Category Archives: Decline Effect

The tendency for rare items in long series of randomly varying events or entities to become rarer. Also refers to my book The Decline Effect.

Lottery repeats

This is partly a story about lotteries, and partly a story about how math puzzles get discussed in academia andĀ the blogosphere. Back in 2003, as part of my research for The Decline Effect, I looked for declines in all kinds of random-number generators, or what an earlier generation called ‘chance machines’. I found so many […]

A recent news story about decline in politics

In the Dec 28, 2010 issue of the National Post newspaper, there was an article by Megan O’Toole about the shortening ‘shelf life’ of Canadian provincial governments, and in particular the shortening reigns of individual premiers. The story is available at: National Post: The year in ideas: Shrinking tenures Political scientists have noted this trend […]

At last, some serious discussion about decline

It is perhaps still too soon to say — since the New Yorker came out on Monday and this is just Thursday — but I think that the zeitgeist is finally turning to serious consideration of the decline effect. Which is great news for me, and for people like Jonathan Schooler. First, let me explain […]

New Yorker article

I’ve had a number of friends tell me about the article in the New Yorker by Jonah Lehrer, ‘The Truth Wears Off,’ about declines in a number of scientific fields. I’m in a mad rush today so I can’t do much more than note that I’ve seen it, and that yes, he’s talking about many […]

JSM 2010 paper is available for download

See the page under Probability.

Fixed the sample chapter again . . .

There were some problems with the security settings. Also I updated some graphs with the latest Web traffic data for my main example. This should be the last time I tinker with the chapter. Coming soon, the completed papers on nonlinear probability and global warming.

Fixed a problem

. . . with the sample chapter download. It was missing the last few paragraphs, now it isn’t.

Sample chapter from The Decline Effect

. . . is now up on a separate page. This is Chapter 17, one of the longest chapters in the book, but I think one of the most accessible for someone who isn’t sure if this book is for them. UPDATE Nov 14, 2011: Some time ago, I changed the sample chapter to Chapter […]

The progress of this blog so far . . .

. . . has been an illustration of the maximum entropy principle. First thereĀ  was a single post. Then was a long stretch of time (several months) with very little activity. I logged in from time to time but did little more than sigh and say, “Not right now.” But at last, in the past […]