Irreverence

The Pope now tweets.  If you’re a good Catholic, do not read this bit of humor:
http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2011/07/25/110725sh_shouts_rudnick

Wall Street

It’s one of the oldest jokes on Wall Street:  “What’s the easiest way to end up with $1 million in the stock market?”  “Start with $2 million.”  That is, unless you’re a congressman.  This from the NY Times:

The study, “Abnormal Returns from the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives,” is a real eye-opener. Using the financial disclosures of politicians, the research team built model portfolios and charted their performance. They found that House members “earn statistically significant positive abnormal returns,” outperforming the market by 6 percentage points.

Senators do even better, the authors say, citing their own earlier research from 2004. Senate portfolios “show some of the highest excess returns ever recorded over a long period of time, significantly outperforming even hedge fund managers,” with gains that are “both economically large and statistically significant.”   They beat the market, my friends, by 10 percentage points a year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/business/mutfund/congressional-portfolios-outpacing-the-market-essay.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%22outperforming%20the%20market%20by%206%20percentage%20points%22&st=cse

Note: this article was before The Crash.  Now all of the articles are about it and our downgraded status.

Internet Dating

The NY Times had an interesting article last year, Better Loving Through Chemistry,
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/business/07stream.html?scp=1&sq=better+loving+through+chemistry+&st=nyt  which said that Online dating is a $976 million annual industry in the United States.
The New Yorker had one in July: Looking for Someone,
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/07/04/110704fa_fact_paumgarten
Which said a few interesting things:

According to a recent study commissioned by Match.com, online is now the third most common way for people to meet. (The most common are “through work/school” and “through friends/family.”)

…political scientists at Yale and Stanford, respectively, are sifting through OK Cupid data to determine how political opinions factor in to choosing social partners. Rudder, for his part, has determined that Republicans have more in common with Republicans than Democrats have in common with Democrats, which led him to conclude, “The Democrats are doomed.”

“We are the most important search engine on the Web, not Google. The search for companionship is more important than the search for song lyrics.”

It turns out that the fastest-growing online-dating demographic is people over fifty—a function perhaps of expanding computer literacy and diminished opportunity.

She identified two big social trends that have led to a greater reliance on online dating: an aging population, and women around the world entering the workforce, marrying later, divorcing more, moving from place to place. “Our social and sexual patterns have changed more in the last fifty years than in the last ten thousand,” she told me. “Our courtship rituals are rapidly changing, and we don’t know what to do.”

Well, because I am not in school or working, and because my friends and family have not set me up with anyone, I am checking out Match.com.  Wish me well.

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