Coping: The Matter of Predictions and “Slop” (CalQuake)

When one makes “predictions” about the future, the reader or analyst is faced with a terrible statistical problem.

While a perfect “hit” would be an event – exactly as described –  there is the matter of “effective fulfillment” of a prediction.

When on pokes around the Internet, for example, and  offers various insights into future events, there is often (accompanying) a kind of disclaimer.  It says, in effect, that because the net is so large and impacting on mass consciousness, the ACTUAL fulfillment may not occur but a QUASI fulfillment would have to be counted.

When, for example, one writes about “massive flooding” to come, it is argued that “flooding” anywhere – even if just in headlines – would constitute fulfillment of a prediction.

But here’s the problem with that:  Flooding goes on regularly (and worldwide) every year.  So I can make a prediction of “flooding” and it’s bound to come true.

In eastern Europe, Serbia in particular at the moment, there is a worry that more flooding will come.   No doubt, somewhere on the net – in various dream, prediction, and channeling sites – someone will in the past month have mentioned a prediction of “floods.”

Yet, here we are this morning, with flooding persisting in Serbia, and now it’s even threatening a power plant that serves about half the region’s electrical needs, says the NY Times.

Now comes the problem of  whether “headlines” about a story qualify as fulfillment?

This is a long conversation that Chris McCleary at and I will be having one of these days – as schedules permit – because we’re both finance guys (at least to the MBA level) and thus, both victims of statistics.

There’s no doubt that N (the number of data points) isn’t huge in any of this stuff, but the problem  which we might call Anti-N is hard as hell to track for comparison purposes.

So yes, if you find 3 predictions and one of them “hits” it might look like a very good success rate.

Suppose, however, that the number of predictions was much higher – and you took into account the totality of all predictions – not just those having to do with floods.  Then what?


This problem is far from theoretical.  And I mention is this morning reference my “CalQuake” dream that I wrote up in yesterday’s column in (amazing, even for my iMax-like  dream detail level).

Here the are on Monday and out comes the heading that says the SF Bay Area is due for a huge release of energy.  But will it come as one mega quake, or will it be a series?  The article “Bay Area’s future earthquakes: Knockout blow, or combination punch?” begins to ask the question and sketch out answers.

You see the problem, right?

The dream was of a much higher level of specificity and yet – by the very definition of some who make outrageous claims about predictive ability – my Monday morning post, followed some 10-hours later by huge headlines about involving exactly the area (the high tech hub) and earthquake risks, would have to be scored as a “hit.”

It’s an odd problem, for sure, but I’m not sure that the pseudo-hit is really legit. 

Remember, in the case of the plane/emergency landing dream, we had a “near hit” within a day of the dream posting.  Yet the actual (and rather precise “fill” didn’t happen for fully 10-days.

So while it’s interesting that the report came out, I’m skeptical, even though by past metrics I might have counted it as a hit.

Instead, I’m looking further out for a real big quake.  And let’s toss in the report of more than 70,000 fish dying in Marine Del Rey.  There are times when fish die-offs precede quakes.

About the only thing missing now would be a few dead oarfish this weekend off of Monterey and the stage would be perfectly set.

We shall see.,..but the problem of N and anti-N is a vexing one.  And it gets to the core of discernment or mental “slop.”  The poet in me says score it.  The numbers guy says nope, not enough data because anti-N hasn’t been calculated.

Twofer Tuesday in the WoWW

A couple of dandy reports on the ongoing trouble with reality becoming Swiss-cheesy of late.  Think of it as a Tuesday Twofer from the World of Woo-Woo (WoWW).

Remember a week or three back, we had a report about the woman who heard a mysterious female voice while taking a shower?  Well, she’s got a friend, apparently:

Hi George!

I wrote a couple of weeks back about hearing a female voice requesting she come into my bathroom while I was in the shower – and no-one there, of course.

Well, last week while at home alone, I heard a male voice (not a basso, but a deeper-pitched voice), briefly say “Hi, I…” and the transmission was interrupted by traffic noise from outside.

Since then, my husband and I have been hearing loud bangs around the house, and when we investigate nothing seems to be out of place. In fact on Friday night after I had gone to bed (I was still awake) there was an outrageous bang and a the sound of the table leaf hitting the table outside the bedroom door.

I have four cats so I suspected their involvement, but, no sign of anything out of place or cats in contest. I said out loud “ For heaven’s sake, I’m tired and trying to sleep. Just cut it out!” and since then it’s been quiet. Guess I opened a portal when I invited the female in, but it has seemed to have settled down since Friday night.

Keep up the good work, love what you are doing!

Somewhere in here, you might want to be nailing crucifixes up over all the exterior doors of your house, call Dial-An-Exorcism, have the rugs cleaned with holy water, run a few censors of incense through the place with all the doors open while chanting “I renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways”  and other commands to get out.

On the other hand, it’s nearly summertime (yeah, sure, right?) so if you find a good cool spot in the room provided by visiting spiritual, remember ectoplasm is cheaper than kilowatt hours.  So you might want to pass on the exorcism stuff until mid September, or so.

Besides, we could use the reports on next visits to fill summertime columns…

WoWW II: The Trouble at Warren’s Place

I’ve been corresponding for a good while with reader Warren.  Serious-minded, good researcher, ex-Marine and a general semper fi kinda guy, if I recall correctly.

The only major encounter with WoWW, up until this one, was his Case of the Perfect Lawnmower.  He got out his mower, mowed the large yard, only to find it was still full of gas, which he knows to be an impossibility.

I’m backed up on my correspondence a bit, but I was thinking about having him try that with a jug of wine to see if he could get the same effect, but you get the idea.

