Saturday, June 23, 2012

A quick lesson on calculating probability

Something I posted over at ThreeSources, to clarify a discussion about one molecule in each drop, and the probability of getting at least one from two drops:
The total probability is actually not the sum of the individual events' probabilities. If the chance is 50%, then the odds of one in two drops is 75%. There's still a 25% chance of two drops having no molecules in either. With three drops, it's still only an 87.5% chance of having at least one molecule. The easy way to think about it: what's the possibility of all the events happening? Subtract that from 1, and that's the probability of at least one event happening.
In various "dungeons and dragons" games I've played over the years, weapons can have a couple of different effects, each with its own probability. Let's say one has a 40% chance to hit with one spell, and 30% with another. The probability of both occurring together is easy: 12%. The probability of at least one is not 40%+30%, but rather 58%: 1 - (1-.4)(1-.3). The odds that neither will happen is 42%.

By these formulas, you can see that 100 events of 99% probability each will have a close to but still not quite 100% (1 minus 10^-200) that at least one will happen. The odds that all will happen is about 36%. Probabilities aren't really hard, yet many Americans don't bother to learn a little bit about them, instead going their entire lives swallowing whatever's thrown at them. I wasn't surprised that some idiot news reporter gushed about a "Three billion to one" event at a roulette wheel, mentioning an alleged "professional poker player" (who is bound to know a thing or two about odds) who just didn't simply dismiss the display as inaccurate, but said the wheel was rigged!

People just don't apply simple sense. There would have been a hell of a lot more "jumping up and down" if the same number had really come up that many times, but it would have never come to that. The same number hitting more than a couple of times in a row is improbable enough that after a few runs, the floor manager would have shut down the wheel as malfunctioning.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nik Wallenda, you are amazing!

I have never seen the like. You did it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Andy Zhang deserves to be proud

So what if he shot a 9-over 79? It's the U.S. Open, for crying out loud, and he's playing with the pros. Even the best have their bad days and miss the cut, but for a kid to average a bogey every other hole, wow.

I had to find this article to see what happened, and it seems to be a lack of experience. Still, he's wonderful for his age, and he could be phenomenal with several more years. He needs to learn club selection and get some consistency in his swing, then challenging on the hardest courses his parents can afford.

As my dad used to say, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye"

More punk kids think they're doing a harmless prank, without acting their age and considering the consequences, while crying "Unfair!' that they can't go to graduation. Didn't they think someone could have slipped and hit a wall, or dropped something delicate? The punishment again doesn't go far enough, as I pointed out previously.

Another video has the same issue: a teen didn't understand just what she was doing. She's a little younger, so it's forgivable that she didn't anticipate what would happen. She's old enough, however, to accept that adults tend to set rules at their businesses for very good reasons, just like schools can't tolerate vandalism. These children have to grow up sometime and learn a concept called liability.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Has Freddie Roach filed a report yet with the Las Vegas police?

You know, about Manny Pacquiao getting robbed last night.

That's my own quip about the unfortunate fight. Pac might be able to get some satisfaction: as I've now read, three New Jersey boxing judges were recently suspended indefinitely for their atrocious scoring. The Nevada authorities would be wise to investigate and do the same. However, if they don't have authority to reverse decisions or call the match "no contest," that may not be enough to keep fans from boycotting en masse.

I for one won't be buying any more PPVs, and I've done it once out of principle. There was no way I would contribute a penny to a previous Pacquiao fight, because of the scum Antonio Margarito is.

H Mart in Hartsdale is a darn cool place

It was a terrific use of a Sunday afternoon to check out HMart for the first time. It had its grand opening in late March, having taken over the building of the old, much-villified Pathmark. A&P a couple of miles down the road has closed, too.

Clean, great selection, competitive prices on Asian specialties, and very good prices on the meat and produce you'd find at other supermarkets. They even have the live blue crabs that my mother likes. Good stuff.

How to deal with graduation pranks: withhold their diplomas for a year

These "seniors" are just animals who have no respect for others. It's not enough to suspend them from graduation events. Withhold their diplomas for a year, with the consequences that the college-bound now can't go, and those not going to college won't be able to get jobs requiring a high school diploma. Arrest every last one identified on the videos and charge them as adults with assault (which even as misdemeanors will be stapled to their records every time they apply for a job). Then they should be  employed for the next school year as janitors, so that they can experience how hard the staff work to clean up their messes.

