Smart Links – Manny Diaz, Hitler Beer, Probability – 7/29/2011

Hitler beer:


– Too many things to list, but great stuff (particularly on coverages) over at Brophy’s site.

– Manny Diaz’s Danger (Fire) Zone: Burnt Orange Nation and Barking Carnival both with some solid analysis of new Texas DC Manny Diaz’s defense.

Maybe it’s my bias, but I’m from the “If you got two then you ain’t got one” school of thought:

A lot of people talk about our quarterback situation saying if you don’t have a starter, you don’t have a quarterback. I disagree. We have two really good quarterbacks. Both of those guys are great players, great people, exceptionally talented, outstanding team players, and really want to win. – Purdue Coach Danny Hope

This sentence is accurate: “He was fine, but seriously, this cast of coaches is the exact opposite from the polished evangelists of the SEC.” Also, management books and Butch Davis.

The Senator (and Joe Posnanski) on … well it’s hard to describe; just read it.

Making the leap: Camp for incoming college freshman.

Darren Sproles to New Orleans. Swapping out Reggie Bush for Darren Sproles seems to me an upgrade at that hybrid/scatback position for New Orleans. Thoughts?

Klosterman on the fastest human alive.

Posnanski on Jeter’s 3,000.

Jerry Joseph basketball scandal.

The book review that killed John Keats.

Old movie plots technology has destroyed.

The danger of saying what has already been said; a problem that has existed for at least the last 4,000 years.

– Discounting future values:

This so-called exponential discounting — reducing the value of something by a fixed percentage for each unit of time — is standard practice in economics. It comes into play whenever people consider investing for long-term payoff, whether by building railroads for high-speed trains or reining in carbon emissions to preserve the climate. . . .

That’s the message of a recent paper written jointly by John Geanakoplos, an economist atYale University, and Doyne Farmer, a physicist at the Santa Fe Institute, in New Mexico. They argue that economic discounting as currently practiced is logically incorrect . . . . Economists like exponential discounting because it seems “rational”; in particular, it discounts equal periods of time equally. The standard analysis also assumes that the discount rate remains constant. That assumption is rather peculiar, Geanakoplos and Farmer point out, given that interest rates bounce up and down all the time — and the interest rate at any moment should be closely linked to the discount rate, to reflect how cash investments gain value through time.

Revising the assumption of a never-changing discount rate leads to results totally at odds with current economic practice, Geanakoplos and Farmer have shown. To understand their argument, consider the next half-century. Year by year, the true discount rate (which no one knows precisely) will probably fluctuate in some complicated way, following one of many possible up-and-down paths . . . .

That’s simple enough, but here is where things get interesting: In calculating this average, some paths turn out to contribute far more than others. In particular, paths that descend into relatively low rates and stay there for many years have a disproportionate effect — a path at 1 percent for 50 years, for instance, counts 20 times as much as a path running along at 7 percent. Change 50 to 500 years, and the difference becomes 10 trillion times.

  • Anonymous

    On the Bush/Sproles thing it would appear NOLA has nothing but positives from this transaction.
    Sproles and Bush’s production for the last 4 years are IDENTICAL in every category.
    It’s good for Bush in that he isn’t suffocted by the unrealistic expectations of being a top 5 pick and the hoopleheaded fans think he was supposed to be the next Walter Payton.

    With the stable of backs NOLA will have (with an emphasis on the quick passing game) it should help them be one of the more dominant teams as the season begins and other teams not meeting in informal camps struggle to regain NFL caliber production

  • Troy Coll

    +1. Personally I think Sproles is a better football player (not athlete) than Bush; more likely to take what the defense allows rather than consistently trying to outflank defenders, which normalizes his production a bit more. The fact that the Saints got something in return for Bush and signed his replacement at a lower cost is awesome. 

    They certainly learned their lesson from last year – gotta have a bunch of depth at RB. 

