576. No one wants to hear you talk about your health, your dreams, your diet, or your money. - (via Mrs. Maria Matthiessen on This American LIfe)
4 weeks ago
“The European situation is a particularly risky one for a number of reasons. One, the size of the debt dwarfs that of any other debt crisis. It dwarfs the Latin American crisis. It dwarfs the Asian Contagion. These are enormous, enormous amounts. A lot of attention is paid to the sovereign debt, but there are also big private-sector debts. It doesn’t make much difference whether it is government or private, there is way too much indebtedness in these countries….” Set Aside Fears of Inflation - Just for Now - Barrons
"Gary Foshee, a collector and designer of puzzles from Issaquah near Seattle walked to the lectern to present his talk. It consisted of the following three sentences: "I have two children. One is a boy born on a Tuesday. What is the probability I have two boys?"
The event was the Gathering for Gardner earlier this year, a convention held every two years in Atlanta, Georgia, uniting mathematicians, magicians and puzzle enthusiasts. The audience was silent as they pondered the question.
"The first thing you think is 'What has Tuesday got to do with it?'" said Foshee, deadpan. "Well, it has everything to do with it." And then he stepped down from the stage.
To answer the question you need to first look at all the equally likely combinations of two children it is possible to have: BG, GB, BB or GG. The question states that one child is a boy. So we can eliminate the GG, leaving us with just three options: BG, GB and BB. One out of these three scenarios is BB, so the probability of the two boys is 1/3.
Now we can repeat this technique for the original question. Let's list the equally likely possibilities of children, together with the days of the week they are born in. Let's call a boy born on a Tuesday a BTu. Our possible situations are:
- When the first child is a BTu and the second is a girl born on any day of the week: there are seven different possibilities.
- When the first child is a girl born on any day of the week and the second is a BTu: again, there are seven different possibilities.
- When the first child is a BTu and the second is a boy born on any day of the week: again there are seven different possibilities.
- Finally, there is the situation in which the first child is a boy born on any day of the week and the second child is a BTu – and this is where it gets interesting. There are seven different possibilities here too, but one of them – when both boys are born on a Tuesday – has already been counted when we considered the first to be a BTu and the second on any day of the week. So, since we are counting equally likely possibilities, we can only find an extra six possibilities here.Summing up the totals, there are 7 + 7 + 7 + 6 = 27 different equally likely combinations of children with specified gender and birth day, and 13 of these combinations are two boys. So the answer is 13/27, which is very different from 1/3.
It seems remarkable that the probability of having two boys changes from 1/3 to 13/27 when the birth day of one boy is stated – yet it does, and it's quite a generous difference at that. In fact, if you repeat the question but specify a trait rarer than 1/7 (the chance of being born on a Tuesday), the closer the probability will approach 1/2.
Which is surprising, weird… and, to recreational mathematicians at least, delightfully entertaining." Magic numbers: A meeting of mathemagical tricksters - NS
"The worst that could be factually said of Armstrong without leaving any real room for argument is that he was the greatest Tour de France racer in a time of great Tour de France doping. There were 14 other podium spots available during his seven-year streak and, in all, eight riders occupied them. Five of those riders at some point admitted doping, were suspended for it, were convicted of it in court, or paid a fine to have charges settled: Ivan Basso, Raimondas Rumsas, Jan Ullrich, Alexander Vinokourov and Alex Zulle. Two others were linked to doping investigations then cleared or never charged: Joseba Beloki and Andreas Kloden. Just one, Fernando Escartin, had no direct association with doping allegations (though his Kelme team later would).
This federal investigation is not going to stop until there’s enough evidence to convict Armstrong of some charge related to doping—or until someone concludes there isn’t legitimate evidence and the whole thing is dropped. One of Armstrong’s problems all this time is that, aside from passing the tests, he’s had no way to prove he raced clean. If Novitzky quits, that takes us as close to an inarguable no-he-didn’t as we’re ever going to get. Either way, as a public we’ll once and for all be able to get past faith.As protracted, painful and ugly as it’s going to be to find out how much truth Floyd Landis is telling, he gave us the best shot we’ve ever had at resolution."
