In 1973 Simon Ramo wrote Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Player, a guide to help amateur tennis players. In this book he made the observation that professional and amateur tennis games were won through two different strategies. Professional tennis players won games through superior skill, while amateur tennis players won games by making less mistakes than their opponents.
Following the 2008 financial crisis, a lot of attention has been given to financial models and the role they played in distorting the value and risk inherent in mortgage-backed securities. The failure of those models caused many quants to reconsider their methods, and in December 2008 two heavyweights of the finance world collaborated on a call to reason.
Last year news emerged that Facebook is reportedly trying to address a 21% decline in "original sharing", or published personal content, among its users. When your websites raison d'être is purportedly facilitating communication between friends, a decline in the conversation poses something of a problem. For me, it led me to question why I still used Facebook at all.
In all my years of driving, or more specifically parking, I have yet to receive a parking ticket. My lack of parking tickets has more to do with vigilance than luck although, based on the number of parking tickets issued each year, I think I am due to receive one soon. Between 2010 and 2016, over 1,075,000 parking tickets were issued in Winnipeg which is an average of 1.6 tickets per citizen over that same period of time.
In order to expand on my previous post on weapons of math destruction, I thought that it would be helpful to spend some time exploring the potential pitfalls inherent in statistical models. Our world is increasingly awash in models and, in order to understand how they shape our daily lives, it helps to appreciate both how they work and why they occasionally cause damage.
One of the items on my Christmas list this year was Cathy O'Neil's book on the societal challenges posed by 'big data': Weapons of Math Destruction. In her book, O'Neil provides examples to illustrate how the statistical models used by governments and businesses can have negative side effects and emphasizes the need to ensure fairness for those impacted by models.
When working on creative projects, it isn't uncommon to encounter blocks along the way. Over time many people have suggested different ways to overcome creative blocks, from simply pushing through to lateral thinking and imposing further limitations on yourself. One of the more unique proposals for resolving creative blocks was Peter Schmidt and Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies.
Whenever there's a market crash; be it stock, housing, currency, or other; the result of it is the creation of a large amount of shell shocked investors who are looking for 'safer' places to stash their money. Invariably, gold and precious metals are on that list of 'safer' investments.
Larry Wall, creator of the programming language Perl, is widely known for his humorous and approachable writing style. In the first edition of his book Programming Perl, Wall listed his theory of the three virtues of a great programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris. While none of these seem remotely virtuous at first examination, upon closer inspection they begin to make sense.
My long-suffering web server logs all types of information that I rarely look at. Successful pages which are sent out, non-existent pages which are requested, and attack attempts tend to be the most common log entries. In December, members of the Chaos Computer Club in Germany decided to send out some malformed requests that would fill server logs with something different - poetry.