February, 2010

Feb 10

Flipping the 4 Card

Number 4

I have been thinking about my previous post.

I don’t like the fact that I fell into the trap of confirmation bias.  What was my thought process when I was trying to come up with what two cards I should flip over?  “Oh.  If I just flip over that 4 card and there is a vowel, then everything is all right.”  What other situations come up in my life where I look to flip the four card?

Another thing is that I feel like I was tricked.  What if along with saying that cards with vowels have even numbers on the other side, the problem also said that odd numbered cards can not have vowels on the other side.  That would pretty much give away the answer, but the absence of that statement is an example of how a situation can be set up in a way that does not necessarily give you all the information that could be useful.  What other situations come up in my life where I just take the information given to me?

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Feb 10

The Four-Card Task


If I was to say “All cards with vowels on one side, have an even number on the other side”, what cards would you need to flip over to see if I was wrong or right?

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Feb 10

No Silver Bullet

Silver BulletI have not written about tracking my calories since October.  The good news is that I have been keeping up with it at about the same rate that I was tracking back then.  Pretty much everything I eat during the day, I log in my phone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, beer, more beer, etc. The bad news is that I have not gone back and analyzed the data all that much.  I also have not been weighing myself very frequently, so I do not really know if this tracking has had an impact on my body in a quantifiable way.  I have noticed that I am getting slightly skinnier.  My clothes fit better.  I feel like my body is fitter.  So, my tracking is definitely having an impact, just not in a way I can express through numbers.

Using a smart phone application has been invaluable.  There is no way that I would have been this consistent if I was trying to do it in a spreadsheet or a notebook. Having my phone in my pocket the entire day gave me the ability to write down what I ate, immediately after I ate it.  The tracking of an item is a fragile process. It can break by the slightest of changes to a routine.  There were a few times when I realized that I forgot to track a meal from the day before.  I attempted to think back to that day and remember what I had eaten.  That attempt was a huge deterrence towards tracking that item.  The more time between when I ate something and when I tracked it increased the likelihood of me not tracking the item at all.  My smart phone decreased that time dramatically.

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Feb 10

Beyond Necessity

Occam’s Razor:  entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem – entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.  Put another way, Occam’s razor means: all things being equal, the simplest explanation is the best one.

It is a rule of thumb often used by scientists.  They use it to formulate hypotheses.  They use it to dismiss distracting ideas.  And it goes right along with my previous post.

The popularity of Occam’s razor amongst scientists shows how people naturally tend towards simplicity when attempting to understand anything, whether it is phenomena in nature or how to get the most out of your life.