Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Review of Actuarial Science an A.I Actuarial Album (Produced by MJ the Fellow Actuary)

The generative AI craze continues - now entering into the actuarial world. The latest rendition is an actuarial AI album produced by MJ the Fellow Actuary.  The promise of computer-generated actuarial music is an exciting one, and may bring to life other actuarial music concepts.

The initial single is the catchy "Exams on Exams" which is an anthem of triumph for the many who have made their way through the gauntlet of testing.

Some may be surprised, but 12 years ago, we called out the possibility of a smartphone passing actuarial exams.  A music album is the next step. Obviously.

Overall the album covers the ebb and flow of romance amidst the struggles of an actuarial career.  It is at times confident and bold, and other times more...reserved. The wordplay is filled with little nuggets of industry jargon smashed into a slightly different context to decorate the verses and choruses. Sometimes they work magically, and other times they are a bit strained. 

Between the Spreadsheets Rating: 4 out 5 stars.

Let's go through a track-by-track review, written by a 99.99%* human being (as far as I know). 

*0.01% is nonhuman materials.

Friday, March 1, 2024

The Viral Virus: Season 5 The Long Haul

Generated with Microsoft Designer

My family, like many, has enjoyed the Netflix Series Stranger Things - which is now coming into its final (fifth) season. As I write the fifth installment of COVID reflections, I am wondering if this will be the last edition - or if we will keep going like the Fast and the Furious Franchise.  Who knows, maybe I'll think of a prequel? 

Recap (in the style of Friends)

The sirens have silenced. In May of 2023, the World Health Organization ended COVID's status as a public health emergency. In September of last year, the CDC called an end to the Public Health Emergency status. 

We are transitioning from pandemic to endemic. This is somewhat of an ironic final destination since some of the early opposition to the COVID reactions was that this was "just another flu". In a way, they almost ended up being right. But there are also many many ways in which that was not true in the early days, and also many ways in which that is not true today.

COVID is still quirky - and still not that much fun. Often lingering for a long time, and can be fatal, despite developments in treatment and medicine like Paxlovid. 

Now that the virus is no longer an emergency, this also means that a lot of the monitoring and tracking is winding down. 

As we look to the future of the world where the virus has taken up residence, the questions and concerns are changing.  

Friday, February 23, 2024

Black History Month Compliation

February is Black History Month - and there are some compelling stories and people in the insurance and actuarial space. This is an attempt to inventory those items.  Suggestions welcome.

North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company leaders C. C. Spaulding, John Merrick, and Aaron Moore. Photo arrangement from The National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race entry on these men and their company

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Emotional Actuaries

Contrary to popular stereotypes, actuaries are not emotionless robots. That’s the domain of tax collectors.

Here’s a listing of some feelings/personality traits that actuaries have.

  • Valuation actuaries are reserved
  • Cash flow testing actuaries have several sensitivities, and are sometimes shocking.
  • Pricing actuaries are marginal.
  • ALM actuaries will feel balanced on most days.
  • Annuity actuaries are a mixed bunch, some are rather stoic with fixed feelings while others can be quite variable.
  • P&C actuaries are rather protective.
  • Pension actuaries are eager to make contributions.
  • Life actuaries can be selective, ultimately.
  • Health actuaries are highly adjustable.
  • Disability and Long Term Care actuaries are morbid.
  • Investment actuaries are interesting, but hedging actuaries can be exotic.
  • Reinsurance actuaries share everything.
  • Experience study actuaries are occasionally incredulous.
  • Regulatory actuaries are very formal.
  • Governance actuaries are controlled.
  • Academic actuaries are collegial.
  • Retired actuaries, if all went to plan, will be untaxed.
  • Chief Actuaries get bored of directors.
  • An Appointed Actuary is opinionated.
  • Finally, actuarial students are testy. These are fragile creatures, often on the brink of mental breakdowns, so please treat them with a lot of love and care!
On the topic of emotions, a new tool for understanding how actuaries are feeling is now on the market.  Introducing the Actuarial Mood Ring!

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Maverick vs Maverick: Round 1

Dominic Lee, aka The Maverick Actuary sort of dared me to binge stream his interview series. Well, that’s how I took it anyway. It wasn’t an official challenge but when he "encourages" me to check out his stuff,  I hear "I bet you won't" and I’m not one to back down from an invitation. 

Also, over the 4th of July I enjoyed watching the movies Top Gun and Maverick back to back. Having those flicks fresh in my mind has inspired me to put the Mavericks Head to Head. Let’s “fly right into the Danger Zone!” And see how Dom stacks up against Tom.

