Ricky Gervais’ atheism

Monday December 20, 2010

Filed under: general — jackman @ 9:27 am

Ricky Gervais, nice one, in the blog section of the WSJ, http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/12/19/a-holiday-message-from-ricky-gervais-why-im-an-atheist/

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

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Sfo to lax

Sunday December 19, 2010

Filed under: flight nerdery — jackman @ 8:30 pm

Aquaplaning up the 405! Rainy Sunday night in LA.

Uneventful flight down from SFO. 757. Seat 2A. 28R departure, no x-rwy ops at SFO due to wind associated with this foul weather. Cloud for most of the flight.

Atypical arrival pattern to Lax, south and then a left turn for final, almost always we fly Malibu thence Santa Monica with a right turn over downtown for final. Pouring rain at touchdown and taxi.

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Better airport terminals

Saturday December 18, 2010

Filed under: flight nerdery — jackman @ 9:00 am


A report on the rebuild of Terminal 2 at SFO, to be used by American and Virgin America.
Only 3 terminals have been designed and constructed in the US since 9/11.

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Efron on selection bias

Monday December 6, 2010

Filed under: statistics — jackman @ 10:19 am

Brad Efron continues his long exploration of the implications of James-Stein, empirical Bayes etc: tomorrow (Tuesday) in Stanford Stats, 4.15pm.

Tweedie’s formula and selection bias

Suppose the statistician observes some large number of estimates z_i each of which is unbiased for its unobserved true mean \mu_i. The largest say 10 of the z_i are likely to substantially overestimate their corresponding \mu_i, this being “selection bias,” or “regression to the mean.” Tweedie’s formula, first reported by Robbins in 1956, offers a simple empirical Bayes approach for correcting selection bias. I will discuss its merits and limitations, in terms of some examples and a little bit of theory relating to the James–Stein estimator.

Interesting take on “selection bias”, a little different to the way the term gets used in polisci/econ etc. For instance, one might substitute the words “measurement error” for “selection bias” and I imagine that a lot of the results still apply.

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Madrid to Madrid

Thursday December 2, 2010

Filed under: general — jackman @ 10:07 am

I taught for a week at Juan March in Madrid, which was great fun.

My family came over as well and we spent the week of Thanksgiving back poking around: Barcelona, up into the south of France via the Pyrenees, San Sebastian and Bilbao, then back to Madrid. Just over 2000kms, 7 days on the road. Unforgettable, even in late November.

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