Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Mark Perakh: still hubristic and still spreading the same old falsehoods

Mark Perakh, the "Boris Yeltsin of Higher Education," posted this diatribe to Panda's Thumb. In his post Perakh makes reference to two former posts of his that I would like to address.

The first is located here. What was the "unethical behavior" he attributes to Bill? Apparently, Bill had the unmitigated temerity to post anonymous comments to Amazon regarding Perakh's book wherein he referred readers to one of his books for answers to Perakh's criticisms. Indeed, Bill was so keen that no one surmise his identity that he posted his true location.

The second is located here. This one actually refers to me. Perakh claims:

There was once on the PT blog a discussion of certain mathematical concepts including the so called Kantorovich metrics. In his usual disdainful style, using quite rude language, O'Brien claimed that all the contributors to PT were fools with a low status in science and/or mathematics, while he was a student of the prominent mathematician Rachev who, in turn, was a student of a Nobel laureate, the famous Soviet mathematician Kantorovich, the author of the Kantorovich metrics.

Correct so far...

One of the contributors to PT suggested to O'Brien, as to a supposed specialist in this matter, that he post to PT an explanation of the Kantorovich metrics. The effect was amusing – soon the name of O'Brien whose numerous vituperative comments until then were emerging on PT day in and day out, ceased appearing on the PT blog.

That is false. As I told Perakh, I left because Pim Van Meurs moderated me.

Concerning the Kantorovich metric, it was not something I studied with my mentor Dr. Rachev; although he first gained notoriety for his work with probability metrics, his current work focuses on Mathematical Finance, which is what I studied with him (although, it should be noted that the two are not mutually exclusive). That is why I told Perakh I would have to research the subject (by this time, it should be noted, Dr. Rachev had retired from UCSB to take a chair position at Karlsruhe and I was just starting at the University of Florida).

Even though I corrected Perakh's revisionist history in an e-mail, he has not changed his article to conform to reality; I can only conclude that the Boris Yeltsin of Higher Education is more interested in smearing his opponents than telling the truth.


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