Being involved with a school provides a good example of scaling problems. A lot of things that seem intuitive or simple at an individual level are difficult or complex at larger scales.
One key number is 30, the approximate number of children in a class (Helen's has ranged from 28 to 31). The other is 450, which is roughly the number of children in her school, a two-form entry primary school with an attached Early Years unit. more
If you ask parents they almost universally say they're much happier being parents, that children are the best thing that happened to them, and so forth, but there's clearly some reporting bias here. At least among my friends, the ones who understand retrospective and sunk cost biases and base rate neglect are the least gushing about the wonders of parenthood... more
"Drive-by regression" is my phrase - I think an original coinage - for describing what economists (or statisticians or physicists) do when they pick some other field, grab some convenient data, take it out of its context and perform some statistical analysis on it, preferably finding some kind of counter-intuitive result, and then depart, leaving the locals to deal with the resulting mess. more