Monday, November 19, 2012

OUTLIERS (Those daring few)

Liberty's Bell

Imagine the outliers, for a moment. Yes they are none so dramatic in nature and none so modest in behavior then the prodigies of the past. My belief is that the 10,000 hour rule will get you into the 2.5% (read on to determine where that comes from) variety but to be a class outlier, well...

Hybridized RNA Outliers hyb-24 and 12

These select few quietly persist in what their inner compass compels them to do. Meanwhile the rest of us model new models and base our models on even newer assumptions. 

The hybridized RNA hyb-24 and hyb-12 are represented in the last two lines of this matrix

The axioms ride upon other axioms, until we have gigantic bag of assumptions.

The question then is, can we, through the modeling process predict who will be an outlier? Can you? I mean lets just think for a moment. Did anyone detect the existence of a DaVinci, a Mozart, an Einstein or even a Hawkings while we are busy crunching numbers? Or are we even thinking of such an existence. 
Srinavasa Ramanujan

Can we predict that a Ramanujan is a 20-year-old mathematical prodigy living in some hut in the remote village of India? You see what I mean. 

When and only when these outliers make their appearance can we say, “Voila there she or he is!” But here the premise is based on the historical data. Can we simply assign the probability that there is such and such a chance of someone of that caliber lurking somewhere in the far reaches of this planet. To that answer, there is maybe a yes, but not a qualified one. Yes someone is predicted to be there at any predicted moment and time, but with a predicted probability that does not quite reach 100%, Ah! and so there is the rub.

Maybe that is why we contemplate our purpose to repurpose our thoughts through the lens of our inner bias.

Well here is a stunning view from the inside of the modeling conundrum. Imagine if you will that there are a 1,000,000 people across the entire globe and you only have the capability of determining the existence, whereabouts and characteristics of a few from that sample of, say 100 or so to enable a verdict about the status of all of them.

Therein lies the mystery, magic and some degree of hedging in the mathematical modeling that seems to wag the dog. The small n represents the larger N with assumptions bracketing the whole. Thus predicting from a small sample the larger truth of a unique uber-gifted solitary individual is indeed a difficult process. And we can Monte Carlo our simulated iterations into the billions and still come up short with the correct answer.

The premise remains that much of the population has a central limit tendency, which means that the large majority congregate to the middle. A deviation on either side of the central limit is called a standard deviation. Thus two standard deviations from the central limit on either side represent around 95% of the entire populace. This is also known as a 2-Sigma determinant. Some in the business have modeled their modus operandi under the 6-Sigma category, which effectively although with a tincture of hubris suggests that their operating mode is perfection of their art. My answer is “Impossible.” For crying out, humans are involved. Perfection is the sanctity of a Singularity!


The Gaussian Normal Curve also called the Bell Curve basically indicates that the central “fat” part of the bell represents about 95% of the entire populace. The lips in a 2-dimensional left and right view hold the remainder 2.5% and 2.5% on either side. These 5 % er are the ones we want to look at. Actually the maxed out, intellectually gifted, talented, focused, driven and purposeful few in the extreme limit of the right tail or the 0.000001% sitting on that ledge. Now here lie the drivers of innovation, progress and profundity in life. The rest of the 99.9999% unfortunately are beholden to these few, these great, these wonderful individuals that transform the world. Oh but before we start crying foul, within this 2.5% also lie the mooching “Varmits” who usurp life under the guise of benevolence after all these are the brilliant monsters who use their talents to tear-down, destroy, flatten and annihilate the virtues and benefits of that certain majority within this minority. To this small but saber-rattling destroyers are likes of the Hitlers, Lenins, Saddams, Maos, Gengises and a select few others of the world. But the other world has a selected place for them called, “Hell.”

Outliers on a Box-Plot

So let me continue with the “real” outliers. After all those outliers must be representing the “right tail” or “lip” of the bell curve. That means that the intellect, passion, determination, devotion and single-minded focus of such an individual is a characteristic that is extreme. It is he who goes off on his or her lonely path to sit on the right ledge and contemplate the right horizon.  It is she who ruminates about the next building block that manifests a changed paradigm. Occasionally however, the right tails pull the mean/average towards it and make the rest look good, but for that benefit, they still do not vindicate he or she who truly and richly deserves such accolades.

The reason for this obvious disconnect, is in model after model we try to ascertain the majority. Our purpose is to address the majority of the population. That is where whatever we are selling or determining are located. Learning about the psychological well-being, the earnings, the buying habits, the selling habits, the living habits, the height, weight, the size of the nose the intraocular distance, the color of the iris, the length of the eyelash all are represented by the 95% probability of being accurate which give some vindication to the majority but which also by virtue of use and misuse the outlying few get shoved under the rug and everyone starts singing the Auld Lang zyne upon reaching the probability significance with a 95% surety.

Steve Jobs

And just about then the blue/green narrow-eyed, with a shock of brown hair, tanned-skinned, Uber-intellectual appears and each word, he utters is the gold drop of brilliance. But the self-congratulatory diaspora are too absorbed in their games of chance and deceitful bias. Ah but this brilliance in the isolation of his or her time and space, creates a majesty, quietly drifting away into the horizon and the “Oohs and Ahs” echo follow behind him or her. These are the remembered few. These are the creators. They are the valedictorians of the human class. These are the few that change the planet.

How do we locate this singular, brilliance in this modeling process? How do we look at this wonderful cohort of gifted beings and pick, encourage, support and enhance this one or these few to make the world a better place. It is quite simple…

But then you know that already.

The Right Tail…Live Long and Prosper. For through you, so will the rest of us!

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