Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Papers 3/4/2007

Which Sunday paper(s) did you read? Anything notable in them?

I read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Problem The main east-west highway will be closed on and off for the next two years, forcing traffic on to side streets that are not designed to handle the traffic.
Solution?: Discourage left turns

That's right - don't make them illegal, don't build median strips, but do things like put in a front page articles in the Sunday paper telling people it would be really helpful if they would avoid making left turns.

This has about zero chance of working, since everybody thinks their left turn is the one that should be the exception, and everyone else's left turn should have been avoided.

I grew up in South Jersey, home of the jug handle, so I know that banning left turns can work. But it requires building jug handles and ramps and medians and actully making left turns illega, not just trying to socially sitgmatize them.


rundeep said...

As always, I read (or skim) both the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. As long as I don't sleep in, I can be done with both by 10:00. This week, I slept in.

I thought of you actually, John. Very interesting article in the NYT Sunday Magazine about whether there is an evolutionary reason for faith in God. Religious belief is so ubiquitous a number of scientists have just assumed it's part of our wiring. If I could figure out how to do a link here, I would. Sorry.

The article was fascinating and believers would have no problem with its content. (As the author points out, actually, quotes someone else at the end: a smart God would encourage the hard-wiring of belief.) I lack the time to do it justice here, but I think you could if you wished. Regards

JohnMcG said...

I shared a link to Sullivan's commentary on what I think is the NYT piece you refer to. Check the Recommended.. widget.

bEnder said...

John: I changed our More... to AddThis.

august said...

I read the Times. Still haven't gotten around to the evolution article, but I've a budding interest in matters Darwinian.

Mostly, I like to do the crossword puzzle with mrs. august.

JohnMcG said...

Here's the NYT article.

One things I thought about while reading it, believe it or not, was clutch hitting.

We don't want to believe that Yadier Molina hit that home run of Aaron Heliman because random probablilty aligned that way. No, we want to believe that Molina is a "clutch" hitter, capable of performing under pressure, and conversely, that Heilman is a "choker."

And, of course, that's part of the fun of it.

Archaeopteryx said...

JMcG: As a die-hard Cards fan who had to watch Molina's miserable season last year, it's surprising to hear anyone say that Molina was anything close to clutch. To me, Molina's home run was just enough to prop up my dying religious belief for another couple of months. But it turns out there's at least a case to be made that Molina really is clutch. Or at least he sucks slightly less with the game on the line.

Don't know what to tell you about Heilman.

JohnMcG said...

I picked a recent, rather than pertinent example. Better examples might be that A-Rod can't perform in the postseason based on a bad five game series.

On Molina, there was an article in Sunday's paper suggesting Molina's postseason heroics will be the springboard to more offensive output.

This stuff makes sports more fun to follow -- a story is more fun than random chance. Roullette is not a spectator sport.

august said...

I'm reminded of the Red Sox ill-fated experiment with "closer by committee." It does take a certain something to perform well at the end of a big game.

[Brace yourself, this is the only time you'll ever hear me say something not negative about the Yankees].

Sure it's about probabilities (who doesn't enjoy a good stat?), but part of the point is that the probabilities change with each player. You breathe more easily if Mariano Rivera is up in the ninth inning, whereas I have most of my career as a fan been stuck with the likes of Armando Benitez.

twiffer said...

there are two sorts of "clutch" players. the first are those who are very good or great players. they always perform well and are often in position to perform in the clutch. being very good to great, they tend to perform well in these situations as well. examples would be riveria or big papi.

the second type are those players who pretty much suck, but happen to get lucky in the best of circumstances. molina would be an example. mark bellhorn would be another. they aren't any more clutch than the other group, but the perception of them is somewhat different. with the first group, it's a case of somewhat taking the player's skill for granted. with the second, it's just selective memory.