Did Lance Dope? The Answer is Coming - Bicycling.com
"After the first of 15 planned days of strikes grounded BA flights and caused chaos for thousands of passengers, Derek Simpson, the joint general secretary of Unite, declared that he was at England's football friendly against Mexico.
His tweet shortly after 6pm read: "I am at Wembley for England match . . . it is a first for me!!"
His latest tweets about attending the World Cup warm-up game risked causing further anger at a time when thousands of BA passengers whose flights were cancelled tried to make alternative travel arrangements or get a refund. The collapse of the talks led to the first of a series of three five-day strikes by BA cabin crew, which will cause severe disruption during the bank holiday and half-term breaks."
Union boss tweets he's at Wembley as BA strikes begin - Telegraph
"Because Floyd, if you have the audacity to think of yourself as the new whistle blower of the peloton, if you think that you are destined to assume the role of the man who will convict Lance Armstrong of a doping allegation based upon unsubstantiated witness testimony, then quit riding and start writing. Use David Walsh, the author of From Lance to Landis as you ghost writer. But! Don't expect me to buy a copy of your book, I expect you to spin yarns, and I have better fiction to read." Floyd Landis is a compulsive liar
"I do know that there is a great phalanx of riders who rode in support of Lance who later were nabbed for doping, the old line of where there's smoke there's fire... guys like Tyler Hamilton, Roberto Heras, Manuel Beltran, Floyd Landis. And there are others, guys who left Postal, then were either found to be doping or admitted to doping. Guys like Frankie Andreau. The list is long, and if you didn't know better, you would think that the whole USPS/Discovery squad was doped. Because it sure looked that way.
All I know is that for the sake of the sport, for the future of the sport, I hope Lance never doped. Because if he did, it is all over. And he will fall into that same category of athlete who is a total outcast in America. His name will be right next to Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and so on. He will have no endorsements, nothing. He will be a leper. So, I hope he's clean." Floyd
"The Fallout: unless UCI suddenly develops a spine and Lance contemporaneously develops a career-and-Tour-ending "stomach ailment," I'm guessin' nothin' except a giant wad of defamation suits. Better get that "Fairness Fund" back up and running, Floyd, no?" What Else?! Landis, Lance, and Lies
"Floyd is a drop kick, a lunatic, an alcoholic and a nut job. The problem for cycling is that what he has said over the last day is true. Pity he didn't come clean four years ago." Comment on this post Landis Goes Postal
"Floyd Landis, the American cyclist whose 2006 Tour De France victory was nullified after a positive doping test, has sent a series of emails to cycling officials and sponsors admitting to, and detailing, his systematic use of performance enhancing drugs during his career. The emails also claim that other riders and cycling officials allegedly participated in doping, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong." Cyclist Floyd Landis Admits Doping, Alleges Use by Armstrong and Others - WSJ
"He added that he has no documentation for many of the claims he is making about other riders or officials, and that it will be his word against theirs. Landis said he spent as much as $90,000 a year on performance-enhancing drugs and on consultants to help him build a training regime. Landis said he has kept all of his journals and diaries and has offered to share them with U.S. anti-doping authorities in recent meetings. He added that he has given officials detailed information on how athletes are beating drug testing." Landis comes clean on PED use
"It is most odd,” said my friend, a Frenchman now living, like most sensible Frenchmen, in London. “Your country has given birth to twins. This Cameron and Clegg, he is the same person, no? They are both, how you say, posh?”
“Yes,” I explained. “But they are different sorts of posh.”
He looked confused: “But both went to private school, both are rich, both are sons of financiers. Even the hair is similar.”
“True,” I conceded. “But they are not the same species of posh. David Cameron is Eton-Oxford-country- clubby-cutglass-shooting party sort of posh, whereas Nick Clegg is Westminster-Cambridge- metropolitan-foreign-glottalstop-trustfund sort of posh. Cameron is upper-upper-middle class with a dash of English gentry, but Clegg is middle-upper-middle class with a hint of European aristocracy. These are quite different things.”
Cameron and Clegg: who is more upper crust? - Times
"While Declan Hill went around Asia researching match fixing in football, he had an unusual bedtime routine.
