Thursday, July 26, 2012

John Kay - The parable of the ox

Interesting - though I am not sure that the Chicago model (Black-Scholes?) manages to generate a price from thin air - it needs important elements (such as the current price and the estimate of volatility).  It is also important to remember that there are people like Buffett making guesses and if the crowd is very wrong, he will be the closest.  John Kay - The parable of the ox:

"One difficulty was that sometimes there were few, or even no, guesses of the oxen’s weight. But that problem was soon overcome. Mathematicians from the University of Chicago developed models from which it was possible to estimate what, if there had actually been many guesses as to the weight of the animal, the average of these guesses would have been. No knowledge of animal husbandry was required, only a powerful computer."

Interesting, non-the-less. '

Monday, July 23, 2012

How Do You Choke Away the British Open? The Science of the Tight Collar | Wired Science |

The explanation for why English Premier League players can be good for their club and poor for their country (outside ability of the rest of the team).

Sport psychology: "“You can’t dictate your genes,” says Stone. “But among the many identities you have, you can choose which to operate from.” Tiger Woods, for instance, has clearly forged an identity that transcends the potential vulnerabilities of his multiracial makeup. You can wallow in your most negative identity — the slow one, the overthinker, the one who doesn’t care — or you can foreground another identity, the one who is ready, the one who knows what’s coming, the one who calmly attacks the problem."

With a solution

The shocking story of how a council pursued Peter Williams

It raises the question of how different are the private and public institutions.

The shocking story of how a council pursued Peter Williams | Liberal Conspiracy: "On the 8th of February a man took his own life. Peter Williams was a gifted engineer, whose invention, still manufactured today, landed him in the Guinness World Records, but he was driven to bankruptcy and suicide by an unthinking and inhumane bureaucratic system"

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Krugman explains that models are tools or simplifications that are used to solve a problem.  However, the assumptions of the model cannot be used to explain the implications of the model.  That would be circular.  Gadgets Versus Fundamentals (Wonkish) -

"The point is that all this work USES Dixit-Stiglitz, but it’s not ABOUT Dixit-Stiglitz; D-S is a gadget, a tool that helps you work with the fundamental issues, but you don’t ever want to forget that it is no more than that."

Monday, July 09, 2012

George Monbiot – False Summit

George Monbiot – False Summit: "We were wrong about peak oil: there’s enough in the ground to deep-fry the plane"

It is always dangerous to make forecasts.  There is always some unsuspecting element that can crop up.

and then!

Monbiot peak oil u-turn based on bad science, worse maths
Oil glut forecaster Maugeri admits duff maths

David Strahan
Energy writer

Description: New Scientist 17.5.12