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What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/27/2008 7:01 PM

The Odd Man Theory was not as well developed in the movie Andromeda Strain as it was in the original novel of the same name.

Written by Michael Crichton, the story tells of how a group of scientists with very advanced knowledge of micro biology are sequestered in an underground germ warfare laboratory in a desperate attempt to neutralize an alien microbe captured by a satellite and brought to earth.

The microbe is killing people left and right turning the blood to dust and this team is given the task of saving earth from certain death.

Amongst this group of scientists is, of all people, a baby doctor! This guy knows nothing about microbes. is not a research scientist and is puzzled by the decision to include him in this group of very heady people.

Well, as it turns out, guess who discovers the answer to the problem? The baby doctor, a pediatrician!

The fact that this a book of fiction may prompt others to think that this theory is little more than a convenient fabrication for the purpose of entertainment that perhaps it's not likely in the real world.

That would be a mistake. Others I have spoken to are aware of this principle, agree that it does operate but when asked were unable to shed light on its origins.

My limited understanding of the underlying principle is that those who are trained within a common paradigm or scientific philosophy think along the same lines. Others who are trained differently, think differently and are thus more likely to come up with novel solutions.

The scientific community is rich with examples of how ideas that should not work, did and contradicted accepted thinking.

Thus the idea that "Out of the box" thinking is more likely to occur from the ". . . odd man. . . " who doesn't know he's not supposed to ask certain questions.

Do any of you know who first conceptualized this idea? Are there any research papers or thesis you might point me to that might help me to understand more about this phenomenon?

Thanks

L. J.

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#1

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/27/2008 7:57 PM

The point that you raise is a valid one and one often used in teams, i.e., having one generalist to see connections and implications that might elude a specialist. I've no idea where it started, but it's quite old.

This, by the way, is not the meaning of "odd man theory" which refers to having an unmarried man assigned the critical task of deciding when to pull the plug, the idea being that an unmarried man would have less hesitation in committing suicide.

And, I don't think Dr. Hall was picked for the team because he was a "baby doctor". Perhaps his practice as a surgeon and his interest in biochemistry?

Can you name some of the examples of scientific ideas that should not work but did when a non-specialist (or even an untrained person) tried something new?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/27/2008 8:37 PM

"I don't think Dr. Hall was picked for the team because he was a "baby doctor". Perhaps his practice as a surgeon and his interest in biochemistry?"

I have a very limited memory of the details of the book or the doctor. Didn't even remember his name until you mentioned it nor was there anything in my memory bank to suggest that he was anything other than a pediatrician.

"Can you name some of the examples of scientific ideas that should not work but did when a non-specialist (or even an untrained person) tried something new?"

I can't look beyond my own experience for such examples. However, I am accused of possessing the "Edison Gene" and have a most eclectic background consistent with that. It's this personal domain from which novel ideas do often occur to me. I've a reputation for coming up with cross-discipline solutions.

My interest in this subject is personal; another demonstration of my ongoing interest in the things that influence how I show up in the world.

Thanks for the response

L.J.

BTW, Of all those who have been elected to public office, the small group of those I revere the most, includes Senator Patrick Moynahan. He could have sat on a bar stool, reading the Manhattan telephone directory. . . . . and I'd have listened.

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#28
In reply to #1

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 3:43 PM

Surely, TVP, you don't really mean "scientific ideas that should not work but did."

Obviously if they worked they should work. Rather, it seems, you are talking about ideas that folks that are supposed to know rejected as unworkable.

Why this seeming quibble?

Because the essence of the matter is that folks that routinize their specialty do so because they have not learned to look, from outside themselves so to speak, at their own, mental process and assumptions.

Without consciously adopting such a way of thinking, a dialectical reflective way, it is often the case that someone not embedded in a particular specialty that is nonetheless pertinent to the problem at hand, sees things as though from a "new" perspective.

Lots of difficult problems would not be difficult were folks trained to consciously approach all problems as I outline above.

j.

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#3

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/27/2008 9:14 PM

Dr. Hall was included in the team precisely because he was a pediatrician. There were only two survivors in the town the satellite came down in, an elderly alcoholic and a baby. He was brought in to figure out why a baby, which would normally be vulnerable to disease, was able to survive Andromeda when healthy adults succumbed to it.

It was the baby's incessant crying, which increased its oxygen intake (and thereby raising its blood pH level), that provided him with the solution to curing the disease: Andromeda can only survive within a very narrow pH range, which was why both the alcoholic (low blood pH level), and the infant (high blood pH level) survived when everyone else died. And as for the likelihood of this, well, Michael Crichton IS a qualified medical doctor (he is the creator of the long-running TV series ER, based loosely upon his experiences as a med school intern), so presumably he may have encountered cases where non-specialists were able to spot problems that specialists overlooked because they were too close to the problem.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/27/2008 10:03 PM

One of the things that makes Michael Crichton's plots so unnerving is their high level of credibility.

