<![CDATA[dumbmatter.com]]>http://dumbmatter.com/metalsmith-feedTue, 24 Jan 2017 23:37:23 GMT<![CDATA[How I almost got a job with the Sixers, and a Twitter analysis of the 2015 NBA Draft Class]]>As you may know, I wrote this cool basketball video game and work as a data scientist. A couple years ago, back in the Hinkie era when the Sixers were a forward-thinking organization, someone in the Sixers front office noticed those two things about me and asked me to apply for a job. It was a somewhat long and unclear process. They didn't seem to know what they were hiring for or what their criteria were (or maybe they did and I was just a bad fit). Regardless, eventually I didn't get the job, but as part of the application I did a mini analysis project, and 2 years out, I figure I might as well share that.

The project was: tell us some useful quantitative information about the 2015 draft class, but don't use any basketball stats or physical measurements.

That's really fucking hard! Not only are stats and physical measurements super important, they are also easy to access in structured format. Most other data requires a lot more effort before you're even at the point of beginning to analyze it. So immediately my mind went to Twitter, since at least there I have a semi-structured dataset: a list of Tweets for each player. Check out my silly analysis here. As best I could tell, the Sixers thought it was pretty cool!

Anyway, as I said, I didn't get the job. Then shortly after, Hinkie was fired, so maybe it was all for the best.

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/how-i-almost-got-a-job-with-the-sixers-and-a-twitter-analysis-of-the-2015-nba-draft-class.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/how-i-almost-got-a-job-with-the-sixers-and-a-twitter-analysis-of-the-2015-nba-draft-class.mdTue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[I switched to a static site generator, and you don't care]]>...except possibly to the extent of making fun of me for being a hypocrite. Beyond that, I will spare you the typical post about all the amazing reasons I switched to a static site generator. Check out the code if you're actually interested.

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/i-switched-to-a-static-site-generator-and-you-dont-care.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/i-switched-to-a-static-site-generator-and-you-dont-care.mdMon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Side projects galore]]>God damn, I've been neglecting this blog. It's sad really, because I do have a lot to say. I guess I've just been talking to myself instead of blogging lately, which maybe says something about my mental stability, but whatever. I'm blogging now, and I'm going to blog the fuck out of this blog.

It's 2016. My job is pretty cool in some ways, but in some other ways it bothers me a great deal. It's probably not in my best interest to go into that in great detail here (as if anyone is reading this, right?) so I will leave the rest unsaid, and just get to the broader point. I am someone who cares a great deal about science, engineering, creating cool things, doing things the right way, etc. And when I say "cares a great deal" I mean probably more than I can adequately articulate with my pedestrian writing skills. It's almost like a spiritual thing. So for someone like me, what do you do when your day job is preventing you from attaining your desired level of spiritual satisfaction?

Side projects!

Do some shitty work 9-5? Come home and do some good work on your own projects! What could be more fun than that? Okay, okay, I can hear what you're saying. "Friends!" "Sports!" "Games!" Well guess what, I have time for all that stuff too, not an issue. "Family!" "Kids!" There's your big timesinks! Sadly/fortunately, my idea of a relationship right now comes from Tinder, and that doesn't really take much time or effort (praise the God of Genetics for making me a 6'3" white guy). In total, that leaves plenty of time for...

Side projects!

So I'm going to write about a few things I've been working on lately.

Project #1: Basketball GM

Ah yes, first and foremost, my most successful current project. If you're not aware, check it out. There's about a 99% chance you'll think it's really stupid. But if you're in that 1%, you'll thank me.

I still put a lot of time into Basketball GM. Much effort has gone into modernizing the codebase. When I started writing the JavaScript version, callbacks were king, RequireJS provided modularity, and the strict rules of JSLint kept me from shooting myself in my foot. Now I'm using all kinds of crazy shit like ES2015 (and newer!), Babel, and Browserify. It's a lot of churn, but it keeps me on the cutting edge and it staves off code rot (BTW see side project #2 for some more code rot discussion). And it's just plain satisfying when you go from the old way to the new way and the new way is just objectively better. My dick got hard when I got async/await compiled to Bluebird working. (And for those who are still reading through this paragraph of technical jargon, I am still using Bluebird because I can't rely on native promises using microtasks "correctly", and "correctly" is in quotes because as best I can tell the spec is ambiguous, yay!)