Monday, March 13, 2023

When a Virus Stays Viral: Variant Edition

Hello fellow pandemic survivors! How is the bunker life treating you these days?  I know many folks may be maxed out on articles on COVID, but let's not lie - season 4 has had some new interesting twists. 

First, I came down with the 'VID while at an actuarial conference! I was down for a couple days with fever and flu like symptoms, before recovering. Spent some time quarantining to prevent spread and thankfully the rest of the fam was able to dodge the bug. 

Second, little did I know that I would get another chance to experience a catastrophic event a month later. Hurricane Ian plowed over my community in September. You can read about my thoughts on that experience, and how it is a reminder that risk is everywhere, tomorrow is never promised and lessons on resilience and resolve.

Many of the lessons from the hurricane apply to the pandemic as well. How do you alert but not panic the public, how do you save the most lives? How do you respond after the storm hits? How do you dig in for the long haul?

Third, the virus is mutating itself like it is part of the Marvel Universe or something.  The VARIANTS even sounds like a new movie in the franchise. Before we go deeper, here's a quick look back at the past 3 seasons. 

To recap: 

  • Season 1  -the sky is falling
  • Season 2 - putting humpty dumpty back together again
  • Season 3 - same song, new verse, a little bit louder, a little bit worse
In an ongoing effort to chronicle the elements of life in COVIDland, we will revisit various themes:

1. Decision Making and Uncertainty
2. Risk Models
3. The New World

Friday, February 17, 2023

NSFW Book Review: Everything is Your Fault by Stephan James

Between the Spreadsheets alternates between philosophical musings and satirical articles that are generally clean. For proof that actuarial humor can walk through the mire and be as lewd as your drunk uncle Roger, we present a review of Everything is your Fault, a series of parody advice columns from an actuary writing under a nom de plume. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Eat Your Numbers: A Second Helping


Covering how nutrition assistance programs are calculated, updates in medical coding of nutrition in healthcare, and climate impacts to food supply. Check out the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of Contingencies.

Part 1 is here: 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Book Review: The Ultimate Actuarial Joke Book and Best Tweets From Actuarial Problem Dog by John Lee

It is with much chagrin and envy that I offer my review of a pair of books composed by John Lee, a.k.a the Actuarial Tutor. 

I once had a dream to dominate the actuarial humor market. Now, I realize I have to share it. I missed the boat on being the first to publish an actuarial joke book, but perhaps I can still claim the best actuarial parody blog on the internet.  And while I may not have my tweets compiled into a reader, I can take pride in the occasional zinger I throw out there. 

But this is not supposed to be a jealous rant, so let me swallow my pride and proceed to support a fellow actuarial humorist. 

Actuaries are a rare breed. And if you are lucky enough to find one, you may get a chance to get a glimpse of actuarial wit and charm.  But if you are unable to find one or if you happen to be an actuary who wants to present proof that actuaries are indeed capable of humor, then John Lee's books are just what you need. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Actuaries Are So Covert the CIA Wants Them As Spies!

The worn trope of the actuary is that they are total introverts - practically invisible. The job no one has ever heard of and no can explain. It doesn't even sound like a real thing.  They even refer to themselves as 'unicorns.'

It turns out that this sort of elusiveness may be in demand by the CIA - and in this case, not the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, but the actual US Government Central Intelligence Agency. 

A recent job opportunity popped up on the Society of Actuaries Website and while the job title is for a Science, Technology, and Weapons Analyst, we all know that this is just a front. This is a chance to build a network of  undercover actuaries, a legion of nerdy spies that will assess and mitigate risks with silent proficiency. 

Cue the Liam Neeson voice over:

..what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you...

The only remaining question is how do you like your martini - shaken or stirred? 

(This post will self destruct in 30 seconds)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Hurricane Ian

I went toe to toe with Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. This was probably the craziest day of my life.

After 48 hours of anticipation and anxiety we were on the receiving end of a furious storm, pummeling our house with 100mph winds for hours and hours and hours.

A storm we thought would miss us, came and punched us square in the nose.

This morning, the sun rose, and I am grateful for today. 

To be here. 

With my family. 

With four walls and a roof. 

And just 40 miles to the west of me, things have completely disappeared.

And as I process through this, the thoughts that ring in my ears are bitingly poignant clich├ęs about how precious our moments are. 

How delicate and fragile we are.

How we need to continually to return to what really matters in this very short, very crazy, very beautiful life.

