Category Archives: Sports

Mutterings and Musings

I find Styrofoam cups, particularly when filled with sodas, unsightly. Is this because they look antiquated and blah or is it my sub-conscious reminding me of the negative health and environmental connotations associated with Styrofoam?

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The more I work with data the less I believe in aggregate statistics, particularly those derived from survey results. Not too ago I was given a piece of code to manipulate data gathered by one of the most respected government surveys around. Six pages of code read, extracted, twisted, sorted, sliced, adjusted, and eventually summarized the data in table form. The final step before summarizing, however, involved multiplying the relevant statistic by a number between one and four, depending on how many quarters per year I might expect the item to be purchased by the average consumer unit. This offends a quasi-data geek such as myself on several levels. The author of the code, who similarly worked for the agency producing the survey, offered no guidance on how to make this determination other than to mention that it was obvious what factor should be used for small, frequent purchases such as gasoline and large, infrequent purchases such as cars. So much for the illusion of precision.

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I am competitive. I love sports. Unfortunately, time is scarce and I can only allocate a certain number of hours per week to athletic activities. Given a time-budget of between 6 and 8 hours per week for sports, would you (as a 24 year old male in good health and decent physical condition) devote time to playing a sport you love, but will only be able to play into your late forties or early fifties (soccer), or, would you devote time to playing a game you also love but that you’ll be able to hopefully play well into your 60s (golf)? Note my skill level compared to peers is probably more advanced in soccer than golf, primarily due to the speed of youth. I realize this is going to diminish in a big way at some point. Obviously some mix of the two is optimal, but I am inclined to skew the distribution towards one or the other for the time being in hopes of improving.