Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 3
We're working on getting the update and the rebalance done for the FOOL 50 follwing the most recent quarter, which ended Friday. We'll get that out as soon as possible.

In the interim, I wanted to let you know that the FOOL 50 is going to be changing some companies, effective immediately. First and foremost we are dropping Enron. I would have liked to have done this sooner, but the Index has a protocol that really has to be followed, and we really did not predict the possibility of a company blowing up so dramatically or quickly.

We are also dropping Lucent and Amazon.com from the FOOL 50. Both of these companies were identified at the April trustees meeting for potential replacement, we are now following through.

The three companies that will join the Index are Philip Morris, First Data Corporation, and Southwest Airlines.

Fool on!
Bill Mann
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 5
Bill --

Thanks for the update on the replacements. I wonder if the whole process doesn't put a tremendous upward bias into the index. After all this is what was written in introducing the Fool 50:

<<Our objective is to compile a list of 50 of the best companies on the planet and allow them to help us track the economic performance of the most important industries for this and the next generation.>>

Well, if these companies bust a la Amazon or Enron isn't that part of the "economic performance" that the goal is to track?

Letting your winners ride and cutting your losses may be a sensible idea for portfolio management -- it seems to make the very idea of an index non-sensical.

One other thing, could you clarify exactly how it works to put the new stocks in the index. If, for simplicity sake, we said we had a 50 stock portfolio with each stock being worth $100 -- the total portfolio would be valued at $5,000. Imagine one stock went bankrupt and was declared worthless. In order to replace that one stock with another, one would have to sell a little of each of the other 49 holdings to get cash to buy the replacement. You would then have a 50 stock portfolio worth $4,900. Otherwise, once again, you would put an enormous upward bias in the results. But in looking at how the Fool rebalances I don't see how it accounts for this.

Thanks,

Jim


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
I protest the Motley Fool's inclusion of a tabacco company in their stock index. Their explanation: "We recognize this as a real concern, but in the end we must concede that Philip Morris is one of the world's greatest brand companies, on par with Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), and the company has provided spectacular returns on investment for decades." I find this interesting considering that they say they don't bear in mind performance when choosing companies. Is it right to chase after past returns at the expense of your morality? TMF has made its vote. TMF, my post may anger you, but this isn't about emotion, this is about respect for your fellow man. I would not be posting this if I lacked that respect. I am not saying that you are as bad as the tabacco companies themselves, but you only serve to boost their stock prices and feed their pomposity all the while. Let me give me a few facts on tabacco:

9 of 10 smokers start smoking in their teens
1,200 people die each day of tabacco related causes
Tabacco causes more deaths than alcohol, AIDS, illegal drugs, car crashes, fires, murders, and suicides combined.
63 of the 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause cancer.
In my state, 39% of high school students smoke, and no wonder - tabacco spends 55 million a year in my state on advertising. 2/3's have tried a cig. It's not easy for them to quit either because nicotine is more addictive than heroin or cocaine.
Big tabacco is the reason my mom smokes. She smoked most of her life. I urge her to quit, but she can't. Because she smoked while she was pregnant and every day of raising me these past 17 years, I have been exposed to much of this poison also.

I urge you to reconsider allowing Philip Morris into your index, and to not consider any company in the future that creates products known to take lives.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Jim:

I can describe both concepts for you in gory detail.

Your first question is about replacements and the upward bias they may cause. You're absolutely correct, but replacing companies is a reality of indices. There is only one company, GE, on the Dow that was there when it started. The Nasdaq 100 had to replace more than 10% of its entire roster this past year, and the S&P 500 replaced 35 companies in 2000 alone. Even the Wilshire 5000, which contains every publicly traded company in the US, can be accused of having an upward bias by "replacing" losers.

Unfortunately it is impossible to have a pure index. Indices are glorified portfolios, period, but ones with stated goals other than maximizing performance. In all of the ones listed in the preceeding paragraph, the replacement companies were not chosen mechanically, some person or committee made the final decision for replacement. (Well, not the Wilshire, but you get the point.) We fully expected from the outset that replacement of some components would be inevitable, but set our parameters so that a) the process would be very slow and b) that we would still feel the pain of any mistakes. B) gets to the point of your second question, but let me say that our hope is that we have chosen correctly, and we would prefer not to ever replace any companies. At the same time, the Dow would not be very useful at this point if it was just GE, right? None of the other companies that made up the original list exist anymore. Replacement is a necessary by-product in order to ensure that the roster of companies remain relevant, but it should be kept to a minimum to maintain index integrity.