I also spend an inordinate amount of time geeking out on relatively minor details of Basketball GM. Like player names. Imagine you're writing a game, and you need to generate hundreds of fake names. "Well make a list of names and pick randomly from it, problem solved." Fuck you! That is not an acceptable solution. I am compelled to do better. And as I'm typing this I really want to go off on a long discussion on this topic... except I already did that in a blog post on the Basketball GM blog.

Another cool thing that happened lately: logos! Basketball GM uses fake teams because I tragically do not have a license from the NBA. The existence of these fake team names fits into the "geeking out" category as well, but that was yearsago at this point. But the logos, that's new. I found a great artist to work for a reasonable price, but as is the case in many aspects of life, there are tradeoffs, and in this case the tradeoff was time. These logos were in the works for a long fucking time until they recently were completed, but that's okay because they are really good. Check it out. For many of them, you wouldn't think twice if you saw the logo on a real uniform. So fucking cool.

Another cool thing about the logos was the greatest comment in the history of my fledgling Basketball GM subreddit.

And one other cool thing... for a few months I had a Donald Trump easter egg. Very rarely, Donald Trump would appear, dominate your league for a year, and then retire. What was his best skill? Perimeter defense, of course! I crack myself up.

I hope to get back into more of the core AI/simulation aspects of the game soon, because there is a lot that could be improved there. But I don't know if I'll actually follow through or if I'll be perpetually distracted by shiny things on the periphery.

Project #2: Screw

I'm a big hip hop fan. I really like chopped and screwed songs. You know, the ones where the music is slowed down and the pitch drops and it's just awesome. Often I ask myself, "Why isn't more music chopped and screwed? Heck, why isn't all music chopped and screwed?"

Well the chopping part is hard, that requires a lot of skill and manual effort. But the screwing part is easy. Just slow the music down and/or decrease the pitch. Absolutely trivial. Yet does your music player have a "slow this song down by 20%" button? No? Why the fuck not! As I mentioned before, it's 2016. We have the technology.

But fuck 2016, we had the technology way before that. How do I know? Because I solved this problem in 2013. I created a plugin for the Banshee music player (my music player of choice) which gave you a button to press to alter the tempo and pitch of playback. So I could just put my whole hip hop library on shuffle and listen to screwed versions of every song in my collection. Paradise!

Sadly, paradise then burned to the ground when the next version of Ubuntu was released and bit rot set in. See, Banshee is written in C#. C# is a fairly nice programming language created by Microsoft with the goal of ruthlessly subjugating the world. That made it somewhat controversial in the Linux world - some people liked it because it was fairly nice, others were not on board with subjugating the world. In the end, the latter group of people won and C# on Linux has been dead in the water for years. I was not able to overcome the extent of the bit rot, so my Banshee plugin only runs on 2013-era Linux distros. No fun.

In 2016, we have a better [citation needed] platform than C#: the web! Write once, run anywhere, but for real this time (except for cross-browser compatibility)! Joking aside, I really do fucking love the web, its overarching goals, and the results you can achieve with it. So I decided to port my Banshee plugin to client-side JavaScript. That's a perfectly sensible and normal thing to do, right? Right??

I probably would have failed if I didn't eventually find a 4 year old undocumented library that helped me figure out the proper incantations to make the Web Audio API do what I want. I'm not sure if that is awesome or terrifying. But the end result is Screw. Change the tempo and pitch of an audio file, all in your web browser using client-side JS.

It's still not as good as my old Banshee plugin because it doesn't integrate with my music library and it only plays one song at a time. But it changes the fucking tempo and pitch of an audio file in client-fucking-side JS. That's good enough for me.

When I was building and testing it, I listened to Peace of Paper/Cup of Jayzus by Lupe Fiasco about 5000 times, and I'm still not tired of it. It sounds great slowed down and pitched down about 20%.

Project #3: SAS7BDAT Web Viewer

This one is even more esoteric.

SAS is some ridiculously expensive statistics software that I've never even used, because I prefer open source and I don't like ridiculously expensive things. But it's super popular in my industry (pharma) so people often send me SAS files and expect me to do things with them. But my company won't even give me a SAS license because it's so fucking expensive. They do give me a Stat/Transfer license which I can use to convert SAS files to CSV, but wouldn't it be nicer if there was some open source library we could simply integrate into our data flow pipeline?

