The occurence of hangovers among Danish men and women

I just stumbled over a study which finds that the occurence of hangovers is higher among Danish women than men.

“We have examined the occurrence of hangovers i Danish men and women. Among 36,228 particioants, the occurrence of a list of different hangover symptoms as well as of severe hangovers was higher in women than in men. For example, the odds ratio was 1.53 (95% CI: 1.41-1.66) for experiencing headache and 1.97 (95% CI: 1.75-2.21) for severe hangovers after an episode of binge-drinking in women compared with men. This finding could not be explained by weekly alcohol intake, type of alcohol ingested, frequency of binge drinking episodes or by the proportion of alcohol consumed with meals.”

As an explanation for their finding they propose that 1) women generally are more sensitive to pain and 2) that the women have to clean up and take care of the children after the party!

This really adds to the advantages of being a man, and it emphasises womens status as the weaker gender :-)

Staying up to date – online

During my stay in the Netherlands I’ve had to rely on the online newspapers to keep myself updated. In the beginning I felt that something was missing; the day-to-day rumble in Danish politics, which I used to enjoy reading about in my morning newspaper.

The funny thing is that when you’re (relatively) far away from home, for some reason that daily dose of mudslinging becomes hopelessly uninteresting. Perhaps that is one reason to why two of my favorite Danish news-sites no longer appeal to me – in fact, I’ve completely removed them from my daily routine!

Another reason is that the news they communicate is the of the lowest and most tabloid-like quality. My conjecture is that to attract many hits to the site, they wan’t to have a high turnover of news at a low cost (the papers have been hit hard by the crisis); the reason to why they wan’t many hits is because the value of the advertising space depends on the number of hits. And because good quality journalism comes at a high price they choose to save on that! (The site I’m talking about is pol.dk and dr.dk – the latter has no ad’s so I guess my conjecture is off.)

My point is that I’ve found two delightful sources of news that I want to recommend.

1. www.thebrowser.com

Is some sort of meta-newssite that links to other high-quality articles from different sources around the web. One of the contributors (on economics) is Tylor Cowen of Marginal Revolution.

2. www.spiegel.de/international

The english language site of a legendary German “mirror” weekly. It is journalism of extreemely high quality. It is trying to establish a pan-european high-profile partnership with other leading newspapers. Currently the liberal Dutch NRC Handelsblad and the social liberal Danish Politiken is participating. It is obvious from reading the articles that Politiken is the weakest link in that alliance! …but judge for yourself.

Economics of handwashing

Some days after lunch, I stop by the university bookstore. On the first floor there is, what seems to be a neverending sale of (mostly) peculiar Dutch books, but in the basement they have a nice selection of economics books. There are some textbooks, but also many popular economics books. After Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner, a small flood of books on everyday economics has started to pop up on the shelfs of even high street bookstores.

The most recent popecon book in the bookstore is Parentonomics – on the economics of raising children. I turned a few pages in the book, and came across a section on teaching children to wash their hands. Apparently, it has to be done twice in connection with every intake of food: once before eating (for the germs) and once after dinner (for the furniture). References to the military are given, where studies have shown a negative effect on sickness absence (I think it was) of handwashing. It is stated that even surgeons have a hard time remembering to wash their hands and rewards are given to the ones that do remember it.

Off course there is a lot of economics in the handwashing. If everyone else on the planet washes their hands to prevent the spread of germs, then you don’t have to do so, to enjoy the benefit of no germs. It’s a free-rider problem, and it becomes aggravated because monitoring is difficult.

Have not bought the book yet, though…

Solow on Leverage

Robert M. Solow, the 1987 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, has written an enlightening review of a book called “How to Understand the Disaster” (i.e., the current credit crisis) in The New York Review of Books. Here are two quotes:

“[...] it is leverage that turns large banks and financial institutions into ninepins that cannot fall without knocking down others that cannot fall without knocking down still others. That seems to be the key to the potential instability of an unregulated financial system.”

and

“A modern capitalist economy with a modern financial system can probably adapt to minor shocks—positive or negative—with just a little help from monetary policy and mostly automatic fiscal stabilizers: [...] But that same financial system has intrinsic characteristics that can make it self-destructively unstable when it meets a large shock. One such characteristic is asymmetric information: some market participants know things that others don’t, and can turn that knowledge into profit”,

which is somewhat related to my (danish) post from yesterday.

