Law of Averages

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Law of Averages

Post  jgeanangel on Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:12 am

Here is a question for your consideration...

Where does the law of averages fit into your practice and thinking about bonsai?

Thanks,
John

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Re: Law of Averages

Post  fiona on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:14 am

Oh Lord, John! It's 2am over here and you've just set me a poser which will now keep me awake all night!

But, here goes. Since I believe the law of averages is merely a pseudo-theory rather than mathematical principle, I guess there could be any number of answers, one of mine being:

the belief that the more trees I have to work on, the more likely one of them is to
become an award winner.

I have stuck to this one over the years with only a modicum of success as yet, but I am resolutely still working on it. As it would appear from his Can't See the Wood for the Trees thread, is Will B, albeit with more success than I have had.

If we accept however that the law of averages invariably involves a fallacy, then the fallacious aspect of my apporoach is that in actual fact the more trees I have, the less time have to devote to each. Ergo and ipso facto - it is less likely that one of them will turn out an award winner. So, could it be the law of averages slips over into the law of diminishing returns at some point on this one?

However, just as the law of averages is a pseudo-theory, then perhaps so is my example merely pseudo-philosophical.

Or maybe the bottom line is that, as commonly suspected, everything all boils down to Sod's Law after all.

Nice question, John, although I'm sure this is not what you envisioned in response.

Now, where's my medica ...

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Re: Law of Averages

Post  Joe Hatfield on Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:52 am

It depends on where you place the value.
But, averages are strange, they never tell the real story. Small victories are just just as important as the larger ones, (in current perspective) Everything can change.
Wishful thinking always helps, if you wanna get into theory:)


Sod's law is another bag of worms.
Irony needs a trigger. A catalyst if you will.

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Re: Law of Averages

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:09 am

fiona wrote:

I have stuck to this one over the years with only a modicum of success as yet, but I am resolutely still working on it. As it would appear from his Can't See the Wood for the Trees thread, is Will B, albeit with more success than I have had.

I think my methods have more in common with the law of large numbers and the chaos theory.
And when my wife catches me trying to sneak yet another choice piece of yamadori into our already overcrowded garden, the big bang theory.


Last edited by will baddeley on Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:33 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Law of Averages

Post  fiona on Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:23 am

will baddeley wrote: [I think my methods have more in common with the .... chaos theory.
Ah. So the tree fell over in my garden yesterday because you flapped your arms on Saturday!

Or was it because by the law of averages, the fact that no trees had fallen over in my garden for several years means that the chance of one doing so on Sunday was significantly greater.

Or was it as I said, just Sod's Law coming into play as the tree got caught by the one and only gust of wind we had on that day.


And, to bring Joe's point about Irony to the mix: by the law of averages, the more daft answers we provide to John's original question, the more likely it is that someone will give a sensible one. Get the cat to put that on its list.

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Thanks for the replies...

Post  jgeanangel on Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:07 pm

I actually had to look up Sod's law...I see now it is closely associated with what I know of as Murphy's law - what can go wrong will go wrong.

thank you all for your thoughts and input...

Fiona...I also have wondered about your law of diminishing returns logic and find that my collection has been growing at pace, where if I am not careful, that is going to become a reality for me.

thanks!
John

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Re: Law of Averages

Post  wabashene on Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:08 pm

"There's an above average chance that my trees will turn out below average."

Very Happy

I suppose we start out trying to achieve "average" (dare I say "cookie cutter") looking trees but those with real flair will progress onto more creative- above average- output.

Sod's Law examples (from recent TV shows)

A Test Pilot retires after 35 high risk years then "buys it" the next day in a civilian aircrash going on the vacation of a lifetime.

A teetotaller inherits a brewing empire.


Thks
TimR

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