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DATETIME  August 2011

DATETIME August 2011

Subject:

Re: Rethinking Precision and "x"

From:

"Edward C. Zimmermann" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion of the Developing Date/Time Standards <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 3 Aug 2011 13:21:51 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (92 lines)

On Tue, 2 Aug 2011 16:27:24 -0400, Gerard Ashton wrote
> It seems we have two concepts that land surveyors like to call 
> uncertainty a.k.a error, which is
> acceptable because it is inherent in the nature of the measurement 
> process, versus blunder

There are different kinds of errors. Some blunders too are part of the 
process.. and there is also the issue of consensus versus truth..
True blunders--- leaving off a decimal place, writing down the wrong number--
 are not, I think, our concern. Any date can be potentially wrong. True 
errors are those that the author was sure were correct but were wrong. Not 
wrong according to the state of the art--- consensus or knowledge at the 
time that the measurement was taken--- but to human error that could, if 
checked at the time, be found and corrected. Example "President Abraham 
Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on the eve of April 14 1965".

> which is an error that would not have occurred if all parties taken 
> proper care. So we might say

What is proper care? "All parties" is concensus. It does not matter if its 
right or wrong but what is "right" is what all parties agreed to.. "right" 
is normative..

> that, having first agreed to allow negative years, Julius Caesar died 
> -43-03-1b. The date is unknown

Consensus is that Julius Caesar died on the "Ides of March" in the year 44 
BCE. It does not matter if it was really the year, as have been suggested, 
49 BCE and it does not matter if the day "Idus Martiae" really would 
correspond in the calendar to 15 March or not (probably not given that it 
was the name marking the full moon in a Lunar month).. it also does not 
matter if their is a body of evidence to suggest that it was probably not 44 
BCE... If my daughter on one of her Latin tests would have answered 
anything other than "15 March 44 BCE" to the quesion "When did Caesar die" 
she would have been "in error". Its neither blunder nor uncertainty.. In 
what year did the rains start in "Noah's Flood"? On what day did the 
Israelites leave Egypt? When did Adolf Hitler, Elvis or Jim Morrison die?

> not because of any uncertainty on the part of the assassins about the 
> date, but to subsequent
> blunders in observing leap years and keeping records as to when leap 
> years were observed.

Its also about errors in models.. Was the whole cosmology before Tycho Brahe 
just a heap of blunder? And mathematics.. before Kurt Gödel's incompleteness 
theorem? Before Cantor's infinities? Before Paul Cohen propagrated the 
method of forcing.. or Physics before Einstein or Theodor Kaluza who first 
added a dimension to general relativity--- a act which has got us 11 and 
more dimensional theories (e.g. Strings and their friends).
I am drawn here to Ludwig Wittgenstein's language-games.
> 
> Gerry Ashton
> 
> On 8/2/2011 2:52 PM, Ray Denenberg, Library of Congress wrote:
> > Ok, I think I have a solution to all of this.
> >
> > 'u' clearly has a much different usage when used internally than when it
> > replaces one or more consecutive rightmost digits. I don't think we have 
yet
> > confronted this.
> >
> > Thus 196u means:
> >      "a date in the 1960s"
> >
> > and expresses imprecision, where 1u66 might be said to express 
uncertainty.
> >
> > In other words I suspect the solution to this problem is not to refer to
> > "rightmost" 'u' as "uncertainly" and instead refer to it 
as "imprecision".
> >
> > And since 'u' means different things when used internally vs. rightmost, 
and
> > perhaps 'u' shouldn't be used for both.
> >
> > I therefore propose that 'x' be used instead of 'u' for level 1 
uncertainty,
> > and that we rename "uncertainly" as "imprecision" for level 1 (and 
continue
> > to call it 'uncertainty' for level 2 - internal).
> >
> > --Ray
> >
> >


--

Edward C. Zimmermann, NONMONOTONIC LAB
http://www.nonmonotonic.net
Umsatz-St-ID: DE130492967

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