I Love this Site:

Gravity and Levity. Check out this recent post that gives a layperson's introduction to path integrals, and a plug for the beauty of calculus, in a few nicely written paragraphs.

But I was particularly taken with this post (and the ones that link to it) on the idea that as a psychological matter, people tend to live "different lives" roughly as a function of our doubling age. On a completely unscientific basis, the idea kinda fits my experience, anyway. Still more interestingly, however, the post links that idea of a psychologically "new" lifetime with every doubling, with the famous Gompertz law of human mortality, which does have a surprising amount of empirical observation. It says that the probability of dying in a given year doubles every eight years. Taken together:

If you try to come up with an equation for probability of survival vs. number of lifetimes lived, you get an almost absurd exponential within an exponential within an exponential. (Cool graph in original post.) That, in my book, is extreme fairness. Virtually all of us get to live to the end of our seventh lifetime, but almost none of us get to complete the eighth [which begins at age 48 and ends at age 96].

Thrusto (mail):
This helps explain the complete decimation of economics at the hand of math-heads. F-ers.
8.16.2009 7:24pm
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
I'll just smile, nod, and pat your head, you innumerate buffoon, Thrusto.

When a mathematician makes a model of any situation he understands the simplifying assumptions and the fact that the model is not the reality. The problem isn't with the mathematicians making models, but with people who apply those models without having any real understanding of them. Now go play in the sand with the other toddlers.
8.16.2009 7:55pm
Kenneth Anderson:
The author of the blog is a young physicist, not an economist, and he is the first to admit that in the non-physics posts, he is purely speculating, sometimes in fun. A little ... levity regarding Gravity &Levity, please!
8.16.2009 8:02pm
theobromophile (www):
Cats get nine lives and we only get eight? No fair!
8.16.2009 8:16pm
mls (www):
Speaking as a 48 year old, thanks a lot.
8.16.2009 8:28pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
What an awesome blog. Sadly, I feel I had a particularly poor primary education in physics, but it's already done an good job at resolving one little confusion I had about the Pauli exclusion principle, namely why we even bothered to learn about the stuff in chemistry courses.
8.16.2009 9:05pm
Pro Natura (mail):
Only a rather jejeune 25-year-old would publicly assert that he's already lived through six of the eight life-altering changes your average human can expect.

I like the Irish saying better: "20 years growing; 20 years blooming; 20 years fading; 20 years dying". I've just entered the dying part and it's a pretty accurate description of my and my friends' life trajectories.

On the other hand, I've so far experienced about 12 (not 6 or 7) changes in my life that I think of as resulting in a "new life". And I expect to experience several more: One of which will undoubtedly be the heart attack, stroke, or other disease that begins my final removal from this life.
8.16.2009 9:10pm
Pro Natura: I want to party with you.
8.17.2009 12:18am
John Moore (www):
Very nice!

BTW, in general, Feynman (whom he refers to) is well worth reading ("Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, for example).
8.17.2009 1:06am
John Moore,
Feynman's other autobiography, "What do you care what other people think?" is as good. The second half, detailing his investigation of the Challenger Disaster, is a must-read for any libertarian or afficionado of organization theory, as it's basically a case structure of the failure of government bureaucracy (but told in Feynman's spellbinding style).
8.17.2009 4:37pm

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