Thursday, October 27, 2011

Changes in American eating habits from 1980 to 2009

I'm learning the statistical programming language R at the moment. My goal is develop a second career for myself as a statistician for medical studies. In any case one of the practice data sets I've been working with documents the changes in American eating habits since 1980. The data comes from the 2009 Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What will the Timberwolves look like in 2012

The 2011 NBA Season is passed. Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, and the Mavericks proved they were the Big 3 and the Dallas Mavericks took home the championship in 2011. The 2012 season is delayed and like all NBA fans I'm eagerly awaiting tipoffs and poster jams, although I also side with what the players are doing. I'd much rather see them getting the money than the Scrooge Mcduck owners. The delay is especially disappointing because the Timberwolves look to be a much different team this year adding Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and head coach Rick Adelman. As I don't have anything but speculation to add on when the lockout will end I wanted to look back and ahead and take a look at last year and consider; Was Rambis a bad head coach? How was he bad and how will Rick Adelman be different? Will the 2012 Timberwolves be much better?

Kurt Rambis inherited a very young team constructed by David Kahn. Here are histograms showing the break down of Minnestoa Timberwolves' players Defensive Rating(Left) Offensive Rating(Right) .

Offensive and Defensive Ratings are closely related to points per possession and track how well players generate offense and play defense.

Interestingly the Minnesota Timberwolves team average Defensive Rating was 111 and team Offensive rating was around 106(marked with a X on the chart). Defensively the Timberwolves team defense allowed the rating of the majority of their players. Offensively the wolves scored at a level that only could have been obtained being carried by a minority of the players. This makes sense because when you're on offense your team decides who to go to and shoot the ball, while on defense you don't have this luxury. The other team is going to go to where you are weak(if they are any good). So the question came to me could Kurt Rambis ever have fielded a team with 5 good defenders?

Looking at the answer is no. The Wolves had only 4 players at any given time that posted above average defensive ratings(Darko Milicic, Kevin Love, Corey Brewer, Kosta Koufos) early in the year and Brewer and Koufos were swapped for Anthony Randolph late in the year. So at point guard, small forward and often shooting guard no matter what Kurt Rambis did he'd always be putting a defense with holes on the floor. Often he'd play Corey Brewer at shooting guard to try and compensate but I believe this was a mistake. Why? While I have yet to crunch all the data I have a working idea(based on preliminary data) that it takes 5 to defend and if you can't put out 5 above average defenders on the floor its better to just go with the best offensive player, which brings me to my second point.

I analyzed data from to answer the question: What was most likely to get you the most playing time for the Timberwolves under the Rambis and David Kahn regime? I looked at 9 different stats

  • Offensive Rating(ORtg)
  • Defensive Rating(DRtg)
  • Salary(Sal)
  • Effective Field Goal Percentage(eFG)
  • Total Rebounds(TRB))
  • Assists(AST)
  • Steals(STL)
  • Blocks(BLK)
  • Turnovers(TOV)

I did some fancy stat stuff in R that you can mostly ignore while still understanding the conclusions of the analysis. Basically I found which of these stats mattered in a model where A+B = Minutes Played and A and B were these 9 factors. Ignore everything but the stats with '*'

What most influences minutes played and how(Table 1)

Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
(Intercept) -15894.01 48224.03 -0.330 0.7514
ORtg -18.94 42.75 -0.443 0.6712
DRtg 141.99 415.42 0.342 0.7425
Sal 353.80 140.70 2.515 0.0401 *
eFG. 3494.34 5139.56 0.680 0.5184
TRB. 94.35 169.76 0.556 0.5957
AST. 41.65 34.62 1.203 0.2680
STL. 348.58 890.94 0.391 0.7073
BLK. 67.10 264.96 0.253 0.8073
TOV. -95.24 72.43 -1.315 0.2299

ANOVA-Is the table 1 model reliable? (Table 2)

