John Allen Paulos: A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper



Lf important curmudgeonly grumpinessIs it fair to discount the message of a book because ou suspect that Die Reisenden you don t like the author Perhaps not But ifou set this book next to Richard Feynman s Surely You re Joking Mr Feynman Undercover Pregnancy you ll see what I meanOne final thought A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper was published in 1996 so its examples drawn from contemporary newspapers are necessarily dated Sometimes this introduces a fascinating extra dimension as when the author muses on the extraordinary idea of creating a social graph with a billion people on it Enter Facebook This book as I probably should have realized is largely comprised of Paulos s vague musings When he spends than 2 3 pages on a topic it gets insightful but he does that far too seldom There are plenty of good nuggets here but the lazy format just doesn t hold up too many sections of Hey here s an idea that I find moderately interesting but I m not going to bother digging into itI appreciate why it isn t especially math but that limits some of his arguments Had he dropped a few of the sections No one can forecast fashion and expanded some of the heavier ones he could have had a Freakonomics before Freakonomics It makes me wonder if his actual bestseller Innumeracy is what I d have in mind or just wandering Disappointing I read a small exerpt from this book in a statistics class once and found it enjoyable I thought it would be a fun and accessible look at how statistics are misused in the media Unfortunately the description fun and accessible does not apply to the book on the whole Many sections of involved math well beyond my level of undestanding and others just seemed poorly organized to the point that I had no idea what point the author was making at any given time Too bad Dragged a bit on the end but everyone should read this book especially those who struggle with mathematics and basically anyone who is eligible to vote to put statistics into context My only problem with it is that the tone of the writer seemed to be very condescending towards the lifestyle section of the newspaper that is often catered to women and entertainment of women. He takes stories that may not seem to involve mathematics at all and demonstrates how a lack of mathematical knowledge can hinder our understanding of them.

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S a normal bell shaped curve even if the individual measurements themselves do not I enjoyed this book uite a bit though not as much as I enjoyed Paulos earlier Innumeracy He turns phrases beautifully and explains not so obvious mathematical phenomena very clearly For example if ยอดบุรุษพลิกคดี เล่ม 1 you go up against a tennis player with whomou win 40 percent of Hummer your pointsour chances of winning a match are only a paltry05 percent With Baited Breath (Warhammer 40,000) yes one twentieth of one percent Sound crazy The proof is on page 176 of the paperback edition My only complaint is that some of Paulos ideas just aren t fleshed out and he sometimes notes this himself in the text which leads me to wonder why he or his editor didn t just nix those segments Overall though a very worthwhile read A fabulous read highly recommendedI have to say I really enjoy John Allen Paulo s style of writing His wry observations and insights are wonderful to behold on paper The book is somehow timeless it is as useful and observant now as it was when written An easy recommendation to make will definitely spur u to be that guy A biochemist couldn t uite make it through this book but close enoughThe kind of book that eats like a banana 34 is really the perfect amount thenou get full of it When my children were oung we would watch nature programs on the television together and I would teach then to ask How do they know that I taught them to expect that the answer would often be a vivid example of how much science can discover or discern or deduce even from the scantest of clues and via the most devious paths I also taught them to expect that sometimes the answer would be They don t know or They re guessing or even That s what they want ou to think but it isn t actually trueI should have liked A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper than I did because it shares the same spirit of enlightened scepticism that I hoped to pass onto my children Some passages such as the discussion of voting systems and how they can produce very different election outcomes were informative insightful and challenging But most of the time I found myself reminded that enlightened scepticism is not the same as se. Er showing how math and numbers are a key element in many of the articles we read every day  From the Senate SATs and sex to crime celebrities and cults.

This book was written in 1996 and there were 58 billion people in the world It is 2012 and now there are 78 billion people in the world This book was cool because the author went through all the sections of the newspaper starting with the politics which he claims does not really tell The Alcohol Experiment you shit about truth upon headlines to getou to buy the paper ending his explanations with sports and entertainment People get fixated on words like Korupt strikes embezzlement murder When Menggairahkan Perjalanan Halaqah you divide these events to the amount of people in the world it is almost impossible for these events to truly effectou People are fixated on numbers like 10 is why people so often use a top 10 list People want information and facts uick a top 10 brings closure uickly On the other hand of true rarity he goes into the smushing statistic Mr Paulos estimates 12 million people are banging every hour Well if the world has increased 25% since this uote today it is 15 million people screwingper hour If there are 24 hours in a day that is 360 million people humping in a day uestion is how the fuck does he estimate the amount of Fuck Bottom line this author tells a little about every section and how writers try to reel Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian you in with popular words and numbers that magnetizeour brain In closure he brings a good point of the inability to be 100% on anything ou hear or read because of the infinite amount of outcomes occur among the billio I really enjoyed this work The author proves to the reader that math is not about numbers but about thinking and logic Covering a wide range of general examples he brings home the concepts of probability game theory voting poltical territory chaos economic forecasting epidemics markets non linearity logic and the complexity horizon He also brings out the finer points regarding interpretation and use of analytical tools precision re recipes anchoring checking for reasonability small sample size etc Few of the concepts were new to me but the presentation is entertaining and some of those concepts are explained better than I have seen For example the Central Limit Theorem the average of a large bunch of measurements follow. With the same user friendly uirky and perceptive approach that made Innumeracy a bestseller John Allen Paulos travels though the pages of the daily newspap.

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