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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Non-linear Systems Part I

Today we will talk about non-linear system with the simplest of examples: the over simplified progression of related chronic illnesses in one person.

0. I am healthy
1. I also am: fat (F) or F
2. I also have: high blood pressure (HTN) or F + HTN
3. I also have: high cholesterol (HC) or
F + HTN + HC
4. I also have: diabetes (DM) or
F + HTN + HC + DM
5. I also have: kidney disease (RF) or
F + HTN + HC + DM + RF
6. I also have: occular retinopathy (OR) or
F + HTN + HC + DM + RF + OR
7. I also have: heart attack (AMI) or
F + HTN + HC + DM + RF + OR + AMI
8. I also have: stroke (CVA) or
F + HTN + HC + DM + RF + OR + AMI + CVA
9. I also have: inability to walk or swallow and am lying in bed 100% dependent on assistance by others (Total Care or TC) or
F + HTN + HC + DM + RF + OR + AMI + CVA + TC
10. I am dead 0

If we were to create a "resource utilization" scale (which would likely mirror costs) for this non-linear example, we would find that

0. Uses little resources
1. Uses $
2. Uses $$
3. Uses $$$
4. Uses $$$
5. Uses $$$$
6. Uses $$$$$
7. Uses $$$$$$
8. Uses $$$$$$$
9. Uses $$$$$$$$
10. Uses no resources

I realize I have simplified many issues but I hope the basic point is made.


Dink correctly points out that the resource utilization scale looks unintentionally linear. He is correct, they are not supposed to look linear, and this is unintentional as nothing could be further from the truth! Additional disease burdens MIGHT make $ curves look like any of the following:


Thai said...


Dink said...

I think the resource utilization scale may appear unintentionally linear (except from 9 to 10) since each additional condition seems to add exactly one $ symbol on the scale.

Humbly suggest the scale be modified to exhibit the "1+1=3" non-linear mind#&#@ that complexity gives?

HTN (1$) + RF(1$) = $$$

One can see why people can mistake non-linear for random since the cause-and-effect chain reaction isn't seen. Just not along the line being viewed. Its linear along some line out there....

Thai said...

Dink you are absolutely correct!

I had Deb in mind as I was making this and so I WAYYYYYY oversimplified it.

Deb, it is really more like this

Dink said...

(Unstructured rambling ahead)

That s-cool site was great. Sometimes I'm so jealous of today's kid's learning resources (and toys!). Which reminds me of another thought: class warfare. Really, the young are time-rich and as we age we become time-poor. Sometimes I feel time-embarrassed around teens and twenty-somethings (even though I'm intending to live longer than the bastards ;) ). But emotions can be batted down by cognitive override that I'm philosophically dedicated to (attempting) to treat people with equality (with characteristics beyond their control such as age).

Non sequitur

Man, cartesian coordinates. I've read heresies that Newton really only refined Descartes genius instead of being a organic genius himself.

Barely sequitur

Math seems to be taught to the left-brain (language, rules) without setting up the foundation in the right-brain (i.e. why would I use this method and for what purpose). Perhaps "mystical experiences" is just right-brain learning that is completed without left-brain logic as a precursor. Though my logic sensors go on red alert when terms like "magic" or "mystical" are used, I understand what people mean by the sensation. And the left-brain/right-brain model really helps me accept it.

Truly random

I saw some made-for-TV scifi movie called Stargate Continuum (the original Stargate movie was cool, I refused to watch any of the TV series until yesterday). Yadda Yadda Yadda... I want a tattoo on my forehead.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits