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March 4, 2012

Fairness, or not

January 17, 2012

http://www.altalang.com/beyond-words/2009/01/30/does-fairness-translate-an-economist-and-a-linguist-delve-into-the-cross-cultural-variation-of-what-we-consider-fair/

Did you know that fair is one-to-one untranslatable into any other language–that it is distinctly Anglo in origin?

All of this is related to one of my favorite topics. The French don’t have a word for “fair” but presumably they act in such a way that things are fair.

Languages are weird. When reading books that were originally in other languages, I always wonder how much changes according to translator bias.

For example:
Biblical translations

The author of this obviously-biased-but-not-necessarily-wrong biblical translation article seems to be a translation deist. They believe that the original Hebrew and Greek were Word of God, but King James et al corrupted it. I’ve read other articles that compare translation choices of translators that don’t discuss that part, and focus more on the different meanings of Hebrew and Greek words, and how they may be misconstrued.

I linked to Wikipedia earlier, but it might be inaccessible due to a global Anglosphere blackout in response to SOPA and PIPA.

I’ve been reading a book…and the SOPA and PIPA bills are pretty much exactly what the book is entirely about. Written in 2010. It follows the changes in major communication industries (Radio is especially striking, but also the telephone and the film industry…did you know that Thomas Edison tried to rule the film industry?) from wide open for innovators and inventors to…locked down and dominated by huge companies.

Guess I’ll spend the blackout finishing up that book.

Parasite Theory

December 29, 2011

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19046399

Parasites, democratization, and the liberalization of values across contemporary countries.

The countries of the world vary in their position along the autocracy-democracy continuum of values. Traditionally, scholars explain this variation as based on resource distribution and disparity among nations. We provide a different framework for understanding the autocracy-democracy dimension and related value dimensions, one that is complementary (not alternative) to the research tradition, but more encompassing, involving both evolutionary (ultimate) and proximate causation of the values. We hypothesize that the variation in values pertaining to autocracy-democracy arises fundamentally out of human (Homo sapiens) species-typical psychological adaptation that manifests contingently, producing values and associated behaviours that functioned adaptively in human evolutionary history to cope with local levels of infectious diseases. We test this parasite hypothesis of democratization using publicly available data measuring democratization, collectivism-individualism, gender egalitarianism, property rights, sexual restrictiveness, and parasite prevalence across many countries of the world. Parasite prevalence across countries is based on a validated index of the severity of 22 important human diseases. We show that, as the hypothesis predicts, collectivism (hence, conservatism), autocracy, women’s subordination relative to men’s status, and women’s sexual restrictiveness are values that positively covary, and that correspond with high prevalence of infectious disease. Apparently, the psychology of xenophobia and ethnocentrism links these values to avoidance and management of parasites. Also as predicted, we show that the antipoles of each of the above values–individualism (hence, liberalism), democracy, and women’s rights, freedom and increased participation in casual sex–are a positively covarying set of values in countries with relatively low parasite stress. Beyond the cross-national support for the parasite hypothesis of democratization, it is consistent with the geographic location at high latitudes (and hence reduced parasite stress) of the early democratic transitions in Britain, France and the U.S.A. It, too, is consistent with the marked increase in the liberalization of social values in the West in the 1950s and 1960s (in part, the sexual revolution), regions that, a generation or two earlier, experienced dramatically reduced infectious diseases as a result of antibiotics, vaccinations, food- and water-safety practices, and increased sanitation. Moreover, we hypothesize that the generation and diffusion of innovations (in thought, action and technology) within and among regions, which is associated positively with democratization, is causally related to parasite stress. Finally, we hypothesize that past selection in the context of morbidity and mortality resulting from parasitic disease crafted many of the aspects of social psychology unique to humans.

That’s a pretty badass abstract. I gotta look for this paper on jstor.

3 Weeks

November 30, 2011

This week.

Next week.

Exam week (only two exams and an optional exam, because one is being moved to next week and one class just started mid-semester so there is no final exam).

Then some time.

Then next semester.

Hectic next few weeks though.