Response: MP
Df Sum Sq Mean Sq F value Pr(>F)
ORtg 1 3276048 3276048 9.5740 0.01746 *
DRtg 1 223150 223150 0.6521 0.44592
Sal 1 3144386 3144386 9.1892 0.01908 *
eFG. 1 482732 482732 1.4107 0.27367
TRB. 1 4168 4168 0.0122 0.91521
AST. 1 91002 91002 0.2659 0.62195
STL. 1 1033 1033 0.0030 0.95773
BLK. 1 24972 24972 0.0730 0.79484
TOV. 1 591711 591711 1.7292 0.22995
Residuals 7 2395275 342182

Ok, good did you ignore everything but the stats with '*' ? If you didn't let me summarize the tables. The first one says that only one of the 9 factors was likely to get you playing time : Salary. So what that means is that the amount minutes a player played on the Minnesota Timberwolves was mostly influenced by the salary he signed on his contract. This means that the problem with the lineup was either

  • A. Kurt Rambis was unable to bench highly paid players that performed badly
  • B. Kurt Rambis believed the highly paid players played well

All this goes back to a point I'd like to make, setting players salaries(and relative status on the team) is probably more important than having the best coach. Who set the salaries for the Minnesota Timberwolves? Mostly David Kahn but it wasn't all his doing, as many of the contracts were inherited or are set by the rule of the league(like rookie contracts). Kurt Rambis it seems did not have the power to overcome the status of the players that was pre-set. But if you're reading this and think Kurt Rambis has been vindicated as a head coach, you're only partially right. Take a look at the second table. There's a little * next to ORTG which means that it's likely that Offensive Rating in the first table is likely to be an accurate result. Here's where Kurt Rambis vindication goes away: the model says that the higher the offensive rating the LESS likely you were to get minutes on the Timberwolves. Here's my thoughts on why this is.
Rambis came from the Lakers where he was in charge of defense. When he came to the Wolves he had the sense that 'defense' wins(and it can) although in the Wolves case it was impossible to put an above average defense on the floor with the Timberwolves players in 2011. So in the end Rambis appears to be bad at coaching an offense. This was disguised while he was assistant coach with the Lakers because I suspect he had little say on offensive matters. Is Rambis a good defensive coach? Quite possibly, but it's hard to tell with the Timberwolves players. Rambis was fired and the Timberwolves hired veteran coach Rick Adelman.

Rick Adelman comes to the Timberwolves from the Houston Rockets where he led them to a .500 or over records in all his seasons. I asked the same questions about Rick Adelman that I did of Kurt Rambis. What were significant factors in getting you minutes on the Houston Rockets in 2011? Below are the models.Again players are evaluated on

  • Offensive Rating(ORtg)
  • Defensive Rating(DRtg)
  • Salary(Sal)
  • Effective Field Goal Percentage(eFG)
  • Total Rebounds(TRB))
  • Assists(AST)
  • Steals(STL)
  • Blocks(BLK)
  • Turnovers(TOV)

Ignore everything but the stats with '*'

What most influences minutes played and how (Table 3)

Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
(Intercept) 28542.291 34190.417 0.835 0.423
eFG. 2681.085 7133.429 0.376 0.715
TRB. -102.565 120.497 -0.851 0.415
AST. 17.138 39.575 0.433 0.674
STL. -534.994 670.391 -0.798 0.443
BLK. -227.702 256.435 -0.888 0.395
TOV. -77.963 78.400 -0.994 0.343
ORtg 8.044 46.585 0.173 0.866
DRtg -249.472 294.233 -0.848 0.416
SAL 146.081 76.973 1.898 0.087 *
Multiple R-squared: 0.6227, Adjusted R-squared: 0.2832

ANOVA(Table 4)

Response: MP
Df Sum Sq Mean Sq F value Pr(>F)
eFG. 1 3754126 3754126 5.8502 0.03614 *
TRB. 1 1079287 1079287 1.6819 0.22380
AST. 1 75663 75663 0.1179 0.73842
STL. 1 52118 52118 0.0812 0.78147
BLK. 1 2528 2528 0.0039 0.95119
TOV. 1 2188235 2188235 3.4100 0.09457 *
ORtg 1 247285 247285 0.3854 0.54864
DRtg 1 881875 881875 1.3743 0.26825
SAL 1 2311247 2311247 3.6017 0.08693 *
Residuals 10 6417089 641709