“Each night before I went to bed,” he writes in his stunning yet mostly ignored book The Fix: Soccer and Organised Crime, “I would carefully unscrew the light bulb in my hotel room, rearrange the furniture, and put my bed in a different position.”
The logic was that if anyone broke into the room aiming to kill him, the dresser in front of the door and the lack of light would give Hill a few extra seconds to act. “It changed the odds in my favour just a little,” he said.
The Canadian journalist-cum-Oxford sociologist is an expert on betting odds and how to change them. His quarry is the mostly ethnic Chinese men who fix football matches – including, Hill convincingly argues, matches at World Cups."
An author risks his life in pursuit of fixers in football - The National
"… Do your friends a favor. Tell them to “batten down the hatches” because there’s a HARD RAIN coming. Tell them to get out of debt and sell anything they can sell (and don’t need) in order to get liquid. Tell them that Richard Russell says that by the end of this year they won’t recognize the country. They’ll retort, “How the dickens does Russell know — who told him?” Tell them the stock market told him." Richard Russell: Get out of stocks now
"Raoul Pal is out with a very specific crash call. In his latest note he calls for a big move down in just two days to two weeks. It's all about what he sees as an archetypal crash pattern -- a sharp decline followed by a failed rally followed by a collapse." Raoul Pal - Why a crash is coming
"At this point, it seems Tim Geithner finds himself in possession of a few extra Veyrons, SLR Mclarens, Bentleys, Stingrays, Spyders and Murcielagos, and needs to urgently get rid of these. The US Treasury page for the upcoming auction can be found here, as to whether the final auction prices are reasonable, you can check what recent auctions have closed for at this link." via ZH
"The majority of the financial ‘experts’ in the world did not see the credit crisis coming, including the Federal Reserve, SEC, numerous Congressional committees with financial and regulatory oversight, and certainly not the heads of the financial institutions that failed or required a federal government orchestrated ‘bailout’ to stay in business. To simply chalk it up as a Black Swan event is an intellectual copout that concedes an unacceptable level of helplessness in the face of less than mysterious forces. Labeling the largest financial crisis in history as a Black Swan event also provides a degree of absolution to those responsible, who were either blinded by ideology or straightforward greed. The millions of honest hard working people who lost their job deserve better, as do the millions more who work hard and play by the rules. Politicians from both parties and anyone else looking for just one cause for the crisis are missing the bigger picture, and more likely trying to point a finger away from their own contribution. A crisis of this magnitude was not the result of one dynamic. It was a team effort with many contributing players." It's not rocket science - E. James Welsh
“… after less than a 12 year period, many observers are claiming the great European experiment is dead. Twelve years after thirteen colonies on the east coast of North America claimed independence from the most powerful empire at the time, they still did not have a constitution. It had a weak central government, without the power to tax and under the Articles of Confederation required unanimity in decision making. Yet to discount its future was a grave error.” -Marc Chandler, Global Head of Currency Strategy, Brown Brothers Harriman, May 13, 2010
"Only time will tell if the Maastricht Treaty and subsequent Lisbon Treaty and other measures announced or underway will lead to a stronger EU confederation and a restored euro as a world-class reserve currency. Now that the worst news of the crisis is public and on the front page of every magazine, we think it presents opportunity for investors. As with every crisis, investor opportunity is best when things look their worst and when uncertainty is high. We are here, and the time is now." David R. Kotok, Chairman & Chief Investment Officer, Cumberland Advisors, www.cumber.com
"Being French I can promise you first hand that if there is any form of austerity required as part of the $1Tr package it will not fly one bit by main street and we are likely to see some footage reminiscent of Athens last week. We had riots with a daily car burn rate above 1,200 for over a week because a teenager electrocuted himself trying to escape from the cops, so just try and imagine if railway workers can no longer retire at 50 or 55 after being driven to exhaustion watching a computer do their job 35 hours a week?"
"Gordon Brown actually managed his part in the drama rather better, which is strange. Here was a man who has spent the last 13 years refusing to resign from anything. Then he resigned for the second time in two days. Perhaps it’s addictive, like murder: it’s just the first time that’s difficult."