Now, for your second question. How we recalculate may explain how it is that the index does in fact feel the pain of an Enron. At the close of the last market day of the quarter, we lock in the value of the index. This last time, for example, it was 1421.61. We then recalculate the weighting of the individual companies based on the formula described here:

http://www.fool.com/now50/now50valuation.htm?ref=LN

So, for example, one of the new companies, First Data, is applied a weighting of 1.2% of the total index value for this quarter. What we do NOT do is change the total value. So the 1421 number takes into full account the 99% loss by Enron, but then becomes the baseline for all of the components for the upcoming quarter.

I'm also going to answer goingbrokeiseasy's question here, if you don't mind.

My understanding of why the Fool 50 was created was that it would reflect the total business activity of the nation and the world better than the S&P 500. If I am correct in this belief then whether the Fool 50 outperformed the S&P 500 would not only be irrelevant, it would prove the Fool 50 does not perform as desired. If it did perform as desired it would outperform in good times, underperform in bad times. Wouldn't it?

More or less, your interpretation is correct. In fact, I would hope that there is correlation between the FOOL 50's volatility and other indices would not be so defined as "outperform in good, underperform in bad" versus the S&P 500. We are seeking to have a better index with a sample of the most relevant companies in the world. My hope for outperformance stems from the fact that the market inexorably moves upward over time, even if it wiggles back and forth over shorter periods. If we have truly found the best representative large companies in the world, I would hope that, as a group, they would gradually gain more than larger, or even different sets of companies.

But you are exactly right that it is an irrelevant data point in regard to what an index is supposed to achieve.

Thanks for the questions-
Bill Mann
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 6
I urge you to reconsider allowing Philip Morris into your index, and to not consider any company in the future that creates products known to take lives.

Your post does not anger us at all, on the contrary we appreciate these views. We had deep and heated discussions at the Trustee meetings about this very thing in regard to Philip Morris. In the end, the positives of the company outweigh the negatives. That's how it is with EVERY company.

I don't disagree with the tenor of your post. There is much about the marketing of tobacco that is objectionable. But tobacco is a legal product, and I dare say that very few people tried smoking against his or her will. It is legal, it is regulated, and customers have recourse for product liabilities through the courts.

And besides, we have lots of companies that have products or services that are abusable or kill people. Let's look at the list: McDonalds (fat, sugar), Pepsi (sugar, fat), Coke (sugar), DaimlerChrysler (car accidents), Procter & Gamble (fat), Berkshire Hathaway (owns Dairy Queen, See's candies), Sony (how fat kids get playing those video games all day long!!), AOL TimeWarner (ditto the internet and videos), Yahoo (Ditto, ditto), Pfizer (used to own an asbestos mine), Dell (computer shut-ins), Hughes (pornography on satellite TV) AT&T (cable systems, phone sex), ExxonMobil (environment), WalMart & Costco (sell fatty stuff, sugary stuff, smokes, entertainment systems, etc.), Nokia (phone radiation MAY cause cancer), American Express (credit card abuse), Citigroup (ditto), HSBC (ditto), First Data (ditto), Schlumberger (environment), News Corp (smut television and media. Plus they own the Dodgers, who are just plain toxic), Cable & Wireless (phone sex), Southwest Airlines (airplane fatalities).

Lots of companies put out products that some people enjoy and others abuse. They also put out products that can cause deaths, but that are legal. If we start drawing these lines, we get into an awfully slippery slope. Philip Morris is an obvious choice for an index with the stated goals that the FOOL 50 has from a business perspective. I perfectly respect the decision by people to choose not to invest in it, however, and think that no one should even consider a company to own that does not reflect their values.

Thanks so much for your letter- assuredly this will be a debate that will not disappear.

