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Category: Fun

Two cannibals are eating a clown and one says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

May 25, 2018 | 7 Comments

Other Practical Books On Par With Uncertainty? Reader Question

Got this email from VD. I’ve edited to remove any personal information and to add blog-standard style and links. I answered, and I remind all readers of the on-going claassre, but I thought I’d let readers have a go at answering, too.

I greatly appreciate the wealth of material contained on your website, and I am an avid reader of both your articles and papers and a consumer of your videos/lectures/podcasts on YouTube. You bring a clarity to the oft misunderstood, and—to an uncultured pleb such as myself—seemingly esoteric field of magical, complex formulae known as statistics.

I have a twofold question: First, do you have any plans to produce a textbook for students utilizing the principles within Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability and Statistics—something along the lines of an updated Breaking the Law of Averages? I confess I have not yet read Uncertainty but assure you that it is at the top of my books-to-purchase list (although I’m under the impression much of the content therein is elucidated on your blog). If Uncertainty is the book I’m looking for then please let me know. I am also working through Breaking the Law and find it extremely helpful, lacking only in solutions to check my work.

If I simply need to go through Breaking the Law a few more times, please let me know if that’s the best route. In any event, I would appreciate a sequel that is an even better synthesis of the ideas since-developed and distilled in Uncertainty while also functioning as introductory-to-intermediate text on logical probability/objective Bayesian statistics. I appreciate your approach utilizing logic, common sense, and observation, to quantify the uncertainty for a given set of premises rather than becoming so consumed with parametrical fiddling that I forgot the nature of the problem I was trying to solve.

Second, if no new book is in the works, do you know of any good textbooks or resources for undiscerning novices such as myself for learning logical probability/objective Bayesian statistics that aren’t inundated with the baggage of frequentist ideals or the worst parts of classical statistics, baggage still dragged around by many of the currently available textbooks and outlets for learning statistics? It seems every other book or resource I pick up has at least a subset of the many errors and problems you’ve exposed and/or alluded to in your articles. If no such “pure” text exists, can you recommend one with a list of caveats? I also have found a copy of Jaynes’ Probability Theory, so I’ve added that to the pile of tomes to peruse. Since reading your blog I now make a conscious effort to mentally translate all instances of “random”, “chance”, “stochastic”, etc. to “unknown,” as well as actively oppose statements that “x entity is y-distributed (usually normally, of course!)” and recognize the fruits of the Deadly Sin of Reification (models and formulae, however elegant, are not reality).

I currently work to some degree as an analyst in Business Intelligence/Operations for a [large] company—a field where uncertainty, risk, and accurate predictive modeling are of paramount importance—and confess my grasp of mathematics and statistics is often lacking (I am in the process of reviewing my high school pre-calculus algebra and trigonometry so I can finally have a good-spirited go at calculus and hopefully other higher math). I think my strongest grasp at this point is philosophy (which I studied in undergrad with theology and language), and then logic and Boolean algebra, having spent a bit of time in web development and now coding Business Intelligence solutions. It’s the math and stats part that’s weak. If only I could go back 10 years and give myself a good talking to; hindsight’s 20-20 I suppose.

While not aiming to be an actuary by any measure, I want to be able to understand statements chock full of Bayesian terminology like the following excerpt from an actuarial paper on estimating loss. I want to discern whether such methods and statistics are correct:

“We will also be assuming that the prior distribution (that is, the credibility complement, in Bayesian terms) is normal as well, which is the common assumption. This is a conjugate prior and the resulting posterior distribution (that is, the credibility weighted result) will also be normal. Only when we assume normality for both the observations and the prior, Bayesian credibility produces the same results as Bühlmann-Straub credibility. The mean of this posterior normal distribution is equal to the weighted average of the actual and prior means, with weights equal to the inverse of the variances of each. As for the variance, the inverse of the variance is equal to the sum of the inverses of the within and between variances (Bolstad 2007).” (Uri Korn, “Credibility for Pricing Loss Ratios and Loss Costs,” Casualty Actuarial Society E-Forum, Fall 2015).

I understand maybe 25% of the previous citation.

My end goal is to professionally utilize the epistemological framework given on your blog and in Uncertainty. I want to be able to do modeling and statistics the right way, based on reality and observables, without the nuisances of parameters and infinity if they are not needed. I deal with mostly discrete events and quantifications bounded by intervals far smaller than (-infinity, +infinity) or (0, infinity),

I appreciate any advice you could share. Thank you sir!

Cordially,
VD

April 16, 2018 | 4 Comments

Chicken Chicken Chicken Chik-Fil-A

Sanity took a hit to the gizzard when the New Yorker posted an article by an atheist presumably addicted to Chick-fil-A sandwiches and ashamed of his obsession.

The article is “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City.” The writer is Dan Piepenbring from Brooklyn, whose Twitter bio reads in part “I want to watch TV in a different time zone. I want to visit strange, exotic malls.”

