Category Archives: Popular Press Explorations

Outcome Switching – What Golfers Know

Last Friday a rare event occurred at our golf course.  My foursome all sank long putts for birdies on the second hole.  What a great feeling and I could go on and on in detail but I won’t.  Anyway we get back … Continue reading

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Summer Reading I

How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg is a schizophrenic book.  On the one hand it is an attempt to fulfill the promise of its main title and on the other it is a paean … Continue reading

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The Secret Life of Integers – Who Knew?

Emily Nussbaum starts her New Yorker review of the TV show, The Walking Dead, this way: “At two hours, a zombie movie provides a bracing shot of nihilism.  Zombies aren’t so much monsters as they are math, after all–seething, surging, … Continue reading

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Nobody Calls Me Anymore

I am getting fewer and fewer phone calls at my office nowadays.   My telephone number is published on the syllabus and on the class website and I continually urge students to “give me a ring” if they have a … Continue reading

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What Good is a College Education

In Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman uses the shorthand descriptors “System 1” and “System 2” to stand for an automatic system of thinking and an effortful system of thinking respectively.  System 1 operates quickly and automatically and is generally … Continue reading

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Resemblance Heuristics and Bayesian Analysis

I have just started reading Daniel Kahneman’s book  Thinking, Fast and Slow.  In the introduction he gives this example (my précis).   Steve is neat and orderly and good with detail.  Is he more likely to be a farmer or … Continue reading

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Feedback From the Real World – The fate of the p-value

“Image you are flipping a coin a 1000 times. You get 537 heads. The probability of getting this result or “worse” using a fair coin is one percent.   But you didn’t get 537 or worse, you got exactly 537 heads. … Continue reading

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