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The Mad Schemes of Dr. Tectonic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Beemer

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[Sep. 23rd, 2005|01:57 pm]
Beemer
A random question for people with science leanings:

I need a probability distribution, but its shape isn't really known. That inclines me to use a gaussian as a generic, because most things are gaussian.

However, it can't produce negative values. What would you use?

Truncate the gaussian below zero? Fold negative values back to positive? Something like a chi-square distribution that looks gaussian once the mean is far from zero?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2005-09-24 12:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Human nature note.

I think the number of people THAT perverse, especially with regard to life-threatening emergencies, is in fact negligible. I'll have to look into whether it's negligible when it comes to things like flu shots, though. (Another system we can study with the same model.)

There's an interesting phenomenon that some subpopulations (criminals, for example) may find it advantageous NOT to evacuate if everyone else is evacuating. But if we end up modeling that, I think the way to do it will probably be to give them an extra, negative signal representing the opportunity, because nromal meaning of the other signals (mortal danger) holds just as much for them as everyone else...
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[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2005-09-24 05:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Human nature note.

I'm unconvinced that many people hear from their friends that they've gotten their flu shots. I certainly never tell anyone except da_lj that he needs to get his. I started getting mine because a nurse practitioner yelled at me...
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