1131: "Math"

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Velexia » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:19 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:We make observations, yes, but our eyes (and our brains' interpretation of what they see) are not especially reliable, nor is anyone's personal experience especially indicative of how reality really works.

Sure, watching something fall is a good start, but until science became a thing, that's all the farther anyone ever went. We are unreliable instruments for observing, measuring, and remembering things correctly, so we use science to try to mitigate those errors.


...And don't bother trying to sidetrack with things like optical illusions. That would just be dumb. Yes, they trick the eyes. But assuming you are clever you can recognize the trick through further observation. Scientific method, and process at work, amazing. All done with observation and senses.


Science is the art of not fooling yourself


I don't see that we are in disagreement.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby phlip » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:58 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:I'm starting to think that maybe everything, within this thread, that isn't directly related to Comic 1131, should be moved to the Religious Wars forum. :roll:

Oh hell no, I'm not moderating this mess. ICT started this, ICT can deal with it.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby addams » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:50 am UTC

Politics.

Someone on this forum typed. "Yes. It matters who lives in the White House."

How?! In what way does it matter?
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby WIMP » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:38 am UTC

Someguy945 wrote:Isn't this comic in error? It shows the "result" as being directly in the middle of the forecasted range.

However, as best I can tell, Obama won every single swing state. Didn't he perform at the absolute maximum of what was forecasted as possible?

If not, what states specifically did he miss that were considered within his range? Keep in mind that to put the "result" in the middle of the forecast, you'll need to come up with approximately the same number of electoral votes as all of the swing states he did win - about 100.


Obama could have won North Carolina, as he did in 2008, but lost it by a few percentage points. In a high end Obama rout, he wins it. In fact, I think Romney winning the election would have been about equivalent to Obama winning Missouri (the only 08 swing state he lost), Montana (nearly won it in 08), retaining Indiana from 2008, or even stealing Georgia. All pretty unlikely, and the voting didn't go that way, but it's not completely inconceivable, just like Romney winning the election was certainly plausible, but as anyone with an understanding of statistics could see, not very likely.

It remains incredible that Obama won Nebraska's 2nd district in 08. That was such a landslide, and he could easily have carried Montana and Missouri, too.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:10 am UTC

addams wrote:Politics.

Someone on this forum typed. "Yes. It matters who lives in the White House."

How?! In what way does it matter?


It matters to him. It also probably matters to the guy who lives in the White House.

Whether it matters to you depends on what you care about. If you don't care about anything, then maybe nothing matters to you.

Sometimes it probably matters who's in the White House. In 1860 the election result probably led to civil war. Maybe if somebody else had won that could have been avoided that year. If the time comes that a particular president results in civil war sometime in the future, is it true that all our missile silos are in red states and all our submarine bases are in blue states? That might matter to a whole lot of people.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:40 pm UTC

addams wrote:Politics.

Someone on this forum typed. "Yes. It matters who lives in the White House."

How?! In what way does it matter?


1. several million people can breathe easier knowing that they won't suddenly not have insurance (or be denied because insurance companies suck are beholden to stockholders.)
2. DOMA will not be defended by the government (go Maine, Maryland, and Washington!)
3. various federal agencies such as the EPA or NASA won't get gutted, or have incompetent people put in charge (hopefully)
4. We won't get suckered into an aggressive war with Iran

there are lots of other reasons as well.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:48 pm UTC

Velexia wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:We make observations, yes, but our eyes (and our brains' interpretation of what they see) are not especially reliable, nor is anyone's personal experience especially indicative of how reality really works.

Sure, watching something fall is a good start, but until science became a thing, that's all the farther anyone ever went. We are unreliable instruments for observing, measuring, and remembering things correctly, so we use science to try to mitigate those errors.


...And don't bother trying to sidetrack with things like optical illusions. That would just be dumb. Yes, they trick the eyes. But assuming you are clever you can recognize the trick through further observation. Scientific method, and process at work, amazing. All done with observation and senses.


Science is the art of not fooling yourself


I don't see that we are in disagreement.


All the data we have about the outside world, we get through our senses. Using a thermometer to tell what the temperature is actually means (in most cases) using our eyes to tell what the reading on the thermometer is. Science doesn't happen in the thermometer - it happens in the brain thinking about the perceived thermometer.

In general, the direct evidence of our senses is reliable - where things can go wrong is when we interpret what we perceive - and even then we get it right the vast majority of the time (at least on superficial interpretations) - otherwise I wouldn't be able to type this now because I wouldn't be able to observe the keyboard and monitor well enough to type into the posting window. We have evolved to be good at generalising from insufficient data and getting a result that, if not perfect, is at least not disastrously wrong.

What science does for us is to take our intuitions, rules-of-thumb, generalisations, and other "good enough" guesses about how the world works and find the inconsistencies and try to come up with better guesses about how the world works.

The thing is that objects do tend to come to rest when moving in a resistive medium. The sun does go around the world in a reference frame where the world is fixed and the rest of the universe rotates around it. The reason "objects in motion tend to come to rest" was replaced by "objects in motion continue in their state of motion unless acted on by an external force" is not that it's wrong, but that it's incomplete (and it makes a pretty good metaphor for the second law of thermodynamics, which is one of the more enduringly fundamental physical laws). The reason "the sun goes around the world" was replaced by "the world goes around the sun" is that it makes the maths to describe the solar system a lot easier if you think of the sun as (almost) fixed - though if you want to describe the apparent motion of an astronomical body as seen from Earth, you still need to do the hard maths in order to convert the heliocentric data.


One of the key steps in science is to not reject the evidence of one's own senses - you don't just assume you know how the world works - instead you see whether what your senses tell you agrees with what you thought they should tell you.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby addams » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:09 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
addams wrote:Politics.

Someone on this forum typed. "Yes. It matters who lives in the White House."

How?! In what way does it matter?


1. several million people can breathe easier knowing that they won't suddenly not have insurance (or be denied because insurance companies suck are beholden to stockholders.)
2. DOMA will not be defended by the government (go Maine, Maryland, and Washington!)
3. various federal agencies such as the EPA or NASA won't get gutted, or have incompetent people put in charge (hopefully)
4. We won't get suckered into an aggressive war with Iran

there are lots of other reasons as well.