Remember, Ignore everything but the stats with a '*' . Ok, so again in table 1 we find that Salary was a significant factor for getting mintues. Although on the Houston Rockets in 2011 Rick Adelman appears a little less likely than Rambis to be bound by salary(.08 vs .04). Moving on to the second table we find some differences of coaching style. Both Effective field goal percentage(eFG) and turnovers were significant factors along with salary in determining playing time. Basically Rick Adelman is more likely to play players with a high shooting percentage and bench players who turn the ball over. So who is likely to benefit from this change of coaching style and whose minutes are most likely to change under Rick Adelman?

The table below ranks the Wolves players according to Adelmans style(based on eFG and low turnovers) and Rambis based on who gets paid the most or is most trumped up by his General Manager(Wes Johnson)

My prediction is the hiring of Rick Adelman bodes well for Martell Webster and Derrick Williams and creates a problem about playing time between Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams. In fact I suspect that a BIG part of the reason Adelman signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves for 2012-2016 seasons was that Houston was really high on Derrick Williams. If you do a search for college players that posted the best NCAA effective field goal percentage with win shares over 8 in the last 10 years here are the top 12 names on the list :

Why did Adelman come to the Timberwolves? The 2012 Timberwovles have 3 of the top 12 players for Adelmans favorite player attribute. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Rick Adelman starts a lineup of Ricky Rubio at point guard, Martell Webster at shooting guard, Michael Beasley at small forward, Derrick Williams at Power Forward, and Kevin Love at Center. What do you think the 2012 Minnesota Timberwolves lineup will be?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

NBA lockout thoughts: Stern and Fisher analysis

I follow the news from the NBA lockout once in while and caught two interesting statement's from both the leaders of the players and owners David Stern and Derek Fisher.

 Worried anyone?


"It was a very engaging meeting," said union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers. "We didn't waste a lot of time at all. ... We, kind of as a group, agreed to really continue just focusing on getting the deal done and really try to stay away from the semantics and the verbal jabs, the back-and-forth, and really try to remain focused on the deal points."

We know what we're holding and we know what you're holding.

Neither side would commit Wednesday to a deadline for getting a deal this time that would preserve the entire 2011-12 schedule. Working up to or soon after Labor Day would seem to be vital -- but no one said that, either. "There is clearly enough time," Stern said. "We don't have any deadlines in mind. We just have meetings in mind and discussions in mind." Said Fisher: "We have not tried to set a ... particular date and increase the urgency that's already there. I don't think either side feels that that's needed. There's enough pressure as there is." What's a realistic turnaround time from handshake agreement on a new CBA to NBA basketball in one form or another? "Guys are continuing to work out and train, and prepare themselves for the season to start at any time," Fisher said. "Players are physically and mentally prepared to handle [any] circumstances."

In the first statement Derek Fisher uses the qualifier "kind of" when describing the players and owners as a group. This tells me that the group is fractured. I think it means the players have agreed to focus on getting a deal done(the owners haven't). The owners are willing to wait it out. Put another way, the median NBA owner(15 out 30) is willing to wait longer than the median NBA player. Looking at the second statement Derek Fisher uses an extended contraction "We have not" when talking about whether they have set a deadline for getting a deal done. This tells me that the players have discussed a date where they'll accept a lower offer(while of course they haven't discussed this with owners).

My prediction is the NBA season will start after a few months of lockout with players taking a bad deal because most of them aren't prepared to go a whole season without basketball. Right now the players should think about sending Derek Fisher to acting class because to anyone observant enough Fisher is giving away their position. Right now I feel the NBA owners win this fight.

This could change if the players Union was to focus and pool it's savings  to ensure that it maintains a majority of the players committed to going a whole year without basketball and aggressively pursuing contracts in other leagues(and also making sure Derek Fisher rehearses his public statements).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Defending Taubes against a Skeptic

There was a story on NPR's The Story last week about Bernadette Lacy, a woman from Washington D.C. working forty plus hour weeks creating stress and ill health for her body(this was before the recession). Feeling stressed and unhealthy her doctor tells her to cut her hours which she does. This has the side effect of decreasing her bank account. And, when she tries to get back into the workforce she's not the same vibrant employee she was before. What else could her doctor have recommended? Here's a similar situation where I'll try to describe a better option.
I read a poorly conceived review of Gary Taubes Why We Get Fat in the June 2011 Skeptic magazine by Harriet Hall, M.D. A few thought experiments and the database I'm working on containing the math of the calorie and insulin relationship show Gary's book to be on the right track and her to be using an odd map of the world.

