Monthly Archives: December 2013

speed and endurance

My last months in Nepal I ran a lot with my friend Thomas, a former close-to-elite-level 800 meter runner. We talked a lot, which for me is very much part of my running enjoyment, and one of the lessons learned … Continue reading

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trail trends

My recent review of trailrunning in Nepal mentioned some general trends in (ultra) trailrunning. Being an armchair enthusiast, not a competitive runner, nor otherwise actively involved in the scene, this kinda analysis has to be seen for what it is. I follow … Continue reading

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how are things in Egypt?

How are things in…? is the question everyone living elsewhere is asked regularly. As habituation goes, initially lots seems worth reporting in response, but after a while, it all seems so much more of the same. One way of dealing with it … Continue reading

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humour as pulse of the times

A fancy is by definition something that moves one. So some of my fancies are totally predictable. Their whole rationale is to move people, to get at them, to push their buttons. Anything that uses the senses to do that … Continue reading

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bias galore

I’ve reflected on bias in scientific production in recent posts:. on publication bias, and on how easy it is to create false positives. Being on a roll, I might as well continue. All part of my worries about the evidence … Continue reading

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the original thought

Does it exist? It’s a question haunting me. No, that sounds too dramatic. Bothering? Pestering? Occupying? None of them really in the mark, but something akin, something part of this fuzzy category of fancy. And yes, all categories are intrinsically … Continue reading

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Cairo, a wet city in flux

Egypt’s first dose of cold weather makes for an unusual sight: Stepping out of my gate, the street in all directions is flooded, and what is on my doorstep is not even the worst as a short outing into Mohandeseen … Continue reading

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in the social sciences it’s called relative deprivation

About a year ago I read The Spirit Level and was convinced that its argument that equality is better for everyone made sense. One of my earliest posts was about this book. The authors look at what social and health … Continue reading

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Looking back on 2013: trailrunning in Nepal

When I suggested to Richard Bull that he do a review of 2013 for I could have known what would be his answer. No-brainer really, and had he asked me first I would have done the same. So here’s my … Continue reading

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visualizing with words

Chris Jordan is a photo artist who tries to use art to get us thinking about big numbers. This is the explanation on his site for his Running the numbers: an American self-portrait project: Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American … Continue reading

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Robert D. Kaplan on the Middle East

Over the years I’ve read a fair bit of Robert Kaplan‘s books. I’m not informed enough to say something definite about this analyst’s political position, but he seems very much part of the realist school of international relations. Similar to … Continue reading

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can we bootstrap our way out of bias?

My previous post on publication bias only touches the surface of our psychological and societal biases. I find publication bias particularly pernicious because it is a phenomenon sitting right at the centre of social science and could be largely avoided if … Continue reading

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publication bias

One of the things that writing posts has revealed to me is that I very much fancy epistemology.  How to know anything? What to believe? How to figure out if something makes sense? I’ve always felt that academia was about … Continue reading

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thinking like a mathematician

I’ve recently entered a time capsule: started a distance education diploma course in math. When in high school, I was pretty good at math , but apart from some statistics in university and in various jobs, I’ve not thrown my grey … Continue reading

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visualizing the big

We are really bad at understanding big numbers. Numeracy training may get us a bit beyond one-two-three-many but not much. The problem is that quantity matters to lots of issues in life. My favourite popular science book is a Bill … Continue reading

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