Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “track”

Politically Incorrect Statistics

Warren Buffet is praised for his ability to analyze the performance of companies in which he considers investing.  He uses information about the companies to predict future performance.  He has been very successful as an investor.

Bookies take bets on sporting events and base the “odds” for winning on statistical analysis of many factors about teams and athletes.

Insurance companies use underwriters to predict life expectancies and health risks based on statistics for people in certain categories based on age, weight, family medical history, and other factors, such as whether a person smokes or consumes alcohol.  They don’t know which smokers will develop lung cancer, but they know that smokers, for example, have a higher risk statistically than do non-smokers.

The TV show Criminal Minds is about a “behavioral analysis unit” known by the acronym BAU.  They study patterns of criminal behavior to solve crimes.

Analyzing companies, teams, and individuals is apparently done using statistical information because there is value for predicting probabilities of behavior (or danger) based on statistics about past behavior or performance.

Statistics are just numbers calculated by mathematical principles.  Statistics are not mean or prejudiced about race or religion.

Despite the neutrality of the process of statistical analysis, many people get offended by what the numbers reveal.

We are not supposed to “profile” Muslim Arabs as terrorists because that is somehow “prejudiced” despite the historical facts that the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and many other terrorist acts fit that category.  You are not paranoid (or prejudiced) if they are really after you.  The jihadists have said they are in a holy war with non-islamic people, i.e., infidels.  The statistics bear that out.

The federal government has told us recently that it needs to look at private phone records of American citizens, which many see as a violation of rights to privacy, for the greater good of protecting us.  Would it not also help protect us to focus on tracking people who “fit the profile” of terrorists?  I do not see that as islamophobia.  Wouldn’t that be for the greater good of protecting Americans?

Who says I am unlikely to become an NBA star?  Are those scouts prejudiced against me because they are considering my age, vertical leap, speed, shooting percentages and stuff like that?  They think, based on statistics, that I won’t do well in the league.

I like sports that involve timed races, such as track and swimming.  Your time is your time, regardless of color.  Is it unfair that a skewed percentage of Olympic sprinters are black and the vast majority of Olympic swimmers are white?  Oh, well!  The performances speak for themselves.  Warren Buffet probably would not bet on me to win the 100 meter event in track, you know, based on statistics, including my time in prior races.  It is what it is, whether I like it or not.  Pulling the race card does not change how fast or slow I run or swim.

I understand intellectually, but I prefer to say that I am a victim of racial profiling which, my friends, is politically incorrect.

Please join me in protesting my exclusion from the NBA.

Spring Sports in Colorado

The Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board probably don’t want me to reveal  that the Rockies had to cancel their game due to snow on April 22.   What is good news for skiers, snowboarders and mountain resorts is bad news for baseball players, tennis players, and track team members who signed up for “spring sports.”  This year, the spring sports in Colorado are the winter sports continuing.

They said on the sports news last night that high school baseball teams throughout the state have all missed half of their games, 7 instead of 14, for this point in the season.  Such a problem hasn’t happened in 30 years, they reported.  Play-offs start in 10 days.  Oh well.  All are in the same circumstances.  That is why spring training for the Rockies is in Arizona and not Colorado.

 Last week, Colorado had lots of snow that caused road closures, school closures, business closures and even courthouse closures.  Then we had a warm weekend with temperatures in the 60s and most of the snow melted.  Now it is snowing again.  It looks exactly like the photos I posted on April 15th.  Exactly!  So you can refer to the pics on that snow day post to see what it looks like today.

Those of you who reside in other elevations and climates, maybe even other hemispheres, might not believe me or properly visualize what I am writing about.

 But I ain’t complaining.  I kinda like it.

Maybe I won’t be able to get to my office in town.  All I need is a good excuse.  And a good internet connection.

Passing the Torch

ImageThe Olympic torch is an inspiring symbol for remembering that humans do not accomplish great things alone.  The pursuit of excellence in any field of endeavor requires a person to learn from and get support from others. 

For example, in athletics there are coaches because no one is born knowing the intricacies of any sport.  Technique is important.  In swimming, someone taught Michael Phelps each stroke.  Track events require technique as well as speed.  Obviously, the same is true of any sport I can think of.  Judo, wrestling, and boxing are not alley fights.  There are rules governing each.  Gymnastics and diving are judged on technique.  It is not enough to do a back flip.  It is judged on doing it correctly, hopefully, perfectly.

What achievements do not require standing on the shoulders of people from the past.  Are you a great writer?  Congratulations, but did you invent the English language?  Did you learn to read and write without teachers?  Are you a top scientist?  Did you invent chemistry and biology or whatever field of science in which you are working?  You get the idea……….

Lest we be arrogant, let us acknowledge that we have learned from others.

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