Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Why political polling is a force for good and other news and views for the day

This colorful image, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, celebrates the Earth-orbiting observatory’s 28th anniversary of viewing the heavens, giving us a window seat to the universe’s extraordinary stellar tapestry of birth and destruction.
Let’s Stop the Hysterical Rhetoric about the Opioid Crisis - Cato Institute
The point is, millions of Americans have genuine, medically necessary reasons to be taking opioids. They make up the vast majority of opioid users and it doesn’t make sense to lump them into the opioid crisis. ... If policy makers in the Trump administration want to effectively address the problem, there are other ways to do it. They should promote “harm reduction” programs, including pilot “heroin maintenance” programs, such as those that have worked successfully in Switzerland, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada. They should also take note of recent evidence from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, and the RAND Corporation that have shown a dramatic decrease in opioid use and overdose rates in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use.
You can guess what people think, or you can find out – why polling is a force for good - Lord Ashcroft Polls
Forecasting election results has become trickier. Electorates have become more unpredictable, strength of support and people’s likelihood actually to turn out and vote is harder to account for, and busy people are more reluctant to take part in polls. But polling is more than a slightly wonky crystal ball for predicting what people will do at the ballot box. Done properly, opinion research serves a much wider and more beneficial purpose. In a world that seems ever more divided and complicated, there is more value than ever in trying to understand what different people think and why they think it.
In politics, the great benefit of polling is as a reality check. In my experience, people in the political world can have the most extraordinary capacity for self-delusion. They can easily fail to grasp how others see them, and consequently misjudge their level of support.
Why Is Bangladesh Booming? Project Syndicate
As a result of progressive social policies and a bit of historical luck, Bangladesh has gone from being one of the poorest countries in South Asia to an aspiring "tiger" economy. But can it avoid the risk factors that have derailed dynamic economies throughout history?
The banking royal commission confirms our worst fears about many business executives and crony capitalism - Pearls and Irritations
There was a revealing heading in an article a while back by Ross Gittins, the economics editor of the SMH, ‘Faster growth demands better chief executives’. He concluded his article by pointing to the need for business leadership to seize the economic opportunities -‘ Our overpaid and underperforming chief executive officers are getting (it) wrong’.
But it is all much worse than we thought as the incompetence  and greed of  some of our senior business executives  has been revealed in the banking royal commission.
We also now know why the Liberal Party resisted for so long a royal commission. It was to protect their business mates. It is called ‘crony capitalism’
For 50 Years, Deep-Water Trawls Likely Caught More Fish Than Anyone Thought - NPR
Recent research, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, suggests that millions of tons of fish caught in deep-water trawl nets have gone unreported in the last 50 years. UN FAO data shows that deep-sea bottom trawls — fishing 1,300 feet below the ocean's surface and deeper — caught 14 million tons of fish between 1950 and 2015. Meanwhile, during the same time period, reconstructed data shows "an estimated 25 million tons of fish that were extracted, but not included in any of the fisheries statistics," says Maria Palomares, a researcher at Sea Around Us, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia in an email. That's almost double the amount actually reported.
The Sky Is Not Falling - Bjørn Lomborg in Project Syndicate
Long, slow, positive trends don’t make it to the front page or to water-cooler conversations. So we develop peculiar misperceptions, especially the idea that a preponderance of things are going wrong.

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