I have problems with your number 1.
The American people buy Health Care.
People with government backed health insurance are refused at many facilities.
How would that change?

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Velexia » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

rmsgrey says very eloquently the point I was trying to make =)

Or was I defending it (the role of the senses in science)? I don't remember anymore.

Here's something else somewhat related. Communication is hard. Try to make it easier by doing your best to assume that people are intelligent (I know, it's hard in the dawning of the idiocracy), and if what you think they mean sounds ridiculous, maybe that's not what they meant, and you can try to find a different interpretation of what they said =)
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Puppyclaws » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:20 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
addams wrote:Politics.

Someone on this forum typed. "Yes. It matters who lives in the White House."

How?! In what way does it matter?


1. several million people can breathe easier knowing that they won't suddenly not have insurance (or be denied because insurance companies suck are beholden to stockholders.)
2. DOMA will not be defended by the government (go Maine, Maryland, and Washington!)
3. various federal agencies such as the EPA or NASA won't get gutted, or have incompetent people put in charge (hopefully)
4. We won't get suckered into an aggressive war with Iran

there are lots of other reasons as well.


1. ...except many people still don't have insurance since parts of the law haven't gone into effect yet, and they will still be forced to purchase that insurance at exorbitant cost from private health insurance companies, or face government penalties for failing to do so.
2. That's nice for gay folk in liberal coastal states, but means nothing for gay people in conservative states, who need the most support.
3. But NASA has already been gutted.
4. Did you watch the debates? Honestly, this was the last straw for me not voting for Obama, he clearly indicated war was a serious option (and it sounded a lot like what he said about Afghanistan in the 2008 debates).

Not saying there are no differences, but for the most part they are not big differences.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:07 pm UTC

Velexia wrote:I don't see that we are in disagreement.
But SerialTroll also seems to be in agreement with me, so why are the two of you so dead-set on fighting with each other?

Velexia wrote:Here's something else somewhat related. Communication is hard. Try to make it easier by doing your best to assume that people are intelligent (I know, it's hard in the dawning of the idiocracy), and if what you think they mean sounds ridiculous, maybe that's not what they meant, and you can try to find a different interpretation of what they said =)
You might try following your own advice.

Though it's admittedly harder to assume you are intelligent when you seem to seriously believe the idiocracy is a real thing.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Tobu » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:43 pm UTC

You have your name in purple, shouldn't you avoid getting into anything resembling personal arguments?

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby SerialTroll » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:48 pm UTC

Tobu wrote:You have your name in purple, shouldn't you avoid getting into anything resembling personal arguments?


Okay, I know Velexia has "foe'd" me so can't see this, but here goes.

I responded to him/her twice and then decided it wasn't worth it (so, no gmalivuk, I am not deadset on fighting) . Argument on the internet... you know how that goes. He/she continues the argument even though he/she made a production about "muting" me. I'm not quite sure how one carries on an argument after silencing someone, but I couldn't care less.

At this point, I'd just recommend people stop feeding it. It has long gone past the original point I made in a couple of sentences in my first post. Now we have paragraph after paragraph of back and forth.It is rather tiresome.

Let it go and please let the thread die. (and no, i don't think gmalivuk conducted anything remotely resembling a personal attack).
Last edited by SerialTroll on Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:56 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby philsov » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

Tobu wrote:You have your name in purple, shouldn't you avoid getting into anything resembling personal arguments?


Fora history clearly dictates a resounding "naaaaaaaaaaaaah."
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:21 pm UTC

philsov wrote:
Tobu wrote:You have your name in purple, shouldn't you avoid getting into anything resembling personal arguments?


Fora history clearly dictates a resounding "naaaaaaaaaaaaah."


What it should mean is that when you're involved in a ... vigorous dispute, you leave the knocking-together of heads and sending to the naughty step to someone else (at least that's how it works in places where I have moderator powers)

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:12 pm UTC

Velexia wrote:Communication is hard. Try to make it easier by doing your best to assume that people are intelligent (I know, it's hard in the dawning of the idiocracy), and if what you think they mean sounds ridiculous, maybe that's not what they meant, and you can try to find a different interpretation of what they said =)

In philosophy we call that principle "charity". Give the writer the benefit of the doubt that he's not an evil moron but may actually have a good, well-reasoned point, and try to find it.

The converse of that I've seen put somewhat humorously as a directive to assume, as a writer yourself, that your audience is "stupid, lazy, and mean": stupid in that they won't just understand your idea no matter how obviously brilliant it seems to you, lazy in that they don't care enough to try to understand it if it's not spoon fed to them, and mean in that when they inevitably misunderstand it they will do so in the way that puts you in the absolute worst possible light. The point is to make sure that you are extremely clear and easy to understand, in as few words as possible, with emphasis on curtailing the worst possible misinterpretations first.

In practice that's like any of the various famous requirements triangles (e.g. good, cheap, fast): pick any two. You can be very clear and concise, but that means any one word taken wrong can ruin everything. You can be clear and unambiguous, with a lot of verbose explanation. Or you can be concise and unambiguous, but usually only by using highly technical language that won't be clear to the average reader.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:18 am UTC

Tobu wrote:You have your name in purple, shouldn't you avoid getting into anything resembling personal arguments?
Nope. Having my name in purple means I have moderator privileges over one or more subfora, which probably means I shouldn't get into personal arguments in those subfora. Or, if I do, that I shouldn't also try to moderate the same thread I'm arguing in.

Fortunately for me, this isn't one of those subfora, so I'm just another poster who happens to have a better colored name than you.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby CZeke » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:06 am UTC

Not impressed with this one -- and on a normal day, I'd like to think Randall wouldn't be either. In order to paint his opponents as stupid, he's being deliberately obtuse himself.

There's a huge difference between saying MATH IS WRONG and thinking there's something funny about poll results. Polling is our best way to predict elections, but it's still flawed, sometimes dramatically so. This time around, the polls kept showing a large Obama lead -- an enthusiasm gap on the order of his '08 victory. Did anyone actually see such a gap? This was not the year of "Yes We Can"; nobody was fainting at Obama's rallies. He ran as the better alternative when incumbents usually run on their records. The general feeling was that liberals were okay with him, but no longer excited by him. Conservatives, meanwhile, were highly motivated to get him out.

