Friday, July 20, 2007

Tagged, eh?

Eric at Classical Values has tagged me. Thanks, Eric, 'preciate it. May your server go dark.

But I guess I'll play along. The rules of this tagging are in bold.

Let others know who tagged you.


Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.

Randomness is at once intuitively obvious yet very deep mathematically. There are several definitions for it: a function whose output bears no discernible relation to its input, the result of some process which defies prediction, etc. All of the definitions have in common that things appear random when we don't know what to expect from them, making any outcome as likely as another (yielding uniformity over time). Stated differently, a random process is one for which we don't understand all of the factors, or even know what those factors are. Ok, I think I'm done geeking out. Back to this tagging business.

I assume I am randomly to choose 8 facts about me, not to supply 8 facts about me that have to do with randomness or have a random air about them. How am I to perform the random selection -- should I list many, many facts and do random sampling (without replacement) to select from among them?

[... Interlude ...]

Having now considered the question at length, and since there may not even be 8 facts about me from which to choose, I think I will assume a loose definition of "random" and attempt to come up with 8 facts about me which vaguely have to do with randomness, listed in mostly the order I thought of them (along with other ordering factors I don't understand).

  1. I'm married to a wonderful woman who deserves better than I give her (we met by chance...)
  2. I drive a diesel Jetta, except for the odd occasion when it needs repair.
  3. I run between 20 and 30 miles per week, depending on the weather.
  4. I like the weather best with temperatures above 80°F, and the more humid the better.
  5. I have a congenitally deaf dog who understands and sometimes chooses to acknowledge understanding several signs (dog, stay, go, sit, lay, stand, do biz, speak, toy, eat), in American Sign Language
  6. I've never played the Lottery, because the odds are too good for the house
  7. When I play poker, I sometimes try to act as if I'm not pretending to think I'm better than I am
  8. I got a Bachelor's in Mathematics and Computer Science (which involved three Statistics courses)

Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.


Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

That will be tricky, since I don't know 8 people well enough to risk the permanent damage to their reputations, or at least, to their interest in me, that my tagging them will no doubt render. But here goes my, as it were, disordered list:

Now I am supposed to contact them all, since like everyone else in the world, they don't read this blog.

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Nate Nelson said...

I didn't know you had a blog, otherwise I would have been reading it all along. I've also been tagged for one of these in which I'm supposed to give seven random facts, so I think I shall combine them...

Nate Nelson said...

Finally did this. It's here.

Marc said...

Heh, sorry, but I'm a "Just say no" guy on these things: they're basically blog chain letters. If not participating makes me a bad guy, oh well.

Loren Heal said...

No, Marc, it doesn't make you a bad guy at all. These tagging things have in common with chain letters a general mechanism, but the web context gives them features lacking in simple chain letters (including endlessly forwarded email, which I'm sure we both detest). Probably if I had not been tweaked by the colloquial use of the phrase "random facts" into posting my thoughts on randomness, my reaction would have been similar to yours.

Primarily they increase exposure for your ideas, in a way that is not fully artificial. Since the tagger presumably reads the tagged blog, others being tagged may like it, too. Rather than chain letters, to me they are more like "the wave" at stadium events: artificial excitement focused on the spectators, which may or may not invoke interest in the event itself.

And I don't do the wave :-).

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