Take a test to measure your statistical and risk literacy

Running data centers and IT is so many times about making decisions related to risks. BBC has an article on risk and uncertainty.

Whether you are a doctor trying to decide whether to trial a new treatment, a CEO trying to forecast business post-Brexit, or you simply want to know how to interpret the weather forecast, the capacity to weigh up different potential outcomes is essential for good decision-making.

Unfortunately, many people are surprisingly bad at this. Luckily, a very short test – called the Berlin Numeracy Test – now allows you to assess your ability to cope with risk and uncertainty.

Before you read on, you might want to try the test yourself. It takes just five minutes to complete and at the end you will discover how your own “risk literacy” compares to the average person.
Click here to measure your risk literacy
— http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180814-how-we-should-think-about-uncertainty

Here is a test the BBC article references. Dr. Edward Cokely is the sponsor of the research.

What is the purpose of this research? The purpose of this research is to advance the science for informed decision making, which aims to make information about the risks and consequences of decisions more intuitive and understandable for diverse decision makers.
— https://ousurvey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1XMoRYdGvZ7GdlH

I took the test at 3a in the morning when I couldn't go back to sleep. Pleasantly I got a perfect score. The study cautions me I should still take care and may want to double check your calculations or seek additional advice when ic comes to important decisions involving risks and statistics.

These are good words of advice for data center projects. It would be interesting if everyone took the test to give them feedback on their statistical and risk literacy.

Are you Blind? I am, can't see everything

Blindness is typically referred to as a visual impairment associated with vision loss. Seeing is believing. I saw it with my own two eyes. She was an eye witness.  There are so many examples of how seeing things is considered proof of the truth. Is your vision perfect? Is your memory of visual events perfect? Do you know about the things that you can't see?

This last point of not knowing about the things that you can't see is why I say I am blind. I am blind to the things that I did not see and may not remember accurately. Vision is not a perfect recording of events stored in memory and you can recall with perfection.

Part of what got me started thinking about this is conversations I have had with Microsoft's John Jendrezak regarding accessibility. John has a blog post on the latest features in Office 365 for accessibility.

To mark the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), I encourage Office 365 users to do a few simple things to make the digital world more accessible—including making a habit of running the Accessibility Checker on your documents (currently available in Office for PCs and coming by the end of the year to Office for Mac and Office Online). In addition, to help advance accessibility awareness, I’m pleased to share more about some of the enhancements we’re bringing to Office 365 that ensure people with vision impairments can work seamlessly with built-in accessibility settings on every device.

What I have started to realizeis how many times that systems aren't designed for when people are blind. I don't mean visually blind, but they have limited ability to see things beyond what they have seen. Part of what makes your eye sight special is you trust it. You can see the cup of steaming hot coffee. Your mind can gauge how hot it is and whether you should take a small sip or you can take a big drink.

I have been using the perspective of thinking what are we blind to.

Are you blind? I am. Because I can't see everything.



If you want to decrease outages shouldn't you be thinking of errors?

No ones outages.  Yet how many people think about the errors made.  You know those times when you leave a burner on, ATM card in the machine, original in the copier.  OK who goes to the copier any more like they used to.  But, that doesn't mean you are making errors all the time. Running data center infrastructure is so full of potential procedural errors the disciplined have figured out they need to invest in detecting and reducing errors.

Here is a paper written in 1995 on Working Memory, the short term memory you use to do process the new and old information.  http://chil.rice.edu/byrne/Pubs/git-cogsci-95-06.pdf

In their everyday interaction with the world, people often make mistakes, slips, lapses,
miscalculations and the like. Although making errors is common and the effects of errors can
range from the merely annoying to the catastrophic, procedural errors have received relatively
little attention from cognitive psychologists. Senders and Moray (1991, p. 2) suggest that “[o]ne
reason for this is that error is frequently considered only as a result or measure of some other
variable, and not as a phenomenon in its own right.” Typically, procedural errors are viewed as
the result of some stochastic function. Decrements in performance are manifested as an increase
in global error rate, with little or no attention paid to what causes any particular error.
This stochastic view of error does not seem to correspond to people’s intuitions about
their own behavior. People seem prone to making some kinds of errors more often than others,
and errors seem to occur more often at particular steps in the execution of a given procedure. In
some cases, errors are simply the result of systematic deficiencies or “bugs” in knowledge (e.g.
Brown & VanLehn, 1980). That the lack of correct knowledge of how to perform a step would
lead to errors on that step seems a plausible explanation of some kinds of error. However, this
explanation does not cover cases where people do have the correct knowledge. Many people
report making errors such as leaving the original document behind in a photocopier, failing to
retrieve one’s bank card from an automated teller machine (ATM), and forgetting to replace the
gas cap after filling the tank. In all these cases, people almost certainly have the knowledge
required to carry out the task, because they perform the task correctly most of the time. Yet
errors in these and other similar tasks are often reported.

People who want to be the best, find the best to be friends with

The data center industry is a relatively small community. Even though the overall data center market is growing there is a consolidation of power going on.  There are shifts to those who are the best at building out data center infrastructure.

Some stick to a group of people they have worked with for years like being loyal to your alma matter or home team.  They take comfort in the familiar.  This is where the term "old boys club" can be used to describe this behavior.

The Golden State Warriors won the NBA finals and Steve Kerr was the star along with MVP Stephen Curry.  Steve Kerr was seen on his plane flight back to Oakland with two  things that don't fit a SF bay area focus.

The Warriors coach, fresh off his team’s NBA title victory, was photographed on the plane ride from Cleveland home to Oakland wearing a Seattle Seahawks shirt and reading a copy of “Boys in the Boat,” the popular title about the University of Washington’s 1936 Olympic rowing championship.
— http://blog.seattlepi.com/football/2015/06/19/marshawn-lynch-joins-warriors-victory-parade-steve-kerr-sports-seahawks-shirt-reads-boys-in-the-boat/

If Steve Kerr was old school he would have a SF 49ers shirt or SF Giants and a book about UC Berkeley's crew team.


Digging a bit further it appears that Steve Kerr and Pete Carrol have become friends, coaches who want to have the best team.

Looking carefully, though, you can see commonalities — California sensibilities, positive energy, open-mindedness and a constant search to find new ways to motivate varied player personalities.
”I always loved Pete Carroll,” Kerr said recently. “Hated USC (Carroll’s former coaching stop) but loved Pete Carroll. And loved the way his teams played.
”They just won the Super Bowl. They play this fun, entertaining, energetic style. That’s exactly how I want my teams to play.”

Kerr had just been hired by the Warriors and was continuing his hyper-speed learning curve.
— http://www.mercurynews.com/tim-kawakami/ci_27118329/kawakami-warriors-kerr-found-mentor-seahawks-carroll

The ideas continue on how they shared ideas on how to be the best.

“We talked a lot about just kind of the atmosphere around a team and how you’re going to approach the daily routine,” Kerr said.

”To me, the X’s and O’s ... they’re an important part of coaching but a relatively small part. Eighty percent of it is just relationships and atmosphere, what your daily routine and culture is.

”Are players engaged, are they enjoying themselves, are they competing? All those principals he talked about, and we talked about different ideas of ways to make those things come to life. To me, that’s his gift.”

Practical result: Kerr saw how Carroll’s players reacted when the Seahawks played music throughout practice, so he installed speakers at the Warriors site, and there is now music playing through most Warriors sessions.

”It’s a staple for the Seahawks — it’s really uplifting and it’s fun,” said Kerr, who has piped in an array of rap and rock.

”Everybody’s bouncing around and energetic, but you’ve got to focus, too. So there’s different reasons to employ that. But that came from Pete.”