Granted, some of the plots (like Jurassic Park) do stretch things somewhat, but the underlying premise is consistent with principles that have agreement from the scientific community.

But when did the theory of the Odd Man first surface and who articulated it?

BTW, as an aside, long ago Michael Crichton dismissed the theory of global warming as being caused primarily by human beings. He tried without success to convince night time host Larry King of this.

Recently, it was reported that most every planet in our solar system also exhibited temperature increases in exact lock step with temp variations of our sun, which has had higher than usual activity. Not surprisingly, Crichton has written another novel on the subject.

L. J.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/28/2008 1:55 AM

"Recently, it was reported that most every planet in our solar system also exhibited temperature increases in exact lock step with temp variations of our sun, which has had higher than usual activity. Not surprisingly, Crichton has written another novel on the subject."

That would be "State of Fear", where he rubbishes claims by environmentalist activists that man-made activities are the main cause of global warming. Good points raised there: most of these activists tend to have socialist outlooks that tend to blame capitalism for all the world's ills instead of studying the problem from an overall perspective. Maybe that was the point Michael Crichton was trying to raise here: people aren't able to distinguish the facts from their own personal agendas.

I have no idea as to where or how the "Odd Man" theory came about. All I can say is that having had the misfortune to have worked under a government scholar, supposedly the "best and brightest in the country", who is not an engineer, is that HR departments should always remember that when a doctor makes a mistake, you may get tragic consequences (the patient dies), but when an engineer makes a mistake, you may get catastrophic consequences (thousands may die: just think Bhopal). Surely these people won't see a proctologist to treat their brain tumors now, would they? (On second thought, don't answer that question. If they think a non-technical person can do an engineer's job, then a proctologist can treat their brain tumors just as well as a brain surgeon can, since there's absolutely no difference between what they have between their ears and what they have between their butt-cheeks.)

On the other hand, the economists advising my country's leaders all fail to notice that raising road usage costs, public transportation costs, costs of food, fuel, healthcare et al at the same time, is fueling inflation and slowing the economy down, because they are the ones who implemented the policies in the very first place, whereas the men in the street, most of whom do not understand much of economics, realize it. Maybe it is things like these that gave him the idea that sometimes a specialist is too close to the problem to see the forest for the trees.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/28/2008 3:52 AM

In an earlier response, TVP45 asked:

"Can you name some of the examples of scientific ideas that should not work but did when a non-specialist (or even an untrained person) tried something new?"

I did know of any examples outside of my own experience so I could not respond to the question. It was however, with considerable embarrassment when I looked up on my book shelf later and saw a copy of Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer" glaring back at me. How could I have possibly overlooked the best example of what we were talking about!?

Here was a "common" laborer an untrained, uneducated stevedore, who fed himself by unloading coffee beans from tramp steamers in San Francisco during the day while writing a ground breaking treatise on the psychology of mass movements at night. So astounding was it's perception that it rocked the entire field of Sociology.

It's unfortunate that more people are not privy his writings. It would dispel a lot of the mystery that surrounds political movements and the hysterical appeal of some candidates.

It would make clear the distinctions between and psychological origins of the Conservative and the Liberal. Finally, it would make clear the motives of those who strap explosives to their chest as a means of self expression.

In it you will find validation for your statement "people aren't able to distinguish the facts from their own personal agendas."

Later on you wrote: "Maybe it is things like these that gave him the idea that sometimes a specialist is too close to the problem to see the forest for the trees."

At the risk of revealing too much , including my age, I was once a student of Alan Greenspan when he was still a partner in the Wall Street consulting firm of Townsend & Greenspan.

It was he who first taught me the value of Capitalism, quoted from the writings of Ludwig Von Mises.

Sadly, his Laizes Faire beliefs were compromised long ago and he wound up demonstrating what happens when "specialist is too close to the problem to see the forest for the trees."

L. J.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/28/2008 7:41 AM

Good point about Hoffer. I had completely forgotten him. That jogged my neuron a bit and I remembered also Grandma Moses. And, to some extent, Francis Crick received the Nobel Prize for being the nebbish sort of person who just went about looking over other people's shoulders; so, that's sort of what you meant, I think.

Of course, for every Crick, there is at least one Rosalind Franklin to actually have the knowledge, skill, and determination to do the work.

BTW, I tend to favor Ludwig's kid brother. Much more readable.

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/28/2008 11:35 PM

"BTW, I tend to favor Ludwig's kid brother"

That's news! I didn't know he had one. What's his full name?

Thanks

L.J.

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#16
In reply to #9

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 5:57 AM

Richard.

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#32
In reply to #6

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 4:15 PM

Let's see LJ.

You were a student of Greenspan's whom you describe this way.

'It was he who first taught me the value of Capitalism, quoted from the writings of Ludwig Von Mises.'

'Sadly, his Laizes Faire beliefs were compromised long ago and he wound up demonstrating what happens when "specialist is too close to the problem to see the forest for the trees."'

