Wired article on copulas
Reader Scott Bury forwarded this article from Wired on the probability function that many used to quantify the risk of certain financial instruments. You can think of a copula as a way to represent multi-variate probability distributions. Nothing wrong with them. But here was a case where everybody used a model because everybody used the model but nobody bothered to check if it worked. We know the results.
My poor Detroit
Nolan Finley of the Detroit News writes of rampant racism on Detroit’s city council. Anybody have Al Sharpton’s number?
A pitiful Teamster official who practically crawled to the table on his knees expressing profuse respect for this disrespectful body was battered by both the crowd and the council…
Desperate, he invoked President Barack Obama’s message of unity and was angrily warned, “Don’t you say his name here.”
Even Keynes didn’t agree with Keynesian economics
[T]o believe it is possible for governments to spend our way to prosperity would be a major error in policy. There is no previous occasion in which such spending has been shown to work, while there are plenty of instances in which it has not. On every occasion that such spending has been used, the result has been a worsening of economic conditions, not an improvement.
Global warming “on hold” for 20, no, 30 years—maybe more
Everybody knows it hasn’t been getting warmer, but it has been getting colder. So, are the climate models which predicted warmer and not colder wrong?
Well, Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee says, “temperatures should have gone up”. But nobody told the temperatures. Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton said, “warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again.” Not to worry, “we’ll have explosive warming” Held says.
In other words, the models have been wrong up to now, they are still wrong, but we still believe them.
Genes and chess
Some people think men are better at chess because men are stacked at the top of all ranking lists. But the folks at Gene Expression don’t like a paper that offers this argument: the paper argues men are on top because men either like or are encouraged to play more chess. Could be true.
Only way to rigorously test sex-ability differences is to take two groups of infants, boys and girls, raise them by robots isolated from all society, then train and test them for differences.
Not rigorous is using history: where there’s evidence of a big difference (like chess), your only argument against an innate difference is circumstance or discrimination. Both arguments are of course weakened when the circumstances are highly varied and discrimination non-existent. No fair using biology.