Mike Beversluis

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Design


NES gamepad mouse is the most amazing piece of industrial design in the history of humankind

Boy is GenX nostalgia going to be* obnoxious.

*if not already - I Love the 80's!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Someday, I will make it to that forward located Garden of Eden

Why Are Airplan Seats So Miserable, And What Can Be Done About It?

Turns out, it's a pain to fly Economy when you're very tall. Fortunately, that's the only downside to an otherwise awesome advantage.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vroom vroom

If you think that the no-holds barred F1 engines are light years ahead of the good ol' 'Merican NASCAR engines, you might want to geek out on this bit of engine analysis: Comparing NASCAR Cup engines to Formula One engines.

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Me and Tivo

Tivo needs to implement about half of these suggestions pronto - the keyboard remote is very good idea. Also, my TiVo needs to stop recording "Best of Nickleback" videos in the suggestions folder. Not cool.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Turns out eBay is useful for something

Somewhat counter-intuitively, it has lowered the looting of antiquities.

Fine by me, although I am rather unsentimental, and don't really care about the age or province of something to begin with (I'm trying to think if that's really true. I think it is).

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And you can't please some of the folks all of the time

You Can't Please Everyone - One Star Reviews of Classic Movies, Music and Literature.

I liked this - quite likely ironic - review of Are You Experienced?

Words cannot describe my intense dislike for Jimi’s guitar “skills”. This guy is a HACK. All songs sound exactly the same, the drummer is weak, does the bassist even exist? Listen to some REAL music that actually requires talent- like Nickelback!

Oh, it gets better (worse).

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Monday, April 20, 2009

That's kinda genius



Cars should already have this, but frankly, good enough.

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Common Cents

Ticket Scalping Is Easy To Eliminate: Raise Prices Or Increase The Number Of Shows


Tickets for my Edinburgh show are changing hands for £200 (almost $300). Please don't buy them. The people selling them are scum. I have tried to stop this happening but I can't. I've tried holding tickets back for sale on the night. I've tried putting gigs on sale at the last minute so people don't have time to put them on eBay, but nothing works. I'm flattered that anyone would want to see me that much but it breaks my heart that people spend their hard-earned money because of someone's greed. On my last tour one theatre manager excitedly told me that he'd just seen someone pay a thousand pounds for two tickets right by the ticket office. I think he thought I'd be pleased. I was horrified. Anyway please get a ticket but don't pay too much. That's all I'm saying.

Seamus McCauley of the Virtual Economics blog responds:

Want the after-sale ticket price to fall below £200? Put on more shows. You'll know you're doing enough shows when the price on eBay falls to the face value.


Anti-Capitalist Rerun - Tyler Cowen

The End of Poverty
Directed and Written by Phillipe Diaz
106 minutes (Cinema Libre)

It is often said that we live in the golden age of the documentary film. To the extent that this is true, the gold gleams brightest for the drama quotient of recent documentaries. The quality of their social analysis, for those that claim this to be their purpose, has generally been much dimmer. The latest contribution to the genre, The End of Poverty, from filmmaker and scriptwriter Philippe Diaz, is even dimmer than the norm. It devotes 106 minutes to the causes of poverty, but delivers neither drama nor good analysis. The core message is plain: The global South is poor because the developed countries made it that way and wish to keep it that way; free trade is bad and Western corporations are bad; the West is rich because the South is poor.

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If you build it, they will fly in??

Airport in Branson, Mo., Built with Private Money
By CHRISTINE NEGRONI
Published: April 20, 2009

Branson, Mo., is remote and has a tiny year-round population. But it also has the kinds of outdoor activities and family-friendly theater productions that attracted eight and a half million visitors last year, earning the city the unofficial nickname “Vegas without the gambling.”

And it is because of all those visitors that investors have placed a bet on Branson, spending $155 million to build the only privately financed commercial airport in America. Steve Peet, the chief executive of the airport, is a Connecticut businessman who concedes that he could not find Branson on a map nine years ago. By 2004, he was persuaded that there was money to be made flying tourists there.


I have to confess that I'm not in any hurry to visit Vegas, let alone "Vegas without the Gambling," but building your own infrastructure seems like an interesting experiment.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Salad Leaf of Propriety

Want Salad With That? Make It Fries.
By ALEX MINDLIN, NY Times
Published: April 5, 2009


Fast-food chains have recently deflected criticism of their menu offerings by adding healthy items like salads. But a paper soon to be released in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that the presence of healthy options on a menu can induce some diners to eat less healthily than they otherwise would.


Chipotle exploits this effect very well. So, where else does this apply? Actually, come to think of it, where doesn't it apply?

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Get on your bikes and ride! (kinda)


Very cool: CycleKarts.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Slightly morbid

Dead at Your Age - daily death update

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sweet



The 100k miles is amazing too.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Roots and Cranks (online)

FWIW, I subscribed to MLB.tv to watch Mariner's games online, and so far, it's been a lot of fun. I'm trying to remember why it is that I'm paying for cable... [p.s.]