Are you not too close to see the forest for the trees?

He taught you about capitalism but sadly his views turn out not to be correct.

Does that not imply, since you learned from him, that your views about capitalism neither are correct?

This is what I wrote about in my previous post, i.e., the failure to examine our own thoughts and conclusions as though from outside, i.e., dialectically.

j.

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#31
In reply to #5

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 4:03 PM

DV,

Have you not noticed as a matter of historical actualities that the rate of increase of production in this economic system far exceeds the growth of market, the former tending to be essentially exponential, the latter linear.

Since the value of money is at base related to the value of production would that not tend to cause inflation?

I'm not an economist, at least not the academically schooled kind, but it seems to me that there cannot be a constantly expanding system without major, periodic problems, for instance the seven year business cycle, or now, what we are on the outer edge of, the seventy year catastrophic depression.

Isn't this what we are talking about, the inability to see the forest, because we are conditioned to see the trees?

j.

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#29
In reply to #4

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 3:49 PM

LJ,

Do you have a reference for this?

"Recently, it was reported that most every planet in our solar system also exhibited temperature increases in exact lock step with temp variations of our sun, which has had higher than usual activity."

j.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 4:00 PM

I am, amongst other things, an astronomer. I saw several references to solar warming of the planets in the astronomy reports I get.

One I saw contained this:

"Consensus collapses: APS re-opens debate on global warming;

Update: APS "reaffirms" stance

posted at 8:34 am on July 18, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The American Physical Society had been a proponent of the "consensus" on anthropogenic global warming/climate change — until now. While the main organization has not addressed its position — yet — a major unit within APS has declared global warming unproven and that the IPCC's conclusions unsupportable. The APS will re-open the debate on global warming with a new paper accusing the IPCC of deliberate obfuscation (via Memeorandum):

The paper points out that the warming seen on Earth during the period under question matched the warming seen on other planets in the solar system, a point repeatedly made by skeptics over the last few years. Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, and one of Neptune's moons experienced the same climate shift at the same time, and Monckton assigns the blame not to SUVs or belching smokestacks, but to the only energy source all have in common: the sun.

Solar activity during the past seventy years, Monckton states, exceeded what had been seen for 11,000 years, which led to the warming activity here on Earth and elsewhere in the system.

At the same time, one of the authors who built Australia's compliance protocol for the Kyoto Accords admits what most of us suspected all along — that the scientific community jumped to conclusions:

In other words, the science community had reasons to jump to conclusions. They got grants, they got attention, and they started getting all the hot chicks — well, at least they got money and felt important. Those are powerful motivators to reach conclusions that keep money and attention flowing, instead of concluding that they aren't terribly necessary at all.

And governments had powerful motivations to believe them. It gave politicians reasons to impose greater control on energy production, and to increase the power of the state. That creates winners and losers, which begets lots of lobbyists and campaign contributions.

Unfortunately, the recent data argues against anthropogenic climate change, and in fact its advocates never really proved anything. For one thing, as David Evans points out, the "greenhouse" model should have produced an atmospheric hot spot — which no one has ever found, despite years of looking.

Despite ever-increasing production of carbon, the last seven years have produced a cooling trend. And more recent data shows that carbon increases at the end of warming cycles, not at the beginning, which demolishes the cause-and-effect assumptions for climate-change advocates.

In short, the Earth is not in danger of "getting a fever", and the global-warming theory has been shown to be a Chicken Little scenario with no real scientific basis. Even those who helped lead the hysteria now have serious doubts. It's time to stop wrapping public policy around a fraud.

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#8

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/28/2008 10:57 PM

Specialist are molded by their education to attack a problem a certain way.

The come with assumptions which are pre-determinted.

While a non specialist has the birds eye view and asks a lot of (stupid?) questions the specialist did not think off

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#10

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 12:17 AM

One need not turn to fiction to discover instances of the Odd Man principle (NOTE: principle, in my opinion, instead of Theory). It is well past my bedtime, so I am not going to research all of the appropriate references, but I have read recently in the popular press of a couple of instances of this successfully put in to practice. One involved a company that used a case filled with rather unusual objects; the interviewee had to describe the likely application of these objects- the most innovative got the job. Another, more recently, consisted of a rather wealthy individual forming a group of scientific mavens outside their fields of expertise to address aa variety of pressing issues (i.e., nuclear physicists addressing the need for a cure for cancer). There is even a web site dedicated to this, called Innocentive, I believe, that attempts to identify "solvers" for issues outside the mainstream.

One who has dedicated 10 or more years to grasp a technical discipline has invested a great deal of energy, and is unlikely to be willing to look for alternatives that might render that investment moot. I personally have used this concept many times in the past, asking people outside the mainstream to look at a question. More often than not, I get blank stares; but often enough, I get new ideas that point me in the right direction...