So yes, the polls predicted Obama's big win -- but they predicted it alone. All the other indicators said it would be close. There were two possible explanations, both strange: either Obama had a "silent majority" going or something was funny about the polling process this year. Choose one and you had to explain the other one. Plenty of intelligent people judged the latter more likely, if only because polls usually do reflect the actual look-out-the-window evidence. How long have progressives been laughing off the idea of a Moral Majority? When deviation from expected results is such an established phenomenon that we have a name for it (the Bradley Effect), how can it suddenly be ignorant and unscientific to suggest that it might be happening again?

The polls turned out to be right, and it was a big surprise to everyone who hadn't been relying exclusively on them. This time, Dewey really did beat Truman. He didn't in '48. The polls were wrong that time, because there are other factors.

So way to go, Randall. You really showed those people who just ignore numbers if they don't like them -- the people who believe MATH IS WRONG. It's just too bad they only existed in your head.

(A friend of mine put together a thorough demonstration of all this on his site. He's a huge Nate Silver devotee, but that didn't blind him to the fact that something was odd about the numbers. He's since analyzed the actual results to try and figure out how the "turnout miracle" happened.)
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Titanium Dragon » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:01 pm UTC

That being said, I'm increasingly frustrated with how hard it is to actually find truth. Politicians lie constantly, and there's no way for normal folks to know the truth. Absolutely no way. Every last news source is biased. Even xkcd, which tends to appeal to knowledge-seekers, is biased. (I didn't vote for Romney, I'm not complaining about the direction of the bias.) People don't watch the news to be informed, they watch the news to feel good about decisions they've already made.


Its actually quite simple to discern reality from lies. You look for data, and you look for methodology. You look for pictures, you look for video, you look at what is actually written, and what has actually happened.

And there are plenty of reliable sources. Simply because a source is biased does not make it unusable.

I imagined that Romney could possibly win. As it turned out, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia were all within 3% on the popular vote. If those three had gone the other way that would give Romney 266, almost enough. It wouldn't take a whole lot of wishful thinking to imagine that.


3% sounds close, but its really not as close as it sounds. The margin of victory in Ohio was larger than the margin of victory in Wyoming was; so was the margin of victory in Virginia. This is one of those scaling issues that people have; they see these numbers, and see them as being close, when in actuality you're talking about over a hundred thousand people. That's a pretty big margin.

And even still, if those 300,000 votes had gone the other way (a pretty tough feat), he -still- would have lost.

The truth is we cannot know what the actual odds of him winning the election were, but 8% was what Nate Silver COULD predict, not the -actual- odds. Indeed, the actual odds may very well have been 0%.

As for Guantanamo Bay: Obama, by keeping it open, with people indefinitely detained, not only gave in to the policy of the Republicans, but proved that he had no spine. It was a sign that he would allow himself to be pushed over by them. He could have pushed through the closing of Guantanamo Bay in his first term in office, and wussed out.

It wasn't a pragmatic decision. What it was was an indication of Obama's weakness, and the Republicans took it for all it was worth.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:29 pm UTC

CZeke wrote:So yes, the polls predicted Obama's big win -- but they predicted it alone. All the other indicators said it would be close. There were two possible explanations, both strange: either Obama had a "silent majority" going or something was funny about the polling process this year. Choose one and you had to explain the other one. Plenty of intelligent people judged the latter more likely, if only because polls usually do reflect the actual look-out-the-window evidence. How long have progressives been laughing off the idea of a Moral Majority? When deviation from expected results is such an established phenomenon that we have a name for it (the Bradley Effect), how can it suddenly be ignorant and unscientific to suggest that it might be happening again?


What I got from listening to people around me, was that Republicans were ready to do anything short of assassination to get rid of Obama, while even fervent Democrats didn't like him much any more. Meanwhile, Republicans weren't all that enthusiastic about Romney while Democrats were emphatically going to vote for Obama to stop Romney. Independents seemed to take one or the other of those stands and some of them hadn't chosen which. The polls for my state had them neck-and-neck most of the time, Romney wasn't ahead quite as often but the results were almost always within the margin of error for the particular poll. If you believed that the results were stable and added up the polls you'd get a narrow Obama win, but if you believed that people were actually changing their minds and the polls weren't accurate enough to track that, then it would all depend on how they changed their minds the last few days.

The polls turned out to be right, and it was a big surprise to everyone who hadn't been relying exclusively on them. This time, Dewey really did beat Truman. He didn't in '48. The polls were wrong that time, because there are other factors.


The way I heard the story, the polls were wrong in 1948 because a lot of people didn't have telephones, and the ones who didn't tended to vote for Truman. This time around a lot of people didn't have landlines so telephone polls that depended on that had a potential bias. People who had only cellphones didn't vote that different from people who did have landlines. It could have been otherwise. The pollsters were aware of the potential problem and tried to account for it.

(A friend of mine put together a thorough demonstration of all this on his site. He's a huge Nate Silver devotee, but that didn't blind him to the fact that something was odd about the numbers. He's since analyzed the actual results to try and figure out how the "turnout miracle" happened.)


Interesting! A fine example of partisan bias. I'd comment on his blog but my browser can't see comments or leave comments there.

He starts by noting that Republicans are a minority and so the Electoral College is a good thing.

Then he looks at the last election and thinks about what could have gone differently to let Romney win. He notices that white voters who supported Romney did not vote enough -- if more whites had voted for Romney they would have won. It wasn't particularly white women who liked Romney who didn't vote. It wasn't so much that Latinos voted for Obama. (They did, but that wouldn't matter if enough whites voted for Romney.)

It wasn't because of the "war on women" because the large majority of white women voted for Romney -- though a much larger percentage of nonwhite women voted for Obama. White women are the ones who care about equality and contraception and rape, right? The other women probably voted for Obama because they were nonwhite, and we can write off those votes. In the short run nonwhites are increasingly voting Democratic and that will be an issue in the long run, but for at least the next few elections it doesn't take nonwhite votes to win, and it doesn't take liberal white women.

It isn't young people so much. Young people vote more Democrat than they used to, but they aren't decisive yet.

