Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Margarine linked to divorce?

Just because there seems to be a connection between two things, it doesn’t necessarily prove causation.  A website tales a humorous look at statistical correlations.  Report from BBC News:


Spurious correlations: Margarine linked to divorce?

A website set up by a student at Harvard teaches us to look carefully at statistics. And it’s fun at the same time.

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May 26, 2014 Posted by | statistics | , , | Leave a comment

When simplifying reality doesn’t work

Science is just coming up with better and better ways to predict something by simplification of reality — discovering “causations”. Statistics is supposed to help us with this.  But we tend to forget that causations supposedly found this way are not reality, just something we come up with to help our ability to predict better.  The universe is extremely complex, and simplifying assumption can make our predictions wrong.  A fascinating article from Wired magazine, January 2012:

Why Science Is Failing Us



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January 5, 2012 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, philosophy | , , , , | Leave a comment