Assorted links

by on August 15, 2011 at 11:49 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Are virtuousos now a dime a dozen?

2. The rules of blind cricket: “…the bowler must shout ‘Play!’ as he releases the ball. The delivery is required to pitch at least twice when bowled to a completely blind batsman (once when bowled to a partially sighted batsman), but must not be rolling. Totally blind batsmen cannot be out stumped, and must be found to be LBW twice before going out. Totally blind fielders are allowed to take a catch on the bounce.”  The game is especially popular in Australia.

3. There is no great stagnation (robot video).

4. Negative interest rates for Switzerland?; is the currency 71 percent overvalued?  Wow.

5. How well do GPS systems work and how do they shape us?  An extended essay (by the way, do you know of other good readings on this topic?  I am interested, thanks.)

Dan Hill August 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm

#2: you are of course referring to the version in which the players are vision impaired, not the mainstream version in which the umpires are blind which is also very popular in Australia :-)

Evan August 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I once saw an exhibition match of blind cricket played during the lunch break of a Sheffield Shield match at the Gabba. The skills demonstrated by the players was absolutely amazing, and I would certainly watch some more if I had a chance (although living in Canada now, even regular cricket is a niche sport here).

katie kyan August 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Excellent New Yorker article on GPS technology: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/04/24/060424fa_fact

Bill Harshaw August 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Re: GPS. I noticed a recent post by a civil engineer: apparently GPS is now changing the way surveyors will work, and improve their productivity. http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-civil-engineer-day-3

katie kyan August 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Rahul August 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm

#3: robot video

It almost seemed like a Rube Goldberg machine. The task seemed staged and the solution sort of contrived. How much information had they been pre-fed? Would this work in a unfamiliar house and furniture?

Rohit August 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Not exactly an article on GPS, but very very interesting. And corrects the perception that just because relativity is significant only at high velocities and large masses, it has no day-to-day relevance
http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html

Neal August 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm

#1: Increasing number of virtuosos (increasing faster than population growth, that is): catchup in modernizing economies. Increasing technical proficiency: greater specialization.

Finch August 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Falling ratio of piano cost to per-capita GDP.

Dan Weber August 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

And saturation of the tiger mother market.

andy August 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I would say the internet has much bigger role than that. Students now regularly look at youtube videos and copy fingerings, phrasing and technique of the best interpreters. Most sheet music is available for free, you can get decent recordings on youtube to get an idea. Otherwise, I don’t see that much change in ‘greater specialization’, IMO students of music do roughly the same as they did in the past.

Neal August 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

“IMO students of music do roughly the same as they did in the past”
That’s contradicted by the article, which says that beginning students are as, or more, technically proficient than the great masters of past generations. This implies that either how students practice has changed (technological improvement), as you imply, or that students spend more time practicing, as I imply, or some combination of the two.

Rahul August 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

What about an inherent biological improvement? Isn’t that a possibility too? Look at athletes for example.

andy August 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm

#1 – the upside is that it is easier to come across a good teacher if you wish to learn to play an instrument. And as playing instrument is much more fun than just listening, people should do that more…unfortunately it’s a long-term endeavour which only a few people seem to be willing to try today, especially when you see the proficiency level which could be reached…

Foobarista August 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

As for virtuosos, it’s just classic big numbers. Every Chinese family with a “tiger mom”, a kid, and two yuan to rub together buys a piano, and makes darn sure their kid plays it (my nephew in Shanghai went through this with my sister-in-law). You take fifty million kids, give them pianos and improved teaching, and a few thousand will develop world-class talent. The top of that group will push the “virtuoso level” even higher.

Neal August 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

When a billion people play “Flight of the Bumblebee” perfectly, no one can hear you scream?

iamreddave August 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

#5 slightly the feelspace belt puts mobile phone motors around your waste. The motor nearest the north direction vibrates. After a few weeks of this your brain adapts and starts to think you have a sense of magnetism like passenger pigeons
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.04/esp.html

There are various DIY feelspace designs online.

subdee August 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm

There are companies, like UPS, that use GPS records to monitor and discipline their employees. But GPS errors are non-Gaussian, so there’s no telling how many of the e.g. 10 stops a day* that fall outside of the CI are cheats. It’s actually a big problem.

*UPS drivers in Manhattan make around 200 stops a day. And measurements fall within the confidence interval way less than 95% of the time in NYC, also, due to urban canyon effects.

Rahul August 16, 2011 at 12:08 am

Is there a technical reason why GPS errors are non-Gaussian? What distribution are they?

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