New York: Apex Press. Polanyi, K. (2001) The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon Press. Pop-Eleches, C. et al. (2011) ‘Mobile phone technologies improve adherence to antiretroviral treatment in resource-limited settings: a randomized controlled trial of text message reminders’, AIDS 25: 6, pp. 825–834. Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster. Raworth, K. (2002) Trading Away Our Rights: women workers in global supply chains. Oxford: Oxfam International. Raworth, K. (2012) A Safe and Just Space for Humanity: can we live within the doughnut? Oxfam Discussion Paper.


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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, game design, haute couture, impulse control, index card, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, patient HM, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, rolodex, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, telemarketer, Tenerife airport disaster, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, Walter Mischel

Faucher, “2.5 Years Follow-up of Weight and Body Mass Index Values in the Weight Control for Life! Program: A Descriptive Analysis,” Addictive Behaviors 17, no. 6 (1992): 579–85; D. J. Horne, A. E. White, and G. A. Varigos, “A Preliminary Study of Psychological Therapy in the Management of Atopic Eczema,” British Journal of Medical Psychology 62, no. 3 (1989): 241–48; T. Deckersbach et al., “Habit Reversal Versus Supportive Psychotherapy in Tourette’s Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial and Predictors of Treatment Response,” Behaviour Research and Therapy 44, no. 8 (2006): 1079–90; Douglas W. Woods and Raymond G. Miltenberger, “Habit Reversal: A Review of Applications and Variations,” Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 26, no. 2 (1995): 123–31; D. W. Woods, C. T. Wetterneck, and C. A. Flessner, “A Controlled Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Plus Habit Reversal for Trichotillomania,” Behaviour Research and Therapy 44, no. 5 (2006): 639–56. 3.28 More than three dozen studies J.

Wilson, “Lifestyle Modification for the Management of Obesity,” Gastro-enterology 132 (2007): 2226–38. 4.24 Then, in 2009 a group of researchers J. F. Hollis et al., “Weight Loss During the Intensive Intervention Phase of the Weight-Loss Maintenance Trial,” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 35 (2008): 118–26. See also L. P. Svetkey et al., “Comparison of Strategies for Sustaining Weight Loss, the Weight Loss Maintenance Randomized Controlled Trial,” JAMA 299 (2008): 1139–48; A. Fitch and J. Bock, “Effective Dietary Therapies for Pediatric Obesity Treatment,” Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders 10 (2009): 231–36; D. Engstrom, “Eating Mindfully and Cultivating Satisfaction: Modifying Eating Patterns in a Bariatric Surgery Patient,” Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care 2 (2007): 245–50; J. R. Peters et al., “Eating Pattern Assessment Tool: A Simple Instrument for Assessing Dietary Fat and Cholesterol Intake,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 94 (1994): 1008–13; S.


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The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes

Albert Einstein, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, the new new thing, the scientific method, Works Progress Administration

But it wasn’t a human’s lifetime. They had no idea whether rats were good models for humans. Moreover, as other researchers had implied at the same conference, they couldn’t even know if the rats they used were good models for other rats, since some of the observations were what researchers would call “strain specific.” Eating sugar seemed to shorten the lives of some strains of rats but not others. The kind of randomized controlled trials over the course of ten or twenty years that would truly test the hypothesis that sugar caused heart disease or diabetes, as Yudkin noted, were no different from the kind the NIH was then considering and would soon reject for the dietary-fat/cholesterol hypothesis. Such trials were certainly far beyond the budget of any single researcher or even collaboration of researchers; they required that the National Institutes of Health or the Medical Research Council in the U.K. or some other government agency create a concerted program to test the idea.

In 2005, Scottish researchers reported that diabetic patients who took a drug called metformin, which works to reduce insulin resistance and therefore lower circulating levels of insulin, also had a significantly reduced risk of cancer compared with diabetics on other medications. That association has been confirmed multiple times, and has led researchers to test whether metformin acts as an anti-cancer drug, preventing or inhibiting cancer’s recurrence in randomized controlled trials. These observations also served to focus the attention of cancer researchers further on the possibility that insulin and insulin-like growth factor are cancer promoters, and thus that abnormally elevated levels of insulin—caused by insulin resistance, for instance—would increase our cancer risk. This was another area of research that had emerged in the 1960s, with laboratory work by some of the leading cancer researchers—including Howard Temin, who would later win the Nobel Prize—demonstrating that cancer cells require insulin to propagate; at least they do so outside the human body, growing as cell cultures in the laboratory.


pages: 179 words: 43,441

The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, conceptual framework, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, digital twin, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, global value chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, life extension, Lyft, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Narrative Science, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, personalized medicine, precariat, precision agriculture, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, reshoring, RFID, rising living standards, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Third, new information flows and increasing transparency can help shift citizen behaviour on a large scale, as it becomes the path of least resistance within a new set of business and social norms for a sustainable circular system. Fruitful convergence between the fields of economics and psychology has been producing insights into how we perceive the world, behave and justify our behaviour, while a number of large-scale randomized control trials by governments, corporations and universities have shown that this can work. One example is OPower, which uses peer-comparison to entice people into consuming less electricity, thereby protecting the environment while reducing costs. Fourth, as the previous section detailed, new business and organizational models promise innovative ways of creating and sharing value, which in turn lead to whole system changes that can actively benefit the natural world as much as our economies and societies.


Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

biofilm, buy low sell high, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of penicillin, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late capitalism, low earth orbit, Mason jar, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral panic, NP-complete, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman

Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274: 303–13. Klein T, Siegwolf RT, Körner C. 2016. Belowground carbon trade among tall trees in a temperate forest. Science 352: 342–44. Kozo-Polyanksy BM. 2010. Symbiogenesis: A New Principle of Evolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Krebs TS, Johansen P-Ø. 2012. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for alcoholism: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Psychopharmacology 26: 994–1002. Kroken S. 2007. “Miss Potter’s First Love”—A Rejoinder. Inoculum 58: 14. Kusari S, Singh S, Jayabaskaran C. 2014. Biotechnological potential of plant-associated endophytic fungi: hope versus hype. Trends in Biotechnology 32: 297–303. Ladinsky D. 2002. Love Poems from God. New York, NY: Penguin. Ladinsky D. 2010. A Year with Hafiz: Daily Contemplations.

Comprehensive skin microbiome analysis reveals the uniqueness of human skin and evidence for phylosymbiosis within the class Mammalia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115: E5786–E5795. Ross S, Bossis A, Guss J, Agin-Liebes G, Malone T, Cohen B, Mennenga S, Belser A, Kalliontzi K, Babb J, et al. 2016. Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology 30: 1165–180. Roughgarden J. 2013. Evolution’s Rainbow. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Rouphael Y, Franken P, Schneider C, Schwarz D, Giovannetti M, Agnolucci M, Pascale S, Bonini P, Colla G. 2015. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi act as biostimulants in horticultural crops. Scientia Horticulturae 196: 91–108. Rubini A, Riccioni C, Arcioni S, Paolocci F. 2007.


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Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons From the World’s Limits by Richard Davies

agricultural Revolution, air freight, Anton Chekhov, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, clean water, complexity theory, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial innovation, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, large denomination, Livingstone, I presume, Malacca Straits, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, school choice, school vouchers, Scramble for Africa, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, the payments system, trade route, Travis Kalanick, uranium enrichment, urban planning, wealth creators, white picket fence, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

., et al. (2018), ‘The Cost-effectiveness of Using PARO, a Therapeutic Robotic Seal, to Reduce Agitation and Medication Use in Dementia: Findings from a Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial’, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 19 (7), 619–22. Morikawa, M. (2018), ‘Labor Shortage Beginning to Erode the Quality of Services: Hidden Inflation’ (Toyko: Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry). Motoshige, I. (ed.) (2013), Public Pensions and Intergenerational Equity, NIRA Policy Review No. 59 (Tokyo: National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA)). Moyle, W., et al. (2017), ‘Use of a Robotic Seal as a Therapeutic Tool to Improve Dementia Symptoms: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial’, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 18 (9), 766–73. Nakane, C. (1970), Japanese Society (Berkeley: University of California Press).


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Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue: How to Restore Hormonal Balance and Feel Renewed, Energized, and Stress Free by Kathryn Simpson

impulse control, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, randomized controlled trial

Chrousos. 1999. Adrenocortical tumors: Recent advances in basic concepts and clinical management. Annals of Internal Medicine 130(9):759-771. Boscarino, J. A. 2004. Posttraumatic stress disorder and physical illness: Results from clinical and epidemiologic studies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1032:141-153. Brody, S., R. Preut, K. Schommer, and T. H. Schürmeyer. 2002. A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol, and subjective responses to psychological stress. Psychopharmacology 159(3):319-324. Brot, C., P. Vestergaard, N. Kolthoff, J. Gram, A. P. Hermann, and O. H. Sùrensen. 2001. Vitamin D status and its adequacy in healthy Danish perimenopausal women: Relationships to dietary intake, sun exposure, and serum parathyroid hormone.


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The Autoimmune Connection by Rita Baron-Faust, Jill Buyon

Columbine, mouse model, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

Treating Fibromyalgia Treatment for fibromyalgia usually involves a combination of medication and exercise, along with behavior modification techniques, like stress reduction, and other coping strategies. “Regular analgesics don’t work very well in pain amplification syndromes. Things like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have virtually no effect in pain amplification syndromes. Opioids also do not seem to work well,” comments Dr. Clauw. “The best drugs for these syndromes are those that act on the central nervous system, like tricyclic antidepressants. Some randomized controlled trials indicate that medications that act on the 352 The Autoimmune Connection neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine are among the most effective.” Aerobic exercise acts as a natural painkiller and an antidepressant, he adds. Antidepressant medications can help reduce pain signals from nerves and aid sleep. “While the major treatment of fibromyalgia is really physical exercise, for those patients who have sleep disturbances we often use a low dose of a tricyclic antidepressant, or the antiseizure medication gabapentin (Neurontin), which helps both chronic pain and sleep problems,” says Dr.

A small preliminary study at the Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia suggests that symptoms can be reduced by eliminating potential food allergens, including wheat, dairy, and citrus. “However, given the fact that fibromyalgia is a neural pain amplification syndrome, it’s unlikely that nutritional factors play a really prominent role,” remarks Dr. Clauw. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches coping skills and behavioral changes to help you manage an often-frustrating illness. “Every randomized, controlled trial of cognitive behavioral therapy in any chronic illness has Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Endometriosis, and Interstitial Cystitis 355 shown it to be effective,” says Dr. Clauw. For women with fibromyalgia, a pain-based CBT program can be especially effective. In CBT, you’ll learn relaxation techniques (such as deep breathing and positive visual imagery), how to reframe negative thoughts and behaviors that intensify pain responses, how to effectively solve problems, and how to pace activities to accommodate whatever limitations you may have.


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Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn by Chris Hughes

"side hustle", basic income, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, end world poverty, full employment, future of journalism, gig economy, high net worth, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, oil rush, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, TaskRabbit, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, uber lyft, universal basic income, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

And the evidence shows that on balance, cash transfers like these are more effective at improving the lives of the communities they serve than other aid interventions. In 2011, GiveDirectly’s leadership enlisted independent researchers affiliated with MIT’s Poverty Action Lab to assess the impact of their transfers. The analysis was done in coordination with the independent nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action and the National Institutes of Health. The study analyzed the impact of cash transfers using a randomized control trial, the same methodology that pharmaceutical companies use to assess the power of a new drug and its side effects. The researchers surveyed recipients before they received the money to establish a baseline and again afterward to understand the impact. They then compared those villages to a set of “control” villages that did not receive transfers. The design of the study was pre-announced so it was impossible to bury unflattering data, and the researchers opened their raw data sets to the world.


