ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

Uncertainty in Daily Life

without comments

Welcome 2014!

I’ll start this year by pointing to two articles from the New York Times that point out the importance of uncertainty:

1. Monte Carlo to try and Find Fisherman who Fell off his Boat

This story in the New York Times Magazine describes the rescue for a fisherman who fell off his boat into the Atlantic while his colleagues were sleeping. The human aspects play the most important part, but one section describes how the US Coast Guard uses a Monte Carlo based simulation tool to predict the most likely locations where to search for the fisherman floating in the ocean. I found this story via John Gruber.

2. Inconvenient Uncertainties

In this comment, on another article published in the New York Times, Gernot Wagner tries to make the point that science in general, particularly environmental science is inherently uncertain . The title of the original article that he refers to is “By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past, Scientists Say.” Wagner tries to make the point, that science in general and climate science in particular, are uncertain. Will this threshold be passed exactly in 2047 or might it be around 2050? He continues to state that

The scientific method imposes some order, but in the case of climate change, that order is probabilistic. For the sake of science and the planet, we should not become distracted by a false sense of certitude. Imprecise truths are the most inconvenient ones. We know enough to act now. What we don’t know should prompt us to even more decisive action.

Written by Claus

January 4th, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Posted in

Leave a Reply