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 2:16 AM

I went to Innocentive.com, took a look and registered immediately. Thank you for suggesting it!

You wrote: "One who has . . . . . invested a great deal . . . . . . is unlikely to. . . . . look for alternatives that might render that investment moot."

I agree. If you have seen my prior posts here at CR4 then you have likely seen my reference to a Buddhist principle that asserts that it is "our attachments that keep us stuck."

The scope of this mechanism is confined to human beings alone. Animals know better. Members of our species will continue down paths forever, long after it's been demonstrated that those paths cannot deliver on their expectations.

It's also killed people.

I've known men who died because they refused to parachute to safety from a stricken plane they'd spent years building. It wasn't fear of jumping. They insisted in trying to save the plane. Instead of writing off a few years of their lives, and living to build another, they chose to write off their lives.

As you wrote, their attachment to their investment clouded good judgement.

I enjoyed your response. Thank you

L. J.

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#26
In reply to #13

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 3:18 PM

Isn't this the reason why we seem to continue going down "wrong paths" in the political arena?

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#27
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 3:26 PM

"Isn't this the reason why we seem to continue going down "wrong paths" in the political arena?"

Sure looks like it to me!

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#33
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability

07/29/2008 4:36 PM

LJ,

Hate to keep hitting on you but "The scope of this mechanism is confined to human beings alone. Animals know better. Members of our species will continue down paths forever, long after it's been demonstrated that those paths cannot deliver on their expectations."

To the contrary, given the capacity for dialectical reflection, is it not humans that when they employ that reflection are free, or at least free to try and alter their circumstances, whilst it is other beasties, large parts of their functions genetically hard wired, that are unable to change?

I won't here try to sum up the entire million year history of homo sap, but surely is not the continual social evolution and the intertwined production evolution directly opposed to what you say.

After all, we live on a planet where the poor polar bears and the great apes, among many others, are about to vanish because they have not the tools to change?

j.

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#11

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 1:55 AM

The "Odd man theory" would be valid if it could be shown that having an outsider solved more problems that asking a specialist.

I'd guess that most times the problems we face are solved quickly and efficiently by someone who actually has the training and experience

Of course, we all remember the times our lucky guesses are right.

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#12
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 2:05 AM

You are correct, of course. But those issues I solve quickly (i.e., those within my realm of expertise), are not problems to me. Problems are the ones I can't seem to catch the solution to, and those are the ones I tend to remember. What is a problem for me is most likely trivial to someone else, just as some issues that others may consider a problem would be trivial to me...When I face a problem, I would really like to find someone "outside the box" who already has the solution...

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#14

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 4:09 AM

Richard Feynman comes to mind...

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#20
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 10:51 AM

Good to point that out, He talks in Surely You're Joking Mr Feynmann about his experience being a grad student that asked for a "map of a cat" (anatomical diagram) and also about his work solving a plating problem from out of no experience.

milo

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#15

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 4:54 AM

It's not just a question of the 'odd man' finding the solution, solutions can be found just by trying to explain the problem to someone with no pre-conceived ideas of how it is supposed to turn out. Try explaining your latest great idea to a small child, the off-the-wall questions will set your mind racing.

Isn't this how brain storming sessions are supposed to spark ideas?

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#18
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 8:50 AM

solutions can be found just by trying to explain the problem to someone with no pre-conceived ideas of how it is supposed to turn out. Absolutely, but I think this is a corollary to the Odd Man Principle (as noted in an earlier post, I think this is a principle, not a Theory).

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#17

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 6:21 AM

G'day folks,

This has been one of the more interesting thread for some time.

Unfortunately I have no idea where the concept came from but I my case it has definitely proved beneficial albeit unconsciously for a great portion of my career.

From the time I started work I seem to have been able to pick up and solve problems that numerous others have tried to solve but failed.

It turns out that I am ever so slightly dyslexic and it was never diagnosed till much later in my life. However, it did mean that my mind was arranged in a slightly different way to my fellow engineers and as a result I solved problems using a slightly different chain of thought.

What I and the people I worked with had been doing without realizing it was using the failure of others to solve problems as a filter or prerequisite for my problem solving skills and technique. The end result was that due to the slightly different way of thinking I more often than not would not make the same mistake that all those that had come before were all making.

However, throw something at me that was blatantly obvious to most and there was the chance that I couldn't see the answer if it was standing in front of me.

The interesting part is the way the people I worked with and I had been subconsciously using the odd man out principle to both apply my slightly different skills while protecting me from the mundane day to day problems that I would have found more difficult to solve.

So, sorry I don't know where the concept first originated but it definitely works and can end up driving your entire career and working life without you or anybody you work with even realizing it.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 10:16 AM

Masu, you may be interested in the writings of Thom Hartmann.

A prolific author, he has two books on the subject of ADHD , commonly known as Attention Deficiency Disorder.

Contrary to commonly held theories, he points to this behavior as a common trait of highly creative individuals, who tire easily of mundane activity, become bored and scan their environment for novelty.