One notion Harriet Hall expressed was that some people are predisposed to being overweight because they store calories more efficiently than the rest of the population. Looking at the statistics from my database (Link1, link2 ) and an understanding of insulin explains why Gary's on the right track and Harriet Hall has embraced a bad scientific idea. 
            Gary Taubes argues that the reason that Americans are overweight is because we overstimulate insulin release eating carbohydrate . We eat too much carbohydrate because in the 1950's researcher Ancel Keys from the the University of Minnesota argued that the reason that we get fat is that we had too much saturated fat and cholesterol in our diets and since then this idea idea has ruled nutrition science, despite evidence to the contrary. 
            Getting back to Harriet Hall's review if I for example am efficient at storing calories then I don't need many calories to conduct my daily life like running with my Jack Russell Terrier Kirby and writing blog posts and poker articles. Carrying an efficient fat storage idea out to conclusion means that people who have this capability shouldn't need many fat cells in total to meet their energy costs or fat storage needs, so instead of getting fat, someone who “stores fat efficiently” should be thin. Carbohydrate foods that Taubes talks about like rice, corn and wheat stimulate the highest percentage of insulin of any food, and contain the least amount of energy according to my database.
           My hypothesis, slightly modified from Taubes, is based on the data and is that people who are fat have cells that extract very few calories from the food they eat(for starters by eating too many carbs) and also have the same expenses(or greater) than the average person and this also comes along with a larger insulin release. The expenses are organs,gut, brain, muscles, etc. They require energy to run. If, as I hypothesize, they earn very few calories per cell from food but have the same expenses as an average weight person they need more cells to cover the same costs(they inflate). Eating a carb heavy diet increases the frequency of the number of cells you need because carbohydrate foods in comparison to foods like meat gives your body a low return in comparison to its visual size(and a human gut is only so big). The effect experienced by the majority of people who are overweight is a low energy return on every cell and their fat storage too has a low amount of energy given their size. So they need larger populations of all types of cells(fat included) to maintain the same energy level. Imagine a similar situation which is currently being experienced by most American workers is that they need to work more hours to cover the same costs as they did years before. The same thing happens in a body consuming too many carbs.
            Getting back to bad doctors advice, what happens when you tell someone with a lower wage to cut time from work? They don't produce enough to cover their costs creating debt. What would happen (hypothetically) to someone who earns a low amount of energy per cell if you put them on a low calorie diet? They would feel an immense hunger very frequently. When they got back on a normal diet they would have to eat in even higher volume to payback the debt.

            What is the solution? You need to come up with a system of selection, specific to the person and environment that selects for efficiency relative to resources. Hmm, if only there was someone out there who came up with such a system?

*cough* Art DeVany *cough* Doug McGuff, and all the other great Paleo writers and thinkers out there.

Do you want to place the body in your care under stress? If it's already the situation cutting calories is not the answer, but neither is continuing the status-quo.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Is the LA times article about the sale of full tilt true?,0,6054543.story

The LA times reports that Full Tilt has been sold to european investors which could lead to to a payback of US player funds. Also reported is the news that poker pro Phil Ivey will be dropping his lawsuit as he believes the company is taking the right steps to payback players. Many in the poker community are wondering is the article true?

The author of the story is the same author that wrote the article about poker player Chris Fargis joining a Wall Street Firm. It seems likely that he would have been contacted with this information due to this prior article.

The first portion of  Full Tilt to be sold to European investors is vague. But, this is because the source of information, full tilt's attorney's, wish to remain anonymous. The later portion of the article quotes Phil Ivey's attorney and I find no signs of deception.

