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Comment The most important part is knowing the question. (Score 1) 262

It may sound cheesy, but if you are going to get the answer correct 50% of the time then the most important piece becomes knowing which question to ask, and being able to test whether your 50% answer is right. If not, rinse and repeat. Eventually you're going to get something interesting.

Comment The Black Swan (Score 3, Informative) 328

Events like that have been dubbed as Black Swans by author Nassim Taleb... The lesson is essentially as stated: probability theory only works for certain types of scenarios. He calls the realm of these scenarios 'mediocristan' and the realm of scenarios where extreme events can take place 'extremistan'. Examples: Average distribution of human height is relatively predictable, and in mediocristan. But try to predict how much wealth one person has from one to the next and you'll suddenly run into a billionaire and completely destroy your nice little data set from the last thousand people you looked at.

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Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth