Welcome to Cosmic Variance folks — and a question

Welcome to all coming via Sean Carroll’s very kind shout out.

Come on in, look around, enjoy yourselves.

And if you have a moment, consider answering this prompt. In this post written a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a complaint about some lousy reporting on the housing crisis — but my larger point touched on one of the big themes of this blog, how applying even the simplest quantitative reasoning makes a huge difference to one’s ability to make sense of (detect the bullshit in) everyday experience. I argued that this was one of the foundations of what is often miscalled (IMHO) scientific literacy as it applies to the public. I pointed to a couple of examples, one from Freeman Dyson, and another by J.B.S. Haldane to show how such minimal math makes a difference in real science as well.

And then I made this request: Perhaps readers could be persuaded to post examples of what they think are elegant, simple insights about everyday experience such simple applications of math can give us?

Anyone want to belly up to the bar?

In any event — glad to have you all here.

Image: Hans Holbein, “Portrait of the Astronomer Nikolaus Kratzer (detail)” 1528. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Explore posts in the same categories: blogospheric tail chasing, Mathematics, numbers, Sharp thinking, Uncategorized

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