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Monday morning reading list

August 8, 2011

I’m happy to have found three really interesting articles in the New York Times this morning that I thought I’d share.

First, there’s a book review of “The Theory That Would Not Die,” a book about the history of Bayes’ law and the field of Bayesian statistics. It’s always seemed silly (and amusing) to me that there are such pissing contests between different groups of statisticians (the Bayesians versus the Frequentists), but there you are. And I guess this book is here to explain that partly it’s due to the fact that nobody took Bayes’ law seriously, so the people using it were constantly having to defend themselves. Honestly I’m just psyched that a math book is being reviewed in the first place, and written by a woman no less.

Second, there’s an interesting article about A.I.G. suing Bank of America over the mortgage bonds, with excellent background for how little litigation is actually happening due to the credit crisis, especially by our government. Reading between the lines, I would say we could summarize this attitude by our government as along the lines of the following: “Oh wow, those models are complicated. Since I don’t understand them and I don’t expect you to, even though you relied on them for your business, I will let you off the hook. After all, you can’t go to jail for not understanding math!”.

Finally, there’s a really scathing description here of how the politicians are rendering the S.E.C. impotent by giving them too much to do, taking away their power and resources, and generally trying to get micromanaging control over how they do their thing. True, it’s written by a former chairman of the S.E.C., but it’s still not a convincing way to create a powerful regulator (if that’s what anyone wants).

Categories: finance, women in math
  1. Eugene
    August 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

    One more for today is Nate Silver ripping apart S&P on sovereign ratings: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/why-s-p-s-ratings-are-substandard-and-porous/ I haven’t looked at the numbers in detail, but his general points are right on.


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