too little, too late

comments      my homepage         tbfkaTSM

sleeping beauty

Recently, Sean wrote a blog post about the 'sleeping beauty problem' and came out in favor of the 1/3 solution.
Naturally, Lubos had to respond with an obvious 1/2 answer and finally Joe Polchinski jumped in defending 1/3.

I wrote about this puzzle nine years ago on that other blog and people are still discussing it, because it has all the ingredients of a nice paradoxon: i) it is easy to calculate the probabilities and ii) there is an interesting ambiguity on how to use "probability" in this case, with the same outcome unknowingly sampled twice.

It seems that Sean honestly thinks that this ambiguity can be resolved using the many worlds interpretation, but I would point out that it actually supports Bohr's philosophy of complementarity: In general we cannot assign probabilities to a local object (in this case the coin), but we have to understand them in the context of an observational situation. In other words, the 'sleeping beauty problem' supports the Copenhagen interpretation.
8-)


added later: After re-reading my old post about this, I actually like the 3/8 solution.
Btw one way to undermine the 1/3 solution based on bet size (a la Polchinski) is to point out that the same bet size optimizes the outcome if SB does not fall asleep the 2nd time (but still has to bet twice the same amount). In this case the probability surely is not 1/3.

some clarifications

I already wrote one blog post here about the Gaza war and I was foolish enough to comment on two other blogs about it. I think my sentences are simple enough to be understood correctly, but some people seem to be slower than others, so let me add some clarifications ["some clarifications" does not mean "complete analysis"]:

1) The death of a child is always horrible. The death of many children and innocent civilians in war is horrible and some crimes committed in this conflict are too horrible to even think about.
I do not need to tweet or post this to ensure myself of being human.
But if *you* do then I only wonder if you did the same about Syria, Iraq, Libya etc. etc.

2) Obviously, war crimes should be exposed and punished. E.g. I think Chelsea Manning deserves our respect for exposing war crimes in Iraq instead of rotting in a prison cell.
The same is true for Gaza of course, but I would caution that most reports about casualties currently originate from "Gaza officials" or "Palestinian authorities" in Gaza, which basically means Hamas, and I wonder how reliable they are.

3) The problem Israel faces right now is that the terror organization Hamas, supported by Iran, wants to remove it from the map and Iran may or may not soon have the means to do so with one nuclear explosion. Unfortunately Hamas has broad support in Gaza, so *our* problem is if/how we support Israel in this struggle.
If *you* think that the real problem is if some people have a favorable opinion about Israel e.g. in Europe vs. US, then you simply do not understand the world you live in (*).

4) In general, if your understanding of this conflict has some gaps, then I recommend this article as a start, in particular points 4 to 6. There is plenty of information on the internet and one does not need to make up conspiracy theories.

5) Translating some favorite phrases of Dr. Goebbels into English does not show how smart you are. Perhaps you can look up the number of Jews in a particular economic sector in Forbes magazine. But if you think this is an argument for anything, then you argue at the level of the 1930s and I want nothing to do with you and your debate.

I may add more points to this if necessary.


(*) ... and if you do not know what the word "ally" means, as opposed to "somebody interviewed", then perhaps you should improve your reading/writing skills.

ps: It should not be that difficult to remove links from a blogroll, but apparently it is.


the mystery

" In a completely decontextualized, emotion-driven environment, Hamas can portray itself as the besieged upstart, even when it is the party that rejects ceasefires, and in particular because it is skilled at preventing journalists from documenting the activities of its armed wing. [..]
Hamas’s principal goal is killing Jews, and it is very good at this .. but it knows that it advances its own (perverse) narrative even more when it induces Israel to kill Palestinian civilians. This tactic would not work if the world understood this, and rejected it. But in the main, it doesn’t. Why people don’t see the cynicism at the heart of terrorist groups like Hamas is a bit of a mystery."
The Atlantic

I don't think it is such a mystery really and the article actually lists the obvious explanation as point 3. (*)
Btw Scott summarized the situation quite well in three sentences and this interview with Yuval Diskin is worth reading imho.


(*) added later: The only good thing about this conflict is that it helps me shorten my list of blogs and twitter accounts that I read on a regular basis.

added even later: If anybody is confused what this conflict is ultimately about, I recommend to look at this tweet of Lebanese tv anchor Christine Habib: "Iran should send its nuclear weapons, if they exist, to Hamas ... for Hamas to use against Israel."
Of course Mr. Khameini has already told us what needs to be done in his opinion with his “answer to 9 key questions about elimination of Israel”.