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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Damnit, nem, I keep looking at actors' moustaches now and trying to guess what the director's subliminal intentions are.

Social workers are seldom physically attractive; female academics who are do their best to disguise the fact, emphasising that they're successful due to brains not beauty (I wish a man had written this, it sounds so bitchy).

Thankfully feminism is passé and women can be both.
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nemesis8


In: byrhfunt
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Mick said
Of course we here know that this is not possible because both economics and womens' fashions are chaotic systems ie inherently non-predictable. Remember that whenever somebody authoritative pops up on telly to say what's going to happen. As they are presently at the rate of a dozen-a-day.

This is simply unfair Mick. You must remember that economics is a highly developed science. I managed to predict the exact date that the recession started in the UK, even before the government officially published the December GDP (Gross Domestic Product) figures and, what is more, Mick, you could have done so as well, you just need a little training.....

OK, well here goes .....a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction in GDP. So if we want to 'predict' a recession, we can already state with 100% certainty that if, in the previous quarter, GDP did not contract by the accepted definition, we will not be in recession when the next quarter's figures are published. (get it....you need two consecutive quarters!)

However, as soon as the last quarter GDP goes into contraction, as a respected economist you are faced with a major headache, potentially; were the next quarter to show a contraction you would be in recession.

This is where fear kicks in, as were you not to predict the recession you are going to look like an imbecile in front of your friends, family and colleagues.

What you need is a 'fail safe' method, and this is where the 'real skill' comes in predicting a recession... you now have to look to see whether unemployment is rising over the last few quarters; if it has done (as it did in the UK), you are basically 100% safe in predicting that when the government announces its next quarter figures for GDP, you will be in official recession. Of course your family and friends will be suitably amazed, and you can relax in the knowledge that you predicted the official recession to the day.....
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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If you really want to see how physicality and intellectuality interplay in women's brains, you should turn on any programme dealing with the morality/ adviseability of things like plastic surgery, make-up, dieting and so forth. You will find the anti-spokepersons will be a) all properly paid-up feminists but b) who happen to have rather good bodies, flawless skin etc etc.

While we are on the subject of female attractiveness, consider the Shannon Mathews case. [A child abduction case from Yorkshire where it turned out that the mother had done the 'abduction'.] A good Applied Epistemologist (I was dozing I'm afraid) would have recognised that this could not have been a normal abduction case because Shannon was a very plain girl.

Child abduction is so rare and so dangerous (to the abductor) that he will only choose ridiculously attractive children (think Madeleine McCann or JonBenet Ramsay). He would never choose Ms Mathews. This is an Applied Epistemology matter because no newspaper is permitted to actually come right out and say, "She's no looker" because she is the tragic victim. (And perhaps I didn't think it for the same reason).

Still, something to watch for in the future.
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Mick Harper
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over the last few quarters, if it has done (as it did in the UK) you are basically 100 % safe in predicting, that when the government announces its next quarter, figures for GDP, you will be in official recession

You are still making the "non-chaotic" error by assuming that the next quarter can be predicted from the last quarter. It simply can't. If you remember the last few years clearly you will recall countless examples of 'economists' predicting recession was on the way because of either a single quarter or a trend. They were right but only eventually. All the other times they were wrong.

Of course it is possible to predict certain 'trends' but only when they are not trends at all. This error actually has an Applied Epistemological name: false forecasting. It comes from the weather which is another chaotic system ie inherently unpredictable. What 'predictors' (ie weather forecasters) actually do is simply extend the principle of describing present weather.

For instance, if I am sitting in a field having a picnic and I see a gynormous bank of black cloud coming towards me, am I weather forecasting when I say, "It looks like rain"? No, I am describing present weather not predicting future weather.

If I am sitting in Weather Central with my radar arrays and I see a gynormous bank of black cloud heading towards me out in the Atlantic, I am still not predicting weather, I am describing present weather albeit on a wider canvas.

True prediction will only happen when somebody is sitting in Weather Central and spots the butterfly's flapping wings or whatever it is that causes the big black cloud.

For instance would it be a prediction to say that the next British Unemployment figures will top two million? No, I am taking the current figure and adding in all the factory closures that I read about every day. But ask me in which quarter the unemployment figures will start coming down and I will assure you neither me nor anyone else in the entire known universe knows when that will be.
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Rocky



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Question of the Day:
What are the chances that a prepubescent boy would father a baby from a single sexual encounter?


Alfie's parents should spend a few bucks on a paternity test.
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nemesis8


In: byrhfunt
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Smart move by Chantelle and Alfie, they will get loads of support and whilst their mates are wasting money on a private let, or homeless, they will be warm and snug in a cheap, low cost council flat, (when she is 16) sitting out the recession. You got to hand it to them. The only way Alfie's parents can screw it up now is to go for the paternity test. So, Rocky, I would say to Alfie's parents save your bucks, sell your story to the telly/papers, you are in for a nice little earner......
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Komorikid


In: Gold Coast, Australia
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Mick wrote:

If I am sitting in Weather Central with my radar arrays and I see a gynormous bank of black cloud heading towards me out in the Atlantic, I am still not predicting weather, I am describing present weather albeit on a wider canvas.

True prediction will only happen when somebody is sitting in Weather Central and spots the butterfly's flapping wings or whatever it is that causes the big black cloud.


