How will Trouble do in September?

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What do you predict the "Trouble" salesrank ratio will be on 1 September?

  • 1.5

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  • 0.1 almost dropped out of sight

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  • #26
Gokul43201
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Since day-to-day variability seems to span 4 choices in the poll, I recommend some kind of average (say, an unweighted mean of daily values from Aug 26 through Sep 5) be used for a determination of the value of the Sep 1 ratio.
 
  • #27
marcus
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Since day-to-day variability seems to span 4 choices in the poll, I recommend some kind of average (say, an unweighted mean of daily values from Aug 26 through Sep 5) be used for a determination of the value of the Sep 1 ratio.
Good! I was thinking essentially the same thing but didn't know how many days on either side of target to take----how long a duration to give the window.

Just to make it a little less work, and achieve roughly the same effect, I think I will take a 7 day window (instead of the 11 day window you propose). the unweighted average of

29 August
30 August
31 August

1 September

2 September
3 September
4 September

(BTW enviable move--- a great place. not to mention several top inst higher learning, there is all that cultural stuff. even living in SF bay area I experience some wistfulness when I talk to people from there. Congrats.)

================

Will switch to the new system as of this time, unless Ed Aboud or Mormonator object.

Today the noon ratio was 0.5 and the five most popular stringy books were black hole, fabric, elegant, parallel and idiot's guide, in that order.
 
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  • #28
marcus
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Unexpected spike in the noon ratio. Maybe there was some media event: debate, interview,...


1 September 6.4
1 October 6.5
1 November 5.2
1 December 2.4
1 January 1.5
1 February 1.3
1 March 0.4
1 April 0.6
1 May 1.0
1 June 1.0
1 July 0.5
1 August 0.4
...
16 August 0.7
...
18 August 1.4
...
1 September ??


As of noon 18 August, TWP salesrank was 3927
and ranks of the five currently most popular stringy books were
black hole 323
parallel 4038
elegant 5153
idiot's guide 8878
fabric 9071
making the benchmark average 5492.6 and the ratio 1.4

Computing the 1 September ratio as a simple average of seven readings around that date, along the lines suggested, definitely appeals. Unless I hear objection in the next couple of days, I'm going to do it that way from now on. That will iron out such spikes and wild excursions as we've been seeing recently.
 
  • #29
marcus
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OK I haven't gotten any objections, so it's official. I will take Gokul's suggestion and define the 1 September ratio as the average of the noon ratios for 7 days right around that date. this will get rid of some of the fluctuation which we have been seeing.

TWP has been staying consistently around par recently


1 September 6.4
1 October 6.5
1 November 5.2
1 December 2.4
1 January 1.5
1 February 1.3
1 March 0.4
1 April 0.6
1 May 1.0
1 June 1.0
1 July 0.5
1 August 0.4
...
...
18 August 1.4
19 August 1.0
20 August 0.9
...
1 September ??


As of noon 19 August, TWP salesrank was 6004
and ranks of the five currently most popular stringy books were
black hole 1118
parallel 4485
elegant 5569
elegant hardbound 8086
idiot's guide 10,623
making the benchmark average 5970.2 and the ratio 1.0

As of noon 20 August, TWP salesrank was 6192
and ranks of the five currently most popular stringy books were
black hole 1450
fabric 4039
elegant 5555
elegant hardbound 6281
parallel 9331
making the benchmark average 5331.2 and the ratio 0.9
 
  • #30
marcus
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I just checked as of noon 23 August and the index was 0.7,
which is what Ed Aboud predicted it would be for 1 September.
The notable thing, more than anything else, is the stability. The book doesn't seem to be going away at least not yet.

At the beginning of this month there was a shakeup in the fundamental physics popular market with the appearance of two new titles that seemed likely to appeal to readers. One of them, the Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory (written by an editor of the Scientific American, no less) seems not to have caught on as yet. The other, not really a string book though I'm counting it as such because it has some stuff at the end, has been a great success: Susskind's book about the black hole controversy.

Despite the shakeup, Trouble sales ratio seems basically steady. It has been more volatile lately, I think, but as Gokul suggested I am going to do some averaging over a brief 7-day window and as far as I can tell (from occasional sampling) on average it hasn't changed much.
 
  • #31
marcus
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As of noon 24 August the ratio was 0.62

For the first time we will need the extra precision to distinguish who is closest, Mormonator (who said 0.5) or Ed Aboud (who said 0.7)

In this case, Ed would be the winner, because 0.62 is closer to 0.7.

What this tells me is that when I follow Gokul's advice and calculate an average
I will need to keep the un-rounded-off data---the unrounded ratio for several days, so that the average is not seriously contaminated with round-off error.
 
