Monthly Archives: July 2009

Free will

After a discussion with a friend about Nostradamus, I realized that the existence of prophets conflicts with the idea of free will: if the future is written in such a way that we can make definite predictions years ahead of … Continue reading

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neat way to introduce programming

Just came upon this post which describes a nice analogy between programming and Dr Seuss’ Sneetch star-on and star-off machines. A modified version might be useful even for older students. another post here, although written in spanish, has a number … Continue reading

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Silly challenge to silly statement

There is a new Challenge to Global Warming Skeptics by the FiveThirtyEight statisticians, who did such a good job with the Obama-McCain forecasts. The challenge is summed up by: “For each day that the high temperature in your hometown is … Continue reading

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A quick comment on error

I read this article in the Week magazine, concerning the upcoming census. I plan to look at statistical sampling later, but I was struck by the following: Because supporters and opponents tend to break down along partisan lines. Democrats favor … Continue reading

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Laplace and the Divine

In a previous post I used the word “God” in quotes, when referring to Laplace’s view of determinism. This was done because Laplace himself did not believe in God, and I used the term as a convenience to represent a … Continue reading

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Misunderstanding Laplace

I finished Leonard Mlodinow’s “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives” this past week, and have a couple of thoughts related to it. In Chapter 10 he quotes Laplace: “We may regard the present state of the universe as … Continue reading

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Homeopathic "Medicine"

Homeopathic medicine “is a form of alternative medicine, first expounded by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, that treats patients with heavily diluted preparations which are thought to cause effects similar to the symptoms presented.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy). I saw the mock … Continue reading

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