How can I make sure that I save enough for a comfortable retirement?

Nick Huber
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Chartered Financial Planner & Chartered Wealth Manager, SOLLA Accredited Later...
It’s hard to apply a rule of thumb to something as personal as retirement planning. The amount you need to save is dependent on how much you want to have in retirement, when you decide to retire and what retirement looks like.  In the past, under the traditional retirement, when people reached the age of 60 or 65 they retired and stopped working... Читать далее
24 ноября 2016  · < 100
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Is a cricketer's average the best way to measure greatness?

Cricket commentator and sports journalist; part of the Test Match Special team....

Historically it’s been the accepted way of measuring greatness. A batsman with an average over 50 is seen as having had a great Test career, and similarly with bowling - a bowler with an average below 25 is seen as a great. Obviously there is the volume of runs and wickets too. Sachin Tendulkar’s run record is a case in point. People are looking to see if Alastair Cook can match and beat that before he retires.

In this day and age an average shouldn’t be taken in isolation. There are other factors to look at and it’s something we debate in the commentary boxes. There’s a school of thought that you could take a player’s average over the best phase of their career to be able to compare them more accurately with other players at the peak of their careers.

There is another school of thought that says in limited overs cricket we should combine average with strike rate, so multiply a batsman’s average by the number of runs he scored per ball (strike rate divided by 100) and use that more as an indication.

"A batsman’s average is not the first thing I would look at when it comes to Twenty20 cricket"

It’s difficult of course to compare averages and stats for players across different eras. The game has evolved. And it’s different for the newer formats of the game. A batsman’s average is not the first thing I would look at when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. Strike rate is much more important in a Twenty20 match than an average.

What isn’t factored in though is some kind of index as to the importance or significance of the runs, or the quality of the opposition. Is a double hundred scored against Bangladesh when they first came into Test cricket the same as a century scored at the WACA in the face of quick, hostile bowling by Australia’s best. Context of the runs scored isn’t something that is recorded. So you could say that all the stats are flawed in a way because there is no way of measuring the worth of those numbers.

"For a sport that is so stat-heavy some of the stats we use to measure greatness have just stayed the same over time"

For a sport that is so stat-heavy - and we relish those stats in cricket - some of the stats we use to measure greatness have just stayed the same over time. So many aspects of the game have developed and yet the official stats we use and what is recorded in matches hasn’t really changed. Should fielding stats be commonly recorded and published for example? I believe yes. Dropped catches… how damaging was that drop to the team? And how good was the hundred if he offered 6 chances along the way? A batsman’s innings could an index factor, like a weighting that somehow determines the value of the innings.



For bowling figures, there’s an app called CricViz which brought in a thing called ‘weighted wicket probability’, whereby through ball tracking, they come up with a value for each delivery based on how much the ball is moving, the line, length, pace and so on. Then they compare each delivery with the runs and wickets that resulted from similar deliveries in their database and give the ball a value to measure how threatening a delivery it was.

So people are beavering away behind the scenes and coming up with ideas but nothing has been adopted by the mainstream yet. So that is an area of the game where it could still advance more - giving a more accurate reading, an index, to the value of the runs scored and wickets taken. That would be an exciting way for the game to move forward.

Do Asian people really get drunk faster than Westerners?

Reader in Alcohol Policy and Mental Health Studies, University of Greenwich...

No. It’s a myth. Nobody gets drunk faster than anyone else. However, Japanese and Chinese people, rather than Asian people do possess a gene that means that they have more difficulty breaking down alcohol than Westerners. What happens is they get a flushing reaction, and if they continue to drink they will become unwell. 

The drug Antabuse, which is sometimes used in alcohol treatment, works on the same principle. If you drink after taking this drug you will be sick and nauseous – the drug stops the body from breaking down the alcohol. The gene that Japanese and Chinese people possess has a similar effect. So when they drink they become unwell quicker. They’re not drunk, or they don’t become drunk quicker, but they become unwell quicker. So typically they become sick quicker than you or I would. 

"The gene that Japanese and Chinese people possess has a similar effect. So when they drink they become unwell quicker. They’re not drunk, or they don’t become drunk quicker, but they become unwell quicker."