Fantasy Draft, Continued

September 6, 2011

Round 7
1. Matt Cassel
(KC – QB)
Mike Vick in…
2. Rob Gronkowski
(NE – TE)
blckbry WHIT…
3. Jimmy Graham
(NO – TE)
Tëëmen da …
4. Pittsburgh
(Pit – DEF)
OverlyFriend…
5. Danny Woodhead
(NE – RB)
FlutieAndThe…
6. Brandon Jacobs
(NYG – RB)
The Phalluses
7. Owen Daniels
(Hou – TE)
TD’s&Ass
8. Sidney Rice
(Sea – WR)
SlobOnMyKolb
9. Eli Manning
(NYG – QB)
Cakes’ Shoulder
10. Julio Jones
(Atl – WR)
Laces Out Dan!
11. Pierre Thomas
(NO – RB)
Canadian Bea…
12. Marcedes Lewis
(Jac – TE)
But Hole Tic…

If you’re just joining us, I was worried for my team without a QB into round 7. Jimmy took Matt Cassel in front of me, but Matt Cassel is worse than either of the QBs I ended up with anyway, so I’m ok with it. There are a ton of pretty-good-TE picks here in Round 7, and then I get my first QB, Eli Manning. He is not a bad QB, and I think it was a valuable pick, but Joe Flacco was the only QB picked after my Eli pick in round 7, until my Freeman pick in round 9. So, maybe I had some room that I could have waited further, but I heard people talk about drafting backups and I got scared. I didn’t want to be stuck with a (4th-string) Tim Tebow and (rookie) Andy Dalton as my QBs.

Round 8
1. Joe Flacco
(Bal – QB)
But Hole Tic…
2. Santana Moss
(Was – WR)
Canadian Bea…
3. Fred Jackson
(Buf – RB)
Laces Out Dan!
4. Austin Collie
(Ind – WR)
Cakes’ Shoulder
5. Marshawn Lynch
(Sea – RB)
SlobOnMyKolb
6. Philadelphia
(Phi – DEF)
TD’s&Ass
7. Mike Thomas
(Jac – WR)
The Phalluses
8. Plaxico Burress
(NYJ – WR)
FlutieAndThe…
9. Thomas Jones
(KC – RB)
OverlyFriend…
10. Ryan Grant
(GB – RB)
Tëëmen da …
11. James Starks
(GB – RB)
blckbry WHIT…
12. Brandon Pettigrew
(Det – TE)
Mike Vick in…

I saw Marshawn Lynch at the top of the draft queue when I was drafting so I decided to big-time the room by auto-picking him. I let time expire, put my hands up while staring at everyone like a badass, and then looked down at the screen.

Boop!

Austin Collie has been drafted.

What?

Apparently the computer thought I was good on RBs like Lynch, and felt I could use a little Austin Collie WR action. Now, I had seriously been considering drafting Collie, so this was not really that big of a deal, but if Lynch is great or Collie sucks (more likely now that Peyton Manning looking less and less likely to play), I will clearly blame every loss on this very moment. Foiled by my own hubris.

Humes got the Philly defense, to add to his Philly QB and Philly WR. Man I wish I was playing him during the Eagles’ bye week.

Ryan Grant and James Starks went successive picks, and reports have come out saying that they’re sharing time running the ball for the Packers 50/50, so I guess that makes sense. We shall see who got the better pick.

Round 9
1. C.J. Spiller
(Buf – RB)
Mike Vick in…
2. New York
(NYJ – DEF)
blckbry WHIT…
3. Baltimore
(Bal – DEF)
Tëëmen da …
4. Michael Bush
(Oak – RB)
OverlyFriend…
5. Sebastian Janikowski
(Oak – K)
FlutieAndThe…
6. Kellen Winslow
(TB – TE)
The Phalluses
7. Mason Crosby
(GB – K)
TD’s&Ass
8. Braylon Edwards
(SF – WR)
SlobOnMyKolb
9. Josh Freeman
(TB – QB)
Cakes’ Shoulder
10. Detroit
(Det – DEF)
Laces Out Dan!
11. Kevin Kolb
(Ari – QB)
Canadian Bea…
12. Brent Celek
(Phi – TE)
But Hole Tic…

I finally picked up my other QB, Freeman. I’m pretty excited about him…I wasn’t aiming for him, but when it came around to my turn I thought about how fairly confident I was in every position except QB, and saw that he was pretty much on the same tier as Eli Manning. It happens that they have somewhat complimentary schedules too, playing against easy defenses alternately.

