"The art and science of prediction"

Nate Silver is the man who predicted the result in every state in the 2012 US election, projecting him to instant stardom amongst political pundits.

The Chancellor is sticking to Plan A, despite fearsome evidence that it is not working.

Today, Thursday 17th May 2012, money is, apparently,  flowing out of Greece.  It has been for a while anyway, as those who can shift their wealth flee to safer havens.  Greece may not be in the Euro by the weekend.  Our banks may not survive if that happens.  How did we come to be in such a parlous position?

Every now and again a book comes along which stops you in your tracks.  You catch yourself thinking about its ideas at odd moments.  After a while you realise that it has changed your way of thinking - perhaps not radically, but changed all the same.  Three books have done this to me recently. One of them is Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast And Slow 1.

I'm planning to review some of the books about the banking crisis here.  One of the problems is that the numbers being bandied about are beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals, perhaps even only understood by aliens  - which might tell us something about the cause of the crisis  (No, no.  Joke. Not Roswell.  Just don't even start.)

Here is my light hearted guide to those big numbers :