Bill Mann
Chief Trustee
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
I object to Coca-Cola being included in the Fool 50. Coke main product is a high caloric drink that provides no nutritional value and greatly contributes to the epidemic of obesity in America. Obesity is the second leading cause of unnecessary deaths and is soon expected to exceed smoking.

http://www.obesity.org/what.htm

I urge the Motley Fool to reconsider its inclusion of a company that contributes to the unnecessary deaths of so many Americans. Oh, BTW, I also ask the same for McDonalds. ;)


Disclaimer… I currently own Pepsi….
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
GlobalProsperity: I urge you to reconsider allowing Philip Morris into your index, and to not consider any company in the future that creates products known to take lives.

I was not under the impression that the Fool 50 was a morally conscientious index. It's supposed to be representative of leading world companies, which in turn represent large corporate control of various industries. There was a time when tobacco was America's biggest export, and while this is certainly not true any more, it's not totally insignificant.

I acknowledge that tobacco products are very unhealthy, but that just means that individuals have to decide for themselves whether or not to use them, or to invest in its producers. I don't see why an index should specifically ignore such companies, unless there was a specific moral or ethical reason spelled out at inception.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
leedsutf: I object to Coca-Cola being included in the Fool 50.
...
Disclaimer… I currently own Pepsi….


Heh. On the sillier note, I also object to Philip Morris, but only because I hope to eliminate "Cheap American Swill" in my lifetime.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Bill,

I to wish you would reconsider your choice of MO.

"...in regard to Philip Morris. In the end, the positives of the company outweigh the negatives."

What monetary positives could possibly outweigh deaths due to the
proper use of a product? I'm very curious to see this equation.

"And besides, we have lots of companies that have products or services that are abusable or kill people. Let's look at the list: McDonalds (fat, sugar), Pepsi (sugar, fat), Coke (sugar), DaimlerChrysler (car accidents), Procter & Gamble (fat), Berkshire Hathaway (owns Dairy Queen, See's candies), Sony (how fat kids get playing those video games all day long!!), AOL TimeWarner (ditto the internet and videos), Yahoo (Ditto, ditto), Pfizer (used to own an asbestos mine), Dell (computer shut-ins), Hughes (pornography on satellite TV) AT&T (cable systems, phone sex), ExxonMobil (environment), WalMart & Costco (sell fatty stuff, sugary stuff, smokes, entertainment systems, etc.), Nokia (phone radiation MAY cause cancer), American Express (credit card abuse), Citigroup (ditto), HSBC (ditto), First Data (ditto), Schlumberger (environment), News Corp (smut television and media. Plus they own the Dodgers, who are just plain toxic), Cable & Wireless (phone sex), Southwest Airlines (airplane fatalities)."

Which one of the above listed companies products, when used properly/in moderation and without extraneous factors, kills people?

I'm sure this was not an easy choice; and will continue to be debated; but, just can't see the rationale myself.

Cheers,

Jeff
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
leedsutf wrote:

"Coke (sic) main product is a high caloric drink that provides no nutritional value and greatly contributes to the epidemic of obesity in America."

Sugar does indeed provide nutritional value; not to mention that the brain runs on only one fuel; glucose, form of sugar.

"Obesity is the second leading cause of unnecessary deaths and is soon expected to exceed smoking."

And what causes obesity, drinking soda? I think more accurately it might be gluttony confounded by a lack of proper exercise and diet.


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I had a couple of concerns of equating the Fool 50 to an index. I know my comments are not complete but I wanted to raise my concerns before this post becomes too dated.

It is my understanding that indexes are design to track either the market or segments of the market… that is to say they are indicators of what actually is occurring either in the market in general or by a certain segment. There main purpose is to provide that information.

Indexes don't track other index. What's the purpose??? If the purpose of an index is to provide information what is the purpose of having an index design to track another index. Funds track indexes not indexes.

Companies are not included or removed from an index based solely on their value. For example, in the S&P 500 the 35 companies were replaced because for some reason they where no longer one of the 500 largest companies in America. They no longer fit the criteria. If the S&P 500 dropped the equivalent of Enron then Enron would still be in the index. Failing to meet the criteria determines which company is included in an index.

