Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It starts with counting . . .

Mathematical imagery is one of the many features I enjoy in the work of Canadian environmental scientist and poet Madhur Anand.  Here is a sample from her new collection (A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes).
Background:  In an experiment designed to test the truth of a given statement 
(often called the null hypothesis), a Type I error occurs if the experiment results in a true hypothesis 
being rejected (a "false positive") and a Type II error occurs if a false hypothesis is accepted. 

Type One Error     by Madhur Anand

I avoid news, talk to strangers, walk around the block
a thousand times and toss nickels for random samples.
I still get a few false positives.  I'm fine.  It's good. 
That in reality I should have ordered the eggs
Benedict.  "Straw" yellow would bring out the living room
walls more than two coats of "Hay Stack."  Nowadays red pines
of southern Ontario are planted, which makes seasons
easier to approximate.  Even-aged stands seen
at high speeds through the windows are good experience
but will not supply the needed degrees of freedom.
One deterministic seed, the mind recounting when
counting is not enough, though where many poems begin.

     From A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes.  Copyright © 2015 Madhur Anand.   Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
     Anand's poem "No Two Things Could Be More Equal," from the same collection, was posted here on July 25, 2015.

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