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callidetic
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D B Davis
2018-06-09 14:18:43 UTC
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An Inet search of "callidetic" mostly points to offshoots of "The Weapon
Shops of Isher" (van Vogt). And now it'll also point to this thread.
Ted included "The Weapon Shops of Isher" [1] in his "RI April 2018"
thread. My read of it just began. Van Vogt uses the neologism
"callidetic" to describe the protagonist in his story. It loosely means
"lucky."
"Callidetic" appears neither in my _Oxford Dictionary_ nor my
_Thesaurus_. Although the later does contain a few synonyms for "lucky."
The synonym "blessed" seems to suit me best.
Here's my stab at "callidetic"'s etymology. Kallos 'beauty' + detic.
The detic part of the word remains enigmatic to me.
"Lucky" appears in a couple of other sfnal stories known to me. It's
somewhat of a psionic skill in those stories. A character named Tex is a
lucky card player in "Card Trick" (Bupp). Then there's _Ringworld_
(Niven)'s Teela Brown.
You find callidetic people in real life. Shortly after it was
founded, FedEx was on the brink of insolvency. Almost on a lark, founder
Fred Smith gambled the company's remaining $5,000 on Black Jack in Las
Vegas. He won enough to keep FedEx flying for another day. [2]
Black Jack always seems to work for me too. Poker doesn't work as
well because there's always a joker who wants keep the game going for as
long as it takes the loser to "win."
One of my associates believes that the roulette wheel offers the
best odds for a "double down" tactic, which is mechanically mindless.
Every time you lose, you simply "double down" your bet until you win.
Unfortunately, a string of bad luck can cause you to run out of bucks
before "double down" ultimately pans out.

Note.

1. http://www.prosperosisle.org/spip.php?article881
2. https://www.winthebet.com/gamblingstories_fedex.php



Thank you,
--
Don
m***@sky.com
2018-06-09 15:19:28 UTC
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Post by D B Davis
An Inet search of "callidetic" mostly points to offshoots of "The Weapon
Shops of Isher" (van Vogt). And now it'll also point to this thread.
Ted included "The Weapon Shops of Isher" [1] in his "RI April 2018"
thread. My read of it just began. Van Vogt uses the neologism
"callidetic" to describe the protagonist in his story. It loosely means
"lucky."
"Callidetic" appears neither in my _Oxford Dictionary_ nor my
_Thesaurus_. Although the later does contain a few synonyms for "lucky."
The synonym "blessed" seems to suit me best.
Here's my stab at "callidetic"'s etymology. Kallos 'beauty' + detic.
The detic part of the word remains enigmatic to me.
"Lucky" appears in a couple of other sfnal stories known to me. It's
somewhat of a psionic skill in those stories. A character named Tex is a
lucky card player in "Card Trick" (Bupp). Then there's _Ringworld_
(Niven)'s Teela Brown.
You find callidetic people in real life. Shortly after it was
founded, FedEx was on the brink of insolvency. Almost on a lark, founder
Fred Smith gambled the company's remaining $5,000 on Black Jack in Las
Vegas. He won enough to keep FedEx flying for another day. [2]
Black Jack always seems to work for me too. Poker doesn't work as
well because there's always a joker who wants keep the game going for as
long as it takes the loser to "win."
One of my associates believes that the roulette wheel offers the
best odds for a "double down" tactic, which is mechanically mindless.
Every time you lose, you simply "double down" your bet until you win.
Unfortunately, a string of bad luck can cause you to run out of bucks
before "double down" ultimately pans out.
Note.
1. http://www.prosperosisle.org/spip.php?article881
2. https://www.winthebet.com/gamblingstories_fedex.php

Thank you,
--
Don
The mathematics of "doubling down" are worth further examination. Suppose that a win returns double your stake. Naive gamblers notice that if you could always afford to try again with twice the stake after a loss then you would stake e.g. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and win 32 for an "investment" of 31, thus always coming out ahead. There is, however, a mathematical argument that your expected return (in this case just breaking even) is undisturbed by this arrangement. The resolution is that, for any finite sum of cash at the beginning of the process, there is a non-zero chance that you will be completely wiped out by a long enough run of losses. The small probability of this catastrophic loss balances the high probability of winning soon enough to reclaim your stake before the money runs out.

