Alinghi, Bacon, & Continued Re: [NEC] 2.3: Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality

Dave Long dl@silcom.com
Mon, 03 Mar 2003 09:48:05 -0800


Alinghi va a gonfie vele.

:: :: ::

Bacon, _Advancement of Learning_ (1605)
> Surely, like as many substances in nature which are solid do putrify
> and corrupt into worms; so it is the property of good and sound
> knowledge to putrify and dissolve into a number of subtle, idle,
> unwholesome, and, as I may term them, vermiculate questions ...

There were six or seven millenia of
urbane wits before Bacon, but he is
one of the first of modern times to
suggest that looking for keys might
best be accomplished, not under the
streetlight of holy books and their
literature of logic and/or metaphor,

> Well, obviously ["blessed are the cheesemakers" isn't] meant to be
> taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

but in the dark of experimentation,
even if it meant stubbing toes and
temporarily groping blindly.*

"Fire burns, here and in Persia" is
small stuff next to grander stories
that thinkers tell, but if it isn't
ubique, semper, ab omnibus, it can
at least be shown where- and when-
ever one can find a small boy with
a book of matches.

  Foogilly Bargilly / Nicolas Bacon's son
  Disputed disputing / Holding it moot
  Knowledge (hence power) can / Be found inductively
  Investigatively / Checking each root

:: :: ::

> I am not sure what you mean by showing A.  To me
> it is obvious that consumers have correlated
> preferences. 

But do blog preferences correlate in a
path independent manner (readers agree
on talent), or in a path dependent one
(readers reflect historic preferences)?

>               If they didn't, all products and all
> media would be entirely random. 

This is where you lose me: we need to show,
not just assert, that blogs aren't random.
The obvious way to do so is to show they're
predictable; when I tried that, I failed.

Density is easy to believe in, because it
easily predicts whether pool toys wind up
at the top or the bottom, independently of
the path they take from the release point.
Is talent like density?

Many products and many media may be entirely
random, without being uniformly distributed.
We see correlations (power law correlations
even) in random processes.  If you'd like to
claim talent alone drives the distribution,
that's well and fine, and perhaps even true,
but since a set of talented bloggers is more
complex than one of identical bloggers, it'd
be good to first demonstrate that it's worth
the additional complexity:  can one make a
better prediction of blog ranks by means of
the additional detail of talent?

-Dave

:: :: ::

* Bacon may not have realized quite how much
this world has to teach, once it is asked: (_Novum Organum_, 1620)
> 112. In the mean time, let no one be alarmed at the multitude of
> particulars, but rather inclined to hope on that very account. For the
> particular phenomena of the arts and nature are in reality but as a
> handful, when compared with the fictions of the imagination, removed
> and separated from the evidence of facts. The termination of our
> method is clear, and I had almost said, near at hand; the other admits
> of no termination, but only of infinite confusion. For men have
> hitherto dwelt but little, or rather only slightly touched upon
> experience, whilst they have wasted much time on theories and the
> fictions of the imagination. If we had but any one who could actually
> answer our interrogations of nature, the invention of all causes and
> sciences would be the labour of but a few years.