Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Celebrating Opportunity and Those Who Pursue It

After watching the last two week's political conventions, I am left feeling more encouraged and optimistic than ever. It was not the soaring rhetoric, and certainly not the partisan attacks by each side. Rather, it was the speakers and their compelling life stories that uplifted me. Both political parties showcased examples of what makes America great. We saw impressive individuals from both parties, who took advantage of opportunities to make significant contributions.

Think about the common thread that we saw within both conventions. We saw examples of a great society that helps people to help themselves. Both parties celebrated the pursuit of a better life for ourselves and for our children. With assistance from families, from communities, and from government, ordinary people accomplished extraordinary things through scholarship, merit, hard work, and character.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


In statistics, an outlier is an unusual occurrence that falls outside of the normal statistical distribution. These random and rare occurrences often seem inexplicable. Consider rolling dice and getting snake eyes 100 times in a row.

Malcolm Gladwell's book by the same name, Outliers discusses unusual patterns of achievement and success. In the book, Gladwell identifies logical causes for what would otherwise be considered statistically impossible events. He identifies cause and effect relationships for statistical outliers.