Assorted links


#2 - Why does being more likely to make the second free throw provide evidence of a "hot hand" in basketball. It just seems to suggest that players can make slight adjustments in their second shot based on the results of their first shot. Is there any reason we should expect basketball players to NOT shoot better on their second free throw?

It depends on whether a stochastic process is a Markov process or not. I think the authors of this new paper are showing the stochastic process is not a Markov process, as you imply. But it does not mean that hot hands are not random. More info here: and

You misread the article. They found that second shots were more likely to be made and they "also found that the probability of the second shot going in was conditional on whether the first went in." The second finding wasn't based on the first.

1. Dear God - do parents really want their kids to suffer no hardship, no matter how small, ever? Good judgement comes from experience, which comes from bad judgement. How will these kids deal with getting rejected for a job?

You kid can apply for another job, but she only goes to college once.

And if who you know matters more than what you can do, networking right the first time shuttles the kid into high society for the rest of her life.

> networking right the first time shuttles the kid into high society for the rest of her life.

I really, really doubt this.

There is this very sad desperate air around getting into the right college. And this article underscores that.

Parents are starting to realize the world as they know it is changing rapidly and the economy is going to hell and so they are desperate to give their kids any leg up, what they think is a life boat, so their children will escape the hard times that are coming.

But they are scrambling for what used to work, not what will work in the future.


So sad, so true.

The sorority scene is one of the true gutters of American culture. A hot pink Sodom and Gomorrah utterly obsessed with status, wealth and image. Don't even bother showing up in a skirt from Target or god forbid Wal Mart, you're not sorority material.

If you demonstrate that you're attractive and wealthy enough to buy some new friends, then your fellow alumnae will help find you a job at graduation regardless of merit. But it's all ok because you throw some change at make a wish foundation.

It's literally the opposite of everything that's good about America.

eh... that also describes most people, guys and girls, in that age group. I graduated from UT Austin a few ago, and I don't know anybody that wasn't obsessed with "status, wealth, and image". The people in the IM clubs, those in left-wing and right-ring student organizations, those in academic clubs - all were pursuing the same thing as the Greeks, but in different ways and subject to the unique rules and norms of their groups. The same holds true for many of my friends who didn't make it to college. The sorority girls just have more money and connections.

Is it any surprise that 18-25 year olds who are young, healthy, have no dependents, few major expenses but plenty of money ready at hand are obsessed with such trivial things.

Hot Dang! " A hot pink Sodom and Gomorrah ..." is that true at George Mason too? Way back in the days I remember hearing it was a commuter school for middle aged zanies. (This was in the 1970s). Boy I'm getting old...

#1. "The smart rushee, the Biddies advise, will have a résumé stressing community service, leadership, academics and teamwork, letters of recommendation from alumnae of each chapter, preferably on the campus in question, and reference letters."

I can hardly think of a sentence that better explains why women get more and more of the rewards in a society that places so much value on people being able to delay gratification, basically, and do what they "should" be doing 24/7. These are organizations run by adolescents, for adolescents, and they have decided to value the exact same sort of rigorous self discipline and unquestioning willingness to follow society norms that an employer will value.

No fraternity would ever operate like that.

unquestioning willingness to follow society norms that an employer will value.


On Spain, I would have added:

"Since late 2004, the global economy has been oil supply-constrained. From the beginning of the recession through the end of 2011, the OECD consumer has been supplying 85% of the increased oil consumption of the non-OECD economies. So consumption has been falling throughout the OECD (with the recent exception of Japan, due to Fukushima).

Now, how failling oil consumption affects GDP is not too well documented. Certainly, the 1970s brought forth the notion of an oil shock, and we know you couldn't reduce oil consumption materially without adverse effects on the economy. But how does oil consumption falling at, say 1-2% per year, affect the economy? It depends on how quickly the economy can become more efficient. But there's a case to be made that oil is knocking 1-1.5% off of GDP growth. And that matters, because it's that last bit that enables the US to reduce unemployment, and Spain and Italy to make their fiscal systems work. So we're enegy-constrained and that hurts GDP and contributes to systemic instability.

On the brighter side, the oil supply is doing a bit better--primarily due to US shale oils, Canadian oil sands, and improving Iraqi output. As a practical matter, the Iraq war and "drill, baby, drill" have proved critical in putting incremental oil into play. At the same time, oil consumption growth is weak around the globe. So oil prices could be pretty soft for the next year or so, and given that the OECD energy trends are geared to efficiency improvements currently, an increased oil supply could lead to more extensive, rather than intensive, use of oil. Put another way, increasing oil consumption should lead to increasing employment, rather than increasing use by the already-employed. Therefore, the global economy might see a tailwind, for a change, in the next year or so. The GDP numbers might come in higher than people are expecting, at least based on oil supply and demand trends."


A small gain in GDP growth might help stabilize Italy. However, Spain is too far gone. With 24+% unemployment, Spain needs a genuine recovery (which it won't get). Adding 1-1.5% to the growth rate is almost noise. Of course, what we are really talking about is slowing Spain's contraction by 1-1.5% per year. Spain needs policy changes far beyond somewhat lower global oil prices. It won't get them until Spain finally recognizes the futility of the Euro. Since that will not happen soon, and may never happen, Spain is looking at a "lost generation" or perhaps "lost generations".

Amazing, an interview on the Spanish economy including the question "Can you suggest three brief political economy measures for our country?" and no mention of the Euro? Leaving the Euro? Internal deflation to make continued Euro membership possible?

Surprising to say the least.


Isn't the typical NYT writer / reader going to be upset that these organizations, and writing about them, is somehow sexist and stereotypical? I expected more feminist tut-tutting outrage.

“I teach them how to make interesting small talk: what you saw at the cinema, a trip to Europe. I don’t know too many 20-year-olds who are having a debate about economics.” = "Math is hard!"

"Another day is for getting physically ready — hair, makeup and wardrobe. ...Many aspiring sisters spend their summer working out and dieting....“You are being judged on how you look,” she says. Case in point: A study of Northwestern undergraduates in a normal weight range, published in 2010, showed the thinner women more likely to join a sorority." -- How are feminist heads not exploding when they read this? Where's the message discipline?

When I think of a hot hand, I think of a player who is making shots from different places on the floor at a rate higher than one would expect to occur randomly. I guess I would have thought it was assumed that free throw #2 is more likely to go in if free throw #1 did too. But my mental model of free throw number 2 is "Look at result of free throw #1 and adjust shooting motion accordingly." It seems like the easiest adjustment to make is no adjustment at all.

I expected more feminist tut-tutting outrage too!

Comments for this post are closed