The rest of the rounds:
We did 15 rounds, but a lot of the next 6 rounds would just be me going “yeah, he needed to get another WR to round out his bench…wooooo” so here are the highlights:

Round 10:
Malcom Floyd goes to Grote. Floyd did well for me lasts year, here’s hoping he doesn’t do as well for Grote. I took Joseph Addai, because for some reason I still think of him as an amazing RB. I don’t know if his value goes up or down based on Peyton Manning’s injury. Mike Sims-Walker goes to Rich. I don’t know much about Mike Sims-Walker, but I have heard that he’s good, and I would have taken the guy if circumstances permitted.

Round 11:
Jay Cutler gets the backup job for Cakes, and I pick up Danny Amendola. Ask me why.

I don’t know why.

I needed a WR. He’s the guy who was the top WR at the time. I’m not happy about it.

Round 12:
Holy backup QBs Batman! 5/12 people drafted a QB. I already had my backup QB, and my starting lineup…and Danny Amendola…was set, so I started drafting “sleeper” guys. Ben Tate was supposed to be Arian Foster last year, but he broke his ankle and then Arian Foster was Arian Foster. Now, Arian Foster has a hamstring injury that could keep him out of a game or two, and Ben Tate could take over as the new Arian Foster. He’s worth a late pick, anyway. If he blows up huge it would pretty much win me the league, and if not, I’ll just drop him.

Round 13:
People were drafting kickers just because they had nothing else they could think of that they needed. I stand by the old saying “never draft a kicker until the last round.” It’s a pretty literal saying. Of course, I still didn’t have anyone I wanted to draft, particularly, so I went “sleeper” guy with upside again. I probably shouldn’t have done this twice, both times with RBs, but oh well. Hedge my bets, maybe one of them will do it. Roy Helu backs up Sean’s 3rd round pick Tim Hightower, so if Hightower goes down injured, Helu will take over and I will have a decent RB while Sean is really screwed. I wasn’t intentionally screwing Sean, I was just taking a name I recognized as a decent late-round pick, and it happened to have the chance of really screwing Sean.

Round 14:
Alright guys, last call, get your defenses and bad tight ends. Rich picked Ronnie Brown the RB, and everyone else got a defense or a tight end. I went for the Atlanta Falcons defense because it’s a defense, and by rule I have to start one defense.

Round 15:
Kicker round for me and a few others, but some people saw this as a good time to grab one last WR or RB. I’m not sure if people were metagaming me (taking their Defense early, and Kicker a round early, so they have good starters at those positions, and then using their last pick on some other position, to then drop whenever they found a suitable player to replace him with), which seems like a genius strategy, or if they just felt like getting a good defense and/or kicker, or if they just didn’t know how long the draft was going to be so they didn’t time it right.

The world may never know.

Up next time: My views on total teams, or a draft report from this other league I might be joining.

Fantasy Football Draft 2011

September 5, 2011

Drafted this weekend. I think I did pretty well. Sorry for the weird copy/paste but I’m not gonna type these out myself.

Round 1
1. Adrian Peterson
(Min – RB)
Mike Vick in…
2. Jamaal Charles
(KC – RB)
blckbry WHIT…
3. Arian Foster
(Hou – RB)
Tëëmen da …
4. Ray Rice
(Bal – RB)
OverlyFriend…
5. Michael Turner
(Atl – RB)
FlutieAndThe…
6. Chris Johnson
(Ten – RB)
The Phalluses
7. Michael Vick
(Phi – QB)
TD’s&Ass
8. Rashard Mendenhall
(Pit – RB)
SlobOnMyKolb
9. Maurice Jones-Drew
(Jac – RB)
Freeman On Y…
10. Aaron Rodgers
(GB – QB)
Laces Out Dan!
11. LeSean McCoy
(Phi – RB)
Canadian Bea…
12. Andre Johnson
(Hou – WR)
But Hole Tic…

First 6 drafted were all RBs, which isn’t surprising. Rich drafted Jamaal Charles a little early, but not shockingly so. I also feel Michael Turner went pretty high, but he wasn’t going to make it back to Sean so I guess Sean had to do what he had to do. I was super jealous of how low Jay got Rashard Mendenhall, and how low Ray got LeSean McCoy. I could have gotten McCoy but I’m scared that his QB (Vick) will steal all the touchdowns. I reached a little for Maurice Jones-Drew but I really like him, especially with his talented-but-not-in-the-fantasy-playoffs-when-I-needed-him backup Rashad Jennings out for the season.