No, when he looked at the data what mattered was the people in favor of forced childbirth. He is one of them. And he found that according to the exit polls, they didn't vote as much this year. They were 34% of the voters instead of 42%, and if about 6 million more of them had voted, Romney would have won.

He figures there were 6 to 7 million white anti-abortion voters who didn't want Romney enough to vote for him, and that's why Romney lost. So if the GOP would just come out stronger against abortion, they would win.

;) ;) ;)

He looks only at what could be different about the GOP, namely they could do what he wants. He does not look at the bigger picture. The GOP is a coalition among three groups that have no natural affinity. There are Republicans who want to make sure the government does whatever it can to help them make money. They want government to be "pro-business", meaning pro-them. Then there are Republicans who want the government to do less across the board. And there are Republicans who want the government to enforce their morality. The third group tends to be suspicious of rich and greedy people, and disgusted by immoral people, so they don't like the first two. The second group doesn't want the government to support the first group and doesn't want to be forced by the third. The first group doesn't want the government to turn them away from the trough or to enforce God-knows-what. It's very very hard for a GOP politician to get all of them to support him. The best he can hope for is a Democrat who's so scary they'll support anybody else.

Meanwhile, the Democrats stand for nothing. They try to stand for laughing children and cute kittens and such, but they don't have what it takes to do that. In terms of politics, diplomacy, etc they mostly try to muddle through. Their main chance to win is when Republicans scare too many people and voters support anybody who can stop the GOP. Luckily for them, the GOP scares people with theocrats, anarchists, and Monolithic Big Business all at the same time.

Mr. Heaney's idea is to somehow get the GOP to band together better so they will all vote and win. But the more unified they look, attacking strong on all three fronts, the more resistance they will stir up among independents. People who are scared of any one of the groups will vote against them.

I tend to suggest that they disband. If they become a second party in favor of just muddling through without any specific strategy, they can win half the time. The scarier things get, the less they can afford to scare people.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby addams » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:16 pm UTC

What can 'The People do'?

Helpless children? Yes. Maybe.

Or; Mean Bastards?

The People. Who is that?
What role do the people have?

Umm. There is this one little thing.

The people have a right to..?? (Fill In The Blank.)

I know we complain. People are great complainers. People complain for entertainment.

The people on TV get paid to complain for us. Jeeze. We must be lazy.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby BCSWowbagger » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:16 pm UTC

Hello. Found this through referrer traffic. Thanks for the plug, CZeke.

(A friend of mine put together a thorough demonstration of all this on his site. He's a huge Nate Silver devotee, but that didn't blind him to the fact that something was odd about the numbers. He's since analyzed the actual results to try and figure out how the "turnout miracle" happened.)


Interesting! A fine example of partisan bias. I'd comment on his blog but my browser can't see comments or leave comments there.

He starts by noting that Republicans are a minority and so the Electoral College is a good thing.[/quote]

This comment alone is reason enough not to take the rest of your post seriously. Here is why I argue that the electoral college is a good thing:

[In a popular vote system, c]andidates would no longer pay attention to battlegrounds, but that would not instigate a national campaign. It would instigate a base-oriented campaign centered around major base-states. And that would only further polarize our nation along our increasingly sectional lines... if you want to make elections uglier and more partisan, abolish the Electoral College. If you want to make them prettier and more moderate, abolish at-large electoral apportionment and return to district-by-district elections or legislative appointment of electors.


In fact, if the 2012 election returns are any indication, the use of the electoral college currently penalizes Republicans, rather than assisting them. This is because Democrats are moderately stronger in the swing states than they are in the popular average. As Nate Silver showed recently, Mr. Romney would have needed to win the popular vote by about 3.5% in order to win the electoral college. Instead, he lost it by 2%. Not only did I not argue for the electoral college because it benefits Republicans; the fact of the matter is that the electoral college harms Republicans. It is nevertheless as good idea.

Throughout the rest of your comment, you continue the same practice: you impose your own interpretation on my analysis, based on your own conception (which is really a caricature) of the inner workings of the Republican mind. You don't dispute the facts; you just wink at them, then move on to a grand unified theory (based once again on caricature) of why the Republican coalition doesn't work.

If you can actually show (or even suggest!) some reason to believe that the loss of the pro-life electorate was not the single most decisive factor revealed by the exit polls, or why a gender gap would have developed only among non-whites if it were really about contraception and abortion, or that Romney's failure to convince white voters to vote for him was more important than his failure to convince Hispanics not to vote for Obama, I'd be interested in hearing them. Until then, I think Randall has handled my rebuttal for me.

"A fine example of partisan bias" indeed.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:56 am UTC

Titanium Dragon wrote:
I imagined that Romney could possibly win. As it turned out, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia were all within 3% on the popular vote. If those three had gone the other way that would give Romney 266, almost enough. It wouldn't take a whole lot of wishful thinking to imagine that.


3% sounds close, but its really not as close as it sounds. The margin of victory in Ohio was larger than the margin of victory in Wyoming was; so was the margin of victory in Virginia. This is one of those scaling issues that people have; they see these numbers, and see them as being close, when in actuality you're talking about over a hundred thousand people. That's a pretty big margin.


If you believe that everybody had already decided and the polling had large errors which kept us from knowing the truth, then it's a big margin. If you believe that a lot of people were not sure and swung back and forth, and the polling barely recognized the swings, then it's not such a big margin. I don't know which was more true.

And even still, if those 300,000 votes had gone the other way (a pretty tough feat), he -still- would have lost.


Yes, but if you assume that GOP supporters could jimmy the voting machines by 3% and not get caught, then the problem wasn't states where Romney was only a little bit behind. The problem was there were too many states where Romney was so far behind that the fraud would show. I don't know how much truth there might be in that either.

The truth is we cannot know what the actual odds of him winning the election were, but 8% was what Nate Silver COULD predict, not the -actual- odds. Indeed, the actual odds may very well have been 0%.


Silver was predicting based on polls that weren't worth fudging. They came out with pretty much the right answers, which implies that there wasn't a lot of vote fixing in this particular presidential election.

As for Guantanamo Bay: Obama, by keeping it open, with people indefinitely detained, not only gave in to the policy of the Republicans, but proved that he had no spine. It was a sign that he would allow himself to be pushed over by them. He could have pushed through the closing of Guantanamo Bay in his first term in office, and wussed out.


