Links o’ Interest

Billy Madison lives on (go to page 2)

Statutary rape

You can’t afford to be skinny… ah, it was a different time.

Selection bias: Why your friends have more friends than you

35 Interesting Science Fair Experiments

101 best music videos of this decade

Miracle Whip vs. Colbert

Enough clips of kids welcoming back their soldier Dads. What about the dogs!?

Dear Blockbuster member:

Joackim Noah critic eats his words. Literally.

Make me mighty!

Unclear on the concept: Hit the Bitch

Diplomacy meets soccer

How to play piano like Philip Glass

Hacked Roombas used to play Pacman

AMA changes its stance on medical marijuana, wants research

Even worse than Twilight: The Stephanie Meyer comic book

Pulp Fiction theme played on guitar and pencils

The making of a solider. Two years of photos of a young man becoming a solider.

Pictures from Afghanistan

Beijing’s underground city

Poker Update (it’s a good one):

Thanks to a nut flush and trips and not playing many hands, at one hour in I have 7,000 in chips (avg is 5000).

We’re at 100-200. With two raisers to 600 in front of me, I have a pair of 10s. I think the correct play here is raising, but I just call. Both blinds call. There is already 3,000 in the pot.

The flop is 10-J-Q. Hey, I hit my trips! But those are some scary cards. And the player two positions to my right instantly goes all in for 2,800. The player to my right calls the all-in. Ugh. It seems obvious that at least one of them has K-A for the high straight. Maybe pocket Jacks or Queens. I should fold, right?

Not so fast. If another Jack or Queen comes out, I have a full house. There’s around a 24% of that. It would cost me 2,800 into a pot of 8,600. I call. And it’s a good thing I did, the turn is another 10! I have four 10s! I have about 3,500 left in chips. I bet 1,800, which I think was the exact right amount to get a call, and then my all-in on the river is called. Boy, those were some fun cards to turn over! You don’t see quads very often, right?

On the very next hand, the player to my right gets four nines. Wow.

Four hands later I call a min-raise with pocket 3s. The flop is 2-3-x. There’s already 1,600 in the pot. Naturally I raise, I bet 1,000. I’m called. The turn is — yes, you guessed it — another 3. I have four of a kind with 3s. This is just ridiculous. Someone makes a comment about how Muttrox probably has quads again, and I completely lose my poker face. Half my mouth is twisted up, the other half is twisted down, my legs are bouncing all around, I can’t contain myself. Fortunately the person deciding whether to call me doesn’t know me well. I think he thought all my antics were to cover up a stone cold bluff. He called. On the river I went all-in. This time he folded. The table reaction to another four of a kind was priceless.

What an hour I had. Two hands later I had pocket 6s. Before the flop showed I was already deciding how to bet my set, I had no doubt that another 6 would come up. It did.

The rest was ordinary poker. I was monster stack, other people caught up, I got low, I won a coin flip (my K-10 paired up vs pocket 5s), found myself in heads up against a relative amateur. He didn’t raise my big blind with 5-2. The flop was 3-4-5, the Ace on the turn gave me the win.

Whoo. That was a crazy night. I played well, but with those cards coming it didn’t even matter how I played it.

Tonight: $145 ($25 buy in, $150 for first place, $20 in bounties)

That Patriots Game

This guy says it well:

The game was really lost in the third quarter. It is not hard to fathom that the defense would wear down in the final quarter, but when it happened, the Patriots should have had a bigger cushion on the scoreboard. The Maroney fumble was the most devastating play in the game for the Patriots, not the fourth down play or any other missed coverage in the fourth quarter. The Patriots did a great job in containing Manning and his offense for three quarters, but had nothing left for the fourth quarter and could not withstand the final assaults in the end.

On two straight possesions, the Pats turned it over in the endzone. Brady’s interception was forgiveable, Maroney’s fumble was not. If either of those had converted into even a field goal the Patriots would have held on to win.

The 4th and 2? I think it was a reasonable gamble. Getting another 40 yards out of a punt means little against the Colts offense. If the Pats get one more first down the game is over. A gamble it was, but I think it was an okay one. Not to mention that Faulk got the first down. But there is no automatic review at that point and there was no way to challenge the call.

Maroney. What happened to that guy? Every time he touched the ball you knew exactly where he was going. He has no sense of misdirection anymore. When he came into the league he would change direction with one smooth step. Now he dances himself to a full halt and accelerates in the other direction. That takes too long in this league. He can’t run people down anymore, he can’t get around them, he can’t get through them. What happened?

Update:
More on the 4th and 2 here. I agree.

You’d have to expect the Colts had a better than 30 percent chance of scoring from their 34, and an accordingly higher chance to score from the Pats’ 28. But any adjustment in their likelihood of scoring from either field position increases the advantage of going for it. You can play with the numbers any way you like, but it’s pretty hard to come up with a realistic combination of numbers that makes punting the better option.


More Updates:
Him and him concur.

A Bit About Healthcare

I try to follow the healthcare stuff. I read a lot. My father is an expert, my wife knows a fair amount, I’m good at economics. And yet it’s nearly impossible to understand it. There are too many threads.

It’s because prices aren’t transparent. No, it’s because of fee for service instead of fee for health. No, it’s because of corrupt medical-insurance-governmental relationships. No, it needs tort reform. No, it’s because of innovative treatments. No, it’s treating ordinary transactions as insurance. No, it’s the lack of universal coverage. No, it’s the public option. No matter what thread you pull on, it’s connected to everything else.

