quarta-feira, 19 de julho de 2017

Insanity...

You know that the day is not going well when you end up screaming at your computer to stop the mathematica code that is breaking all over the place...
It is quite an irrational feat, to scream to a non sentient being, to stop the command you gave it just 30 seconds ago... However, I am pretty sure I am not alone in this...

Some people will vent their frustration screaming or talking to the monitor in front of them, others will hit the table or the wall (or even the computer) and some will just shut it down and go home...

Whichever of this is the normal one for you, there is still part of your brain that should acknowledge that the computer is only doing what you told it to do...and thus there is no particular reason why you should be screaming, hitting it or something like that. And the truth is that, except for breaking the computer, you will not get any change in it's behaviour, that you wouldn't get by just waiting for the program to crash or finish up running the broken code.

Even funnier is the behaviour that is often observed of: something didn't work properly (say, for example, a piece of code), yet most of the times people will run it again, to get to the same result as before.
I believe there is a definition for this: Insanity - To do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result...

I guess then, we humans are in general insane (hmm... well i think that this is true whether the above mentioned quote is right or not), because most of the times, when we know that something is wrong, that it won't work well, we still repeat the same act, without changing anything, and expect that the results will be different this time.
This a testament either to our blindness/stupidity or to our belief that chance, and not a deterministic act was what actually drove the final result... Or maybe a combination of both...

I am no saint in this kind of act, since I have in the past done this kind of, "Ouh, it didn't go well this time, lets try again, and just keep on doing it as I always did" (and actually this blog is a testament of my insanity in this matter).

But sometimes it's a matter of interaction, and the truth is that if there is an interaction in the model, that is significant, then you cannot evaluate each factor by themselves (go and check a statistics book if you don't believe me... although now that I think about it... there is some discord on this interaction term significance stuff actually).

And in truth, scientists do this all the time, testing things more than once to be sure that the result is predictable (i guess that in this case the expectation is not that things will be different, and thus stops being insanity) and repeatable.
But then again, scientists are thought to be crazy people, and that is why I love them... because I would like to be one myself, one day... crazy like that!


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