close your eyes
 
[science]

Braver new world


Haynes spitzt die berühmten Libet-Experimente noch zu, er kann durch Messungen der Hirnaktivität treffsicher vorhersagen, wie sich eine Versuchsperson zwischen simplen Alternativen entscheiden wird - und das, noch bevor es dem Betreffenden selbst bewusst wird.
(Christian Schwägerl in der FAZ)

 
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[science]

heute habe ich eine gewichtete lineare regression berechnet. im 2. anlauf hat es geklappt. verdammte excelbezüge. mein studium war doch nicht umsonst.


 
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[science]

Sparen auch der Umwelt wegen


Ein paar Tips (und Infos) aus dem Energie-Spezial der ZEIT wie man beim Autofahren ein Fünftel Sprit sparen kann (Fettsetzungen von mir):

  • „Sie müssen früher hochschalten“, sagt Pfeiffer. Er sagt es immer als Erstes. Denn man könne es nicht oft genug sagen, findet er. Heutige Motoren erreichten bereits bei 1750 Umdrehungen ihr maximales Drehmoment – „und kaputt kriegen Sie die ohnehin nicht mehr“. Das heißt konkret: Tempo 50 im fünften Gang fahren. Wer noch im dritten fährt, braucht doppelt so viel Sprit, egal, ob mit Benziner oder Diesel.
  • Und bloß nicht auskuppeln, wenn der Wagen in der Ebene rollt. Denn sofort zieht der Motor seinen Leerlaufverbrauch. Bleibt der Gang aber drin und der Motor damit in Schwung, reagiert bei Rücknahme des Gases die Schubabschaltung – Verbrauch: null Komma null. (Anm. von mir: das stelle ich jetzt mal etwas in Frage, zumindest wenn man nur im Leerlauf noch mit angemessener Geschwindigkeit bis zur roten Ampel rollen kann)
  • Außerdem spart natürlich, wer vorausschauend fährt. Wer zum Sicherheitsabstand noch einen Pufferabstand hält – damit er nicht jedes Mal bremsen muss, wenn es der Vordermann tut. (Anm. von mir: besonders wichtig im Stau, so dass man nicht dauernd neu anfahren muss)
  • „Erhöhen Sie den Reifendruck um ein Bar“, rät Pfeiffer. Maßstab sei stets der für das beladene Fahrzeug angegebene Höchstdruck. „Das bringt alleine schon fünf Prozent Einsparung.“
  • Die Klimaanlage brauche zwischen 0,5 und 1,6 Liter auf 100 Kilometer, sagt Pfeiffer, die Heckscheibenheizung 0,4 Liter. 100 Kilo Zuladung in der Stadt bringen 0,6 Liter Mehrverbrauch. Ein Dachgepäckträger fresse bei 80 Stundenkilometern 0,7 Liter, ein Fahrrad auf dem Dach gar bis zu vier Liter.
  • „Und wenn das Auto hält, schalten Sie den Motor ab.“ Selbst wenn es nur wenige Sekunden sind: „Dem Anlasser schadet das nicht.“
  • „Beim Anfahren nur eine Fahrzeuglänge im Ersten bleiben, dann gleich in den Zweiten“
  • Tatsächlich haben die Probanden ihren Verbrauch von durchschnittlich 7,7 auf 6,3 Liter pro 100 Kilometer gekappt. Macht eine Einsparung von gut 18 Prozent.
  • Zugleich sind die Fahrten im Mittel schneller geworden, von 31,6 auf 33,9 Kilometer pro Stunde. „Ist auch ganz normal“, sagt der Kursleiter, „sparsam fahren heißt nicht unbedingt langsam fahren.“ Ein flotter Start sei besser als die „Streichelgasmethode“.

Wenn man gar nicht Auto fährt, spart man natürlich noch mehr. Den Kommentar nehme ich jetzt mal vorweg.


 
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[science]

Still autistic but not more than before


Wired 9.12: Take The AQ Test. I scored 27 again. Rediscovered at ILM.


 
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[science]

Authenticity or There are smiles and smiles


BBC: Spot The Fake Smile (via MeFi). A psychology test with 20 questions taking 10 minutes. I got 16/20. Weird. During the test I had the impression I had no clue. In the end I spotted all the fake smiles. But only 60% of the genuine smiles. Does this make me a misanthrope or what?


 
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[science]

Instructive mathematical anecdote


The following problem can be solved either the easy way or the hard way.
Two trains 200 miles apart are moving toward each other; each one is going at a speed of 50 miles per hour. A fly starting on the front of one of them flies back and forth between them at a rate of 75 miles per hour. It does this until the trains collide and crush the fly to death. What is the total distance the fly has flown?
The fly actually hits each train an infinite number of times before it gets crushed, and one could solve the problem the hard way with pencil and paper by summing an infinite series of distances. The easy way is as follows: Since the trains are 200 miles apart and each train is going 50 miles an hour, it takes 2 hours for the trains to collide. Therefore the fly was flying for two hours. Since the fly was flying at a rate of 75 miles per hour, the fly must have flown 150 miles. That's all there is to it.
When this problem was posed to John von Neumann, he immediately replied, "150 miles."
"It is very strange," said the poser, "but nearly everyone tries to sum the infinite series."
"What do you mean, strange?" asked Von Neumann. "That's how I did it!"

