De alea quaestione

December 19, 2010

Quae causa est eorum quae non habent satis rationis? Phaenomena sine causa possunt intellegi hominum mente? Quae  phaenomena  primum libera essent  veri causis, quin etiam possent quasdam sine cursu et suo arbitratu efferre. Quae phaenomena dicimus “alea”.

In toto alea divisa est in partes tres: quarum una simulationes continet, alia inventiones, tandem illa naturalia, quae, ut nobis videtur, fortuita sunt.

Simulationes forma magis communis sunt: nummo taloque ictis proponimus ut exemplum. Etiamsi non invenitur in illis casus ipse in ratione vivendi, qui ludunt conveniunt suam inscitiam de exitu, igitur fingunt abesse necessaria quod loquimur aleam.

Cum, nescientes quemdam modum, exitus aleae tribuimus, quamvis alea posset nulla esse, haec inventio est. Non solum, sed etiam cum modus tam difficilior est ut posset concipi redimus hunc appellar in casu positum. Caeli condicio, hominum fata, numina, exempla sunt facta constituta rebus quae, multa et  incognita, fiunt improvisa.

Naturalia phaenomena aleae iuncta comparanda sunt cum particula-unda. Quod vinculum aequat illa de quibus certiores sumus cum illis de quibus certiores non sumus, generans absentiam rationis necessariae. Plura experimenta ostendunt partem illam incognitam referri ad aleam, neque ullae causae sunt probantes vinculum fortuitum.

Quomodo casus coniungitur cum hominis virtute? Viris probis non contemnendus est casus? Ut semper, in medio veritas. Homo rectus suscepit vitae fortuita, quibus cum esset casus pars, postulant, quod ad se attinet, quemdam similudinem cum illa. Igitur necesse est inopiam satis rationis ostendi et redigi in potestatem illius qui vivit in mutatis mutandis aut moritur si talem inopiam ignorat.

Nicolaennio dixit.


A memory lapse

April 15, 2010

What remains after days of working in front of a monitor, aging, but not living.

The Holy Shroud

April 13, 2010

is a fake from the middle ages (dated with carbon-14). Why not stop selling the face of an unknown as the one of Jesus?

The Holy Shroud. Is just a fake.

Even if technologies  make us all feeling like scientists, the majority of people still produce sentences that are neither verifiable or predictive:
– didn’t you know that [such politician] is a [definition that is not verifiable because italian  newspapers stopped to inform us fifteen years ago]
– Even if there is the crisis (which us common mortals cannot verify) in the future economy will rise again (that, even if we remember to check is a “generic” prediction)
– We will cure cancer (what kind? There are a lot and are completely different) in three years (uau!)! (This has really been said by Berlusconi a month ago for propaganda).
But what are the professional figures that produce predictive and verifiable models? I divided into four categories the university profiles, excluding law:
– Verifiable and Predictive: Science and Medicine
– Predictive but not verifiable: Engineering and Economy (and yes, how can one make a prediction that cannot be verified before its time?)
– Verifiable but not predictive: Historians (Love’em)
– Not verifiable and not predictive: Philosophy (Hic sunt leones)
Subdivision of faculty based upon verifiability and predictiveness

Paradoxes are needed

March 26, 2010

son of a man

“Son of man”, Magritte. I hate Magritte. When I look to one of his works I feel a pain in my throat and I can’t breath. I think that it is because its picture are visual and effective paradoxes for my mind.

I feel that paradoxes are the key for changing our point of view, maybe we have the delusion of been comfortable but a nasty paradox make our position uncomfortable. Of course many reasonings are not paradox, they are simply some trap of natural language or not mathematical developed skills. I will do some positive example:

Voting Paradox (Democracy sucks). Comment: “What? You guy are a nazi and forget all the people died for your freedom!”, maybe the reader is not so trivial but this is an example of uncomfortable sentence that I think is true, for example in Italy a law was approved 160 votes against 155. I do not think it is fair.

– Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Comment: What if police itself do crimes? It seems that the keeper logic has some point of weakness, after all.

– The end of complaining. Comment: Did you notice? You may invent some time saving technology, save the world, end a war and… someone will complain. But there is something more profound in that paradox, that is things, uses, prices (I imagine an office and a marketing guy that is deciding the price of a new XYZ product. He starts from 1000 euros and imagine what happen if XYZ costs that price…), thinkings will always set to a minimum level of complaining. Think to that, economist.

Can we define a paradox? I think it is as difficult as defining the verb to be

t-shirts from the ’80

March 19, 2010

I spotted those three:

Krang from dimension X

krang from dimension X

Decepticon symbol (just cooler then transformers also in the movie)

Get 1 life in supermario bros, I still remember the little sound

Golden rule

March 6, 2010

Read the manual.

Everytime I did it saved me. Just today I find out that my new cordless phone was not broken but it was interferring with the wireless network.

By reading the manual.

eight centimeters

March 4, 2010

After the chile eartquake the earth’axis has moved of eight centimeters. That’s an important quantity if you think of how much big is our planet. And maybe God does not exist.

– Trapped in non-polynomial time.

– Surrounded by deadlines.

– Low on caffeine.

[Army of Recursion Fairies]


This T-shirt is simply wonderful:

For those who do not saw the poster of “Army of Darkness” it should be:

– Trapped in time

– Surrounded by evil

– Low on gas

Deceived by our perception

November 14, 2009

In its “The Black Swan” Taleb speaks about two kind of reasonings: inside the box and outside the box. Usually thinking inside the box means a skilled ability to incorporate a set of hypothesis and inferring a prediction. These are academics. Thinking outside the box means a skilled ability to question a set of  hypothesis and explaining why they are wrong. This is business.

The debate on who is right seems quite harsh, but I think that the Journal of Judgement and Decision Making can be a nail that connect the two ways of thinking. This journal is about bias, rationality, psychology, and perception that affects our decisions.  For example in The Retrospective Gambler’s Fallacy authors shows that we are likely to explain low probability events with an high number of unseen/unknown previous samples. A nice example is that of the lottery: if our neighbour wins the lottery than we think “for sure he is a usual player”, otherwise if he loses we think “well, buying a ticket won’t make you win a lottery”. Of course both reasoning are faulty, we do not know how many tickets our neighbor bought! In general they are very interesting papers, scientifically supported and clearly written.

There a lot of this perception effects and I was quite surprised that I am biased exactly the way they say, this is really reproducible science. They are somewhat simple to state and to understand but incredibly tricky and sneaky to be spotted in our own way of being.

There is also the opposite effects: psychological effects that we believe to exist but are simply myhts without scientifical evidence, in the book 50 great myths of popular psychology they explain that it is a myth that positive attitude stave off cancer or that subliminal advertising works.

So… don’t trust yourselves!