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Happy (Belated) Easter


Eater 2009 - Slovenian artist Franc Grom drills a hole in an empty egg shell in Vrhnika, Slovenia on April 9, 2009. Grom drills thousands of holes into egg shells to create unique Easter eggs of fragile beauty. (REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic)

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Friday, April 10, 2009

heh


Turns out, TV shows aren't very realistic.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Play Big Brother

What shoes are people buying, right now?

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I realize this is a Tony Robbins quote, but...

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Hmm.

Hmmm
.

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Life

I liked watching Life this year, what with most every other network show plumbing the depths of my indifference (or annoyance, Heroes). The ginger Damien Lewis is as charismatic as he was in Band of Brothers, although the zen ticks seemed a little forced and the most of the show is pure fantasy. But I appreciated that they closed the loop on his personal revenge odyssey last night - no endless spiral is a good thing that many, many hit shows would have better served to learn. It did feel like Luke Skywalker taking the Emperor's place, even if he did it for love, so we'll get to see how that shakes out next year - he'll have to go on the run (or not) and I'm pretty sure that it will turn out that there's an even bigger and darker bady lurking beneath the surface. Welcome to the layer cake, I'm sure.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

They're back



Previously barfed over, individually toed shoes have made a return appearance. This "shoe" falls exactly between the kind of footwear a person who rides a recumbent bike wears and the kind a person who lives in a tree house would wear.

FWIW, they make me want to run for my life.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Welcome to the desert of the real...

Where are they now? 25 computer products that refuse to die.

Schumpeter at his finest, it would seem, but I really don't miss dot-matrix printers.

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Ha!


More
. Also, door hinge rhymes with orange. And vice-versa.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Is Moneyball wrong?

What Moneyball Missed - By Adam Fleisher Friday, April 3, 2009

Oakland’s front office sought out the unique statistical analyses popularized by the then-obscure baseball writer and analyst Bill James. James, as Lewis tells it, thought that baseball players’ talents were being measured incorrectly. For instance, teams insisted on “scouting” players by watching them on the field, as opposed to mining as much data as they could. Failing to scour the numbers was ridiculous because, as James put it, “the difference between a .300 hitter and a .275 hitter [i.e. good versus mediocre]. . .is one hit every two weeks.” Building on these types of insights, the A’s front office determined that baseball’s talent pool was an inefficient market. And as would be the case with an inefficient equity market, there were bargains to be had. In Lewis’s story, the A’s were winning because they were good at buying undervalued assets.

The rest of the league overpaid based on measures commonly used to determine the worth of baseball players (such as runs batted in and batting average) and so-called intangibles like “clutch hitting,” which Beane colorfully referred to as “f***ing luck.” They simultaneously missed, ignored, or simply did not believe in mundane qualities like walks and on-base percentage—qualities that the A’s thought could produce wins. Oakland even found inefficiencies they could exploit on the field. The team would not waste outs on things like bunting, stealing bases, or the hit-and-run; the data showed that these tactics were “either pointless or self-defeating.”

The only problem was that Lewis’s explanation for the A’s success was the same as Commissioner Selig’s—the team was an aberration. Since “most every other team looks at the market pretty much the same way,” as Lewis explained, if every team tried to exploit these same inefficiencies, then no team could. The market would correct, and the most valuable players—i.e. the players with the attributes most likely to produce wins—would be bought by the wealthiest teams. The championship would be for sale again.

But it isn’t. Moneyball missed something. That something is known as the reserve clause.


The author is arguing here that the reserve clause, which gives a team exclusive rights to its young draft picks, allows them to underpay these players, and that it is this that enables "Moneyball" teams to pay so much less for their wins compared to the Mets or Mariners. Which is partly true for the Mariner's circa their very winning 2001-2003 seasons, when they had Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro for cheap.

He has a point, except that the same misguided statistics that the M's used, for instance, to evaluate their terrible terrible free-agent signings go along with the prejudices they use to evaluate high-school and college players. And it's not just a question of ERA and Saves vs OBP and FIPS, but teams still vastly overpay for offensive stats versus defense. Measuring defense is still tricky, but models to quantify a players defense are now being developed, and when they are properly used by teams to evaluate and sign players, there are still large market inefficiencies that can be exploited by poorer teams.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

beautiful

From the Department of Awful Statistics

Previously, correlation does imply correlation.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

What about an optimisitic version of Prozac?

Scott Adams Blog: The Bald Salesman -the role of optimism in overcoming bad luck.

Scott points out that many unfortunate circumstances in people's lives can be compensated for if they're optimistic enough to think that they, or maybe their children, can overcome them. Which I think is true, although that's the optimist in me. So then the big life-outcome differentiator is whether or not you got back on that horse, so to speak; That's the primary factor in whether you or your descendants survive and thrive.

So, there may be a genetic component to that, although unlike Adams I think it's actually largely cultural and not genetic, or that the two are strongly intermixed. But if you wanted to do some social engineering and try to tilt the social potential energy landscape, it seems like a drug that made people feel optimistic would be a good thing to put in the water (cocaine lite?). Yes, it would increase the number of Darwin award winners (DAW's) too. As long as the external impacts of the DAW's are relatively limited, e.g., no basement nukular engineers, it should be okay.

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Awwww.

50 animals who hate baths.

You can check in any time, but...

A black hole with a view - Physicists calculate what you would see inside of a black hole.

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