NABOKV-L post 0014330, Sun, 10 Dec 2006 21:18:31 -0500

Smuggling guns and emeralds
Dear Carolyn,

I regret that my work load prevents me from participating actively in
the current discussions, but I've answered this one before and I'll
answer it again. During the years you speak of I traveled (legally) from
Medellin to Milan with an emerald in my carry-on baggage, and from
Brussels to Boston with a Browning 32 cal. automatic in my raincoat

Best, DN

Dear Stan,

I agree that your statistician was a bad probabilist - since she always
carried a bomb, it was an event of probability 1, and so conditional
probability of the second bomb carried by a terrorist was the same as
of one bomb on the plane without the statistician... On the
basis of what I know about statistical studies of litterary works,
my opinion about their conclusions was always very low. In all cases
where the press was involved, it was clear to me that it is overhyped.

I appreciate your songs and I know a bit about literary work,
so, I don't believe that statistical considerations play any
role when you write, except that the details should be convincing
when you want them to be - or (if they are not) it may point toward
that the personage (Kinbote in his story about Gradus) is

I think that any "numerological" considerations, and games with S-K-B
that amuse some readers are even less important to the author whose
first responsibility is to create a world; of course, after you did
it in 6 days and relaxed at the 7-th, the whole bunch of speculations
around the sacred meanings of 7 may arise, and we may even have our
Sundays, Saturdays or Fridays free of work, but the world comes first.

These speculations do not interest me much, so I am visiting the
Forum less than before...

Best regards,

> Sergei/Carolyn: there was the statistician who ALWAYS carried a bomb
> when
> she flew -- based on the plausible idea that the probability of there
> ever
> being TWO bombs on board is vanishingly small. Of course, this ploy is
> plausible but flawed, as are many statistical speculations.

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