Well, there are a few. But none in JavaScript, and actually it would be slightly more convenient for me if there was a native Node.js one. And obviously this is not a great use of my time, so I did it on my own time, not company time. I took this Python library and converted it to JavaScript, which is already pretty insane. But wait, we're not done.

In the process of porting that library, I wrote a ton of tests to compare my output to Stat/Transfer. I tested on all the files I could find on Google, plus every file I had on my workstation. Turned out that, even after squashing all the bugs introduced in porting, there were still like 2% of files that would get parsed wrong. SAS7BDAT is just a very flexible format, and people apparently get very creative with it. It'd probably take a ton of work to solve that 2%, which is probably why Stat/Transfer exists as a company. So sadly, after all this work, I was left with something that I can't actually use on real data because I can't just ignore that 2%.

So I decided to try something different, to salvage some meaningfulness out of this endeavor. I got my library to run in client-side JS and build a nifty-little UI for it. So there you have it. SAS7BDAT to CSV conversion in client-side JavaScript. The future is now.

But is it actually useful? Turns out, yes! I was sitting in my cubicle at work a few days ago and I overhear a conversation in the cubicle next to mine: "hey, do you know how to open SAS files?" Naturally I had to butt in and force him to use my app, which actually worked! Score one for the SAS7BDAT Web Viewer side project.

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/side-projects-galore.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/side-projects-galore.mdSat, 18 Jun 2016 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[The Bishop Sankey Diagram]]>Or, my best pun ever:

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/the-bishop-sankey-diagram.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/the-bishop-sankey-diagram.mdWed, 07 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Basic income vs. basic job]]>Chris Stucchio wrote an article about the differences between basic income and basic job policies, based on relatively straightforward math. Briefly, basic income says give everyone money with no strings attached and get rid of other forms of welfare. Basic job is the same, except anyone who can work is mandated to work, either in a normal job like today or in a New Deal-style government works program.

Chris's main conclusion was that basic job came out looking way better than basic income. Additionally, a major purpose of his post was to encourage other people to play around with the math as well rather than just bloviating. Since I'm a big basic income proponent and have some quibbles with how he came to conclude that basic income doesn't look too good, I will follow his lead and play around with the math.

I don't know Chris Stucchio and I don't know if he was inherently biased for basic income or basic job, but I'm definitely inherently biased for basic income, so take this whole post with a grain of salt. However, to give it some semblance of fairness, I'm going to write this whole thing without doing any math. I'm going to make what I think are reasonable changes to Chris's assumptions and see what that tells me. Maybe it will say basic income sucks, and then I will be sad, but I will still publish those results. You'll just have to trust that I'm telling the truth, I suppose.

In Chris's model, basic income is paid to everyone. It is also possible to have a system like progressive income tax, where it gradually phases out; in fact, fellow Rutgers alumnus Milton Friedman proposed to implement basic income through a negative income tax. So let's imagine some system like that and reduce the costs by 50% right off the bat.

    direct_costs = num_adults * basic_income / 2

Chris correctly noted that there are incentives for more work and less work in basic income. He thinks it's more likely that the negative incentive will be more prominent. I think it's more fair to just call it a wash, since it's very unclear. So I deleted that part of his model. I doubt this has a big impact on anything anyway.

At this point, I want to add an effect that has been neglected. Chris treated the number of disabled adults as a constant, but that is likely not true. So let's conservatively say 2 million people currently on disability would start working if they got a basic income, likely at some not-so-great wage.

    undisabled = 2e6
    undisabled_hourly_wage = uniform(0, 10).rvs()
    undisabled_cost_benefit = -1 * undisabled * (40*52*undisabled_hourly_wage)

Chris included the "JK Rowling effect", the odds that someone not forced to work a shitty job could create a great achievement that would have a significant positive economic impact, like JK Rowling writing Harry Potter while on welfare. I think there should be an additional effect for less spectacular events. With a basic income, many people would be free to pursue new career paths and start small businesses (or even bring existing careers and businesses out from under the table, as people on welfare often cannot work without facing penalties). How big is this effect? Fuck if I know. But I want to include something. Fuck, let's just say that basic income improves average productivity by something between 0 and 20%. The average hourly wage in the US is about $25/hr and I don't know if the average wage for increased productivity should be higher or lower, so let's pick it from between $10 and $30.

