Sunday, July 20, 2014

High-School Crushes - Anylysed Mathematically!

John Paulos considers some statistics relevant to romantic crushes.
The second relevant statistical notion is Bayes’s theorem, a mathematical proposition that tells us how to update our estimates of people, events and situations in the light of new evidence. A mathematical example: Three coins are before you. They look identical, but one is weighted so it lands on heads just one-fourth of the time; the second is a normal coin, so heads come up half the time; and the third has heads on both sides.
Pick one of the coins at random. Since there are three coins, the probability that you chose the two-headed one is one-third. Now flip that coin three times. If it comes up heads all three times, you’ll very likely want to change your estimate of the probability that you chose the two-headed coin.
Bayes’s theorem tells you how to calculate the new odds; in this case it says the probability that you chose the two-headed coin is now 87.7 percent, up from the initial 33.3 percent.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Big Picture of the Summer Job
 It looks like summer jobs are harder to get than they used to be. It's not just the recession. That was 7 years ago.
So what explains the trend? Are kids today lazy? Do they feel unprepared? Is minimum wage pressure pushing the lowest skill workers off the bottom? Are students competing with China or adults (who are competing with China?) This is US data. Is it competition from low-skill immigration?

(Dec'14) Megan McArdle talks a little about the effect of raising the minimum wage and a lot about how to read a social science study.
The Curmudgeon (p.42-4,91-5) says you should look for a lousy summer job (that pays well), or at least a real one. Avoid internships or cushy jobs with impressive titles.