Category Archives: Uncategorized

Predictors for The Boat Race

It’s The Boat Race on Sunday, the historic annual competition between the best VIII of both Cambridge and Oxford, for no prize whatsoever. I took a look at the results on the Wikipedia page to see if there are any good predictors for the result.

TL;DR : the result of the second boat race is normally the same as the result of the first boat race, but isn’t significant. If a university has won the last three races, they’re likely to win again, and that is significant.

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An Unexpected Gift on my MBA

The most illuminating thing I learned in my MBA was not double-entry book-keeping, was not Porter’s Five Forces, and was not even maximising profit by finding the point at which marginal costs equals marginal revenue.

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A Microeconomic Defence of Trade Unions

I recently had a discussion on Facebook about the value of trade unions. Two people in the discussion could not see that they had any value to the economy, one going so far as to suggest that they even made their members poorer. This post is a theoretical defence of the value of trade unions to a country’s whole economy.

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Gaming Coursera Quizzes

I have signed on for a number of Coursera courses now, and each of them have assigned a heavy weighting to graded quizzes. Unfortunately these quizzes are typically easy to game: it is typically possible to score 100% without knowing anything about the subject. This post shows how that can be done, and suggests a solution.

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Choice of Population and Mutation Frequencies

I read this article from Richard Dawkins as it seemed to be making a point about politics, language, and the way we think that I find really interesting. (I’ve had a post on language in science in draft for months!) However, what was most interesting was the insight I finally got into mutations in the population.

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Why I Hate Writing

TL;DR: it’s frustrating.

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Language Comprehension in Speaking and Writing

What is easier to produce: easy to understand, grammatically correct, spoken language, or easy to understand, grammatically correct written language?

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Tectonic Speculation

Supercontinents are probably more common than dispersed continents over the last few billion years history. I wonder what human history would have looked like if we had evolved into our modern form on a single continent. Would that even be possible?

If it were, would nation states have formed as easily? What patterns of trade would have evolved? Would there still be naval powers, or would naval power be of little use? With no continents over the sea, how long would it take to develop the technology for ocean travel?

First Look at Coursera

I’ve just finished my first course on Coursera, Computing for Data Analysis. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure it would work for everyone. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are all the rage right now (Open CourseWare does something similar, and the Khan Academy also offers free online education), and I always want to learn more, so I was curious as to how I would find it.

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Archive Import

I just exported my old WordPress blog and imported it here. I deleted 90% of the posts, as they weren’t relevant to what I’m writing here. But that’s why I suddenly have posts going back to 2006.