Category Archives: Scientific Studies

Multiplying Disasters

Does it seem to you that America is experiencing more than its share of natural disasters, and that there are more extreme weather events happening today than ever before?  Turns out you’re right.  Since 1970, the number of major storms, floods, earthquakes and heatwaves that cause at least ten deaths or prompt the declaration of a national emergency has quadrupled worldwide, to around 400 a year.  China, India and America suffer the greatest number of natural disasters—not always in that order.

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The Economic Myth-Destroyer Gets His Due

Imagine a person who always, in every circumstance, makes rational decisions with his money.  He saves when he ought to and spends exactly as he should spend, in order to maximize the “utility” of whatever wealth he happens to possess.  He defers gratification with ease.  When he invests, he has instant and total access to all possible information related to every item in his, including the details of every company’s financials and any impactful world events, even if they haven’t reached the news media yet.  If he found a $100 bill on the sidewalk, he would immediately go out and invest it in a steel mill.

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Pictures That Tell a Story

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and that means, to an economist, that sometimes it’s easier to communicate something complicated with a chart or a graph rather than a lot of explanatory text.

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Super Babies or New Rules?

You probably noticed the headlines: for the first time, U.S.-based scientists have genetically modified a human embryo.  This follows similar news from China, which, like the U.S., has touted the ability to correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis, or to resolve the predilection to cancer or heart disease.

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Putting Off Fun is a Bad Idea

If you’re like most people, you carefully put off doing something fun—like taking a trip or treating yourself—until you finished your work.  Of course, for most people, the work never ends, and the fun gets put off over and over and over again.

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The Earliest Humans

Archeologists have long traveled under the assumption that what we call the human race—the African hominids known to science as “homo sapiens”—evolved roughly 200,000 years ago in either southern or eastern Africa.  Starting perhaps as early as 100,000 years ago, they migrated out of Africa and eventually displaced the European and Asian hominids known as Neandertals (sometimes spelled Neanderthal).

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Exercise for Life

By now, you’ve probably read about surprising new scientific research that has shown that physical exercise is not—despite what we’ve heard for generations—a very effective weight loss technique.  So is there any good reason to hit the gym, or might you as well hang out on the couch?

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