Sure, but the other side is, if he did push through on all that and then got into great big difficulties, the Republicans would have gotten a sign he was willing to be lured into the tar pits.

If it turned out that there was no legal case against most of the Gitmo prisoners, what then? Release them because there was no legal case against them, and they tell the world media about our tortures and illegal kidnapping from friendly nations etc? Maybe some of them die in suicide attacks after that.... Hold them illegally? If it's officially public knowledge that a bunch of US military officers commited real honest-to-goodness war crimes, and he punishes them for it, a whole bunch of Americans would say he hates the troops and doesn't support them etc. If he tells them it's OK, where does that lead? If he goes after the Republican politicians who gave the orders, it's 100% certain that sometime after he's out of office a Republican administration will try its very best to prosecute him for something. And a lot of Americans will repeat many times a day that it's all politically motivated and he's trying to persecute the patriots who want to save our country, and then if there's a successful terrorist attack anywhere in the world they'll blame him for loving the terrorists and hating the Americans.

You're only counting the problems with what he actually did, and not the problems with the alternatives which we don't actually get to see because he didn't do them and didn't have to face those problems.

It wasn't a pragmatic decision. What it was was an indication of Obama's weakness, and the Republicans took it for all it was worth.


Still, he stood up to Netanyahu as well as he could, until he saw that the political realities said he couldn't. Then he gave Netanyahu lots of money and weapons and military secrets and gave up on peace, but still refused to stage a sneak attack on Iran. That was probably worth something like $3 billion in superPAC money for Romney plus an unknown number of votes in Florida and Ohio, and Obama stood up to Netanyahu anyway. When was the last time a US president did something like that? George HW Bush, and he lost his next election.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Velexia » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:08 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Velexia wrote:I don't see that we are in disagreement.
But SerialTroll also seems to be in agreement with me, so why are the two of you so dead-set on fighting with each other?

Velexia wrote:Here's something else somewhat related. Communication is hard. Try to make it easier by doing your best to assume that people are intelligent (I know, it's hard in the dawning of the idiocracy), and if what you think they mean sounds ridiculous, maybe that's not what they meant, and you can try to find a different interpretation of what they said =)
You might try following your own advice.

Though it's admittedly harder to assume you are intelligent when you seem to seriously believe the idiocracy is a real thing.


...Really. I think I'll just add you to my foe list too, you don't seem to be worth talking to. Oh the irony. I can't. I'll just do my best to ignore you normally then =)

I've underlined what it is that you said, that I take issue with.

Pfhorrest wrote:The converse of that I've seen put somewhat humorously as a directive to assume, as a writer yourself, that your audience is "stupid, lazy, and mean": stupid in that they won't just understand your idea no matter how obviously brilliant it seems to you, lazy in that they don't care enough to try to understand it if it's not spoon fed to them, and mean in that when they inevitably misunderstand it they will do so in the way that puts you in the absolute worst possible light. The point is to make sure that you are extremely clear and easy to understand, in as few words as possible, with emphasis on curtailing the worst possible misinterpretations first.


I need to work on this second part. Especially in a medium like this, where people are generally/typically less respectful of each other (it seems to be human nature, because of distance and anonymity).
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:47 am UTC

So do you, like, foe *everyone* who disagrees with you and who isn't all unicorns and rainbows about it?
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:29 am UTC

BCSWowbagger wrote:
Interesting! A fine example of partisan bias. I'd comment on his blog but my browser can't see comments or leave comments there.

He starts by noting that Republicans are a minority and so the Electoral College is a good thing.


This comment alone is reason enough not to take the rest of your post seriously.


Aw, the post might have something good in it even if it has a cheap shot near the beginning.

Here is why I argue that the electoral college is a good thing:

[In a popular vote system, c]andidates would no longer pay attention to battlegrounds, but that would not instigate a national campaign. It would instigate a base-oriented campaign centered around major base-states. And that would only further polarize our nation along our increasingly sectional lines... if you want to make elections uglier and more partisan, abolish the Electoral College. If you want to make them prettier and more moderate, abolish at-large electoral apportionment and return to district-by-district elections or legislative appointment of electors.


I want to note that this is an inherently partisan argument, in line with your other reasoning. You argue that there are two sides which are bitterly divided, and that the best way to win is to try to get as many as possible of your partisan followers to vote while minimizing voting by your opponent's partisan followers. And for that it helps to he as partisan as possible. But you ignore the third camp, the moderates who don't much want extremists, who can be stuck with one extreme or another and will try to choose the saner of the two. Your strategy is likely to result in more votes against than votes for.

In fact, if the 2012 election returns are any indication, the use of the electoral college currently penalizes Republicans, rather than assisting them. This is because Democrats are moderately stronger in the swing states than they are in the popular average.


That is, Republicans are so strong in the states they're strong in, that they do better on average than they did this year in those swing states. But in 2004 a lot of those swing states went with Bush. The economy looked like it was doing OK because of the housing bubble, and we were in a couple of popular wars, the soaring deficit didn't look important, etc.

Throughout the rest of your comment, you continue the same practice: you impose your own interpretation on my analysis, based on your own conception (which is really a caricature) of the inner workings of the Republican mind. You don't dispute the facts; you just wink at them, then move on to a grand unified theory (based once again on caricature) of why the Republican coalition doesn't work.


Yes, it was a whole lot of fun for me. Not that I like Democrats that much. I thought my interpretation was pretty good, though.

If you can actually show (or even suggest!) some reason to believe that the loss of the pro-life electorate was not the single most decisive factor revealed by the exit polls,


Well, it looks to me like a really successful party would try to base itself around something that most of the nation could learn to accept. If you win the election, but 49% (or 51%) of the public is still bitterly opposed, how much good have you done? So start with something that's obviously good, and then persuade as many people as possible. But you argue that the GOP could have won this year with only white people if Romney had been more convincing that he was anti-abortion and anti-contraceptive. I think this is short-sighted. If it's true that there were 6-7 million Republicans who didn't vote for Romney because they thought he wasn't sufficiently anti-sex, that this issue was their only reason to prefer Romney over Obama and Romney failed from it.... Well, but you pointed out that the pro-abortion/anti-abortion sides have been pretty much balanced over the years. Don't you think if Romney had come out extremist enough to satisfy those voters, that he'd have scared a lot of other people who either didn't vote or voted for him? I tend to think that. Extremist stands that tend to bring in extremist supporters also bring in votes against. And it might easily bring more votes against than votes for.