Okay, okay… I know the Dow is the exception with the criteria and all….but it purpose is still to provide information about the market as a whole and not try to track or beat another existing index.


Hey just some thoughts.

Mark
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Jeff

First of all I was just fooling around. ;)

But yeh. I think that drinking soda and eating at McDonalds contributes to obesity and thus all the myriad of diseases that result from it. And give me enough time I am sure that I could find a study that would even go so far as to support causality.


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
leedsutf wrote:

"First of all I was just fooling around. ;)

But yeh. I think that drinking soda and eating at McDonalds contributes to obesity and thus all the myriad of diseases that result from it. And give me enough time I am sure that I could find a study that would even go so far as to support causality."

I took by your PEP note that you were only fooling around. But, I'm sure most people wouldn't; just as they blame co's like KO and MCD on obesity rather then on themselves for overindulgence. Eating too much of anything could cause obesity (I'll grant you that MCD products are much higher in saturated fats than, let's say, celery {;^D ).

What you will find in the literature is that a diet high in calories, regardless of source, causes obesity; especially when exercise isn't added into the equation. If you can find a study published in a peer reviewed journal that states that KO and/or MCD by itself causes obesity, I'll eat this post. ;)

Cheers,

Jeff
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Okay… I take it back I can't find causality at this point. But here are a few articles on the subject. You can draw you own conclusions whether Coke or McDonalds act in a manner that more socially correct than Phillip Morris.


http://www.msnbc.com/news/543213.asp

http://www.cspinet.org/new/saveharry.html

http://www.cspinet.org/reports/obesity.pdf
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
leedsutf wrote:

"You can draw you own conclusions whether Coke or McDonalds act in a manner that more socially correct than Phillip Morris."

The conclusion I draw is that if I drink one Coke/day or eat one Big Mac/day for the rest of my life; I will not get cancer solely as a result of my actions.

If I smoke 1 cigarette/day; the same cannot undeniably be said.

I also think you give way to much credit/responsibility to KO and MCD for obesity. Obesity is caused by a caloric intake that greatly exceeds calories burned. Obesity is caused by eating MCD and drinking KO in the same way that living a life free of carbonated drinks and fast food is.

I think your approach is a bit simplistic and your analogy incorrect (Boy, there's no way for that to not sound snotty or non-combatitive). The references you gave, while interesting; did not help your case.

Cheers,

Jeff

Disclaimer: I own neither KO, MCD, nor MO.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Jeff,

I disagree. All we know right now is that fast food and soda are contributing factors in obesity. In truth, not enough study has been done.

Likewise we don't know that smoking one cigarette a day automatically leads to cancer (I haven't seen any studies) nor being smoke free will mean that you never have cancer.

We do know that soda and fast food are not good for you. States like West Virginia and California place an excise tax on soda just like they do with alcohol and cigarettes (umm sounds like a sin tax to me).

http://www.cspinet.org/reports/obesity.pdf

Page 10 of the report stated the following. “Advertisements for candy, snacks, fast foods, and soft drinks should not be allowed on television shows commonly watched by children younger than age 10. Researchers have shown that younger children do not understand the concept of advertising—that it differs from program content and is designed to sell, not inform—and that children of all ages are highly influenced by television commercials to buy or demand the products that they see advertised.”

How is still style of marketing differing from Joe Camel? How is a caffeinated sugary drink good for kids under 10?

Page 8 of the report stated “As a Coca-Cola Company executive proclaimed, “[T] o build pervasiveness of our products, we're putting ice-cold Coca-Cola classic and our other brands within reach, wherever you look: at the supermarket, the video store, the soccer field, the gas station everywhere.”

How is this practice so different from giving away free cigs during the 50's and 60's?

I think we can agree that neither fast food nor soda is good for you. What we don't know is to the extent that it is harmful.

Of course, I am sure that when a study of a rat is done to measure the effects of drinking a case of soda or eating a Big Mac a day, the results set this argument to rest.

I can just see it now. Warning: This product has been found to cause obesity in libratory animals.

;-)

Well, I think I beaten this horse to death and I don't think we are going to agree. It has been fun..

