1. One hopes that the moral of Galton's story is not forgotten by the contumele back and forth [about who first told it]. The moral is that each person makes a difference, no matter how small the contribution might be. Therefore, everyone should do the right thing. I use this story often when I hold the junta and I ask for volunteers to tell a Franklinian thing. Usually no one raises a hand. Then I tell the story and often we will have every person in the room contributing good stuff. Now it's got to the point when I asked "what books have you read or what members can we help" and the hands are sparse, I say " in that case I'll have to tell the story of the chief rabbi of Dresden." Immediately all the hands go up and the mike is passed around. This is often enhanced by Susan who starts shaking her head, "no, don't". As I am not a very good story teller and tend to be a bit lugubrious. Galton had much better luck with it, and immediately elicited 20 or 25 scientists on the dais who saw pictures of numbers in their head when they quantified.

2. It will be interesting to see if the well known effect memorialized
in EdSpec where grain prices go up following great earthquakes holds for
this one.

Ken Drees writes: 

I thought volcanic activity inspires grains that way not earthquakes– although it seems this thread has morphed chaotic.

The volcano II in Iceland that is due soon will be much more inclined to induce grain crop prices that way.

Victor Niederhoffer agrees:

Agreed. But I thought they might have the same effect.

Jeff Watson comments: 

The main way earthquakes affect grain prices is that they can impede the country movement of grain. Speculators often underestimate the importance of the correlation between transport (ease of, availability, and cost), and price in the grains.



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