His book, The Edison Gene, is not limited to a boring collection of scientific research into patterns of human behavior but includes a broad based and fascinating examination of the influence of this gene on our development as a species and our cultures.

These people have what is now being referred to as "The Edison Gene" and for good reason. It's been shown that when they latch on to something of interest, their attention span, their focus becomes intense and they exhibit spontaneous creativity.

It's apparent to many who know me that I demonstrate all the characteristics of this behavior. I am a passionate mechanical designer with a reputation for novel solutions.

What is common to your dyslexia and my alleged deficit is that they both contribute to our creativity while simultaneously being a source of frustration to the supermarket mentality of today's educational system and it's ". . . one size fits all, or else!"

Were I born 50 years later and exhibited this same behavior, I'd likely be one of the victims of the forced use of Ritalin.

"I am from the government. . . . . I'm here to help"

I appreciate your candor. Thanks for responding.

L. J.

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 11:10 AM

G'day Laughing Jaguar,

I haven't read any of Thom Hartmann's books but I am certainly aware of the ADHD problem and the way too many people including doctors go for the quick solution of drugging the poor kid off his face.

There are definitely some children that have ADHD that is bad enough to warrant the use of drugs like Ritalin but they are few and far between and there are way too many kids being forced to take it.

I don't know where you live and you may have seen it but I recently watched a series on one of the discovery channels called the "Great Experiment". Basically it took a group of below average un-achievers that were going nowhere and placed them in a separate class that used intensive science training. The idea was to tickle their interest with some impressive hands on experiments and over a period of six weeks push them through a science curriculum that normally took 2 years.

It wasn't easy but the scientists eventually got them interested and all but one managed to pass the final exams with exemplary remarks. The only failure was one girl that steadfastly refused to work and ultimately was thrown out of the project because of her disruptive behaviour and lack of attendance.

Anyway, this was a whole class of children that had been labelled as disruptive and had been written off by all the other teachers, yet with some imagination were turned around without the use of drugs. All it needed was to get their interest and fire that internal spark by showing them what science and physics was all about and what can be achieved.

The problem isn't the children it's the education system that's failing. Now before all the teachers out there jump in I'm not blaming them for this but rather the hyper conservative and over protective bureaucrats and politicians that do not give the teachers the power or resources they need to do their job properly.

It's a great pity as there's a very good chance that one of those kids that are spaced out on Ritalin is the next Einstein or Newton and by using it we are denying the world the benefit of their genius.

I have mentioned this before on CR4 but it was a long time back and most people would not have read it so I will go over it again.

Of all the training, schooling, education I have received the most important by a long way was learning to fly and getting a pilots license. Not only is it a fantastic way to use mathematics, physics and science in general but it teaches you that the only person that is ultimately responsible for you and the situations you find yourself in is you. It completely changes the way you look at things and give you a sense of confidence. It also looks good on a resume especially if you are competing for a job where the other applicants have a similar level of education and training. But most important of all is that it a hell of a lot of fun.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 11:53 AM

MASU wrote: "Of all the training, schooling, education I have received the most important by a long way was learning to fly and getting a pilots license."

I agree. Obtaining my pilots license showed me that I'd lived much of my life trapped under a glass cieling that began with "I can't do that because. . . . . "

The way I approached my life was dramatically altered from that moment on

Until I became a father, I competed successfully in aerobatic competition. When my daughter was born, I stopped competing and sold the plane telling myself that it was the responsible thing to do.

Looking back, I see that it was a mistake.

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 1:13 PM

I am a bit jealous of those of you who have been able to get your pilot's license. Many years ago, I tried, took quite a few lessons, but found that I would get really disoriented- a sort of vertigo- when landing. At first, I thought it would go away with experience, but it only got worse with each subsequent lesson, until I finally had to give it up.

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#34
In reply to #22

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 4:48 PM

Hello LJ,

Looking back, I see that it was a mistake.

For some reason I knew you were going to say that.

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#23
In reply to #19

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 11:56 AM

I only know closely 2 children who have ADHD, one is my grandson, the other is the daughter of a good friend although I suspect that my eldest son is the same. He has always been 'hyper' but is also intelligent. His school reports labelled him as disruptive & unable to concentrate yet he sat for 15 'O' level exams in 1 year and passed 12 of them. He now has a 1st class degree.

The 2 children have their condition largely under control by carefully monitoring their diets and keeping a careful note of the foods, especially the additives which seem to trigger their 'bad' behavior. Both of these children are obviously intelligent & intuitive.