I let you have the last rebuttal.

Take care,

Mark

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
VERY COOL, VERY COOL. I agree with your true perspective on this issue.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! A liberal!!! I love it. Oh lord, the self righteousness kills me.

I own stock in MO and I'm glad to see it up there in the index. As far as deaths, etc. go - you will NEVER stop people who want to smoke from smoking. Get used to it - there are a lot of ways for people to quit but most choose not to.

So you might as well make a tidy profit from their foolishness (no pun intended to MF). :-)

BTW, I used to smoke and I quit years ago. Now I just make money off people who refuse to do the same. Ain't the free market great? LOL
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
reefoo typed - VERY COOL, VERY COOL. I agree with your true perspective on this issue.

Did you mean VERY KOOL, VERY KOOL? :)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
GlobalPropensity typed - I urge you to reconsider allowing Philip Morris into your index, and to not consider any company in the future that creates products known to take lives.

I am sure liberals would rather have a morally acceptable company like planned parenthood. Their industry kills over 4 times as many people but is politically correct.

People have the right to choose to smoke and the right for a mother to kill her baby. You can choose to either invest in MO / Fool 50 or not.


Disclaimer - I do not own stock in planned parenthood (they are tax exempt and use their profits in anyway they deem fit). I do own stock in MO and will do so throughout my lifetime. I also smoked but quit. Even if I didn't quit, I would still own the stock because in America (at least as of today) we have the right to use legal products, no matter how much liberals whine to the contrary.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
I protest the Motley Fool's inclusion of a tabacco company in their stock index.

1,200 people die each day of tabacco related causes


The real numbers are less than half of that: http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv21n4/lies.pdf

Tabacco causes more deaths than alcohol, AIDS, illegal drugs, car crashes, fires, murders, and suicides combined.

Such slanted propaganda. So, given your statement, if you had a choice to eliminate all deaths due to tobacco, or all deaths due to "alcohol, AIDS, illegal drugs, car crashes, fires, murders, and suicides combined," which would you choose? I'll give you a hint. The mean average age of smoking related deaths is 72. Mean average age for homicides is 32.

In my state, 39% of high school students smoke, and no wonder - tabacco spends 55 million a year in my state on advertising.

How many would smoke if there were no tobacco advertising? Any significant drop would surprise me. What would change, mostly, is what brands were smoked.

2/3's have tried a cig. It's not easy for them to quit either because nicotine is more addictive than heroin or cocaine.

This is nonsense now commonly accepted as fact by people that don't understand the basis for it and the new definition of addiction. Such ranking of addiction is mostly based on how easy it is for smokers to relapse into their habit. This is primarily because of how easy it is to get cigarettes and how hard it is to avoid seeing and being in contact with people smoking. It is just so much easier to smoke than to shoot up heroin. The physical withdrawals from nicotine are trivial compared with the physical withdrawal from heroin. If nicotine was so addicting, then how could it make sense to help people quit smoking by using nicotine patches!? Way aren't their heroine patches to help heroine addicts kick their habit? Either nicotine patches do not work, or they work because the most addictive aspect of smoking is the actual smoking itself, not the nicotine.

http://reason.com/opeds/jacob072097.shtml
"[That] Once people have started smoking, nicotine addiction prevents them from stopping [...] is so contrary to everyday experience that it's amazing politicians and anti-smoking activists can say it with a straight face. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about as many former smokers in this country as there are smokers, and almost all gave up the habit on their own, without formal treatment -- usually by quitting cold turkey."


Big tabacco is the reason my mom smokes.

Very unlikely. It may be why she smokes a particular brand. Why did people smoke before their was "Big tabacco?" Who was there to blame then?

She smoked most of her life. I urge her to quit, but she can't.

She could if she wanted to pay more than just lip service to the idea. I put that in the, “I'd like to run a marathon but it is such a long distance,” category.

Don't get me wrong. Smoking is a bad thing. It is something to discourage. But that doesn't justify propagating erroneous and exaggerated information. That is backfiring and if successful would misdirect society's resources. The other causes of death combined are much more serious to the well being of society than that caused by tobacco.