Round 2
1. Darren McFadden
(Oak – RB)
But Hole Tic…
2. Tom Brady
(NE – QB)
Canadian Bea…
3. Hakeem Nicks
(NYG – WR)
Laces Out Dan!
4. Calvin Johnson
(Det – WR)
Freeman On Y…
5. Frank Gore
(SF – RB)
SlobOnMyKolb
6. DeSean Jackson
(Phi – WR)
TD’s&Ass
7. Drew Brees
(NO – QB)
The Phalluses
8. Philip Rivers
(SD – QB)
FlutieAndThe…
9. Larry Fitzgerald
(Ari – WR)
OverlyFriend…
10. Roddy White
(Atl – WR)
Tëëmen da …
11. Peyton Hillis
(Cle – RB)
blckbry WHIT…
12. Shonn Greene
(NYJ – RB)
Mike Vick in…

Ray followed up the great pickup of LeSean McCoy with a reacher on Tom Brady, but now that I look at how this draft played out, it was probably less of a reach than I thought at the time. Everyone went QB really early except for Jay and I.

I took Calvin Johnson because he’s an amazing WR, and the skills of the remaining RBs were falling off a cliff, as evidenced by the fact that there was 1 RB taken in the 9 picks after Darren McFadden.

Steal of this round was probably Roddy White at 22nd overall, by Adam.

Round 3
1. Peyton Manning
(Ind – QB)
Mike Vick in…
2. Mike Wallace
(Pit – WR)
blckbry WHIT…
3. Tony Romo
(Dal – QB)
Tëëmen da …
4. Steven Jackson
(StL – RB)
OverlyFriend…
5. Tim Hightower
(Was – RB)
FlutieAndThe…
6. Matt Forte
(Chi – RB)
The Phalluses
7. Mark Ingram
(NO – RB)
TD’s&Ass
8. Felix Jones
(Dal – RB)
SlobOnMyKolb
9. Vincent Jackson
(SD – WR)
Freeman On Y…
10. DeAngelo Williams
(Car – RB)
Laces Out Dan!
11. Ahmad Bradshaw
(NYG – RB)
Canadian Bea…
12. Matt Schaub
(Hou – QB)
But Hole Tic..

Peyton Manning with the 1st pick in the 3rd round. Jimmy has some balls on him, especially considering that he didn’t take a backup until Matt Cassel. The problem with this strategy is that Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel are both likely to miss week 1, so I dunno what he’s gonna do at QB that day. Also, Peyton might miss more games (there’s a rumor that he has to have another surgery) and then he’s playing Matt Cassel at QB. Yikes.

The Tim Hightower pick will define Sean’s team. If he goes crazy good, it’ll be a fine pick. If he’s not good, Sean’s next best RB is Danny Woodhead, who was drafted in the 7th round for a reason: there are 6 rounds worth of players better than him. I was certainly not confident enough in Hightower to pick him in the 3rd round (especially over Matt Forte), but I was hoping he’d fall to me in a later round.

In fact, this entire string of RBs taken in the 3rd round (snapped by my Vincent Jackson pick, which was then followed by 2 more RBs) is questionable to me. I think my pick is the steal of this round, because he’s typically being drafted 17th overall, which would be middle of the 2nd round for us, and I got him late 3rd round.

Humes’ Mark Ingram pick was interesting, but Jahvid Best and Ryan Mathews screwed me over too much last year for me to chance it with a rookie RB.

Round 4
1. LeGarrette Blount
(TB – RB)
But Hole Tic…
2. Greg Jennings
(GB – WR)
Canadian Bea…
3. Antonio Gates
(SD – TE)
Laces Out Dan!
4. Beanie Wells
(Ari – RB)
Freeman On Y…
5. Reggie Wayne
(Ind – WR)
SlobOnMyKolb
6. Dwayne Bowe
(KC – WR)
TD’s&Ass
7. Brandon Lloyd
(Den – WR)
The Phalluses
8. Miles Austin
(Dal – WR)
FlutieAndThe…
9. Stevie Johnson
(Buf – WR)
OverlyFriend…
10. Ryan Mathews
(SD – RB)
Tëëmen da …
11. Chad Ochocinco
(NE – WR)
blckbry WHIT…
12. Mike Williams
(TB – WR)
Mike Vick in…

Antonio Gates breaks the TE seal in the 4th round. He’s probably the best TE in fantasy football, but I got Jamarcus Finley, who is at a very similar level, in round 6. Know your audience: The people in this draft overvalued QBs and undervalued TEs.

