Jiva Technology

Maths: things have reached a low ebb

Ok, no more posts about the US election after this, but I can’t help commenting on the press reports regarding New York Times columnist Nate Silver. Essentially, Silver diligently applied mathematical techniques to the available data to predict the outcome of the US Presidential Election. So far, so good.

That his predictions were pretty accurate doesn’t surprise me. But apparently it has come as something as a shock to most of the world’s press and Silver is now being treated as some kind of quasi-mythical genius/magician. Did those same reporters not go to maths class? Do they not know that that’s what maths is for? I mean, landing a small craft on Mars without any human involvement after launch, that’s impressive. Election statistics? Nope.

Everyone has to study maths, so this leads me to the conclusion that we are doing something wrong. Even if you don’t understand the maths required to achieve the statistical analyses carried out by Silver, you should at least understand that it’s not magic, just maths. Note to journalists: find out what maths and tell us*.

Time to start teaching people that maths is a beautiful thing that helps in everyday life, not something to be endured for as little time as possible ….

* for those that are interested click here


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