Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bayesian Statistics

I have been reading in Kindle the recent book on Bayes' theory about how to figure statistics:  The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy
The author is Sharon Bertsch McGrayne.  

Here's the link.

This book is hugely interesting as an intellectual history.  Much of the work using these statistics is classified, and substantial parts are missing.

I never really understood what Bayesian meant before.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Modern means Digital, for sure.

Statistics: The Art and Science of Learning from Data, by Alan Agresti and Christine Franklin.

Statistics is a "central science in modern life," this book here.  Why are these books so expensive?

Here is the link to the Times article on a data science company.  From the Times:
"Kaggle, a start-up, has figured out a way to connect these companies with the mathematicians and scientists who crunch numbers for a living or a hobby. On Thursday, it announced it had raised $11 million from investors including Khosla Ventures, Index Ventures and Hal Varian, Google‘s chief economist."

Amazon's 2011 "Best" list

Amazon picked its 10 best list, and Gleick's The Information is on the list.

Hadron Collider

The Republican candidates seem to want to diminish education, not enhance it.  The Republican answer to prosperity appears to be, "Let's lay off more teachers."  Rick Perry says one of the departments he would like to end is Education.  There is an alternative answer.

Harvard's Lisa Randall -- @lirarandall -- wrote about modern physics in a book that the Times reviewed here. Education and religion keep showing up in public debate as incompatible.  The review says that Randall writes that a deity that intervenes in human affairs is not compatible with scientific explanations.  This book won't be showing up in public schools in Kansas or Texas, it appears.


How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World
By Lisa Randall. Illustrated. 442 pp. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers. $29.99.

Here is a link to the Brain Pickings list of seven books on the subject of "time."  Very interesting.  Lisa Randall's book is not on the list. 

The End of WW2 in Germany

Nazi Germany expert Ian Kershaw wrote about the last months of the war in Germany. So much suffering and needless loss.

The Guardian reviewed this book here:
"...if German society remained basically Nazified, was there so little resistance to foreign occupation after "liberation"? These two riddles continue to preoccupy historians, and now Ian Kershaw, the doyen of English scholars of the Third Reich, seeks the answers."

Here is the NY Times review.


The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1944-45
By Ian Kershaw. Illustrated. 564 pp. The Penguin Press. $35.


HL Mencken respected Clarence Darrow for his work in the Scopes Trial.  Today's pervasive media atmosphere does not see to foster iconoclasts.  Look at Gloria Allred, the Chicago lawyer who has taken criticism for hyping one of Herman Cain's accusers.  In light of what we've remembered about Darrow, she looks pale.  There was a broader spectrum of active political involvement 100 years ago, despite what Tea Partiers want us to think.  The Twitter post by @farnamstreet says Walter Lippmann said, "Where all think alike, no one thinks very much."

Here is the link to Amazon for the new Clarence Darrow biography I noticed.

Here is a link to a blog by the author Andrew Kersten at the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay.  His official web site has not been updated lately.  The NY Times reviewed the book favorably. 

Here is another recent biography of Darrow.  Here is another recent book on Darrow.  Here a link to a collection of Darrow's writings.  Pulitzer-winner Ed Larson is the editor.  Larson came to Darrow through Darrow's work on the Scopes trial. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

US Political Eras

Fred Siegel of Cooper Union really liked this book that proposes that we analyze US political history in three eras.  The current era is one in which political affairs are defined by voices outside the parties.

Here is what the Oxford University Press wrote about this book:
"Hailed in The New York Times Book Review as "the single best book written in recent years on the sweep of American political history," this groundbreaking work divides our nation's history into three "regimes," each of which lasts many, many decades, allowing us to appreciate as never before the slow steady evolution of American politics, government, and law."

Here is the book:

America's Three Regimes

A New Political History