His latest observation is that the Swiss-cheesy stuff may have shown up at this place:  His latest subject line is Missing Items Appear, Again…

Smaller items have ‘disappeared’ and re-appeared around here so often that I don’t think about it anymore. Usually, they are small items, keys or ink pens and such – well, honestly, the wife usually absconds with the ink pens.

This time, it was my 25′ tape measure. It always goes in the shed on the same shelf, in the exact same spot, every time I use it. I’m fairy organized about such things. Almost OCD about it. I can usually find my stuff  at night, in a darkened room with the drapes closed, without any fumbling. A place for everything and everything in it’s place, as the old saw goes. The same is true of my shed. (The organization saves time and aggravation.)

Two weeks ago, I needed my tape measure for a small job on the fascia on the addition to the house. The tape measure wasn’t there. The shelving needs a bit of dusting, really. There was a dust free spot on the shelf where the tape measure usually sits, but no tape measure.

It wasn’t on any of the shelves. It wasn’t in any of the tool boxes. It wasn’t in the house. It wasn’t in the car. It wasn’t anywhere. It was just gone.

A couple of days ago, I went into the shed to prepare to mow the yard. There was the tape measure, in plain sight, right it was supposed to be…but it was slightly canted on the dust free spot it normally occupies. “There you are! Where were you when I needed you?”

I have noticed that most of the items that have disappeared and reappeared around here have some metal content, if they aren’t entirely made of metal. I don’t know what to think about that bit of data, but it is a data point.

There’s another data point, too:  As I remember, the shed is where Warren’s lawnmower lives.  So another question would be how far the “mysterious gas mower” was from the tape measure spot.

And – as another experiment – has he considered putting a cot in between the two locations and seeing if there is some kind of a vortex there?  A place where reality is – oh, you know – a little lesss objectively real?

And getting back to the odd voices, we have to wonder if there isn’t (somewhere near the bathroom) something of personal value (keys, a piece of jewelry, or some other intimate object) that has gone missing?

I expect we’ll hear more from both experiencers.

Corrected Thinking: The “Unsold Cars Report

Thanks to reader Larry for catching this:


Long time reader, first time to comment.

When I read your comment on, (yet another zero down) new car, it brought to mind the Vince Lewis article on “unsold cars” that I read last Friday. Later in your musings this morning you brought up that article. This led me to go read the article again and to actually do the search Mr. Lewis suggested in his article (put in “Unsold Cars” in to Google.

The results of that search brought up some interesting information this morning:

If the article were true your question as to what the next big thing to invest in could be “wrecking yards with a high speed car crushers”. But alas, don’t jump in too quick as it appears the article of Mr. Lewis is vastly misleading. The many news websites that carried on the original article from Mr. Lewis should be ashamed of their journalism criteria for fact checking before passing on such information to a gullible public.

Have a great day in Texas,

All days in Texas are great.  With the following exceptions:



Days you pay property tax

Days you pay sales tax

Days you pay income tax

Days you get bills

Days it’s not sunny

Days it’s too cold

Days it’s too windy

Days there’s flooding

Days there’s drought

Election days

Days politicians try to ram through the Trans-Texas Highway that won’t stay dead

Days laws of the land (like deportation laws) aren’t enforced

Days laws (like ACA extensions for corporations) and “made up”

Days the Constitution is attacked

Days the Bill of Rights is abrogated

Days the NSA listens to phone calls

Days people get jail for a half-ounce or less for personal

Days when speed limits are set too low

Days when cells phones drop an important call

Days when every light is red

Days with half the lights are yellow

(yada, yada, yada, this felt good to write…)

So yeah, great day in Texas, my butt.  You list may vary.

OK, off to work, or what passes for it until I can get full retirement benefits:  257 days 10 hours, 7 minutes. 

But who’s counting?

Order in the Courts: FIJA

Ya’ll come on back Thursday when I’ll be in “prepare for Court” mode.

No, I haven’t done anything wrong (if we don’t count punctuation and spelling):  I’ve been summoned to be on a jury.  I want to find out this time around if they will still kick me off the panel (they use the word “excuse” but I didn’t fart or belch) for asking a question about nullification and whether jurors can ask questions of a defendant.

Panama and I were talking about this just the other day.  “Just exactly where are these peers, I read about?” he was wondering.

Damn fine question that.  Seems if you’ve been through the Fully Informed Jury Association ( that no one in a courthouse will even want you near the place.

Which is why we have such a fine legal system, if you’ll pardon the pun.   Most cases are decided by the IQ of the prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge, as much as anything else.  That’s wrong, of course.  But whoever bring the biggest brain wins.  Lawyers operate brain rental boutiques, not “practices.”

If I ever get hauled up on any kind of charges, I’d argue that to be on any jury judging me  (e.g. peers) they’d better be at least all college grads and well-schooled in how the law is really supposed to work.  And why can’t knowledge of jury nullification be a preemptory question?  Because the courts are rigged, like everything else. Even defense lawyers are cowards who’ve been flipped, for the most part.

A Texas teen faces life in prison for baking ganja-laced brownies) for example.  To my way of thinking, turning a victimless crime *(and $50 worth of brownies) into a $10-million long-term expense to taxpayers is not clear thinking.  Yet with corporate courts, corporate corrections, and so forth, there you go. 

Getting high is what it is (escapism?).  Getting “judged?”  Looking for justice?  Well, that’s a well-monetized industry.

Which gets us back to Panama’s question:  Just where the hell are those peers we keep reading about?  And why are smart ones systematically kicked off panels?  Don’t want people who can think for themselves, is that it?  Need to be led around by the nose?  Hello?

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