Emanuel Derman

Havel on the need for the transcendent

By Emanuel Derman
January 29, 2012

Something about naive liberal humanitarianism often bugs and irritates me more than correspondingly naive reactionary beliefs, and I (probably wrongly) end up judging more severely than I should otherwise good people who espouse it naively.

Mysteries of macro

By Emanuel Derman
January 27, 2012

1. Consider two countries, America and China. Suppose (only suppose) China manipulates its currency to keep it low, thereby making exports cheaper and imports expensive, benefiting its balance of payments and mercantile ambitions, harming America’s.

Grading agencies (This is an A+ post)

By Emanuel Derman
January 23, 2012

We’ve been in a bull market for Treasury Bonds since the late 1970s, and, as a student pointed out to me recently, and I think I can confirm, we’ve been in a bull market for academic grades too.

Bad economic decisions have nonlinear effects

By Emanuel Derman
January 17, 2012

I have been reading an interesting post by Mark Thoma on how the Fed can prevent the next financial crisis, inspired by the release of minutes of Fed meetings in 2006.

Probably maybe

By Emanuel Derman
January 9, 2012

When I say that the probability of throwing 3 heads in succession is 1/8, that refers to the fact that if I toss three coins a large number of times, I believe that the number of times I get three simultaneous heads will asymptotically approach a ratio of 1/8. Each individual throw is of course governed by well understood mechanical laws, but the sequence of uncontrolled tiny effects at the start of and during each coin toss effectively produces a pseudo-random result.

To me you’re a wave, but to myself I’m sometimes a particle

By Emanuel Derman
January 4, 2012

In quantum mechanics — i.e. in the real world as we understand it today — matter can have two kinds of formerly apparently contradictory qualities.