"During the speech, Mr Brown wiped a tear and did a bit more of his inappropriate smiling; Sarah Brown was not smiling in the least; their two little boys, John and Fraser, looked a bit bemused, but seemed to be enjoying the attention. Pity, because they will not see its like again. They will have only the haziest memories of the days when their dad was the most powerful and derided man in the kingdom."
"“We’re not angry,” one man told him. “What are you then?” “We’re peeved.” Is there a more accurate way of summing up the mood of the nation in two words than that?"
"My impression is that David Cameron will be a more professional prime minister than either Mr Blair or Mr Brown. He seems to have a stable but decisive temperament and a preference for orderly administration."
"A proper reform of administration will depend on the Conservatives winning with an overall majority."
"Useless and unelectable.
This point shouldn't be lost. The maths are sobering and ought to be decisive. After winning three successive elections, two by a landslide, under Tony Blair, Labour has won a very slightly higher share of the vote than it did under Michael Foot in 1983.
This is a time not for calm reflection and for taking stock, but for recrimination and bitterness. The first thing that Gordon Brown should do is step down. He is unlikely to do so, I fear, and will instead waste time trying to form a government. Partly this is because of Labour's baroque constitutional procedures, but mainly it's because he can't grasp what's in the party's best interests. Being a failure, he will be embraced by Labour with sentimentality and gratitude. It's the successes, notably Brown's immediate predecessor, whom the party can't forgive."Oliver Kamm
"Let me put it this way: we have painted the gorilla to match the curtains in an attempt to make him almost invisible to those willing to be fooled. But that doesn't mean he's not there." via suddendebt
'"Ordinarily when I say "this is like watching a cricket match," what I mean is "this is interminable," but in this case this is like watching a cricket match in that I have no idea what is happening but can sense the excitement in those who do."' via Bagehot
"Imagine the tallest and widest of the great California Redwood trees just south of the Oregon border. When you look at this magnificent 2,000 year old Sequoia, over 375 feet high, it’s what you can’t see that’s most impressive; a root system over 250 feet wide that runs deeper than tree’s actual height. Now that is a foundation.Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting - Lawrence McDonald
Munger and Buffett have run their business, Berkshire Hathaway, with that type of foundation in mind. They operate in a completely opposite way from most public companies. They run their business, and let the stock price take care of itself. Most CEO’s try and manage the stock price first and the company second. This was the problem at Lehman Brothers… ethics, treating your employees right, putting your customers and shareholders’ interests first, all came second to running the stock price. Whether it be accounting gimmicks or raising our dividend when we were almost bankrupt, it was all about trying to fool investors and shareholders into thinking we were just fine."
"Tramp stamp and hooker heels do not begin to describe the sordid, nonsensical role that the rating services performed in perpetrating and perpetuating the subprime craze, as well as reflecting the general deterioration of investment common sense during the past several decades. Their warnings were more than tardy when it came to the Enrons and the Worldcoms of ten years past, and most recently their blind faith in sovereign solvency has led to egregious excess in Greece and their southern neighbors. The result has been the foisting of AAA ratings on an unsuspecting (and ignorant) investment public who bought the rating service Kool-Aid that housing prices could never really go down or that countries don’t go bankrupt. Their quantitative models appeared to have a Mensa-like IQ of at least 160, but their common sense rating was closer to 60, resembling an idiot savant with a full command of the mathematics, but no idea of how to apply them."Lovin' Spoonful - Bill Gross, PIMCO
"No one or no one company has a monopoly on investment or ratings expertise. Second grade intelligence and a high CQ (Common Sense Quotient) are a rare combination for an individual rating agency or an investment management firm as well. Still, the rating agencies in recent years have displayed little of either. In addition, they have brazenly sold their reputations for unbiased judgment to the very companies they were standing in judgment upon. Don’t bury them however; like vampires in the dead of the night they will outlast us all. Those looking to profit at their expense, however, will dismiss them. They no longer serve a valid purpose for investment companies free of regulatory mandates that can think with a teaspoon of IQ and a tablespoon of CQ."