In December I ran a pseudorandomness contest. Here's how it worked: In Round 1, participants were invited to submit 150-bit strings of their own devising. They had 10 minutes to write down their string while using nothing but their own minds. I received 62 submissions.I then used a computer to generate 62 random 150-bit strings, … Continue reading Pseudorandomness contest: Prizes, results, and analysis
In December 2019, I made 132 probabilistic predictions for 2020. As promised, I've come back to evaluate them on three criteria: calibration, personal optimism/pessimism, and performance relative to PredictIt (and an anonymous friend who sent me their predictions for some of the events). I'll get to all of those, but first, here are my predictions, … Continue reading Grading my 2020 predictions
Here is a plot of daily new positive COVID tests in the U.S. in the first half of March 2020. It's no surprise that by mid-March, most people were worried: the virus was here and was growing fast. This was evident by the time there were 1,000 new positive tests per day. The lockdown began … Continue reading Overall numbers won’t show the English strain coming
Just as I did last year, I have some probabilistic predictions for 2021. In January 2022 I will return to grade them, just as in a week or two I'll grade my 2020 predictions. This year the predictions fall into four categories: U.S. politics (#1-17 below), COVID (#18-39), Miscellaneous (#40-53), and Personal (#54-100). Note that … Continue reading Predictions for 2021
I. It is famously the case that almost everyone thinks they're above average. Derek Sivers writes: Ninety-four percent of professors say they are better-than-average teachers.Ninety percent of students think they are more intelligent than the average student.Ninety-three percent of drivers say they are safer-than-average drivers. Interesting. Intuitively this seems to suggest that people are prone … Continue reading Alike minds think great
Results -- as well as a thorough analysis that you might find interesting even if you did not participate -- are now available! Last week, I asked you all to take 10 minutes to write down and submit a 150-bit string, with the goal of making your string "seem random" without the aid of any … Continue reading Pseudorandomness contest, Round 2
(Also part of this series: Round 2; and prizes and results -- which you might find interesting even if you didn't participate!) I've decided to run a pseudorandomness contest -- a reverse Turing test of sorts, if you will. Winners will get to send some of my money to a charity of their choice! Here's … Continue reading Pseudorandomness contest, Round 1
One great way to hold yourself accountable to your goals and resolutions is Beeminder. Beeminder is an app that works as such: You give them your credit card information.You set goals (exercise for 15 minutes today; finish the report by Monday; read Wuthering Heights by February) along with wagers ($5; $20; $50).When a deadline passes, … Continue reading Virtue points
Nate Silver's model at FiveThirtyEight gave Biden an 89% chance to win the presidential election. He gave Democrats a 75% chance of taking back the Senate and a 97% chance of keeping the House. Then the election happened. Biden won -- though by a somewhat smaller margin than the model expected: Trump's 232 electoral votes … Continue reading Was Nate Silver’s model wrong?
In September I published a puzzle called Losers and Winners. At least five people solved the puzzle (unlike my first puzzle, which no one solved without hints). Here are a few hints, in white text, meant to be read in order.