  • #32
marcus
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as of noon 26 August, the ratio inexplicably shot up to 1.1!

Trouble ranked 7546
and the five most popular stringies were
black 914
elegant 6468
fabric 6473
hyperspace 11,539
warped 15,504
for an average of 8179.6
making the ratio 8179.6/7546 = 1.1

*Mheslep* has registered the wildly optimistic forecast of 2.0! :bugeye:

That could actually happen as a brief one-day spike. But in response to a thoughtful suggestion (post #26) I have decided to make a SEVEN-DAY AVERAGE be the official 1 September target. It would be amazing if the average gets much above 0.7, I think. Averaging favors conservative middle-of-the-road forecasts. I say this with some regret, and apologies to Mheslep (who doesn't stand any more chance than a snowball in Hell, unfortunately.)

Well, now we are four who prophesy the future. :biggrin: Good luck to all!
 
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  • #33
marcus
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Getting down to the wire

I start averaging as of 29 August, in two days. To me it looks pretty clear that Ed Aboud will be the winner. It will average out to around 0.7 (what he predicted). Today at noon the index was 0.74. I'm getting in the habit of recording two decimal places so the average will be more accurate (less roundoff error.)


1 September 6.4
1 October 6.5
1 November 5.2
1 December 2.4
1 January 1.5
1 February 1.3
1 March 0.4
1 April 0.6
1 May 1.0
1 June 1.0
1 July 0.5
1 August 0.4
...
...
23 August 0.7
24 August 0.62
...
26 August 1.1
27 August 0.74
...
1 September ??
 
  • #34
marcus
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Well tomorrow, 29 August, we begin to record noon readings that count in the 7-day average.
Today seems like the last time anyone could reasonably enter a forecast (the riskiest forecasts are the ones made a month or two in advance, as with Mo and Ed, but up til now there is still some uncertainty.)
Today at noon the index was 0.76
 
  • #35
marcus
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29 August 0.61
30 August
31 August

1 September

2 September
3 September
4 September


As suggested, the 1 September index will be determined by averaging the 7 noon readings on and around that date. Today 29 August is the first day contributing to the average and the salesrank ratio at noon was 0.61.

In case anyone is curious, the five currently most popular stringy books were black hole, parallel, fabric, elegant, and hyperspace. The ratio was 7259.8/11,930 = 0.61

Mo and Ed are the pessimists in the poll, and it's pretty clear now that the contest is between them. Mheslep and myself are the optimists and I regret to say I believe we are out of luck.
 
  • #36
marcus
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29 August 0.61
30 August 1.23
31 August

1 September

2 September
3 September
4 September


As suggested, the 1 September index will be determined by averaging the 7 noon readings on and around that date. I'm gradually filling in the required data.
Today at noon the most popular stringy books were black hole, parallel, fabric, elegant, and elegant hardbound, with an average rank of 7218.2. Trouble's salesrank was unexpectedly high at 5876, making the ratio 7218.2/5876 = 1.23.

Again slightly better than par compared with the stringy topfive average serving us as a benchmark for comparison. Mheslep, there is hope yet! :biggrin:
 
  • #37
marcus
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29 August 0.61
30 August 1.23
31 August 0.88

1 September

2 September
3 September
4 September

Today at noon the most popular stringy books were black hole, fabric, elegant, parallel, and idiot guide (in that order) with an average rank of 3459.4. Trouble's salesrank was 3923 making the ratio 3459.4/3923 = 0.88. The Smolin book's salesrank is slightly under par compared with the stringy benchmark.

It's interesting to see how much averaging is actually doing for us. If we had decided to simply average three consecutive noon readings, instead of seven, how different would the outcome have been. I see that the average of these three, observed already, is 0.91.

Let's see how much the average changes after we have recorded a few more readings.
 
  • #38
marcus
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29 August 0.61
30 August 1.23
31 August 0.88

1 September 0.50

2 September
3 September
4 September

Today at noon the most popular stringy books were black hole, parallel, elegant hardbound, fabric, and elegant (in that order*) with an average rank of 3942.2. Trouble's salesrank was 7879 making the ratio 2942.2/7879 = 0.50. The Smolin book was doing only half as well as the stringy benchmark average, judging by ranks.

Mormonator's prediction for 1 September was spot on. His forecast was 0.5. This is not unusual, Mormonator has been right on the money several times in a row. Mo, you obviously deserve to be credited with a win! But you are being denied your rightful triumph because, at Gokul's suggestion, I changed the rules in the middle of a cycle. The effective 1 September number is to be the average.