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Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, longitudinal study, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working-age population, zero-sum game

Specifically, they propose that $100 million a year of Title X money be invested through the Office of Population Affairs to state-led campaigns. On fairly conservative assumptions, they predict five dollars of savings from each dollar spent on well-crafted campaigns.6 The second problem is on the supply side, in particular a lack of knowledge or training among health professionals. Indeed, staff training alone seems to have a significant impact on the take-up of LARCs, according to a randomized control trial. The work of organizations like Upstream training providers in states including Ohio, New York, Texas, and Delaware is extremely promising.7 Other steps can be taken to broaden access, including ensuring sufficient supplies in health clinics, simplifying billing procedures, and providing same-day service. It is worth noting, too, that if all states implemented Medicaid expansion—at a cost to the federal government of around $952 billion over ten years—millions more low-income women would be able to access family planning services more easily.8 It is worth noting that Vice President Mike Pence, as governor of Indiana, was one of ten Republican governors accepting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.


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The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

The two subsequently joined forces with Frank Moss, director of the MIT Media Lab, and out of that collaboration came thelamfoundation.org, a website that allows patients to report on their health. The data in the reports are aggregated and analyzed to aid researchers in mapping out new research scenarios. This crowdsourcing approach to research differs substantially from traditional randomized controlled trials used in conventional research, which are expensive and time consuming and conceived of and carried out by researchers from the top down, with patients serving as passive subjects. The LAM site, like other research efforts on the health-care Commons, starts with the patients’ collective wisdom, which helps determine the research protocols. Moss explains that “we’re really turning patients into scientists and changing the balance of power between clinicians and scientists and patients.”54 The Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR), founded by Gilles Frydman, has taken the idea of patient-driven health care a step further by creating a more comprehensive health Commons where over 600,000 patients and caregivers are actively engaged in 163 public online communities.

So professional research has a built-in lethal lag time—a period of delay between the time some people know about an important medical breakthrough and the time everyone knows.60 While double-blind, controlled clinical studies are extremely expensive, patient-initiated observational studies using Big Data and algorithms to discover health patterns and impacts can be undertaken at near zero marginal cost. Still in its infancy, this open-source approach to research often suffers from a lack of verification that the slower, time-tested professional review process brings to conventional randomized control trials. Advocates are aware of these shortcomings but are confident that patient-directed research can begin to build in the appropriate checks, much like Wikipedia does in the shakeout process of verifying and validating articles on its websites. Today, Wikipedia has 19 million contributors. Thousands of users fact check and refine articles, assuring that the open-source website’s accuracy is competitive with other encyclopedias.


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Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You by Scott E. Page

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Checklist Manifesto, computer age, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, deliberate practice, discrete time, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, Network effects, p-value, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, race to the bottom, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, selection bias, six sigma, social graph, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the rule of 72, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, value at risk, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

The evidence physicists relied on for the existence of the Higgs boson in 2012 would occur randomly less than once in 7 million trials were the Higgs boson not to exist. The drug approval process used by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also uses tests of significance. If a pharmaceutical company claims that a new drug reduces the severity of eczema, that company must run two randomized controlled trials. To construct a randomized controlled trial the company would create two identical populations of eczema sufferers. One of the populations receives the drug. The other population receives a placebo. At the end of the trial, the average severity as well as average rates of negative side effects are compared. The company then runs statistical tests. If the drug significantly reduces eczema (measured in standard deviations) and does not significantly increase side effects, the drug can be approved.


India's Long Road by Vijay Joshi

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Basel III, basic income, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Doha Development Round, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, financial intermediation, financial repression, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, Induced demand, inflation targeting, invisible hand, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, obamacare, Pareto efficiency, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, school choice, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, universal basic income, urban sprawl, working-age population

Secondary education has been much less researched but informal evidence indicates a similar picture.9 The big question that arises is why expansion in educational inputs has not been translated into better educational outcomes. There has been quite a lot of high-​quality research on this, based [ 178 ] Stability and Inclusion 179 on econometric work with nationally representative data sets, and on ‘randomized control trials’. (Again, the rigorous scholarly studies are mostly about primary education.)10 My reading of what these studies show is that the poor educational outcomes are the product of inappropriate incentives. The faulty incentives relate partly to prevailing pedagogic practice. Teaching in Indian schools is curriculum-​driven to an absurd degree; the over-​riding objective of teachers is to ‘finish’ the curriculum of each year even if the majority of students are falling behind.

Scepticism about the cost-​effectiveness of the technology package in making cash transfers is nevertheless quite natural. There are complex technical and logistical issues to be sorted out. It may also be feared that rent-​ losers from the process would stymie the operation of the package in one way or another. It is very pertinent, therefore, that the merits of harnessing the new technologies have been demonstrated by Karthik Muralidharan and his associates in a randomized control trial that examined the delivery of NREGS wage payments into bank accounts via the introduction of ‘smart cards’, in a setting large enough to be policy-​relevant, viz. 158 sub-​districts (mandals) of Andhra Pradesh with 19 million people.16 In the ‘treatment’ mandals, the new system was introduced two years before it was in the ‘control’ mandals (in which payments continued to be disbursed in the old way).


pages: 678 words: 148,827

Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization by Scott Barry Kaufman

Albert Einstein, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, fear of failure, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, impulse control, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Rosa Parks, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

It’s still an open research question the extent to which interventions such as intranasal oxytocin administration produce significant effects on behavior. In fact, one recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects study found no main effects of oxytocin and vasopressin on a host of social outcomes. See: Tabak, B.A., et al. (2019). Null results of oxytocin and vasopressin administration across a range of social cognitive and behavioral paradigms: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendrocrinology, 107, 124–132. 37. Debiec, J. (2005). Peptides of love and fear: Vasopressin and oxytocin modulate the integration of information in the amygdala. BioEssays, 27(9), 869–873; Kirsch, P., et al. (2005). Oxytocin modulates neural circuitry for social cognition and fear in humans. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(49), 11489–93. 38. Bartz, Zaki, Bolger, & Ochsner, Social effects of oxytocin in humans; Kemp, A.

Technology insight: Noninvasive brain stimulation in neurology—perspectives on the therapeutic potential of rTMS and tDSC. Nature Clinical Practice Neurology, 3, 383–393. 82. Hamilton, R., Messing, S., and Chatterjee, A. (2011). Rethinking the thinking cap: Ethics of neural enhancement using noninvasive brain stimulation. Neurology, 76(2), 187–193; O’Reardon, J. P., et al. (2007). Efficacy and safety of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the acute treatment of major depression: A multisite randomized controlled trial. Biological Psychiatry, 62(11), 1208–1216; Smith, K. S., Mahler, S. V., Peciña, S., & Berridge, K. C. (2010). Hedonic hotspots: Generating sensory pleasure in the brain. In M. L. Kringelbach, & K. C. Berridge (Eds.), Pleasures of the Brain (pp. 27–49). New York: Oxford University Press; Medaglia, J. D., Zurn, P., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., & Bassett, D. S. (2017). Mind control as a guide for the mind.


pages: 561 words: 157,589

WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us by Tim O'Reilly

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, deskilling, DevOps, Donald Davies, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, gravity well, greed is good, Guido van Rossum, High speed trading, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lao Tzu, Larry Wall, Lean Startup, Leonard Kleinrock, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, microbiome, microservices, minimum viable product, mortgage tax deduction, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Oculus Rift, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Sam Altman, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, social web, software as a service, software patent, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The Future of Employment, the map is not the territory, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, VA Linux, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, yellow journalism, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Fabled labor leader Andy Stern left his job as the head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to write a book making the case for UBI; Y Combinator Research has begun a pilot program in Oakland, California; and peer-to-peer charity GiveDirectly is asking its users to fund a pilot in Kenya. The GiveDirectly experiment is fascinating on two fronts: It is crowdfunded by ordinary people, who already use the platform to provide aid in the form of direct cash transfers to the needy; and in a developing country, the costs are lower so the program can be more extensive, and thus allows for a true randomized control trial. These experiments tell us how far the idea has come since it was proposed by Thomas Paine in 1795, and more recently by Milton Friedman in 1962 (and Paul Ryan in 2014). There are many arguments against UBI, most notably the cost of making it truly universal, and that providing the income to people whether they need it or not will starve existing programs that provided targeted aid to those who actually need it.

,” Facebook post, September 21, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/can-we-cure-all-diseases-in-our-childrens-lifetime/10154087783966634/. 303 “the leading edge of who is going to create that”: Jeff Immelt, in conversation with Tim O’Reilly, Next:Economy Summit, San Francisco, November 12, 2015, https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/ges-digital-transformation. 304 it has roughly hovered since: Max Roser, “Working Hours,” OurWorldInData.org, 2016, retrieved April 4, 2017, https://ourworldindata.org/working-hours/. 304 generosity is the robust strategy: Ryan Avent, The Wealth of Humans (New York: St. Martin’s, 2016), 242. 305 making the case for UBI: Andy Stern, Raising the Floor (New York, Public Affairs, 2016). 305 a pilot program in Oakland, California: Sam Altman, “Moving Forward on Basic Income,” Y Combinator (blog), May 31, 2016, https://blog.ycombinator.com/moving-forward-on-basic-income/. 305 a true randomized control trial: “Launch a basic income,” GiveDirectly, retrieved April 4, 2017, https://www.givedirectly.org/basic-income. 305 proposed by Thomas Paine in 1795: “Agrarian Justice,” The Writings of Thomas Paine, vol. 3, 1791–1804 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1895), Project Gutenberg ebook edition retrieved April 4, 2017, http://www.gutenberg. org/files/31271/31271-h/31271-h.htm #link2H_4_0029. 305 Paul Ryan in 2014: Noah Gordon, “The Conservative Case for a Guaranteed Basic Income,” Atlantic, August 6, 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/08/why-arent-reformicons-pushing-a-guaranteed-basic-income/375600/. 305 arguments against UBI: Charles Murray and Andrews Stern (For), Jared Bernstein and Jason Furman (Against), “Universal Basic Income Is the Safety Net of the Future,” Intelligence Squared Debates, March 22, 2017, http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/universal-basic-income-safety-net-future.


pages: 219 words: 65,532

The Numbers Game: The Commonsense Guide to Understanding Numbers in the News,in Politics, and inLife by Michael Blastland, Andrew Dilnot

Atul Gawande, business climate, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, happiness index / gross national happiness, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), moral panic, pension reform, pensions crisis, randomized controlled trial, school choice, very high income

That tendency to ignore the need for statistical verification is only now beginning to change, with the slow and often grudging acceptance that we need more than a plausible anecdote (a single wave) before instituting a new policy for reoffenders, for teaching methods, for health care, or any other state function. Politicians are among the most recalcitrant, sometimes pleading that the genuine pressure of time, expense, and public expectation makes impossible the ideally random-controlled trials that would be able to identify real stripes from fake, sometimes apparently not much caring or understanding, but, one way or another, often resting their policies on little more than luck and a good story, becoming as a result the willing or unwilling suckers of chance. A politician with a taste for a calculated gamble is a disappointingly welcoming way in for chance to do its dirty work.


pages: 252 words: 70,424

The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen

business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, old-boy network, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional

As recently as ten years ago, development stakeholders had no real way to test whether solutions like free school lunches actually get kids into the classroom—just counting the number of kids before and after doesn’t determine causality. And they definitely didn’t know whether free lunches were better and cheaper than alternative programs, such as conditional cash transfers, deworming medications to reduce illness, or free uniforms. Kremer saw a solution in the randomized controlled trial (RCT), the research method used by pharmaceutical companies to determine whether a drug is effective or not. Kremer was one of the first social scientists to design an RCT to test a social program, helping start a movement that has since become the gold standard in social research.1 (As it turns out, school-based deworming programs are the cheapest and most effective way to get poor kids to go to school.)


pages: 272 words: 66,985

Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction by Chris Bailey

"side hustle", Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Cal Newport, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, functional fixedness, game design, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Skype, twin studies, Zipcar

