August 26th, 2004


Decision Making

When do you take the time to evaluate low probability decisions? Hmm, the incomprehensiveness of the previous question seems to reflect my own confusion on the subject. Let me try an example, instead.

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Examples of these “unlikely future decisions” abound. What to say if you were proposed to? Would you accept a mission to Mars? Would you go to grad school if you got a stipend? Would you change your life style for that wonderful new job? Basically, whenever there is a lengthy and therefore costly selection process which is difficult for you to influence directly, you have to either make your decision up front, based on partial information and then act as if you’ve been selected, or “keep your options open” and then risk ending up in an uncomfortable position of having to make life-changing choices under pressure and time constraints.

How do you do it?

Есть Женщины в Руссих Селеньях

(Forgive me for the continued use of English - tomorrow's post will be in Russian, I promise)

What are 24 blacks and 8 whites doing? Why, it's the semifinal heat of the women's 4x100 relay. The second heat has teams from all over the world, who are all black and 8 white women - the Russian and Belarussian teams. The Russians end up 2nd (behind the Americans) and the Belarussians - 7th out of the 16 teams. The final is in an hour, and, being in London, I'll get to watch in real time! Still, looking at that semifinal heat, just tell me that it's all nature and not nurture; tell me that the blacks are simply better runners than the whites.

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BTW, the first heat, with the americans, was simply a pleaure to watch. These women were running so fast, and so much faster than the second best team of the heat, that it seemed they weren't touching the ground at all. That's why sports are worth watching.

Update: the Russians ended up second, after the Jamaicans, the Belarussians - 5th, and the Americans ended up not ending up - they missed the baton change and did not finish the race.