Archive for January, 2013

Its Only True if We MAKE It True

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

According to G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón, "Conscious Capitalism" Will Be The Framework For Your Next Decade Of Innovation, but I'm more inclined to Mr Garth's skeptical position on this, This idea of "doing well by doing good" is fine up to a point, but ultimately it amounts to a denial rather than […]

Murdoch Gives Ink to Discredited Bjorn Lomborg - Surprise?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

ThinkProgress reports that Lomborg Urges Climate Inaction With Misleading Stats In Murdoch's Wall Street Journal. This is the same guy who first threw up a wall of phoney statistical arguments against the reality of Anthropogenic Global Warming and then when they had all been refuted said effectively "Well ok it is happening but we don't […]

Women In Combat

Friday, January 25th, 2013

William M. Briggs claims that Women In Combat Results In A Suboptimal Military but his argument belies his supposed expertise in statistics. I am taller and stronger than the average woman, but only around the 80th percentile. So 20% of women are physically stronger than me. I could probably dominate half of those by virtue […]

Placebo Power!

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School studies placebos | Harvard Magazine Jan-Feb 2013. One of the most intriguing points was that even a placebo identified as such to the patient can have a beneficial effect. So perhaps whatever benefit people derive from religious rituals does not require insistence on actual belief from the participants. On […]

Security Tip: Don't Panic

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Using the click2play option, a page needing JAVA (or any other plugin) requests permission to run it (which I can ignore if I don't both trust the source and need the service). This is the only sensible option anyhow when other plugins also have occasional security issues and always take up resources which are best […]

I can't help doing this

Monday, January 21st, 2013

...because I have freely decided to do it! Those who claim to have evidence that "you probably don’t have free will" or who assert that complex chaotic systems' unpredictability "is what gives you free will" are both either unprincipled or naive in accepting that the idea of "free will" has any absolute meaning. I have […]

Major <-> Minor

Monday, January 21st, 2013

One has to wonder why anyone would rework a song like R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” from Minor to Major Scale, though I suppose at least it serves someone's political purpose. But to do the same with the Doors 'Riders of the Storm' really does just convert a great song to Muzak Actually I prefer to […]

Honesty Squared

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Spanish Runner, Ivan Fernandez Anaya, gave up the opportunity to take advantage of a misunderstanding by his opponent and then was sincerely frank about why he did so. This doesn't change my opinion as to the silliness of high-stakes athletic competition but it can't help but raise the spirit with regard to how decent people […]

A Statistician’s Lament

Monday, January 21st, 2013

William M. Briggslaments the abuse of statistics in many of its applications. But I really think that he undermines his case when he attacks "classical statistics" itself rather than its abuse. Such abuse is definitely all too common in many fields but it is just not true that "*Every* analysis begins by assuming more than […]

Can I Please Have a "Debt Ceiling" Too?

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

I have always thought that if anyone had a brain the financial world should have collapsed when the US "debt ceiling" was first enacted, since it amounts to a declaration of total financial irresponsibility by the largest participant in that world[1]. I wish that I could have got away with the same thing myself - […]

Who Cares if Lance Armstrong Confesses?

Friday, January 11th, 2013

In this sports roundtable at The Atlantic, Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens discuss their reactions to the prospect of Lance Armstrong's upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey, and I must say I'm most closely aligned with Hruby. The best outcome would be for this to open a real debate about the whole idea of […]

Third Party Anger

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Ta-Nehisi Coates' writing at The Atlantic often hits the nail for me (thank you Izabella). Here he discusses the fact that (contra Django) the sentiment of ex-slaves appears to have been significantly less vengeful than that of those who now feel on their behalf, and this leads me to wonder if there is a general […]

A Better Choice

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

It's no insult to Obama to say that TIME's "Runner-Up", Malala Yousafzai would have been a better choice than the boring predictability of giving a second nod to a re-elected president. Actually if Obama has a second year to own it may be one of the next two if he can actually complete some of […]