Teresa and the boys are down visiting Amanda and Tammie again, so I’ve had the house to myself since Sunday.
“I know,” Mr. Macho Man Me thought, “Mr. Macho Man Me doesn’t really NEED an air conditioning, so I can just turn it off while they’re gone!”
This afternoon I was cooking some chicken wings on the grill, walking in and out between the back, sunny-side of the house and the kitchen. There was no difference in temperature. I walked upstairs to the thermostat and it said 92 degrees (I can’t find the little ‘o’ degree sign).
I’ve been wondering why my fridge downstairs wasn’t keeping my drinks cold. My beers/cokes weren’t *warm*, but it wasn’t really *cold* either. Kind of that in between area where it’s kind of cool in your hand and when it hits your tongue but by the time it makes it to your throat it’s warm and fizzy.
I’ve not really been uncomfortable at night, but I have noticed my fan really didn’t seem to be cooling me off very much today.
I turned the thermostat on and set it at 84. It feels downright chilly now!
Anyway, my plans to move the office while they are gone haven’t really come to fruition. I’ve gotten a few stacks of books down but I typically finish working, play a little poker, cook myself dinner, clean up (seriously, I did, at least tonight), and then it’s time for a raid in Everquest 2 or something. Then suddenly it’s 12:55am (like right now) and I really need to go upstairs and go to sleep.
Read a great article today on Wired.Com. It’s about the end of the Scientific Theory in practice. One thing that was kind of meh about the article is that it was saying that the Scientific Theory and experimental science is being rendered obsolete, and I don’t quite agree with that, but what they think is replacing it is fascinating.
The reason it’s being rendered obsolete is because of Google. Google’s search model has always been that they make no judgements about the content whatsoever but instead trust the masses to determine what is ‘good’ by how often the masses link it. They tally the links of the vast internet and list the responses to our searches based upon how many people link back. Now, Google-bombing aside (where people push a particular search response to the top in order for it to be the one selected by the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button), this is interesting because it’s relying on the pure data to determine the result.
Enter the Petabyte Age, where the data is voluminous and ample.
When scientists are using the Scientific Theory often they are relying on a very small sample of data in order to reach their conclusions, so they must be very strict in controls and variables, and making sure the results truly happen for the reasons they think it happened. It’s an incredibly small sample size.
In the Petabyte Age, however, the data is plentiful. In fact data can be obtained at such a large scale that the Scientific Method is no longer necessary (the article claims), and information derived from the huge data set can be relied upon with scientific certainty.
This sounds awfully familiar to me as a poker player, where the mantra goes “Long term is *really* long.” Mike Caro has a way of saying it here (item 1 in his list, although item 12 is my favorite). Which means you can’t predict or say you’re beating a particular game, or even a winning player, unless you have a large sample size. In poker the minimum for this is usually 50,000 hands, although enough people have had losing streaks of this long to call that into question these days. I usually play about 200-400 hands a session, usually about 20 days a month, or between 4,000 and 8,000 hands a month. It takes me between 6 and 12 months to accumulate the minimum amount of hands needed to have a reasonable certainty of whether or not I’m a winning player. That’s long term. Not a particular night, not a particular week, or particular month. It’s a year of poker. Luckily I have the data stored on my hard-drive so I can go back and look at 24 months of data to look at and be reasonably confident I know my way around a poker table.
Poker really encapsulates some wonderful lessons of life.
I would argue, then, that the Scientific Method isn’t really being replaced. We’re still using the Scientific Method, but we’re able to use the Petabyte Age of Data to extract the information we want from already collected data rather than try to create a small little sample of the world in the lab and try to extrapolate those results out to the real world.
I think this relates to what I wrote before about the ‘New Media’, as well. In the past we relied on one, or three sources for the news. AP, Reuter’s, the big three networks. Now news sources are coming from many different directions. AP is fighting the ‘New Media’ telling them they can’t quote more than 4 words without it being plagiarism, even if the original source is cited. The New Media is taking away their power. When you have 4 or 5 sources for the same news it is also easier to see the slant a particular viewpoint may bring out. FoxNews was the first to bear the brunt of that, and is still constantly criticized by liberal watchdogs. The more data that’s out there, the more reliable the information becomes. We already have news aggregators in News Feeds that just bring you the news, but what if we apply Google’s method to news? Figure out some way to compare the content without judging it.
How can anyone live in this age and be pessimistic? So much is happening!