Assorted links

by on May 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. The role of on-line experiments in the social sciences.

2. El Ataneo bookstore in Buenos Aires.

3. Create Your Own Economy, the audiobook is now on iTunes (via Chris Masse, the link is here).  

4. New and better stadiums raise the price of concessions.

5. When should you bench a basketball player for foul trouble?

6. Questions that are rarely asked.

Jose Pulido May 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Link to book in iTunes store. Enjoy.

Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity In a Disordered World (Unabridged)

Scott May 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm
Mo May 10, 2010 at 2:24 pm

All that yada yada yada about foul trouble, and the writer totally ignores the main reason–”the more fouls, the more timid the player.” This, of course, is countered as the game progresses by “the closer to the end, the more aggressive the player.”

Not to mention the other side of the coin. If Team A has a key player with foul trouble early, Team B is going to attack that player aggressively. For example, if KG is in foul trouble, the Cavs are going to give it to Jameson and have him pound it down low against KG in the hopes that he either plays more timidly or draws more fouls for trying to D up. It’s like he’s trying to get the NBA stat head community to be criticized for not understanding the game.

Ken May 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I wrote>>”The more fouls, the more timid the player.”>>

Jonathan replied>>Did you think about the following? If my initial argument is correct, keeping him in the game is correct if he just ignores his foul situation. So either (a) his timidity is rational, which makes it *even better* to leave him in, or (b) his timidity is irrational, and maybe the coach can cure him of it. If he’s *incurably* irrational, then maybe yes, you might have to take him out, but please realize that is the assumption you are making.>>

Johathan, I absolutely agree that it’s an assumption I am making. An “assumption,” of course, based on an overwhelming accumulation of empirical support in every human endeavor, from software programming to oil well drilling to stock market investing to mountain climbing to playing basketball. People who feel themselves to be “at risk” become more timid.

As do mammals in the jungle, fish in the ocean, and birds in the sky.

You think you can tell the coaches how they can change that fundamental nature of living organisms, then go for it. More power to you, if you do.

sj May 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm

There are similar bookstores in similar theatres in Boulder, Co “Tattered Cover” and Rochester, MN “Barnes & Nobles”.

Ã…se May 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Grrrrrrr. Not yet at the Swedish i-tunes store!

Jeff May 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm

But Ken, if players know that they will exit the game with three fouls, then they will play timidly with two. If you let them stay in the game with three, perhaps they will play closer to optimally with two fouls.

I see three good reasons not mentioned in the article to take a player out with foul trouble:

1) There is greater flexibility in the number of possessions remaining in the game due to fouling, so a team which is down on the scoreboard but has a superior lineup on the floor can extend the game almost indefinitely until they have the scoreboard advantage.

2) Players are more likely to need to get off shots quickly in the last minute. While Kerr was a more efficient scorer than Jordan in absolute terms, a *marginal* possession by Kerr was worth as many points as a *marginal* possession by Jordan — else the Bulls would have allocated more shots to Kerr (I have a friend who consults NBA teams who assures me that, empirically, this claim is not just a platonic ideal). But a high possession-usage player like Jordan is taking shots from much more difficult situations at the margin than is Kerr, who is shooting open jumpers at the margin. Since clock constraints at the end of games often force teams to generate shots from less advantageous positions, players like Jordan can be anticipated to be relatively more valuable than players like Kerr.

3) Game dynamics may favor a player getting fouls at some moment in the game but not at others. For instance, the opposing team may typically play more aggressively at the start of a game when their legs are fresh, or the opposing team’s lineup may generate matchup problems. In these instances, when expected fouls per minute may be high, a player’s minutes might be maximized by holding them out.

On balance, I don’t think these reasons are great. As with the decision of whether to go for it on fourth down, I suspect the core issue is that mental rewards to coaches and to fans over coaching choices are not proportional to the actual influence on odds of winning.

Floccina May 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

#5 The thing to keep in mind is 2 points at the end of the game are not more important that 2 points at the end of the game.

I always thought the coaches by taking a player out show that they expect that their stars are hold something back early in the game.

NOTE Steve Spurrier when he was at Florida coached teams that go full force holding nothing back from the start of the game the result being that they won many games by huge margins but unlike other top teams if they were behind at the end of the first half or 3rd quarter chances are they were going to loose.

Kent May 10, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I went to El Ateneo when I lived in Argentina in both 1988 and 1993-1994 and later when I visited. As some have posted here, it has nothing on the random bookstores that dot the city. Coming from Portland, I guess I’m spoiled. Very little compares to Powell’s Books.

Jonathan Weinstein May 11, 2010 at 2:51 am

Ken,

All right, so players are ruled by emotion, that hardly means we give up on coaching. It’s a big part of the coach’s job to harness emotion for constructive purposes. If a guy’s too timid, create a countervailing emotion by saying “hey buddy, I want to trust you and leave you in with foul trouble, but if you’re giving up easy layups you’re coming right out.” Actually, I can see the logic in taking a player out *briefly* when he commits a foul, especially a dumb foul, since it trains him to try not to foul.

I really like Jeff’s point that if you know you’re coming out with 3 you’ll be timid with 2. Shades of the pop quiz paradox.

Candadai Tirumalai May 11, 2010 at 9:20 am

Decades ago I did hear of a prodigiously creative
astrophysicist who put bags of ice on his head
to help him think more actively.

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