William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!



This is it! I am taking an e-holiday. Except for work-related mop-up operations, no Internet, no Twitter, no email, no TV, no cell phone, no blog, no nothing.

I have posts scheduled for the blog for next couple of weeks, so readers will not go hungry for the scintillating intellectual content they have come to know and love. If something amazing, shocking, world-shaking, stupendous occurs during my sojourn I might log back on to write about it, but it would have to be at the alien-invasion level. I might be on for the next and last debate. Meanwhile, I have engaged an Editor to handle the day-to-day mechanics.

Emails, of course, will be stuffed in the Inbox and I’ll see them in time. I am currently about six months—and maybe even more—behind answering all the wonderful story ideas readers send in. Two more weeks (or maybe three if I get really excited about it) won’t make much difference.

There is a stack of books as high as boo times two that I need to read, there is a book I am working on, and articles that deserve more attention than I have been giving them. And I too often let the Internet become a distraction—and an excuse for not working.

Same thing was true when I had a “smart” phone, which I discovered was making me dumber. I gave it up two years ago and returned to a flip phone that can’t even store pictures. Not only is this far cheaper—being a philosopher of probability and statistics pays far less than you would have guessed—but the gained freedom is refreshing. I usually don’t bother carrying it with me and so have rediscovered what I already knew the first thirty years of my life: you don’t need a phone everywhere you go.

A small e-exception will be radio shows, of which I average some two to three a week. The Stream sets these up, and since they’re part of my job I’ll continue them. The phone will be turned on right before the shows, and turned off right after.

About Twitter: the blog itself automatically tweets the articles when published, so if you see “me” tweeting (besides an alien invasion), it isn’t. On the other hand, given Twitter’s panicked censoring of non-progressive voices, and the subsequent induced dullness of the platform, I might even suspend the service. If you cancel, you have 30 days to reconsider and can restore the account. We’ll see.

Let the freedom begin!

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, buy the book that will change the practice of scientific modeling, probability and statistics forever! Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics.


  1. I am taking an entire year off from the Internet starting from May 18 of this year. So how did I see this post you may ask, I bought myself a nice new smartphone one month ago and it makes it all too easy to see the email messages.
    I am taking the time out to spend more time on finishing my studies of the Finite Element Method, finish a multiyear software development project and start a climate science related project that I can’t talk about at this time.
    I shall return in full participating force after May 18, 2017.
    And I will buy your book.

  2. I am sure your respite is well deserved. I have read your Uncertainty book, and am now going back to look at those sections I thought ponderous or difficult on the first reading. I think I am starting to get it. With my new, incomplete knowledge, a good bit of scientific news is less appealing with p value abolition on the horizon.

    Take your time with the new book. My second reading of Uncertainty might take some time. Don’t stop with the blogs, though, especially your Stream articles. I repost those on Facebook regularly so people will think I am smart.

  3. Blessings as you rest, recoup, rebalance…

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