Assorted links

by on January 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Starling murmuration photos.

2. The fifty best musician names of all time?

3. Risk aversion and extra football points.

4. Lance Davis has passed away.

5. The economics of verticals.

Willitts January 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm

2. No Django Reinhardt or Muddy Waters?

All those vacuous pop tarts. For shame!

msgkings January 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm

+1, those are 2 of the all time best names

Brian Donohue January 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Jelly Roll Morton?

Thor January 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm

I guess “Pop culture is filth” is true: vacuous pop tarts indeed.

And I didn’t see Captain Beefheart, someone whose music I’ve forgotten (guess it made no impression). And Iggy Pop.

msgkings January 23, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Also good ones. These lists are too arbitrary. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins is another good one.

John Boyce January 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm

No Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, or Bob Dylan?
Anybody can make a list.

mkt January 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm

One could come up with a Top 50 list using only blues musicians. In addition to Muddy Waters and Jelly Roll Morton, there’s Howiln’ Wolf, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Ma Rainey, etc. etc.

Turkey Vulture January 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm

3. I think that’s a stupid way to change the rule. If what you want is excitement, then make it 6 points (like now) with the opportunity for a 2 point conversion. A single play worth two points, following every touchdown – sounds exciting to me.

John January 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm

My idea of increasing the excitement is:

If you miss the PAT kick, you lose the all the points. You get zip. If you go for 2 points, you end up with 6 or 8.

Do away with the field goal inside the 30. Prorate the points up to 5 for a 55+ yarder.

Taking a knee in the first half is an automatic quarterback ejection.

Matt Harmon January 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Place kickers are probably feeling slighted. One big (and easy) part of their job may be in danger. I wonder if they would petition using the players’ association.

The Other Jim January 23, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Matt has nailed it. Kickers would only be on the field about half as much as they are now. They would still be just as valuable overall, but there would be an inclination to pay them less. Holders would face the same thing. The union would feign outrage because the primary job of a union is to feign outrage.

In any event, it’s a good idea. Although I like TV’s idea better — just ban the 1-point PAT altogether.

Z January 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm

They could go back to the dropkick. It is not a low percentage play, but it adds intrigue. It could also lead to a new play for when teams are within the red zone. The drop kick specialist could come in on fourth down and either kick a FG via the drop kick or maybe pass or even run a draw.

Turkey Vulture January 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I’ve also proposed this to the many people I know who have absolutely no influence at all over NFL rules. I’d say get rid of place kicking entirely, and treat any dropkick (outside of the point after) as both a field goal attempt and a punt. Then it’s a choice between going for the 3 points and giving it to the opponent at the 20 (maybe change a touchback to the 25?), or trying to pin them deep. Would be more interesting than a standard field goal, at least.

Z January 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Of course, leaving it alone if probably the best option. I enjoy following football. There’s never been a time when the PAT has diminished my enjoyment. I have no recollection of anyone saying to me they were unhappy with the PAT. It is natural for humans to try and improve upon the work of others, but true genius is knowing when to leave well enough alone. The wise move here may be to leave it as is and look elsewhere for improvement.

Mark Thorson January 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Maybe there’s an analogy with golf. Golf on TV used to be the most excruitiatingly boring TV of all time (unless you count the Gemini launches — “we’re at T minus 40 minutes and holding”). I haven’t seen many recent golf games, but the ones I have seen have been much quicker. I don’t know how they did that, because isn’t the game inherently slow?

On the other hand, back in the days of slow golf, they held a much greater percentage of weekend sports TV. Maybe you’re right — they should have left the game alone. They should have stood pat at slow golf. If the networks don’t like that, screw ‘em. This is the only golf you get. Maybe the demographic for golf wants it slow.

Ted Craig January 23, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Why not just move the PAT back farther?

