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10.31.2006

Happy Halloween 

If you hold an advanced degree in hyperbolic topology (like, say, this guy), you might enjoy this old Simpsons Halloween rerun. Not only that, the fake counterexample to Fermat's Last Theorem received mention in this math paper.


10.25.2006

Reminiscing 

Here's a photo of Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan's finest hour, back in the 2004 World Series.


10.13.2006

GBFKM 

A bunch of clowns somewhere have declared that LA has the nation's best mass transit system. If you live in the approximately 10% of the area that is close to a bus or train line, I guess it's okay. Otherwise, your typical trip consists of a 10 minute walk, two 30-45 minute rides and a 15-30 minute stopover in between the two rides.

10.09.2006

Momentum is nonsense 

King Yao notes that before the postseason started, oddsmakers were offering -300 odds on the Yankees beating the Tigers in a 5-game series -- that is, risk $300 to win $100. Effectively this means that the market claims that the Yankees will win with 75% probability.

Assuming that p is the probability of the Yankees beating the Tigers in one game, and that the probabilities for each game are identical and independent, here are the odds of the Yankees winning:

Win in 3: WWW = p^3
Win in 4: LWWW, WLWW, WWLW = 3 p^3 (1-p)
Win in 5: LLWWW, LWLWW, LWWLW, WLLWW, WLWLW, WWLLW = 6 p^3 (1-p)^2

Total = p^3 + (3p^3 - 3p^4) + (6p^3 - 12p^4 + 6p^5) = 6p^5 - 15p^4 + 10p^3.

Numerically solving 6p^5 - 15p^4 + 10p^3 = 0.75, we get p = 0.64 -- for these odds to be correct, one would have to assign the Yankees a 64% chance of winning any particular game against the Tigers. This is an outstanding claim, given that the Yankees won 60% of their games over the regular season against all MLB teams.

I suspect that main reasons the odds on the Yankees were so skewed were because (1) they had improved their team by adding Bobby Abreu and getting Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui back from injury (undoubtedly true, but they were far from being "the best lineup ever") and (2) because the Tigers appeared to be primed for a fall after dropping their last 5 games of the regular season (a load of hogwash).

EDIT: An anonymous tipster noted that I had written WLLWW twice above and left out WWLLW; this has been fixed.

10.07.2006

Unimpressed 

Since I live underneath a rock, I missed The Killers' performance on SNL last weekend and did not secure tickets to their live performance in LA this evening.

After watching the video though, I have to say that Brandon Flowers' off-key caterwauling sounds a lot more impressive drenched in echo on CD.

10.01.2006

F**k the revolution 

Below is a video of Sunday Bloody Sunday, performed by George Bush.


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