What Happens in My Vagus Stays in My Vagus

Get away from my neck, you medical-device vampires!

A highly unpleasant spotlight, which turned me into a Vagus showgirl for five years, has finally been turned off. I just completed a Cyberonics, Inc., clinical trial of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator, to assess its effectiveness in helping those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. It was a ridiculous, scandalous experience.

The E-Cigarette Seduction: Are We Blowing It?

E-cigarettes are fun and flirty, hip and tasty! They're diabolical!

After having smoked since high school, I finally gave it up 10 years ago. I broke the habit. I was free. I was sad that I had to give up this comfort, but I was gratified that I had moved on.

Enter e-cigarettes. The moment I first saw someone on TV exhaling a cloud of vapor, a little devil in my brain (or maybe it was an angel who felt deprived of simple pleasures) cried out, "Oh boy!"

Real Retail Sales Increased ~.75% in October

There were two somewhat important economic reports for October released last week, coincidentally both rescheduled for release at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, retail sales from the commerce department and the consumer price index from the bureau of labor statistics (BLS)..  Together they're often used by economists to generate a metric that goes by 'real retail sales', which is supposed to be something analogous to the real personal consumption expenditures metric of GDP, and which is said to be an indica

September CPI: Using the CPI and Retail Sales to preview PCE in GDP

Included below is a table taken from the retail sales report for September; notice that the 3 month change in sales from the 2nd quarter to the 3rd quarter is in the third column, and the change from the 3rd quarter from a year ago is in the 4th column. Now notice that seasonally adjusted sales for the July to September period are up 1.1% over the April to June period, and up 4.4% over the July to September period of a year earlier.