You calculated that in 2004 slightly more than half of potential white voters voted, and in 2012 slightly less than half did. Exit polls implied that nearly 60% of whites voted for Romney. So if an extra 7 million whites voted and 60% of them voted for Romney, Romney could have won. However, consider that Obama got 10 million less votes this time than in 2008. Isn't it plausible that a lot of those white voters who stayed home were people who voted for Obama in 2008? If an extra 7 million whites voted and 50% of them voted for Romney instead of 60%, it wouldn't make much difference.

Meanwhile, a little more than a third of hispanics voted. and they were 7:3 for Obama. They were down from 2008 too, but not as much. If half of hispanics had voted, and the new ones went 7:3 for Obama, that would be just about another 6 million votes. And I think it's more likely that new hispanic votes would go to Obama than disillusioned white votes would go to Romney.

or why a gender gap would have developed only among non-whites if it were really about contraception and abortion,


I think you have a point here. Maybe it isn't about contraception and abortion.

or that Romney's failure to convince white voters to vote for him was more important than his failure to convince Hispanics not to vote for Obama,


Here's the elephant in the room: 13% of the votes cast were from blacks, and they voted 93% for Obama. That's over 11% of the votes for Obama right there. If Romney could have gotten half the black vote and neutralized that advantage, it would have made a tremendous difference. I don't think blacks voted for Obama primarily out of racism against Romney. They don't like GOP policies. Change the GOP brand to something that blacks can vote for, and it will make more difference than anything else.

Meanwhile, you figure that anti-abortion votes were central. 6-7 million missing white voters who stayed away because Romney didn't seem sincere about abortion? Well, but look at your numbers. 3 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2004. Then you figure the white population has increased enough to generate an extra 4 million voters who didn't vote. But younger voters are more likely to vote Democrat. I don't know whether that applies to young white voters, you didn't publish that graph. But I suspect that the new white voters who didn't vote are probably not in Romney's favor. They're young people who didn't vote because they're apolitical, not because they only care about abortion.

You claimed that white men who voted, voted for Romney just as much as they had for Bush in 2004, 62%. And white women who voted, voted for Romney more than they voted for Bush, 56%. You figured it's whites who particularly care about abortion, and white women were only 38% of the total vote down from 41% in 2004. Meanwhile exit polls that ask about abortion (that's where this came from, right?) found that support:opposition has increased from 55:42 to 59:36.

I'll make some slightly different assumptions. I'll assume that it's mostly whites who oppose abortion, and anybody else in an exit poll will either say legal or don't care. Then the 42% who opposed abortion in 2004 would be part of the 77% of the vote that was white. If the white vote was 72% in 2012 and all whites were affected equally, then I'd expect the percentage who oppose abortion in 2012 to be 42% * 72/77 = 39%. But in reality it was only 36%. That's half the difference. I wonder what the margin of error was on that exit poll....

Back to your model. You figure that a lot of anti-abortion voters didn't vote, and if they did vote Romney would win. You increased the number enough to bring it from 36% to 42%. But the 64% of non-anti-abortion voters wouldn't go away, so you'd have to increase the number more than 6% of the total. I may have this wrong, but here's how I figure it:

(36+x)/(100+x) = .42
36+x = .42(100+x)
36+x = 42 + .42x
.58x = 6
x=6/.58 = 10.3

To get your result, we'd need to have one anti-abortion voter who stayed away for every 10 voters who did vote. About 12 million of them. I doubt this.

Probably there is some other explanation for the other half of your anomalous abortion data, perhaps exit poll error.

"A fine example of partisan bias" indeed.


Yes! You started out stating the problem was that more voters voted for Obama than Romney, and you looked for alternatives that could have worked better. Your first possibility was to go after the Hispanic vote. You decided that might work but something else would be better.

Your preferred choice was to get more whites to vote. More whites vote Republican, so if we can get more whites to vote then Republicans will get more votes. You assumed that the voters who didn't bother to vote would vote 60% for Romney if you could make them vote at all.

Your third possibility was to cater to women. But you rejected that because white women already tend to vote Republican. It's only nonwhite women that vote for Democrats, so forget it.

You considered trying to do something to appeal to young people. You decided it's important in the long run, but this year it wouldn't have made that much difference.

Then you looked at abortion, and found that the majority of actual voters were pro-choice in 2004, and in 2012 a larger majority of actual voters were pro-choice. So your proposal was to get more fervently anti-abortion! You figured that would bring in more anti-abortion voters and lead to a win.

This is not what I would have expected.

In every case, your thought is not to persuade people to agree with you. And it isn't to listen to people and find things you can agree with them about so they will be favorably disposed to part of what you stand for. In every case, your thought is to find ways to get the white people who agree with you to vote more. You write off nonwhite voters.

You, sir, are a partisan and your bias blinds you to some potential winning strategies.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Velexia » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:36 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:So do you, like, foe *everyone* who disagrees with you and who isn't all unicorns and rainbows about it?


It's not about disagreement. What gave you that idea? It would be pretty rad if everyone was all unicorns and rainbows about everything though ~_^

(The first thought-response was "I dunno, I just got started with this whole foe thing, we'll see..." lol, but anyway... ^ )

Here's a semi-in-depth breakdown for you... of why I said what I said in regards to you:

You might try following your own advice.

I generally try to follow my own advice, but no one is perfect. The part of this statement I disagree with is this attitude you appear to be copping with the "You might try" line. It's the kind of thing, that when I see it in someone in person, makes me not want to have anything to do with them... That kind of attitude has always bothered me. It's like people who insult you indirectly, purposefully, because they think that they are clever... knowing they will infuriate you, and then essentially doing the "u mad bro?" when it does in fact make them mad. Granted, telling someone to follow their own advice at all seems to be this sort of sentiment for almost all cases. So it highlights you as the type of person I could live without.

