About Variable Variability

My range of interests is very broad. Which is why I thought, a blog would make no sense. Every topic is too small by itself and the number of people interested in all of them likely small. However, the overarching theme of almost all my scientific work is natural variability. Others often call it noise, reminiscent of measurement problems and inaccuracies, but variability is an innate characteristic of complex systems, such as the atmosphere, the climate system, the economy, society or evolution. Trying to understand it, describe it and use it, seems to me a more productive strategy than wishing it was not there and trying to average it away.

Seeing this theme for my scientific work, I noticed that seeing the value of diversity is also behind most of my thinking about society and politics. Freedom of expression is the freedom to say what others do not like. The main danger of genetically modified plants is their mono-culture (lack of diversity). The strength of democracy is that discussions with many different people lead to better decisions. Everyone has it's own talents; giving them freedom to express and develop them, is valuable for society.

You see the same pattern in normal life. If you are active, you need to sleep well. After sport, you need to rest to become stronger. One reason for the obesity epidemic may be that we eat carbohydrates at every meal; skipping meals or not eating one day once in a while may be very healthy (intermittent fasting).

And with variability as theme, the hotchpotch of topics becomes a feature. :-) Let's explore how far this bridge takes us.

Disclaimer on scientific ideas in posts

The ideas you find on this blog are hopefully useful or inspiring, but this blog is no science. The precision needed in science can only be found in my scientific articles.

Some of the posts contain ideas, which may be converted into a work of science. If you are interested in this, there is no need to refer to these posts: you are welcome to call the idea your own. The main step is not to write down a vague idea in a few hours, but to recognise that an idea is worth working on for a year to convert it into a scientific study.

Still, I would appreciate to receive articles that are based on the ideas, as I am curious how they work out and as most ideas are far away from my field of work, I may never hear of the article otherwise.

Creative Commons License If you would like to use full texts from this blog, be my guest, but please do credit me and link to the post. In other words, my posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. There is no need for an explicit permission, but I would appreciate a notice.

Any other comment, question or discussion is also very welcome. The comments in this blog are open for all or you can send me an e-mail at: victor.venema@uni-bonn.de. More on my scientific work can be found on my professional homepage