The Marshmallow Test

These results hold even when adjusted for individual intelligence, social class and their home environments. Kids with low levels of self-control are more likely as adolescents to smoke, leave school early and have unplanned babies. As young adults they’re more likely to have health problems, money issues and criminal records. The study, so far, has only reached their early thirties, so what they’ll look like as old people is as yet unknown: but a good guess is that more of them will die younger than their better controlled cohort.

Leaving aside all of the implications for this it’s worth standing back from the research and thinking quite hard about what this means. That this simple test, applied to your four year old, is strikingly predictive of their future life chances is quite extraordinary when you consider the confusion and lack of coherence in most of the findings of psychology and economics.

The Marshmallow Test – Psy-Fi blog


One subject reported: “I feel that I relate better in my marriage. There is more empathy—a greater understanding of people and understanding their difficulties and less judgment. Less judging of myself, too.” Another said: “I have better interaction with close friends and family and with acquaintances and strangers….My alcohol use has diminished dramatically.” Fourteen months after the experiment, 94 percent of the subjects called their psilocybin session one of five most meaningful experiences they’d ever had.


The Retired Life of an Evil Genius

Hosted by David Cameron, the event marks the culmination of a drive, spearheaded by Gates, to raise $3.7 billion to vaccinate 243 million children in the world’s poorest countries against illnesses such as pneumonia and measles. Gates and Cameron are expected to announce the money has been successfully raised and, it’s hoped, will save four million lives over the next four years.

Gates decided vaccinating the world’s disadvantaged is a cost-effective, simple way to help the very poor.

‘You get more bang for your buck.’

Why not be the guy who cures cancer instead?

‘The motto of the foundation is that every life has equal value. There are more people dying of malaria than any specific cancer. When you die of malaria aged three it’s different from being in your seventies, when you might die of a heart attack or you might die of cancer. And the world is putting massive amounts into cancer, so my wealth would have had a meaningless impact on that.’


Do Overs

Where was I on December 9th? Hmm. Blowing off college courses, building a sega Genesis game copier from scratch in the hopes of getting rich, and planning a Christmas trip to Denver Colorado to visit family. The stock market did not exist in my world at the time. October 4th? Two months away from a move to San Francisco to take part in the dot com boom.

445 on the S&P, it’s right around the corner! Maybe this time around we’ll get things right? I doubt it.

New Years Resolutions

1) Don’t chase rallies in the stock market.

I’ve spent the last six years or so as a perma-long. In May I largely pulled out of the market and started trading again. Chalk a few big mistakes up to naiveté – I chased a few rallies in the spring and summer, and it cost me. I got smarter toward the end of the year with a nice 15% return for October through December. In 2009 I will leverage what I’ve learned, continue to be defensive, and have a successful year trading.

2) Cut my burn rate, again.

According to Microsoft Money, I slashed my annual cost of living (annual burn rate) by 38.54% in 2008. The initial cuts were pretty easy – eliminating a big auto lease payment and insurance costs, no trips this year to Biloxi or Vegas, and no big ‘bling’ purchases. Toward the end of 2008 I started working on running costs like energy savings in my utilities and more budget conscious grocery shopping. In 2009, my goal is to cut another 35%. This will come as the beginning of 2008 falls off the radar and as more work is done on reducing running costs.

3) It’s a classic – exercise more.

Jogging is my ‘big thing’ as far as exercise is concerned, but I never seem able to get a good regiment of exercise going for any period of time. My weight between exercise and no exercise periods floats between 180 and 200. I hate weighing 200. I haven’t jogged since the fall of 2007, and as a result last night the scale tipped in at 197. This year I’m going to start and keep running regularly. I’ll bust out a fresh Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and track my progress. I want to be doing three to four miles down the beach on a regular basis by the end of the year.

4) Fix the leak in my roof.

Ugh, there’s a leak in my roof in my master bathroom. I’ve fixed it twice before, every time it comes back. This time around instead of relying on handy-man cheap fixes or getting up on the roof and trying to caulk my way out of it, I’ll contact a roofing company and get the problem fixed for good.

That’s probably good enough. Bite off more than you can chew and you never get any of it done. 🙂

Opus – R.I.P.

Breathed says it’s the anger that led him to close the book on “Opus,” that the increasingly nasty political climate has made it too difficult to keep his strip from drifting into darkness. Breathed has described his work as a hybrid of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz’s gentle humor and Michael Moore’s crusading social justice. Perhaps losing touch with his inner Charlie Brown, Breathed has said that “a mad penguin, like a mad cartoonist, isn’t very lovable,” and wants Opus to take his final bow before bitterness changes him forever.


I’ve previously mentioned that one of the reason I’ve always appreciated Breathed’s work is that he always manages to make his satire fun, unlike strips like Doonsbury. While it’s nice to see that there was in fact, some conviction on his part for that, it’s too bad we have to see a great strip like Opus come to end. I’ve fallen pray to this myself on the pages of this blog which is why I’ve beeen cutting back on blogging, and in fact, am considering following Breathed’s lead.

Classic quote from the interview –

“Bloom County” had five times the edge of the work I do now. In 1986 I had a cockroach scream, “Reagan sucks!” in print size that took up the entire cartoon box. Nobody blinked — 1,000 newspapers, quiet as a mouse. Now I draw a woman wearing a Muslim scarf, and the frantic publisher of the Washington Post Co. is on the phone at 9 p.m. telling me — I am not making this up — to adjust my character’s hair so she doesn’t look too unkempt.

Fear doesn’t so much rule the wood pulp news industry. More like pee-on-themselves existential terror.