Monthly Archives: November 2018

Voting is (unfortunately) just an ‘ordinary liberty’

In the mess around apparent voter suppression and messy counts endemic to this past midterm election, a fundamental misunderstanding of our constitutional rights is played out frequently by media commenters who ought to know better. In brief, the U.S. is not quite the democracy that you likely thought it was, and perhaps it is time that we did something about… Read more »

Education and the ‘third rail’ of athletics

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The prior post in this series on the math of “free college for all” was about the application of the “fixed-cost dilemma” to higher education funding, which unavoidably skews the financial choices made by college and university administrators based on the accounting treatment of fixed versus incremental costs in their institutions. There is no better place to look at this… Read more »

The “Big-box Challenge” and why Lowes is closing stores

The big-box hardware retailer Lowes has announced that it will soon close 51 “underperforming” stores. The financial comparison of Lowes with its competitor Home Depot provides an interesting look at what I call the “Big-box Challenge,” the risky financial bet that has been a boon to many chains, but at the same time has dragged others, like Borders bookstores and Sports… Read more »

Stochastic terrorism part 2 – the mass shooting lottery

In the aftermath of each new tragedy of mass gun violence, people always look for a cause. There are likely many “causes” of mass gun violence, but the math points to a clear, correlated “temperature” that summarizes all of the causes and spits out violent acts that are at the same time random, yet probabilistically predictable. In the prior post in this… Read more »

Stochastic terrorism part 1 – The sand pile effect

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I have written in the past comparing the math behind American gun violence as unnervingly similar to the random-but-probabilistic math of lotteries. Another descriptor for this phenomenon pops up from time to time, and it has again after the mail bombs and the tragic Pittsburgh synagogue killings of this past week, and that is the term stochastic terrorism. What is… Read more »