tales of the distribution: a horror story


Once upon a time there was an unhappy engineering student who was overwhelmed by tough classes and a tumultuous relationship. He decided to step back from the Master’s Degree program in which he was enrolled till he stabilized. Thirty-five years flew by, and somewhere in there the engineering career ship set sail for parts unknown. The End–or not quite. Remnants of his studies still float in his aging brain.  The phrase “tails of the distribution,” first heard during a Probability and Statistics class, bobbed in his conscious thoughts an hour or so ago. The above page was created.

Here’s the horror: In order to tell the REAL Tales of the Distribution, I’d have to go back to school or self-study to refamiliarize myself with 1) polar coordinates 2) Payne’s theorem 3) Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss 4) Chi-squared curve smoothing 5) Use of factorials in permutations and combinations 6) the Central Limit Theorem 7) probability density function calculus 8) n-dimensional space. That prospect is horrific to me. My time is better spent communing with my friends and loved ones, composing acrostic poetry based on wordplay and subject matter I well know, enjoying the local landscape and other scenery, and making that tiny piece of the world within my jurisdiction a better place.

But some day, probably long after I’ve ceased to exist, knowledge will be downloadable directly into the human brain. No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks, just a clean upgrade. For the lucky-or-not folks enjoying such a technological advance, the sky will be the limit, and new, interdisciplinary ways of looking at reality will be made possible. Somewhere in there someone might stumble upon this blog-couched body of work of mine and feel amused contempt. What a moron! she, he or it may think…and that’s the REAL Horror of this Story.

  1. If, he she or it thinks that, i’ll be awfully disappointed in my descendants, since they will control interesting knowledge, but they will not be using it wisely. If they attain the godly powers of super high intellect, let’s hope they also attain supreme levels of compassion, love and respect. Then they should love what you do.

    • I hadn’t looked at it from that angle, Michel. With sufficient compassion, contempt would become a thing of the past. Nice notion!

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