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Five fun things for Friday, April 9
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  five_fun_things budgeting
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It's been a busy week for sports fans, and a great one where my own allegiances are concerned. Duke are NCAA champs, Chelsea's back at the top of the Premier League and the Maple Leafs cemented their spot in the bottom three - improving their chances of a decent pick in next year's entry draft (in this case hope springs ever-eternal).
To cap it off, Major League Baseball
kicked off its 2010 season, though unfortunately (if not
unexpectedly), my Blue Jays lost their opener against Texas. Most likely a sign of things to come now that Roy Halladay is throwing for the Phillies.
Not by coincidence, the sporting world is where we start off this week's Five Fun Things. Let's begin, shall we?
1. NCAA hoops - the closest contest in a decade
Monday's NCAA men's basketball final was "a statistical classic," according to Wall Street Journal "Numbers Guy" Carl Bialik:
The average lead was 2.3 points and 77% of the game was played with a lead so narrow that a three-point shot could tie the game or change the lead [...] Hoops stats analyst Ken Pomeroy has unveiled a system to measure the probability that either team in a game will win, based on the score, time left and relative strength of the two teams (akin to similar systems for football). This system suggests that Duke’s probability of winning was above 65% until the game’s final frenetic minute. But that’s largely based on stats indicating that Duke was the favorite coming into the game. The way the game played out suggests these two teams were evenly matched — more so than any recent pair of finalists.
How do you scout a top baseball prospect? The answer could be in his jeans. In Slate's BrowBeat culture blog, Josh Levin writes about baseball scouts' little-known practice of evaluating a player's potential by the shape of his posterior:
There is an adage among scouts that the shape of a player's butt helps project what the prospect will become. Kids with flat butts generally don't fill out much. Kids with a curved butt will add strength to their frame—what the scouts call good weight. "Roy [Halladay] looked like he could easily carry another 15 to 20 pounds," says Mike Arbuckle, who ran the draft for the Phillies then and now is a senior adviser to the general manager in Kansas City.
And here I thought it was all about strikeouts and on-base percentage.
3. "A full-scale bunny overdose"
My nephew celebrated his first Easter last weekend, so we've been awash in bunnies as of late. Seemed like a good time to pass along this link from Visual Complexity and Pictoplasma entitled "The Essence of Rabbit."
Depending on the viewers' cultural context rabbits can symbolise anything from insanity, alertness, defencelessness, all the way to promiscuity, magic powers and utter innocence. By condensing the endless variations of the rabbit motif into one ultimate system - a perfect bunny mandala - the true nature of the beast emerges: the eternal essence of rabbit.
Pictoplasma asked internationally established and upcoming character designers, illustrators and artists around the globe to send in their versions of rabbits, bunnies, hares and everything in between. The result is a full-scale bunny overdose, with far more than 1.500 individual rabbits from 500+ international contributors.
4. Meet Carl Bialik, Numbers Guy of the Wall Street Journal
I can't remember how I came across Carl's column in the Journal, but I'm sure glad I did. Carl's blog looks at the way numbers are used and abused, whether the subject in question is self-defeating diet math, iPad sales figures or "arbitrary" milestones like Dow 10,000. You can follow him on Twitter, too.
5. Talk about extreme manual budgeting
If you think wrangling spreadsheets is a chore, try parsing out 1,000 sheets of paper to build your budget. Again from Visual Complexity comes this remarkable exhibit of a budget chart done on a cosmograph.
A cosmograph is used to track the input and output of a business. Components of input, or income, are listed on the left and components of output, or expenditure, are listed on the right. The size of each component on a cosmograph corresponds to its value.
This particular example comes from Willard Cope Brinton's 1939 book Graphic Presentation. You can see bigger pictures here or see the entire book here.
Have you found anything fun? Leave a comment or let me know through Twitter!