Stocks and Brain Boosters
The Stock Market
I figured out why the stock market is such a Tower of Babel. It's because for every pessimistic seller of stocks there's an optimistic purchaser of stocks. (Of course, in today's market, there can be pessimistic purchasers of stocks who shorted it but now have to cover it.) The stock market is always in balance except for those rare times when panic selling or panic takes over. Consequently, you'll hear as much upbeat news from those in a mood to buy as you will downbeat news from those who're ready to sell.
Today, the market was nervously awaiting the Federal Open Market Committee meeting tomorrow. Best guesses are the Fed won't lower interest rates any further, although it might loosen the money supply in less dramatic ways.
Our paper is saying that the Fed has done about all it can do to stimulate the economy. Now we'll just have to wait and see whether the country slides into a Great Depression. Thanks a lot, guys! That's just the kind of cheery news we need to restore consumer confidence and rev up our economic engines!
Below are a few articles. The first one, "I'm Building an Ark", is by a self-admitted chronic pessimist. (For all I know, he may be shorting the market, and trying to cash in by scaring people into pushing the market down.) Enjoy!
I'm Building an Ark
Market Refuses to Give Up Gains Easily
Fed's Bias Could Turn Market
Brain Booster Update
I'm working on generating some ideas about the social implications of the potential reversal of aging. It's going to take some time, so in the meantime, I'm going to offer an update concerning my experiences with "brain boosters".
For several months, I seemed to be having trouble performing my thrice-daily pilgrimage up Suicide Hill. (A guy who lives at the bottom of the hill told me today that it has a 30-degree grade.) I quit taking vitamins and the few supplemental nutrients I use (mixed tocopherols, folic acid, a moderate B-vitamin supplement, a multivitamin tablet, vitamin B6, a little canned salmon, fish oil, 100 mgs. of alpha-lipoic acid, and 250 mg. of acetyl-l-carnitine). But the problem has subsided, and I'm back on the supplements. (I'm not currently taking Huperzine-A because it seemed to make me dizzy after a week or two.) In general, I want to be conservative about what I take.
So what are the results?
It's always hard to know, without multiple double-blind studies. About all I can offer is what follows.
Insofar as I can tell, my IQ hasn't yet declined. I have a bevy of IQ tests in my files, along with practice tests for current tests such as the Miller Analogies, the GRE, the renormed SAT, and a few others.
However, I turned 73 three scant weeks ago. The first chart below shows the expected raw score on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale as a function of age.
As you can see, there should have been no small degradation in my IQ by now. Over the age range from 20 to 35, when we're at our intellectual peak, a (perfect) raw score of 202 represents a WAIS IQ of 155 (or a Stanford-Binet IQ of 173). But by the time you get to 70-75, if you had a Wechsler IQ of 155 at 20, your headbone will have deteriorated so badly that your raw score will now be only 170, corresponding to a prime-time Wechsler IQ of "only" 135 (or a Stanford-Binet IQ of 142). I don't think that's happened to me. And this may be the result of the "brain boosting" nutritional supplements I'm taking.
This chart shows, for different age ranges, what a perfect score on the WAIS would mean in terms of a Stanford-Binet IQ. A prime-time WAIS IQ of 155 corresponds to a Stanford-Binet IQ of about 173. A 77-year-old who could make a perfect raw score of 202 on the WAIS at the age of 75 would correspond to someone who had a childhood Stanford-Binet IQ of 220. (I suspect that this doesn't really follow. I suspect that the rate of cognitive decline varies widely from one individual to another.)