Monthly Archives: September 2015

Book Review- Energy Shift

Energy Shift: Game-Changing Options for Fueling the Future
by Eric Spiegel and Neil McArthur with Rob Norton, 2009


This book comes from the “strategy+business” series of the consulting firm Booz & Company. I used to work for Booz Allen Hamilton (mostly government contracting), which spun off Booz & Company (mostly private contracting) a few years before I started.

The book is a good overview of relevant energy issues for business executives. It describes the change and uncertainty in energy procurement and generation in the coming decades. It’s a little bit “higher level” than most of the other stuff I’ve been reading lately and thus provides broad-stroke guidance to business executives looking to stay in front of energy issues. It focuses on a few of the most relevant issues and is a quick read. It is peppered with sidebar essays by executives in the energy field. While it was written in 2009, I found 90% of the information to still be accurate in 2015.

NFL Picks- Week 2 of 2015

I have a NFL betting model that uses previous weeks’ scores to predict the results of the current week of games. Here are my 2014 betting results, where I finished 79-63 against the spread.

Now, it is week 2, so I only have one week of results with which to build my model. However, the model has been profitable when run over the last 30+ years, even in week 2. Given that, here are the predictions for week 2:

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.0): Predicting 18.0-22.8. Bet on the Kansas City Chiefs.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (even): Predicting 19.6-24.2. Bet on the Buffalo Bills.
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers (-3.0): Predicting 15.3-24.7. Bet on the Carolina Panthers.
Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears (+2.5): Predicting 24.9-22.6. Bet on the Chicago Bears.
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.0): Predicting 19.8-28.4. Bet on the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns (even): Predicting 27.8-17.8. Bet on the Tennessee Titans.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5): Predicting 21.2-21.0. Bet on the Detroit Lions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-11.0): Predicting 19.6-28.4. Bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-2.5): Predicting 21.7-25.5. Bet on the New York Giants.
San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5): Predicting 20.4-18.6. Bet on the San Francisco 49ers.
St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins (+3.5): Predicting 22.0-22.3. Bet on the Washington Redskins.
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.0): Predicting 19.1-15.7. Bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (+7.0): Predicting 21.4-19.1. Bet on the Oakland Raiders.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-5.0): Predicting 21.7-25.5. Bet on the Dallas Cowboys.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (-4.0): Predicting 22.8-28.7. Bet on the Green Bay Packers.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-7.5): Predicting 23.0-18.6. Bet on the New York Jets.

Game Theoretic Baseball Catching

I heard about Zack Hample and his thousands of game balls many years ago. Now he has over 8,000 and caught A-Rod’s 3000th hit (a home run) this year.

You might be able to increase your odds by moving to areas of less competition, even if it’s an area where fewer balls are hit.

Some of Hample’s suggestions:

1. Hample suggests going to batting practice before the game begins and finding an empty row with aisle access. You want to be able to move both left/right as well as up/down in the seats so you can cover more room (around 5:25 in the video).

2. Learn foreign languages! Now this is thinking creatively. Baseball players often toss balls up to fans if you ask them nicely. Hample figured that foreign players would be more receptive if he asked in their native tongue. He’s learned how to ask “can you throw me a baseball” in over 30 languages (around 6:45 in the video).

3. Look at ESPN’s home run tracker. You can look up any player or any stadium to see where home runs are hit in a scatterplot. There are statistical patterns so you can choose your seat accordingly to increase your chances of catching an important home run (around 6:10 in the video).

(via Mind Your Decisions)

Book Review- Mrs. Parkinson’s Law

Mrs. Parkinson’s Law: And Other Studies in Domestic Science
by C. Northcote Parkinson, 1968

mrs. parkinsons law

At the business library at school, I was looking for “Parkinson’s Law”, which is a fairly famous book that includes the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” What I found, instead, was “Mrs. Parkinson’s Law”, by the same author. Flipping through the pages, the book seemed to mesh humorous descriptions of domestic behavior with complex mathematical formulas: a combination I found worthy of a checkout.

I started reading the book to myself on our recent road-trip to Montana. By the 3rd chapter or so, I was reading out loud to Maria as she drove, the book being so funny. It has incredibly apt descriptions of the silliness of some aspects of life. The title “law” comes about in chapter seven:
Mrs. Parkinson’s Law: Heat produced by pressure expands to fill the mind available from which it can pass only to a cooler mind.

This law basically means that the complications and perceived slights of daily life can fester and frustrate an individual. At which point they will become madder and angrier until they can relieve the pressure by complaining to a less-harassed person. The book implies that the husband-wife combo is not usually the best outlet for the pressure release. It goes on to give a silly, but intricate, mathematical expression to the pressure and temperature experienced by an individual.

A particularly funny chapter deals with “Hosts and Guests”. A 4-8 page derivation describes the fact that the optimal cocktail party should “invite fifty-five people on the assumption that those actually present will number about fifty.” Goodness.

Very funny, with interesting takes on everyday trivialities, this book is highly recommended.

Fantasy Draft- Eric

I’m playing in a 10 person PPR league with fraternity brothers from CWRU (most of whom joined after I left and I haven’t met). We had a snake draft yesterday and I had the 5th pick. We’re starting 2 RB, 2 WR, and a flex (no TE necessary). Here’s my initial team; I think it’s pretty good:

1st round: Eddie Lacy RB
2nd round: Demaryius Thomas WR
3rd round: Lamar Miller RB
4th round: Jordan Matthews WR
5th round: Arian Foster RB
6th round: Giovani Bernard RB
7th round: Allen Robinson WR
8th round: Charles Johnson WR
9th round: Eli Manning, QB
10th round: John Brown, WR
11th round: Justin Tucker, K
12th round: Panthers, D/ST