Perthblog

This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

Can we unify traditional and behavioral economics?


So active investing is dead. Even the investment literati have finally figured that one out even though the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. I’ve been heralding the issue (“An Inconvenient Truth - Alpha Financial Styles Beget Ginormous Returns” and “Less Algebra More Fudge Brownie - What Will Managed Investing 2.0 Look Like?”). So ...

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Head transplants – body optional?


So you haven’t heard of head transplants? Get with the times, dude! Believe it or not an Italian medical research team is planning to do a head transplant in 2017. And yep, they even have a volunteer. Takes all types. There’s considerable skepticism however that the operation can go ahead let alone succeed. Most mainstream surgeons think it’s impos...

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“Happy Feet” - can animals fall in love?


OK so I went whale-watching recently, my token conversion to greenery. I actually saw several whales! Humpbacks actually. The interesting thing is that all the ones I saw were in pairs. Our helpful guide told us that these were always couples, male/female. But, she added disapprovingly, the male escort was always temporary; they have their way with...

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Could you purposely redesign your personality with a pill?


Another apparently useless piece of information, courtesy of researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Massachusetts medical School. It looks like particular chemicals in your immune system cause you to be social. Specifically it’s a molecule called gamma interferon. Who would have thunk it? For some reason, the immune system ...

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Should we deliberately slow down innovation?


Did you notice that Alvin Toffler, author of “Future Shock” just passed away? His book was published in 1970. That was well before the Internet, Twitter, Facebook and even photocopiers and hand-held electronic calculators. Think what he would say today? Clearly the pace of change has accelerated dramatically since Toffler alerted us to the problem....

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Are recessions contagious?


We're in one of the longest economic expansions in history right now. So of course the forecasters are jumping off the bandwagon to predict the next recession. The only thing though: economists are tragically unsuccessful at predicting recessions. According to the IMF, in the 1990s private economists only predicted correctly 2 of 60 recessions one ...

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Behavioral M&A – Yahoo Needed It But Too Late Now


So what’s behavioral M&A anyhows? See here for the skinny, will tell you more below. When Marissa Mayer was appointed CEO I predicted she would fail. Right on the money (“Yahoo – Product Bling 1, Business Acumen 0”). Was the problem Ms. Mayer or something else? How about the 70 or so acquisitions she made? They cost around $4 billion; it’s now ...

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Behavioral Economics & Finance Need a Killer App (ahem)


So if you look at my LinkedIn profile you’ll see that I am billed (inter alia) as a thought leader in behavioral finance. So why would I be casting aspersions on my chosen field? A while back I was discussing behavioral economics and finance with a very senior executive (British btw) for strategy and innovation in a well-known and respected global ...

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Can we create irrational AI?


Did you notice that an AI program from Google just beat a top human player at Go? It’s a big deal; the chess problem was solved years ago but Go was still a challenge. So now that problem has fallen, AI has got to go to the next step. What will that be I wonder? The problem is getting more difficult as we come to understand that humans aren’t the o...

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Are women smarter than men – but only after babies?


So while Trump disses women, the women are nonetheless showing their mettle a la Hilary and Fox's Megyn Kelley. That brings me (well, kind of) to an article I read recently in New Scientist “Busting the baby brain myth: Why motherhood makes minds sharper”. The author (a woman btw) is out to debunk what she sees as being the myth of the “baby brain”...

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General Anesthesia – Chemical Concussion?


After being ignored for years, including by the medical profession, we have finally woken up to the huge brain damage that can be caused by concussion. Now there’s even a movie about it. We’ve woken up to what a sensitive plant our brains actually are. I think we have another such sleeper in our midst about whose dangers we will soon wake up too. I...

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Is Alzheimer’s Contagious?


Did you notice that Gene Amdahl (Founder of Amdahl computers, the company that ran against IBM and won for a while) just died? He was one of the pioneers in computing and a true global innovator. Tragically he died of Alzheimer’s. That puts paid to the notion that you can avoid this terrible disease by having an active mind. You couldn’t get anyone...

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Mother Knows Best – Leadership is Innate in Women, Learned In Men


Did you see that Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, just got Time’s Person of the Year? She’s the only Western leader who can deal with Putin. She’s really the leader of “united” Europe which has the combined heft of the US. So she certainly deserves it. Definitely in the same class as Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Outshines any of the other Eur...

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Tinderizing Leadership


I guess you’ve heard of Tinder? New Age dating app: see photo, swipe left for reject, right to accept. You’re on. Major sensation amongst singles. Tinder recently announced big news. In future it will have a special space to list your job and education. Yep, never had it before. I guess that’s why it has had the reputation of being a hookup site… B...

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Is the immune system the seat of consciousness?


Bill Gates is constantly in the news but his erstwhile partner-in-crime in founding Microsoft, Paul Allen, doesn’t get as much press. But he’s used his untold billions for a succession of causes, some quixotic, some not. At this stage it’s not sure where his Allen Institute of Brain Science fits into this spectrum. But its recent announcement, that...

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Will Robots Have a Problem with Mental Health Too?


The march towards robots taking over our everyday lives moves ahead inexorably. Self-driving cars are just the latest manifestation of the trend. Recent research now shows that in order to make them more human,, we need to give the similar flaws to real people so that we take them more seriously (How perfect is too perfect? Research reveals robot f...

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Climate Scientists Are from Mars, Deniers Are From Venus (and Earth)


So I just saw “The Martian”. Coincidentally NASA just announced its discovery of running water on Mars. If NASA had told Matt Damon about that he could have grown grapes instead of potatoes and made his own hooch. Perhaps then he wouldn’t have wanted to have been rescued, given how utterly risky it was. There were some great Mars-scapes in the film...

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From the Internet of Things to the Internet of Brains

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The Internet of Things (IOT) is all the rage right now. Certainly it’s exciting. But is there something even bigger just as close, if not closer? I think so. You probably know that the Internet had been running out of IP addresses. So natch that’s been fixed, with the new IPv6 schema. With this new approach we get a lot of IP addresses. I know you ...

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Do girls outperform boys mentally – and what does it mean for neuroscience?

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Did you know that most university graduates in Saudi Arabia are women? That’s something; even where they can’t drive a car and can’t go outside without a male guardian of some kind, they still beat the pants (or whatever they call them) off the Saudi guys at university. And not just in Saudi Arabia. In most countries, including almost all developed...

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Is our brain really a quantum computer? Idiots savants may know the answer

Is our brain really a quantum computer? Idiots savants may know the answer
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You’ve probably heard about Obama’s big brain project, the BRAIN Initiative? Also the European Union Human Brain project? You might be tempted to think that these are just one last big push to figure out exactly how the brain really works. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reigning theory is that our brain works something like a computer...

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