Why we like what we like: A scientist’s surprising findings


Your genes, your germs, and your environment all may influence your tastes in food—as well as partners and politics.

There may be nothing more self-defining than our tastes. Whether in food, wine, romantic partners, or political candidates, our tastes represent our identity. So it made sense to me that my likes and dislikes were formed through careful deliberation and rational decision-making—that is, through choices where I wielded some control.

Continue reading “Why we like what we like: A scientist’s surprising findings”

I Love Rabbit


Last year, we Sichuanese consumed 300 million rabbits, (70% of the total in China)

I still prefer this hot and spicy rabbit heads I had in Zigong, chopped in halves

Those in Chengdu are cold

The meat on the cheeks, the brain in the skull, the chewy tongues are my favorite

eyeballs, hmmm…okay…

The price is crazy

It used to be 2.5 yuan per head in the 90s, now soars to 12 yuan, same speed of the housing price in Chengdu, reflecting our inflation.

This one is also from Zigong. Still rabbit

Zigong dishes rank the first in Chengdu because they make you uncomfortable after dinner, but more addicted to it after you take the pills.

When picking meat to lose weight, beef is superb, but much more expensive than rabbit.

So, rabbit wins.

Frank Lichtenberg and the cost of saving lives through pharmaceuticals


Humans are living longer, better lives thanks to innovations in prescription drugs over the past three decades, according to several new studies by Frank Lichtenberg, the Courtney C. Brown Professor of Business.

Every year, according to Lichtenberg’s research, drugs launched since 1982 are adding 150 million life-years to the lifespans of people in 22 countries that he analyzed. He calculated the average pharmaceutical expenditure per life-year saved at $2,837 — a bargain, he says.

“According to most health economists and policymakers, if you could extend someone’s life by a year for less than $3,000, that is highly cost effective,” says Lichtenberg, who gathered new data for these studies to cast a never-before seen view of the econometrics of prescription drugs. “People might be surprised by how cost-effective drugs appear to be in general.”

…To tease out the answer, the professor gathered data on drug launches and the age-standardized premature mortality rate by country, disease, and year. Drawing on data from the World Health Organization, the United Nations, consulting company IQVIA, and French database Theriaque, Lichtenberg was able to identify the role that pharmaceutical innovation played in reducing the number of years of life lost due to 66 diseases in 27 countries. (“Years of life lost” is an estimate of the average years a person would have lived if he or she had not died prematurely.)

Between 1982 and 2015, for example, the US saw the launch of 719 new drugs, the most of any country in the sample; Israel had about half as many launches. By looking at the resultant change in each country between mortality and disease, Lichtenberg calculated that the years of life lost before the age of 85 in 2013 would have been 2.16 times as high if no new drugs had been launched after 1981. For a subset of 22 countries with more full data, the number of life-years gained in 2013 from drugs launched after 1981 was 148.7 million.

Here is more from Stephen Kurczy, and here is previous MR coverage of Lichtenberg and his work.  Given these estimates, do you really think we should be spending less on pharmaceuticals?