What is it like to be a librarian? “Essentially, it is all about money and power.”

Harvard Professor Robert Dardon has a fascinating piece on books, college libraries, copyrights, and what’s Google’s drive to digitize the world’s books means to society.  Some excerpts from the original New York Review of Books article are below. One of my colleagues is a quiet, diminutive lady, who might call up the notion of Marion the Librarian.…

The History of Least Squares

Let us say you have 10 observations of 2 different variables.  How do you determine which of the observations to use?  Should you throw out the outliers?  Should you only include the most similar values?  Does more observations increase or decrease the amount of measurement error? These problems can be answered by the discipline of Statistics.…

Book Review: The Great American Heart Hoax

A new book by Dr. Michael Ozner takes on the cardiovascular surgery industry head-on.  The aptly titled Great American Heart Hoax claims that although insurers pay $60 billion per year  invasive cardiovascular surgery, 70%-90% of these procedures are unnecessary.   The book has three major themes: What is heart disease?  Why is heart surgery a…

How important is credit?

“Adequate credit is to trade what altitude is to aircraft; without it, the odds of coming to grief over preilous commercial terrain are great.  All merchant enterprises sooner or later lose cargoes or encounter soft markets.  Without ample capital reserves and the ability to borrow at low rates of interest, bankruptcy is inevitable.” ~ William…

Out of Poverty

Paul Polak’s book Out of Poverty could have just as easily been titled “How to get rich: a guide for small-time farmers in developing countries” or “Marketing to dollar-a-day earners.” Polak’s book states that donations –especially those run through the developing country government–will not end poverty. They have not so far. One reason is that…