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The robust beauty of improper linear models

Seconded. Back when I studied this topic for my thesis, the conclusion was not that "improper linear models are great", but more "experts suck". And that's because in cases of repeated predictions, a statistical model is at least going to be consistent, but experts will not be.

Open thread, Sep. 26 - Oct. 02, 2016

Sounds like Convict Conditioning to me.

I haven't read it myself, but some friends have praised the book and the exercises included.

Iterated Gambles and Expected Utility Theory

Like GuySrinivasan said, it depends on the stakes. With the numbers you have, I'd take the risky bet based on the higher expected utility.

Why I should choose the risky option every time seems intuitive: even though I don't expect to face the exactly same problem very often, life in general consists of many gambles. And the sum of those decisions is going to be higher with the risky option chosen consistently every time.

Rational entertainment industry?

Could the also rans function as a sort of practice playground for the actors, producers etc. who are not yet big names? I mean, the only way to learn to make movies is to make movies. But it's not worth investing billions into people, who have no (or at least very little) on their resume. Best to invest a small amount and let them develop their skills. And if, against the odds, the movie turns out to be a block buster, all the better.

Of course, this does not really answer the question why all the plots seem so alike and very few come up with anything fresh. One could try to explain this with making mainstream movies for the sake of practising making them, but somehow I don't even buy that myself.

Writing and enthusiasm

I used to have this problem a lot, and it still bugs me at times. However, I discovered I could get round it by writing a rough text riding the first wave of motivation. It needs to be in proper form, notes won't usually do.

I can then leave it for a while and get back to the text in 2-5 days, regaining about 75% of the original enthusiasm. An additional advantage is that this method of revisiting tends to produce more coherent texts, too.

Help Request: How to maintain focus when emotionally overwhelmed

I also feel familiar with this kind of feeling, despite not enjoying/suffering from a similar situation for some time now. Personally I utilize two different techniques:

To-do lists:

I usually would list all the things I want to achieve the next day. The order is quite flexible, but I have a habit of starting with the most boring thing if I'm feeling positively driven, and conversely with the easiest or most pleasant task if I'm feeling down.


Sometimes the positive emotion has been so overwhelming, that I have been unable to focus on anything remotely intellectual or abstract. So, to me the answer is to go to the physical level: go for a run, bash my drumkit or anything that is both physical and enjoyable. I've found it very useful to ride out the sort of excess enthusiasm and then pick up writing or reading again.