Random [sic] Bullets

September 30 2014

Listserve winners are supposed to avoid cliches. Here are some haphazard (random means something else) things you won't hear just anywhere.

Google "learn acbl". This will show you how to learn to play bridge (the greatest card game of all). You'll thank me once you turn 80.

There are two kinds of friends: those who are friends when you need them, and those who are friends when convenient. I don't judge, since I think each kind is valuable. I do think it's important to distinguish between them.

Spend as much as you can on your reading glasses. Seriously, get the most attractive frames in the world. Then, each time you wear them, you won't think "I can't believe I need reading glasses!".

Understand apologies (particularly if you want a long, happy marriage). In particular, this is an apology:

I shouldn't have done what I did. I am sorry. I know better now. It won't happen again. How can I make things better?

This is NOT an apology:

I am sorry if anything I said might have upset you.

This is SOOOO not an apology:

I'm wrong and I'm sorry. Keep in mind that everything I did is EXACTLY what I should have done and, faced with the same circumstances, I would do exactly the same thing. Again and again, forever, but I do apologize.

Star Trek II is the best movie ever.

So yoga...

Do pullups. My wife's cousin build his house with a three story rope in the center. If you ever meet this guy, he'll insist you won't be able to climb it. Be ready.

I have no kids. My best friend has four. I think this is perfect for each of us. He gets to rationalize his suffering, telling me I'll die alone. I get to sit down with some snacks and spend an hour listening to him complain about parenting so I don't feel like I've missed anything. It would be a little better if I didn't live 2,500 miles from my niece, but that's nitpicking.

A 600 word limit is strict. You can't even play with the font to cheat...

The human brain is wired for gratification. That's basically what gratification means, I guess. Studies show that lots of little goodies make you happier, overall, than one big one (think several vacations vs. a big house) because we adapt to luxury, quickly.

Similarly, anticipation is underrated. I always choose 10 day shipping from Amazon because it stretches out the anticipation, increasing my overall satisfaction. Strange but true.

Watch The Mighty Boosh.

When you're about to click send, check the "to" and "cc" lines. Again.

Really, check again...

Math Stuff:

George Box said "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." Keep that in mind with Big Data, Climate Change, Evolution, Particle Physics, etc. A model that describes reality is great, even if quarks are just mathematical constructs.

Read about Bayesian inference on wikipedia. It's popular now, so it's worth understanding. Make sure you understand how someone got a prior distribution before you believe their conclusions.

Read about linear regression on wikipedia. Anscombe's quartet is counter intuitive. Why? Because three of them don't meet the assumptions of the model. There, I said it...

In particular, google "standardized fruit regression".

Google banach-tarski-non-paradox. Mathematicians may tell you they can prove "you can cut a baseball into pieces, and re-assemble it into a basketball." Blah, blah. They don't understand the definition of the word "can".

The more someone insists they know the answer to the Monty Hall problem, the more annoying they are. They are just as wrong either way, though. This applies to me, too.

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San Francisco, CA

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