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Outliers

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sep 2021, 21:39

Back to the study, feel like I've been hit by a train in my sleep. Moving about is difficult and tiredness in ma bones. Trying to maintain a positive vibe in my brain. Put on some tunes to encourage these hands of mine to move and get into the rythm of study. Head feels foggy and thoughts don't come easy. Still in my pyjamas, feel a little on the rough side, nothing feels smooth and lush internally like I wish it would. Sitting in front of my computer, eyes stinging, body aching, grumbling at movement, (going to need a painkiller I think,) like a hungry wraith trying to grab hold of some ethereal motivation to bring this mind back to life. I had an intense dream, but no idea what it was about now, the memory of it has gone back into the depths of my unconscious neural ocean. But the feeling it has left behind still seems to linger a little in my psyche, like ripples on the surface of a pond.
   Watched a TED talk on motivation, about positive thinking, but none of what was suggested seemed to resonate with me, I don't find training my inner neural network is as simple as this suited smiling fella seemed to suggest. I guess I must be an outlier, one of those folks that statisticians rub out to make their data fit whatever model/theory they are trying to sell as the next great insight into human psychology. The brain consists of something like 10 - 100 billion neurons on average with each one of those neurons having 1000 - 10 000 connections. The mind is an incredibly complex thing. There will always be outliers. Everyone is different, nobody on earth has lived the exact same life. Each one of us is truly unique, our DNA a unique combination of switched on phenotypes, and our brains are not exactly the same, no two people on earth have had the exact same experiences in life that shape those connections and neural networks in our minds. In a sense every person really is an island, we've all experienced this world in our own unique way. And we can only percieve the world based on our own experience of it. Nobody can fully understand what it is like to be someone else, we can only imagine what it is like to be another and theorise, but never truly know. There never will be one size fits all. 

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Me in a rare cheerful mood

Don't let them make you delete the outliers

"I guess I must be an outlier, one of those folks that statisticians rub out to make their data fit whatever model/theory they are trying to sell as the next great insight into human psychology."

At a DD210 day school I went ballistic with one of the tutors over this.

Professional mathematicians, scientists and statisticians don't delete 'outliers'.  Anyone with any sense, especially anyone following the scientific method, pays special attention to them.  Ignoring outliers kills people.  For real.  In medicine, engineering and worst of all, social policy.

The Shuttle Challenger exploded, ultimately resulting in the deaths of all those on board, because management over-ruled engineers' concerns about an outlier.  The engineers said this one extreme data point about how component seals behaved in extreme cold meant the shuttle shouldn't fly.  Management said it was an outlier and should be ignored.

The big breakthroughs in science often happen because someone asked "Why did that one-off incident happen?" or "Did I do something wrong or find something new?".  Instead of doing as the Director or Professor says ("Do it again until you get the results we need") they won't let it go and make new discoveries.

So when a tutor told us at a module-wide day school how to identify outliers and that we should delete them, I saw red.  So I stood up, interrupted and explained why he was wrong.  He argued with me, saying this is how things are done in the social sciences otherwise nothing gets done.  I had other students agreeing with me as I laboured the point.  IIRC, it ended with him saying "We'll have to agree to disagree".

IMHO, a typical social 'science' attitude.  A reason I hold most of the entire field in contempt.  Social 'science' is not science, it is a 'body of (flawed) knowledge'.

And the tutor was a twat.  A dangerous ignoramus who should not be in education, teaching the next generation of social workers, psychologists, criminologists and other social 'scientists' that people who do not conform to the average should be deleted from research.  Because people like him don't just cause many of the ills in society, they amplify it, approve it, recommend it, embed it in society.  If you don't conform, you don't exist - it's your fault for being an 'outlier'.

Don't delete outliers.  Research them.  That's where the real science is.  And the people in pain, the excluded people, the people who want to be part of society but can't get in or keep falling out, the people trying to change society.  And when a field of research intentionally ignores the pain or harm felt by people, it has ceased to serve any worthwhile purpose.  And it is most certainly not science.


SXR103 chemistry is fun (2008) :-)

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What Simon says ! smile

Jan

Me in a rare cheerful mood

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Touché!