    avg_hourly_wage = uniform(10, 30).rvs()
    productivity_multiplier = uniform(0.0, 0.2).rvs()
    productivity_cost_benefit = (-1 * labor_force * (40*52*avg_hourly_wage) *

Now let's move to basic job. Most of Chris's assumptions seem good enough. I'll make one change - the value of work from people who currently aren't working. Chris says it's worth somewhere between $0/hr and $7.25/hr, as otherwise they'd probably be working a minimum wage or higher job. Sounds reasonable enough, but there are also people who bring negative value to the table. These people would be forced to work, likely in some boring job they hate. So I'm doing this:

    basic_job_hourly_productivity = uniform(-7.25, 7.25).rvs()

I could definitely quibble more, but somebody could quibble with my changes too, so I don't want to go too crazy. The above changes seem reasonable enough to me. So here's my modified code. Now I'm going to try to run it. This will be interesting not only to see the results, but to see if I could make these changes without introducing a syntax error!

Lower is better on these plots, so it looks like basic income wins! At least, if you agree with my completely unbiased assessment...

Update: Chris posted a follow-up article that I basically entirely agree with.

4 archived comments

  1. direct_costs = num_adults basic_income / 2

    Milton Friedman's proposal looks similar to this, but he proposed the cutoff would be at twice subsistence level, assuming a 50% claw-back. So ‘basic income' in that formula has to be twice as high as ‘existential/socio-cultural minimum'

    Comment by Raoul — July 29, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

  2. Where's the edit button I phrased that quite poorly.

    Oh well. All I mean is, a NIT model proposes a cutoff point above the subsistence level, in correlation to the clawback rate. So the assumption remains, that anyone at any point in time can claim a check of at least subsistence level, and if they earn money on the market, the check diminishes at clawback rate.

    So I don't quite understand how to interpret

    direct_costs = num_adults basic_income / 2

    Comment by Raoul — July 29, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

  3. An alternative thing to keep in mind for keeping cost in check though, is to stop excluding existential minimum from taxation.

    I only know the German numbers but there I know for a fact, that we're already giving the poor and middle class here tax exemptions that alone could nearly cover the supposed financing gap of basic income models.

    I mean over 8000 euro per year per adult and nearly 8000 euro per year per child, tax free, plus income taxation starting in the low 20%s past that. plus lower rates if you have a partner for life, for one of the partners. It's a triple digit billion deal in Germany.

    Comment by Raoul — July 29, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

  4. Raoul, it's just a rough estimate. The upper bound for no clawback would be num_adults*basic_income. Add clawback and you get something less than that. I just arbitrarily picked 1/2 as a factor to represent "there is some clawback going on". Change the 1/2 to 3/4 and it doesn't substantially change the conclusions, it just shifts the Basic Income cost curve to the right by about 1e12.

    Comment by Jeremy Scheff — July 29, 2014 @ 6:31 pm

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/basic-income-vs-basic-job.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/basic-income-vs-basic-job.mdWed, 13 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Flockas]]>If you like hip hop and you want to laugh, check out this thing I made.

Otherwise, please move along.

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/flockas.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/flockas.mdTue, 07 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[The Large Hardon Collider]]>The Large Hadron Collider is a marvel of modern technology. It is also an endless source of juvenile amusement, since the word "hadron" is very similar to "hardon". The Large Hadron Collider was built by the European research organization CERN ("CERN" means "science" in European). At CERN's official website, there are currently 141 articles which mistakenly use the word "hardon" instead of "hadron". The first result is the title of one poor guy's PhD thesis.

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/the-large-hardon-collider.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/the-large-hardon-collider.mdMon, 25 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Model-based insights into distinguishing cortisol profiles in depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)]]>ResearchBlogging.org

One of my main scientific goals is the application of mathematical models to find interesting insights into biological systems. This is a really broad goal, as depending on the area, there may be very different ways to gain insight. Here, I want to discuss one example, an interesting paper by Sriram and coworkers that was published in PLOS Computational Biology last year entitled "Modeling cortisol dynamics in the neuro-endocrine axis distinguishes normal, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans".

