Numbers Don't Lie

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Are entrepreneurs made or born ?

Typical entrepreneurs are restless, independent, have a tendency to be a loner, and extreme self confident. Like most human behaviors, entrepreneurial behavior can be traced to a complex interaction of innate, background, and environmental factors. But which factor is critical ? According to a recent survey, nearly 2/3 of entrepreneurs claim they were "inspired to start their own companies by their innate desire and determination, rather than by their education or work experience". So if this study can be further confirmed, we can say entrepreneurs are born, not made.
I must say we need to acknowledge and celebrate the inequality that has enabled many entrepreneurs making fortune, and at the same time enriched the lives of the rest of us.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

If you are reading this, you may be an addict

The United States could be soon filled with Internet addicts (who use Internet to self-medicate) clinically ill as alcoholics, a survey suggested. This survey indicated more than 1/8 U.S. residents showed at least one sign of "problematic Internet use." Most disturbing was the discovery that some people hid their Internet surfing, or went online to cure foul moods in ways that mirrored the way alcoholics use booze. Research indicated that nearly 14% of the survey respondents found it difficult to stay away from the Internet for several days and that slightly more than 12% often remained online longer than expected.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Do we really like (many) choices ?

When facing too many choices, people actually could feel miserable. Here is interesting number from Jonathan Mendez's blog:
"A U.K. jam maker did a supermarket tasting. The first day they had 23 different flavors of jams available for tasting and purchase at their table. The second day they had they exact same display and amount of bottles on the table but with only six flavors. Result? Sales day one were 1/10th of day two".

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Ideas and execution

To accomplish anything which hasn't done before, a good idea itself is not enough. Below is a numeric formulation on this subject, given by Derek Sivers, president and programmer, CD Baby and HostBaby :

To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier.Execution is worth millions. Explanation:
  • Awful idea = -1
  • Weak idea = 1
  • So-so idea = 5
  • Good idea = 10
  • Great idea = 15
  • Brilliant idea = 20
  • No execution = $1
  • Weak execution = $1000
  • So-so execution = $10,000
  • Good execution = $100,000
  • Great execution = $1,000,000
  • Brilliant execution = $10,000,000

To make a business, you need to multiply the two. The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000. That's why I don't want to hear people's ideas. I'm not interested until I see their execution.


Insecurity and horsepower

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Do we need 2 Earths ?

Globally, humans are consuming resources at an unprecedented rate, far beyond Earth's capacity to support them. If this trend continues, according to a recent report from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), humanity will need 2 Earths' worth of natural resources by 2050; and "if everyone around the world lived as those in America, we would need 5 planets to support us".


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

People feel pain differently

I have long believed that pain sensitivity varies genetically among people. In a recent medical research, a gene called GCH1 regulates an enzyme that correlates with pain sensitivity in rats. In humans, having 1 copy of a particular version of the gene makes you less pain-sensitive than other people; having 2 copies makes you highly insensitive to pain.
I am sure I get just 1 copy (or less) of GCH1, and my daughter have 2 (or 3) copies. Next time when you admire someone who seem more heroic than you, please understand that they may just be luckier and more comfortable under pain.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Quest for a perfect body

We are living in a image-conscious time. According to one survey, over 56% of women and 43% of men are dissatisfied with their appearance. That dissatisfaction motivates a whole host of behaviors - weight loss, cosmetic and fashion purchases, and cosmetic surgery. Although the idea that breast implants can trigger silicone-induced cancers, autoimmune disorders and other deadly disease is well known, more than 290,000 women in the US had breast implants in 2005, up 37% from 2000.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Cancer patients are more likely to commit suicide

According to a sobering finding of a new Canadian study published in the Oct. 19 online issue of the Annals of Oncology, cancer patients are more than twice as likely to take their own lives compared to those in the general population.
The rate in the study worked out to be 19 out of every 1,000 male cancer patients and 4 out of every 1,000 female patients. The overall rate of suicide was about 2 to 2.5 times that of the general U.S. population. In this population, males committed suicide at 4 to 5 times the rate of females, which is consistent with the suicide rate in the overall American population.
According to this research, "the high-risk patient was male with head or neck cancer or myeloma, advanced stage, with little social or cultural support and limited treatment options."


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Eating chocolate make us feel better

In one experienment, college students volunteered to report on their mood and emotional states (hunger, boredom, fear, joy, and guilt) before and after eating chocolate or apples twice a day for six days. As can be seen from the resulting chart above, eating chocolate resulted in an immediate elevation in mood, much stronger than that associated with eating an apple. What's more, this difference spanned the entire duration of the task. The researchers found similar results for "joy," as well as a decrease in "tiredness" compared to eating nothing.
Source: Macht, M., & Dettmer, D. Everyday mood and emotions after eating a chocolate bar or an apple. Appetite, 46, 332-336, 2006.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Extreme commute

Almost unheard of a decade ago, but now 8% of U.S. working population commute more than 1 hour (one way) to go to work.
Source NPR radio (10/16/2006).