The early article vagueness is consistent with Full Tilt's attorney source and the later portion contains no signs of deception. My read is that Phil Ivey is withdrawing his suit making me extremely confident that he thinks Full Tilt is going to pay the players back. I  trust the article because I would always trust a read that Phil Ivey makes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Innumeracy and Insulin

      Innumeracy is the inability to deal with a way of representing numbers. For instance doctors often come to different conclusions when test results are presented to them as percents or natural frequencies(like 1 out of 2 versus saying 50%). However in my case presenting  myself with the natural frequency proved to block my reasoning while changing to percentages made ideas clearer.
       Gary Taubes in his excellent book Good Calories, Bad Calories argued that the reason that Americans are overweight is because we release insulin throughout our body, and sometimes this release is overstimulated. The reason it is overstimulated, Taubes argues, is that we eat too much carbohydrate in our diet. We eat too much carbohydrate because in the 1950's researcher Ancel Keys from the the University of Minnesota argued that the reason that we get fat is that we had too much saturated fat and cholesterol in our diets and since then this idea idea has ruled nutrition science, despite evidence to the contrary. Taubes went to the University of Minnesota to follow up on a study which was supposedly being conducted only to be told that it was discontinued because “they didn't like the results they were getting.”
          I'm at my local supermarket buying beef when for some unknown reason I start converting the energy insulin ratio of corn based foods into percentages. I buy the 80/20 and rush home to toss it in the freezer. I head to my computer to pull out the Glycemic Load database I made and start converting the corn based products to what I call Insulin %. 

Energy insulin ratio 1calorie to GL/g of                       Insulin %
Cornflakes (Kellogg's, MI, USA) 3.28 23.00%
CornflakesTM (Kellogg's Inc., Canada) 4.95 17.00%
Corn ChexTM (Nabisco Brands Ltd., Canada)9 5.24 16.00%
50 g portion (dextrose)5 3.89 20.00%
Cornflakes, high-fiber (Presidents Choice, 6.33 14.00%
Corn BranTM (Quaker Oats Co. of Canada, 7.02 12.00%
Taco shells, cornmeal-based, baked (Old El Paso 8.88 10.00%
Corn chips, NachipsTM 11.62 8.00%

Average percentage
Range of percentage 8%-23%

Walking through the store the beef I find typically ranges from 93/7 to 80/20. The fat % of the animals and the insulin % of the foods are strikingly similar and the minimum and maximum ranges are very close. Too much so to not investigate furthur. Are cows acting as an insulin buffer? They are releasing the insulin and storing fat based on their pancreas while by the time it gets to me that has already been done. I'm currently trying to dig up some data on what % Americans are overweight by in relationship to their normal weight or height. If anyone knows of reliable data could you post a link in the comments?

Of course I also know there's different kinds of beef like 
U.S. Prime - Highest in quality and intramuscular fat, limited supply. Currently, about 2.9% of carcasses grade as Prime
U.S. Choice - High quality, widely available in food service industry and retail markets. Choice carcasses are 53.7% of the fed cattle total. The difference between Choice and Prime is largely due to the fat content in the beef. Prime typically has a higher fat content (more and well distributed intramuscular "marbling") than Choice

What I'm trying to answer are these questions: Is human body fat storage a simple system of creating fat cells in ratio to the insulin released from the highest insulin release during any given meal?

Can the dietary promotion of an insulin % reliably predict your body fat %?

PS while looking for a simpler word than promotion or stimulation to describe insulin release I found these synonyms
incentive, incitement, invigoration, refreshment

Related posts

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June article published

Here's a link to my June poker article.

Summary: Can statistics describe the art of no-limit hold'em? Playing big bet poker brings out the variable of the big bet versus playing limit. There are three things that players do in big bet games when making bets of variable sizes. Some bet a lot on small bets to improve their "image" and then bluff rarely on large bets. Others treat small and large bets the same way. Others develop a tight reputation by not betting very frequently but trying to bluff on large bets. I break down how to use stats to detect each type of player online and also take you through some hands where I used color,total aggression rank, and betting volume to detect deception at the tables.

Also here's a good read about the Full Tilt situation

As suspected Full Tilt is operating to payback.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are Full Tilt players going to get their money?

