[e2e] end2end-interest Digest, Vol 53, Issue 10

S. Keshav keshav at uwaterloo.ca
Wed Jul 9 18:36:54 PDT 2008

On Jul 5, 2008, at 3:00 PM, John Day wrote:

>  As the field grew, some researchers
> forgot the "we assume Poisson although we know it isn't" proviso or
> assumed everyone knew it and others started to believe it.

If you want to get a quick estimate of the number of cows in a field,  
assuming spherical--or oblate spheroidal--cows is perfectly  
reasonable. But then, other papers will cite yours and (mis)use this  
assumption to compute how much to feed them and how loud they moo.  
When enough papers make this assumption, some misguided soul will be  
unable to imagine non-spherical cows.

Moral: Beware of sacred cows.


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