Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cubs Chances, Love, and War

I am taking a break this morning from running a Monte Carlo simulation that gives some insight into the Cubs chances of making the playoffs.

Inspection of the standings and remaining schedule offer insight enough. The Cubs are in seventh place in the Wild Card standings, 8.5 games behind Philadelphia, have won 47.7% of their games to date, and have 34 games remaining.

How has the Monte Carlo simulations I've done over the past several weeks instructed me. First, it showed that the Cubs chances were highly improbable even though it appeared the chances were much better by mere inspection of the standings.

Second, it makes me pause to think about the chances of other seemingly random events. I should not discount the available statistical evidence, and I should apply the elements of probability theory to the evidence. Not doing so, can be my undoing.

That leads me to reflect upon why the mind unconsciously applies heuristic rules in situations where the heuristics may not be appropriate. And that leads me into reflections about the chances involved with love and war.

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