Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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28 September 2006

Dumb Sports Talk

Greg Easterbrook writes on (thanks to Ross Douthout)that football coaches should pretty much do away with the punt.
Let's turn to this 2005 paper by David Romer, a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley...His numbers say that anytime the situation is fourth-and-4 or less, teams should not punt. Romer thinks teams should try for the first down on any fourth-and-4 or less even when in their own territory. After all, the average play gains almost five yards. On average you will retain possession, and the pluses of that exceeded the minuses of the inevitable failed fourth-down try.
Steve Sailer has already debunked this study, but for the life of me I can't come up with a link. (Steve has kindly responded with the reference.) But let me point out the obvious - his argument is based on an average gain of 'almost' 5 yards. That's average, Greg. This includes plays when the score is 24-0, and plays when it's 1st and 10 from your own 25, when decent sized-gains are not unusual. So some other situations must bring the average down - could these possibly occur disproportionately in short yardage 3rd/4th down situations? And since gains of 20+ yards are fairly common while losses of 20+ yards are exceedingly rare, then the median gain is certainly less than 5. This 'average' is a meaningless statistic.

You get this kind of reasoning from baseball announcers when a pitcher can't find the strike zone. "He's trying to be too fine," an announcer will tell us. "Just put the ball in the strike zone - even the best batter will only get a hit 33% of the time." Yes, that's his average against all pitchers, including the best in the league and 0-and-2 counts. What's his average against a struggling pitcher behind in the count - about .700?

Easterbrook dreams about the day some brave coach will try his no-punt stategy.
Such a coach would need to be completely unconcerned with the media and owner backlash that would follow a loss caused by a no-punt policy. Such a coach would need to be fearless, and financially independent. Will there ever be such a coach?
Or maybe the coach doesn't have to be in the NFL - for example, an un-ranked college team with a mediocre record. If it worked, then people would notice, others would try it, and it would spread. But something tells me it's been tried, many times, and the results have always been the same - disastrous. Or how about a thought experiment - imagine your team is playing an opponent facing a 4th-and-3 from their own 30 - and they decide to go for it. Is your reaction going to be 'damn' or 'Yes!'?

24 September 2006

Clinton Loses It

Just finished watching Chris Wallace's interview with El Presidente Clinton. Wow. Criticism - no, make that even questioning - is completely out of bounds for him, isn't it? For those of you who haven't heard(and don't care to read the transcript linked above), Chris Wallace had the nerve to ask him whether he had done enough to catch Bin Laden. Clinton was outraged, accusing Wallace of pulling a "conservative hit job" and being a Fox News lackey. Wallace mentioned afterward that Clinton appeared with Larry King, Keith Olbermann, Meredith Viera and others and not one of these asked him about Bin Laden (shocking). These hosts know their place, and know how to respect a Big Man. Chris Wallace, whether due to genetics or his tenure on the conservative Fox News, is apparently unaware that a journalist's role is to shamelessly kiss up to the Clintons. For a good idea of the kind of farcically fawning coverage the Clintons expect to receive, there is this NY Times article from yesterday, Hillary Clinton Stars at Husband’s Meeting on World’s Ills. Here are some excerpts:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made a star turn yesterday at former President Bill Clinton’s conference on global challenges, calling for a concerted attack on the "feminization of poverty" to destroy political and economic barriers that trap women.
While the day included remarks by former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the media baron Rupert Murdoch, it was Mrs. Clinton who drew a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds for a session called "Women and the Power of Economic Opportunity."

That theme led to a discussion of political opportunity as well, and audience members applauded when Mrs. Clinton, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, suggested that the time would come for more women to assume high office.

In her opening remarks, the senator set the tone for the panel by lamenting that women in many countries cannot vote, run for office, or secure credit or capital to start business ventures. "Far too many women are stuck in a cycle of poverty from which there is no escape," she said. "How do we help overcome that condition of poverty and dependence?"

The theme of politically empowered women led to the only moment in the session when Mrs. Clinton’s own political future seemed to stir the room — that is, if you ignored all the photographers snapping photos of Mrs. Clinton.

Helene Gayle, the president of CARE, the international poverty-fighting organization, echoed comments by others when she said that nations needed "more women in government to start with."

Ms. Gayle paused as Mrs. Clinton was nodding affirmatively, and several audience members laughed and applauded.

"While we’re waiting for that ...," Mrs. Clinton said by way of a winking transition, and Ms. Gayle resumed.
Now, see, that's the way to cover an annointed leader. No uncomfortable challenges, no "smirking," no hint of even ironic detachment. No sir - only thorough and complete enthrallment will do.

