Who Is The Better Forecaster, The Economist Or The Climate Scientist?

I was looking at this wonderful chart from Business Insider and from Bloomberg LP Chief Economist Michael McDonough and wondered who was the better forecaster, the economist or the climate scientist. As we can see from the chart the GDP forecasts for the last couple of years are particularly bad. In four out of four years the forecasts start out 50% to 100% too high. That is impressive! Winking smile


Here is my favorite chart from that other dismal science, climate science. Although this is not a fair comparison the climate scientists are wrong only 95% of the time! They win!


Justice Clarence Thomas upon learning that the Senate’s most powerful member said he is Caucasian

Justice Thomas is my favorite Supreme Court justice. I like all of the justices but my appreciation for him started after listening to his autobiography, My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir, several years ago. I checked out the audiobook from the local library for a long car ride to Virginia Tech. I enjoyed the book and over the years my appreciation increased as I read and agreed with his opinions on several court decisions.

Sometimes I wonder whether Vice President Joe Biden or Senator Harry Reid are in a friendly competition for the biggest gaffes. I think Harry just pulled ahead. Time to step it up, Joe!

A day after vowing to “do something” about the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reiterated Democrats’ desire to undermine the high court’s decision by attacking the “five white men” who voted in favor of the Christian, family-owned business.
There’s just one glaring problem with his statement .. .

My Solution To The IRS Scandal Is To Arrest The IRS IT Guy

l_201_300I think we can quickly fix the IRS scandal if we arrest the IRS IT guy. Ms. Lerner’s attorney says it was IT’s responsibility to archive the emails so if we are going to pursue this passive-aggressive game to its logical conclusion then the next step is to throw an IT guy in jail. The beauty of this plan is that it doesn’t even have to be the right guy or gal. As soon as the IT staff gets a whiff of what is going on a lot of these political problems that have been plaguing the operation of the IRS will automagically get solved. I suspect that even that missing 2010 email stating that ‘Tea Party’ applications should be forwarded to a specific group for additional review will finally show up. If the courts do not put the fear of God into these political hacks running the IRS, the IT guys and gals will make it happen and it will not be pretty.

@DaveRamsey, What advice would you have given a dead-broke Hillary Clinton if she called your show in 2001?

This is a somewhat humorous question for Dave Ramsey.

  • Do you think the Clinton’s made a written budget?
  • Did you think the Clinton’s considered selling one of their houses?
  • What do you think of the Clinton strategy of getting gazelle intense about increasing their income rather than cutting costs and working the debt snowball?
  • What can the average Financial Peace University attendee draw from the Clinton experience?

A Humorous Way To Tell The Difference Between False Positive and False Negative Errors

For the people who are statistically challenged this is humorous way to describe the differences between Type I(false positive) and Type II(false negative) errors. I saw this infographic originally on the Marginal Revolution blog. They think the original post was probably over at FlowingData website who gives credit to Jim Thornton’s twitter account. As a person who is seriously considering going without health insurance if the insurance rates go up too much, the question you have to ask yourself is whether you can do a better job minimizing the financial impact of false positive and false negative diagnosis errors than your insurance company. As an example there are a lot of false positives associated with prostate and breast cancer.


"Type I" and "Type II" errors, names first given by Jerzy Neyman and Egon Pearson to describe rejecting a null hypothesis when it’s true and accepting one when it’s not, are too vague for stat newcomers (and in general). This is better. [via]

A Little Health Exchange Humor

On Monday when my boss came into my office I said,

"After looking at the success of www.healthcare.gov I decided to push up those changes to our web site this morning. I realize that I have not tested the changes fully but I feel it is important to offer these enhancements to our customer experience even though this may prevent some of them from ordering anything. We really need to get on the agile development bandwagon."

"Nooooooooooooooooooo! Agile development is not a substitute for good testing!"

"C’mon Dave, stop being a hater. Just because our customers cannot order anything does not mean our website is a failure. Go into the bath room, look into the mirror, and tell yourself three times. Our website is an out-of-the-box success! Our website is an out-of-the-box success! Our website is an out-of-the-box success!"

At this point he got up and left my office shaking his head. I guess these born again libertarians just do not have a sense of humor.

Mental Disorders

Let’s see… I have two college degrees. The first degree was excusable since all of my friends went to college. College is something we did after high school. The second degree was a passion I did in my spare time. It took me two and a half years of night classes to get the degree. While my friends played, I studied. When you combine this with the fact that I trained many, many hours so that I can run marathons and triathlons, you have a pretty good case for a mental disorder! The good news is that I did these things when I was in my twenties and thirties. I am much better now!

Comic for February 7, 2013
Thu, 07 Feb 2013 06:00:00 GMT