  • LonghornScott

    That future values article is great.  Thanks for the links to the Diaz stuff as well, I really enjoy this site.

  • My only concern is Sproles’ age. But then Bush was never a 16-game player either. But I still love the signing.

  • Sorry to be “that guy,” but I think you have the wrong link this one;

    This sentence is accurate: “He was fine, but seriously, this cast of coaches is the exact opposite from the polished evangelists of the SEC.”

    But I’m alright, I googled and found the right article.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    It’s interesting that they quote Keynes, whose most famous quote is “in the long run, we’re all dead.” Intuitively, this seems like the right answer to me — you should stop discounting when you’re dead. Things don’t become less valuable to me because I’ve been dead for 100 years as opposed to merely ten years.

    The vast majority of people alive today will be dead in 85 years. So the right discount rate should be some kind of downward sloping curve intersecting with zero in 85 years and remaining at zero from then on out. Does this make sense to anyone else?

  • duckinfantry

    RE: Klosterman. I think he is completely wrong about one thing. Science is not good at all about predicting anything. Also, it is only decent at explaining events; ask physiologists what causes cramping, and you can still only get speculation.

    Another issue is his confusing the record with human potential. Charlie Francis wrote about this extensively, about how unlikely it was to run perfect in all phases of the same race.

  • As an SD Charger fan, I’m sad to see Sproles leave because he was so exciting to watch. I think what really hurt Reggie Bush in NOLA was he so badly wanted to be the guy that everyone wanted him to be: a feature back who would run between the tackles. Unfortunately, that’s not him. If you look back his USC days (I’m a fan of them also), he had Lendale White who could pound it inside. Miami does not have a guy like LW….yet. This “offseason” has had some pretty wild things happen already. Nnamdi to the Eagles? NFL QBs – Asante or Nnamdi? Which way will you go?

  • LonghornScott

    If I understand you correctly, I don’t agree at all.  The future value is the future value in the market, not the future value to today’s population in the future. 

    The latter would suggest that each person should try to use up/spend as many resources as they can before they die, since the resources won’t be worth anything to them personally after they die and that is about as foolish as it gets.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    Maybe you do misunderstand me; if so, it’s because I’m not explaining myself well. I’m not saying we discount the *value* of future things to zero in 85 years, which would suggest that this generation use all possible resources. That, I agree, is a bad result. What I’m talking about is one derivative past that.

    The article criticizes a flat discount rate of (say) 2% year, because it leads to absurd results hundreds of years down the line. I’m saying that instead of applying a flat discount rate we apply a decreasing, downward sloping discount rate – say 2% one year, then 1.99 the next – which approaches zero as you hit 85 years (or whatever). At which point, it stops declining in value.

    I’m probably still not being clear. I find this difficult to explain without using graphs. And even if I am being clear, I still don’t expect anyone to agree with me. I’m mostly thinking out loud.

  • LonghornScott

    no no, I gotcha now.  You are saying there should be logarithmic growth/decay, which makes much more sense than the way I originally interpreted you.

    I would guess that instead of just doing path averaging they should be looking for emergent behaviors in the economy, particularly for things like non-renewable resources.    

  • Josh Paddock

    “Science is not good at all about predicting anything. Also, it is only decent at explaining events”

    I don’t science TRIES to predict anything. Explaining events through the scientific method (forming questions and hypotheses, gathering and analyzing data, testing and retesting findings, etc.) leads to making estimates about future phenomena based on past events.

    Unless that’s what you’re saying and I just completely misunderstood you.

  • duckinfantry

    Exactly what I meant. It strikes me as completely ridiculous to use a statistician’s 95% confidence interval, as if it has any weight. Like you said, science really only works when looking backward as a tool for explanation. As admitted, the understanding of the kinetics of sprinting aren’t well understood. Even saying you have confidence in a number, much less strong confidence, is bordering on incompetent, like so many financial prognostications.