Misc Links

August 9, 2011 at 5:28 am 4 comments

  • One practical application and another practical application to the distinction between a pseudo-random number generator and true randomness. Fortunately your dataset usually isn’t trying to con you so PRNG is probably still good enough for sampling, bootstrapping, and permutation. The distinction is a useful illustration of how strategic action qualitatively changes things.
  • In an apparent attempt to make the GRE as useless to admissions committees as the TOEFL, ETS has completely revamped the GRE to be more “practical” and less of your classic abstract IQ test general aptitude measure. I lack the expertise in psychometrics to have an opinion about that change, but what pisses me off is they abandoned the old scoring system which means that the new scores are incommensurable with the old scores and people will probably give up trying to interpret the scores and just read the percentiles. This is a problem because percentiles lead to bad decision-making.
  • Peter Berger had an interesting post about “the wrong side of history” as a rhetorical trope in politics with special attention to how this plays out in regards to gay marriage. You heard it here first! On the other hand, he did come up with the whole social constructionism and disenchantment of reality thing so I guess there’s that.
  • If you’re thinking of panning a sociology book in a British publication you better make sure you have your facts straight. (No word on whether ASA filed an AC). I have really mixed feelings on this. On the one hand I loathe libel suits for the chilling effect they can have and how they can be abused (especially in Britain) but on the other hand I can see how pissed I’d be if somebody speciously accused me of academic fraud. It sounds like the reviewer really was negligent in this case, but I worry about whether justice in this case is worth allowing cases like Lott v Levitt, where a known fraud used a SLAPP to shout down criticism made in good faith and the critic only prevailed on appeal.
  • Career opportunities in performativity (h/t Tyler @ MR)
  • Interesting article from Jonathan Last on how in an OEM-ified world counterfeits aren’t necessarily shoddy knock-offs so much as a principle-agent issue of the contractor taking some of the IP rents from the OEM. (He doesn’t put the argument that explicitly, but that’s the gist of it). I’m thinking this is a potentially fruitful line of research for people interested in OEMs, embedded exchange, etc. For instance, who is more vulnerable to this sort of counterfeiting, OEMs with arms-length ties (e.g., Nike) or thoroughly embedded ties (e.g., Apple)? This is another way of asking about the trade-offs of greater monitoring against the diminution of credible threat of exit that comes with mutual dependence. Anyway, interesting stuff to think about for OT folks who are into alliances, contracting, etc.

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  • 1. Jay Livingston  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Re the libel case: the reviewer who was careless about her facts is Lynn Barber, the journalist whose memoir became “An Education.”

    • 2. gabrielrossman  |  August 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      You’ve just downgraded my position on that movie from “disinterest” to “active hostility.”

  • 3. brubineau  |  August 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    for those looking for non-PRNG, check out random.org.

    • 4. gabrielrossman  |  August 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      I hope so, last time I tried for a true RNG it turned out just to be a PRNG with a seed value of “COMSTOCK”

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