Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#365 / Coming To The End

We are getting really close to the end of the year. In fact, I notice (in case you didn't) that this is posting number #365 in the Two Worlds blog for the year 2014. Posting #365 would ordinarily be the last post for this year, given that I always start with #1 on January 1st, and put up one post per day, and given that this is not a leap year.

I think I'll comment more about my obvious numbering error tomorrow, which really will be the last day of the year. All I can say now is that it's embarrassing to find that I am apparently unable to count accurately from 1 to 365!

I do like the above image as an "end of the year" photo, though, given that making New Year's Eve predictions about the year ahead is a traditional practice, always appropriate for commentators and pundits of whatever type. 

The photo came from a consultant who is working for the City of Santa Cruz, helping to develop a "stochastic" water demand model, to assist the City in developing a good water resources planning strategy. I have my own thoughts about that topic (water resources planning, I mean), and recently presented some of them in this very blog. "Stochastic" analysis was not a factor in my thinking.

For those not familiar with the argot of statistical analysis, "stochastic" means "randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely." You can "Google" the definition, and if you click the link you will get a little context (but probably not enough context really to help you understand the benefits of using "stochastic" techniques in the development of water demand models).

Setting aside any further discussion of the best route to a good model for future water demand, I note that the "Forecasting Stone" seems to provide a route to absolute certainty in its forecasts, even better than the best "stochastic" models. The Stone does this by measuring current conditions! We do live in the present moment, always, and the future is actually "unpredictable," at least within the human world that we create, because we can always choose to do something unexpected, and new. 

I would like to think that maybe next year we will do something unexpected and new! If we don't, extrapolated trends do not seem benign.

Image Credit:
David Mitchell, M.Cubed Consultants - http://www.mcubed-econ.com/principals.html

1 comment:

  1. The so-called forecasting stone is not absolutely certain. I can pee on it or steal it without causing rain or a tornado. Nor does it forecast because this would imply it makes predictions about the future. The rock is a tool to measure only the here-and-now.


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