Essays and musings
In general, I'm not a fan of blogs. What you're thinking today,
or your reactions to current events, or debating with commentators,
should be as transient as a conversation; what you write for a permanent
public record should be
better thought out.
As it happens there seem to be no individual blogs on the kind of ``probability in the mathematical
sciences" or ``probability in the real world" topics that interest me.
Perhaps closest (and excellent food for thought) are
the more statistical
These brief writings of mine are instead intended as permanent "food for thought",
on topics such as the mathematics research profession in general, and uses of
probability in particular.
The overall style is similar to
J. Michael Steele's Semi-Random Rants.
The ones on this page are not published anywhere but here, except as noted.
Because it's not a blog, you can't leave comments, but if you know of (or write
where the same idea is expressed better,
or where an opposing idea is argued, please do email me the links.
David's Musings, published in Bernoulli News
Popular books on Chance, and Teaching
Non-Technical Probability Vol 17, Number 1 (May 2010).
What are the Limits to "Rules Plus Dice" Modeling?
Vol 17, Number 2 (November 2010).
- In search of a missing word: entropy and ????.
Vol 18, Number 1 (May 2011).
David Stirzaker pointed out a
related discussion by David Ellerman who calls 1-S
logical entropy, that I.J. Good has called it the quadratic diversity index,
and an application to block codes is given in
Ahlswede and Cai (2006).
- What should our
college students know (aside from what we teach them)?
Vol 18, Number 2 (November 2011).
- On password security, Republican candidates and
predictability of economic crises.
Vol 19, Number 1 (May 2012).
- On suspiciously precise answers to intrinsically imprecise questions
Vol 19, Number 2 (November 2012).
- Cooper versus Greene, Peters versus Mercator, and Silver
versus Big Data Vol 20, Number 1 (May 2013).
Using resources wisely, and the
breadth of the mathematical sciences Vol 20, Number 2 (November 2013).
- On The Good Judgment Project, and on being the 365,625th
most famous person in history.
Vol 21, Number 1 (May 2014).
Data Science for everyone, and probability models meet player ratings.
Vol 22, Number 1 (May 2015).
Some of the topics are related to topics in the
Probability in the Real World project, but
should not be regarded as representative of that whole project.
The order is chronological, most recent on top.
These are a collection of thoughts that have occured to me over a career in mathematics.
They are intended to be somewhere on the spectrum from serious to the opposite of serious
(= humorous or frivolous or wry or quixotic?)
and the reader can decide where to place them on such a spectrum.
I attempt to phrase each thought in a crisp sentence or two, and then add a commentary.
Thoughts like these undoubtedly occur to every mathematician, so no particular
originality is claimed. Where I consciously borrow from another source I quote it,
and what I perceive as ``commonplace" is labeled as such.