Wednesday, April 23, 2014


“If it don’t fit, you still must convict!” no I don't think it was this way...
What a wonderful thing chance is! Look around you and you will see a myriad of things that are a matter of nature’s play with chance. Like that beautiful pink rose that shares its DNA between the red and the white roses in the bush, only massaged by the right iRNA. And the African child living near the Sahara that looks up at you with the most beautiful blue eyes that are spellbinding and you wonder; how?
 Or the girl that made it to the National Geographic front page, she too had those enchanting eyes that captured the imagination of the world for decades.
Or in the wider circle of humans let us look at chance a little differently; In 1896 Henri Bacquerel found that the uranium enriched crystal caused a “fogging” on the photographic plate in an enclosed bag (without sunlight) revealing to him the nature of radioactive decay, Watson and Crick walking into the lecture hall to listen to Rosalind Franklin about X-Ray Crystallography gave them the intuition of the DNA helix,
Or on September 3, 1928 when Alexander Fleming returned to find a fungus on his dirty dishes that had killed off all staphylococcus bacteria, giving birth to Penicillin, In 1964 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered that the constant hum from their radio telescope was not bird poop on the radio-telescope but the murmurings of the Big Bang; Or in 1967 Percy Spencer walked in front of a vacuum tube magnetron that made microwaves and found that the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted; And with John Pemberton a pharmacist trying to create a remedy for headache accidentally mixed the cocoa leaf and cocoa nut with carbonated water and lo and behold Cocoa Cola was born. So you see serendipity or chance plays a huge role in the life and times of the human discovery and innovation. Here is a real doozy of a recent serendipitous thought from Franz-Josef Ulm about the physics of urban sprawl . From aerodynamics to medical discoveries to drug development to the tallest skyscraper, the ideas take force from the seedlings of chance that sparks the imagination. The likes of Stephen Hawkings and Albert Einstein have as so many others, had their wanderlust intrigued by that moment of chance inspiring them to the heights, unfathomable by most humans.

The collaborative spirit of chance and insight has advanced life from time immemorial. From the birth of the flint arrowhead to hunt and gather to the quantum bits of digital float in the ether, there is a measure of eureka moment of suddenness that supplants all other things.

Chance is chancy. If you have flipped a coin for more than 10 or a 100 or even (if you had time) a 1000, you would find that there is a longest run of heads or tails mixed into the outcomes.
De Moivre in 1738 calculated the answer to the coin toss experiment and the number of heads as an outcome to the number of tosses. Within that is buried the notion of a run on chance, like the winnings from a Roulette table, or a game of cards or a run on picking the right stocks for a good return on Wall Street. In all this there is no expertise (experts will vociferously argue that there is), but a game of chance that pervades underneath. So within that spectrum of pure chance all probability functions assume a degree of randomness inside the the mathematical equation to arrive at a predictive value. The prediction is just that, a prediction and not a gospel. I have to remind myself of that every day. So should you.

Time has changed though. The latitude of thought now seems to want a different approach in human affairs. Armed with the forced-silliness of force-merger between mathematics and probability mechanics, some have embarked on a rueful journey to use chance in a distorted way. They are force-hiding needles in the haystack that their mechanistic algorithms can find. And then they exclaim “Eureka!” 
But these “Eureka(s)” have different modes. These are algorithmic nuances designed to find the deliberately “hidden” chance episode of intent and declare victory through the art of the probable.

You must have heard of the Hazard Ratio that is a time-event analysis and from there at the end the difference between two arms determines the Relative Risk. That is all well and good, it is simple, direct and to the point, no shenanigans here, but when one starts trying to “Fit” the results into the Gaussian Curve for a prediction and then claim that all “norms” should perform within the bounds of the curve, there lies the conundrum of fiat, force and mandate. Simply stated these experts utilize O.J. Simpson attorney’s statement in reverse, “If it don’t fit, you still must convict!”

The word Outliers is a common word in probability and it identifies a subset that does not “Fit” into the perfect Bell Curve. The Bell Curve is designed to capture (two standard deviations from the mean) mostly the 95% of the targeted variables/human subjects. So according to the expert  “probability masters” the 5% who are the outliers are somehow errant in their ways. And this interpretation of chance is now driving these “outliers” into the fold of bad actors, evil-doers or even “killers!” The zeitgeist that pervades wants to force fit all into the commonality of predetermined thought. All thought and action must be comported to the diktat of this time!

By very rare events they mean less than 5% chance of them happening

Maybe someone who is not vested so heavily in the conjured outcomes might find it necessary to consider the magical sprinkles of chance and expose the rottenness that invades reason. The dodgy air of opportunism and profiteering seems to take the lead in today’s pseudo-scholars whose eyes are always on “how will it help my resume/career/advancement/bonus.

Nature continues it’s forwardly drive in the human destiny to evolve the structure to face the environs through Transposons jumping to modify our DNA code. She is a good teacher. We should learn about chance from her. And even though there will be many Archimedes jump out of the bathtub moments in the future, the dark matter of thought unfortunately has found a relic in this crucible of probability and continues to exploit it to its own end! 

Ah Chance, why do you so torture us now within our limited self-serving viewpoints even though we are so “refined” in our thinking and wholesome in our being?

I can see a better science out there, unmolested, unvarnished and real! I have seen it in the history books. I have seen it in it's tried, tested, validated and verified form. It is there for the asking. It is there for the understanding.


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