Quote of the day

I think that a failure of statistical thinking is the major intellectual shortcoming of our universities, journalism and intellectual culture. Cognitive psychology tells us that the unaided human mind is vulnerable to many fallacies and illusions because of its reliance on its memory for vivid anecdotes rather than systematic statistics. Yet pundits continue to hallucinate trends in freak events, like the Norwegian sniper (who shot all those young people on an island) and make wildly innumerate comparisons, such as between Afghanistan and Vietnam, or between today\’s human trafficking and the African slave trade. It\’s a holdover of the literary sensibilities of our science-flunking intellectual elite, who would be aghast if someone didn\’t know who Milton was, but cheerfully flaunt their ignorance of basic science and mathematics. I lobbied – unsuccessfully – for a course requirement at Harvard in statistical and logical reasoning.

Stephen Pinker


\”How would Adam Smith fix a mess such as the current recessionary aftermath of a financial collapse? Sorry, but it\’s fixed already. The answer to a decline in the value of speculative assets is to pay less for them. Job done. Don\’t Vote (2010)

Quote of the Day

No, my actual (rather small) point is that when the aspirational poor were previously shunted to distant dumping grounds, the biggest error was in not sending us far enough away from people like Polly Toynbee and her metrocentric ilk; those for whom if it doesn’t happen in London, then it doesn’t really happen at all.

Quote of the day II

While I do not have a boyfriend, I do have a friend who is homosexual and I once asked him \”Do you ever think about having sex with me because you are gay?\” to which he replied \”Do you ever think about having sex with Rosie O\’Donnell because you are straight? Same thing.\”