Some Japanese and Chinese people can carry on drinking like that, but it does make a lot of people reluctant to drink. In the sense that part of being drunk is getting ill than yes, they might appear to be intoxicated faster but that’s because they’re becoming unwell. They’re not becoming intoxicated as such, just unwell. The idea that some people get drunk quicker than others is a fallacy.

Everyone gets drunk at the same rate. There’s no significant change across races. Of course alcohol is one of the substances that the body and brain adapts to as an individual consumes more of it. This is called developing tolerance. Another way of considering this is that body resists alcohol and is one of the reasons why people who do not drink alcohol become drunk quicker than those who do. However this is not the sole explanation. The concept of expectancy and the context in which the drinking takes place are as important if not more so.

How can you trust a system where about half of early-mined bitcoins have never been used, and therefore maintain a risk of hyperinflation?

A Harvard HBX graduate and a crypto enthusiast.

The answer is you cannot. As a legendary investor and Vanguard Group Inc. founder Jack Bogle said, "There is nothing to support bitcoin except the hope that you will sell it to someone for more than you paid for it," which is well illustrated in the producer surplus concept. As of today, bitcoin is by definition a highly speculative instrument, and the vast majority of individuals buying into it do not assess the risk of hyperinflation. But what they do is making a trade-off between saving money without incurring any risk of loss and putting it in bitcoin with possible great returns.

7 декабря 2017  · < 100

How can I keep abreast of the news without succumbing to the demoralising effects it has on my mood?

University of Cambridge researcher focusing on public debate, social media, and...

Just as a heads up: I don't have a good working theory here, all I can tell you is what I do myself.

As a former journalist and current PhD-candidate in media studies, keeping up with the news is part of my daily routine. I spend the first half hour to an hour of every morning reading up on things I've missed. And as you know, most news isn't good news. My feed is exceedingly likely to be filled with stories of corruption, disaster and destruction.

What this does to your mood depends on your personality. I personally don't find it particularly difficult to keep my distance and not let bad news affect my spirits, perhaps because reading the news and then doing something constructive with it has been part of my day for so long that I don't stop to think about it anymore. Call it desensitisation, if you will.

But it's also something else. Despite knowing that most of what I'll read today isn't going to be pleasant, I do it because I want to know what's going on. Choosing to stay uninformed of the bad stuff isn't going to help anyone, and will most likely only give rise to unpleasant surprises later down the road. Staying up-to-date helps me keep track of developing stories and how certain events, disastrous or no, came to be. This, to me, is better than waking up to a bombshell of a terrible news story completely out of the blue.

As a final point: you can't affect most of the stuff that's going on in the world, but sometimes you do come across a story that inspires you to spring into action. Me, being a media guy, I write. So when a friend and I came across the story of an online Egyptian frog deity cult that worships Donald Trump, we wrote an article detailing its rise to fame. It's my way of putting a huge and in some ways quite unpleasant story (Trump's election) into some much-needed perspective, and hopefully entertaining a few people along the way. My point is: you never know what news stories will inspire you to act, and this motivation alone is enough for me to keep reading.

You're probably familiar with one Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer. The words are far more famous than the guy ever was:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

I personally find this a bit trite and clichéd, but as far as reading the news goes, it might make some sense. The stories that affect you most, those you discuss with friends down at the pub or turn into personal YouTube comment section vendettas, are the ones you shouldn't force yourself to stop thinking about.

21 марта 2017  · < 100

Will a 20-minute power nap during the day make me more productive?

Independent sleep expert. Formerly director of sleep research at the University...

A siesta is much more in keeping with hotter countries where at the height of the midday sun it’s inadvisable to be doing anything. From an evolutionary point of view on the plains of Africa we would have found a shady tree or a cave and conserved our resources.

So in warm countries a siesta is a sensible adaption to the climate. If you’re sitting down doing nothing you might as well have a sleep. A power nap? Well, if you’re sleepy during the day then what your body needs is sleep, it doesn’t need stimulation, so a power nap is going to be much more effective in boosting your performance than coffee would be – just a 20-minute nap.

However, the question would then be: Why are you sleepy during the day? Power naps are good if you’re burning the candle at both ends. If you are finding it difficult to concentrate and focus on what you’re doing it’s far more sensible to have a 20-minute nap than to have two strong cups of coffee.

But if you had enough sleep at night you should, to all intents and purposes, be able to get through the day without needing a nap.

28 ноября 2016  · < 100