* In case anyone is curious the five stringy salesranks were, repectively: 1475,3999,4452,4480,5305.
 
  • #39
marcus
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I have a doctors appointment this morning and am about to leave to get to it. This is probably the closest I can come to noon. (unless I get back unexpectedly early from the clinic.) So the 10:25 AM reading will have to serve instead of the exact noon.

29 August 0.61
30 August 1.23
31 August 0.88

1 September 0.50

2 September 0.95
3 September
4 September

Today at 10:25 AM the most popular stringy books were black hole, fabric, elegant, parallel, and elegant hardbound (in that order*) with an average rank of 4561.4. Trouble's salesrank was 4792 making the ratio 0.95. The Smolin book was about par with the stringy benchmark average, judging by ranks.



* In case anyone is curious the top five stringy salesranks were 1198, 3721, 5006, 5882, 7000.
 
  • #40
marcus
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29 August 0.61
30 August 1.23
31 August 0.88

1 September 0.50

2 September 0.95
3 September 0.69
4 September

At noon today the most popular stringy books were black hole, fabric, elegant, elegant hardbound, and parallel (in that order*) with an average rank of 5324.0. Trouble's salesrank was 7766 making the ratio 0.69.

This may be a premature call, since there is still one more day's reading to take, but this would make Ed Aboud the winner of the poll!
His prediction was 0.7, which is the closest to the average of the six readings taken so far, namely 0.81.



* In case anyone is curious the top five stringy salesranks were 3379, 4149, 5439, 5793, 7860.
 
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  • #41
marcus
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29 August 0.61
30 August 1.23
31 August 0.88

1 September 0.50

2 September 0.95
3 September 0.69
4 September 0.46

At noon today the most popular stringy books were black hole, fabric, elegant, elegant hardbound, and parallel (in that order*) with an average rank of 3350.4. Trouble's salesrank was 7272 making the ratio 0.46.

Averaging the seven readings we get an effective 1 September figure of 0.76.

Ed Aboud is the winner hands down! He reckoned the index would be 0.7, and his guess came the closest. Congratulations Ed!
 
  • #42


29 August 0.61
30 August 1.23
31 August 0.88

1 September 0.50

2 September 0.95
3 September 0.69
4 September 0.46

At noon today the most popular stringy books were black hole, fabric, elegant, elegant hardbound, and parallel (in that order*) with an average rank of 3350.4. Trouble's salesrank was 7272 making the ratio 0.46.

Averaging the seven readings we get an effective 1 September figure of 0.76.

Ed Aboud is the winner hands down! He reckoned the index would be 0.7, and his guess came the closest. Congratulations Ed!
Yes, congrats Ed! I was curious how this would turn out, and I see that the mark on Sept 1 was right where I thought it would be, but the rules were rightfully changed and I do like the new system even though I missed by 0.26. That still seems a respectable closeness, though... I have been away for a while, and will not likely stop back in too soon, but I will be around...
 
  • #43
marcus
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... I see that the mark on Sept 1 was right where I thought it would be, ...
Yes, you predicted 0.50 and it was exactly 0.50 on the button, as of noon Sept 1.
If you had extended your forecast another month you would have been right again.
Today (noon 1 Oct) the ratio was 0.49!

the averaging introduced an extra feature not part of the original game. If clairvoyance existed we'd have to consider you claim to it. you've been exactly right too many times :biggrin:

Make sure your local library has Frank Wilczek's new book The Lightness of Being.
It's the most enlightening physics book I've seen in the past two years---since Smolin's came out.

Since it is the first of the month today, I will report the stringy benchmark average and the saleranks of the two post-string physics books I'm watching.
As of noon 1 October the stringy top five were fabric, elegant, black, idiot guide, and parallel, with ranks 2404, 2581, 2658, 3254, 5034 making average 3185.8.

Wilczek's The Lightness of Being rank was 1921, making the ratio 1.66
and Trouble's rank was 6567, making the ratio 0.49

Trouble continues at about 50 percent of par. Lightness has been oscillating around, doing about twice as well as the stringy benchmark.
I went to hear Wilczek give a talk about a week ago. Great talk, have to tell you about it. As well as giving a straight talk about future of physics he afterwards (on request) recited from memory a sonnet he had composed about virtual particles. He also played a rap song video about the LHC all the way up to where it was about to mention string, and extra dimensions. (At that point we had heard enough so he stopped the video.)
 
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  • #44


the averaging introduced an extra feature not part of the original game. If clairvoyance existed we'd have to consider you claim to it. you've been exactly right too many times :biggrin:
I just call it dumb luck, but then again the law of large numbers would suggest that dumb luck doesn't strike this many times in a row...