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#25

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 2:54 PM

I left science long ago. They had just started with the idea of multidisiciplinary teams to solve problems when i left. That could be seen as a group of odd men! I think an odd man is of value to a team because they see things in a different light. But only if he or she is listened to. Problem solving is often a case of looking at the problem and saying "is that really the problem?" Lots of times people are trying to solve the wrong problem. For instance, they were trying to figure out how to bring goods from port through the historic part of a city when someone suggested putting a new port north of the city. (most of the port traffic was not serving that city). By the way, I have no idea why people are using threads like this to debunk global warming. The thread title was just a teaser with the punchline added later. Of course many people in engineering have a vested interest in pretending global warming does not exist. More engineers building ever deeper oil wells, and bigger cars, etc. But do you not think your services will be even more needed in designing smaller cars, better speed control devices, super efficient houses, and wave, solar and wind power devices? Really good engineering will be required in this warming world. Not just the big brute stuff.

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#35
In reply to #25

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 5:12 PM

Just a thought Technician cause you triggered it.

It does not matter why this planet is warming. Whatever the cause, in order to keep living conditions tolerable here for ourselves and all other species, we need to do whatever needs be done to start bring temperature down.

That is not to say that human contributions are not part of the problem, but, whilst addressing that if so, the main problem is to keep this planet habitable.

In a society where blame is the main operator; sometimes justifiably so, we must not, and this seems to be the odd man out position, lose sight of the imperative to reduce by whatever means available, the warming of this planet.

We know very well, that geological and other factors have more than once wiped out many species on this planet. That is where we should focus and do whatever is necessary.

j.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 6:29 PM

"It does not matter why this planet is warming."

I'll respond even though it risks my hijacking my own thread.

I agree with you that finding a solution is more important than pointing fingers. However, by your own admission, our world is caught up in a blame game.

The politicians, modern day Luddites, and others with hidden agendas, are taking elevated temperatures and predicting dooms day scenarios so as to manipulate the masses. They will grab at any excuse they can to do so. That much is already clear.

Congress, for example, is already considering an absurd carbon based tax system predicated on a claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant!

On a more mundane, technical level: may I ask you how can we expect to deal effectively with the problem and come up with effective solutions if we operate in the shadow of sophist reasoning and false causes?

---------------------------------------------

This string is about theories of out of the box creative behavior and problem solving. I take responsibility for introducing the fact that Michael Creighton spoke against the stated causes of global warming and that theme took off.

I invite one of you to switch this theme either to a new string or an existing one so we can get back on track with the Odd Man Theory.

Thanks

L. J.

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#39
In reply to #36

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/29/2008 11:27 PM

L.J.,

At risk of pissing some folks off I'd say the answer to your question is socio/political. What class historically has the most interest in solving the problem. I'd say the working class who is also, providing they had proper leadership, the most powerful class.

j.

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#38
In reply to #35

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 7:21 PM

Do you really have sufficient faith in our technical expertise with regards to climate to trust mankind to make the proper corrections, without causing more harm, by, say, reversing the heating trend to the point of inducing a new ice age? I think it much better that we focus on adapting to what ever changes we anticipate, rather than try to manipulate a system without a full understanding of the impact of our efforts. And, plant trees. It can't hurt, and it might even help...

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#40
In reply to #38

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability

07/29/2008 11:47 PM

It is our species nature to adjust our environment to the best living conditions for us.

The problem arose, not because of technical incompetence, but at first for lack of understanding of the system as a whole and beyond that because of an economic system that produces a rapacious class that in order to get rich and richer would even now, it seems, set off nuclear bombs to get their hands on a little oil.

In general we now know that all living things on this planet, leaving out the last named suckers, are part of a gestalt, a unity, wherein the consequences of the loss of some might be very damaging to the rest of us.

There is no question the rising temperature of the planet will create conditions that will do in many of us, homo sap, and others. Unless we as a species are prepared to say we are ready to be done, then it does not seem at all risky to try to rein in all those processes that contribute to temperature rise and along with ourselves save the Polar bears and others.

I did ask, somewhere back there, what the source was for the assertion that the temperature rise we are experiencing was occurring on all the other planets in the system. I have not seen a response. But if that is true then we are facing something much greater then our own screwing up of this planet which still would not be an argument against limiting those of our activities that contribute to heating up the planet.

That seems to me a rational approach.

j.

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 12:16 AM

One need not use global warming as a call to clean up our act. Every living species on earth extracts resources from the environment and excretes waste back into the environment. That is part of what life is about. Any species left unmolested (no predators, no disease, etc.) will expand its population to the carrying capacity of the environment, extract all the available resources on which it depends, and poison its environment with waste. We happen to be the closest thing to an "unmolested" species I am aware of- having eliminated most predators that fed on our species and having conquered many of the population-limiting diseases and increasing our capability to eliminate more. We have become very efficient at extracting resources from our environment, but have paid little attention to the fact that we are poisoning the environment. We have proven ourselves very efficient at this thing called life.

A major problem most of us have is that we generally like to believe we are somehow different than other members of the biosphere. We are not. We behave just like all other species. We extract resources and we poison the environment with our waste. We have expanded our population, and will continue to expand it, until we start starving to death, unless we are brought down first by some disease or some new predatory species. Wasting money on schemes to try to control the climate will only quicken our decline, by diverting resources from issues far more threatening.

