gusl: (Default)
Mexican flu, swine flu, H1N1, hiney, the 2009 flu pandemic, the "A" flu (romance languages)

What does it about something say if people can't settle on a name?

gusl: (Default)
* Bayes Rule: "P(A,B) = P(A|B) P(B)" means "forall a,b . P(A=a, B=b) = P(A=a|B=b) P(B=b)". This is very standard.

* "variance of the estimator" means "variance of the sampling distribution of the estimator". AFAICT, this is unambiguous, and the only reasonable interpretation is for "estimator" to mean the random variable. To make this even more explicit: the estimator(RV) is the result of applying the estimator(function) to the random data.

* "estimate the parameters" means "estimate the values of the parameters"; more confusingly, "choose the parameters" can mean "choose the values of the parameters". This may just be the econometricians I've been reading.

* "distribution" to mean "family of distributions". Very standard. No one blinks an eye at "the Gaussian distribution". I think "family" is typically only used to describe families for which mean and variance are not sufficient statistics.

* "sample" to mean "data point". One should be careful here: in standard usage, a "sample" is a collection of data points. Sometimes, though, one samples just one point, and metonymically calls it "the sample".

* using "correlated" to mean "dependent". This is incorrect, except in special circumstances, such as multivariate Gaussian models.

* using "sufficient statistics" to mean "summary statistics" (e.g. in the context of mean-field approximations). This is incorrect.


UPDATE: I should write a SigBovik paper titled "Introduction to Statistical Pedantics".
gusl: (Default)
Wittgensteinian problem: How can we know that we're talking about the same thing?

NOT DRAWN: cultural norms, the multiple levels of language production

Note that the information rate of English (entropy / time) is pretty low. This is a tight bottleneck in the communication between our brains.

When faced with the interpretation problem, the default working assumption is: you are like me. (Call this assumption "empathy"?)
Bob has a mechanism for generating English speech. Bob will assume that Alice's mechanism is similar enough to his, because this way it's possible to find a solution, perhaps efficiently.
But this assumption is probably the major culprit in human-human misunderstandings. I suspect that many conflicts between normal adults can be attributed to poor theory-of-mind.

It is said that autistics, by virtue of lacking in empathy, don't make this assumption. By this definition, I am very neurotypical. And I am very often wrong.

OTOH, the assumption "you are like me" sounds like a prepotent response that most people learn to suppress when they are 5 or so. If autistics have an executive dysfunction that impairs suppression of prepotent responses, this would predict that autistics, in effect, make this assumption more often than normals. What does the data tell us?
gusl: (Default)
Isn't it great how the Internet has made written language more efficient? I think we have IRC to thank for creating the world's first informal text medium (before the internet, even letters among family members seem unnecessarily formal)

Almost half of the abbreviations I use indicate an epistemic weakening, following the CYA principle:


I wish English had short ways of pronouncing of IIRC, IMHO, FYI.

I should adopt:
AFAIU: "as far as I understand"
FWIW: "for what it's worth"
IIUC: "If I understand correctly"
ITYM: "I think you mean"
IYKWIM: "if you know what I mean"


gusl: (Default)

December 2016

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