Thursday assorted links

1. Negative emotional contagion in ravens.

2. “As it turns out, NBA players make only 40 percent of their shots between 8 and 9 feet from the rim, and that number drops to only 35 percent between 25 and 26 feet from the rim. When it comes to field-goal percentage on jump shots, the effect of shot distance is pretty minor.”  Link here.

3. Claims about Fortnite.

4. How making chocolate is like mixing cement (NYT).

5. Victor Shih’s public choice theory of Xi’s China.

6. “Goats are glamorous, and super popular on social media now…


2. It's the Peltzman Effect. You don't take a shot unless you think you have a reasonable chance of making it. Closer-in shots aren't automatically easier--for lots of reasons, including other players defending.


Demar Derozan has a pretty great 12 foot jumper, but an atrocious 3 pointer.

Also, there are only a handful of players that get defended closely on the perimeter (Harden, Lillard, Curry).

My guess is that every NBA player shoots radically better from 8-9 feet than from 25-26 feet in shoot-arounds with no defenders.

In today's NBA and basketball in general good players are those who can defend, protect, intimidate and prevent. Shooting ability is a plus but not a requirement. There is a man who has successfully shot over 2000 15+ footers in a row. Awesome shooter. Why then is he not picked for a team??? Simple, anyone now playing in the NBA could stop him. He isn't 7' tall, isn't rough and pushy and is over 40 YO. Basket ball is all about stopping the pother player and only somewhat about sinking shots.

Well if that's the case, you are watching a game modulated and controlled by referees. The team that wins is the team that gets the most "lucky breaks" from the referees. So disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy was right. Also, it means the "NBA greatest" of the 1970s is not the same as the 1980s, 90s, 00s, or 10s. It all depends on how the rules are enforced.

Frankly, I rather watch the game (sport?) of chess. It's more objective.

Similarly, there is a different (de facto and de jure) foul standard for jump shooters.

Fun fact, you can foul a jump shooter without physically touching them.

#6 - This week, and likely for the Summer, a number of goats are being set loose to eat weeds in Morningside Park, NYC.

President Captain Bolsonaro has driven a hard bargain and has offically got Mr. Trump's support to be a part of OECD. I thank President Captain Bolsonaro for our victory.

#3 The average housefly's lifespan is between 24 and 30 days, but it buzzes and disturbs everything in that period looking to pass on its genes in that period. It's spawn will number in the hundreds, of which the survivors to adulthood will likely be less than 10. This is a good metaphor for this story.

#5 The Chinese economy is still a bloated, undiversified, centrally-planned behemoth reliant on keeping its currency's price from being discovered on the global market and vast dark-pools of off the books lending and fraud with a looming demographic crisis in 20-30 years. Screencap this.

#6 The influencers who determine these phenomena are 10 years old. And I don't necessarily mean physically.

3. Fortnite

This speculative piece is 4/5ths boring for middle aged dads like me. Then, it gets very interesting suddenly, near the end.

Netflix was more worried about Fortnite than HBO as a competitor already in 2018?! Yes.

“Fortnite has become a daily social square – a digital mall or virtual afterschool meetup that spans neighborhoods, cities, countries and continents. This role is powered by Fortnite’s free availability, robust voice chat, cross-platform functionality, and collaborative gameplay. Accordingly, examples abound of kids, adults and families simply hanging out or catching up on Fortnite while they play. Studies find that Fortnite’s players spend one to one and a half hours per day in the game, versus thirty minutes for active Snapchat or Instagram users.”

The parallels with rock music back in our day is huge. Fortnite seems like the Beatles equivalent, but just like there were tons of other bands more obscure there are loads of games other than fortnite.

So it's taken the place of Diablo II, WoW, Halo, and their ilk. I used to have a lot of fun playing Diablo with a group of friends online.

I'm somewhat surprised that Minecraft didn't beat out Fortnight, but I suppose it's a function of the type of engagement each encourages. Could be interesting to examine how different types of engagement affect player use in this sort of context.

"1. Negative emotional contagion in ravens."

Nevermore, nevermore.

2. It's harder to score in a crowd.

5. Public choice theory? Well, I suppose Shih's description of China is about as accurate as the public choice theory. Why is it that experts on China ignore what made the China miracle. What's that? American business that shifted production to China. The same American business that will continue to produce goods in China. China may cheat, but China learned how to cheat from the experts. It's harder to score in a crowd.

if you need some Hershey's kisses we will order them up.

3. Isn't this a repeat from February?

Word on the street I've heard is Fortnite is out, Minecraft is back in.

Wonder if anything has changed re Fortnite in the meanwhile.

Supposedly my nieces boyfriend still makes his living at it. And shes still with him. So...

4. The NY Times writer seems to have listened to the researchers describe "cement mixers" which are used to make concrete, but neither have much in common with turning beans into chocolate slurry.

Making cement does require turning big stuff into a slurry of small particles similar to turning cocao beans into a slurry of fine particles, but its not called "mixing" cement or concrete.

And unlike making cement, which is calcination, a chemical breakdown by heat releasing CO2, conching oxidizes the chocolate liqueur and limits heating which would cause a bad chemical breakdown.

And concrete mixers that made the ingredients into small rounded particles would be disasterous but entirely the point of conching.

But these kinds of mistakes are very common for economists these days who look for simple explanations. My guess is the R&D project was described as the article is written so the MBA taught by today's economists to look for extremely simplistic explanations devoid of science and engineering.

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