From the title of this paper alone it is already clear that an interesting application of a model is their primary goal. Their hypothesis (based on a prior hypothesis in the literature) is that differences in cortisol profiles between different types of stress can be explained by the responsiveness of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a key player in the body's response to stress. They built a model of the HPA axis not dissimilar to a model that I previously studied, albeit with very different goals (if you trace the citation history back, both my paper and Sriram's paper are based on this paper).

But this isn't about me. Let's get back to the topic at hand.

From a purely mathematical perspective, the primary novelty in Sriram's model is the inclusion of an additional degradation term in every equation. So instead of just having a first order degradation term in each equation, they also added a Michaelis-Menten degradation term meant to model enzymatic degradation.

They fit this model to three different datasets: PTSD, depressed, and normal. One concern, which they mention, is that they are heavily data-limited and thus have only 3 cortisol profiles for each case. That of course makes you wonder about how generalizable and predictive this is, since with that little data you can't cross-validate, but it is certainly enough for an interesting preliminary study. They use the different fits of the model to conclude that the feedback properties of the HPA axis (i.e., model parameters) are different under the different types of chronic stress, as they hypothesized.

In other words, the model also allows them to look at how different types of stress look in the parameter space, rather than just by looking at a somewhat arbitrary high-level marker like cortisol levels which may not reveal the full picture of what's really going on. The model also allows them to explore bifurcations, transitions between different types of stress, and various interesting things like that.

However, I am a bit concerned by this passage from the Methods section:

Although more parameters could be different between the three groups, according to the hypothesis, only two kinetic parameters, namely kstress and Ki, are considered to be significantly different in the three pathological cases. Therefore, the model calibration was performed simultaneously for the three time series, allowing kstress and Ki to differ for all the three cases, and forcing the remaining 18 parameters to be the same.

If their hypothesis is that everything is driven by those two parameters, and thus they only allow those two parameters to vary when they're fitting their three different cases, and then they observe different values for those two parameters in those three cases, that's not really strong support of their hypothesis, is it? They never discuss if other combinations of parameters could capture the same results when allowed to vary and fit to the same data. Maybe they could have achieved similar results with some other parameters. But we don't know, because they only tested the ones that they a priori hypothesized to be important.

Another interesting aspect of this paper relates to biological rhythms. Well-known are circadian rhythms, which lead to a clear 24 hour pattern in the output of the HPA axis. Less well-known are ultradian rhythms, a term basically referring to any rhythm faster than 24 hours, which in the context of the HPA axis is apparent in roughly hourly oscillations in HPA axis output. This paper says that their model can reproduce both circadian and ultradian rhythms in a single model, given appropriate parametrization. However, their simulations don't actually show this, as the parametrizations they reached had only circadian rhythms. Therefore, it is not clear to me if there are actually reasonable parameter values that give rise to reasonable dual rhythms.

The authors note that it is the addition of the Michaelis-Menten degradation terms that allows for the production of both circadian and ultradian rhythms. What seems less clear to me is the precise physiological processes meant to be represented by these terms and whether there is sufficient data/evidence to include those terms (and their numerous parameters) rather than, say, adding an explicit delay. As their sensitivity analysis (Figure 7) found, some parameters related to degradation have extremely low sensitivities, for instance VS5 which govern the enzymatic degradation of cortisol. The parameter governing the linear degradation of cortisol, Kd3, has a much higher sensitivity. Looking at the parameter values in Table 1, Kd3 is a c couple orders of magnitude larger than VS5, so it's doesn't seem surprising that when these factors are used as coefficients for linear combinations of terms, the former turns out to be far more sensitive.

In total, I really like the conceptual idea behind this paper, the idea of using models to assess more fundamental underlying parameters that are difficult to directly measured. However, I'm not sure how much these results contribute towards supporting the hypothesis that it is the feedback properties of the HPA axis that produce different outputs in response to different stressors. Even so, I found the paper to be interesting and suggestive of model-based approaches towards stratification that may be useful in a variety of different domains.

Some of the content in this post was based on discussions with my friend Pantelis Mavroudis.