., “Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering,” Psychological Science 24, no. 5 (2013): 776–81. with personal concerns: Ibid. “of mind wandering”: Jonathan Smallwood and Jonathan W. Schooler, “The Science of Mind Wandering: Empirically Navigating the Stream of Consciousness,” Annual Review of Psychology 66, no. 1 (2015): 487–518. A few weeks: Dianna Quach et al., “A Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Effect of Mindfulness Meditation on Working Memory Capacity in Adolescents,” Journal of Adolescent Health 58, no. 5 (2016): 489–96. manage your attention: E. I. de Bruin, J. E. van der Zwan, and S. M. Bogels, “A RCT Comparing Daily Mindfulness Meditations, Biofeedback Exercises, and Daily Physical Exercise on Attention Control, Executive Functioning, Mindful Awareness, Self-Compassion, and Worrying in Stressed Young Adults,” Mindfulness 7, no. 5 (2016): 1182–92.


pages: 220 words: 66,518

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton

Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Mars Rover, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

“Magnetic field influence on acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction.” American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology 262: C1418-C1422. Rumbles, G. (2001). “A laser that turns down the heat.” Nature 409: 572-573. Shumaker, S. A., C. Legault, et al. (2003). “Estrogen Plus Progestin and the Incidence of Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Postmenopausal Women: The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of the American Medical Association 289(20): 2651-2662. Sivitz, L. (2000). “Cells proliferate in magnetic fields.” Science News 158: 195. Starfield, B. (2000). “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?” Journal of the American Medical Association 284(4): 483-485. Szent-Györgyi, A. (1960). Introduction to a Submolecular Biology. New York, Academic Press. Tsong, T. Y. (1989).


pages: 250 words: 64,011

Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day by John H. Johnson

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Black Swan, business intelligence, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, obamacare, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, publication bias, QR code, randomized controlled trial, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, statistical model, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Thomas Bayes, Tim Cook: Apple, wikimedia commons, Yogi Berra

Newschaffer, “Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children with Older Siblings with and without Autism,” JAMA 313, no. 15 (2015), http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2275444. Although, if you want to start poking holes, you could start with the fact that the sample set was “privately insured children with older siblings.” Chapter 5 1. Randomization is a powerful statistical tool for eliminating selection bias, and Esther Duflo and others have written extensively about randomized controlled trials and related topics. For more detail, “Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit,” © 2006 by Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster, and Michael Kremer, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2006, http://www.nber.org/papers/t0333.pdf. 2. February 29 was included in the dates to account for men born in leap years. 3. David E. Rosenbaum, “Statisticians Charge Draft Lottery Was Not Random,” New York Times, January 4, 1970, http://frewm.wikispaces.com/file/view/nytimes.pdf.


pages: 272 words: 71,487

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More by Charles Kenny

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, inventory management, Kickstarter, Milgram experiment, off grid, open borders, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, transaction costs, very high income, Washington Consensus, X Prize

Rees, S., R. van de Pas, D. Silove, and M. Kareth. 2008. “Health and Human Security in West Papua.” Medical Journal of Australia 189, nos. 11–12. Regalia, F., and L. Castro. 2007. “Performance-Based Incentives for Health: Demand- and Supply-Side Incentives in the Nicaragua Red de Proteccion Social.” Center for Global Development Working Paper 119. Reller, M., and colleagues. 2003. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Household-Based Flocculant-Disinfectant Drinking Water Treatment for Diarrhea Prevention in Rural Guatemala.” American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 69, no. 4. Riley, J. 2001. Rising Life Expectancy: A Global History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rodríguez, F. 2006. “Cleaning Up the Kitchen Sink: On the Consequences of the Linearity Assumption for Cross-Country Growth Empirics.”


pages: 227 words: 71,675

Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything by Becky Bond, Zack Exley

battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, declining real wages, Donald Trump, family office, fixed income, full employment, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, immigration reform, income inequality, Kickstarter, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, plutocrats, Plutocrats, randomized controlled trial, Skype, telemarketer, union organizing

At CREDO I learned from my boss Michael Kieschnick to think big, to manage people and campaigns with tough love, and to look to science and testing to ensure resources were best deployed in the often asymmetrical battles waged from the progressive flank. It was through Michael that I was first introduced to the quantitative political scientist Donald Green. Green was among the first academics to apply randomized control trial methodology to the study of American voting behavior. His field experiments and field experiments inspired by his work have led to a hugely influential and growing body of science-based evidence detailing which voter turnout tactics have the greatest impact at the lowest cost. Research shows that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the big money approach to elections isn’t what really moves voters.


pages: 218 words: 70,323

Critical: Science and Stories From the Brink of Human Life by Matt Morgan

agricultural Revolution, Atul Gawande, biofilm, Black Swan, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive dissonance, crew resource management, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Strachan, discovery of penicillin, en.wikipedia.org, hygiene hypothesis, job satisfaction, John Snow's cholera map, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs

Red cell transfusion practice following the transfusion requirements in critical care (TRICC) study: prospective observational cohort study in a large UK intensive care unit. Vox Sang. 84, 211–218 (2003). ‘Giving high amounts of oxygen to people with bad lungs may cause more deaths.’ Panwar, R. et al. Conservative versus Liberal Oxygenation Targets for Mechanically Ventilated Patients. A Pilot Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 193, 43–51 (2016). ‘. . . a decompressive craniectomy does produce more survivors, but with an increased likelihood of severe, profound disability overall.’ Cooper, D. J. et al. Decompressive Craniectomy in Diffuse Traumatic Brain Injury. N Engl J Med 364, 1493–1502 (2011). ‘. . . gel-like material produced by bacteria (a biofilm) forms around the plastic of breathing tubes.’


pages: 274 words: 73,344

Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World by Nataly Kelly, Jost Zetzsche

airport security, Berlin Wall, Celtic Tiger, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, glass ceiling, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Skype, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, the market place

See Craig Bowron, “A Simple Question Leads to Answers in Medical Mystery,” MinnPost, February 28, 2008; www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/02/simple-question-leads-answers-medical-mystery. 5. To read the full details of the study, see Ann D. Bagchi, Stacy Dale, Natalya Verbitsky-Savitz, Sky Andrecheck, Kathleen Zavotsky, and Robert Eisenstein, “Examining Effectiveness of Medical Interpreters in Emergency Departments for Spanish-Speaking Patients with Limited English Proficiency: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial,” Annals of Emergency Medicine 57, no. 3 (March 2011); the abstract is available at www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644%2810%2900557-3/abstract. 6. To see a graphic that was published in the New York Times and traces the discovery of the disease in Mexico, visit www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/05/02/health/0502-health-timeline.ready.html?ref=health. 7. The examples from the Tampa Tribune can be found at www.amtaweb.org/AMTA2006/AMTA_2006-08-06.pdf. 8.


pages: 262 words: 79,790

Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality by Pauline W. Chen

longitudinal study, medical residency, randomized controlled trial

., Fincke, B. G. “Morbidity and Mortality Conference: A Survey of Academic Internal Medicine Departments.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 2003;18(8):656–58. Ornstein, C., Zarembo, A. “The UCLA Body Parts Scandal.” Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2004. Peters, A. S., Greenberger-Rosovsky, R., Crowder, C., et al. “Long-Term Outcomes of the New Pathway Program at Harvard Medical School: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Academic Medicine 2000;75(5):470–79. Phipps, E., True, G., Harris, D., et al. “Approaching the End of Life: Attitudes, Preferences, and Behaviors of African-American and White Patients and Their Family Caregivers.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 2003;21(3):549–54. Pierluissi, E., Fischer, M. A., Campbell, A. R., et al. “Discussion of Medical Errors in Morbidity and Mortality Conferences.”


pages: 301 words: 78,638

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

"side hustle", Atul Gawande, Cal Newport, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, invisible hand, Lao Tzu, late fees, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Paul Graham, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Saturday Night Live, survivorship bias, Walter Mischel

Christakis and James H. Fowler, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years,” New England Journal of Medicine 357, no. 4 (2007), doi:10.1056/nejmsa066082. J. A. Stockman, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years,” Yearbook of Pediatrics 2009 (2009), doi:10.1016/s0084–3954(08)79134–6. if one person in a relationship lost weight: Amy A. Gorin et al., “Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Ripple Effect of a Nationally Available Weight Management Program on Untreated Spouses,” Obesity 26, no. 3 (2018), doi:10.1002/oby.22098. Of the ten people in the class, four became astronauts: Mike Massimino, “Finding the Difference Between ‘Improbable’ and ‘Impossible,’” interview by James Altucher, The James Altucher Show, January 2017, https://jamesaltucher.com/2017/01/mike-massimino-i-am-not-good-enough.


pages: 284 words: 79,265

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bioinformatics, British Empire, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chelsea Manning, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Galaxy Zoo, guest worker program, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, p-value, Paul Erdős, Pluto: dwarf planet, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, social graph, social web, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

Physics Reports 502, no. 1 (May 2011): 1–35. 104 Certain concepts in computer science: Trakhtenbrot, B. A. “A Survey of Russian Approaches to Perebor (Brute-Force Searches) Algorithms.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 6 (October 1, 1984): 384–400. 107 how often scientists were aware of previous research: Robinson, Karen A., and Steven N. Goodman. “A Systematic Examination of the Citation of Prior Research in Reports of Randomized, Controlled Trials.” Annals of Internal Medicine 154, no. 1 (January 4, 2011): 50–55. 108 a team of scientists from the hospitals and schools: Lau, Joseph, et al. “Cumulative Meta-Analysis of Therapeutic Trials for Myocardial Infarction.” New England Journal of Medicine 327, no. 4 (July 23, 1992): 248–54. 110 the creation of a massive database: Frijters, Raoul, et al. “Literature Mining for the Discovery of Hidden Connections between Drugs, Genes and Diseases.”


pages: 258 words: 79,503

The Genius Within: Unlocking Your Brain's Potential by David Adam

Albert Einstein, business intelligence, cognitive bias, Flynn Effect, job automation, John Conway, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Skype, Stephen Hawking, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray

‘Mozart effect’, Pietschnig J. et al. (2010), ‘Mozart effect – Shmozart effect: a meta-analysis’, Intelligence 38, pp. 314–323. ‘wasting their time’, Underwood E. (2014), ‘Neuroscientists speak out against brain game hype’, Science, 22 October. ‘asked viewers’, Owen A. et al. (2010), ‘Putting brain training to the test’, Nature 465, pp. 775–778. ‘silver-haired’, Corbett A. (2015), ‘The effect of an online cognitive training package in healthy older adults: an online randomized controlled trial’, JAMDA 16, pp. 990–997. ‘babies smarter’, Lewin T. (2009), ‘No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund’, New York Times, 23 October. ‘Flynn effect’, Flynn J. (2013), ‘The Flynn effect and Flynn’s paradox’, Intelligence 41, pp. 851–857. ‘tentative signs’, Howard R. (2005), ‘Objective evidence of rising population ability: a detailed examination of longitudinal chess data’, Personality and Individual Differences 38, pp. 347–363.


Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Advanced Guide to Building Muscle, Staying Lean, and Getting Strong by Michael Matthews

agricultural Revolution, fear of failure, G4S, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial

Liese, Steven M. Haffner, Lynne E. Wagenknecht, and Anthony J. Hanley. “Whole and refined grain intakes are related to inflammatory protein concentrations in human plasma.” The Journal of nutrition 140, no. 3 (2010): 587-594. 259. Bazzano, Lydia A., Angela M. Thompson, Michael T. Tees, Cuong H. Nguyen, and Donna M. Winham. “Non-soy legume consumption lowers cholesterol levels: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases 21, no. 2 (2011): 94-103. 260. Gilani, G. Sarwar, Kevin A. Cockell, and Estatira Sepehr. “Effects of antinutritional factors on protein digestibility and amino acid availability in foods.” Journal of AOAC International 88, no. 3 (2005): 967-987. 261. Hotz, Christine, and Rosalind S. Gibson. “Traditional food-processing and preparation practices to enhance the bioavailability of micronutrients in plant-based diets.”


pages: 741 words: 199,502

Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class by Charles Murray

23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asperger Syndrome, assortative mating, basic income, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, feminist movement, glass ceiling, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, p-value, phenotype, publication bias, quantitative hedge fund, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, school vouchers, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, universal basic income, working-age population

Department of Health and Human Services (2010). 22. Duncan and Magnuson (2013): 117. 23. Duncan and Magnuson (2013): 119. 24. The paragraph continues: In general, a finding of meaningful long-term outcomes of an early childhood intervention is more likely when the program is old, or small, or a multi-year intervention, and evaluated with something other than a well-implemented RCT [random controlled trial]. In contrast, as the program being evaluated becomes closer to universal pre-K for four-year-olds and the evaluation design is an RCT, the outcomes beyond the pre-K year diminish to nothing. I conclude that the best available evidence raises serious doubts that a large public investment in the expansion of pre-K for four-year-olds will have the long-term effects that advocates tout. (Whitehurst (2013): 8–9). 25.

Current Opinion in Genetics and Development (41): 98–105. Okbay, Aysu, Jonathan P. Beauchamp, Mark Alan Fontana et al. 2016. “Supplementary Information: Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies 74 Loci Associated with Educational Attainment.” Nature 533 (7604). Olafsen, K. S., J. A. Ronning, P. I. Kaaresen et al. 2006. “Joint Attention in Term and Preterm Infants at 12 Months of Age: The Significant of Gender and Intervention Based on Randomized Controlled Trial.” Infant Behavior and Development 29: 554–63. Olalde, Iñigo, and Carles Lalueza-Fox. 2015. “Modern Humans’ Paleogenomics and the New Evidences on the European Prehistory.” Science and Technology of Archaeological Research 1 (1): 1–9. Oleksyk, Taras K., Vladimir Brukhin, and Stephen J. O’Brien. 2015. “The Genome Russia Project: Closing the Largest Remaining Omission on the World Genome Map.”


pages: 281 words: 79,958

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, twin studies, Upton Sinclair, X Prize

In the world of CAM, evidence matters no more than compassion or belief. Weil spells it all out in Healthy Aging: To many, faith is simply unfounded belief, belief in the absence of evidence, and that is anathema to the scientific mind. There is a great movement toward “evidence-based medicine” today, an attempt to weed out ideas and practices not supported by the kind of evidence that doctors like best: results of randomized controlled trials. This way of thinking discounts the evidence of experience. I maintain that it is possible to look at the world scientifically and also to be aware of nonmaterial reality, and I consider it important for both doctors and patients to know how to assess spiritual health. (Italics added.) Evidence of experience? He is referring to personal anecdotes, and allowing anecdotes to compete with, and often supplant, verifiable facts is evidence of its own kind—of the denialism at the core of nearly every alternative approach to medicine.


pages: 261 words: 78,884

$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, business cycle, clean water, ending welfare as we know it, future of work, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, indoor plumbing, informal economy, low-wage service sector, mass incarceration, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, The Future of Employment, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration

When asked what she would do to change things, the wife responded, “Raise the minimum wage!” HUD seeks to alleviate some of the burden of the high housing costs faced by low-income families through maintaining public housing developments and through the housing choice voucher program, colloquially known as Section 8. While these programs are far from perfect, there’s solid evidence from the gold standard of social science research—a randomized control trial—that they reduce housing instability considerably. Access to a Section 8 voucher, in particular, reduces the chances that a family will be homeless—either doubled up or out on the streets. It lessens by half the share of families living in overcrowded units, and it greatly diminishes the average number of moves a family makes over a five-year period. But while the cost of housing has grown and wages have stagnated, the size of government housing programs has not kept pace, a trend of reduced investment that began in the 1980s during the Reagan administration.


pages: 317 words: 87,566

The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies

1960s counterculture, Airbnb, business intelligence, corporate governance, dematerialisation, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, intangible asset, invisible hand, joint-stock company, lifelogging, market bubble, mental accounting, nudge unit, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Philip Mirowski, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto

The science of deflation The ability of individuals to ‘strive’ and ‘grow’ came under a somewhat different scientific spotlight between 1957 and 1958, due to accidental and coincidental discoveries made by two psychiatrists, Ronald Kuhn and Nathan Kline, working in the United States and Switzerland respectively. As with so many major scientific breakthroughs, it is impossible to specify who exactly got there first, for the simple reason that neither quite understood where exactly they had got to. The era of psychopharmacology was still very young, with the discovery of the first drug effective against schizophrenia in 1952 and the running of the first successful ‘randomized control trials’ (whereby a drug is tested alongside a placebo, with the recipients not knowing which one they’ve received) on Valium in 1954. These breakthroughs opened up a new neurochemical terrain for psychiatrists to explore. Unlike the developers of those anti-anxiety and anti-schizophrenia drugs, Kline and Kuhn were not sure precisely what disorder they were seeking to target. Kline began experimenting with a drug called iproniazid, which had first been used against tuberculosis, while Kuhn was trialling imipramine in the hope that it might target psychosis.


pages: 299 words: 81,377

The No Need to Diet Book: Become a Diet Rebel and Make Friends With Food by Plantbased Pixie

Albert Einstein, David Attenborough, employer provided health coverage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, publication bias, randomized controlled trial

‘Effect of low-fat vs low-carbohydrate diet on 12-month weight loss in overweight adults and the association with genotype pattern or insulin secretion’. JAMA, 319(7):667. 86. Hall, K.D. (2017). ‘A review of the carbohydrate–insulin model of obesity’. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(3):323–326. 87. Reidlinger, D.P., Darzi, J., Hall, W.L., et al. (2015). ‘How effective are current dietary guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in healthy middle-aged and older men and women? A randomized controlled trial’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(5):922–930. 88. Hooper, L., Martin, N., Abdelhamid, A., Davey Smith, G. (2015). ‘Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease’. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. June (6). 89. Huang, T., Xu, M., Lee, A., Cho, S., Qi, L. (2015). ‘Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber and total and cause-specific mortality: prospective analysis of 367,442 individuals’.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

But even he warns that the current “misguided use of statistical knowledge” in medicine “systematically excludes the individualized knowledge and data essential to patient care.”52 Gary Klein, a research psychologist who studies how people make decisions, has deeper worries. By forcing physicians to follow set rules, evidence-based medicine “can impede scientific progress,” he writes. Should hospitals and insurers “mandate EBM, backed up by the threat of lawsuits if adverse outcomes are accompanied by any departure from best practices, physicians will become reluctant to try alternative treatment strategies that have not yet been evaluated using randomized controlled trials. Scientific advancement can become stifled if front-line physicians, who blend medical expertise with respect for research, are prevented from exploration and are discouraged from making discoveries.”53 If we’re not careful, the automation of mental labor, by changing the nature and focus of intellectual endeavor, may end up eroding one of the foundations of culture itself: our desire to understand the world.


pages: 281 words: 83,119

The Secret Female Hormone by Kathy C. Maupin, M.D.

clean water, medical residency, randomized controlled trial

“Androgen Insufficiency in Women: The Princeton Conference.” Fertility and Sterility 77, no. S4 (April 2002): S26-S47. Russell, Jon. “Fibromyalgia Syndrome: New Developments in Pathophysiology and Management.” Primary Psychiatry 13, no. 9 (2006): 38-39. Saravanan, P., D. Simmons, R. Greenwood et al. “Partial Substitution of Thyroxine (T4) with Tri-Iodothyronine in Patients on T4 Replacement Therapy: Results of Large Community-based Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 90, no. 2 (2005): 805. Sarrel, Philip M. “Androgen Deficiency: Menopause and Estrogen-related Factors.” Fertility and Sterility 77, no. S4 (April 2002): S63-S66. Savvas, M., J. Studd, S. Norman et al. “Increase in Bone Mass After One Year of Percutaneous Oestradiol and Testosterone Implants in Post-Menopausal Women who Have Previously Received Long-Term Oral Oestrogens.”


pages: 300 words: 65,976

The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong by Barry Glassner

Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Gary Taubes, haute cuisine, income inequality, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, placebo effect, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Saturday Night Live, stem cell, twin studies, urban sprawl, working poor

Willett and the paper’s authors both emphasized that nineteen people in a subsample were almost eight pounds below their initial weight thirty months after the start of the study. But even that favorable finding is offset by the fact that twenty-six of those who dropped out of the study and allowed themselves to be weighed after eighteen months had an average weight gain of nine pounds. Katherine McManus, Linda Antinoro, and Frank Sacks, “A Randomized Controlled Trial 262 Notes of a Moderate-Fat, Low-Energy Diet Compared with a Low-Fat, Low-Energy Diet for Weight Loss in Overweight Adults,” International Journal of Obesity 25 (2001): 1503–11. 50. Richard Klein,“Big Country,” New Republic, September 19, 1994, pp. 28– 33; Sander Gilman, Fat Boys (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004); Peter N. Stearns, Fat History (New York: New York University Press, 2002); Glassner, Bodies; Eric Oliver, Obesity: The Making of an American Epidemic (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). 51.


pages: 291 words: 92,406

Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports From My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, factory automation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, source of truth, theory of mind, twin studies

V. 1994 Autism: electroencephalogram abnormalities and clinical improvement with valproic acid. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 148: 220–222. D. Rapp 1991 Is this your child? Discovering and treating unrecognized allergies. New York., William Morrow et al. Ratey J. J. 1987 Autism: The treatment of aggressive behaviors. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 7, 1:, 35–41. Richardson A. J. P. Montgomery 2005 The Oxford-Durham study—a randomized controlled trial of dietary supplementation with fatty acids in children with developmental coordination disorder. Pediatrics, 115: 1360–1366. et al. R. Ricketts 1993 Fluoxetine treatment of severe self-injury in young adults with mental retardation. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32, 4:, 865–869. B. Rimland 1994 Parent ratings of behavioral effects of drugs and nutrients.


pages: 313 words: 91,098

The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, attribution theory, bitcoin, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, combinatorial explosion, computer age, crowdsourcing, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Flynn Effect, Hernando de Soto, hindsight bias, hive mind, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, as a member of a fundamentalist Christian church that supports many beliefs that are counter to scientific consensus. The church interprets the Bible literally, believes in Young Earth creationism, denies evolution, and believes prayer can substitute for medical care. For most of his life, Science Mike firmly believed these things. However, in his thirties he began reading scientific literature and his faith in these beliefs began to waver. He read about randomized control trials that cast doubt on the healing power of prayer, physics research that identified the true age of the universe, and biology and paleontology studies that support evolution. His initial reaction was to completely lose his faith, but for a long time he hid his new beliefs from his community. Eventually a personal experience helped him rediscover his faith, and he is now a practicing Christian, but he continues to reject his fundamentalist church’s antiscientific beliefs.


pages: 305 words: 89,103

Scarcity: The True Cost of Not Having Enough by Sendhil Mullainathan

American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrei Shleifer, Cass Sunstein, clean water, computer vision, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, happiness index / gross national happiness, impulse control, indoor plumbing, inventory management, knowledge worker, late fees, linear programming, mental accounting, microcredit, p-value, payday loans, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

As a starting point, see Eduardo Sabaté, ed., Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2003). This book also contains adherence data for a wide variety of diseases. more than 28 percent of total yield: December 15, 2009. The benefits of weeding for any one farmer may be hard to generalize from these studies, which rely on model plots or on cross-sectional data. A careful randomized control trial of the benefits to farmers of weeding would be particularly useful in this area. For the current estimates in Africa, see L. P. Gianessi et al., “Solving Africa’s Weed Problem: Increasing Crop Production and Improving the Lives of Women,” Proceedings of “Agriculture: Africa’s ‘engine for growth’—Plant Science and Biotechnology Hold the Key,” Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK, October 12–14, 2009 (Association of Applied Biologists, 2009).


pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus

active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

Most of the data we have on file are observational. Scientists look at a large group of people—some of whom practiced one behavior and others another—and then they study the outcomes, attempting to make the groups equal with respect to other variables, with men and women of roughly the same age in each group, who share similar lifestyles in terms of their diet and exercise habits. These large, randomized controlled trials are the best resource we have to identify behaviors that can alter our risk for disease. The problem is that it is very hard to dictate behavior to a group of people and expect them to be compliant for years and then study an outcome that has a very long lag time, meaning time until the desired effect is seen. Few, if any, scientists want to stake their efforts and career on an experiment that won’t yield a result for a decade or more.


pages: 322 words: 87,181

Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy by Dani Rodrik

3D printing, airline deregulation, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, central bank independence, centre right, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, full employment, future of work, George Akerlof, global value chain, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Kenneth Rogoff, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, Pareto efficiency, postindustrial economy, price stability, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steven Pinker, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, World Values Survey, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Those with strong priors in favor of financial market efficiency, such as Eugene Fama, for example, can continue to absolve financial markets from culpability for the crisis, laying the blame elsewhere. Keynesians and “classical” economists can continue to disagree on their interpretation of high unemployment. But even in microeconomics, where it is sometimes possible to generate precise empirical estimates using randomized controlled trials, those estimates apply only locally to a particular setting. The results must be extrapolated—using judgment and a lot of hand waving—in order to be applied more generally. New economic evidence serves at best to nudge the views—a little here, a little there—of those inclined to be open-minded. “One thing that experts know, and that non-experts do not,” the development economist Kaushik Basu has said, “is that they know less than non-experts think they do.”5 The implications go beyond not overselling any particular research result.


Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts, Paul Collier

Alvin Roth, anti-communist, centre right, charter city, corporate social responsibility, Donald Trump, failed state, Filter Bubble, global supply chain, informal economy, Kibera, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, open borders, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, rising living standards, risk/return, school choice, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, trade route, urban planning, zero-sum game

The headless heart may lead to outcomes little better than the heartless head. So we need to be a little more specific about what generosity of spirit implies. What should it mean in the context of Syria, and, by extension, what should it mean more widely in the global context of refugees? Science makes progress through experiments. The natural sciences rely upon lab experiments; medicine and economics progress through randomized controlled trials and natural experiments. None of these approaches are of much use for the present question, but moral philosophy does have its own form of experiment: the thought experiment. We can use thought experiments to make progress in teasing out what we should mean by generosity of spirit. In this chapter we are going to focus on a series of ethical questions. The most immediate of them concerns the initial response to the desperation of people fleeing from violence: what is our moral duty towards refugees?


pages: 1,072 words: 237,186

How to Survive a Pandemic by Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM

coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, double helix, friendly fire, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, inventory management, Kickstarter, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, phenotype, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, statistical model, stem cell, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, Westphalian system, Y2K, Yogi Berra

I did look into zinc as a potential treatment after the fact-checking site Snopes validated that a noted virologist did indeed make a February 2020 recommendation to “Stock up now with zinc lozenges.”2778 He based his supposition on the efficacy of zinc for common colds, up to 29 percent of which are caused by coronaviruses.2779 There is a sweet backstory: A three-year-old girl undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia (a disease marked by low zinc levels2780) refused to swallow a zinc supplement. Immunosuppressed, she had just started getting a cold. Instead of swallowing the supplement, she just let it dissolve in her mouth, and the cold seemed to disappear within hours.2781 This observation led her own father to conduct the first randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial on zinc lozenges.2782 There have since been more than a dozen randomized controlled trials published. Overall, researchers have found that zinc is indeed beneficial in reducing both duration and severity of the common cold when taken within the first twenty-four hours of symptom onset.2783 Zinc lozenges appear to shorten colds by about three days,2784 with significant reductions in nasal congestion and discharge, hoarseness, and cough.2785 The common cold results for zinc are often described as “mixed,” but that appears to be largely because some studies used zinc lozenges containing ingredients like citric acid that strongly sequester zinc, so little or no free zinc is actually released.2786 Lozenges containing around 10–15 mg of zinc as either zinc acetate or zinc gluconate without zinc binders such as citric acid, tartaric acid, glycine, sorbitol, or mannitol2787 taken every two waking hours for a few days starting immediately upon symptom onset may work best.2788 Best for the common cold, but what about COVID-19?

Efficacy of zinc given as an adjunct in the treatment of severe and very severe pneumonia in hospitalized children 2-24 mo of age: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 97(6):1387–1394. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.112.052951. 2798. Sempértegui F, Estrella B, Rodríguez O, Gómez D, Cabezas M, Salgado G, Sabin LL, Hamer DH. 2014. Zinc as an adjunct to the treatment of severe pneumonia in Ecuadorian children: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(3):497–505. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.113.067892. 2799. Shah D, Sachdev HS, Gera T, De-Regil LM, Peña-Rosas JP. 2016. Fortification of staple foods with zinc for improving zinc status and other health outcomes in the general population. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 6:CD010697. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD010697.pub2. 2800. Singh M, Das RR. 2011. Zinc for the common cold.


pages: 358 words: 95,115

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

affirmative action, Columbine, delayed gratification, desegregation, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, index card, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, theory of mind

, and David P. Farrington, “Effects of Closed-Circuit Television on Crime,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 587, no. 1, pp. 110–135 (2003). Wilfley, Denise E., Tiffany L. Tibbs, Dorothy J. Van Buren, Kelle P. Reach, Mark S. Walker, and Leonard H. Epstein, “Lifestyle Interventions in the Treatment of Childhood Overweight: A Meta-analytic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials,” Health Psychology, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 521–532 (2007). Williams, A. F., “Young Driver Risk Factors: Successful and Unsuccessful Approaches for Dealing With Them and an Agenda for the Future,” Injury Prevention, vol. 12, supp. 1, pp. 4–8 (2006). Chapter 9, Plays Well With Others Allen, Joseph P., Remarks as discussant for paper symposium, “How and Why Does Peer Influence Occur? Socialization Mechanisms From a Developmental Perspective,” Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Chicago (2008).


pages: 320 words: 97,509

Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician by Sandeep Jauhar

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, delayed gratification, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, medical malpractice, moral hazard, obamacare, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, source of truth, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Yogi Berra

Afterward the head of the committee pointedly noted that I was in Scios’s speakers’ bureau. Though he didn’t say it explicitly, the clear implication was that my assessment was being influenced by money. In the end, the committee decided to restrict Natrecor use to me (the resident heart failure specialist) and a handful of other cardiologists. By then I’d tapered off the talks anyway, and soon afterward I quit the speakers’ bureau. (A randomized, controlled trial later showed that Natrecor was safe but no more effective than existing, cheaper therapies.) During the two years I gave these talks, I often thought of what Jacob Hirsch, a cardiologist at NYU, once told me when we were sitting in the echo reading room during my fellowship. He was eating a sandwich that had been brought in by a drug rep. “It’s not the doctors at the academic centers that they should be policing,” he said.


pages: 435 words: 95,864

Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

epigenetics, fear of failure, impulse control, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Goodyer, P. Wilkinson, et al., “5-HTTLPR and Early Childhood Adversities Moderate Cognitive and Emotional Processing in Adolescence,” PLoS One 7, no. 11 (2012), e48482. Seventy-five percent of kids with the stress-reactive variant: D. Albert, D. W. Belsky, M. Crowley, et al., “Can Genetics Predict Response to Complex Behavioral Interventions? Evidence from a Genetic Analysis of the Fast Track Randomized Control Trial,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (January 2, 2015), doi: 10.1002/pam.21811. Even later efforts in adulthood to reshape: J. Belsky and M. Pluess, “Beyond Diathesis Stress: Differential Susceptibility to Environmental Influences,” Psychological Bulletin 135, no. 6 (2009), 885–908; J. Belsky, “Variation in Susceptibility to Rearing Influences: An Evolutionary Argument,” Psychological Inquiry 8 (1997), 182–86; J.


pages: 307 words: 96,543

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl Wudunn

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Bernie Sanders, carried interest, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Brooks, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, epigenetics, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, job automation, jobless men, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, offshore financial centre, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shai Danziger, single-payer health, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor

The Reams case is a tragic reminder of what can happen when kids in places like Pine Bluff get help only from gangs: in this case, Turner was murdered, Reams spent twenty-five years on death row and Arkansas devoted scarce tax dollars to prisons, police, lawyers and courts instead of educating children and directing them to become, say, police officers rather than criminals. Because the cost of crime is so high, the evidence is that programs like Annette’s targeting at-risk kids can generate huge returns. One randomized controlled trial looking at a similar program in Chicago, Becoming a Man, found that the program reduced violent crime arrests by about half and increased high-school graduation rates by about 15 percent. The study showed that each dollar invested in the programs saved up to $30 over time. These programs should be replicated all across the country, so as to help young people and the country itself. There’s an ongoing debate about private initiatives like Annette’s.


pages: 463 words: 105,197

Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society by Eric Posner, E. Weyl

3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-communist, augmented reality, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, feminist movement, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, guest worker program, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Lyft, market bubble, market design, market friction, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, negative equity, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, Pareto efficiency, passive investing, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Rory Sutherland, Second Machine Age, second-price auction, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, special economic zone, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, telepresence, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, Zipcar

LEFT: The government should tax the rich to supply homes, medical care, and jobs for the poor. RIGHT: Yes, and you end up with Venezuela or Zimbabwe. The government needs to privatize state-owned industries, enforce property rights, lower taxes, and reduce regulation. Get the economy going, and inequality will take care of itself. TECHNOCRATIC MIDDLE: We need an economy carefully regulated by internationally trained experts, targeted interventions that have been tested by randomized controlled trials, and political reform that protects human rights. People in rich countries, where inequality is rising, will recognize Brazil in their own countries. In the rich countries, economies are also stagnating and political conflict and corruption are on the rise. The long-standing belief that a “developing country” like Brazil will eventually end up as a “developed country” like the United States is under scrutiny, and people are beginning to wonder if things are moving in reverse.


pages: 357 words: 110,072

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh

animal electricity, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, correlation does not imply causation, false memory syndrome, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, germ theory of disease, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method

If the patients are randomly assigned to groups, then it can be assumed that the groups will be broadly similar in terms of any factor, such as age, income, gender or the severity of the illness, which might affect a patient’s outcome. Randomization even allows for unknown factors to be balanced equally across the groups. Fairness through randomization is particularly effective if the initial pool of participants is large. In this case, the number of participants (366 patients) was impressively large. Today medical researchers call this a randomized controlled trial (or RCT) or a randomized clinical trial, and it is considered the gold standard for putting therapies to the test. Although Hamilton succeeded in conducting the first randomized clinical trial on the effects of bloodletting, he failed to publish his results. In fact, we know of Hamilton’s research only because his documents were rediscovered in 1987 among papers hidden in a trunk lodged with the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.


pages: 605 words: 110,673

Drugs Without the Hot Air by David Nutt

British Empire, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, offshore financial centre, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), War on Poverty

.”• LSD: my problem child, Albert Hofmann, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980 4 “I lost all control of time• As above. 5 they recorded that they found themselves taking their schizophrenic patients’ accounts of their illness more seriously• Hofmann’s Potion: The Early Years of LSD, Connie Littlefield, URL-120, 2002 6 The LSD trials at Saskatchewan• As above. 7 outbreak of insanity in the French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit in 1951• A terrible mistake, Hank Albarelli, Trine Day, 2009 8 Leary first tried psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, and he soon began experimenting with LSD as well• Hofmann’s Potion: The Early Years of LSD, Connie Littlefield, URL-120, 2002 9 “hearing voices”• Schizophrenia, National Institute of Mental Health, URL-118. 10 an edition of Spiderman in 1971• The Amazing Spiderman issues #96–98, Stan Lee, Marvel Comics, May–July 1971 11 five other studies that have found LSD helps people overcome alcoholism• Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for alcoholism: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Teri S. Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen, Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2011 12 cluster headaches self-medicate with psychedelics• Will Harvard drop acid again?, Peter Bebergal, URL-121, June 9th 2008 13 use in problem solving• LSD – The Problem Solving Psychedelic, PG Stafford and BH Golightly, Award Books, 1967 14 Francis Crick• Nobel Prize Genius Crick was High on LSD when he discovered the secret of life, Alun Rees, the Mail on Sunday, August 8th 2004 15 Kary Mullis• BBC Horizon – Psychedelic Science – DMT, LSD, Ibogaine – Part 5, BBC, 1997 16 polymerase chain reaction (PCR)• The polymerase chain reaction is used to “amplify” a small amount of DNA, to produce a larger quantity that makes testing possible or easier.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Politicians and civil servants too seldom appreciate how tools drawn from both the natural and social sciences can be used to design more effective policies, and even to win votes. In education and criminal justice, for example, interventions are regularly undertaken without being subjected to proper evaluation. Both fields can be perfectly amenable to one of science’s most potent techniques—the randomized controlled trial—yet these are seldom required before new initiatives are put into place. Pilots are often derisory in nature, failing even to collect useful evidence that could be used to evaluate a policy’s success. Sheila Bird, of the Medical Research Council, for instance, has criticized the UK’s introduction of a new community sentence called the Drug Treatment and Testing Order, following pilots designed so poorly as to be worthless.