On a recent radio show poker player Mike Matusow said that he is certain that Full Tilt's U.S. players "will get paid" after over a month of hearing nothing post black Friday. 

"I am not Joe Sebok. I am completely sure," Matusow said. He further stated "legal reasons" prevented him from saying more.

Is Mike Matusow telling the truth?

Matusow went on's radio May 17, and used his appearance to say players' funds are safe with the site, despite rumors to the contrary.

 Matusow also claimed fellow Full Tilt pros were advised not to speak out on the case.

"If their lawyers have advised them not to speak out, then that's how it is. They know what they are doing," he said.

Matusow also used the occasion to blast Party Poker pro and owner Tony G, who himself appeared on the QuadJacks show earlier this week.

Tony G asked why Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson were keeping quiet about the many rumors surrounding the Full Tilt Poker site, but according to Matusow this was an expression of Tony G's own industry interests rather than a genuine concern for American poker players.

"Tony G is only out for himself and to boost Party Poker. It's all for his own selfish reasons," Matusow blasted.

"Everything Tony G says is fucking bullshit,” he said. “And I'll be happy to tell it to his face. He came to me yesterday and pretended we were friends. I felt like knocking him out."

There are two very interesting sections of this transcript. The first is a statement of assurance and the second is a statement of feeling about another person. Are these statements true?

        Christopher Dillingham writes in Dissecting Pinocchio how to detect liars. Here’s  a relevant quote from the book.
            John E. Reid—a nationally known trainer of law enforcement investigators—teaches them to be immediately suspicious whenever someone says “No, I did not” rather than “No, I didn’t”.

His studies as well as others show that a reliable tell of deception is use of the expanded contraction.
Here is probably the most famous use of the expanded contraction.

“I did not have a sexual relationship with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”-Bill Clinton

When people speak normally they use contractions. When they lie, they don’t. I apply this same analysis to Mike’s statements. When Mike tells the truth he speaks normally using contractions. When he fabricates he extends the contraction.


"Tony G is only out for himself and to boost Party Poker. It's all for his own selfish reasons," Matusow blasted.

"Everything Tony G says is fucking bullshit,” he said. “And I'll be happy to tell it to his face. He came to me yesterday and pretended we were friends. I felt like knocking him out."


"I am not Joe Sebok. I am completely sure."

If he was telling the truth he would have said, “I’m not Joe Sebok. I’m completely sure.”

If he would have simply spoken normally I would have felt very confident that Matusow was telling the truth.

Of course I know he truthfully isn’t Joe Sebok, but the use of extended contractions applies to brain mode and to the context of the statement. The two statements were conceived together.

Be immediately suspicious of anyone using an extended contraction when making an assurance or a denial. This doesn’t mean that Full tilt players aren't getting their money. What it does mean is that Matusow is being deceptive somehow and if I saw him I 'd let him know I know this to his face. It leads me to believe that Full tilt is operating to payback and leaves me questioning with whether their current costs plus legal fees and diminished player base are going to allow them to be able to payback. I suspect someone put Mike up to making the statement, perhaps because he owes them in some way.

Here are five questions I would ask Lederer and Ferguson if I had significant money in Full Tilt(which I don't).

  1. What are the assets that you can sell while still operating?
  2. What are the assets that you can sell if shutting down?
  3. What are you doing to cut costs right now?
  4. What percentage of your wagers(not players) came from the US before black friday?
  5. What were your total costs before black Friday?
Technically if this is the situation they are in debt to the players.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    May poker article published

    Total Aggression Rank

    Summary: Whether it's calorie counting food boxes or points per game in basketball, numbers consistently fool us. How often have you used or confronted a statistic only to find out later it isn't very reliable?   They are reported badly by newspapers and people doing data gathering. In online poker I had to detect how other people played purely from numbers and notes I took about them. I used computer programs to help me gather and store those numbers. I argue in Total Aggression Rank: How less can tell you more that a particular statistic that seems sophisticated is actually less reliable than a stat I came up with. It allows me to think more quickly and more accurately, which when you are playing 4-6 tables at a time is the difference between making the right decision and losing hundreds of dollars. 

