How lucky are you feeling?

cumul_richI am rewriting a computational modelling project on modelling the stock market, so I am doing a bit of background reading. Fortune’s Formula by William Poundstone is a good general-interest description of some work from the 1950s onwards, on developing models for both the stockmarket, and gambling in casinos. In terms of mathematical modelling, gambling (aka investing) in the stock market, and gambling in casinos are almost the same — the aim is the same in both: maximise the money acquired while minimise the risk.

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Redistribution in UK universities, from wealthy overseas parents to the British taxpayer and to charities

Universities that do research as well as teach, like Surrey, are funded from many different sources, and their finances are complex. But roughly two-thirds of the money the Department has to pay my salary comes from student fees and government funding for teaching, leaving one-third of my salary to be paid for from research income. The distribution of my time between teaching and research is maybe half-and-half*. Teaching is subsidising research, in the sense that student fees are paying my salary for some time when I am doing research.

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Gambling with £9,000

p_richTeaching for semester one has just ended. Almost all the undergraduates have left, and so campus is quiet in the run up to Christmas. But although the pressure is off (thankfully!), there are still things to do. In particular, I want to improve semester-two’s computational project on modeling the stock market. The current version is very popular with the students, but many of them slightly run out of steam when they do it, so I think there is room to improve it. The plot above shows some results for some calculations I am doing to scope out a new project.

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The economics of life, death and weekend working

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been going round saying* “At the moment, for example, if you have a stroke at the weekend you are 20% more likely to die. That cannot be right, and that is something every doctor wants to sort out as well.”. This is a rather alarming way of saying that 11.1% of those admitted on a weekday because they have had a stroke are dead within 30 days, whereas 12.9% of those admitted on a weekend die within 30 days. This is from work of Roberts and coworkers.

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The economic cost of inequality

I am reading a economics book. A book on economies with huge inequalities of wealth, where the economy is not growing because the rich do not invest, they just squeeze the poor for increased rents, and where nothing is done to change this as change is not in the interest of the wealthy. As you imagine this is striking a chord with me, it all sounds very familiar.

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