I urge you to reconsider allowing Philip Morris into your index, and to not consider any company in the future that creates products known to take lives.

Then it would be very difficult to have an index that tracks the economy. How would we track the contributions by the defense industry, automobile industry, etc.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Thanks for the update on the replacements. I wonder if the whole process doesn't put a tremendous upward bias into the index.
[...]
Well, if these companies bust a la Amazon or Enron isn't that part of the "economic performance" that the goal is to track?

Letting your winners ride and cutting your losses may be a sensible idea for portfolio management -- it seems to make the very idea of an index non-sensical.


Has a lot to do with why the companies tank. If they tank because the economy tanks, well then there is no need to intervene. But what if they tank because of bad business models or bad business decisions? ENE pretty much tanked because of being so leveraged and losing the confidence of their debtors. That aspect had nothing to do with the health of the energy industry.

Companies tend to go bankrupt. Left alone, and given enough time, your index would go to zero, without the rest of the market going to zero.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Bananachirp:
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! A liberal!!! I love it. Oh lord, the self righteousness kills me.

dukeandduke:
I am sure liberals would rather have a morally acceptable company like planned parenthood. Their industry kills over 4 times as many people but is politically correct.

Now where the heck is this all coming from?

The constituencies out to "get" the tobacco industry basically include the health-care and legal industries, opportunistic (ex-)smokers, and even more opportunistic states. Where fund-raising patterns may create bias in the Democratic party, this is not a "liberal" cause, at least until someone proposes a one-for-one legalization swap:

marijuana for tobacco.

And you never know, that might be more lucrative for Philip Morris, anyway. :)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
...just as they blame co's like KO and MCD on obesity rather then on themselves for overindulgence...


And they blame MO for their health problems instead of themselves for their decision to overindulge (or partake at all) in cigarette smoking...:-)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
The conclusion I draw is that if I drink one Coke/day or eat one Big Mac/day for the rest of my life; I will not get cancer solely as a result of my actions.

If I smoke 1 cigarette/day; the same cannot undeniably be said.



Not true--the first part of your assertion is as tenable as the second. In our society, if you smoke 1 cig a day and then develope cancer, it is assumed that the cig. is the cause, but if you eat 6 BigMac Combo's a day and die of heart failure, the cause is not assigned to your diet. As a matter of fact, if you smoked 1 cig a day, AND ate 6 BigMac combo's a day, and then died of heart failure, the cause of your death would be attributed to the cigarete.

With dubious statistics like this, nothing can be said "undeniably"
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
bkeegel wrote:

'Not true--the first part of your assertion is as tenable as the second. In our society, if you smoke 1 cig a day and then develope cancer, it is assumed that the cig. is the cause, but if you eat 6 BigMac Combo's a day and die of heart failure, the cause is not assigned to your diet. As a matter of fact, if you smoked 1 cig a day, AND ate 6 BigMac combo's a day, and then died of heart failure, the cause of your death would be attributed to the cigarete.

With dubious statistics like this, nothing can be said "undeniably" '


Why the increased ratio from 1:1 to 1:6? Does this make your argument stronger? Of course; but, not quite equitable here (Though I suppose one could argue what the ratio of cigarettes:big macs would be {;^D). I also wasn't arguing the veracity of cause of death lines on death certificates.

All things being equal (which we know they aren't; or at least can't be measured), one cig./day (which I'm most positive is below the mean usage/day) is more likely to cause cancer than either one big mac or one coke/day.

Regardless, I've changed my mind about MO's inclusion in the index, FWIW. The liberal dark side got the better of me. The conservative side won the argument with the simple logic that cigarettes wouldn't cause cancer if no-one smoked them.

You'll have to forgive me, I'm on the cusp of a famous Mark Twain (IIRC) quote:
~"If you're not liberal when you're under 30; there's something wrong with you. If you're not conservative when over 30; there's something wrong with you". Mea Culpa

Cheers,

Jeff
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
bkeegel wrote:

'Not true--the first part of your assertion is as tenable as the second. In our society, if you smoke 1 cig a day and then develope cancer, it is assumed that the cig. is the cause, but if you eat 6 BigMac Combo's a day and die of heart failure, the cause is not assigned to your diet. As a matter of fact, if you smoked 1 cig a day, AND ate 6 BigMac combo's a day, and then died of heart failure, the cause of your death would be attributed to the cigarete.