That saiid, it’s obvious that this has something to do with it. Scroll through slides 5-26. Go ahead and do it. It’s amazing.

Wow.

More on the Death Penalty

This guy sums up my feelings on the matter, probably better than my own rant.

Every time I start to waver on my support for the death penalty — as I did in the wake of another New Yorker piece, about a possibly-innocent man who was executed — I see a story like this and it snaps me right back into line. I’m all for containing prosecutorial abuses. I’m all for reforms to the way prosecutors seek the death penalty…

But those monsters — the animals who would do that to a family of human beings — don’t deserve to live…I want the state to wreak vengeance upon them. And, god help me, I want them to suffer when it happens. If this makes me a bad person, then so be it.

That Did Not Just Happen

I was listening to The Rolling Stones “Can’t You Hear me Knocking” at my desk. This is one of the hardest rock songs in the canon. It was playing the saxaphone solo near the end. Someone stopped by my cube and asked (I swear), “Are you listening to Christmas music already?”

Sometimes you just don’t know what to say. Sweet gods of rock and roll, I am not listening to Christmas music!!

Here’s a good live version.

Poker Update

Tonight I went out to bar poker. There were about 25 players, we start with 1,000 in chips. It’s funny how being in a different venue messes me up. I screwed up the chips a couple times, and at least twice thought I was raising big when I was only min-raising. It didn’t help that I was squeezed up against the wall between two enormous guys.

Key Hand 1 (which is also the first hand of the night): I have pocket queens under the gun. I raise of course. Two callers. The flop is J-x-x. I raise again. The guy across the table goes all-in. It’s not much of a decision, of course I call. He has pocket jacks. But the turn is a Queen! Hey, how about that! I double up and he leaves, no doubt muttering about newbie idiots who overplay their hands. I felt like Darvin Moon.

Key Hand 2: I have A-J. I raise for the hell of it. I get min raised by the small blind, I call. The flop is A-J-x. He puts in a sizeable bet. I call. The next card is a Jack. He goes all in. Of course I call. My full house vs… vs… what does he have? He doesn’t even show them. He just admits that he was trying to represent the exact hand I had and quietly leaves.

I’m feeling pretty good. But then…

Key Hand 3: I have A-2 of spades. A nice calling hand, especially from the big blind. There is a raise and a caller, with the short-stacked caller going all-in. Eh, it’s worth seeing a flop. Maybe I’ll bluff ’em out later. The turn is 8-7-4. Two of them are spades. I have no hand, but a draw to the nut flush. I don’t want to play against the other player, I want to isolate on the all-in. I think she has nothing. There’s about 2,000 in the pot. I put in 600. The first raiser goes all in. Darn, I think to myself, 600 wasn’t nearly enough to force him out. It’s another 970 to me. I have about a ~36% chance of hitting my flush. It costs 970 to win ~4,200. It’s an easy call. He has an 8. I do not get my spade. His 8 holds up. Darn it! Stupid pot odds! I am knocked back to about 1,000, and the blinds are at 40-80.

Key Hand 4: The blinds are at 100-200. I have 1,400. With two limpers, my big blind is A-K. I should have gone all-in right there, but instead I put in a 600 raise. The short stack calls me all-in. The other guy instacalls also. The flop is 9-7-2. Again, it’s an obvious play, I go all-in with my last 800. I am called. He has 7-6. 7-6!? Needless to say, his 7 holds up. I am knocked out. What the hell is the guy doing calling a preflop raise with 7-6? And then calling an all-in bet again with only middle pair? I leave, steaming.

Tonight: $0 (It’s a free game.)

Update: I take back my anger about Key Hand 4. (1) I definitely should have gone all in. Pre flop, he had to call 600 into a pot of ~1,800. Post-flop he had to call 800 into a pot of over 3,000 when he had a pair. Both are defensible. In addition, because I was short stack, he had to think there was a good chance I had nothing. I wouldn’t have played it the way he did, I would have let the two short stacks knock each other out, but his play wasn’t crazy. Dang, I wish I had gone all-in preflop!!

Aerosmith Breaking Up?

Here

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has said that singer Steven Tyler has quit the band “as far as I can tell”.

Perry’s comments follow those of rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, who last week (November 6) said that Aerosmith are to hold crisis talks about their future after relations with Tyler became strained.

Update: I should have called out one of this blog’s most popular posts, my personal Aerosmith top 10 list.

College Life

Last week my father sent me a big box full of all my stuff from college. Textbooks, journals, notebooks, even my picture of a young Claudia Schiffer that used to be on the wall.

It’s striking how much more talented I was back then.

I’m a fair doodler today, but my college cartoons are minor masterpieces. All kinds of great art, casually whipped off during classes. I found one I had put on a test (I always finished tests in a third of the alloted time and would be bored out of my skull for the rest of the time) that the teacher said should be in the New Yorker. (But no, it did not get me extra credit in the class.)

And the math. Pages filled with equations nine terms long composed almost entirely of symbols. And little notes from myself: “As long as R-sub-i is relatively large compared to R-sub-1, then sigma-sub-i is a good estimator.” I can follow along today, but I have lost a whole level or two of mathematical abstraction and intuition that used to be second nature to me.

Man, I sure got dumb.