Me, I love numbers. Numbers are cool. Numbers are magic. I can burble on (and have, alas) about chaos theory and statistics and how Nate Silver is a freakin’ prophet and similar crap.

OTOH, I understand numbers (mostly). And it terrifies me how people who don’t grok numerical results let numbers rule them.

So someone will say, “I just did what the numbers told me.” NO! WRONG! The numbers didn’t tell you to do anything! (The stars didn’t tell you to do anything! The books written 1,400/2,000/2,750/3,500 years ago didn’t tell you to do anything! The gods who speak in entrails and smoke didn’t tell you to do anything! Same shit, different era.) You did what you did because it’s what you wanted to do — or maybe what you didn’t want to do, but not to the point that you wouldn’t grab a handy excuse to do it anyway, just because it was the easiest path.

Only computers do what the numbers tell them to do. People make the numbers. And then use numbers as an excuse.

IOW, Holly, even if you did diss numbers (which are, IMHO, overly maligned players in this scenario), I still totally agree with your premise and examples. I’m just not as good at making empathetic points as you are.

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Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.

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