## 🔖 Ten Great Ideas about Chance by Persi Diaconis and Brian Skyrms

Bookmarked Ten Great Ideas about Chance (Princeton University Press)
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, gamblers and mathematicians transformed the idea of chance from a mystery into the discipline of probability, setting the stage for a series of breakthroughs that enabled or transformed innumerable fields, from gambling, mathematics, statistics, economics, and finance to physics and computer science. This book tells the story of ten great ideas about chance and the thinkers who developed them, tracing the philosophical implications of these ideas as well as their mathematical impact. Persi Diaconis and Brian Skyrms begin with Gerolamo Cardano, a sixteenth-century physician, mathematician, and professional gambler who helped develop the idea that chance actually can be measured. They describe how later thinkers showed how the judgment of chance also can be measured, how frequency is related to chance, and how chance, judgment, and frequency could be unified. Diaconis and Skyrms explain how Thomas Bayes laid the foundation of modern statistics, and they explore David Hume’s problem of induction, Andrey Kolmogorov’s general mathematical framework for probability, the application of computability to chance, and why chance is essential to modern physics. A final idea―that we are psychologically predisposed to error when judging chance―is taken up through the work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Complete with a brief probability refresher, Ten Great Ideas about Chance is certain to be a hit with anyone who wants to understand the secrets of probability and how they were discovered.

## 🔖 A de Bruijn identity for discrete random variables by Oliver Johnson, Saikat Guha

Bookmarked A de Bruijn identity for discrete random variables by Oliver Johnson, Saikat Guha (arxiv.org)
We discuss properties of the "beamsplitter addition" operation, which provides a non-standard scaled convolution of random variables supported on the non-negative integers. We give a simple expression for the action of beamsplitter addition using generating functions. We use this to give a self-contained and purely classical proof of a heat equation and de Bruijn identity, satisfied when one of the variables is geometric.

## How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages | The New York Times

Read How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages (nytimes.com)
The U.S.C./Los Angeles Times poll has consistently been an outlier, showing Donald Trump in the lead or near the lead.

Alone, he has been enough to put Mr. Trump in double digits of support among black voters. He can improve Mr. Trump’s margin by 1 point in the survey, even though he is one of around 3,000 panelists.

He is also the reason Mrs. Clinton took the lead in the U.S.C./LAT poll for the first time in a month on Wednesday. The poll includes only the last seven days of respondents, and he hasn’t taken the poll since Oct. 4. Mrs. Clinton surged once he was out of the sample for the first time in several weeks.

## Forthcoming ITBio-related book from Sean Carroll: “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself”

In catching up on blogs/reading from the holidays, I’ve noticed that physicist Sean Carroll has a forthcoming book entitled The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, May 10, 2016) that will be of interest to many of our readers. One can already pre-order the book via Amazon.

Prior to the holidays Sean wrote a blogpost that contains a full overview table of contents, which will give everyone a stronger idea of its contents. For convenience I’ll excerpt it below.

I’ll post a review as soon as a copy arrives, but it looks like a strong new entry in the category of popular science books on information theory, biology and complexity as well as potentially the areas of evolution, the origin of life, and physics in general.

As a side bonus, for those reading this today (1/15/16), I’ll note that Carroll’s 12 part lecture series from The Great Courses The Higgs Boson and Beyond (The Learning Company, February 2015) is 80% off.

THE BIG PICTURE: ON THE ORIGINS OF LIFE, MEANING, AND THE UNIVERSE ITSELF

0. Prologue

* Part One: Cosmos

• 1. The Fundamental Nature of Reality
• 2. Poetic Naturalism
• 3. The World Moves By Itself
• 4. What Determines What Will Happen Next?
• 5. Reasons Why
• 6. Our Universe
• 7. Time’s Arrow
• 8. Memories and Causes

* Part Two: Understanding

• 9. Learning About the World
• 10. Updating Our Knowledge
• 11. Is It Okay to Doubt Everything?
• 12. Reality Emerges
• 13. What Exists, and What Is Illusion?
• 14. Planets of Belief
• 15. Accepting Uncertainty
• 16. What Can We Know About the Universe Without Looking at It?
• 17. Who Am I?
• 18. Abducting God

* Part Three: Essence

• 19. How Much We Know
• 20. The Quantum Realm
• 21. Interpreting Quantum Mechanics
• 22. The Core Theory
• 23. The Stuff of Which We Are Made
• 24. The Effective Theory of the Everyday World
• 25. Why Does the Universe Exist?
• 26. Body and Soul
• 27. Death Is the End

* Part Four: Complexity

• 28. The Universe in a Cup of Coffee
• 29. Light and Life
• 30. Funneling Energy
• 31. Spontaneous Organization
• 32. The Origin and Purpose of Life
• 33. Evolution’s Bootstraps
• 34. Searching Through the Landscape
• 35. Emergent Purpose
• 36. Are We the Point?

* Part Five: Thinking

• 37. Crawling Into Consciousness
• 38. The Babbling Brain
• 39. What Thinks?
• 40. The Hard Problem
• 41. Zombies and Stories
• 42. Are Photons Conscious?
• 43. What Acts on What?
• 44. Freedom to Choose

* Part Six: Caring

• 45. Three Billion Heartbeats
• 46. What Is and What Ought to Be
• 47. Rules and Consequences
• 48. Constructing Goodness
• 49. Listening to the World
• 50. Existential Therapy
• Appendix: The Equation Underlying You and Me
• Acknowledgments
• References
• Index

## Probability Models for DNA Sequence Evolution

Bookmarked Probability Models for DNA Sequence Evolution (Springer, 2008, 2nd Edition) by Rick Durrett (math.duke.edu)
While browsing through some textbooks and researchers today, I came across a fantastic looking title: Probability Models for DNA Sequence Evolution by Rick Durrett (Springer, 2008). While searching his website at Duke, I noticed that he’s made a .pdf copy of a LaTeX version of the 2nd edition available for download.   I hope others find it as interesting and useful as I do.

I’ll also give him a shout out for being a mathematician with a fledgling blog: Rick’s Ramblings.

## Information Theory is Something Like the Logarithm of Probability Theory

Not only a great quote, but an interesting way to view the subjects.