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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 calm the global mood with sound?


Recently I posted on the huge impact noise pollution is having on human moods globally, including making us all incredibly crabby. (“ Does noise cause global dysfunction in human mood? ”). Coincidentally (?) the Washington Post followed my article with its own about noise pollution, even in the national parks (“ Human noise pollution is everywhere,...
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Quantum is the new digital


If you’re a regular reader of this blog you might have noticed I have a disproportionate number of posts about quantum stuff. Case in point my recent post of “ Social Science is the study of entangled brains: Discuss ”. Not to mention “ High Frequency Trading Trashed by Quantum Computers? ” And so on. Yep, it’s very nerdy. But isn’t it a little bit...
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Are dynasties the future of democracy?


So I know I don’t have to remind you that we have a family running the US of A. Let’s say that it continues, with or without a gap between other family members also getting into the saddle. That’s what a dynasty is, in both cases. And this is hardly new. In modern times we’ve had the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons. The Roosevelts before that...
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Do trees have brains?


I’m sure you noticed (or maybe not) a little news item that deforestation in Brazil increased 30% in the last 12 months ? So what? Does anyone care? Why should we anyway? There’s inconsequential reasons like forests create rain (through the action of emitting terpenes , inter alia) and stabilize terra firma. I have a more selfish reason; when you’r...
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Shouldn’t leadership be about business outcome, not about traits?


Did you notice that Tesla is now worth as much as General Motors? Quite a milestone given the fact that Tesla sells 80,000 cars a year versus GM’s 2 million plus.  Does that tell us something about leadership? My go-to reference Wikipedia defines a leadership style as a way of “providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people ”. ...
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Social Science is the study of entangled brains: Discuss.


So here’s a turn-up for the books. It turns out that you don’t just get entanglement between individual photons. You can get entanglement between millions of photons simultaneously, all of them within a single object (although not necessarily so). Sounds like cods-wollop right? What am I, or the scientists who figured this out, smoking here? If you...
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Self-driving democracy?


We’ve seen some strange things lately in the political arena, what with Brexit, Trump, and the upcoming political upstarts in Europe and so on. So strange in fact that African leaders are now warning global leaders not to copy the West’s political systems, as did Rwanda’s Paul Kagame recently . So strange that Russia’s Putin is now seen as a rock s...
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Are birds aesthetes?


Yep, it’s true. Some species of birds can actually distinguish between Monet, Picasso and other painters. They can even distinguish between art styles painted by unknowns. Can your dog do that? Maybe that performance beats 90% or more of humans given the same task? So if you want to get the skinny, and confirm that I didn’t make it up check out “ T...
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Does Big Data Diminish Leadership Purpose?


Big data is really big. So is analytics. Our interns all want to get a job in those areas, so they can hit one out of the park. The big idea is that Big Data can help us uncover insights especially into how consumers act, so we can get them to buy more, and, to be fair, to better meet their needs. Big Data is transforming business, companies and ev...
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Humans can thrive on a totally polluted planet!


Did you see the news piece about pollution at the bottom of the Marianas Trench? It’s the deepest place on Earth. Turns out that the crustaceans at the very bottom are 50 times more contaminated by toxic pollution byproducts than fish in the most polluted Chinese rivers. So congratulation humans! We have succeeded magnificently in polluting absolut...
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Maybe Alzheimer’s isn’t a Brain Disease?


So I guess you saw that latest failure of an Alzheimer’s drug ( verubecestat from Merck )? Scratch yet another Phase III Alzheimer’s drug hopeful. Of 244 drugs tried out for Alzheimer’s between 2002 and 2012 , only one was approved and it is of tiny effectiveness anyway. It’s got a 99.6% failure rate in this area. As you probably know, the reigning...
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Quantum economics – can 2 (or more) minds be entangled?


I just read “ The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis . You remember him? The author of Moneyball , the best-selling book about a new way to win at baseball. “The Undoing Project: is about the emergence of behavioral economics and behavioral finance. It focuses on the two key figures in the drama, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman and the incredibly f...
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Does noise cause global dysfunction in human mood?


Music streaming is hot. Everyone’s doing it. So why is it so popular? Well, the music is popular and varied, often relaxing. You can live in your own world. What’s not to like? Outside there’s a lot of hurly-burly and especially a lot of noise. Is music streaming a way to get away from the noise? We are all bathed in a constant tumult of noise, unc...
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Can refugees be the key to a new and vibrant immigration policy?


I think the debate about immigration is missing something really big. The biggest thing we should be worried about is the vitality and energy of our country. If we get that right everything else falls into place. I was just watching a documentary about Japan and the ongoing depopulation there. With more and more seniors as a proportion of the popul...
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Must the world end?


So where did this come from? Well, it’s from a launcher article in the New York Times for 2017 where the Gray Lady asks what scientific topics should be trending for the New Year. I don’t know why they picked this one, but here it is - Steven Pinker on the Second Law of Thermodynamics . It’s all about entropy, that warm cuddly stuff you love and ch...
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The leaderati are out of touch with the masses!


I guess there’s no need to engage in any further exegesis concerning the latest Black Swans on the political front, domestically and globally. But I’ve been surprised that the leadership literati (let’s call them the leaderati) haven’t been talking about what this all means for leadership thinking. Seems to me it means a whole lot. So what does lea...
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Exercise is being way overhyped!


So you know what I mean? Can’t open any magazine, blog, newspaper, social media without being bombarded by how great exercise is for you. Nauseating right? Full disclosure: I wear a Fitbit (Blaze) permanently, run every day, walk whenever I can. I’ve drunk fulsomely of the Kool-Aid. But that doesn’t make me right. Nor does it mean that I am totally...
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Can the cognitive biases of the intelligence agencies be exploited by our enemies?


National intelligence has been a hot topic lately. That’s a bit weird given that I have been posting on artificial intelligence . Does national intelligence come even close to AI? Can we trust its analyses? OK so I have a tiny bit of first-hand experience in this. In my callow youth I was actually a junior diplomat for a small power allied to the U...
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AI is heading in a wrong and terrible direction!


My recent post on AI argued that currently AI is not interesting because it’s really just more incremental thinking based on current, boring,  paradigms, in effect party tricks (“AI – Let’s move beyond party tricks!” ). Yep, I’ve seen the latest celebratory article in the new York Times about the amazing things they’re doing with Google Transl...
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Is reading bad for you?


As a book writer myself I’m always interested to see who might want to read my books, or for that matter, any books. The bad news is that the book market is essentially flat, so doesn’t look like I’m going to make out with my book, even if it were a best-seller, which it’s not. The slightly better news is that e-books are growing a little faster bu...
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