There is no place in civilized society for their behavior, and they had better be taught a serious lesson now instead of being mollycoddled. My friends and I would have never done such things, for the simple reason that we never dreamed of being vandals. Our parents raised us better.

Spain's requested bailout in perspective

Spain is asking for a 100 billion euro bailout, about $125 billion. That's about 8.9% of its GDP ($1.41 trillion). If the U.S. were to have a bailout of that percentage, it would be about $1.37 trillion.

Spain hasn't exactly had great economic growth, even a decade before the crisis. Now, someone claimed on this Wikipedia page, "Spain's economy had been credited with having avoided the virtual zero growth rate of some of its largest partners in the EU. In fact, the country's economy had created more than half of all the new jobs in the European Union over the five years ending 2005." That should tell you a lot about the EU's overall condition.

The biggest boxing robbery I ever saw, and it stinks of Bob Arum

Update: Sidney Martinez says it perfectly, in an exceptionally written piece. Very well put, sir.

I've been watching boxing since I was old enough to follow TV, and I've never seen anything like this. We can talk all we want about last year's controversial split decision in Pacquiao-Marquez III, which was unarguably close. But Pac-man's loss tonight to Bradley, the dirtiest fighter Pac's dealt with since Ricky HFatton, was clearly fixed when Manny dominated for at least 10 of the 12 rounds. The announcers were flabbergasted as they tried to digest the "upset." One put it perfectly: "This decision was criminal. Pacquiao won that fight!" Something simply wasn't kosher with the judges. When the second scorecard was announced, Bradley started raising his arms in victory. He inwardly knew he was outclassed, but he still knew he was going to be announced the winner. He was also very quick to offer a precise date for the rematch.

So, Bradley, how much did you promise them of your winnings, huh? Or is this Arum's way of doubling his earnings, no matter that it screws over Pacquiao?

Bradley can now be proud of himself: he's been given something he didn't earn, and millions of people around the world saw it. If he had any honor, which he clearly does not, he would have declined the belt and quietly explained, "No way, everybody saw that I lost the fight." But now he can stand with Oscar de la Hoya (q.v. his 2004 fight with Felix Sturm), and Floyd Mayweather (who had a more than questionable 2004 victory over Castillo). Bradley knows he lost: he was heard admitting to Bob Arum before the decision was announced, "I tried hard but I couldn't beat the guy."

Here is a good thread: the judges have truly killed boxing. Who the hell cares to watch fights now, when decisions can still be fixed, and there's no accountability? There was a fight I remember, maybe in the late 80s or early 90s when my dad and I watched the most boxing together. For the life of me I can't remember the names, but they were both Mexicans, and one had his home state (Mexicali?) shaved into the back of his head. The old man and I couldn't believe that the latter won when he did hardly anything. I thought that was bad. I thought Roy Jones Jr. and Michael Carbajal got robbed at the 1988 Olympics (and Jones had gotten robbed in '86 and '87), always courtesy of anti-American judges. Those were nothing compared to tonight.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Another Obamanism: "Nobody wants to get something for nothing"

Video here. So sayeth the liar whose entire administration is about people employing force to get others' property. His entire philosophy is about getting something for nothing.
In Newton, Obama told the crowd at TPI Composites that companies like TPI will take a hit if Congress does not act on this item of his "To-Do" list.
In the vernacular, boo-freaking-hoo. They chose to go into that business; they deserve to reap the consequences of their failure. Thieves, every last one of them.

And if you're a company that doesn't want to do what Obama does, this happens:
Top administration officials cut backroom deals with the nation’s top drug companies to win support for President Obama’s health care overhaul, threatening them with steeper taxes if they resisted and promising a better financial deal for the industry if they acquiesced, according to internal documents released Thursday by House Republicans.

In some of the key deals, Mr. Obama agreed to drop his long-standing support for letting Americans buy cheaper foreign prescription drugs — something the pharmaceutical industry vehemently opposed — and the drugmakers promised to mount a public campaign to sell the public on the health care legislation.