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011


    I pick you out in a big box of colors
    draw a branch of burnt sienna make a tree
    and then I see how much I need you
    color Green;
    to make the leaves
    and woods around me
    colored Green,
    and in the stars a paradox confronted me
    you're more than just the eyes of envy
    you're temporary, extraordinary; it's evolutionary!
    I know you more and now I see
    a ratio of energy to me

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Links for poker players

    So if you haven't heard the news Pokerstars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker are being charged with fraud and money laundering and US players are currently locked out of playing and cashouts.

    My philosophy as always is not to whine and complain but simply to adapt best to the present conditions.

    Here's the Twoplustwo thread about the whole issue

    Here to me are some good articles about the players of this social game. Meet the prosecutor Preet Bharara

    Meet the accused and supposed informant Daniel Tzvetkoff

     My personal opinion cliff notes.

    Boss says, "Hey Bharara find some fraudsters on wall street so we can make it seem like we're doing something to catch the people responsible for this recession."

    Bharara tries to find anything and can't(detecting deception is hard) especially if you are dealing with the best in the world.

    Bharara has Tzvetkoff fall into his lap and sees an opportunity to spin the prosecution into the type of story his boss wanted. There probably was some fraud that went on(not related in any way to the monumental collapse of the us economy) but there is some spin availability and perhaps some wrong doing as they were probably coding poker transactions(grey never been tested legal area) so that they wouldn't be treated like sports betting and slots(outlawed under UIGEA). In any case Bharara throws the idea up to boss(imagine a guy in gucci suit and shades meeting Bharara in a black limousine) where boss hears the idea.

    Boss then passes word to political boss(imagine overweight mid 50's semi grey haired senator up for re-election). Political boss likes idea because he can turn such action into big donations from the big gaming companies in Nevada. Casino Jack part II(not actually featuring Jack) now playing on computers throughout the US, check local listings for times(wait it's always on) because you can't log onto your computer and play some games because old people that can't detect deception think it will look like they are catching people responsible for the collapse of the US economy.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Principles of color perception

    Have you ever tasted tea made by by the British? It's delicious full bodied and adds that dose of comfort one might need at times.

    I had a Eureka moment a few weeks ago as my wife was walking back to kitchen to add more milk to the coffee I had just made. One of the things that has always fascinated me was how she is able to produce tea and coffee that tastes the same every time. Then it hit me that the problem I  have is changes in the size of the  container. I used lingual heuristics like fill the coffee cup 3/4 with boiling water and add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, finish with 1/4 of milk. This works until you face coffee cups of different sizes where the ratio of milk to coffee changes due to the change in absolute size of the container.


    So I realized that there is another way. My wife's mind remembers the color that she likes it and comes up with the correct ratio both for tea/water and stewing time or coffee/water and then from those two substances in ratio to milk. Color is ratio! That's all you have to know to create consistency.

    Additionally imagine a coffee cup as being a little like a cell in any living organism. They come in different sizes and are filled with nutrients taken in, but they all very in size and nutrients they may contain at any given time.   The goal of every body  is to convert those materials into energy, but variations in nutrient density, cell resources and energy varies. So as a gatherer of cells you want to pick the ones with the best efficiency in order to get the most from the size of the materials you are taking in. Color is a way of viewing the ratio of any size of cell with consistency. Meanwhile numeric ratios must always be re-adapted to the variability of cell size.

    This is not a new finding. Benoit Mandelbrot in his paper "the Coastline of Britain" wrote about how the measured distance of the coastline changes based on size of the tool that does the measuring. The same thing happens when my mind gathers numeric data about how much of something to put into container, or tries to perceive with numbers how much of something is in a container. 

    Using color adapts to the underlying fractal geometry of nature and is an ingenious way of producing consisting in the face of variability with a simple rule.

    However the body never had to confront the use of artificial or manufactured color. Color of this type produces the signal of the yellow, blue and green but doesn't carry with it the long memory of placing that prospect upon a color scale that fits the evolved association pattern(in other words our memory association can become faulty in the face of novel introductions).