# How much do you believe your results?

[Note: images may not load if you're using the WordPress app. Try opening this post in a browser, or reading it on LessWrong.] Thanks to Drake Thomas for feedback. I. Here’s a fun scatter plot. It has two thousand points, which I generated as follows: first, I drew two thousand x-values from a normal distribution … Continue reading How much do you believe your results?

# Make the tennis service box smaller

Between my posts on marble sports and beauty pageants, luck versus skill in sports seems to be something of a theme of this blog. Today I want to talk about tennis -- but instead of writing descriptively, I want to be prescriptive: I'll advocate for a change to the rules of tennis that would make … Continue reading Make the tennis service box smaller

# Luck and skill in beauty pageants

In middle school I participated in a competition called Mathcounts. In this contest, each state held a competition to determine four people who go on to represent the state at Nationals. I grew up in Maryland, and in 7th and 8th grade I just barely made Maryland's team, getting fourth place both times. If I … Continue reading Luck and skill in beauty pageants

# Pseudorandomness contest: Prizes, results, and analysis

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

# Was Nate Silver’s model wrong?

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?

# An exploration of exploitation bias

This is a map of Nassau Street, the northern edge of Princeton University. It's a very standard sort of street; I imagine one quite like it exists in most college towns. It has lots of great places to eat, shown on the map in orange. During my senior year, because of Princeton's absurdly expensive meal … Continue reading An exploration of exploitation bias

# Thoughts on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary

This post is an endorsement of a Democratic candidate for president, but it is not a typical endorsement. When I set out to write this post, I didn't have a particular conclusion in mind. Instead, I figured out how I wanted to think about the primary, then did research on the underlying facts, and finally … Continue reading Thoughts on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary

# My 2020 Democratic primary predictions pass the smell test

FiveThirtyEight just published an impressive, sophisticated model of the 2020 Democratic primaries. If you're at all interested in the primaries, take a look -- there's a lot of cool stuff there (they also published a pretty detailed methodology which I also recommend reading). Conveniently, if you scroll down to the bottom of their forecast and … Continue reading My 2020 Democratic primary predictions pass the smell test

# Beyond the mean, median, and mode

[Thanks to Drake Thomas and Mike Winston for discussion.] In third grade math class, my teacher Ms. Potter taught my class about the mean, median, and mode of a list of numbers. What united these numbers, Ms. Potter told us, was that they were measures of central tendency: numbers that represented, in some sense, the … Continue reading Beyond the mean, median, and mode