From here. This was the first maths joke after having read more than a hundred which made me smile.


 
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[science]

10 Confounding Cosmic Questions


You can brush up your knowledge on some astronomical questions your kids (or you yourself) could ask you at Spacewatch (via mosaikum)

More lists
 
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[science]

The Mathematics of ... Auctions (via a&l daily)
Going Once, Going Twice
By the time an auctioneer shouts "Sold!" most bidders have already gone too far

The phenomenon that bidders in auctions pay too much can be seen at Ebay every day. The irrational behaviour of bidders is probably an important reason for Ebay's success. Another striking example were the state-organised UMTS auctions in Europe for the new mobile telephone technology networks where many companies paid much more than they will ever get back from future clients. The Nash equilibrium which implies that there is only one optimal strategy in a competitive game assumes rational participants knowing that their opponents are rational as well and cannot explain this. A new approach by the economist Thomas Palfrey called quantal response equilibrium takes into account that people are risk averse in the sense that they prefer to bid too much to losing the item altogether. The last paragraph of the article illustrates the problem of predicting what the other bidders think strikingly:
"Even the most rational people can be predictably irrational, Palfrey concludes. In some business schools, professors make an exercise of auctioning off a dollar to their students, stipulating that both top bidders will have to pay. The best strategy is simply not to bid, Palfrey says. 'But then it's tricky, because if everyone else realizes this, then why don't I bid 10 cents? It would be irrational for anybody else to bid 11 cents. Well, the problem is that some clown out there is going to bid 11 cents.' Once the bidding gets going, he says, often only the professor can stop it."
Further reading: The 29 page scientific paper Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions for the geeks.
Could the exaggerations (in both directions) at the stock market also be explained using this theory? In a bull market stock prices usually go up too much and in a bear market they go down too much. The efficient market hypothesis which states that all the information available now is in the current prices never convinced me. Not only that it is tautological and does not really explain anything, it also does not take into account misinformation and irrational behaviour which is very common. There definitely is an irrational hysterical element here as well. People don't want to miss the boat when prices go up (men are greedy) and hop on the train when prices are already too high and they sell their stocks when prices fall so that prices fall even more and even more people sell. The stop-loss limits which are nowadays carried out by computers even enforce this phenomenon. I have to dig deeper into this.


 
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[science]

The Mathematics of ... Auctions (via a&l daily)
Going Once, Going Twice
By the time an auctioneer shouts "Sold!" most bidders have already gone too far

The phenomenon that bidders in auctions pay too much can be seen at Ebay every day. The irrational behaviour of bidders is probably an important reason for Ebay's success. Another striking example were the state-organised UMTS auctions in Europe for the new mobile telephone technology networks where many companies paid much more than they will ever get back from future clients. The Nash equilibrium which implies that there is only one optimal strategy in a competitive game assumes rational participants knowing that their opponents are rational as well and cannot explain this. A new approach by the economist Thomas Palfrey called quantal response equilibrium takes into account that people are risk averse in the sense that they prefer to bid too much to losing the item altogether. The last paragraph of the article illustrates the problem of predicting what the other bidders think strikingly:
"Even the most rational people can be predictably irrational, Palfrey concludes. In some business schools, professors make an exercise of auctioning off a dollar to their students, stipulating that both top bidders will have to pay. The best strategy is simply not to bid, Palfrey says. 'But then it's tricky, because if everyone else realizes this, then why don't I bid 10 cents? It would be irrational for anybody else to bid 11 cents. Well, the problem is that some clown out there is going to bid 11 cents.' Once the bidding gets going, he says, often only the professor can stop it."
Further reading: The 29 page scientific paper Quantal Response Equilibrium and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions for the geeks.
Could the exaggerations (in both directions) at the stock market also be explained using this theory? In a bull market stock prices usually go up too much and in a bear market they go down too much. The efficient market hypothesis which states that all the information available now is in the current prices never convinced me. Not only that it is tautological and does not really explain anything, it also does not take into account misinformation and irrational behaviour which is very common. There definitely is an irrational hysterical element here as well. People don't want to miss the boat when prices go up (men are greedy) and hop on the train when prices are already too high and they sell their stocks when prices fall so that prices fall even more and even more people sell. The stop-loss limits which are nowadays carried out by computers even enforce this phenomenon. I have to dig deeper into this.


 
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[science]

Deutscher Blogeintrag des Tages
Es war einmal... in København:
Das nun folgende war wirklich eine Frage, die in einer Physikprüfung, an der Universität von Kopenhagen, gestellt wurde:
Beschreiben Sie, wie man die Höhe eines Wolkenkratzers mit einem Barometer feststellt.
Ein Kursteilnehmer antwortete:
"Sie binden ein langes Stück Schnur an den Ansatz des Barometers, senken dann das Barometer vom Dach des Wolkenkratzers zum Boden. Die Länge der Schnur plus die Länge des Barometers entspricht der Höhe des Gebäudes."
(wie es weiterging und wer der Prüfling war bei da-tom)


 
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