Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sir Roger...

From ASMR (prior post) to an hour+ of Roger Penrose, courtesy of Numberphile:

More on the podcast and Penrose here, from AMS:

Friday, August 28, 2020

Birdie ASMR

Approaching the end of another hell-of-a-month with another ASMR....
Who knew that cockatoos were dogs!:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


Okay, Mikhail Shubin replies to an Andrew Gelman post with this comment:

“Should you reply all to stop the annoying reply-to-all cycles? I think this is a case on an interesting moral dilemma!
You want to protest against something, but the only way to express your protest is to participate in the thing you want to protest against! The other examples:

* Should you fly to the conference on preventing the climate change?
* There is too many meeting in the company. Should you call a meeting to discuss this situation?
* Should you protest violently against violence?
* You believe the elections, organised in your county, are illegitimate. Should you still participate in the elections?
* You suspect you have COVID. Should you take a public transport across the city to get tested?”

And to see what he’s responding to you can check out the post here:

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Slippery Fish of Social Science...

when we’re doing social and behavioral science, we’re not looking for a needle in a haystack; rather, we’re trying to catch a slippery fish that keeps moving.  All this is even harder in political science, economics, or sociology. An essential aspect of social science is that it understands people not in isolation but within groups. Thus, if psychology ultimately requires a different model for each person (or a model that accounts for differences between people), the social sciences require a different model for each configuration of people (or a model that accounts for dependence of outcomes on the configuration).

I enjoyed this statistical (or almost meta-statistical) piece from Andrew Gelman yesterday on  social/behavioral science research, where the same concerns seem to re-occur again and again over time:

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Feeling Like a Pawn...

" I was terrified. It’s really scary to speak up in a room like that, and to call out literally everyone I work with. And I regret that I took half an hour to say something. I still can’t understand why no one else spoke up.... The message in that meeting was crystal clear. My school’s commitment to health and safety is a lie."
One teacher's experience as schools around the country attempt to open:

Difficult to see how this ends well... and how this wasn't all foreseen ahead-of-time by bureaucrats in charge.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

This Looks Interesting… (Keith Conrad)

I’d not heard of Keith Conrad (University of Connecticut mathematics professor)… until today that is, when R. J. Lipton referenced him:

Here’s Conrad’s homepage with what looks like lots of fun, interesting, miscellaneous stuff:

Monday, August 10, 2020

Fooling the Eyes


For awhile now I’ve used the above wonderful static optical illusion (of non-existent black dots appearing-and disappearing at grid intersections) as a header for my Twitter account, always presuming it was an example of the “Hermann grid illusion,” but I just recently discovered it is actually a slight variation known as the “scintillating grid illusion.” You can read a tad more about it here:

Friday, August 7, 2020

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

"Misplaced Confidence" in Statistics

This non-linear scaling is hard to grasp intuitively. It leads people to underestimate just how noisy small samples can be, and hence to conduct studies that lack the statistical power needed to detect an effect….
One thing is clear: conventional training in statistics is insufficient, or even counterproductive, because it might give the user misplaced confidence.”

Dorothy Bishop on cognitive/confirmation bias in stats:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”  
   — Richard Feynman

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Culture of Mathematics

"The idea that there is a single body of knowledge or a single way of thinking that we call 'mathematics' is a myth."
Maneuvering the path between Platonism and non-Platonism... Keith Devlin discusses the "culture" of mathematics (with interesting set of questions toward the end):

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Data, Science, News... and Bullshit

"At the same time as we are going through this populist political movement there is a technocratic worship of data. Arguments are being presented in an increasingly quantitative way: people are using data to bullshit."
-- Carl Bergstrom (co-author of Calling Bullshit: The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World), on data, science, news… and B.S.:

Saturday, August 1, 2020

30+ Free Articles...

The latest wide-ranging issue of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics is out -- a journal whose "emphasis is on the aesthetic, cultural, historical, literary, pedagogical, philosophical, psychological, and sociological aspects as we look at mathematics as a human endeavor." All articles are web-accessible (PDFs):