Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Contribution to Statistics

Here's a great link that Becker brought to my attention

Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012)  won the 1996 Nobel Prize for literature; I am saddened by her death-- yesterday, February 1, at her home in Krakow. But one cannot help but rejoice for her poems.  Szymborska did not shy from use of mathematical ideas.  As in this sample:

A Contribution to Statistics   by Wislawa Szymborska
    Out of every hundred people
    those who always know better:
   -- fifty-two,    
   doubting every step
   -- nearly all the rest,
   glad to lend a hand
   if it doesn't take too long:
  -- as high as forty-nine,
   always good,
   because they can't be otherwise:
   -- four, well maybe five,
   able to admire without envy
   -- eighteen,
   living in constant fear
   of someone or something
   -- seventy-seven.
   capable of happiness:
   -- twenty-something tops,
   harmless singly,
   savage in crowds
   -- half at least,
   when forced by circumstances:
   -- better not to know,
   even b allpark figures,
   wise after the fact
   -- just a couple more
   than wise before it,
   taking only things from life
   -- forty
   (I wish I were wrong),
   hunched in pain,
   no flashlight in the dark
   -- eighty-three
   sooner or later,
   worthy of compassion
   -- ninety-nine.
   -- a hundred out of one hundred.
   Thus far this figure still remains unchanged.

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