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8.29.2007

Suck it 

In an incoherent page-long rant, Jim Caple claims that Red Sox fans have overtaken Yankees fans as the most obnoxious fans in baseball.

I have two responses:

1. If other teams would sell out their own damn stadiums, they wouldn't have to put up with us when the Sox are on the road.

2. This photo showed up in Bill Simmons's latest column:


8.26.2007

Wisdom 

Proverbs 16:33 (NASB):


The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.


I must be kind of slow, as it has required a lucky job break, a reading of Nassim Taleb and over a year of semi-serious poker for me to appreciate the wisdom in the proverb above.

Also, live poker is even more rigged than online.

8.24.2007

Happy thirty-third-and-a-half birthday, Mike Lowell 

He'll be a happy man if the rumors coming out of South Florida are true.

Vegas summary 

Final score: $493 (set of eights vs. top pair), two comps (at a Wynn restaurant and the Bellagio buffet), and one Rickroll.

8.17.2007

Eight-year-old girl from Ohio smarter than millions of Floridians 

From Fark:


'Hurricane' Girl Tries to Ride to Ohio

DELAND, Fla. (AP) - An 8-year-old girl who recently moved to Florida caused a panic when she tried to ride back home to Ohio on her bicycle out of fear of hurricanes. A sheriff's helicopter, search dogs and neighbors found the girl after an hour-long search Wednesday night.

"It is amusing but at the same time sad," DeLand police Deputy Chief Randel Henderson said.

According to a police report, Heather Snoke told investigators "that she was headed back to Columbus Ohio, because she was afraid of hurricanes and that was her home."

Heather was riding her bicycle in front of her home Wednesday, mother Melissa Snoke, 37, told police. Twenty minutes later, the girl's father, John Snoke, 41, came home and noticed Heather was gone.

While the mother called police, John Snoke drove around the neighborhood looking for his daughter but did not find her.

DeLand police arrived and began a search, aided by tracking dogs and a Volusia County sheriff's helicopter. A homeless camp also was searched.

No charges are pending, Henderson said. "There was no abuse. There was no neglect. It's a happy story. We're just so excited we were able to find this little lady."

8.16.2007

The rumors of David Beckham's death have been greatly exaggerated 


8.13.2007

Again, I am dumber for having read the New York Times 

The New York Times attempts to answer the age-old question of why straight men tend to have more sex partners than straight women:


EVERYONE knows men are promiscuous by nature. It’s part of the genetic strategy that evolved to help men spread their genes far and wide. The strategy is different for a woman, who has to go through so much just to have a baby and then nurture it. She is genetically programmed to want just one man who will stick with her and help raise their children.

Surveys bear this out. In study after study and in country after country, men report more, often many more, sexual partners than women.

One survey, recently reported by the federal government, concluded that men had a median of seven female sex partners. Women had a median of four male sex partners. Another study, by British researchers, stated that men had 12.7 heterosexual partners in their lifetimes and women had 6.5.

But there is just one problem, mathematicians say. It is logically impossible for heterosexual men to have more partners on average than heterosexual women. Those survey results cannot be correct.


Well, I have deep reservations about the assumption that sexual promiscuity is a genetically transmitted trait (and about the entire field of evolutionary psychology as a whole), but let's leave that there.

Obviously, the total number of unique sexual relations that have taken place between men and women should be the same as reported by either gender. We can also assume that the populations of men and women over the lifetime of this survey are roughly equal. Therefore, the mean number of partners should be equal.

Sure, for cultural reasons, men may be more inclined to overreport and women may be more inclined to underreport the number of sexual partners they have had, but at a 7-to-4 clip? The problem with this article is of course, that the means and medians of two sets of data need not be the same.

Consider the following sets of numbers:

A: 3,5,5,5,5,7,7,7,7,7,7,9,9,9,9,11
B: 3,3,3,3,4,4,4,4,4,5,5,5,8,12,16,29

Both have the same means, but the median of A is 7 and the median of B is 4. Although I wouldn't doubt the possibility that there is some systematic discrepancy in the veracity of the results reported by men and women, it's also quite possible that most women have relatively few partners, but also that there is a small population of women who have large numbers of partners. I don't know if this is what happened, as I don't have access to the original data, but it is possible.

On a related note, here's an item in the WSJ by Carl Bialik about income distributions in New York City, and about how condensing an entire data set into just one number (usually the mean or median) throws out a lot of information. It's really elementary stuff, and I think it's a borderline national crisis that so many people in America are so ignorant about basic statistics.

(HT: this guy)

EDIT: Jordan Ellenberg says his piece on Slate. He claims that the 12.7 and 6.5 figures quoted above are means, not medians (which would make sense, since 12.7 is not a possible median value for a set of integer-valued data). So there is definitely some miscounting going on. Since he mentions the phrase "Ted Turners of sex", I wonder if the researchers in the original sex surveys accidentally counted instances of bestiality. And now you, the reader, are dumber for having read this post to the end.


8.12.2007

Dumbest rule in sports 

So Sergio Garcia got DQ'd from the PGA Championship because he signed an incorrect scorecard at the end of the third round of Saturday.

The rule about requiring pro golfers to keep their own score has got to be the dumbest rule in sports, bar none. What the hell is the point in making them keep their own score if you have official scorekeepers and TV cameras following the action?

I understand why small-time and recreational golfers keep score, but you wouldn't expect NBA players to keep their own score and call their own fouls just because that's what they do on the playground, right?

8.10.2007

Do women like it when you treat them like crap? 

(WARNING: High misogyny content ahead, as if that wasn't obvious from the title.)

This psychology article claims that some men insult their partners as part of a mate-retention strategy, so some men seem to think they subconsciously like it. (Link via Freakonomics.)

But does it really work? Anecdotal evidence suggests that it does, and as we all know that's just as good as controlled statistical evidence. There's a hilarious chapter in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! where Feynman tries to pick up a woman in a bar. He buys her food and drinks, calls her "worse than a whore" when she walks out on him, then gets his money back and gets her in bed at the end of the night.

Of course, fabricated anecdotal evidence is even better than real anecdotal evidence. In that vein, we have a Family Guy clip below (which was pretty much the real reason for this post).



(In case anybody was really wondering, I do not condone or practice these tactics for picking up women. I just find them funny.)

8.09.2007

Another egregious miscarriagement of taxitude 

Some lawyer-types, and quite possibly the IRS, believe that the chump who caught Barry Bonds's 756th home run ball owes tax on it at the end of this tax year, i.e. 35 percent of however many million bucks the ball is worth.

Come on. There's gotta be some lawyer on Earth who could argue the value of the ball down to $9. Right?

Earthquake 

Apparently I wasn't hallucinating; that really was an earthquake this morning at about 1 am.

8.08.2007

Brian goes back to college 

That would be Queen guitarist Brian May, who recently turned in his Ph.D. thesis in astrophysics at Imperial College.

I think I'd have gone slightly mad had I tried to finish up a paper I had abandoned 36 years ago, but good for him. I hope he doesn't feel too much under pressure when he defends it.

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