I’m not gonna pretend I’m super happy about Beanie Wells, but the next best RB was…Ryan Mathews? There were a mere 6 RBs taken in the next 36 picks, none of them particularly good.

Round 5
1. Dez Bryant
(Dal – WR)
Mike Vick in…
2. Ben Roethlisberger
(Pit – QB)
blckbry WHIT…
3. Brandon Marshall
(Mia – WR)
Tëëmen da …
4. Matt Ryan
(Atl – QB)
OverlyFriend…
5. Wes Welker
(NE – WR)
FlutieAndThe…
6. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
(NE – RB)
The Phalluses
7. Mike Tolbert
(SD – RB)
TD’s&Ass
8. Anquan Boldin
(Bal – WR)
SlobOnMyKolb
9. Jahvid Best
(Det – RB)
Freeman On Y…
10. Cedric Benson
(Cin – RB)
Laces Out Dan!
11. Marques Colston
(NO – WR)
Canadian Bea…
12. Green Bay
(GB – DEF)
But Hole Tic…

Ben Ruthlessburger was drafted earlier than his average draft position, but pretty low for a pretty good QB, compared to the rest of the places QBs were drafted in this draft.

I remember when I took Beanie Wells I was thinking about taking Jahvid Best, but then I saw that Best’s average drafting place was something absurdly low on Yahoo, so either there was something wrong with him, or other people think there’s something wrong with him. Either way, I hoped he’d cycle back and I could get him here, and I did. This was probably my second-favorite move of the draft by me. My favorite was waiting so late for a QB.

Jay’s cousin grabbed the first Defense of the draft. I think he was on autopick. You don’t draft a defense this early unless you’re on autopick. Even then, 5th round? He had a starting WR slot available, and a starting TE spot available, and a flex spot available. The next-best defense was taken in round 7, he could have waited a round and still gotten the Packers defense.

Oh well.

I also like Cedric Benson, because his teammates QB Dalton and WR AJ Green are good but not so good that they won’t need him to run the ball a billion times a game, and he’s really the only RB. These are the same reasons I like Jahvid Best, but I like Best better because his QB (Stafford) is better, the main WR (Calvin Johnson) is better, and he is better.

Round 6
1. Jeremy Maclin
(Phi – WR)
But Hole Tic…
2. Dallas Clark
(Ind – TE)
Canadian Bea…
3. Santonio Holmes
(NYJ – WR)
Laces Out Dan!
4. Jermichael Finley
(GB – TE)
Freeman On Y…
5. Matthew Stafford
(Det – QB)
SlobOnMyKolb
6. Mario Manningham
(NYG – WR)
TD’s&Ass
7. Kenny Britt
(Ten – WR)
The Phalluses
8. Vernon Davis
(SF – TE)
FlutieAndThe…
9. Jason Witten
(Dal – TE)
OverlyFriend…
10. Knowshon Moreno
(Den – RB)
Tëëmen da …
11. Lee Evans
(Bal – WR)
blckbry WHIT…
12. Percy Harvin
(Min – WR)
Mike Vick in…

Knowshon Moreno was a great pickup by Adam, and the last of the really good tight ends are taken here. Mostly an unexciting round, unless you’re a big me-fan. My favorite part of this draft happened here:

I’m sitting there with an early pick in Round 6. My first 5 picks were all RBs and WRs. If I picked another, I’d be drafting someone to put on the bench, because there are only 5 spots total for those positions. I have the Tight End position open, Kicker and Defense open, and Quarterback open. My next pick is very far away. QB is the more important position, but everyone drafted all the good ones (and I don’t regret missing out on them). Meanwhile, two of the best tight ends are available (Antonio Gates is probably better, but he has a nagging minor foot injury so maybe not this year). Ray takes Dallas Clark right before me. I take Jermichael Finley, and I sit and hope that people don’t start picking backup QBs before I get my starter.

As we’ll see next time, Jimmy does indeed pick a backup QB before I pick my starting QB, but it’s Matt Cassel, who I was never going to pick anyway. Meanwhile, there’s a huge run on TEs, and the best TE available for my next pick is Marcedes Lewis, who is far from awe-inspiring. Jay took Stafford for his starting QB that round, and ended up forced into Chris Cooley as TE. No, Chris Cooley is not good.

And with that last paragraph, this post ends on a bright spot, instead of a cliffhanger. I just couldn’t get through Round 6 without saying that part.

Sacrilege

September 2, 2011

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