The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized


The results of this elucidating simulation, which dovetail with a growing number of studies based on real-world data, strongly suggest that luck and opportunity play an underappreciated role in determining the final level of individual success. As the researchers point out, since rewards and resources are usually given to those who are already highly rewarded, this often causes a lack of opportunities for those who are most talented (i.e., have the greatest potential to actually benefit from the resources), and it doesn’t take into account the important role of luck, which can emerge spontaneously throughout the creative process. The researchers argue that the following factors are all important in giving people more chances of success: a stimulating environment rich in opportunities, a good education, intensive training, and an efficient strategy for the distribution of funds and resources. They argue that at the macro-level of analysis, any policy that can influence these factors will result in greater collective progress and innovation for society (not to mention immense self-actualization of any particular individual).

Luck matters.

Somebody actually attempted to quantify this.  Read the article and judge for yourself.


The Mortality Effects of Retirement

WSJ: What do the numbers show?

DR. FITZPATRICK: There’s a sizable, 2% increase in male mortality at age 62 in the U.S. Over the 34 years we studied, there were an additional 400 to 800 deaths per year beyond what we expected, or an additional 13,000 to 27,000 excess male deaths within 12 months of turning 62. That 2% is 2 of every 100 men in the whole male population who turn 62. We really think these deaths are concentrated among the 10% of men who retire at 62, so instead of 2 in 100, it’d be 2 in 10. So, the increase in the probability of death for men who retire could be as high as 20%. I actually think that’s a pretty big deal.

You can find the original WSJ article at this link. 

If you can’t get past the firewall or if you want to read the original study go here.

    Social Security eligibility begins at age 62.
    1/3 of Americans immediately claim benefits upon reaching this age.
    There is a discontinuous increase in male mortality at age 62 of 2%.
    This increase in mortality is closely connected to changes in labor force participation.
    Our results suggest mortality rises because men retire once Social Security is available.




Benzo Update 02.25.18

Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67 percent, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. Unlike opioid prescribing, which peaked in 2012 and has decreased nearly 20 percent since then, benzodiazepine prescribing continues to rise. The risk of overdose death goes up nearly fourfold when benzodiazepines are combined with opioids, yet rates of co-prescribing benzodiazepines and opioids nearly doubled between 2001 and 2013. Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines increased more than sevenfold between 1999 and 2015.

Anna Lembke, M.D., is associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, and author of “Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016).

You can read the full article here.

Gabapentin Misuse and Abuse

Last December, Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy began reporting sales of gabapentin prescriptions in its regular monitoring of controlled substances. The drug, which is not an opioid nor designated a controlled substance by federal authorities, is used to treat nerve pain. But the board found that it was the most prescribed medication on its list that month, surpassing oxycodone by more than 9 million doses. In February, the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network issued an alert regarding increasing misuse across the state.

A literature review published in 2016 in the journal Addiction found about a fifth of those who abuse opiates misuse gabapentin. A separate 2015 study of adults in Appalachian Kentucky who abused opiates found 15 percent of participants also misused gabapentin in the past six months “to get high.”

In the same year, the drug was involved in 109 overdose deaths in West Virginia, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Read the article.

Now slowly focus on the following sentences:

Gabapentin can enhance the euphoria caused by an opioid and stave off drug withdrawals. In addition, it can bypass the blocking effects of medications used for addiction treatment, enabling patients to get high while in recovery.

The Pleasures of Life without Social Media

The fact of the matter is that we do not need the Internet, we do not need social media, and we certainly do not need “smart phones”. What are you, a brain surgeon, that you always have to be available in case of an emergency call? Listen to what people say when they use these “essential” gadgets, as I listen to the hordes on campus—the most typical utterances are: “Hey, what’s up? Yeah I’m on the escalator. Ok, see ya later”. Impressive. Clearly, it’s money well spent. It is almost as if individuals have become afraid of a moment of silence, possibly because they intuitively fear discovering that inside, they are empty…

If you are a professor, you learn that the years (or decades) spent acquiring knowledge in a subject area, plus all the resources devoted to the task, not to mention the training that went into preparing you, are worthless: everybody else always knows better, with their deep knowledge gained on the fly. Anti-intellectualism does not just come from outside the university’s walls. You get lectured at by snarky graduate students with deep insecurities who fashion themselves as activists, called “stupid” by barely literate undergraduate students who misspell their protest signs, and are immediately denounced as “racist” for the mere act of disagreeing with one of these imbeciles.

HT to WordPress and the Fabius Maximus websites.

This is the best essay I’ve read in a long time.  Please take the time to read the entire essay and share with family and friends who actually possess critical thinking skills.

And I thought that Twitter as a porno platform was bad…



Vape? No Thanks

Study: Lead and Other Toxic Metals Found in E-Cigarette ‘Vapors’

In the study, published online in Environmental Health Perspectives on February 21, the scientists examined e-cigarette devices owned by a sample of 56 users. They found that significant numbers of the devices generated aerosols with potentially unsafe levels of lead, chromium, manganese and/or nickel. Chronic inhalation of these metals has been linked to lung, liver, immune, cardiovascular and brain damage, and even cancers.

NOT safer than cigarettes.  E-Cigarettes can explode too.

Full article here.



Aspen marijuana shops sold $11.3 million in 2017, topping liquor stores for first time

Legal-pot purveyors hauled in $11.3 million in revenue last year compared with $10.5 million for liquor stores, marking the first time marijuana sales outpaced booze for the year in Aspen. The figures were provided Wednesday by the city’s Finance Department in its year-end sales tax report for 2017, which showed Aspen’s retailers combined to generate $730.4 million in revenue, 2 percent better than 2016.

Read the Aspen Times article here.