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william wu
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what we do  
« on: Aug 17th, 2003, 1:44pm »
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votes will not be used for solicitious purposes. i'm just curious!
 
if you selected "other", feel free to share what you do by replying to this thread ... i spent a while coming up with this list so i'm interested in what i missed Smiley
« Last Edit: Aug 17th, 2003, 1:58pm by william wu » IP Logged


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Re: what we do  
« Reply #1 on: Aug 17th, 2003, 2:53pm »
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hmm.. how did bureaucrat get -1?
now the rest constitutes (currently) 125%
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william wu
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #2 on: Aug 17th, 2003, 3:04pm »
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haha! yeah, something went really wrong after i modified some source files during the poll. i took a screenshot of the screw-up for posterity. polling gone horribly wrong:
 


 
alright, let's try this again Smiley let me know if anyone thinks more professions should be added to the list
« Last Edit: Aug 17th, 2003, 5:34pm by william wu » IP Logged


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Sir Col
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #3 on: Aug 18th, 2003, 6:14pm »
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Query: if users can vote for more than one field, what are the percentages supposed to represent? Imagine only two people had voted: I select Mathematics and Education, and my wife selects Homemaker; the poll would report Homemaker, 33%. True, 33% of the total selections are Homemaker, but it (wrongly) suggests that 33% of voters are homemakers.
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william wu
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #4 on: Aug 19th, 2003, 3:33pm »
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Yes, true. I didn't really think of that. Originally I thought of having voters only select one field, but some friends of mine suggested that was too problematic for people who qualify well for multiple fields. Perhaps the percentage contribution should be split between the multiple fields that a user votes for. Or we can just think of anyone who votes for two fields as representing two people. The latter interpretation may not be that bad. In any case, I hypothesize that the number of people who cast multiple votes is low. Perhaps I will check this later.
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Sir Col
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #5 on: Aug 19th, 2003, 4:27pm »
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In Statistics we normally use weighted frequencies for each person when multiple responses are available. That is, each selection for a given voter is worth 1/k, where k represents the number of selections they have made.
 
For example, suppose there were three fields: 1, 2, and 3.
 
A votes: 1
B votes: 1 and 2
C votes: 1, 2, and 3
D votes: 3
 
Proportion for field 1 = (1 + 1/2 + 1/3)/4 ~= 46%
Proportion for field 2 = (1/2 + 1/3)/4 ~= 21%
Proportion for field 3 = (1/3 + 1)/4 ~= 33%
 
The reasoning/justification behind it is quite simple; if a voter insists on occupying k fields, then only 1/k th of their vote is represented in each of their chosen fields. That way, each voter gets one vote.
 
 
By the way, nice touch with the poll interface and thanks for all your hard work, William!  Cool
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #6 on: Aug 19th, 2003, 5:55pm »
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I myself put in three votes, since I work as an Engineer, but have degrees in Math and Physics, and have an interest in all three (though anyone who has read enough of my posts knows that I'm mainly a mathematician).
 
How you want to count us schizophrenic-interests types depends on what it is you want the poll to reflect. If you want it to show how interests are divided amounst respondants, then Sir Col's approach is best. If you would rather see how the various fields themselves are represented among the responders, then the current approach is better.
 
If you are curious about how strongly these interests are represented in the forum, then you should weigh the answers based on how many posts each respondant has made.
 
While my contributions would be enhanced by this approach, where I would have the most influence would be a weighing based on most excessive use of punctuation. Cheesy
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #7 on: Aug 20th, 2003, 1:22am »
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I put in 6 votes, being in the field of cognitive science I deal with  
engineering (making stuff, also cognitive ergonomics),  
information technology (on the computer),  
mathematics (logical reasoning),  
linguistics (natural language processing, speech systems),
social sciences (user models, cognitive ergonomics)  
and entertainment (game-AI, game theory)
 
I also have intrests in physics and chemistry among other things, but they're not part of my studies..
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #8 on: Aug 20th, 2003, 3:00am »
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6 votes?  Shocked
 
My 3 seems low... I voted:
 
1. Engineering. I'm an engineer in spirit since kindergarten, and in degree for quite a few years.
2. Management. Oh, well. I've reached the level where I mostly produce documents  Cry
3. Education. I'm teaching engineering courses at the local uviversity.
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #9 on: Aug 20th, 2003, 3:46am »
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BNC,
I hope you feel better when you read that I only voted for two categories. Since it said "field of work or study", I restricted myself to Math and Physics / Astronomy / Earth Sciences. Come to think of it, I'd probably have voted for both Physics and Earth Sciences separately, had it been possible.
 
