The Mathematics of Love

A while ago I posted on the what is effectively the mathematics of sex. Well, so as not to get to Hippolytian about it all and keep a balance I thought I’d comment that over at they’re now following up on the mathematics of love wih an interview with John Gottman. It’s an interesting talk (there’s a video interview too). As he says,

I look at relationships. What’s different about what I do, compared with most psychologists, is that for me the relationship is the unit, rather than the person. What I focus on is a very ephemeral thing, which is what happens between people when they interact. It’s not either person, it’s something that happens when they’re together. It is like a structure that they’re building by the way they interact. And I think of it that way, almost like a fleeting architectural fluid form that people are creating as they talk to each other, as they smile, as they move.

I suppose I feel it’s great to use this sort of thing to diagnose what went wrong, but less clever to use it as a guide to who to go with. Put one way, the end may justify the means, but the means qualifies the end, and measuring and the maths affects the means.

The Rules of the Love Doctor

In this morning’s Independent there was an article about maths, sex and dating. Clio Cresswell, a maths whiz at Australia’s University of New South Wales, has written a book on the subject – aptly called “Mathematics and Sex“.

The book’s backcover states that

Revealing the ways in which math can help unlock the secrets of love, lust, and life’s search for the ideal partner, this intriguing text covers topics such as dating services, dating as game theory, the mathematical logic of affairs, and the numbers behind orgasms.

Now, the article I read gave five “love doctor” rules. While these may be of interest for those trying to find leurve, my first reaction when I read them was “Hmm, relationships, the rules might apply to feeds too”. (My second, quickly after, was “Shitbags, not everything is about social software”.)

Anyway, the Rules of the Love Doctor (and some knee jerk reactions to they might apply to feeds and the like) are as follows:
Continue reading The Rules of the Love Doctor

The Wisdom of Crowds

Was forwarded this book review by my mate Pete McCrum – and am now off to get it. The book is called “The Wisdom of Crowds: How the Many Are Smarter Than the Few” and it’s written by a New Yorker called James Surowiecki. Some of the choice snippets are:

“In 1906, English scientist Francis Galton visited a country livestock fair and stumbled upon an intriguing contest.

An ox was about to be slaughtered, and the villagers in attendance were invited to guess the animal’s weight after being slaughtered and dressed. Nearly 800 gave it a go, and not surprisingly, no one hit the exact mark: 1,198 pounds. Astonishingly, however, the average of those 800 guesses came close – very close indeed.

It was 1,197 pounds.”

It looks to be much more than a series of interesting anecdotes though …

the mathematics work so long as Surowiecki’s three key criteria – independence, diversity and decentralization – are satisfied. “If you ask a large enough group,” he says, “to make a prediction or estimate a probability,” the errors they make cancel each other out. “Subtract the error, and you’re left with the information.” In this fashion, the TV studio audience of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” guessed the right answer to questions 91 percent of the time, torching the “experts,” who guessed the right answer only 65 percent of the time

Have to admit, I was a little surprised that Pete was reading the Christian Science Monitor 🙂