And of course, being an actuary, I am thinking about uncertainty and risk.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Book Review: Do Good Better by William MacAskill

I didn't realize that donating to charity could be an actuarial exercise! Yet after reading Doing Good Better by William Macaskill, I've realized yet another application of this skill set. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Actuary Sets Bungee Jumping Record

Happily, this post is not parody - it really happened!  Congrats to Francois-Marie Dibon who more than doubled the prior record.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Book Review: The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt


The Righteous Mind is a book about morals. At first glance, morality may belong to the realm of philosophers and theologians, but not actuaries.  Indeed, it may be hard to find a discourse on the greater good in a statistics text book.  Yet, there are three reasons I think actuaries will find this book appealing:

  1. Much of what actuaries are concerned with involves predicting human behavior. Perhaps understanding someone's moral framework can yield insights about their risk taking behavior or why they'd even consider buying insurance (or cheating the insurer). 
  2. The book provides mathematical framework for morality. The author introduces the Morality Matrix, which should get the actuarial taste buds salivating. Haidt expands left/right orientations into a deeper palate of dimension. For actuaries who enjoy component based studies, this will be a welcome analysis.
  3. Actuaries are humans, too. This book offers a look in the mirror, an opportunity to "know thyself" a little bit better, and also sheds some light on your fellow human beings.
This book challenged some of the conventions I had about the role and value of reason in my decision making and justifications It gave me an opportunity to check my biases. Most importantly it gave me language/tools to understand the current political and social landscape in a way that the mainstream media misses.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Actuaryland: A Theme Park Designed By and For Actuaries

Inspired by recent activity on Twitter, a nationally recognized amusement park design firm is entering a concept phase for a new niche attraction. 

The impetus of the idea came out of an exchange on the popularity of Bayesian Statistics - to which one @loveactuary responded "in actuaryland we love em" - to which @EvanSparks chimed in "Actuaryland: the theme park where all the roller coasters have accurate forecast for how long a guest can ride before throwing up." This is now commonly referred to as the Puke Index.

And thus a concept is born.

Like all theme parks, the admission price will likely cost a small fortune. @nateworrell went as far to say that all tickets will have to be 'prefunded.' 

Even with a ticket, the entry into the park will likely require patrons to have to pass through a series of entry requirements, each one mentally and emotionally demanding. Less than half of ticketed guests are expected to actually make it into the park.

Once in the park there are several marquee attractions. Of course lines and wait times are going to be unavoidable - @Catuary1 adds a new twist with a policy not to disclose estimated wait times to park goers. Instead "they will roughly tell you how long the wait is but it is very vague...".  This should certainly ramp up the levels of anxiety and apprehension!

And as you read the descriptions, it is important to remember that in Actuaryland "all the rides are simulations" (@nateworrell):

Friday, March 11, 2022

Viral Viruses - Booster Edition

Here we go with round 3 of the Corona series! 


  • When a Virus Goes Viral (2020) - "It’s not an abnormal thing to wonder when things will get back to normal. I don’t believe they will, I don’t think they ever do."

  • When a Virus Stays Viral (2021) - "I don't know what the right answer is, but if you are arguing for restaurants and bars to open up, tell me how many grandmas you are willing to kill. Conversely, if you want to save your grandma's life, tell me how many of your neighbors should lose their homes or jobs."

We will quickly revisit the core three buckets that are continually evolving:
  1. Decision making/uncertainty
  2. Risk models
  3. Major structural changes in the world
And for our "Booster," I will look at the questions raised in round two.

  • How do we recover all the bailout, relief money?
  • How do rental markets/evictions unfold?
  • Relocation effects?
  • Company Mergers/Acquisitions - particularly in travel and entertainment


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Box Tops and Other Ways to Earn Actuarial Credentials

Recently, the SOA announced new ways to get credit toward an actuarial credential via university credit.  The approach was viewed with mixed results.  The SOA claimed the initiative was motivated to foster inclusion. The Organization of Latino Actuaries wrote a public letter asking the SOA to withdraw the program on the basis that it is counterproductive to inclusivity goals.

Whether or not the SOA goes back to the drawing board remains to be seen. In the interim other means of credentialing actuaries are emerging.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

SF14 - A Glimpse Inside the Minds of Actuaries

Actuarial authors of the 14th Speculative Fiction contest wrote stories (or graphic novel, play, or transcript) that cover social issues, political unrest, and pandemic and climate crises. Yet, amidst the dystopia, there's a constant call to appeal to our better angels. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

When a Virus Stays Viral

Last year I posted "When a Virus Goes Viral"   - 

Since then, I grew and shaved a corona beard:

I created parody songs - "Coronaville" (below),  "My Corona" (which I made for my coworkers and has some inside references) and I put a spin on some holiday favorites ( like Baby There's Covid Outside).