22 September 2006

U.S. Threatened Musharraf

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan said that after the September 11 attacks the US threatened to bomb his country if it did not co-operate with America's war against the Taliban in Afghanistan."The intelligence director told me that (Armitage) said, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age,'" Gen Musharraf said. "I think it was a very rude remark."
Rude, perhaps. But isn't this the essence of "Big Stick" diplomacy, something that's been sorely lacking of late? Isn't it preferable to be making threats, however unseemly, in private, than having the president out front bombastically issuing ultimatums, and getting everyone riled up? The idea behind big-stick dimplomacy is that you save the tough words for the guys in charge - the ones who have the most to lose - while publicly making nice. Since Armitage was Powell's right hand man, this does not surprise me, and it's too bad the General ended up with so little sway in this Administration in the post 9/11 maneuverings.

Here's a clip of Teddy Roosevelt's biographer, Edmund Morris, talking about a classic big-stick TR moment.

20 September 2006

But I'm Glad They Got These Guys

According to the AP:
Seven illegal immigrant gang members were arrested Tuesday night in Aurora as part of a joint operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Aurora police, according to a release. All face criminal charges and/or deportation.
All seven are Mexican nationals and documented members of the Latin Kings and Insane Deuces street gangs, the release said. All have past criminal records, including convictions for voluntary manslaughter, burglary, drunken driving and illegally possessing a firearm, according to the release.
Ok, but is that all they could round up - 7 gang bangers - out of a 3 agency joint operation? The rest of the gang members all had their papers in order?

If Only They Could Have Deported This Guy

An apparent illegal immigrant has been arrested in Coloroda for dragging a woman "behind a vehicle with a rope, leaving a trail of blood more than a mile long."
The trail of blood led from Interstate 25 to the woman's body, which was found on a street lined with large ranch-style homes on spacious lots. On Wednesday, highway crews were spreading fresh tar over the roads to cover the traces of blood.
I wouldn't be surprised if the killer is found to have been employed landscaping some of these spacious lots.

Deportation - It's a Snap

Deportation - even of a sweet, little 83-year-old lady, is indeed something U.S. officials can do when they put their minds to it.

18 September 2006

Are Men Smarter Than Women?

This is a loaded question, of course, but that's how the media are covering a new study showing a slight but significant IQ advantage for men. The real question is "Are there more super-smart men than super-smart women" because it is the super-smart who drive innovation and dominate the upper tiers of high-powered and high-prestige careers. A commenter on a Gene Expression post on this matter noted
660,270 males took the [2004 Math SAT], 758,737 females. On the math test, 21,507 males were above 750, with 9,800 females above 750.
You'd have to have a Math SAT score between 200 and 250 not to understand the implications of these results. Or be on this committee.

Katrina Mayhem Redux

Last September, as the horror in New Orleans began to unfold, I wrote about the unholy alliance forming between Bush apologists eager to deflect criticism from the president and those on the politically-correct Left fearful that the complete breakdown of civilized life in New Orleans might reinforce some negative stereotypes. In an article with generous references to this blog, Columnist Nicholas Stix tells how this white-washing reached its apotheosis in a pulitzer prize to two Times-Picayune reporters. Stix, in turn, awards them his "Duranty-Blair" award, a far more deserving accolade.

Ann Richards, RIP

I always found Ann Richards to be among the most annoying public figures of our times, and now that legacy lives on, as even her eulogizers seem determined to annoy me. From Salon obituary, "The Texan Who Actually Governed" (a really annoying title in itself):
She had promised them she would use a pair of bolt cutters to open the gates of the Greek-revival governor's mansion to "the people" of Texas. "The people" were blacks, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, along with the shrinking Anglo majority..."
Gee, and she didn't get re-elected? And what could be more annoying than Bill Clinton talking about Ann Richards?
He told about 50 of her close friends and family about a lunch he shared in New York with Richards and a group that included comedians Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. "I thought to myself, I bet this is the only time in their entire lives that Billy Crystal and Robin Williams are the second- and third-funniest people at the table," he said.
Of course Richards might have seemed funnier as it would not have been the 100th time Clinton was hearing the same jokes from her. But Clinton's contention that Richards was funnier than professional comedians (I'll grant that the "silver foot" remark was pretty good) recalls Richards's most annoying quip, which we have been forced to hear literally ad nauseum over the last few days:"Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, She just did it backwards and in high heels." Such a preposterous, ignorant comment should have set back the cause of feminism 50 years, but somehow in America today even a comparison of Ginger Rogers to Fred Astaire is seen as affirming the equality of the sexes.

14 September 2006

Babe Teacher, Teenage Student - The Horror

I'm really not in touch with the female take on the Woman-Teacher-Seducing-Teenage-Boy phenomenon (even though I live with 4 of them - females, that is), or even the views of fathers of teenage boys (I ain't got none of those), but I think the gut reaction of most men is well summarized by Debra Lafave's husband in this Newsweek interview:
Was all of this humiliating for you?
Absolutely. It was extremely painful. There was a period of time I could have been diagnosed with depression. Here was someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. Not only did she cheat on me, she cheated on me with a 14-year-old boy. Then it ends up on the national media. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound.
This has to be the worst - even worse than losing her to another woman, right?