We can far more effectively ease the impact of our existence on this planet by planting trees, rather than drilling holes in the ground for sequestering greenhouse gases. Of course, if we plant too many trees, we will no longer have room for all those solar panels and wind mills...

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 6:17 AM

A well-thought out answer!

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#43
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 11:32 AM

Right C. Warner!

"We are not. We behave just like all other species. We extract resources and we poison the environment with our waste."

With one key exception. We are fully aware of what we do and as you point out can change our behavior.

Part of that change must be to greatly reduce our population and change most of the planet back to its natural state or at least let it find its way there as has been demonstrated it can do.

j.

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 12:53 PM

Reduce population, and PLANT TREES!!!

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#45
In reply to #43

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 4:03 PM

Hello Jack,

What are you suggesting we should do ?.... Kind of scare me.. How can we do that?,

That remains me of a third world country solution for corruption, shoot everybody from thirteen and older and it will be solved. Let's do a clean and fresh start.

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#46
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 4:19 PM

Huh!

What did I say that scares you unless you are some sort of looney or nut case.

j.

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#47
In reply to #45

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 8:09 PM

did you ever hear about birth control?

he did not suggest the extermination of our race.

Or an asteroid would do the trick

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 9:26 PM

Hi Epike,

I think I took JJ comment too literally and off course thought of radical solutions.

Sorry guys, just a thought.

Ut

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 10:11 PM

Epke,

So this time you signed in and I can see you are in Japan.

In an elliptical manner you also seem to be concerned about something called race which does not exist; there is only the human species.

Do you really enjoy being jammed ass-hole to ass-hole on those little islands where every tiny bit of land is bitterly fought over?

Do you enjoy having an overloaded transportation system where you employ pushers to jam you onto trains?

The Chinese government, confronted with the same over population has, in their Stalinist dictatorial manner, whatever their other major failings, at least imposed restrictions on procreation.The necessary matter would, of course, have been better served had they instead of draconian penalties made it a voluntary matter giving large, persuasive rewards for restraint.

You do, of course, get more flies with sugar or is this use of the flies analogy going to set off another sample of what seems to be Japanese, right wing, racialism and paranoia, rather than a rational, scientific, consideration of the simple fact that somewhere around here we are going to tip the balance beyond the planets ability to recover.

You are not alone in your sentiments. They echo those of many Black folks here in the states who, with more historical justification than you, react the same way to birth control.

Nevertheless, note, I never said anything about forced birth control. As a good scientist I merely stated what I thought the data had by now made obvious, that we are over populating this planet to the point where we are almost certainly, if the mad men here and in Israel with their nuclear toys don't make it happen sooner, going to ensure the death, not just of Black people, or Japanese people, but of the entire human species and very possibly, all species.

Control of population is of course better implemented in an economic/social setting where all are truly equal and all make a truly joint decision.

j.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/30/2008 11:03 PM

JJ

Gee, I' getting more scare now!!!.

Israel is the main country affected by the developing and use of nuclear warfare and determination of usage against them by Xerxes (JerJes), so they (Israel) have to take a step forward and hit first as they should, no giving chance to Xerxes to counter attack anyone, so we coud stiil have the black ones, Japanese and all others who want to live in harmony worrying about the enviroment and so on...

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#53
In reply to #49

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/31/2008 12:04 AM

That is what you get for defending someone, i did not specify a race so it means the human race, i should have said homo sapien.

And i am not guest ok, i just said birth control in response of Guest reading something else in your statement.

I live in japan but i am Dutch, i live in the country said lots of space her.

Birth control can be done by the government by handing out condoms and making it easy for young females to gain "the pill" because usually it is the less fortunate that have a lot of offspring.

Well the Japanese have a steady decline of birthrate but that means we have to go to an feudal state of social organisation bases on shame and importance of being part of a group and being social inept.

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#37
In reply to #25

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probabili

07/29/2008 7:10 PM

Problem solving is often a case of looking at the problem and saying "is that really the problem?" Lots of times people are trying to solve the wrong problem. Excellent point, and a major reason the odd man can often come up with the answer...

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#51

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/30/2008 11:03 PM

Here's an Odd Man (Woman) example:

The most celebrated invention of frequency hopping was that of actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil, who in 1942 received U.S. Patent 2,292,387 for their "Secret Communications System". Lamarr had learned about the problem at defense meetings she had attended with her former husband Friedrich Mandl, who was an Austrian arms manufacturer. The Antheil-Lamarr version of frequency hopping used a piano-roll to change among 88 frequencies, and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or to jam.

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/30/2008 11:17 PM

That is cute and much more efficient than picking words outof a book.

j.

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#54

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

07/31/2008 3:00 AM

The 'odd man' is the antidote to...

