Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is the US an extreme outlier in Healthcare per Capita?

Data from OECD, 2007, Health at a Glance 2007; OECD Indicators

For Further discussion see this post on the Incidental Economist, particularly the comment section.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gay Marriage

I don't know if there is any issue with such a generational divide...

It currently appears that it's only a matter time before legalization.

Nate Silver projects when each state will legalize gay marriage via a regression model with the following variables:
1. The year in which (a gay marriage type) amendment was voted upon;
2. The percentage of adults in 2008 Gallup tracking surveys who said that religion was an important part of their daily lives;
3. The percentage of white evangelicals in the state.

He projects about half of states will legalize by 2014 and the rest by 2024. I personally think the status quo bias is a bit stronger than that and it'll take a little longer...

*Edit - Nate Sliver actually projects "the dates when the model predicts that each of the 50 states would vote against a marriage ban." The dates seem a bit more resonable now, but i still would be more conservative in the projections. Though maybe we've hit a tipping point?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Childbirth and Evolution

From Half the Sky:

"One reason women die in childbirth has to do with anatomy, arising from two basic evolutionary trade-offs. The first is that once our ancient ancestors began to walk upright, too large a pelvis made upright walking and running inefficient and exhausting. A narrow pelvis permits fast running. That however makes childbirth exceedingly difficult. So the evolutionary adaptation is that women generally have medium-sized pelvises that permit moderately swift locomotion and allow them to survive childbirth - most of the time.

The other trade-off is head size. Beginning with our Cro-Magnon ancestors, human skull size expanded to accommodate more complex brains. Larger brains offer an evolutionary advantage once a child is born, but they increase the chance that a large-headed fetus will never emerge alive from the mother."


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Improving Self Reported BMI

Many epidemiological studies measure adiposity (obesity) through the surrogate BMI via self reported measures of height and weight. As I have mentioned before, there are many problems with this. But how can we improve on this while maintaining our level of accuracy and not using a direct measure requiring a more intensive doctor visit?

Two ideas to use along with BMI:
1. Waist size - pant size for men, dress size for women
2. Bench press - probably more reasonable for men. Could use max (weight you can bench press once), or weight you can bench press ten times.