The benefit of modest goals is that it is east to meet them. And then we remember it is at malls where Chick-fil-A restaurants are often found. It appears Piepenbring went to one too many.

The black truth is that once an addict starts on a bag of waffle fries there is no stopping him until he reaches the salty end. He enters a strange, exotic mall and is not able to overcome the irresistible force driving him to the food court. He will feel that he is outside himself, that it is another person altogether, who for the fourth time that day orders a chicken biscuit. With cheese.

He will hate himself after. And he will hate his obsession. If he is too far gone, he might even hate God.

A Slave to Taste Buds

What else can account for Piepenbring calling the opening of a new Chick-fil-A branch an “infiltration”? Why else would he cry against the chain’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism”?

We feel the man’s searing anger when he writes, “[Chick-fil-A’s] headquarters, in Atlanta, is adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet.”

But at last the reason for his lashing out becomes shockingly clear when he cries, “Its stores close on Sundays.”

The man has it, and he has it bad.

Now it all makes sense. Now we can see his frustration over the company’s stated purpose “to glorify God.” Now we understand the fixation on cows.

Cows?

Moo Cow

Piepenbring says “It’s impossible to overstate the role of the Cows.”

Chick-fil-A, if you didn’t know, has a series of amusing ads which portray cows saying “Eat Mor Chikin.” Cows are notorious spellers. One stunt had life-sized cows scaling a water tower on which was painted the slogan, one cow dangling from a rope held by another.

Cows are not chickens. It takes chickens to make Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Chicken sandwiches, therefore, are not hamburgers. Evidently the thought of hamburgers must set poor Piepenbring off.

He says cows are the chain’s “ultimate evangelists.” Evangelist, as in “a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching.” In this case, not the Christian faith, but the worship of the chicken nuggets combo deal.

Incensed with the company’s ads, he clicked here to read the rest.

April 1, 2018 | 5 Comments

Shocking Eyewitness Account Of An Actual Miracle

Here is what happened, according to an eyewitness and participant to the events described (he humbly called himself “the other disciple”). Evidence doesn’t get any better than this.

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

Then the disciples returned home.

But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.

Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?r Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

An hilarious April Fool’s joke was subsequently played by a certain someone who said these events did not occur. Strangely, he said they didn’t occur because eyewitnesses said they occurred. The joke quickly got out of hand, such that many forgot it was a joke. This is life.

March 3, 2018 | 26 Comments

Insanity & Doom Update XXIV

A very special update to our Insanity & Doom series, the time focusing on Google’s social justice warriors.

Google doesn’t like white people, especially white men. Not all whites: American whites. How curious. You can have some fun proving this to yourself, following the links below, or by typing in the search terms yourself.

When you do a Google search for classes of people, like artists or scientists, they sometimes list a row of headshots across the top of the main Google page, with clickable links. Sometimes you have to click the Images links if you want to see faces. Below I list the headshot if they have it, or give the link to the Images if not.

You might expect search result rankings to be in the order of prominence or importance or accomplishments, or perhaps even by time. Alas, no. Google seems to have another algorithm in mind. Before you get exercised and start throwing the silly “r-word” about, I say God bless every one of the people shown.

Try the following searches. Your results might vary a bit.

American inventors (a well known classic). Contrast it with Chinese inventors or, say, French inventors, or even Canadian inventors.

American scientists. Try the same contrasts here and below.

American doctors

American artists

American astronomers.

American mathematicians.

American architects. Oops!

American chemists. Another oops. Not shown, because the “oops” gives it away. Same with American philosophers.

White couples. Another classic, with the results showing a dearth of the term searched for. Contrast with Black couples or Asian couples or whatever else. Then jump to white couple with children.

Now people at Google say that when searching for, say, white couple it will also match images tagged with words like black and white couple. Might be possible. But if that’s so, why doesn’t black couple also match black and white couple? Seems the same images ought to show. Black and white couples produces a lots of images of couples in black and white (sans color, I mean).

Another well known one: European history people. I saw one explanation that trolls are going through marking the images you see as “European”. Maybe so. But they’d have to be awfully busy, because the results go on for pages. And it doesn’t work for, say, French history people nor for many other European countries. British history people is a partial hit, which might indicate the real interest in non-whites in Britain.

As far as Google shadow-banning and censoring sites aligned with Reality and Tradition, that’s already well known. E.g. “Google Preaches ‘Net Neutrality,’ Then Censors Conservative Videos?“, “Google’s New Fact-Check Feature Almost Exclusively Targets Conservative Sites“.
Heck, even socialists complain of Google’s censorship.

So prevalent are these stories that I am able to find them using Google’s own search engine!

What to do? Besides the obvious alternatives, just laugh at them. For unless the government steps in and makes Google official policy, these kinds of things self correct—because of the laughter.