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probability theory

1. Anyone interested in probability theory who does not read at least the early chapters of http://www.amazon.com/Probability-Theory-The-Logic-Science/dp/0521592712 is not seriously interested, is some kind of ideologue (common concerning probability), is for whatever reason unable to read it, or is somewhere on a spectrum.

2. Recently I bought a book whose title says it is about ‘rigorous’ probability theory. By this is meant Kolmogorov theory, which amounts to an elaborate mathematics of Venn diagrams. It is what we used in my grad school engineering course on ‘random’ processes. There are serious reasons to be dissatisfied with Venn diagrams as a basis for probability theory; what, for instance, is the correspondence between a proposition (or predicate) and a set of points? But what I really want to take issue with is the notion of ‘rigor’ assumed in the text. The proofs almost immediately call upon the ‘Axiom of Choice’. If you know what that means, let me ask you something about it. Suppose someone designed a bridge and they said it was a new type of bridge whose structure is proven sound by means of the ‘Axiom of Choice’; would you trust this bridge to stay up?

I sure wouldn’t.

(Jaynes OTOH, for the sake of meaningful rigor, sticks with finite sets and, where necessary, sets arrived at by a well-defined limiting process involving finite sets.)

3. If Karl Popper really said the sorts of things about probabilities that Jaynes says he did (and I’m sure Popper did), then Popper is way overrated in the popular opinion.

4. For heaven’s sake, read what you can of http://arxiv.org/abs/0712.3781
I need to write code documentation, write more explanatory commentary, and fill in the references, but this program, by golly, demonstrates once and for all that so-called ‘entanglement’ (a total misnomer) in Bell-type experiments is nought but ordinary statistics: program04.pl

There isn’t even a physical effect at play! The correlations are just statistics. With the strong implication that there are characteristics of photons not accounted for in quantum theory, and which ‘big science’ is not looking for. Yes, Bell’s goofball non-theorem and the cultic belief in it is very much holding up the progress of science. It’s a first class tragedy and it’s really getting on my nerves.

Also implied is that we most likely will have back determinism, once a new theory is devised. Certainly we will have back some kind of action-by-contact.

‘Quantum cryptography’ is snake oil.

‘Quantum teleportation’ is more ordinary statistics, with nothing whatsoever ‘teleported’.

‘Quantum computers’ probably are a waste of money; the algorithms probably can be run on silicon, if they are really that good.

Think of the children.

I need a pithy quotation. I already used the lines from Inferno in program03 (which is basically the same, but less illustrative of what’s going on).

And I’m inclined to translate program04 into various languages so everyone can read it in their favorite. Fortran90, C, Scheme, Python, whatnot. Also because I’m obsessive-compulsive.

Mount Rainier

Returning to an ancient topic here on LJ, Wikipedia says Mt Rainier could destroy parts of downtown Seattle with mudflows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rainier

Also there could be tsunamis.

In the past doubt was cast on my contention that nearer-by Tacoma faced a serious risk. I went by the fact that Tacoma was only about 40 miles from the stratovolcano.

It is worse than people think

I am upset about http://www.businessinsider.com/tom-perkins-wsj-letter-2014-1, because so much focus has been on the ludicrous self-pity of this scoundrel, when IMO far worse is that the Wall Street Journal condoned (by publishing it) the analogy of Jews persecuted by Nazis to an ultrawealthy elite.

Um, that bogus analogy is why the Nazis wanted to kill all Jews. And the Wall Street Journal editors probably know that, at least in a vague way.


Python is an evil programming language. I have moved it below C++ in my esteem, and in fact it is well below C++. I was fooled early on and thought the language pleasant, but now the more I use Python the more I detest it.

I’m not sure if it’s even better than ancient BASIC. You can do a lot more in it, but I don’t even have a clue how to be certain that Python code is correct. There are just too many ways in which data types get converted back and forth implicitly; moreover, type checking almost always has to be done at run time, and can be endlessly complex if it is to be complete.

Part of the problem is that the language is one of those that tries to be 100% ‘object oriented’. Classes and objects are among the most complicated and treacherous data structures available, and every single type in Python, even a lowly integer, is a class or object, and not trivially so. The abuse of ‘object-orientation’ is extreme; an obvious example is how printf-like formatting is an inherent behavior of an ordinary character string. This is insane.


There was some New Yorker I scolded here at LJ who had dumped on the New Orleaneans for living there in the first place. I pointed out, of course, that the same thing was going to happen to New York someday.

It was not rocket science, but simply knowledge that New York was considered extremely at risk. Heck, it’s not even like the place doesn’t have a history of hurricane mayhem, at least if you take into account Suffolk County.
‘When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.’

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June 2016