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lung Cancer Run in the Family

A new study in the October issue of Chest found that that having a first-degree relative with lung cancer nearly doubled the odds of developing lung cancer. The association was even stronger for women. Women who had a first-degree relative with lung cancer almost had triple the risk of lung cancer, while men with a first-degree relative with lung cancer had about a 70% higher risk.


Can we communicate with the dead ?

Americans have always seemed fascinated by the idea of communicating with spirits in another world. Who else can make movies like Ghost? According to a recent study by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, 20% of Americans believe that the living can communicate with the dead. In an online survey of 10,000 Beliefnet members, 77% said they'd felt the presence of a spirit, angel or dead soul.
Both the survey results and the TV statistics indicate that women are more likely to believe it's possible to interact with the spirit world. 46% of women surveyed believed that "the souls of the dead protect the living as spirit guides," compared with 27% of men. Women were also more likely than men to believe that "the dead can hear our prayers or intercede with God on our behalf."


Friday, October 13, 2006

U.S. federal deficit in 2006

The amount of this year's U.S. federal deficit is $248 billion. Small compared to the projection of $423 billion, but still one of the largest in U.S. history.
Source: chicago tribune, 10/12/06


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Death toll of Iraq invasion

Around 655,000 people have died in Iraq as a result of the US-led coalition invasion, according to the largest scientific analysis yet. That is 2.5% of the country's entire population. The study was conducted by US and Iraqi scientists to determine how many Iraqis have died since the invasion in March 2003.
Source: Lancet: (vol 364, p 1857)


Beautiful parents have more daughters

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics found that 56% of the most beautiful people from a survey had a daughter first compared with only 48% of the average people, so "by marrying a beautiful spouse you are slightly increasing the chance that you'll have a daughter".
The researcher's explanation? Natural selection may find a way to make better-looking people more likely to have daughters because being beautiful tends to pay off for women (in terms of reproductive success) more than for men. Satoshi Kanazawa also noticed that violent men have more sons (Journal of Theoretical Biology, 239: 450-459, 2006).


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Silence is gold


The route to happiness

In 2005, Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky developed a comprehensive model of sustainable happiness (General Psychology, 2005, 9, 111-131). The result was a theory which proposed that up to 50% of one’s happiness was rooted in a genetically determined set-point, 10% was related to circumstantial factors (nation of residence, demographics, culture, income, etc), and the remaining 40% was determined by intentional activities such as pursuing goals, looking at things optimistically, and being physically active.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tall woman more likely have twins or triplets

The difference in average height between mothers of single and multiple-birth babies in the U.S. is 1 inch, and research shows being tall increases a woman's chance of having twins or triplets. The reason? taller people have more insulin like growth factor, which increases the chance of spontaneous twinning. Previous studies have found that women who consume animal dairy products were 5 times more likely to have twins; because cows produce insulin-like growth factor and release it into the blood, and the protein makes its way into their milk.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Why the Harvest Moon looks bigger ?

Today's (Oct. 6th, 2006) Harvest Moon will be looks like 12% bigger than some of the full moons this year. The reason? today moon is near perigee, the point on its slightly out-of-round orbit that is closest to Earth.
Source: heard from local radio


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Christian and Darwinian

According to a 2005 Pew Research Center poll, 60% of Republicans are creationists, whereas only 11% accept evolution, compared with 29% of Democrats who are creationists and 44% who accept evolution. A 2005 Harris Poll found that 63% of liberals but only 37% of conservatives believe that humans and apes have a common ancestry.


America's school are failing us

997 - the average number of hours a U.S. child spends in class per year.
1,023 - the average number of hours a U.S. child spends watching TV.
30% students don't graduate from high school.
40% of college freshmen need remedial classes because they are unprepared.
Source - Reader Digest (Oct. 2006)


Monday, October 02, 2006

How much money to make you happy?

Who says money can’t buy you happiness? Economists Jonathan Gardner and Andrew Oswald report that winners of a medium-sized prize of between £1000 and £120,000 on Britain’s National Lottery subsequently enjoyed a significant improvement in their psychological well-being compared with others who had only a small win, or no win at all. The difference, in their measurement, is positive 1.4 point. For the reference, being widowed was associated with an average drop in well-being of 5 points. Researcher conclude the 1.4 point positive change enjoyed by medium-sized winners was economically significant and not merely statistically significant.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

It is a relational life