The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kilowattses

Via the ever-interesting Daily Dish, a link to "vorjack"
It’s kind of a shame that reality is too slippery for us to quantify the amount of wrongness. Think of how useful it would be to if we had a unit of wrongness. Let’s say we had a unit – for absolutely no reason at all let’s call it a “beck” – that would allow us to express how wrong something is. “Ooh, close, but you’re wrong by 3 millibecks.” or “Whoa, off by a kilobeck.”
Of course, in our turf the right unit would be a watts. This could lead to some confusion between, say, kilowatts and kilowattses, but watt can you do?

4 comments:

King of the Road said...

Kilobeck? It's horrifying to think of 1,000 Becks.

Nosmo said...

The kilobeck. I like it.

But my favorite unit is still the millihelen. i.e., the amount of beauty required to launch one ship.

D.J. Andrews said...

@King of the Road.

On another blog, someone suggested that 1 beck be the maximum amount of wrongess with 0 being no wrongess. That way you wouldn't have to worry about kilobecks, and the amount of wrongness is constrained to a specific range similar to other units--e.g. the r squared-value for correlation in stats.

Keeping it at no more than 1 beck also means that once you get to 1 beck, you just can't be any more wrong (although you may be in danger of being given your own tv show on Fox). :)

King of the Road said...

@ D.J. Andrews:

I like it. That way you could reject the null hypothesis of being right at .95 beck level.