Turkey Vulture January 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Because I think that although part of the boringness of the PAT is that it is almost certain to be successful, the other part is just that place kicking in general is more boring than alternative methods of scoring. I’d much rather watch a 2 pt play from the 2 yard line than a 45 yard field goal try. I think most people would be with me, but could be wrong.

Jethro January 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I’d keep the option of either place kick or 2 point conversion, but prohibit substitutions after the touchdown, so you have to use the same players who were on the field for the initial touchdown. It would make for more multiskilled players (particularly interesting when the defence gets a touchdown from a turnover).

Mark Thorson January 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm

If what you want is excitement, forget the sissy sports like NFL football. Go to full Rollerball. The Romans had it right — without death in the ring, what’s the point?

Widmerpool January 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm

#2: Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Elmore James, Albert King?

Lots of holes.

FXKLM January 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm

They may not be the greatest musicians, but my favorite musician names are Blackie Lawless from WASP and GG Allin.

Blackie Lawless isn’t exactly his real name, but it isn’t a stage name either. His real last name is Lawless and had the nickname Blackie since he was a small child.

GG Allin, on the other hand, was a stage name. His birth name was Jesus Christ Allin.

Benny Lava January 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm

His real name is Steven Duren.

bjartur January 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Once again, Yngwie Malmsteen gets overlooked. Also Björk Guðmundsdóttir.

Norman Pfyster January 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Yngwie! Unleash the fury!

Max January 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Anyone who leaves of Django Reinhardt is a cloth brained simp.

Hoover January 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Cloth Brained Simp played bass for the Retards.

AB January 23, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Alexander von Schlippenbach (in the jazz category)

msgkings January 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

You could make the whole list with just jazz names.

And while David Lee Roth deserves to be on there, isn’t Eddie Van Halen the best rock name, like, ever?

This is one of those lists that’s way too arbitrary. I realize it’s all in fun.

I’m hoping prior_approval finds a way to bash TC or the US with it…maybe Mozart being #1?

Willitts January 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Agree on EVH.

Elvis Presley has to be in there.

For once I would have to agree with p_a – Wolfgang deserves to be number 1. Ludwig van Beethoven is also a no brainer.

Freddie Mercury was high on my list.

How about Shostakovich, Pachelbel, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Yo-Yo Ma, Ringo Starr, Duke Ellington, Ziggy Marley.

Trying to avoid US bias.

Good list here:

http://www.thefamouspeople.com/musicians.php

msgkings January 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Ringo and Duke Ellington and Freddie Mercury were on their list too actually, but all of yours are great too.

How about Elvis Costello? Emmanuel Ax? Felix Mendelssohn? Frank Black? You could go for days.

Daniel Klein January 23, 2014 at 5:17 pm

#2, Johnny Cymbal. (Maybe not well-known enough.)

His one great song is great indeed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZr8iReEqMQ

Hoover January 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm

#2: Bun Hunga, a famous Belgian Hammond wizard. To be honest, not brilliant but worth a brief listen.

#1: Is the massive murmuration a purely British phenomenon? By the way, Londoners can watch a small scale gathering over Wandsworth bridge most evenings.

Ricardo January 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm

If I’m at the Redskins game, and I have to go to the bathroom, I wait for a touchdown. This is because I know that a touchdown will be followed by (1) a PAT, (2) a commercial break, (3) a kickoff which typically results in a touchback, and (4) usually another commercial break. This gives me plenty of time to get back to my seat without missing any real action. Remove the PAT and you disrupt my timing. Don’t do it!

msgkings January 23, 2014 at 8:46 pm

If you are watching the Redskins you’ll be waiting a long time for that TD bathroom break. :)

Alex K. January 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

I thinks he means the touchdown that results from Griffin throwing an interception.

In which case, there are enough breaks even for people with bladder problems.

