Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Regressing To The Mean

Yesterday I found a bit of varifocal lens at the top of the new spectacles that is suitable for reading. Never realised it was there till I was looking at my computer screen over the top of the specs and then moved my head ever so slightly up. It’s only a very thin sliver, but enough to make it unnecessary to tilt my head fully back such that I’m almost looking at the ceiling to see the writing on the screen. It’s deep enough to read a couple of lines, but not much more.

Caught the tail end of ‘The Sky At Night’ on TV last night. Old Patrick Moore looked as if he’d had a bit of work done; he looked a bit too shiny – almost wind tunnelly, if you get my drift. Hay commented that he’s probably the least likely person in the world to have ‘had a bit of work done' on his vizog.

Been reading the book Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland. He highlighted an interesting phenomenon – or rather lack of it – in the financial markets. Sutherland was a professor of experimental psychology at Sussex University and he noted how people who use the services of hedge fund managers could get better, or at least the same returns from their investment portfolio if they used a pin to select the companies they invest in. He highlights a phenomenon called regression to the mean, whereby following a particularly good year, or a spectacularly bad year, companies’ fortunes regress to the mean. Hedge fund managers tend to select companies that undergo a rather large surge in profits, only to find that such companies under-perform in subsequent years – precisely because their fortunes regress to the mean performance level. He postulates that it would be better to invest in companies that have fared spectacularly badly in the knowledge that their fortunes will improve in the following year as they regress to the mean performance, and once they have, withdraw the investment and pump it into another company which has performed uncharacteristically badly.

I became aware of Pat Condell yesterday, which is surprising given his popularity. Look up his video monologues on YouTube – they’re well worth listening to as he speaks volumes of sense about organised religion.


  1. Need to look up Pat Condell - sense and organised religion are rare companions in the same sentence.

  2. Pat Condell rocks.. the Victor Meldrew of new atheism :)

    Top Condell comment: "I wanted to be balanced and say something nice about Islam, all I could think of was, nice logo".

  3. Alan: Just what he says.

    Steve: Thanks for introducing Pat to my horizon.

  4. Only watched one Pat Condell video so far but will watch the others as the man seems to have his head on the right way round.

    As I'm a little off the beaten track at the moment, I only just got round to the autism test. I scored 17. It would appear that I'm a man. If Islam is going to take over the world, this might be a good thing.....