Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shades of Heisenberg!

A story about an attempt to manipulate prediction markets led me somehow to this other story where statistics and real life collided in a strange way.

In this one, a particular Harvard publication ("Who's got the Monkey") was used as a test case. People who didn't know that all the activity with this particular publication was all faked, well....
When HBSP’s marketing department analyzed the sales trends, they noticed a rather interesting trend. Oncken’s 1974 Who's Got the Monkey? was a run-away best seller! And like any marketing department would, they took the story and ran. HBSP created pamphlets and other distillations of the paper. They even repackaged those little plastic cocktail monkeys as official “Who’s Got the Monkey monkeys”. And finally, sometime in 2002, the updated version of Who’s Got the Monkey? was posted to HBSP, which was then picked up by the searching system, which, in turn, caused the “Single Result Search” test case to fail.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Say it ain't so, Joe!

Apparently, "Joe the Plumber" has been practicing without a license.

Also, besides not being a licensed plumber, he isn't a licensed Joe. His legal name is Samuel.

My guess is he is wishing he had stayed in the background right now. Or hoping to do something useful with this sudden fame.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Science Prizes

Now that the Nobel prizes have been announced, it might be a good time to think back on the more prestigious Ig Nobel Prizes.'

Please, despite the findings about the effectivity of Coca Cola (TM) as a contraceptive, please spend the extra pennies on the real stuff.

For Putin fans only

There is now an instructional video out that teaches you to exercise like Putin.

Hey, it worked for Jane Fonda.

Warning: the link leads to very manly pictures of Putin that might make any female readers give up their existing relationships and move to Russia...just in hope.

HT Volokh Conspiracy

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lyric of the week

Nobody's Side - from the musical "Chess"

What's going on around me
Is barely making sense
I need some explainations fast
I see my present partner
In the imperfect tense
And I don't see how we can last
I feel I need a change of cast
Nobody's on nobody's side

And when he gives me reasons
To justify each move
They're getting harder to believe
I know this can't continue
I've still a lot to prove
There must be more I could acheive
But I don't have the nerve to leave

Everybody's playing the game
But nobody's rules are the same
Nobody's on nobody's side
Better learn to go it alone
Recognize you're out on your own
Nobody's on nobody's side

The one I should not think of
Keeps rolling through my mind
And I don't want to let that go
No lovers ever faithfull
No contract truly signed
There's nothing certain left to know
And how the cracks begin to show

Never make a promise or plan
Take a little love where you can
Nobody's on nobody's side
Never stay too long in your bed
Never lose your heart, use your head
Nobody's on nobody's side

Never take a stranger's advice
Never let a friend fool you twice
Nobody's on nobody's side
Never be the first to believe
Never be the last to deceive
Nobody's on nobody's side
And never leave a moment too soon
Never waste a hot afternoon
Nobody's on nobody's side
Never stay a minute too long
Don't forget the best will go wrong
Nobody's on nobody's side

Better learn to go it alone
Recognize you're out on your own
Nobody's on nobody's side

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Definition of the week

Epicaricacy: Yes, this is just another word for schadenfreude, the joy at the discomfort of another.

Kind of unusual for the German word to be better known in English!

Sunday, October 12, 2008