Sriram, K., Rodriguez-Fernandez, M., & Doyle, F. (2012). Modeling Cortisol Dynamics in the Neuro-endocrine Axis Distinguishes Normal, Depression, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Humans PLoS Computational Biology, 8 (2) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002379

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/model-based-insights-into-distinguishing-cortisol-profiles-in-depression-and-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/model-based-insights-into-distinguishing-cortisol-profiles-in-depression-and-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd.mdTue, 05 Mar 2013 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Did Adrian Peterson actually rush for more yards than Eric Dickerson but have it go unnoticed due to measurement error?]]>Despite miraculously recovering from ACL surgery and successfully leading his team for the playoffs, Adrian Peterson tragically missed the all time rushing record by 9 yards.

...or did he?

Let's think about how the NFL measures yardage. They take the difference between where the ball was before the play and where the ball is after the play, and then they round to the nearest integer. What happens if you rush for half a yard? It'll get recorded as either 0 yards or 1 yard. Spread out over an entire season, and this kind of rounding error can have a big impact.

So here's the idea: let's calculate the odds that Adrian Peterson actually outrushed Eric Dickerson. To do this, I made some assumptions and then ran a bunch of simulations.

The main assumption was that the length of every rushing attempt could fall anywhere within -0.5 and +0.5 yards of the reported total, with uniform probability. I think that makes sense, because a carry reported as 6 yards could just as easily be 5.7 yards or 6.4 yards or whatever. There are obviously some caveats to that, but I think it's good enough for some quick estimates.

Based on that assumption, I took the actual rushing totals and added a random error for each carry to come up with one realization of what true unrounded yardage total could have led to the total in the record books. I repeated this a lot of times, for both Peterson and Dickerson. In other words, I calculated the distributions of real rushing totals that could, through accumulated rounding errors, end up reported as 2097 yards for Peterson and 2105 yards for Dickerson. Here's what it looks like:

Clearly, these two distributions overlap significantly. If they didn't overlap, that would mean that one player's rushing total was always higher than the other's. Instead, it means that it is possible that Peterson actually outrushed Dickerson.

From these simulations, it was straightforward to assign probabilities to these possibilities by testing which player had more simulated years as the overall rushing champ. I found that 85% of the time, Dickerson came out on top. This means that...

There is approximately a 15% chance that Adrian Peterson actually broke Dickerson's record, but it was not noticed due errors accumulated by rounding the lengths of rushes to integer values.

Nine yards what? Indeed.

For completeness, here is the MATLAB code I used to run the simulations, generate the plot, and estimate the probabilities.

% Simulations
N = 100000; % Number of random seasons to simulate
yp = zeros(1, N) + 2097; % Peterson's total yards for each random season
yd = zeros(1, N) + 2105; % Dickerson's total yards for each random season
for i=1:N
    % For each player in each simulated season, add a random error (between
    % -0.5 and 0.5) for each carry
    yp(i) = yp(i) + sum(rand(348, 1) - 0.5);
    yd(i) = yd(i) + sum(rand(379, 1) - 0.5);

% The sum of random uniform numbers produces a normal distrubtion..
x = linspace(2070, 2130, 500);
h = plot(x, normpdf(x, mean(yp), std(yp)), x, normpdf(x, mean(yd), std(yd)));
legend('Adrian Peterson', 'Eric Dickerson', 'Location', 'Northwest');
xlabel('Total Yards');
ylabel('Probability Density');
xlim([2070, 2130]);

% Line styling
set(h(1), 'Color', [122, 16, 228]/255, 'LineWidth', 3);
set(h(2), 'Color', [0 0 1], 'LineWidth', 3);

sum(yp > yd)/N % Probability that Peterson's total is higher than Dickerson's

1 archived comment

  1. [...] According to Jeremy Scheff, a graduate student at Rutgers University who specializes in data analysis, Peterson might have actually beat Eric Dickerson's record. [...]