Make sure your local library has Frank Wilczek's new book The Lightness of Being.
It's the most enlightening physics book I've seen in the past two years---since Smolin's came out.
I will have to look for it. I am not a library director any more, and I have since moved to a new town. I happen to be in the new library right now on the computer, so I will look for it while I am here, and if they do not have it I will request that they get it.

I went to hear Wilczek give a talk about a week ago. Great talk, have to tell you about it. As well as giving a straight talk about future of physics he afterwards (on request) recited from memory a sonnet he had composed about virtual particles. He also played a rap song video about the LHC all the way up to where it was about to mention string, and extra dimensions. (At that point we had heard enough so he stopped the video.)
I would be grateful to hear about that. I did see the LHC rap video featuring Dr. Hawking's voice... my mother actually emailed it to me :biggrin:

I once wrote some poetry about particle physics, mostly in a modernistic style with less rhyming. That was a few years back. Maybe I can post it to you some time.
 
  • #45
marcus
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Maybe there is such a thing as smart luck (as well as dumb luck, I mean.)

...so I will look for it while I am here, and if they do not have it I will request that they get it.
They let one read rather a lot of the book free, as a series of 3 or 4 page samples, at the amazon page for the book. And then there are his online essays and video lectures dating from several years back which give early versions of some of the same expository riffs.



I would be grateful to hear about that. I did see the LHC rap video featuring Dr. Hawking's voice... my mother actually emailed it to me :biggrin:
Nothing like having an alert mom!

I once wrote some poetry about particle physics, mostly in a modernistic style with less rhyming. That was a few years back. Maybe I can post it to you some time.
We must get a thread for poetry about particle physics and cosmology. Other people besides myself would be interested. I hold that John Updike's rhyming and metric-rhythmical poem about neutrinos is one of the great physics poems in English literature.
And Richard Wilbur's translation of Borges sonnet about spacetime (...and everything is part of that diverse////crystalline memory, the universe...)
he refers to the 4D universe as a "prophetic memory" and as a crystal. It's good. And it is a classic sonnet (rhymed metric, musical structure).
I personally am stuck like a barnacle to formal verse, so I don't normally get off on modern style. But other people do. So we should have a thread. Maybe in Humanities forum upstairs in the social science attic. Maybe I will start one. Most threads fail but you never know.

I owe you some Wilczek links. I will put them in the Wilczek thread (the poll about how is new book is doing) as I come across them.

Wilczek was obviously enjoying the LHC rap and kind of bopping in a restrained professorial way, in time with the music---and then it came to where it was about to begin a different topic (just before the part about LHC possibly finding extra dimensions) and he said "I don't like the rest" and shut it off. Then he went on talking about the idea of empty space presented in his book. (That's what the talk was about, not the LHC.)
 
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  • #46
marcus
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Continuing on with the TwP data :-)

Even though we have no prediction poll currently in progress regarding the Smolin book, some people may be curious to know how it is doing. This year, as of 1 September I started recording averages over several days around the first of the month---suggested to me as a way of smoothing out random fluctuations. The figure for 1 September was 0.76 which is rounded here to 0.8. The 1 October figure, being the first of the month, is again an average. The figure for 4 October was 0.79, here rounded to 0.8.

The Trouble with Physics salesrank performance relative to benchmark

1 September 6.4
1 October 6.5
1 November 5.2
1 December 2.4
1 January 1.5
1 February 1.3
1 March 0.4
1 April 0.6
1 May 1.0
1 June 1.0
1 July 0.5
1 August 0.4
1 September 0.8
1 October 0.4
...
4 October 0.8
5 October 0.9


In a neighboring thread, I am keeping track of the performance of Frank Wilczek's new book, The Lightness of Being, which came out the first week of September. Since the book is also about post-string fundamental physics, for wide audience, I'm using the same benchmark of comparison (topfive stringies salesrank average) to gauge impact. The earliest reading I have is 9 September (noon pacific as usual). The 1 October figure, being the first of the month, is smoothed by averaging in the usual way (five days around the first).

The Lightness of Being performance relative to benchmark

9 September 5.0
1 October 1.9
...
4 October 2.1
5 October 3.2


At noon 5 October LoB salesrank was 882 (it was #4 in the physics book category) and the string top five were fabric, parallel, idiot guide, elegant and black hole, with ranks 1864, 2388, 2569, 3326, 3783 with average 2786.0 making the ratio 3.2. That is, Lightness of Being was doing about three times better than par.

Also the Smolin book TwP rank was 3150, so it was standing at 0.9---about 90 percent of par.
 
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