Tuesday, October 13, 2009

...And We're Back...

So I went a whole day without blogging. And the Earth appears to be none the worse for wear.


So as the Red Sox postseason begins, the baseball semifinals, better known as the League Championship Serieses, begin this week. Four fairly old school franchises-the hated Yankees, who date back to the founding of the American League in 1901, the Los Angeles/Anaheim/California Angels, who date back to baseball's first expansion beyond 16 teams in 1961, and the Dodgers and Phillies, who predate the Yankees.

All four matchups are pretty tasty, viewing wise, with lots of history and subplots and old friends and new friends and all that. It will be interesting to see if they can outdraw last year's postseason, which I believe was pretty disappointing. TV (FOX and TBS) were rooting for Red Sox/Yankees, I'm sure. That never gets old for them.


Fascinating article in last week's New Yorker (http://bit.ly/EY8Lj) about financial markets and cycles. It considers a number of market theories involving cycles of various length, some based on mathematical concepts like pi, others based on seemingly random numbers. It seems like a load of poppycock, and goodness knows the financial markets are full of that.

We are pattern matching animals, and we will see patterns where there are none and remember coincidences where they occur and forget them where they don't. There is so much data in the markets that you can overlay all kinds of things onto it-football results, famines, antelope populations, whatever you want.

In a more recent, painful example, the conventional wisdom across the board was "Oh, the Red Sox always beat the Angels in the postseason. Which, in the last several years, had been true-but that means exactly nothing when you get 15 hits in three games. Streaks seem unbreakable until they are broken.

It is interesting how foolish otherwise smart people can be.


I read a couple of books by Canadian SF author Robert L. Sawyer this weekend-"Iterations", a collection of short stories, and "Frameshift", a novel, this weekend. I am distressed, as I usually am, by discovering a new author-why hadn't I heard of him before? I really enjoyed his stuff-lots of good, hard science, and plots that move really fast. His novel was the inspiration for the new show "Flashforward", which I am deeply invested in.



  1. Ooh... thanks for the Sawyer titles. I too am into Flashforward. Good stuffs.

    It's sort of an east vs west thing going on there... or maybe east vs LA.

  2. I love Flashforward too!


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