Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tacking by the Beach on a Sunny Morning

With apologies to Robert Frost (Edit: poem tweaked and commentary added below.) Whose beach this is I think I know. She lives up there where poppies grow; She will not see me sailing by To watch the waves break: foaming … Continue reading

Posted in pastiche, poem, poetry, sailing | Leave a comment

Some Notes on BC

I grew up in BC, on Vancouver Island, in Nanaimo. I’ve lived in Ontario, Los Angeles and Winnipeg since then, with most of the time spent in Ontario. I’ve always intended to move back, and various factors have conspired in … Continue reading

Posted in history, life | Leave a comment

Lagged-Linear Models and You

Philip Tetlock’s book on expert political prediction makes the point that even the best human experts perform rather poorly compared to probabilistic lagged auto-regressive models, which are (relatively) simple, robust estimators of future behaviour based on past behaviour. Consider a … Continue reading

Posted in economics, prediction | Leave a comment

Knowing the Unknowable

I claimed previously that knowable and unknowable reality behave differently, that the reality that lies behind the quantum veil does not behave the same way as reality that is knowable but merely unknown. There is a logical and physical distinction … Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, god, mechanics, physics, probability, quantum, science, thermodynamics | Leave a comment

Known, Unknown and Unknowable

I nattered on a bit about “knowable reality” when talking about time zones, and enjoyed it so much I decided to do more here. The reality we know is known reality, and we cannot know a reality that is not … Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, god, physics, quantum, science, thermodynamics | Leave a comment

Some Notes on Time Zones

This is the whole secret, really. My fundamental contribution to human knowledge, which has mostly been ignored or pilloried, forgotten or rejected out of hand. Which is OK, because really, knowing is more important to me than teaching. But still, … Continue reading

Posted in cat, epistemology | Leave a comment

The Angel of Midnight

When lies possess the broad expanse of day Fabricating factions left and right The noontime Demon guides the fatal way Spoiling for the partisans to fight. Against this bright opponent stands the dark An Angel in the midnight guise of … Continue reading

Posted in history, iambic pentameter, poem, poetry, religion, sonnet | Leave a comment

Some Notes on Being Wrong

Yesterday I predicted: “In the short term–the next few days or weeks–the experts are probably right. Markets won’t crash”. Today the markets crashed. Unlike the folks in the Obama Administration, or the Tea Party, or indeed unlike every other person … Continue reading

Posted in economics, epistemology, life, politics, prediction, probability, psychology, science | Leave a comment

Whistling Past the Naked Emperor

There have been three main reactions to S&P’s downgrade of long-term (> 1 year) American paper. Expert financial advisors are saying it mostly won’t matter in the short term. American politicians argue the math, and claim that the downgrade proves … Continue reading

Posted in economics, politics, prediction | Leave a comment


I met a relic in a Huston bar Who said: “Two cold and quiet craft of steel fall outward from the Sun, out to the stars, exhausted they still now and then reveal an unexpected consequence of laws we’d like … Continue reading

Posted in god, iambic pentameter, physics, poem, poetry, religion, science | Leave a comment