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links for 2010-11-01

  • Quote:"Want to make your company more efficient? Don't promote people based on merit–do it at random. That's the conclusion of a study from Alessandro Pluchino and his team at the Universitá di Catania. Pluchino's study is one of the winner's of this year's Ig Nobel prize, a parody of the Nobel Prize given by the Annals of Improbable Research for achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think."

    // Not only does my skepticism regarding the hiring process have merit, it also applies to promotions too.

  • // Interesting stuff. Putting socks over your shoes reduces the liklihood of falls in icey condidtions and beards don't fly in labs. (Among others)
  • Abstract:"Here we show, by means of agent based simulations, that if the latter two features actually hold in a given model of an organization with a hierarchical structure, then not only is the Peter principle unavoidable, but also it yields in turn a significant reduction of the global efficiency of the organization. Within a game theory-like approach, we explore different promotion strategies and we find, counterintuitively, that in order to avoid such an effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence.

    // To avoid the organization inefficiency, you have to promote randomly.

  • Quote:"Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

    The study was paid for by Britain's Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and was published online Monday in the medical journal, Lancet.

    // It has been my experiences with alcohol that have led me to believe the war on drugs is a waste of money.

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