Mystics and Statistics Blog

This is a great blog that should definitely interest my readers.  (Full disclosure – I’m hoping to get some funding to work with the people writing the blog.)

This is the blog of the Dupuy Institute, founded by the extraordinarily prolific military historian, Trevor N. Dupuy.

Dupuy was a pioneer in the quantitative analysis of war.  A picture in this post (reproduced below) characterizes him for me as a man with exceptional knowledge, analytical capability and pedagogical ability:

Weapon-Lethality-Dispersion-Over-History-editedGo to Mystics and Statistics so you can blow up the picture to examine it in minute detail (Yes, the Dupuy people also seem to be ahead of me in figuring out how the blogging software works….)   The point of the picture is that as weapons have become more lethal fighters have learned to spread out better to neutralize the weapons’ effectiveness.

For me one of the defining features of the Dupuy Institute is that it makes public predictions about looming conflicts, including on their duration and casualties.  For example,  Dupuy Director Chris Lawrence went on record at the outset of the Iraq war predicting a long engagement with lots of casualties.  Unfortunately, this prediction did not receive the attention it deserved.

Now Mystics and Statistics seems to be gearing up for a long series on their record at prediction.  I can’t stress enough how important it is for researchers to make predictions and hold themselves to account for their predictions.  I’ve touched a bit on this theme before on the blog here and here.  If you don’t make public predictions it is all to easy to pretend that you’re doing much better than is really the case.

I’ll be following Dupuy’s prediction series with great interest.

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