For the sums to balance, the probability of catastrophe has to be reasonably small. Our naive gambler is likely to be successful at first, and may even "learn" that if they keep their nerve and double down according to the scheme, all will eventually be well. Nick Leason claimed that he repeatedly doubled down an an attempt to reclaim an error in derivatives trading. He "broke the bank" in the sense that his losses led to the collapse of the bank he worked for (some cynics suggest that the situation was more complex than the official story). I wonder if some large government computer projects originate in a form of "doubling down" - the failure of a small project is hidden by starting a much larger one, which subsumes the goals of the larger one. Here too, I note that a project manager may "learn" what amounts to a strategy of "doubling down" to recover from previous failures without fully realising the risks they are taking.

I think I have gone on long enough to justify quoting Stan Kelly-Bootle's limerick

A mathematician in Reno,
Overcome by the heat and the vino,
Became quite unroulli, expounding Bernoulli,
And was killed by the crowd playing Keno.
Juho Julkunen
2018-06-09 20:13:15 UTC
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Post by m***@sky.com
Post by D B Davis
An Inet search of "callidetic" mostly points to offshoots of "The Weapon
Shops of Isher" (van Vogt). And now it'll also point to this thread.
Ted included "The Weapon Shops of Isher" [1] in his "RI April 2018"
thread. My read of it just began. Van Vogt uses the neologism
"callidetic" to describe the protagonist in his story. It loosely means
"lucky."
"Callidetic" appears neither in my _Oxford Dictionary_ nor my
_Thesaurus_. Although the later does contain a few synonyms for "lucky."
The synonym "blessed" seems to suit me best.
Here's my stab at "callidetic"'s etymology. Kallos 'beauty' + detic.
The detic part of the word remains enigmatic to me.
"Lucky" appears in a couple of other sfnal stories known to me. It's
somewhat of a psionic skill in those stories. A character named Tex is a
lucky card player in "Card Trick" (Bupp). Then there's _Ringworld_
(Niven)'s Teela Brown.
You find callidetic people in real life. Shortly after it was
founded, FedEx was on the brink of insolvency. Almost on a lark, founder
Fred Smith gambled the company's remaining $5,000 on Black Jack in Las
Vegas. He won enough to keep FedEx flying for another day. [2]
Black Jack always seems to work for me too. Poker doesn't work as
well because there's always a joker who wants keep the game going for as
long as it takes the loser to "win."
One of my associates believes that the roulette wheel offers the
best odds for a "double down" tactic, which is mechanically mindless.
Every time you lose, you simply "double down" your bet until you win.
Unfortunately, a string of bad luck can cause you to run out of bucks
before "double down" ultimately pans out.
Note.
1. http://www.prosperosisle.org/spip.php?article881
2. https://www.winthebet.com/gamblingstories_fedex.php
?
Thank you,
--
Don
The mathematics of "doubling down" are worth further examination. Suppose that a win returns double your stake. Naive gamblers notice that if you could always afford to try again with twice the stake after a loss then you would stake e.g. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and win 32 for an "investment" of 31, thus always coming out ahead. There is, however, a mathematical argument that your expected return (in this case just breaking even) is undisturbed by this arrangement. The
resolution is that, for any finite sum of cash at the beginning of the process, there is a non-zero chance that you will be completely wiped out by a long enough run of losses. The small probability of this catastrophic loss balances the high probability of winning soon enough to reclaim your stake before the money runs out.
Post by m***@sky.com
For the sums to balance, the probability of catastrophe has to be
reasonably small.

In real life doublind down at the roulette wheel runs into further
difficuties with there usually being a table limit on bets, and zero
making the probability of winning less than 0.5. (It's the house cut.)
--
Juho Julkunen
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