I made some good progress on my Netflix backlog. 

It seem the rest of the world has been doing the best it can to get through the pandemic. How are you doing folks? 

I wanted to do some reflecting and revisiting. As a recap, there are 3 items that I was curious about: 

  1. Irrationality
  2. Evolutions in risk modeling
  3. The post-COVID world. 

Disclaimers: These observations are U.S. oriented.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Octavia Butler Would Have Been A Great Actuary

As I was scanning through the world of Speculative Fiction*, looking for inspiration for my next entry in to the Society of Actuaries Speculative Fiction contest, I found, and fell in love with, the writing of Octavia Butler.

"Speech Sounds" is a short story that somehow manages to capture the entirety of the human experience, our demons and our angels, in 20 pages. It features a woman trying to survive in the middle of a pandemic that impairs our ability to communicate.  Sometimes fictions mirrors reality quite well.  

I take refuge in Octavia's words about the story in the afterword:

“Speech Sounds” was conceived in weariness, depression, and sorrow. I began the story feeling little hope or liking for the human species, but by the time I reached the end of it, my hope had come back. It always seems to do that."

Perhaps it is not too surprising that we find our world reflected in her writings. While we might not have to deal with telepathic vampires, we certainly do live in a world that has to deal with the consequences of the human tendency to create hierarchies.  

In her NPR essay, Octavia posits that we might be fatally destined to cycles of domination. Yet, she concludes with the following question:

Amid all this, does tolerance have a chance?

Only if we want it to. Only when we want it to. Tolerance, like any aspect of peace, is forever a work in progress, never completed, and, if we're as intelligent as we like to think we are, never abandoned.

But what do her musings on the human condition have to do with being an actuary? 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Insurance Rocks!

Lemonade recently posted reviews of some bands you may have never heard of before (possibly because they don’t exist). 

Names like Moral Hazard, Named Perils and Windstorm made their profile list.

Their list was not exhaustive, so the Between the Spreadsheets staff is working hard to uncover other acts that have names that echo insurance terminology.

Here are a few we have found so far.

This emo group that hails from the cornfields of Iowa. Their latest EP features an effortless blend of wailing vocals and layered harmonies. They will be in your town soon and we are counting the days.

We surrender to this acapella group known for their creative takes on popular songs. The fun never lapses in ‘Covered Conditions’ including a riveting take on Disney’s “Let it Go.”

A folksy duo that explores the journeys of human relationships. The songs ‘Be My Beneficiary’ and ‘Don’t Deny Me’ reveal the creativity of this joint effort. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Book Review: Winning Conditions by Christine Hofbeck

I remember my initial reaction when I heard that there was going to be an actuary on Survivor. 

"She'll probably win."  I said, without hesitating. 

And I remember the stunned look of my coworker, who was struggling to imagine the cube dwelling nerds she knew trying to endure the rigor of a survival based game.

I had no idea who Christine was. And perhaps I was a bit overconfident and biased about the skills of my fellow actuaries. Although, I think my gut reaction was well founded. 

  1. Many actuaries make a career out of working with life and death statistics, and all of us studied survival curves along the way, so the subject is in our blood.  
  2. I had played poker (and another elaborate card game that was different each time you play) against other actuaries, and had witnessed the shrewdness with which they play. 
  3. The fact that the TV show thought she'd be worth being on camera signaled to me that she probably had some moxie. 
  4. I knew she'd be the underdog, which would give her an competitive edge. She'd be out to prove something and the other competitors would underestimate her.
Winning Conditions will give you a closer look at this puzzle loving, adventure seeking and charismatic actuary, but it is so much more than that. This book could save humanity.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Do You Know More About Your Uber Driver Than Your Local Police Officer?

In the wake of the unrest following the death of George Floyd, I decided to take some time to look at the numbers and data on police conduct. While there are groups working to track information on this topic, the overall data landscape is fairly barren. Attached is a paper reviewing my findings.

Note that I am not a career researcher in this space. I do not claim to be an expertise in these manners. I hope it sparks discussion around how we can contribute to add more quality information to sensitive issues.

Meaningful Change Requires Meaningful Data

Friday, June 12, 2020

Manager Thought Actuary was Protesting for a Decade

A local actuary informed his manager that he would take the day off to join some peaceful protesters.