With dubious statistics like this, nothing can be said "undeniably" '


To which jeffsquest replied:
Why the increased ratio from 1:1 to 1:6? Does this make your argument stronger? Of course; but, not quite equitable here (Though I suppose one could argue what the ratio of cigarettes:big macs would be {;^D). I also wasn't arguing the veracity of cause of death lines on death certificates.

You missed the point—which was tangential—that the statistics commonly quoted for risk of smoking are based solely on the fact that someone that smoked dies. They completely ignore facts such as if the smoker was "obese; had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart problems; and never exercised and died of a heart attack." The government would attribute such a death to smoking alone. It is interesting reading:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv21n4/lies.pdf
"Sterling and his coauthors report that not only is the death
rate considerably lower for the CPS sample than for the entire
U.S. but, astonishingly, even smokers in the CPS sample have
a lower death rate than the national average for both smokers
and nonsmokers. As a result, if OTA were to have used the
CPS death rate for smokers, applied that rate to the total population,
then subtracted the actual number of deaths for all
Americans, it would have found that smoking saves 277,621
lives each year.
"

That is the kind of nonsense one can find in the numbers when the studies are junk science.

All things being equal (which we know they aren't; or at least can't be measured), one cig./day (which I'm most positive is below the mean usage/day) is more likely to cause cancer than either one big mac or one coke/day.

I'm sure that lots of people think that way but you won't be able to find statistics to back up your point. If all three activities have a statistically insignificant chance of causing cancer, which I believe they do, then neither can be said to be more likely to cause cancer.

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
CK$erenity wrote:

"If all three activities have a statistically insignificant chance of causing cancer, which I believe they do,..."

Using what alpha? This in itself is troublesome.

You quote statistics and junk science; but strengthen your argument with "I believe they do"?

If you're asserting that smoking does not cause/trigger more cases of cancer than drinking a coke or eating a Big Mac; then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

BTW, with regards to statistical significance and p-values; Modern Epidemiology by Rothman and Greenland is an interesting read.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
jeffsquest wrote:

"If all three activities have a statistically insignificant chance of causing cancer, which I believe they do,..."

Using what alpha? This in itself is troublesome.

You really don't consider your audience at all, do you? Earth, to Major Tom! “Traditionally, conventionally and historically, a relative risk is statistically significant when we are 95 percent sure that it did not occur by chance.” Only in a statistics class, thesis, lab, etc., should we need to say: “alpha = 0.05, P < 0.05.”

You quote statistics and junk science; but strengthen your argument with "I believe they do"?

I quoted statistics and junk science to help with your confusion over Bkeegel's post increasing the number of Big Macs. And I don't believe that stating my beliefs, as you stated yours, strengthens my argument. But I did think it would be a challenge for you to show statistics that prove me wrong. If they exist it shouldn't be hard for an Epidemiologic Analyst, like yourself, to find them.

If you're asserting that smoking does not cause/trigger more cases of cancer than drinking a coke or eating a Big Mac; then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

I made no such assertion. You have conveniently dropped your initial qualification of “a single cigarette a day,” and left just the word smoking. To make that fair, I suggest you compare smoking to overeating. And shouldn't we be concerned with longevity rather than just cancer? Look for obesity to be a more serious threat to longevity than smoking in the U.S.

My assertion was not that smoking a single cigarette a day will or will not cause more cancer than drinking a Coke or eating a Big Mac. My assertion was that I believe that “all three activities have a statistically insignificant chance of causing cancer” and thus, “neither can be said to be more likely to cause cancer.”

And on a related matter, there is no definitive, statistical significant evidence that casual exposure to ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) increases one's risk of lung cancer.

BTW, with regards to statistical significance and p-values; Modern Epidemiology by Rothman and Greenland is an interesting read.