The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling by Arlie Russell Hochschild

affirmative action, airline deregulation, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, job satisfaction, late capitalism, longitudinal study, new economy, post-industrial society, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, telemarketer

James, Nicky 1989 "Emotional Labour: Skill and work in the Social Regulation of Feelings," Sociological Review 37(1): 15-42. Karabanow,]. 1999 "When Caring is Not Enough: Emotional Labor and Youth Shelter Workers," Social Service Review V73(N3):340-357. Kennell,]., S. McGrath, M. Klaus, S. Robertson, and C. Hinkley 1991 "Continuous Emotional Support During Labor in a United States Hospital-A Randomized Controlled Trial," JAMAJournal of the American Medical Association V265(N17) :2197-220l. "Continuous Emotional Support During Labor1991 In Reply," JAMAJournal of the American Medical Association V266(N11):1509-1510. 282 Bibliography to the Twentieth Anniversary Edition Kilbourne, Barbara Stanek, George Farkas, Kurt Beron, Dorothea Weir, and Paula England 1994 "Returns to Skill, Compensating Differentials, and Gender Bias: Effects of Occupational Characteristics on the Wages of White Women and Men," A merican Journal of Sociology 100 (3) :689-719.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

See Federal Trade Commission press release “FTC Charges Marketers of ‘Vision Improvement’ App with Deceptive Claims,” September 17, 2015, https://www .ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/09/ftc-charges-marketers-vision -improvement-app-deceptive-claims/. Seitz’s scientific studies are high quality and have been published in peer-review psychology journals, but the FTC wanted him to perform a randomized control trial, similar to trials used to test the efficacy of drugs. This is an expensive undertaking, difficult for a small startup company. 40. Johana Bhuiyan, “Ex-Google Sebastian Thrun Says That the Going Rate for SelfDriving Talent Is $10 Million per Person,” Recode, September 17, 2016. https://www .recode.net/2016/9/17/12943214/sebastian-thrun-self-driving-talent-pool. 41. Geoffrey Hinton is the chief scientific advisor of the Vector Institute.


pages: 403 words: 106,707

Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson

airport security, animal electricity, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Frederick Winslow Taylor, glass ceiling, Iridium satellite, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford marshmallow experiment, technoutopianism, Walter Mischel

., “Conventional Testing Methods Produce Submaximal Values of Maximum Oxygen Consumption,” British Journal of Sports Medicine 46, no. 1 (2012). 8. a particularly graphic illustration of its importance: C. R. Wagstaff, “Emotion Regulation and Sport Performance,” Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 36, no. 4 (2014). 9. Staiano and Marcora presented recently declassified results: Walter Staiano et al., “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Brain Endurance Training (BET) to Reduce Fatigue During Endurance Exercise,” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 47, no. 5S (2015). 10. a 2016 analysis of virtually every brain-training study: Daniel Simons et al., “Do ‘Brain-Training’ Programs Work?,” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 17, no. 3 (2016). 11. “‘This is not happening! Why now?’”: I first wrote about Isaković, and Paulus’s research, in “Cracking the Athlete’s Brain,” Outside, February 2014. 12. followed eight Marine infantry platoons: L.


pages: 406 words: 109,794

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Exxon Valdez, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, functional fixedness, game design, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, precision agriculture, prediction markets, premature optimization, pre–internet, random walk, randomized controlled trial, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, young professional

., “Hierarchical Cultural Values Predict Success and Mortality in High-Stakes Teams,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112, no. 5 (2015): 1338–43. “oculostenotic reflex”: Eric Topol is the cardiologist who coined that term. (For a patient who is actually having a heart attack, a stent can be lifesaving.) one in fifty patients: K. Stergiopoulos and D. L. Brown, “Initial Coronary Stent Implantation With Medical Therapy vs Medical Therapy Alone for Stable Coronary Artery Disease: Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials,” Archives of Internal Medicine 172, no. 4 (2012): 312–19. cannot believe that stenting: G. A. Lin et al., “Cardiologists’ Use of Percutaneous Coronary Interventions for Stable Coronary Artery Disease,” Archives of Internal Medicine 167, no. 15 (2007):1604–09. were less likely to die: A. B. Jena et al., “Mortality and Treatment Patterns among Patients Hospitalized with Acute Cardiovascular Conditions during Dates of National Cardiology Meetings,” JAMA Internal Medicine 175, no. 2 (2015): 237–44.


pages: 378 words: 110,408

Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool

Albert Einstein, deliberate practice, iterative process, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, sensible shoes

The program uses the same basic principles found in deliberate practice: breaking learning down into a series of well-specified skills, designing exercises to teach each of those skills in the correct order, and using feedback to monitor progress. According to teachers who have used the curriculum, this approach has allowed them to teach the relevant math skills to essentially every student, with no one left behind. Jump was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial in Ontario with twenty-nine teachers and approximately three hundred fifth-grade students, and after five months the students in the Jump classes showed more than twice as much progress as the others in understanding mathematical concepts as measured by standardized tests. Unfortunately, the results of the trial have not appeared in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, so it is hard to judge them objectively, and we will need to see the results reproduced in other school districts before we can trust them completely, but the results agree with what I have observed generally in a variety of fields, not just singing and math, but writing, drawing, tennis, golf, gardening, and a variety of games, such as Scrabble and crossword solving: People do not stop learning and improving because they have reached some innate limits on their performance; they stop learning and improving because, for whatever reasons, they stopped practicing—or never started.


pages: 421 words: 110,272

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case, Angus Deaton

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, business cycle, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, crack epidemic, creative destruction, crony capitalism, declining real wages, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, falling living standards, Fellow of the Royal Society, germ theory of disease, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, obamacare, pensions crisis, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, universal basic income, working-age population, zero-sum game

We shall argue that this process, run out over half a century, has slowly eaten away at the foundations of working-class life, high wages and good jobs, and has been central in causing deaths of despair. The opioid story fits with this more general theme but is much more flagrant, because it is rare that corporations can so directly benefit from death. We do not believe that the FDA has been captured by the industry. Even so, much went wrong with its approval of opioids, especially OxyContin. The FDA (and the general public) greatly reveres the randomized controlled trials that are required to demonstrate that drugs work, but even here there were problems with opioids. Those who were in the control group for OxyContin—the randomly selected group that did not receive the drug—had previously been taking OxyContin in an earlier phase of the trial, called the open-label phase; this is done to exclude from the trial those who cannot tolerate the drug.37 In this type of trial there is a “washout” period between the two phases, in which the drug is supposed to wash out of the patients’ systems.


pages: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

Over five years, they discovered that reading and math scores actually went down. “Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores,” the economists wrote. After being issued laptops, the students’ grades went down and stayed down for the entire duration of the study.52 “There are already several randomized, controlled trials of schools with and without One Laptop per Child,” notes Kentaro Toyama, a self-described “recovering technoholic” and former Microsoft Research Executive who worked for the company in India overseeing projects aimed at using technology to alleviate conditions leading to poverty. Now a professor at the University of Michigan and author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology, he tells an interviewer that, “[g]enerally, what most of these studies show is that schools with laptops did not see their children gain anything in terms of academic achievement, in terms of grades, in terms of test scores, in terms of attendance, or in terms of supposed engagement with the classroom.”53 Why would One Tablet, One Child be any different?


pages: 416 words: 108,370

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, always be closing, augmented reality, Clayton Christensen, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, game design, Gordon Gekko, hindsight bias, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, information trail, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kodak vs Instagram, linear programming, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, subscription business, telemarketer, the medium is the message, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, women in the workforce

A few years before the outbreak, one of London’s water suppliers had moved its intake point upstream from the main sewage discharge on the Thames, while another company kept its intake point downstream from the sewage. London had been divided into two groups, one drinking sewage and one drinking purer water. In other words, the London cholera outbreak was the result of something like an unintentional randomized controlled trial of disease theory. Several hundred thousand people were randomly distributed water from one company and were more likely to get sick, while several hundred thousand people were randomly distributed water from another company and stayed healthy. the healthy brewers: Randy Alfred, “Sept. 8, 1854: Pump Shutdown Stops London Cholera Outbreak,” Wired, September 8, 2009, www.wired.com/2009/09/0908london-cholera-pump/.


pages: 935 words: 267,358

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, central bank independence, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, high net worth, Honoré de Balzac, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, index card, inflation targeting, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, market bubble, means of production, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, refrigerator car, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, twin studies, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

Some of the problems of health and education the poor countries face today are specific to their situation and cannot really be addressed by drawing on the past experience of today’s developed countries (think of the problem of AIDS, for example). Hence new experiments, perhaps in the form of randomized controlled trials, may be justified. See, for example, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics (New York: Public Affairs, 2012). As a general rule, however, I think that development economics tends to neglect actual historical experience, which, in the context of this discussion, means that too little attention is paid to the difficulty of developing an effective social state with paltry tax revenues. One important difficulty is obviously the colonial past (and therefore randomized controlled trials may offer a more neutral terrain). 50. See Thomas Piketty and Nancy Qian, “Income Inequality and Progressive Income Taxation in China and India: 1986–2015,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 1, no. 2 (April 2009): 53–63.


pages: 390 words: 115,769

Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World's Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins

clean water, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, Donald Trump, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, land reform, life extension, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley, telemarketer

Bortz, We Live Too Short, p. 200. 5. Geoffrey Cowley, “How to live to 100,” Newsweek June 30, 1997. 6. Ibid. 7. Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, “Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin,” New England Journal of Medicine Feb. 7, 2002, 346(6):393–403. 8. A. C. King et al., “Moderate intensity exercise and self-rated quality of sleep in older adults: A randomized controlled trial,” Journal of the American Medical Association 1997, 277(1):32–37. 9. Bradley J. Willcox, D. Craig Willcox, and Makoto Suzuki, The Okinawa Program: Learn the Secrets to Health and Longevity (Three Rivers Press, 2001), p. 180. 10. P. J. Wade, “Canadian Homeowner and Veteran Celebrates 103rd!” Realty Times Nov. 9, 1999. 11. Thomas T. Perls and Margery Hutter Silver, Living to 100: Lessons in Living to Your Maximum Potential at Any Age (Basic Books, 1999), pp. 109, 153. 12.


