Last year at about this time the Court of Appeal for England and Wales overturned the conviction of one T (R. v. T.  EWCA Crim 2439) on the charge of murder. It was an identification issue and a critical element in linking the defendant to the crime had to do with a shoeprint left at the scene. The judgment is heavily redacted, reminiscent of some grudging government compliance with a FOI order; nevertheless, it's clear that shoes found at the defendant's house had soles that matched the patterns found at the scene of the crime. The important . . . [more]
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[I]f a rare event (10/1000) is reported by a very reliable witness (80/100), the chances that the rare event happened is closer to its base rate (10/1000) than the accuracy of the reliable witness (80/100) Psychology of Compliance & Due Diligence Law: "What does a 18th Century Philosopher have to Offer the 21st?"
I didn't do well with statistics in university. Didn't do it at all, really. Which is my loss, because now probability fascinates me: it's the next frontier for reason for most of us.As has been discussed a fair bit lately, thanks to potential catastrophes . . . [more]
Mark Twain wrote in Mark Twain, "Chapters from My Autobiography", 598 North American Review (Sept. 7, 1906):
I wrote the rest of "The Innocents Abroad" in sixty days, and I could have added a fortnight's labor with the pen and gotten along without the letters altogether. I was very young in those days, exceedingly young, marvellously young, younger than I am now, younger than I shall ever be again, by hundreds of years. I worked every night from eleven or twelve until broad day in the morning, and as I did two hundred thousand words in the sixty days,
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