CA Voters Richer, Older, Whiter than Non-Voters

The growing diversity of California's population isn't showing up in the voting booth, where people who are richer, older and whiter than their nonvoting neighbors are making the decisions that will shape the state's future, a new study shows.
And smarter too? Well, maybe not, or else you'd think California voters would make sure they elected people who would see to it that California adults didn't get any poorer and darker. We recently learned that California grade school students are among the dumbest in the nation, down there with Mississippi and Alabama, fine states but not what come to mind when one thinks of economic powerhouses.
Although California has been widely trumpeted as the nation's first large "majority minority" state -- one where racial minority residents make up more than half the population -- the minority voting picture is getting worse, not better.
Widely trumpeted? They're happy about that? One problem the state has is "rotten boroughs." So while half the adult population may not be voting, they still have a role in shaping the legislature since districts are determined by general population, not registered voters. Which may explain why the state's legislature and congressional delegation are overwhelmingly Democrat.
Among the most frequent voters, 62 percent are ages 45 or older, 77 percent are homeowners, 53 percent are college graduates, and 53 percent have household incomes of $60,000 or more. That's in a state where 76 percent of the people are younger than forty-five, 66 percent are renters, 17 percent finished college and 18 percent earn $60,000 or more.
So we can expect some really great things coming out of the Golden State once the rest of these folks get to the ballot box.

12 September 2006

Unruly Passenger Subdued

Breaking news - and few details available as of this writing. But the disturbing part of the story to me is that the nut apparently tried to open the emergency exit door of the plane mid-flight. While common sense tells us that a passenger couldn't just get up and open one of these doors in flight, if you're anything like me (I'm not exactly the most stoic passenger on a given flight) you might have worried about such an eventuality yourself. The brief AP reports don't clear this up, but answer's here if you're curious.

11 September 2006

Quote of the Day

Mickey Kaus, on some hysterical claims on the Huffington Post regarding a feared right-wing infiltration of Hollywood spearheaded by David Horowitz:
If you put Hollywoods's entire network of right wing people in David Horowitz's living room, you wouldn't have much trouble getting to the hors d'oeuvre tray. If you tried to put Hollywood's network of left wing people in the Los Angeles Convention Center, the fire marshal would close it down.

It's Not the Oil, It's the People

One line in particular in the President's speech tonight summed up for me what is wrong with his foreign policy - indeed, with much of his agenda.
We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize that their greatest resource is not the oil in the ground - but the talent and creativity of their people.
Well I for one am certainly not looking forward to that burst of creativity once the wells run dry. If suicide hijackings, jihadist training camps and improvised explosive devices are examples middle eastern creativity when oil prices are at record highs I'd hate to see what they come up with when things get desperate.

While you might be tempted to write this nonsense off as a little rhetorical window dressing, this attitude informs his domestic policies as well. High levels of immigration from Mexico and Central America have you worried? We just need to give them jobs, education, and medical care and they'll be high achieving Americans before we know it - never mind the lack of progress among Mexican-Americans to date. Kids dropping out of school and failing left and right in the ghetto? We just need to fire all those incompetent administrators and privatize their schools, and the magic will happen. Massive U.S. trade deficits got you down? Just need to keep taxes low so people invest in the economy. The same magic works in the MidEast - just kill all those terrorists and overthrow the despots and the magic will happen. There's just this amazing store of talent bound inside each and every person in the world all ready to bust out once we cut loose those oppressive restraints of Islamofascism/corruption/failing schools/high taxes.

05 September 2006

Victory Is Mine!

I have just come out of a marathon battle against an insidious and devious foe and have vanquished my enemy. The antagonist? - he comes by many names - the Vundo Virus, Virtumonde, WinFixer, SysProtect - and he is one nasty bastard. I was barely able to even boot up in SafeMode - and then when there I tried to delete one of the tell-tale files and I got a "Cannot delete - file in use" message - in Safe Mode - that's what a nasty bugger this one is. If you find yourself getting these WinFixer/Sysprotect pop-ups harrassing you, send me an e-mail and I'll try to help you out. If you're familiar with dealing with this vermin, I'd be interested in any insights you might have.

I'm wondering though - do computer viruses (I'll ignore the virus/worm/trojan horse-distinction - let's just agree they're cyber-pathogens) behave like DNA-based viruses? For example, are excessively destructive computer viruses doomed to short lives because they kill off their hosts to soon before they can replicate? Do they conform to a virtual-reality version of Koch's Postulates?