Though it's admittedly harder to assume you are intelligent

When I read this, I am taking from it "Basically I am trying to avoid directly calling you stupid, but if you ascribe to what follows this sentence introduction, I think you are stupid." Which I then break down to "You are stupid." Because it's, as I mentioned above, one of those roundabout ways of insulting someone and thinking you are doing it in a clever, obscure way. I've probably been guilty of this myself from time to time, but it's simply a jerk thing to do, and no one should ever do it. So again, this tends to highlight people as the types I don't care to associate with or talk to. Don't insult people's intelligence. Even people who are obviously less educated, worldly, wise, or knowledgeable than yourself. It's just plain rude.

when you seem to seriously believe the idiocracy is a real thing.


You assume I seriously believe that the idiocracy is a real thing... based on me saying "dawning of the idiocracy". Seems like quite a leap. Due to that leap, you made, you are then also assuming I am stupid... Maybe it's a joke. Maybe it's a joke that's funny because hey, there are a lot of stupid people in the world. A lot. I hope idiocracy never becomes a real thing, because that would be terrible. But man there sure are a lot of idiots in the world. Just don't tell them that directly or in a roundabout pretentiously clever way, because it's rude... and being rude is frowned upon from my spot in the universe.

Ah, I almost forgot about the "dead set on fighting each other" bit... I pretty quickly decided that SerialTroll is not the type of person I care to give any attention to, what with the rudeness, and slew of logical fallacy blather he was dumping in my direction... and now I don't read anything he has to say. So I'd say that's dead set on not having anything to do with him... Which would be the opposite of what you claimed. So, yeah.

More unicorns, sunshine, flowers, and rainbows for everyone.

Although love, friendliness, rational intelligent discourse not riddled with rude behavior, and hugs will suffice.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:53 pm UTC

Velexia wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:So do you, like, foe *everyone* who disagrees with you and who isn't all unicorns and rainbows about it?


It's not about disagreement. What gave you that idea? It would be pretty rad if everyone was all unicorns and rainbows about everything though ~_^

(The first thought-response was "I dunno, I just got started with this whole foe thing, we'll see..." lol, but anyway... ^ )

Here's a semi-in-depth breakdown for you... of why I said what I said in regards to you: ....


Don't let me get in your way if you're having fun, but it might be interesting to look at what you're getting into.

You are in a pattern where somebody criticizes your behavior, and you then justify it. As long as you feel obligated to justify yourself, they can make you respond any time they want, by applying more criticism. And there's always some criticism available. Note that you figured out you could arrange to not see messages that are predictably irritating, and now you're getting criticized for ignoring them....

This is an easy trap to fall into. I've done it myself sometimes, sometimes with gmalivuk. But it's useful to notice that you don't owe anybody explanations or justifications. You owe them apologies if you think you do.

If a moderator thinks you're getting out of line it's useful to notice any clear rules to not break. But he may feel he has the right to ban you regardless of specific rules, and if so then go elsewhere. Unless you'd rather interact with him some more.

Mostly, you are not required to justify your behavior to anybody online. You are not required to be consistent -- if you think a different approach might work better next time, you have the right to try it. You are not required to be right. You are not required to win logical arguments, or to notice any failure if you don't.

You might feel like you need to justify yourself so third parties will think well of you. I am one of the third parties, and what impresses me is when you write interesting things about some interesting topic. I like to see ideas I haven't thought of, and jokes I didn't see coming. When I see people arguing about whose behavior is more wrong, it tends to be boring. It's probably boring to third parties when I do it. Sometimes I get so caught up in it I don't notice how boring it would be if it wasn't about me. But you don't have any obligation to entertain me, you get to do whatever you want up until a moderator does something about it.

OK, I've had fun writing this. You can take it however you want, but if you try to justify your behavior to me I will probably plonk you.

Back on the original topic, it doesn't work to make a proof that there's a tree of moves for white that is guaranteed to win, without looking at all the possible responses. Practically, people and programs both stop looking at a sequence when one side appears to be at too big a disadvantage, because they don't have time to look at everything. But there's still the possibility that a move which looks disastrous is not in fact so bad, and might lead to a win. Each example seems unlikely so if something has to be ignored it's a good choice. But that doesn't lead to a proof.

And I want to acknowledge that you didn't start out claiming that there was a proof. You said you'd heard there was one, and you talked about how you felt about hearingthat, and how you felt about the possibility it was true even if there was no proof. (I'm saying this more specifically than you did, if I got it wrong you're welcome to tell me what you remember thinking and feeling. If you still care. I don't care much.)

A troll started repeating that there was no proof, there couldn't be a proof, and that you were stupid to believe a parody of an announced proof, etc. If you had ignored him he might have continued harping on it for years, nobody can be sure what somebody else will choose. If you had said what you meant, about how you would feel about playing a game where the first player is guaranteed a win but you don't know how to do it, and that bothered you and you'd rather not think about it, you might have changed the subject back to that though I'm not sure it's worth a lot of extended discussion. If you had said something interesting on an interesting tangent I would have liked that.

You have no obligation to any of us, trolls or third parties or anybody, but if you do happen to care what we like -- we like to be entertained. If you entertain us with esoteric science or math, or jokes, or philosophical musing, or a sense of the ineffable je nai sais quoi of humanity -- anything we find entertaining -- we will like it. If you get into just another clash of identities with another boring troll, we will probably be bored. We don't care nearly as much as you do whether you are justified, or whether you are right.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby wumpus » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:17 pm UTC

bmonk wrote:Most of the (numeric) futures markets recently had Obama at around 60%+ chance of victory, Romney at 40%-


I suspect that was the high water mark after somebody either somebody was really certain of a Romney win or simply trying to manipulate the market. I don't think any of the British bookmakers gave less than 4:1 for Romney after September and with a sufficiently large futures market you could make a bundle by hedging between the two. From memory, imtrade was somewhat lower than other futures markets, but between limits of entry and other possible market costs, nobody appeared willing to employ a large scale arbitrage system to keep them together.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby wumpus » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:44 pm UTC

Velexia wrote:I predicted that Obama would win more than a year ago, and when Romney was nominated, and when Paul Ryan was chosen... and tonight. I must be psychic ~_^


Nice claim. Not only are you claiming that either "the" Mr. Paul, Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich had a better chance of beating Obama, you can't be bothered to point out which, or why it is so "scientific" to assume that any one of them had a much greater chance than Romney.

