Archive for 2011

This Post Won’t Go Viral

Sunday, July 31st, 2011
This Post Won’t Go Viral

Sometime during the late 19th or early 20th century, a simian immunodeficiency virus that infects wild chimpanzees made the jump to humans who hunted the animals. The mutated human strains spread from one individual to the next through intimate contact — usually unprotected sex or needle sharing — often leaving carriers absent of symptoms for... »

Posted in Uncategorized | 29 Comments »

Car Insurance and an Ear Full of Cider

Thursday, June 30th, 2011
Car Insurance and an Ear Full of Cider

Yesterday Decision Science News asked “Should you buy car insurance?” By which they mean collision insurance, liability insurance being required by law in these parts. I’m shocked and appalled that decision scientists could even ask such a thing. Actually, it’s a good question with some legitimate subtleties. I just happen to have an unreasonably strong opinion about... »

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Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments »

When Close Isn’t Good Enough

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
When Close Isn’t Good Enough

For a lot of engineering problems, “almost right” isn’t good enough. Remember the Mars Climate Orbiter? Traveling through space for nearly a year, and covering 700 million kilometers, the Orbiter disintegrated after entering the Martian atmosphere at an altitude just one-hundred kilometers lower than planned. That’s like a $100 million dart exploding when you miss... »

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Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

TagTime: Stochastic Time Tracking for Space Cadets

Saturday, April 30th, 2011
TagTime: Stochastic Time Tracking for Space Cadets

This article is co-authored with Bethany Soule. If you want to (bee)mind how you spend your time (and »

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Posted in Uncategorized | 37 Comments »

Ode to Power Laws

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Ode to Power Laws

Anyone who knows me knows that I love power laws. What other distribution even comes close? The normal? Boring. Poisson? Too fishy. Hypergeometric? Ok, that one’s pretty cool, too. But still, power laws reign supreme in my mind. Evidence of the mystical power of power laws is found by simply looking at references to “power laws”... »

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Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »