Monday, April 28, 2008

Jeopardy Savants

I've written before about the poor strategic decision making that is a rampant phenomenon among Jeopardy contestants.

Two particular instances occur over and over:

1) A contestant has his opponents more than doubled in money going into Final Jeopardy and thus cannot lose (unless he pulls a Clavin). He then bets everything he can minus one dollar to ensure victory. In real life would this guy (think typical Jeopardy contestant) really bet 4,5,6 thousand dollars on his ability to answer one question? There is a logical disconnect between game money and real money but game money is real money. In fact, this game plan only makes sense if the contestant is uniquely competent in the Final Jeopardy category, it happens far more frequently.

2) A contestant is ahead going into Final Jeopardy but has not doubled up her opponent. She then bets enough to beat her opponent by $1 (assuming her opponent bets everything he has). This strategy is designed to send home a known quantity (the opponent said contestant has already beaten) to be replaced on the following day by an unknown quantity (a different contestant). This strategy is also nonsensical. If a contestant has beaten her opponent through single and double Jeopardy she should welcome the opportunity to play him the following day.

Today's Jeopardy episode featured another interesting scenario peppered with misguided strategy. The returning champion (Contestant A) was awarded with both Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy. Both times he bet unnecessarily large sums of money in an attempt to separate himself from his opponents. When Final Jeopardy rolled around he had about $15,500 and his two opponents had something like $12,400 (Contestant B) and $12,200 (Contestant C). The Final Jeopardy topic was Royalty Wives (or something like that), a seemingly difficult category. Now, Contestants B and C should certainly have realized that if Contestant A was going down it was not going to be as a result of under betting Final Jeopardy, if he was going to lose he was going to get the question wrong. Therefore Contestants B and C know that he's going to bet $9,301 or more (in fact he bet $9,400) and should factor it into their decisions. In the case of Contestant B the information regarding Contestant A isn't particularly informative. Contestant B still needs to protect her slim lead over Contestant C and thus must wager nearly all of her money (she wagered all of it), but this information to Contestant C is very instructive. Contestant C must realize that the only chance she has of victory is for A and B to get the question wrong, as such she must limit her wager to within the loss A would incur under the circumstances of a wrong answer (she must not end up with less than 15,500 - 9,301 - and technically she probably shouldn't bet anything).

Anyway, as mentioned A bet 9,400, B bet 12,400, and C bet something like 9,000. All answered the question incorrectly and now A will return for another day.

It's strange that people who are smart enough to make it on Jeopardy are so miraculously stupid strategically.

On Friday I depart for a friend's bachelor party in New Orleans that happily and intentionally coincides with Jazz Fest. I will be taking copious notes and blogging about what is sure to be a monumentally dangerous trip. Keep an eye out for my best Hunter S. Thompson impression.

Friday, April 18, 2008

People are Strange

Hello and welcome to another addition of "Weird Shit People Search for on Google and End Up at This Blog." I've put an extra slathering of hair gel on to host today's event and I'm planning on inappropriately touching all the female contestants. Let's get started.

10. "Young Stiper": it's good to know there are retarded perverts out there.

9. "Commercial Mexican Dishware": As opposed to Indie Mexican Dishware?

8. "Excessively Jealous, Wife": big fan of the comma, gotta have the comma, (quick recommendation, Vampire Weekend has a song called Oxford Comma that I can't stop listening to, it's the new Young Folks)

7. "Child rape scene": it horrifies me that somebody is searching for this and even more so that they would end up at this blog (actually less so), wtf? Somebody call Chris Hansen.

6. "Living with a q-tube": I have no idea what this means.

5. "Wife sister areshole": Ditto number 6 (a search of areshole on google provides an interesting experience, I'm impressed that Urban Dictionary has the capability to be first on google with a term that "isn't defined yet but these are pretty close". Well done urban dictionary, well done. (btw, Urban Dictionary is defined thusly: A place formerly used to find out about slang, and now a place that teens with no life use as a burn book to whine about celebrities, their friends, etc., let out their sexual frustrations, show off their racist/sexist/homophobic/ anti-(insert religion here) opinions, troll, and babble about things they know nothing about.))

4. "My wife slept with the man blogspot": It may be time for marriage counseling.

3. "Gaysenator": is that one word or two?

2. "Wax replica of your private": I have to admit that one was me.

1. "Vintage Sunglass blogs": It'd be a lot cooler if this was.

Friday, April 11, 2008

All Over the Map Quotes of the Week

The cover of Vibe Magazine has this gem from Lil Wayne “I’m more afraid of life than death,” it’s unclear as to whether this quote is deeply profound or entirely inane but it would require reading an article on Lil Wayne to find out so it’s kind of like the amount of licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop.

Today in the Wall Street Journal Peggy Noonan quotes Pope Benedict:

"The right use of reason" prompts us to understand that violence is incompatible with the nature of God

Only the leader of the Catholic Church could distinguish between proper and improper uses of reason.

Vatican Three should definitely forbid the Pope from making any appeal to “the right use of reason,” or reason at all for that matter.

George Karl, Head Coach of the Denver Nuggets after the win over Golden State that essentially sealed the Nuggets playoff birth: “If I call practice there will be a revolution.”

Couple things. Those are not the words of a man in control of his team. Those are the words of a coach who is afraid of his team. Those are the words of a coach who should definitely be fired. Also, it’s interesting that he used the term revolution instead of mutiny. Karl definitely thinks very highly of himself and revolution would suggest a higher self-regard than a mere mutiny.

“Why do all hybrid cars look slightly retarded?” - YFBFB

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NYC to Outlaw Flatulence in Public Places

Mayor Michael Bloomberg today announced city plans to deal with those that dealt it in the city’s latest move to curtail disagreeable behavior.

“This is a great day for the city of New York and for sensitive olfactory neurons everywhere,” said the mayor inside city hall – removed from the city’s still rank outdoors.

The decision comes on the heels of the city’s ban on trans-fat which followed closely behind the city-wide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.

Initially intended to be put into effect in June, the blowhard prohibition has been moved back to August to follow the July implementation of the trans-fat ban.

“We thought the ban could be more strictly enforced following the trans-fat regulations,” said Policed Chief Raymond Kelly.

Opponents say that Mr. Bloomberg’s gone too far in his desire to control the behavior of New Yorkers.

“I’ve been farting around this city for 53 years,” said Crown Heights native Noah Stankiewicz, 53. “The Mayor and the fat cats in city hall are unsympathetic to the little people…with digestive disorders.”

Other city residents are excited about what they will say will finally put an end to odorific subway trips and hellacious elevator rides.

“I can finally breathe,” said one long-time Upper East Side resident.