Really great work, William! Smiley
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #10 on: Aug 20th, 2003, 7:08am »
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You sickos!  Tongue Trying to over-represent yourselves again? I'll let my single vote speak loud and clear ...
 
I know ... I'm only fooling myself Sad
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #11 on: Aug 20th, 2003, 11:43pm »
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I'm in Finance/Banking (mutual fund manager).  Can you add this in?
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Sir Col
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #12 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 7:27am »
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Sorry to appear pedantic, but I have another question: why does 0 have any length? And, philosophically speaking, can you have 0%?
 
[e]If anyone wants to be pedantic they could point out that I asked two questions.
 
Reason for edit...
I just noticed the category: Law/Politics/Crime
 
If anyone knows a lawyer or politician, I'm sure they'd find the 3rd category, crime, most fitting.  Grin [/e]
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #13 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 7:42am »
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on Aug 21st, 2003, 7:27am, Sir Col wrote:
And, philosophically speaking, can you have 0%?

You mean like, you can only have things and not nothings?
hmmzz..
If nothing were anything than having nothing would be different from not having anything.. but it's not..
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Sir Col
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #14 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 7:58am »
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The 'existence' of nothing presents a paradox:
 
Imagine a small room. In that room, you must agree that there are zero pink elephants. In fact, there are zero pink elephants with the number 1,2,3,4,... written on their backs. We could go even further, and agree that there are zero elephants, kangaroos, tigers, ..., with an infinite variety of impossible colours with infinitely many possible numbers written on their backs.
 
Now, how much space does one of those pink elephants occupy? If they occupied any amount of space, then infinitely many of them would fill an infinite amount of space.
 
As the room is not filled, to over-flowing, zero anythings occupy no space, and so do not exist.
 
Hence to talk about zero something is to talk about a state of non-existence. In other words, as soon as nothing exists, it ceases to be nothing and becomes something. Therefore you cannot have zero percent, because to have a measure of something (percent) implies we have something, not nothing.  Wink
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #15 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 8:35am »
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on Aug 21st, 2003, 7:58am, Sir Col wrote:
In other words, as soon as nothing exists, it ceases to be nothing and becomes something.
no, I don't agree.
If nothing exists, then it's still nothing and stays nothing.
 
Now if a non-existing pink elephant were to exist, that would pose a paradox. But a non-existing pink elephant isn't nothing. Nothing exists by the grace of not anything existing. Where there isn't anything existing nothing exists.
Quote:
Therefore you cannot have zero percent, because to have a measure of something (percent) implies we have something, not nothing.  Wink
You can have zero percent not because it would be a measure of something, but because it is a measure of nothing.
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #16 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 10:41am »
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Thread Title: "what we do"
 
Judging by the posts here we need a category "Beat non-existant horses, which, if they existed, would already be dead"
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #17 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 10:44am »
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Sorry to deviate, but the use of units with zero is one of my pet hates and a constant battle I face in education. Consequently I feel that this thread (being the showcase of the new poll) is the appropriate place to talk about the interface and its representation of data...
 
Existence is synomonous with something as non-existence is with nothing; the two states are mutually exclusive. You cannot talk about the existence of nothing – it would be like talking about an odd, even number.
 
I know this all borders on the philosophical, but as measure is applied to existing things, it is a nonsense to measure something that does not exist.
 
On a purely mathematical level, in the same way that 10 cm means 10 lots of 1 cm, 10% literally means 10 lots of 0.01. So 0% means 0x0.01=0; the use of % is entirely redundant and as inappropriate as talking about 0 cm.
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #18 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 11:06am »
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in physics 0 meters means any length between -0.5 and 0.5 meters.
0.0 meters means any length between -0.05 and 0.05 meters.
 
Any measure in experimental science is inprecise, and thus 0 units is a very valid, and usefull concept.  
 
Also one can very easily talk about nonsense. There is no problem with talking about odd even numbers, for instance I might say I find them quite odd. Which they are per definition of course. But even so they sound pretty and smell nice. Espescially when their round and purple and taste like tequila. More so even when they read horses which would be dead if only they existed to be beaten..
 
