About Me

My photo

Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lawyers - Ian Ayres - author of SUPERCRUNCHERS

Lawyers contribute to our society in many surprising ways. Here is a professor at Yale Law School, writing a book on econometrics: SUPERCRUNCHERS; Why Thinking-by-the-Numbers is the New Way to Be Smart.

Ayres tells us there is some good news about data-gathering. In this only recently-enabled technology, "evidence reigns supreme": it is "data". He gives us a tour of this data-driven world.

Two statistical tools propel the screws: REGRESSION ANALYSIS ("RA") run on raw data which uncovers connections between different "subjects" or patterns, and RANDOMIZATION ("RZ") which reveals the influence of a single factor in the presence of multiple effects.

For example, RA can determine which characteristics such as gender, age, income, job, or pet food purchase are involved, influence, or correlate with people defaulting on mortgages. RZ is used by medical scientists to identify a life-saving therapy via randomized controlled trials offering alternative modalities.

Ayres is enthusiastic -- he likes "data" as a basis for making decisions. He also offers examples of the GIGO caution, and that "correlation is not causation". For example, several States changed laws to encourage gun ownership because of a putative correlation to lower crime rates, but this "evidence" was shown to be spurious.