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Proust, my family and Australia

When I was reading Proust, I noted with some amusement the character named simply “Ski” in the first volume of his appearance, a sculptor and amateur musician who is later revealed to be properly called “Viradobetski”, an actual name which too complicated for the dear Madame Verdurin to try to remember. I just learnt from […]

Soil Scientists Seeking Super Model

I (Bob) spent last weekend at Biosphere 2, collaborating with soil carbon biogeochemists on a “super model.” Model combination and expansion The biogeochemists (three sciences in one!) have developed hundreds of competing models andShow More Summary

Rational != Self-interested

I’ve said it before (along with Aaron Edlin and Noah Kaplan) and I’ll say it again. Rationality and self-interest are two dimensions of behavior. An action can be: 1. Rational and self-interested 2. Irrational and self-interested 3. Rational and altruistic 4. Show More Summary

G-spots : Saint-Girons

Roy Lisker (remember him from the Mormoiron post?) has written up his Grothendieck-quest(s), available for just 23$, and with this strange blurb-text: “The author organized a committee to search for him that led to his discovery, in good health and busily at work, in September, 1996. This committee has since become the Grothendieck Biography Project. […]

Poker math showdown!

In comments, Rick Schoenberg wrote: One thing I tried to say as politely as I could in [the book, "Probability with Texas Holdem Applications"] on p146 is that there’s a huge error in Chen and Ankenman’s “The Mathematics of Poker” which...Show More Summary

Large gaps between consecutive prime numbers

Kevin Ford, Ben Green, Sergei Konyagin, and myself have just posted to the arXiv our preprint “Large gaps between consecutive prime numbers“. This paper concerns the “opposite” problem to that considered by the recently concluded Polymath8 project, which was concerned with very small values of the prime gap. Here, we wish to consider the […]

Meta-statistics

One of the most unfortunate developments of modern football, and a clear symptom of the decline of civilization, is the regrettable irruption in the comments of a deluge of factoids that manage to simultaneously give a bad name to team sports and to statistics (“This is the first time in twenty-one competitive games played in […]

Visualizing sampling error and dynamic graphics

Robert Grant writes: What do you think of this visualisation from the NYT [in an article by Neil Irwin and Kevin Quealy but I'm not sure if they're the designers of the visualization]? I’m pretty impressed as a method of showing sampling error to a general audience! I agree. Show More Summary

Hurricanes/himmicanes extra: Again with the problematic nature of the scientific publication process

Jeremy Freese has the story. To me, the sad thing is not that people who don’t understand statistics are doing research. After all, statistics is hard, and to require statistical understanding of all quantitative researchers would be impossible to enforce in any case. Show More Summary

Cofree meets Free

> {-# LANGUAGE RankNTypes, MultiParamTypeClasses, TypeOperators #-} Introduction After I spoke at BayHac 2014 about free monads I was asked about cofree comonads. So this is intended as a sequel to that talk. Not only am I going to try to explain what cofree comonads are. Show More Summary

Factoring With Bicycle Chains

As penance for teasing you on April Fool’s Day, I have another exercise on factoring. Today we will simulate a machine invented by Derrick H Lehmer (the son of the famous father-son-daughter-in-law trio of mathematicians named Lehmer) that uses bicycle chains to factor integers. Unlike the previous exercise, this factoring method is real; in fact, […]

Finite time blowup for an averaged three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equation

I’ve just uploaded to the arXiv the paper “Finite time blowup for an averaged three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equation“, submitted to J. Amer. Math. Soc.. The main purpose of this paper is to formalise the “supercriticality barrier” for the global regularity problem for the Navier-Stokes equation, which roughly speaking asserts that it is not possible to establish […]

The many stages of writing a paper, and how to close the deal.

[tl;dr] Producing a piece of research for publication has many stages, and each stage has different needs, requiring different ways of operating. Learning these stages is a key developmental step for a graduate student. In what follows,...Show More Summary

FOCS Reception sing-along

Tomorrow night at 7:30 (before the FOCS business meeting at 9), the Positive Eigenvalues will be playing a live set for the entertainment of FOCSers. Who are the Positive Eigenvalues, you might ask ? Well, you'll have to come and hear us to find out :). Show More Summary

Life at Simons

There have been many posts on the technical talks happening at Simons (see +Moritz Hardt's latest on gradient descent if you haven't yet). Not as many yet on the less-formed discussions that are happening in and around the building,Show More Summary

Conference videos

Well, from my perspective at least, the conference was a success.  We all made it through in one piece, and no one got trapped on the subway. If any of you are looking for the videos of the talks, they can be downloaded from this page. That’s a only a temporary hosting solution, but at [...]

The Great Race

This post is by Phil. Last summer my wife and took a 3.5-month vacation that included a wide range of activities. When I got back, people would ask “what were the highlights or your trip?”, and I was somewhat at a loss: we had done so many things that were so different, many of which [...]

Seminar on the Cobordism Hypothesis and (Infinity,n)-Categories

Well, it’s been a while, but it’s now a new semester here in Hamburg, and I wanted to go back and look at some of what we talked about in last semester’s research seminar. This semester, Susama Agarwala and I are sharing the teaching in a topics class on “Category Theory for Geometry“, in which [...]

Chomsky chomsky chomsky chomsky furiously

Noam Chomsky elicits a lot of emotional reactions. I’ve talked with some linguists who think Chomsky’s been a real roadblock to research in recent decades. Other linguists love Chomsky, but I think they’re the kind of linguists I wouldn’t spend much time talking with. Many people admire Chomsky’s political activism, but sociologist blogger Fabio Rojas [...]

No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man

Part 1. The ideal policy Basbøll, as always, gets right to the point: Andrew Gelman is not the plagiarism police because there is no such thing as the plagiarism police. But, he continues: There is, at any self-respecting university and any self-respecting academic journal, a plagiarism policy, and there sure as hell is a “morality” [...]

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