Monday, August 03, 2009

Links ...

  1. Siddhartha Vaidyanathan in Open Magazine: Where are they now?

    Every year one teenager tops the IIT-JEE, probably the toughest entrance exam in the world. Overnight he becomes some kind of a celebrity. There have been only about fifty such toppers in the history of IIT. We went in search of some of them to.

  2. Gabriele Lepori (Copenhagen Business School) in SSRN: Dark Omens in the Sky: Do Superstitious Beliefs Affect Investment Decisions? Here's the abstract:

    Psychological research documents that individuals are more likely to resort to superstitious practices when operating in environments dominated by uncertainty, high stakes, and perceived lack of control over the outcomes. Based on these findings, we suggest that the stock market represents an ideal breeding ground for superstition and then test whether superstition-induced behavior affects investment decisions. Our empirical analysis focuses on some beliefs associated with eclipses, phenomena that are typically interpreted as bad omens by the superstitious both in Asian and Western societies, and we employ a dataset containing 362 such events over the period 1928-2008. Using four broad indices of the U.S. stock market, we uncover strong evidence in support of our superstition hypothesis in four distinct ways. First, the occurrence of negative superstitious events (i.e. eclipses) is associated with below-average stock returns, which is consistent with a diminished buying pressure coming from the superstitious. Second, the size of the superstition effect is estimated to increase in times of high market uncertainty and when eclipses draw wide media coverage and public attention. Third, the negative performance of the market during the superstitious event is followed by a reversal effect of similar magnitude (10 basis points per day) on the subsequent trading days. Fourth, eclipses are accompanied by a trading volume decline. When we extend our analysis to a sample of Asian countries, we find analogous results. The patterns we document are inconsistent with the Efficient Market Theory, as eclipses are perfectly predictable events.

  3. Mary Jane Hurst in Inside Higher Ed: Mentor Yourself:

    Unfortunately, many individuals do not have access to personal mentoring. Therefore, in the interest of helping people help themselves, I offer the following five core strategies for developing a more satisfying and successful academic career. You can be your own mentor.

    Strategy #1. Get a Life: Conceptualize Your Career in the Context of Your Whole Life

    First and foremost, this strategy entails accepting responsibility for one’s life choices and for the consequences of those choices. The cumulative effects of our large and small decisions have brought us to whatever point at which we find ourselves. Each person has made choices to pursue or not pursue particular graduate studies, to accept or not to accept employment in a particular location, to live or not to live as a single person, to have or not to have children. Certainly there are circumstances beyond our control, but, even then, we have choices in our attitude and choices in how we respond.

    Consider that again: we have choices. This is not a restrictive truth but a liberating one. No one forces us without our own consent to pursue a specific research topic, to teach at a certain university or at any university, to live in a particular location, or to continue in any course of action. If we have gotten off track, we can take steps to get ourselves back on track. If we wish to make changes, we can consider the consequences, assess the likely risks and benefits, and then move forward.

  4. Scott A. Harris in McSweeney's: Status Updates Since My Mother Became My Facebook Friend. Here's a sample:

    Scott is in no way involved, currently nor in the past, with a married woman, regardless of what anyone is saying.