pages: 437 words: 115,594

The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, colonial rule, creative destruction, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, off grid, oil shock, out of africa, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, women in the workforce, working poor

But their conclusions provide little help for people in today’s developing countries, as they suggest that their fate is tied to decisions and actions taken centuries ago or factors outside their control. They do not help us understand the recent acceleration of development progress or the reasons why so many developing countries began to turn at roughly the same time in the 1990s. The second field of research has been the opposite: microlevel studies on the effectiveness of specific actions and programs in particular contexts, often evaluated through rigorous randomized controlled trials (RCTs).III These studies focus on questions such as the impact of pricing on the uptake of insecticide-treated malaria bed nets, whether identity cards reduce theft and improve the delivery of subsidized rice to the poor, and the impact of shouting at bus drivers to get them to drive more safely. (It turns out that it helps, a lot.) RCTs have been brought to prominence through the pathbreaking work of Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), among others.6 These studies offer insights into the nature of poverty at the individual and family levels, the constraints and incentives people face, and the reasons they make the decisions they do.


pages: 387 words: 120,155

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference by David Halpern

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, collaborative consumption, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, different worldview, endowment effect, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, IKEA effect, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, libertarian paternalism, light touch regulation, longitudinal study, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nudge unit, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, presumed consent, QR code, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, the built environment, theory of mind, traffic fines, twin studies, World Values Survey

Impact of displaying alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in end-of-aisle locations: an observational study’, Social Science & Medicine, vol.108; 68–73. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.032. 2 Neslin, S. A., and Van Heerde, H. J. (2009), Promotion dynamics, 3: 177–268. Chan, T., Narasimhan, C., and Zhang, Q. (2008), ‘Decomposing promotional effects with a dynamic structural model of flexible consumption’, J Mark Res, 45: 487–498. Ni Mhurchu, C., Blakely, T., Jiang, Y., et al. (2010), ‘Effects of price discounts and tailored nutrition education on supermarket purchases: a randomized controlled trial’, Am J Clin Nutr, 91: 736–747. 3 See EAST for a summary of these results in more detail. We also tested adding both the name and the amount. This was slightly more effective than the amount alone, but slightly less effective than the name alone. 4 What’s Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market. Bertrand, Karlan, Mullainathan, Shafir and Zinman. 7 June 2005. http://cep.lse.ac.uk/seminarpapers/10-06-05-BER.pdf 5 Slovic, P. (2007).


pages: 405 words: 112,470

Together by Vivek H. Murthy, M.D.

Airbnb, call centre, cognitive bias, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, gig economy, income inequality, index card, longitudinal study, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, stem cell, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft

Brackett, “Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness in Spain: A Pilot Study of The RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning,” Journal of Education and Training Studies 1, no. 2 (2013), https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v1i2.203. 15Susan E. Rivers, Marc A. Brackett, Maria R. Reyes, Nicole A. Elbertson, and Peter Salovey, “Improving the Social and Emotional Climate of Classrooms: A Clustered Randomized Controlled Trial Testing the RULER Approach,” Prevention Science 14, no. 1 (November 28, 2012): 77–87, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-012-0305-2. 16Maria Regina Reyes, Marc A. Brackett, Susan E. Rivers, Nicole A. Elbertson, and Peter Salovey, “The Interaction Effects of Program Training, Dosage, and Implementation Quality on Targeted Student Outcomes for The RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning,” School Psychology Review 41, no. 1 (2012): 82–99, http://ei.yale.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/pub318_Reyesetal2012_SPR.pdf. 17Marc A.


pages: 480 words: 119,407

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, gender pay gap, gig economy, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, lifelogging, low skilled workers, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, new economy, obamacare, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, randomized controlled trial, remote working, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, the built environment, urban planning, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

ua=1 88 https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/why-do-we-still-not-know-what-causes-pms 89 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/erection-problems-erectile-dysfunction/treatment/ 90 https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/treating-premenstrualdysphoric-disorder 91 https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/why-do-we-still-not-know-what-causes-pms 92 http://grantome.com/grant/NIH/R03-TW007438-02 93 https://qz.com/611774/period-pain-can-be-as-bad-as-a-heart-attack-sowhy-arent-we-researching-how-to-treat-it/ 2016 94 Ibid. 95 http://grantome.com/grant/NIH/R03-TW007438-02 96 Dmitrovic, R., Kunselman, A. R. and Legro, R. S. (2013), ‘Sildenafil citrate in the treatment of pain in primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized controlled trial’, Human Reproduction, 28:11, 2958–65 97 http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/27/health/viagra-anniversary-timeline/index.html 98 http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/erectile-dysfunction/ 99 http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/27/health/viagra-anniversary-timeline/index.html 100 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/period-pain-can-feel-bad-heart-attack-ignored/ 101 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/ 102 https://www.pri.org/stories/2017–05-05/how-trumps-latest-budget-impacts-women-and-girls-classrooms-cops 103 https://livestream.com/refinerytv/physiology2016/videos/131487028 104 https://www.propublica.org/article/nothing-protects-black-women-from-dying-in-pregnancy-and-childbirth 105 https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/20/opinions/protect-mother-pregnancy-williams-opinion/index.html 106 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26444126 Chapter 12 1 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/review-the-growth-delusion-the-wealth-and-wellbeing-of-nations-by-david-pilling-b322223kc 2 https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/g20-must-push-more-inclusive-gdp 3 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/10/doing-the-chores-valued-at-1tn-a-year-in-the-uk 4 http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf 5 http://www.oecd.org/dev/development-gender/Unpaid_care_work.pdf 6 http://progress.unwomen.org/en/2015/pdf/UNW_progressreport.pdf 7 https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/03/unpaid-caregivers/474894/ 8 https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/03/unpaid-caregivers/474894/ 9 http://progress.unwomen.org/en/2015/pdf/UNW_progressreport.pdf 10 http://www.pwc.com.au/australia-in-transition/publications/understanding-the-unpaid-economy-mar17.pdf 11 http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/folbre_hdr_2015_final_0.pdf 12 Ibid. 13 Sánchez de Madariaga, Inés, ‘Mobility of Care: Introducing New Concepts in Urban Transport’, in Marion Roberts and Inés Sánchez de Madariaga (eds.) (2013), Fair Shared Cities: The Impact of Gender Planning in Europe, Farnham 14 http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/folbre_hdr_2015_final_0.pdf 15 http://progress.unwomen.org/en/2015/pdf/UNW_progressreport.pdf 16 In 2011 the OECD’s annual Social Indicators report included a chapter on unpaid work – but no report since has done the same. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/8111041e.pdf?


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Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

basic income, Berlin Wall, call centre, correlation does not imply causation, Donald Trump, gig economy, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, open borders, placebo effect, precariat, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Rat Park, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the scientific method, The Spirit Level, twin studies, universal basic income, urban planning, zero-sum game

So they end up feeling less free, they end up feeling less competent, they end up with worse interpersonal relationships, and that in turn is associated with lower levels of well-being.” This is called “a path model or a structural equation model” and it “goes from extrinsic materialistic values to low need satisfaction, to low levels of well-being.” When we take all these pieces of evidence together, I believe we can draw some fairly robust conclusions—but it is important to state that you simply can’t do a randomized control trial, so this doesn’t meet the very highest bar of evidence. He also pointed to evidence he has gathered that causation also appears to run the other way—depression and insecurity (especially in childhood) seem to trigger more materialism. The causation does not only run in one direction: It runs both ways. There’s an experiment, by a different group of social scientists, that gives us one early clue.


pages: 588 words: 131,025

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol

23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize

DiSanzo, “Op/Ed: Hospital of the Future Will Be a Health Delivery Network,” US News & World Report, January 14, 2014, http://health.usnews.com/health-news/hospital-of-tomorrow/articles/2014/01/14/oped-hospital-of-the-future-will-be-a-health-delivery-network. 3. J. Comstock, “Revisiting How Christensen’s ‘Disruption Innovation’ in Healthcare Means Decentralization,” MobiHealthNews, March 26, 2014, http://mobihealthnews.com/31470/revisiting-how-christensens-disruption-innovation-in-healthcare-means-decentralization/. 4. E. Topol et al., “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Hospital Discharge Three Days After Myocardial Infarction in the Era of Reperfusion,” New England Journal of Medicine 318 (1988): 1083–1088. 5. “American Hospital Association Annual Survey of Hospitals,” in Hospital Statistics, 1976, 1981, 1999–2011 editions (Chicago, IL: American Hospital Association). 6. J. T. James, “A New, Evidence-Based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care,” Journal of Patient Safety 9, no. 3 (2013): 122–128. 7.


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Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux, Ken Wilber

Albert Einstein, augmented reality, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, different worldview, failed state, future of work, hiring and firing, index card, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kenneth Rogoff, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, the market place, the scientific method, Tony Hsieh, zero-sum game

The baby seems to act like a heart-softening magnet. … ‘Empathy can’t be taught, but it can be caught,’ Gordon often says—and not just by children. ‘Programmatically my biggest surprise was that not only did empathy increase in children, but it increased in their teachers,’ she added. ‘And that, to me, was glorious, because teachers hold such sway over children.’ Scientific studies with randomized control trials have shown extraordinary reductions in ‘proactive aggression’?the deliberate and cold-blooded aggression of bullies who prey on vulnerable kids—as well as ‘relational aggression’?things like gossiping, excluding others, and backstabbing.” David Bornstein, “Fighting Bullying with Babies,” Opinionator, The New York Times, November 8, 2010. For more information, see www.rootsofempathy.org. 74 Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009), 58-59.


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The Unpersuadables: Adventures With the Enemies of Science by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, call centre, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, David Attenborough, David Brooks, death of newspapers, full employment, George Santayana, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Simon Singh, Stanford prison experiment, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, twin studies

Montgomery and I. Kirsch, ‘Mechanisms of Placebo Pain Reduction: An Empirical Investigation’, Psychological Science, May 1996. 42 the unspoken thoughts of your doctor: R. H. Gracely et al., ‘Clinicians’ Expectations Influence Placebo Analgesia’, Lancet, January 1985. 42 when we know that our medication is pharmacologically useless: Ted J. Kaptchuk et al., ‘Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome’, PLoS, 22 December 2010. 43 Professor Nicholas Humphrey … writes: ‘The Evolved Self-Management System’, Edge, 12 May 2011. 43 Because it did: Dylan Evans, Placebo, HarperCollins, 2004, pp. 38–41, in particular his analysis of: S. Fisher and R. P. Greenburg, ‘How sound is the double blind design for evaluating psychotropic drugs?’, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1993. 4: ‘Two John Lennons’ page 45 For a 1979 study that has been widely replicated: H.


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The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins

Albert Einstein, carbon footprint, clean water, complexity theory, double helix, Exxon Valdez, food miles, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Rosa Parks, telemarketer

Dietary intake of total, animal, and vegetable protein and risk of type 2 diabetes in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-NL study. Diabetes Care. 2010; 33:43-48. xiv. Shu XO, Zheng Y, Cai H, et al. Soy food intake and breast cancer survival. JAMA. 2009;302:2437-2443. xv. Beezhold BL, Johnston CS, Daigle DR. Restriction of flesh foods in omnivores improves mood: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Poster presented at: American Public Health Association's 137th Annual Meeting and Exposition; November 9, 2009: Philadelphia, PA. xvi. Brekke HK, Ludvigsson J. Daily vegetable intake during pregnancy negatively associated to islet autoimmunity in the offspring-The ABIS study. Pediatr Diabetes. Advanced access published September 16, 2009. DOI: 10.1111 /j.1399-5448.2009.00563.x. xvii.


pages: 547 words: 148,732

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Mother of all demos, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Whole Earth Catalog

“A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind.” Science 330, no. 6006 (2010): 932. doi:10.1126/science.1192439. Kleber, Herbert D. “Commentary On: Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experiences Having Substantial and Sustained Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance.” Psychopharmacology 187 (2006): 291–92. Krebs, Teri S., and Pål-Ørjan Johansen. “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) for Alcoholism: Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Psychopharmacology 26, no. 7 (2012): 994–1002. doi:10.1177/0269881112439253. Kupferschmidt, Kai. “High Hopes.” Science 345, no. 6192 (2014). Langlitz, Nicolas. Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research Since the Decade of the Brain. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Lattin, Don. The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America.


