"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 


Quantitative Wheezing

One reason that I am skeptical about a lot of health studies was brought to my mind by an economic survey I read. The survey concluded that a smoker earns 19% less than a nonsmoker. I hope it is obvious that smoking does not cause a drop in income.

Instead someone who smokes, statistically speaking, tends to be of a lower socioeconomic class. If a smoker quits, they will not suddenly change classes. Their net income might go up as smoking is expensive, but not their job description or their class.

Health studies show consistently people who exercise are healthier than those who don't. This seems rather obvious. However it is not clear what they are measuring. It is just as logical to infer the opposite. Rather than conclude that exercise leads to heath, it is just as logical to conclude that health leads to exercise. Recovering from gout this week you can be assured that I did not walk my normal 2 miles three times a week, in fact I did not walk at all unless I had to!

But back to smoking, I think we need to help smokers out by having the government give them income price supports. It seems unfair that they have a smaller income. We need to help. Instead of quantitative easing, which only helps the banks, I suggest a program of quantitative wheezing to help smokers.

This makes about as much sense as our current economic policies.

Note that I am not saying to light up that smoke, nor I am saying that you should become a couch potato. I am saying that you cannot trust the statistics or the health stories you are hearing. They are not reliable. If you want to know the truth you have to look deeper.

So I am using these two examples, just to prove a point ...

I will post the full show this is from next Tuesday, just to prove the point of the large number of videos that are available without watching commercial TV. If you can't trust it, why watch it? 


I, Pencil

Where does something simple like a pencil come from? 


You Can't Trust the Numbers

Japan is fiddling with their definition of inflation. No longer will gasoline price increases be included in inflation. Well we can be confident that the US is safe from such shenanigans. Or can we? 

As is usual when I listen to hard money types, I think they are too alarmist. We still have some time to change. I am guardedly pessimistic that change will happen.


Catherine the Great


Cold Reading

This is a difficult post to write. People I care about have been deceived, and are being deceived right now by modern day "prophets."  But I think it is important to understand exactly how psychics and their religious counterparts, the prophets, work. The prophet becomes aware of the person to such an extent that it can appear that God has revealed details that the prophet cannot know. It can become so convincing that even the prophet can be deceived into thinking he has powers.

The technique is called "cold reading," and Orson Welles gives us an excellent explanation on how it works.

So am I saying that modern prophets with "words of knowledge" and "words of wisdom" are fake? 

Yes, yes I am. I prefer to believe that the religious faker is self deceived as Orson Welles mentioned. But there are some who are not self deceived. 

Here is one.

I used to have the full exposé on VHS tape, but this section of the program shows how the fake healer Popoff works.  The disgusting thing about this is that people still go to Popoff's meetings. 

People want to believe, so they do. 

But isn't the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom Biblical? I will talk about that soon.