24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 The Web of Causation

...complex systems, such as financial markets or the Earth’s biosphere, do not seem to obey causality. For every event that occurs, there are a multitude of possible causes, and the extent to which each contributes to the event is not clear, not even after the fact! One might say that there is a web of causation. For example, on a typical day, the stock market might go up or down by some fraction of a percentage point. The Wall Street Journal might blithely report that the stock market move...
  1  notes

Nigel Goldenfeld explains why the simplistic explanations for market movements so popular in the news media are also so ridiculous.

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 You Can't Predict What You Are Going to Do

In the physical world, the only way to learn tomorrow’s weather in detail is to wait twenty-four hours and see, even if nothing is random at all. The universe is computing tomorrow’s weather as rapidly and as efficiently as possible; any smaller model is inaccurate, and the smallest error is amplified into large effects. At a personal level, even if the world is as deterministic as a computer program, you still can’t predict what you’re going to do. This is because your prediction me...
Folksonomies: predictability modeling
Folksonomies: predictability modeling
  1  notes

Rudy Rucker on why our brains are like the weather, so complex that only the actual system can run the computation.

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Predictability and the Base Rate

Whenever a statistician wants to predict the likelihood of some event based on the available evidence, there are two main sources of information that have to be taken into account: (1) the evidence itself, for which a reliability figure has to be calculated; and (2) the likelihood of the event calculated purely in terms of relative incidence. The second figure here is the base rate. Since it is just a number, obtained by the seemingly dull process of counting, it frequently gets overlooked wh...
Folksonomies: predictability
Folksonomies: predictability
  1  notes

Keith Devlin explains why the accuracy of tests and measurments must take into account the base rate for the phenomenon.

30 AUG 2011 by ideonexus

 Political, Social, and Scientific Values Should be Mathem...

[P]olitical and social and scientific values … should be correlated in some relation of movement that could be expressed in mathematics, nor did one care in the least that all the world said it could not be done, or that one knew not enough mathematics even to figure a formula beyond the schoolboy s=(1/2)gt2. If Kepler and Newton could take liberties with the sun and moon, an obscure person ... could take liberties with Congress, and venture to multiply its attraction into the square of its...
  1  notes

Henry Brooks Adams argues there should be some mathematical formula to describe social and political forces.