Wednesday 4 September 2013

S5.182 - Social Norm

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The Overline bar didn't look very busy when Logan and Cosecant arrived. One person was bartending, while a dark haired girl sat quietly on one of the bar stools. Nearby, Julia Childset and Howie Mandelbrot sat at a table. Julia immediately beckoned, so Logan and Csc approached the more familiar fractals, sitting down in the empty chairs available.


"Who's your statistics contact then?" Cosecant asked, after a quick round of greetings and handshakes. "The girl at the bar with the segmented hair?"

"No. Statistics isn't here yet," Howie said, sizing the two visitors up. "In fact this isn't a meeting with him, it's a test."

"A test?" Logan said warily.

Julia elbowed her companion. "Don't overdramatize, Mandelbrot. It's, well, a chance for you to see who it is before we actually attempt introductions. To see if you're ready. Because I don't think you've fully grasped what's really going on. In particular..." She looked to Cosecant. "He doesn't work in statistics, Csc. He IS statistics."

The trig's eye twitched. "His name is Statistics?"

Julia sat back and looked at them pensively. Howie rolled his eyes, then spoke up again. "Do you school-taught functions even know the meaning of statistics? It's not some boring field of study involving incomprehensible notation and numbers made up by pollsters. It's the study of data, of randomness and uncertainty, and of models! Mathematical models, which can be used to analyze and predict the actions of entire groups of people!" He spread his arms out. "I mean come on, humans are moving into an age that is levels of Asimov's psychohistory here, and it has statistics at it's core! How do you even see that being personified?!"

Logan and Cosecant exchanged a glance themselves. Both of them started to feel uneasy. The logarithm reached up to fiddle lightly with his eyepatch. Finally, he cleared his throat. "I guess..."

Which is when the bell jangled at the door, and everybody turned to see the new arrival walk in. "NORM!" chorused all the fractals, with the bartender adding, "What's new, Norm?"

"The existence of a fourth quartile, if my inbox is to be believed. I need a beer."

Logan's words remained frozen on his lips. Both he and Cosecant now simply sat openmouthed. Howie shook his head and let out a breath. "Test failed. They aren't ready."

"No," Julia acknowledged. The corner of her mouth tugged into a grin. "But they will be."



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