Death is a discrete phenomenon. It is a creature of units. Vegetation relies on sunlight for life. A plant can die, however, only because it is a unit of vegetation. When the amount of light falls from 3.481 to 2.377 on some scale, there is death only because each plant requires a minimum of 0.05 […]

# Category Archives: Quantity

## The Illiteracy of the Literate

The complex feelings of lawyers and humanist scholars with respect to quantitative subjects, and particularly the quantifization of the social sciences, ought to give them greater empathy for the illiterate and uneducated. The humanist scholar is to the scientist as the illiterate are to the literate. The illiterate view books with distrust, for books are […]

## Optimal Prediction

When optimization arrives, either others will optimize against you or you will optimize against others. Business against you or you against business. There will be either corporate planning or central planning.

## Rearranging the Law of Large Numbers

The Law of Large Numbers is completely meaningless to me when it is phrased as “the probability that the sum of results, divided by the number of independent samples, equals expected value gets very high as the number of independent samples goes to infinity.” mu=(sum of ys)/n, in which mu is the expected value, the […]

## The Field of Thought

The extraordinary thing about algebra is that it provides accurate solutions in advance of intuitive understanding, rather than after it. Normally this only happens with the observation of empirical phenomena. You see that a thing happens and then you try to explain it. But with algebra, too, sometimes you see that a result pops out […]

## The Enchanting System

In what way are mathematical models that validate our intuition different from specious etymologies? History is sexist because it is his story. Dogs are backward gods. Etc.

## The Numeracy of Thought

For the humanist, the mathematical rubber hits the road of thought when she understands that almost all of her supposedly qualitative thought, particularly as it relates to the economy, involves ranking or statements of magnitude. “Invading Iraq set the country back to the stone age,” for example, is the statement that Iraq now has fewer […]