READ ME ... yeah, right. Right?

I'm sick of everyone else having on-line diaries. I want one too.

What is this all about? Maybe you should read the READ ME READ ME.

august 2, 1998:
it's right there, stupid

"He is a walking time bomb, very likely to go off in the future. You can't do much to stop this, but at least you can get away."
- S.F.A.H.

My college advisor was Amos Tversky, one of the most brilliant, insightful, influential and generous human beings and scientists that a person could imagine.

I do not say that lightly. His research in statistics and perception founded a body of work called "decision sciences" that not only influences economists, business people and psychologists, but also educates engineers in calculating risks. It is almost certain that his statistical models have saved lives. His hallmark was counterintuitive experimental results. His intellectual courage was legendary.

In one of his most famous statistical analyses, Tversky proved with overwhelming quantitative evidence that the "hot-hand" phenomenon in basketball was an illusion. In other words, even though basketball players, fans, coaches, managers and "experts" believe that a player is more likely to score a basket (or "hit") after having just scored a hit, evaluation of years of actual NBA games revealed that a player was in truth more likely to score a hit after having a miss than the player was to score a hit after a hit. In other words, successive "hits" and "misses" did not cluster together more than expected by the dictates of chance, and thus there was no "hot-hand".

When Tversky took his results to the players and coaches, they did not believe him. When he showed them his numerical evidence based on actual shots attemped, missed and hit, they denied the numbers before their eyes. When he drew up charts to advise them how better to strategize their games, they told him to go away.

Tversly died two years ago, at age 59.

To this day, many basketball "experts" still insist that he is wrong.

Tversky's work illuminates a lot more than mere basketball. At times like this, when I want to scream in frustration that another person cannot see what is so obviously before his face, I try to remember that sometimes, a goal is just plain futile.

And there is no justice or logic in that.

Linux Double Feature! right here! and here!
Silicon Spin.
Hey, Brill's Content, Over Here!
Programmers Need Unions
Girls Need Math, and Jewish Women Need Technology
New References Galore!

thanks, COMOFLOW





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Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998 Rebecca L. Eisenberg All rights Reserved.