Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Sunday November 30, 2003 Someone I was supposed to meet didn't turn up. She hasn't answered her phone, and her voice mail doesn't seem to be working.

***Finished rereading Pamela Dean's _The Whim of the Unicorn_. Now I can start at the beginning of the trilogy again. And now I know why I kept misremembering the title as _The Whim of the Dragon_.

***Article on idiosyncratic financial forecasting in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Some of the people interviewed are contrarians; for example, one reads surveys of what economists expect to happen and then assumes the opposite will happen. Others look for obscure data which they say predicts sooner or more accurately than the data most of their competitors rely on. One goes to a nearby men's clothing store and asks how business is.

What they have in common is pride in being smarter than the people who take the road more traveled by. I consider it likely that for some of them, this satisfaction matters more than whether their prediction methods actually work.

***An idea used in several sf stories: Some humans and some intelligent nonhumans turn out to have more in common than they do with other members of their own species. In L. Sprague De Camp's "A Thing of Custom" and Nancy Kress's "Our Kind of People" (two rather different short stories),it's the point of the story. In William Tenn's "Firewater," it's important but not the point. In Poul Anderson's _The Star Fox_ and Gordon R. Dickson's _Naked to the Stars_, it's a minor part of the climax.

Something about the idea has been bothering me for a while now. I think I've pinned it down. I haven't yet read a story in which this is made explicit at the beginning.

This is not work-safe. From Charlie Stross's blog http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blosxom.cgi


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