Saturday, June 16, 2007

Reversal of fortune.

August, my taking up your suggestion had the effect you wanted. (And now I know why you made it.)

Kudos to Reyes, Perez and Gomez.

Red Sox won, too. Unfortunately, so did the Braves.

Before the Yankee game, Tim Marchman delivered a trenchant analysis of the Mets' situation.

Update: Today's game? In the immortal words of Warren Zevon, "I don't want to talk about it."

6/19 update: Mets/Yanks season series ends in a tie, just like last year. Mets bounce back against Twins at Shea, with Maine showing good form. Marchman, however, has an unsettling analysis of the prospects for Carlos Delgado, who homered last night.

Meanwhile, down in kudzu korner, Schilling gets shellacked as the Red Sox fall to the Braves. No help there. Sorry, Twiffer, and dearest wife.

6/21 update: Martini on the Mets.

We were at the game Wednesday.
No hitting.
No pitching.
Five errors (Easley muffed an easy chance but the scorer found it in his heart to call it a hit).

Say it ain't so, Joe!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Homeland Security

Keeping close watch on the action outside the Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Before you do the war, do the math.

The ever-popular Cosmic Log provides a link to a University of Georgia press release announcing UGA assistant professor Patricia L. Sullivan's publication of a paper in which she describes a statistical method for predicting the outcome of a war. She claims an eighty percent success ratio in using her method to "predict", ex post, the outcomes of the 122 conflicts that have ocurred since World War Two, and which have involved one of the great powers against a weaker adversary. She says her method shows that the probability of U.S. success in the first Gulf War, i.e. of realizing its objective of driving Iraqi forces from Kuwait, was 93 percent. Similarly, the chance of the U.S. achieving its primary objective in the second Gulf War, the removal of Saddam Hussein's government from power, was about 70 percent. However, the likelihood of success at the longer term goal of maintaining a stable Iraqi government is now only 26 percent, and likely to take ten years to accomplish.

Sullivan also concludes that the Soviet Union had only a seven percent probability of prevailing in its war in Afghanistan. The press release doesn't state what her finding was with respect to the U.S. Afghan war, in which the long-term outcome still seems in doubt. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the probability of success with respect to overthrow of the Taliban government was high, given the existence of allies on the ground there. The likelihood of long-term stabilization may be less.

Of course, to apply Sullivan's method ex ante, you need accurate information concerning the various factors that affect the statistical determination. If your intelligence is faulty, your prediction of your chance of success may be off the mark. In other words: garbage in, garbage out

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

By popular demand, another baseball post.

August (see comments to this post) asks, in a friendly way, if I would mind posting about the streak the Mets are on now. Well, uh, yeah. But, then, he makes this useful suggestion:

Could you predict that we'll tank and lose 30 straight? ... Because that might be helpful. Thanks!


There. That feels better, already. Kinda like blamin' it on the Stones.

6/13 update: I think I misread August's intention when he suggested that I predict a thirty game losing streak for the Mets. I thought he was convinced that, as soon as I made it, the Mets' fortunes would reverse (they didn't). What I'd forgotten is that he's an Orioles fan (see "comments" below).

A heartening thought: The Cyclones start their season in less than a week.