The manager was stunned. 

For the past ten years the actuary had been virtually silent at work and avoided most team building exercises.

The manager admitted she completely misread the lack of eye contact as an intentional act designed to bring awareness to some cause.

“I thought he was making a statement about the corporate world not seeing people as people or something. I thought it was strange to protest in the middle of a protest.”

The confusion went both ways. The actuary explained (through email) that the manager was just really a supportive person. She’d often say “I’m with you.”

When asked why she never inquired about what issue the imagined protest was concerning, her explanation was simple “I didn’t want to look like a fool.”

After a follow up meeting, both sides agreed to make changes. The manager is making less assumptions and learning a lot more about her staff. The actuary committed to go to more happy hours. As a result the work environment is stronger than ever and morale is super high. 

They are hoping to share these tactics with other groups. They have cautious optimism that they might find out what the people in Corporate Business Strategy actually do.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Book Review: Being Wrong - Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Shulz

Wrongness is a small obsession of mine.

A while back I put out a piece on the blog that looked at occupations where being wrong is part of the job description.

And more recently I won an essay contest by explaining that I am an Idiot.

I love stories of the hapless fool - the Don Quixote's and Confederacy of Dunces of the world.

I picked up this book from a really good article series "Studying Studies" by a smart dude named Peter Attia. I may keep working through his reading list.

If you're the kind of person who loves droning about the nature of the universe at your favorite craft brewery, I know I am, this book is for you.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

When a Virus Goes Viral

In the words of Twenty One Pilots, “I’ve been thinking too much...” please indulge me in some musings on our current state of affairs and some of the implications.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Advice from a Pro! 37 Life Lessons.

Between the Spreadsheets is happy to add Mark Farrell's blog to our links.

Here are his "37 Lessons Actuarial Science Has Taught Me About Life"

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Eat Your Numbers

In case you missed it, I wrote a Cover Feature for Contingencies Magazine.  You may start to see more posts related to this theme in the near future. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Book Review: Scythe Series by Neal Shusterman

We’ve conquered death! Awesome! Well more accurately , we developed nearly omniscient  Artificial Intelligence (the Thunderhead) that solved all our problems. The answer wasn’t 42 after all.

However, a world with no death faces two challenges.

1. Death (and avoiding it) is a motivating factor to live well.

2. The planet can only handle so many people.

To counter these issues, the creators of the Thunderhead established a league of special individuals that are exempt from monitoring by the Thunderhead. Known as the Scythdom, these people have a singular mandate - the administration of mortality.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2018 Actuarial Awards

Roll out the red carpet!  Awards are everywhere....Emmys, Grammys, ESPYs, oh my!

While not given the exact same spotlight, or fancy evening wear, actuaries give out their own sets of Awards.  The 2018 summary is below.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Are Actuaries Born or is it a Choice?

When Rita was 3 years old she had a tendency to stack blocks in probability distribution shapes. At first her mother thought the patterns were just imaginative.  But then when Rita started making histograms with candy pieces and named her pet hamster 'chi-squared', she understood there was something else at play.  Rita is now a junior in college and is bristling with excitement at starting her first internship at an insurance company in the actuarial department.

Angela is also starting her first internship in the same area.   She still isn't sure if the actuarial science will live up to its hype.  She's also thinking about the possibility of being a math teacher or trying to make it as a drummer in a female punk rock band.

Both women represent two ends of the hotly debated topic - are actuaries born or is it a choice?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Between the Spreadsheets and In the Closet

Calling your attention to a new page on Between the Spreadsheets.


This is a resource page where I will share an post items that I find to be useful as a nerd, an actuary, and as a basic human on the planet.

Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

Some products are affiliate links.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Big Data needs Big Actuaries

The American Academy of Actuaries recently published a monograph Big Data and the Role of the Actuary.

Some speculate that the Academy may also produce a monolith dedicated to Big Data as well.

Or maybe a monogram.

Either way, what is certain is that Big Data and the applicable statistical methods that come along with it are going to play a significant role in the actuarial profession.

And in order to handle Big Data, you need a Big Actuary.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review of the Human Longevity Project Series

Over the past 9 days, a series of videos compiled by The Human Longevity Project, explored various topics related to human longevity. This is not a typical Netflix binge watch, although the old folks they interviewed were quite adorable. The series delivered huge dosages of scientific content from a vast panel of experts.

Monday, March 12, 2018

March Madness 2018 - Actuarial School Bracket

Most likely, having an actuarial program has next to zero correlation with NCAA tournament success.  I haven't done the full blown anlaysis, I might one day. That said, the tournament does have a degree of randomness, and using actuarial strength as a game predictor is just as good as throwing darts.  Possibly better.

The full bracket is available here (may require CBS login):

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I'd Like to Thank The Academy....2017 Actuarial Awards Summary

© Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Lombardi, O’Brien, Commissioner, Olympic Gold

The Oscars completes the awards season.  Awards are everywhere....Emmys, Grammys, ESPYs, oh my!  Even the POTUS submitted his own version of awards.

While not given the exact same spotlight, or fancy evening wear, actuaries give out their own sets of Awards.  The 2017 summary is below.

Friday, November 10, 2017

New Actuarial Standard on How To Put on Pants

Recent ASB proposals for modeling, pricing, and assumption setting standards of practice seem to be starting a trend of codifying every single action an actuary takes.  The latest release seems to confirm this theory.

An exposure draft, titled  "Lower Body Coverings" is currently in progress.

Apparently there is much concern in the actuarial community about the quality of work can vary based on how one applies lower limb coverings. An improper procedure may result in further deterioration of judgment, confidence, and overall work product. To put it one way, the exposure draft deals with the risks of feeling drafts while exposed.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

New Insurance Products Announced for Undead

In an effort to find new business, insurers are dabbling into new, untapped markets.

Traditionally the insurance industry protected against two risks - dying to soon via Life Insurance or outliving your assets (longevity) via Annuities.

The limiting factor to each of these is that you either had to be alive or die to collect a claim.  This was an issue if you were already dead, sort of dead, or came back to life after death.  Now, a new set of products is coming on to the market to meet those needs.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Bayesian Rhapsody

The whole thing with Bayes is about updating likelihoods given more information. Let's see how Queen takes us on a Bayesian journey.

Update:  The Bohemian Rhapsody movie did not take any of this information into account.

We start with a fundamental question about the nature of reality, and fact about landslides.
Is this the real life? Pr(Real Life) = ?
Is this just fantasy? Pr(Fantasy) = 1 - Pr(Real Life)
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality Pr(Real Life | Caught in a landslide ) = 1

Friday, March 3, 2017

The 12th Actuarial Speculative Fiction Contest

Below are stories from the 12th Actuarial Fiction Contest, with my own quick synopsis of the story and images from around the web that might work as a cover. Summaries and cover art are my own interpretations.  Please vote on your favorites.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

You Wouldn't Believe What Jacob Bernoulli Looks Like Now

What would it be like if historic mathematicians lived today and were as popular as some of the most notorious celebs?  In this series of posts (#mathgonewild) Between the Spreadsheets makes parallels between founders of major mathematical thought and current celebs, and we create some tabloid headings. Feel free to comment, argue, or add to the list.

The  Bernoulli's 

Ever heard the song "John -Jacob-Jinglehiemer Schmidt?"  Probably came from these guys, where most dudes in the family are names Johan or Jacob or Nick. The family has an impressive resume, but the tabloids are pretty good too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Models and Drunks

I am not referring to Gigi or Gisele or Gumble or Griffin.  Rather, "models and drunks" is a contrite summary of a couple of my recent readings that I figured should find their way to this space. (By the way,  this confusion about models has happened before.)

First, models. I have long been a fan of the phrase that "all models are wrong, but some are useful." However, much to my shame, I know not where it came from.  Now I do. Thank you Twitter for enlightening me about George Box and his paper.   Not only am I know aware, but I have been shaken to my core. More on that later.

Second, drunks - and specifically how they walk.  The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow ( is what I call a mathematician's apologetic - an attempt to make math accessible to the masses.   His book is part of my attempt to work through a reading list (again - thanks Twitter!) of math texts.  I give the guy a couple of stars for effort on the mathematical narration, but the real gold is in the cast of characters.  They will be featured in a future post.  In this post, I will leave you with flip flops.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Vitality Compass vs. Longevity Illustrator

If you want to know how long you are going to live, you could consult a palm reader or some other mystic.  Alternatively you could look to science, math and academia.  But who wins between academics and actuaries?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Engage or Disengage?

Recently, the Society of Actuaries deployed their latest community site, SOA Engage.

While unlikely to get the traction of the Actuarial Outpost or a Reinsurance sponsored Happy Hour at a symposium, the threshold is pretty low.  A few actuaries showing up will likely be considered a win.

This initiative brings to mind a past article by BTS, about actuaries engineering anti-social Media.