The only real difference with nothing/zero is that that is a usefull concept. And can thus be used in more usefull conversation. Regardless of wether you dislike it or not.
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #19 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 11:16am »
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note in general: words don't make sense, people make sense of words.
"0 chairs" may not make sense in itself, it's just letters, symbols, meaningless in and of themselves. But I make sense of it, and so do most people. Anyone who doesn't want to is free to not understand everyone who does.
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #20 on: Aug 21st, 2003, 11:48am »
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on Aug 20th, 2003, 11:43pm, Kozo Morimoto wrote:
I'm in Finance/Banking (mutual fund manager).  Can you add this in?

 
finance added
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #21 on: Aug 22nd, 2003, 2:35am »
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on Aug 21st, 2003, 11:06am, towr wrote:
in physics 0 meters means any length between -0.5 and 0.5 meters.
0.0 meters means any length between -0.05 and 0.05 meters.

Sorry, but I have to object strongly here.
Your statement is just too general. Of course, it is standard (and good) practice to give appropriate error estimates for measured or calculated numbers, like (0 +/- 0.5)m. But "1m" (to avoid any controversy over 0m) by itself is exactly one metre, nothing more, nothing less. You may not be able to measure exactly 1m, but that's a different story.
 
When you give exercises involving physical calculations to students and the numbers involved are given without error intervals, do you expect them to dream the errors up themselves? Or shouldn't they just omit a calculation of errors when it isn't demanded?
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #22 on: Aug 22nd, 2003, 3:48am »
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Perhaps it's different where you live, but here the number of decimals signify the significance of a measurement in science.
 
1m has one significant digit, so it can be half a unit off. 1.0m has two significant digits so it can be 0.05 units off.
I was told it was standard practice in the scientific community, and the basis for the scientific notation of numbers.
 
1.2 * 3.500 = 4.2 whereas 1.200 * 3.500 = 4.200
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #23 on: Aug 22nd, 2003, 4:03am »
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I think you're both saying the same thing. wowbagger is agreeing that in a real world situation we must be aware of the degree of error. But, if you were solving a problem and were given the dimensions of, say, a triangle, unless part of the question asked you to take into account the possible error, you would proceed and calculate with the given measurements.
 
Strictly speaking, students are taught to write 1.32+4.28=5.6. As, 1.315+4.275=5.59 (lower bound) and 1.325+4.285=5.61 (upper bound), so writing 1.32+4.28=5.60 would be wrong.
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Re: what we do  
« Reply #24 on: Aug 22nd, 2003, 4:57am »
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on Aug 22nd, 2003, 3:48am, towr wrote:
Perhaps it's different where you live, but here the number of decimals signify the significance of a measurement in science.

That's right - if the number comes from a measurement. That's all I was saying.
 
Quote:
1m has one significant digit, so it can be half a unit off. 1.0m has two significant digits so it can be 0.05 units off.
I was told it was standard practice in the scientific community, and the basis for the scientific notation of numbers.
 
1.2 * 3.500 = 4.2 whereas 1.200 * 3.500 = 4.200

I know this rule of thumb, if you will, from school and was told to discontinue using it at university. To be really precise (in more complicated situations), you would of course have to do an error calculation. There's not much insight to be gained by arguing over 4.2 vs. 4.200 as long as you don't give explicit error intervals, I'd say.
 
However, 1m is one metre if you don't give the specific context of a measurement. You can say: I measured the length d to be x metres, with a precision of 1m. Then d = (x +/- 0.5)m. No problem. But if you just speak of one metre without a particular context, it is one metre, not 0.71m, nor 1.23m.
 
on Aug 22nd, 2003, 4:03am, Sir Col wrote:
I think you're both saying the same thing. wowbagger is agreeing that in a real world situation we must be aware of the degree of error. But, if you were solving a problem and were given the dimensions of, say, a triangle, unless part of the question asked you to take into account the possible error, you would proceed and calculate with the given measurements.

Exactly.
 
Quote:
Strictly speaking, students are taught to write 1.32+4.28=5.6. As, 1.315+4.275=5.59 (lower bound) and 1.325+4.285=5.61 (upper bound), so writing 1.32+4.28=5.60 would be wrong.

Are you serious about that last part? At least mathematically, the equation is definitely correct.
(I guess Icarus would refer you to the definition of decimal numbers to show that adding 0 hundredths doesn't change the value of 5.6. Wink)
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