The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations by Thomas Morris

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, experimental subject, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, placebo effect, popular electronics, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

David Reekie, ‘Federico Benetti, champion of beating heart surgery’, cited 20 April 2016: http://cxvascular.com/cn-archives/cardiovascular-news-issue-2/federico-benetti-champion-of-beating-heart-surgery 91. Harold L. Lazar, ‘Should off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting be abandoned?’ Circulation 128, no. 4 (2013), 406–13 92. A. C. Deppe et al., ‘Current evidence of coronary artery bypass grafting off-pump versus on-pump: a systematic review with meta-analysis of over 16,900 patients investigated in randomized controlled trials’, European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery 49, no. 4 (2016), 1031–41 93. ‘Interview with René G. Favaloro’, in Stoney (ed.), op. cit., 367 94. ‘La última carta de Favaloro antes de morir: René Favaloro, Fernando de la Rúa, Cristina Kirchner – Infobae’, cited 10 April 2016: http://infobae.com/2013/10/09/1514794-la-ultima-carta-favaloro-antes-morir 8. ONE LIFE, TWO HEARTS 1. D. A.


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The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter by Joseph Henrich

agricultural Revolution, capital asset pricing model, Climategate, cognitive bias, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demographic transition, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, impulse control, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Nash equilibrium, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, side project, social intelligence, social web, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, ultimatum game

These social norms evolved to harness men’s hormones in ways that shape their behavior, to foster violence in particular “honor” contexts, such as those involving threats to family and property. This culturally constructed biological reaction leads to higher rates of certain specific types of violent crimes in the Deep South. It’s a biological difference, but not a genetic difference. Chemically Inert but Biologically Active Placebos open a window on culture and biology. Most people have heard about placebos in the context of testing new medicines. In a randomized control trial, one randomly assigned group gets the drug under testing and the other group gets a sugar pill or other inert substance. Both groups are told they will get either the drug or the placebo (sugar pill) based on a coin flip, but they don’t know which. The common assumption is that this addresses any response bias, which might cause people to inaccurately report getting better or worse based on their opinions about the drug in question.


How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett

airport security, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, framing effect, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, luminiferous ether, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Shai Danziger, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

“Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge.” Psychosomatic Medicine 72 (4): 365–369. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., Jeanette M. Bennett, Rebecca Andridge, Juan Peng, Charles L. Shapiro, William B. Malarkey, Charles F. Emery, Rachel Layman, Ewa E. Mrozek, and Ronald Glaser. 2014. “Yoga’s Impact on Inflammation, Mood, and Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 32 (10): 1040–1051. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., Lisa Christian, Heather Preston, Carrie R. Houts, William B. Malarkey, Charles F. Emery, and Ronald Glaser. 2010. “Stress, Inflammation, and Yoga Practice.” Psychosomatic Medicine 72 (2): 113–134. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., Jean-Philippe Gouin, Nan-ping Weng, William B. Malarkey, David Q. Beversdorf, and Ronald Glaser. 2011.


pages: 733 words: 179,391

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sam Peltzman, Shai Danziger, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, Thales and the olive presses, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

In 1994, the The Galapagos Islands of Finance • 239 mathematician Don Coppersmith revealed that he had purposefully built the S-boxes to be resistant to differential cryptanalysis, which had been anticipated by IBM and the National Security Agency decades before.26 D. E. Shaw & Co.’s commanding lead did not come cheaply. In a virtuous cycle, Shaw used his profits to fund further research. Newer strategies were built on previous findings and funded the next cycle of innovation, neatly paralleling the modern growth of information technologies. As Shaw explained, “We were taking profit and paying for experimentation. We were able to run randomized controlled trials, for example, in which we could compare two models or parameter values to see which one performed better in actual trading. Analyzing the results of live trading taught us things that couldn’t be learned by studying historical data. We were doing a lot of trading, and the data we accumulated during one round of trading was helping us to increase our returns in the next round.” “As we continued to discover new anomalies,” said Shaw, “we also benefited from a sort of a second-order effect: if the profit that could be gained from a given single effect was exceeded by the transaction cost that would be incurred to exploit it, it would be a mistake for anybody to bet on that effect in isolation.


Statistics in a Nutshell by Sarah Boslaugh

Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Bayesian statistics, business climate, computer age, correlation coefficient, experimental subject, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, income per capita, iterative process, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, linear programming, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, p-value, pattern recognition, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, publication bias, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, six sigma, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Bayes, Vilfredo Pareto

Practical and ethical considerations also come into play—some research designs can simply be impossible to execute, prohibitively expensive, or considered unethical—and the researcher must be aware of community as well as scientific standards concerning the ethical conduct of research. Basic Vocabulary Research designs can be divided into three types: experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational. For a design to be experimental, subjects must be randomly assigned to groups or categories. The classic experimental design is the randomized controlled trial used in medicine, in which subjects are randomly assigned to experimental and control groups, administered some treatment, and the outcomes collected for both groups. The controlled experiment is considered the strongest type of research design as far as drawing conclusions from the results of research (in fact, some refer to the results from experimental controlled trials as the gold standard of evidence), but it is not always possible or practical to conduct this type of research.


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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Rubik’s Cube, shared worldview, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

Decoding the science of sleep. The Wall Street Journal. “. . . your life with your head on a pillow.” Randall, D. K. (2012). Dreamland: Decoding the science of sleep. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. more effective than the prescription drug Ambien Jacobs, G. D., Pace-Schott, E. F., Stickgold, R., & Otto, M. W. (2004). Cognitive behavior therapy and pharmacotherapy for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial and direct comparison. Archives of Internal Medicine, 164(17), 1888–1896. groggy we were upon waking up Randall, D. K. (2012). Dreamland: Decoding the science of sleep. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. and, Randall, D. K. (2012, August 3). Decoding the science of sleep. The Wall Street Journal. such as orexin, cortisol, and adrenaline Monti, J., Pandi-Perumal, S. R., Sinton, C.


pages: 1,294 words: 210,361

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Barry Marshall: ulcers, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, experimental subject, iterative process, Joan Didion, life extension, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, New Journalism, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Robert Mercer, scientific mainstream, Silicon Valley, social web, statistical model, stem cell, women in the workforce, Year of Magical Thinking, éminence grise

Cunningham, “The Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project 25 Years Later,” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 47, no. 3 (1997): 131–33. 298 Between 1976 and 1992, enormous parallel trials: See below for particular studies. Also see Madelon Finkel, ed., Understanding the Mammography Controversy (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005), 101–5. 298 In Canada, meanwhile, researchers lurched: A. B. Miller, G. R. Howe, and C. Wall, “The National Study of Breast Cancer Screening Protocol for a Canadian Randomized Controlled Trial of Screening for Breast Cancer in Women,” Clinical Investigative Medicine 4, nos. 3–4 (1981): 227–58. 298 Edinburgh was a disaster: A. Huggins et al., “Edinburgh Trial of Screening for Breast Cancer: Mortality at Seven Years,” Lancet 335, no. 8684 (1990): 241–46; Denise Donovan et al., “Edinburgh Trial of Screening for Breast Cancer,” Lancet 335, no. 8695 (1990): 968–69. 298 The Canadian trial, meanwhile: Miller, Howe, and Wall, “National Study of Breast Cancer Screening Protocol.” 298 For a critical evaluation of the CNBSS, HIP, and Swedish studies, see David Freedman et al., “On the Efficacy of Screening for Breast Cancer,” International Journal of Epidemiology 33, no. 1 (2004): 43–5. 298 Randomization problems in the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: Curtis J.


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The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business cycle, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, coronavirus, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Chiesa, "Recombinant Apolipoprotein A-I(Milano) Infusion into Rabbit Carotid Artery Rapidly Removes Lipid from Fatty Streaks," Circulation Research 90.9 (May 17, 2002): 974–80; P. K. Shah et al., "High-Dose Recombinant Apolipoprotein A-I(Milano) Mobilizes Tissue Cholesterol and Rapidly Reduces Plaque Lipid and Macrophage Content in Apolipoprotein e-Deficient Mice," Circulation 103.25 (June 26, 2001): 3047–50. 39. S. E. Nissen et al., "Effect of Recombinant Apo A-I Milano on Coronary Atherosclerosis in Patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes: A Randomized Controlled Trial," JAMA 290.17 (November 5, 2003): 2292–2300. 40. A recent phase 2 study reported "markedly increased HDL cholesterol levels and also decreased LDL cholesterol levels," M. E. Brousseau et al., "Effects of an Inhibitor of Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein on HDL Cholesterol," New England Journal of Medicine 350.15 (April 8, 2004): 1505–15, http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/350/15/1505.


pages: 496 words: 174,084

Masterminds of Programming: Conversations With the Creators of Major Programming Languages by Federico Biancuzzi, Shane Warden

Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), business intelligence, business process, cellular automata, cloud computing, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, continuous integration, data acquisition, domain-specific language, Douglas Hofstadter, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, Firefox, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, general-purpose programming language, Guido van Rossum, HyperCard, information retrieval, iterative process, John von Neumann, Larry Wall, linear programming, loose coupling, Mars Rover, millennium bug, NP-complete, Paul Graham, performance metric, Perl 6, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Ruby on Rails, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software as a service, software patent, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, Turing complete, type inference, Valgrind, Von Neumann architecture, web application

Any single-assignment language is easier to reason about, but that doesn’t make the programs easier to write, nor is there persuasive evidence that programs are easier to write. In fact, most comparative questions about languages, coding techniques, development methodologies, and software engineering in general, are appallingly unscientific. Here’s a quote from R. Bausell’s Snake Oil Science [Oxford University Press]: Carefully controlled research (such as randomized, controlled trials) involving numerical data has proved more dependable for showing us what works and what does not than has reliance upon expert opinions, experience, hunches, or the teachings of those we revere. Software is still a craft, rather like furniture making. There are Chippendales, there are craftsmen, and there are lesser practitioners. I’m a little far off your original question here.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

Meehl’s work inspired Tversky and Kahneman’s discoveries on cognitive biases and Tetlock’s forecasting tournaments, and his conclusion about the superiority of statistical to intuitive judgment is now recognized as one of the most robust findings in the history of psychology.47 Like all good things, data are not a panacea, a silver bullet, a magic bullet, or a one-size-fits-all solution. All the money in the world could not pay for randomized controlled trials to settle every question that occurs to us. Human beings will always be in the loop to decide which data to gather and how to analyze and interpret them. The first attempts to quantify a concept are always crude, and even the best ones allow probabilistic rather than perfect understanding. Nonetheless, quantitative social scientists have laid out criteria for evaluating and improving measurements, and the critical comparison is not whether a measure is perfect but whether it is better than the judgment of an expert, critic, interviewer, clinician, judge, or maven.


Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health by Laurie Garrett

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, collective bargaining, desegregation, discovery of DNA, discovery of penicillin, Drosophila, employer provided health coverage, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Induced demand, John Snow's cholera map, Jones Act, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Nelson Mandela, new economy, nuclear winter, phenotype, profit motive, Project Plowshare, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, stem cell, the scientific method, urban decay, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

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The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Donald Trump, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Georg Cantor, hedonic treadmill, Henri Poincaré, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, music of the spheres, Necker cube, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Schrödinger's Cat, social intelligence, social web, source of truth, stem cell, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind

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