    Pingback by There is a chance Adrian Peterson actually beat Eric Dickerson's rushing record - Sporting Sota - A Minnesota Sports Site - Vikings, Twins, Grizzlies, Wild, and Golden Gophers — August 9, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/did-adrian-peterson-actually-rush-for-more-yards-than-eric-dickerson-but-have-it-go-unnoticed-due-to-measurement-error.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/did-adrian-peterson-actually-rush-for-more-yards-than-eric-dickerson-but-have-it-go-unnoticed-due-to-measurement-error.mdMon, 14 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Things I wish I knew about food and cooking 7 years ago]]>7 years ago, I was an undergrad moving into my first apartment with a kitchen. Two of my roommates had a crazy idea. They wanted to not get meal plans and instead just cook all our food. My other roommate and I thought that was ridiculous, but we were at least willing to give it a try. That turned out to be a fortuitous decision for me, as I found that cooking allows me to make healthier, tastier, and cheaper food and it's actually pretty fun.

That being said, I was pretty shitty at cooking back then. Here is a list of some of the key things that I've learned since then, in no particular order:

  1. There is a universal cheat code for making delicious vegetables: roast them. Put the oven at like 450, chop up the vegetables into relatively small pieces, put some oil, salt, and pepper on them, stick them on a baking sheet, and then roast them until the outsides are crispy (maybe flipping them over once or twice as they cook). If you want to spice it up, add some garlic or put on some cheese or lemon juice after they're done. I've done this for broccoli, brussel sprouts, string beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, asparagus, and probably some others I've forgotten. It always works. I cannot overstate how much tastier roast vegetables are than steamed vegetables. It's just completely and utterly different. The only downside is that you have to wash the baking sheet afterwards, which can get kind of messy, but that's a small price to pay.

  2. Speaking of vegetables, sweet potatoes are essential. Cheap, nutritious, great tasting, and they last for a long time without going bad. If you don't want go through the trouble of cutting one up and roasting it, just stick it in the microwave for 5-10 minutes. It's not as good as roasting, but it's pretty damn good and very easy.

  3. There is huge variability in cheese quality, and it's largely independent of price. Sure, the cheapest of the cheap is pretty shitty, but beyond that, there's no telling how good a cheese will be. So I have a shorcut for you: Cabot Cheese. They sell that brand at all the grocery stores here, it's not particularly expensive (it's one of the cheapest beyond the real bottom-of-the-barrel stuff), and it tastes fantastic. Far better than the vast majority of more expensive cheeses. This one is my favorite.

  4. You can get groceries delivered most places. I use Peapod, but there are plenty of other competitors. This is an absolutely ridiculous time saver. The time I spend grocery shopping in an entire year is probably about equal to the time a typical person spends every week. There are obvious downsides, like less flexibility, service fees, less choice when picking out fresh ingredients, etc. But how much is your time worth to you?

  5. Buy meat in bulk and freeze it. It's way cheaper that way, often half the price of a more reasonable sized package. It's easier to work with smaller packages, but you can just buy freezer bags and separate the huge packs of meat into manageable portions.

  6. Cabbage is really cheap and healthy, and it basically soaks up the flavor of whatever you put it with. So you can do stuff like this.

  7. Whole milk is delicious. I used to think that I didn't like milk, so I stopped drinking it for a while. But when I tried some whole milk that was left over from a recipe, I realized that it's awesome. I think the reason I thought I didn't like milk is because my parents would buy skim or 1%.

  8. Everyone knows that you can buy lunchmeat from the deli counter at a grocery store. It's great, but it's usually expensive. What I didn't realize until more recently was that you can also buy prepackaged lunchmeat for much, much cheaper. It's lower quality, but if you put it on some good bread with good cheese (see above) and other toppings, it's perfectly fine.

  9. A very cheap and easy recipe for making incredibly delicious chicken thighs.

  10. The key to making great burgers: there really isn't one, so don't worry about it. I take ground beef straight out of the package, coat it in salt, and fry it. Delicious. No need to add weird ingredients, mix things together, form perfectly shaped patties, etc.

  11. A mixture of kielbasa, beans, tomatoes, and pretty much any other vegetables/leftovers/whatever you have is a decent meal, and it can easily be made in mass quantities. Leftovers are convenient.

http://dumbmatter.com/posts/things-i-wish-i-knew-about-food-and-cooking-7-years-ago.mdhttp://dumbmatter.com/posts/things-i-wish-i-knew-about-food-and-cooking-7-years-ago.mdWed, 09 Jan 2013 00:00:00 GMT