Notes From the Fieldby Martin Weil

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February 20, 2015

Waiting In Line

I have never been much of a fan of waiting in (or “on” as the Brits put it) line. But here comes Tyler Cowen with a paean to the value, personal and social, of doing just that. “Interesting throughout,” to use Tyler’s own pet phrase about others. A few extracts:

younger buyers are usually the ones who make places trendy, thus many sellers use lower prices, with lines if need be, to lure in those individuals and cultivate their loyalties…

Waiting a bit can also make people more patient, by removing their attention from the immediate here and now and stretching out their time horizons. ..

The waiting also heightens the value of anticipation and makes the product seem more exciting. A world where there is nothing to wait in line for is arguably a less interesting place.


February 6, 2015


Alex Gregory, from Conde Nast, pointer by The Big Picture

February 5, 2015

Bill Gross Has His Own Financial Advisor(s)

The once, and perhaps future, Bond King, Gross has been in the news a lot the past year. This post is not about that. Reportedly worth several billion dollars and as astute a financial manager as they come, Bill Gross has one or more financial advisors to manage his own money. Why?

Most people, even those that are successful in the world of finance and business, get their own financial advisor to keep themselves out of trouble. Intelligent people understand the benefits of having an independent third party there to make sure they don’t make any huge mistakes.

So says Ben Carlson, CFA, in this article on the topic.

My favorite anecdote in the article is the story about Oracle founder and mega-billionaire Larry Ellison, whose own financial advisor pesters him quarterly about diversifying what I presume to be a vast over-concentration in his company’s stock. A man after my own heart, the advisor that is.

February 4, 2015

Yes, Hospitals Can Kill You

This is just crazy. The WSJ reports on how mortality rates are far higher for heart attacks that occur in hospitals than for those that occur outside. This from a study of cardiac event response at UNC Chapel Hill’s hospital. Part of this effect is explained by the older sicker patient population found in hospitals, but not all. The graphic showing the dramatic difference in treatment times for cardiac events is mind-boggling. I have always (half) joked that “being in a hospital can kill you” but here is scientific evidence.PJ-BZ842_HEARTB_16U_20150202173311

I do want to highly commend the researchers at UNC however. Most for-profit hospitals, one suspects, would not publish this data. This candor will help shine a light on, and hopefully improve, hospital care nationwide.


January 31, 2015

The scenery of the Belgian Ardennes, the health statistics of Bangladesh

America still has both a health and health-care problem. This article in The Atlantic examines the miserable economic conditions in a rural coal mining area in Virginia where 20% of the population is on disability. It is a very stark reminder of another America, one that has few of the benefits we take for granted.

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