Archive for January 1, 2017

The problem with experts

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1, 2017 by telescoper

A thoughtful piece, well worth a reblog. Especially for the quote from Swift:

“Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired.”

Waiting for Godot

Among my New Year’s Eve companions was a bow-tied academic sociologist specialising in game theory.

The fun we had.

He told me about his use of the Monty Hall problem with his students. You probably know it but (from wikipedia):

Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door No. 2?” Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

The answer, for those who don’t know the problem, is that by switching you double your chances of winning the car. And you can prove it mathematically.

When Marilyn vos Savant, who originally publicised the problem, gave that answer he was beseiged…

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Happy New Year!

Posted in Biographical on January 1, 2017 by telescoper

I was waiting for WordPress to publish the annual statistical summary page for this blog, like it has every year since I started here in 2008 but they seem to have discontinued that practice so I’ll just post the following message instead:

On this I occasion I am reminded of the following reassuring words from the diary of Tsar Nicholas II:

“The year 1916 was cursed; 1917 will surely be better!”

PS. I checked the blog stats myself. I got about 375,000 hits this year, just over a thousand a day, with just under 200,000 unique views. That’s a bit down on last year but that’s not surprsing as I’ve had more gaps in transmission than in previous years.

In 2016 there were 2427 comments on this blog, up about 10% on last year.

Altogether since this blog started in 2008, it has been viewed 2,958,117 times so I should get to 3 million by February!