This is in fact being done right now in the UK but only those willing to accept a more accurate non orthodox method are benefiting. Piers Corbyn of Weather Action has been successfully predicting the UK weather up to a month or more in advance. The incredible cold weather that has plagued the UK since November was all predicted months in advance with uncanny accuracy even to the day that heavy snows would fall.

Between 1988 and 2000 (when I was banned) I placed weather bets every month with William Hill at fair odds defined by Met Office (& shortened by WH's standard 25% or so) and in 12 years involving about 4,000 best made a PROFIT of about 20,000 UK pounds. Willian Hill will vouch that to their knowledge I am by far the world's most prolific and successful weather better. The PROFIT rate was about 40% of stakes every month and I was stake limited - (for every 100 I put down I got back about 140). - Piers Corbyn 2005

The hurricane winds which bought destruction and death to South France & North Spain on 23/24 Jan 2009 and exceptional low pressure system in the Atlantic 22/23 Jan 2009 were - it has just been revealed - accompanied by a dramatic and sudden warming of the stratosphere (the upper atmosphere).

All these events were associated with WeatherAction's long range warning for the most extreme winds of the winter to occur 'around 22/23 Jan 2009 from forecast maps and comments issued 22 Dec 2008 which included a 'Very High risk of thunder & tornado events' in vulnerable places - not Britain & Ireland in this case. Possibility of storm 10/11 /hurricane 12 were warned of in circulated forecast.

Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist of WeatherAction long range forecasters said "We are very pleased with the accuracy of this forecast. We nailed the most extreme storm events of winter down to only 2 days.

Piers Corbyn 2009
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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What are the chances that a prepubescent boy would father a baby from a single sexual encounter?

A protegée of mine rang to ask for a new slant on Tess of the Durbevilles for an essay. I told her to claim that Tess had fooled Thomas Hardy (novelists rarely control or even understand their creations) into believing she was an innocent heroine.

It is perfectly obvious to us cynical observers that she didn't get pregnant by one 'rape' but clearly had had a prolonged affair with whatsisface on the perfectly understandable grounds that she was trying to better herself.

My protegée pointed out that her university tutor would fail her because all Eng Lit academics genuflect at the shrine of Thomas Hardy and wouldn't be able to bear the idea that their hero was being cuckolded. I had to agree with her.
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Mick Harper
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I am an old sparring partner of Mr Corbyn and agree that basically he is one of us. (Unlike his brother who is a tiresomely lefty Member of Parliament.) However I do not accept he can forecast the weather, though I do accept he can 'beat the current system'. I can do this myself by simply carrying out the following procedure (apologies if I've posted this before):
1. The Met Office using Met Office parameters claims a 79% success rate for next day forecasts.
2. Using Met Office parameters, one day's weather is the same as the previous day's 85% of the time.
3. I can beat the Met Office simply by opening the window and 'forecasting' tomorrow's weather by observing today's.

[I cannot vouch for the actual figures used here but the principle is true.]
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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My protegée pointed out that her university tutor would fail her because all Eng Lit academics genuflect at the shrine of Thomas Hardy and wouldn't be able to bear the idea that their hero was being cuckolded. I had to agree with her.

Hardy wouldn't mind in the least. In fact he was several steps ahead. One of my favourite Hardy poems, sorry to inflict it on you:

The Ruined Maid

"O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?"-
"O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she.

-"You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!"-
"Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined," said she.

etc. etc.

It ends:

-"I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town"-
"My dear - raw country girl, such as you be,

Cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined," said she.


Tell her to go for it!
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Even you would not advance the claim that Hardy knew all about Tess's true nature but decided not to tell the reader. However, if he did, and did it for commercial rather than creative reasons, then I tip my hat to the old cozener.

Your inference that Eng Lit academics (though no doubt quite capable of reciting the poem by heart) would have the intellectual nous to cross-reference as you can is ludicrous. You wanna get out more, dear, and go and see these people. They do charabanc tours nowadays, I understand, visiting various universities. Much as 'the quality' used to visit Bedlam.
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Komorikid


In: Gold Coast, Australia
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Mick wrote:

1.The Met Office using Met Office parameters claims a 79% success rate for next day forecasts.
2. Using Met Office parameters, one day's weather is the same as the previous day's 85% of the time.
3. I can beat the Met Office simply by opening the window and 'forecasting' tomorrow's weather by observing today's.


Now do it a month in advance.
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Grant



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Komorokid says "now do it a month in advance."

But the Met Office can't do it even three weeks in advance.
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Grant



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Surely Hardy never believed that Tess was innocent. That's why the rape scene is so ambiguous and why afterwards she says to Alec: "My eyes were dazed by you for a little, and that was all."

Dirty little strumpet!
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Mick Harper
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The Met Office can't do one week in advance. That's the whole point.

Does anyone here remember (back in the seventies?) that the Met Office, with its brand new 'computers', decided to start issuing three- and six-month forecasts. What it did -- and this was proudly proclaimed -- was look back through its records (to the 1850's?) and find whatever year best fitted the present weather. It then proceeded to issue the weather that actually followed three and six months later in that year.

What was so amusing was that
a) everyone greeted this as a major breakthrough
b) everyone was ecstatic about how accurate the forecasts were
c) how long it survived even after people started pointing out that the forecasts were actually no better than chance
d) how much the same principle still pervades long range weather-forecasting
e) how much d) is always caused by the same human failing -- the desire to know the unknowable is so strong that people invariably prefer to be wrong rather than un-knowing.
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