On Motorcycle Lanesplitting and Parking

Here is a post for the summer holidays on motorcycle. When travelling on a motorbike you enjoy the advantages of easy/free parking and less vulnerability to traffic jams, but the rules differ within the Union.

Lanesplitting: To avoid traffic jams you can travel between the lanes e.g. on the motorway, this is called “lanesplitting.” This is not allowed in Denmark, but it is in Holland. Riding in the emergency lane is not allowed in DK and NL, but it is widely practiced in Germany, although I suspect it is illegal. Nomatter what, lanesplitting in probably very dangerous.

Parking: Parking on the sidewalks is not allowed in Denmark, but I’ve never been fined for doing it, when the bike is parked so that it does not occupy the “main part of the sidewalk.” (You’ll have to figure the exact meaning of this out for yourself.) Otherwise the rules below also apply to Denmark.

I’m also very interested in the rules in Norway, but have no information yet… (according to the Wikipedia entry on Lanesplitting it is allowed)

 (Danske tags: motorcykel, kø, trafikprop, kørsel mellem vognbaner, kørsel mellem biler,  kørsel i nødsporet, parkering, fortov, betaling)

From Timberwoof’s Motorcycle FAQ:

Lanesplitting

Most countries allow lanesplitting, as long as the speed difference does not exceed 20km/h (12MPH) and traffic in the lanes is not traveling faster than 40km/h (25MPH).

Germany is the only country (as far as I know) that has a ruling about it. It is recommended that when lanesplitting to do this between the leftmost lane and the lane beside it. In case of an accident the lanesplitting vehicle is seen as the offending party unless it can be proved (witness or police report) that the non-lanesplitting vehicle or person (in the case of someone opening their door as you come along) did not apply due caution.The Netherlands also have a ruling on lanesplitting, where, in case of collision, blame is divided 50/50 between both parties, unless reckless driving can be ascertained. Otherwise same rules as Germany.

 

Parking

Few places have dedicated motorcycle parking areas, and they are not all easy to find. According to one source, in general the following “rules” apply:

  • No parking in a car parking spot unless you park two or more motorcycles in that spot.
  • Parking your bike on the sidewalk or road side is allowed as long as the bike does not pose a hindrance to passing (pedestrian) traffic.

According to another source, bikes may occupy car spots, as long as they pay the parking meter. They may also share car spots with a car already there, for free, assuming car drived has fed the meter, but if the meter runs out then bike will get ticketed with car (this is certainly the case in London).

What I’m reading

  • Lars Qvortrup skriver i Information om “tillid”. Dankske Banke får et hug. Er ikke helt sikker på om han forveksler tillid med asymmetrisk information. Er faktisk overhovedet ikke sikker på, hvad hans pointe er. Er hans ’tillid’ et kamufleret udtryk for asymmetrisk information?

    “Forudsætningen for at drive bankvirksomhed er, at kunderne har tillid til, at banken er god til at håndtere risici.”

    Tjoh. Men banken skal jo først og fremmest være solvent (for høj gearing siges at være en årsag til kreditkrisen). Kunden kan i princippet være ligeglad med om banken krakker, for indskuddet er garanteret af staten. I tilfældet af at vi snakker om sub-prime låntagere, så ved jeg ikke hvad han mener med tillids-snakken.

    • Interview fra 1985 med Friderick Hayek, som mener at løndannelsen skal være helt fleksibel – væk med fagforeninger. Altså du sidder med en månedlig husleje på, say, 10.000 kr. og – vupti – bliver din løn halveret fordi bilindustrien, hvor du arbejder, er i vandskeligheder. Det er muligvist efficient, men…!
    • Nostalgi. En fyr, der som hobby finder gamle kameraer med ufremkaldte film på loppemarkeder.