BC January 23, 2014 at 7:06 pm

#3. This is the second place where I have seen this proposed rule change discussed. I haven’t seen it mentioned yet that the proposal actually changes the options available to teams, even if one assumes that point-after kicks are made with 100% probability. The reason is that, under current rules, teams can fake a kick and go for 2, i.e., they do not have to declare whether they are kicking or running/passing before the play starts. If the proposed rule change is adopted, then the option to fake will be removed.

Willitts January 23, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Great point, I mean, extra point.

Ed January 23, 2014 at 8:12 pm

#2, the fine Austrian guitarist Diknu Schneeberger, he plays in the Django mold

msgkings January 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I think more than 8 people have to have heard of you, especially in the English speaking world. There’s probably some really cool-named gamelan players too…

But I guess we an count Ravi Shankar

Ray Lopez January 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm

The starling murmaration photos were quite startling. Imagine around 150 years ago passenger pigeons blackening the skies. Of course wheat and corn farmers can’t have any of that nonsense, not to mention can’t have having roaming buffalo trod through their farms, so “progress” but an end to that quickly. Yet we have the hubris to preach to the Brazilians about preserving the Amazon–or worse, we refuse to pony up cash to save the Ecuadorian rain forest. Shame.

Otto Maddox January 23, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Lady Gaga in the top 20?? Let’s be serious.

BC January 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm

#3. The other thing that bothers me about #3 is this notion that teams avoid 2-pt conversions for behavioral or, at least risk-aversion, reasons. The argument is that teams should go for 2 more often because it can have a higher expected value than kicking. Others have argued that teams should never punt or kick field goals for similar expected value reasons. I don’t think these types of expected-score arguments are quite right, and I have finally been able to come up with a concrete counterexample in the case of 2-pt conversion strategy. We should note that a team’s objective is *not* to maximize its expected score; its objective is to maximize the probability that its score exceeds its opponent’s score by at least 1 point.

Consider two evenly matched teams that are tied in the fourth quarter and condition on the event that both teams will score 1 more TD. Team A is the first team to score, and Team B is the second. Assume 1-pt kicks are made with probability 1 and 2-pt conversions are made with probability 0.5. Then, according to expected-score analyses, conversion strategy shouldn’t matter because every TD has an expected score of 7 pts regardless of conversion strategy.

Now, suppose Team A kicks for 1 pt. Then, when Team B scores, if B kicks, then each team will have a 50% chance of winning in overtime (OT). If Team B goes for 2, it will also win with probability 50%. So, if Team A kicks, each team will have a 50% chance of winning, regardless of B’s decision, as expected.

However, suppose Team A goes for 2. With 50% probability, they will fail and Team B will win by kicking for 1 pt after its touchdown. If Team A makes 2 (50% prob.), they are still *not* guaranteed to win. Team B will adjust its strategy and go for 2. Thus, even if Team A makes 2, its probability of winning will only be 75%. (Team B wins by making 2 to tie and winning in OT, which has probability 25%.). So, the overall probability that Team A wins is only Pr[win | A makes 2]*Pr[A makes 2] + Pr[win | A fails]*Pr[A fails] = (0.75)*(0.50) + 0*0.50 = 0.375, less than 50%.

Basically, by going for 2, A gives B a free option since B gets to observe the result of A’s decision. By going for the sure 1 pt, A negates the value of B’s option because an option on an event with a sure outcome (1-pt kick) has no value. I think there is a more general result here, though I can’t prove it, that for teams to choose riskier plays (2-pt conversion over 1-pt kick, going for it on 4th down over punting or kicking a field goal, etc.), the excess expected point value of the riskier choice has to exceed the option value that the team gives its opponent. This optionality may explain why teams choose to go for 1, kick field goals, and punt much more often than the expected-value models suggest. Note, this has nothing to do with risk aversion; even risk-neutral teams will want to avoid giving free options to their opponents.

The broader lesson may be that, when a simplistic model appears to contradict observed market behavior, sometimes (often?) it is because the model fails to capture certain important aspects of the problem rather than because the market participants are behaving irrationally.

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