You gotta be kidding? When you want to know how to recline your airliner seat you don't start reading the assembly manuals for the airliner do you!?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
CK$erenity,

My apologies for not making my point more apparent.
Though this is a bit of a tangent from the original discussion:

I would argue that whether something is statistically significant or not
by an arbitrarily set value that allows for ease in interpretation
(like the dichotomous nature of p-values) is not the best way to "score" results.
Is .051 statistically significant; not when alpha=.05. Does this make it less important? Only to the lazy.

You might also want to review whether increases in relative risk or odds ratios under 2 are meaningful or not. When applied to a population rather than a small sample; they might be.

As to your comment "When you want to know how to recline your airliner seat you don't start reading the assembly manuals for the airliner do you!? "

Most likely not; but, if I were to fly it, I would.
This is an analogy; if this isn't clear enough, e-mail me and I'll explain it what I'm referring to.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
This has been a fun thread to read. Now everybody go out and buy some Marlboros okay? And get your friends and relatives to buy some too!

:-)

(yes, I'm long on MO - heh,heh)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I would argue that whether something is statistically significant or not
by an arbitrarily set value that allows for ease in interpretation
(like the dichotomous nature of p-values) is not the best way to "score" results.
Is .051 statistically significant; not when alpha=.05. Does this make it less important? Only to the lazy.


Why isn't that a significant digits error?

You might also want to review whether increases in relative risk or odds ratios under 2 are meaningful or not. When applied to a population rather than a small sample; they might be.

Fine. Lower the confidence level if you wish, just like the EPA had to do to make second hand smoke an issue. But be sure to do the same for the Big Macs as well. And air pollution, etc! Soon it won't be safe to go outside without breathing apparatus.

It really isn't a matter of how dangerous these things are to any one individual. It is how many people in the population are at risk to such exposures. There is no doubt there is risk to a small percentage of the population. If you have “good” genes the statistics are on your side. If you have “bad” genes—those that don't tolerate smoke, or excess fat well--then the statistics are meaningless as far as your particular risk are concerned.

As to your comment "When you want to know how to recline your airliner seat you don't start reading the assembly manuals for the airliner do you!? "

Most likely not; but, if I were to fly it, I would.


So you are assuming that the majority of people reading these posts are overly thorough pilots rather than average passengers!?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<<Letting your winners ride and cutting your losses may be a sensible idea for portfolio management -- it seems to make the very idea of an index non-sensical.>>

Hmmmmm... nobody has complained about Lucent yet. I haven't been following the entire saga of their woes but I am aware that their stock is down. Just because the company isn't doing well, they should be removed from the index? Then why is Kodak still in the Dow?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I dont think there should be any issue over the morality of a company being included on the Fool 50. It is after simply an Index! TMF saying that it is one of the strongest companies in the world and including it in an index is not that the same as TMF saying "go buy this hot stock now".

Regardless of morals, if you choose to examine the strongest companies in the world you have no choice but to also look at companies which you may or may not agree with ethicaly.

Don'y forget that it is still your right to choose if you want to invest in them or not. No one can force you to do that.

Disclaimer, I don't smoke.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Fool listed in explanatory Fool 50 posts that the ticker for Southwest Airlines as sunw when it should be LUV. I can not believe stinkin' Philip Morris was included. I also plan not to invest in heroin or cocaine companies should they go public.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I can not believe stinkin' Philip Morris was included. I also plan not to invest in heroin or cocaine companies should they go public

But Hack(whining tone) what if they have a real HIGH dividend yield and a really excellent trailing cash flow? And you know their foolish flow ratios are bound to be really good. Cant we at least invest a little then? Sort of a "Dogs of the Dow" Colombia style? ROFLMAO
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
But Hack(whining tone) what if they have a real HIGH dividend yield and a really excellent trailing cash flow? And you know their foolish flow ratios are bound to be really good. Cant we at least invest a little then? Sort of a "Dogs of the Dow" Colombia style? ROFLMAO magi----------------------------------------------------------------Cool man, cool B^)-+<
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Of course it's a liberal cause. They're out to deny smokers the choice to continue smoking by demonizing the company and taxing it into oblivion. Nevermind the fact that they then take the tax money and use it for everything but antismoking campaigns.

As I said, the hypocrisy of the liberal cigarette-parasites is delicious. LOL
Print the post Back To Top