Velexia wrote:1. I am not doing what Randall is poking fun at. What Randall is poking fun at is people who try to hype up the election with weak if not false data. What I was doing was in fact, the opposite. First because I was saying "Whatever, Obama is going to win, Romney is taking a fall, nothing to see here folks." and second because I didn't bother to say it during the "heat" of the race to try to hype things up. So, no.

I suppose you would have to take into consideration the alt-text to truly understand what he is poking fun at, which you conveniently seem to have ignored for the sake of argument. You sir, are just pathetic. Stop posting just to troll me please.

My predictions were based upon my observations, sounds like science to me. Observe, form hypothesis, observe some more, form theory/hypothesis, etc.


I see no alternative hypothesis for each of the candidates (I was pretty sure that Obama was going to win when I saw that band of bozos and nobody else joined. I was surprised at how close it was going to be, but only because the polls were consistently calling it close). To claim "when Romney was nominated" implies higher odds before that. Even so, he was doing pretty much everything you claimed and still won the primaries, thus implying that it would work at least as well as whatever his competition was doing.

The groups you are attacking put forth actual numbers, explained calculations, and in Nate Silver's case described each battleground state with a 1.4% average error (and puts him 3-0 for predicting elections against pretty much everybody else. You, on the other hand, simply spout a couple of anecdotes (not data) and claim to be "oh so more scientific".

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby wumpus » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:52 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:
Coyne wrote:Like in a football game: "Well folks, the score might be 46 to 3, but keep watching, because anything is possible..."

I don't know when it happened, but some baseball announcer (back in the days when games were all carried on the radio) was supposed to have observed "it's five and five, but the game's a lot closer than the score would indicate."


Oddly enough, at the end of September (and before the first Debate), Nate Silver had Romney "Down by a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter". Presumably he was down by a good deal less in a week or two, but was back at that point by the start of November.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.co ... touchdown/

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Velexia » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:32 pm UTC

Well said, and yes, you were spot on in reiterating... and I think I like you, and I will take heed of this =)

(In regards to J Thomas)

Ahhh, this is not easy... I so want to reply to wumpus and defend my honor... but I shall pass.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:13 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Back on the original topic, it doesn't work to make a proof that there's a tree of moves for white that is guaranteed to win, without looking at all the possible responses. Practically, people and programs both stop looking at a sequence when one side appears to be at too big a disadvantage, because they don't have time to look at everything. But there's still the possibility that a move which looks disastrous is not in fact so bad, and might lead to a win. Each example seems unlikely so if something has to be ignored it's a good choice. But that doesn't lead to a proof.


It's possible that there's what mathematicians describe as a non-constructive proof - one where the proof shows that white must be able to win, but doesn't tell you anything about how he would do it - a standard example is the "strategy-stealing" argument that shows that tic-tac-toe and related games cannot be a second-player win - in any game where the only difference between players is who plays first, having taken an extra move never makes your position worse, and the same moves in different orders will produce the same board position, the first player can hijack any winning strategy the second player might have by playing a random move for his first move, and from then on following the second-player winning strategy except when the dictated move is the random move, in which case he plays a random move instead. The first player then ends up (unless he wins sooner) in what would be a winning position except he's taken an extra move. By assumption, the extra move can't have made the position worse, so it must still be a winning position.

If you're attempting to prove that white will always win based on analysing the game tree, then, yes, you need to show that, from each position in the analysed tree, for each black move, there's (at least) one white move that stays in the analysed tree (and all end-points of the tree are white wins), but there are other potential paths to a proof of a white win, which may look disastrous, but unless you can prove they're not going to produce a proof more cheaply, you can't prove that the problem is practically undecidable with current computing hardware.

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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:....

If you're attempting to prove that white will always win based on analysing the game tree, then, yes, you need to show that, from each position in the analysed tree, for each black move, there's (at least) one white move that stays in the analysed tree (and all end-points of the tree are white wins), but there are other potential paths to a proof of a white win, which may look disastrous, but unless you can prove they're not going to produce a proof more cheaply, you can't prove that the problem is practically undecidable with current computing hardware.


Good point. There might be some other way to make a proof, that I don't know how to do.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby CZeke » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:15 pm UTC

Ah, but perhaps you could show that some other kind of proof exists without actually exhibiting one...
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:22 pm UTC

CZeke wrote:Ah, but perhaps you could show that some other kind of proof exists without actually exhibiting one...


I can't, and I'm not going to work on it. Maybe somebody else can. But -- what's the difference between showing that a proof exists that white wins, compared to proving that white wins?
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby dudiobugtron » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:59 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
CZeke wrote:Ah, but perhaps you could show that some other kind of proof exists without actually exhibiting one...


I can't, and I'm not going to work on it. Maybe somebody else can. But -- what's the difference between showing that a proof exists that white wins, compared to proving that white wins?

Nothing. I think the difference was supposed to be between proving that white can force a win if they know how, and explicitly showing how a white player might go about it.
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Velexia » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:14 am UTC

Is anyone here familiar with the concept of initiative, in chess?
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:52 am UTC

Is it anything like initiative in D&D?
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Re: 1131: "Math"

Postby Velexia » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:47 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Is it anything like initiative in D&D?


Heh, not really. I mean... kind of, but no not really. In the RPG I am designing it is very similar though ~_^

Basically it's like this... the person with initiative is making a move that the other player is forced to respond to, or be put into a worse position (if they respond incorrectly). So, for example, if The White player is making a move in the early game to dominate the center of the board, it is generally assumed that White is starting the game with initiative, and putting the Black player in a spot where they need to respond. If the White player continues to keep initiative for the entire game, Black is forced to only make response moves for the entire game and will lose.

Now, it is possible for the Black player to respond with a move that 'steals' initiative, but that then invalidates the premise that "If the White players keeps initiative for the entire game"

So basically, what I am saying is, if you have initiative, you are winning. When you lose initiative, you are losing. So from the outset of the game, assuming the correct move, White starts the game in a winning position, and Black in a losing position.

Assuming that one day, a computer will have the processing power to actually contain every single possible chess move, Chess will indeed be solved, because the computer can eventually analyze every situation, and determine which moves retain initiative for white for the entire game, no matter which moves black takes.

In light of this, I enjoy playing Black =)
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