Wants New

Dear J-

Well, I know it’s going to be raining later but I wanted to ride today, so ride I am. Ride ride, ride-y ride ride. Or something like that. I stayed up too late last night and didn’t get enough done, either: there are lots of things I might have wanted to do but none of that matters now. Instead I spent a ton of time thinking about all the things I could be spending money on and following through with ill-advised purchases. I … I dunno. It’s the way it is, I guess, for as long as you are willing to do it. How long? How often? I go back and forth between knowing what I’m doing and feeling completely lost; if I had a better handle on the physics of things I think it wouldn’t be so bad, but At the moment I’m just connecting dots with a line.

I’m not sure how far that gets me, or for how long. There’s only so much you can fake and even though sometimes I joke that statistics is the art of seeing patterns that aren’t there, it’s what I fear I’ve been reduced to trying. Does this work? How about this instead? I have spreadsheets that I hesitate to publish because they look awful: let’s try this and see if there’s a pattern. No? How about if we reduce the data down instead? Does the trend amplify or disappear? rinse and repeat. It’s going to be a long cold summer if that’s what happens next. And yet … I know there’s trends out there that can be remarked upon and discovered. I just wonder sometimes how much it’s worth.

When I was in school they had a certain sequence they liked to present things, as exemplified by the year and a half of physics: move from the concrete to the abstract, from physical, demonstrable principles to those you almost need faith to believe in (quantum tunneling? Heck, even the right-hand rule?). You could make a case that what’s happened is I’ve jumped directly into the abstract (in sports talk I feel like an advanced statistician) without the data or even the basis for belief. I don’t have the long tail of experience that tells me these instincts are correct; all I have is the faith my peers have in the system and that should be enough for now, I guess, until it’s not. Or until it is.

Mike

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