'We've always done it like that'

Del

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#55

Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

01/23/2012 10:47 PM

The Odd man Theory from the Andromeda Strain movie has been one of the biggest influences of my professional career and my life.

At work I use a Mac and everyone uses a PC - This allows me to have a different perspective of the IT issues. Has the network gone down?? yes on the PC no on the Mac. Why is that? etc.

At work I have a virtual PC running on my Mac. I use a different virus checker than the rest of the workplace. So far I have captured 3 outbreaks of virai that did not even show up on the regular PC virus checker.

It is my "Odd Man" approach that has solved a lot of issues and prevented a lot of disasters. The theory works. If there isn't a registered theory then perhaps we should create one.

-=-=-=-

The Odd Man Principle

Any problem can be solved by a team of specialists in the field related to the problem at hand.

However with specialisation comes a form of tunnel vision based in the assumption that the problem is only anchored in that field.

The introduction of an "Odd Man" (a person that is not part of the field, but familiar with the basics) creates a checksum for problem resolution.

An "Odd Man" is essential if "Out of the Box" thinking might be required or if there is a chance that the problem might not be specifically from the field assumed.

This eliminates any chance for the specialists getting stuck going down a path that continuously fails due to the very act of repetition or myopic knowledge.

The "Odd Man" is literally a wild card.

-=-=-=-

Something like that. Sorry I am only on my lunch break. So was rather hurried.

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#56
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Re: What are the origins of the "Odd Man Theory" and it's influence on probability.

01/24/2012 7:14 AM

Things went a tad off course today. Normally we have two physiotherapy sessions a day that last between one and two hours, so this morning I headed to the gymnasium slightly before 10:00. Now I hadn't had a good night for reasons previously detailed so I wasn't feeling that alert and clear headed as usual. Nevertheless I did several exercise regimes that were primarily aimed at gaining more flexibility in my knees which at the moment isn't good with the left bending at maximum 45° while the right is worse with only 30°.

At the peak of the therapy my heart rate reached 155 beats per minute which is about as fast as you would want for a person my age. After the session I wasn't feeling too good and felt extremely breathless. Now being a chronic asthma sufferer breathlessness isn't an uncommon experience but you normally get a tightness of the chest as the muscles fight to draw air in and force it out through the restricted airways. However this didn't have that feeling just shortness of breath and when I got back to my room I was feeling extremely unwell. Fortunately Sue visited shortly after I returned and said that I had turned a horrid shade of grey and was obviously in distress.

Anyway we called the nurse and checked the oxygen level in my blood about half an hour after I had returned to my room and laid down. The result showed that my SpO2 or oxygen saturation in my blood was at that time 87% which is getting dangerously low with anything below 90% requiring supplemental O2 to raise it to a safer level. The nurse called the doctor and instead of getting me on O2 straight away he decided to do a full check that took the best part of an hour before concluding that it wasn't my asthma causing the problem and that my lungs were inflating correctly. By this stage I was starting to turn blue and had difficulty answering his questions due to the lack of O2. He finally agreed and about 10 minutes later they wheeled in a cylinder with nasal cannulas which they knew dammed well I can't use because they cause my oversensitive snoz to become irritated and ultimately bleed. Another 10 minutes of messing about and they finally return with a mask, but the doctor had only written up an O2 dose for use with nasal cannulas which is only about half the dose you need to get the same effect with a mask.

Anyway, after all that messing about within 30 seconds of starting the O2 I began to feel better and within an hour my saturation was back up to 97% which while low is within the safe region.

So from now on I'm going to have to monitor my SpO2 level whenever doing physiotherapy and stop whenever it starts to get too low.

They also want to send me off for a lung scan with a contrasting enhancing dye that will check that I haven't got a thrombosis that has lodged in the blood vessels that lead to my lungs. Only trouble with that is the contrast enhancing dye contains an iodine compound which I'm allergic to it and the last time they did this I went into anaphylactic shock. Ai ended up spending three days in the critical care unit which cost my health insurer some $15,000.00. However, this time they plan to use a radioactive dye which doesn't contain Iodine so it should be ok, but I bet London to a brick on that it'll show nothing because I found a medical paper a couple of weeks back that links low SpO2 levels with fibromyalgia and that the only workable treatment is the use of supplemental O2 when the levels drop too low with the time spent sleeping being one of the major periods of worry.

Apparently it all comes down to the pain response reflex. Fibromyalgia causes muscle pain which causes pain in the diaphragm and rub muscles when you breath. As a result the pain reflex causes you to reduce the use of those muscles so you don't breath properly which causes the levels of O2 in your blood to drop. This in turn causes lactic acid to build up in the muscles responsible for breathing and further increases the pain reflex which reduces your breathing further and drops your SpO2 further. Unless you intervene with supplemental O2 before the SpO2 levels drop too low you can find yourself in deep trouble. At its worst it's sort of like cot death for adults, however, in my case it has fortunately never gotten to that level because being an asthmatic I recognize things are going wrong early enough.

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