Monday, September 26, 2022

Forecasting (Probably Accurate)

James Howard Kunstler speaks of, "...the magic moment when the necromancers of finance discover that the proverbial can they’ve been kicking is filled with Schrödinger’s cat food, and the road they’ve been kicking it down actually comes to a dead end."  He goes on to say that, "Economics will never be the same hereafter."

 You can read the whole thing. He is not an admirer of American governance.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Peter Principle

Just because one is good at participating in a sport does not mean they will become a success at officiating that sport, or will be very illuminating as announcer for it.

The Alabama quarterback was sacked in his own endzone. He lost the ball after going down, which rolled out of bounds in the end zone. Texas was celebrating a safety until they noticed a flag on the play.

The official announced “roughing the passer with targeting” and that there would be a review. So far, so good, but the Texas player barely hit the quarterback, and did not come anywhere near his head, so the first part of the call was a stretch, and the second was pure fiction. Targeting requires a review, but roughing the passer is not reviewable, so the two-point safety was out and Alabama was going to get a first down just based on the roughing part of the call.

Not so fast. The review established that there was no targeting, but it also made it very clear that the roughing call was ridiculous. Problem was, however, that roughing is not reviewable. The official then gave a complicated explanation about the call having been explained to him wrong and that roughing had never been called, only the targeting had and that there was no targeting. (And no roughing, not because it was overturned, but because that penalty had never been called.)

He did not explain how targeting, hitting the quarterback in the head, can be called without also calling roughing the passer. It would seem impossible, but… So there was no penalty. That would make it a sack, and two points for Texas.

He wasn’t done yet. He said that the quarterback was out of the pocket and had not fumbled the ball but had thrown it, and it was therefor an incomplete pass, third down Alabama at the one yard line.

If the quarterback had thrown, rather than fumbled, the ball, which he did not, the ball did not reach the line of scrimmage, which means it was “intentional grounding.” That would be a penalty committed in the end zone, which is by definition, wait for it... A safety.

So the official’s ignorance, abetted by the announcers’ ignorance, was a gift of two points to Alabama, which won the game by one point.

On to Indycar, and the season ending race at Laguna Seca. Will Power was leading in the championship by 21 points and was starting on the pole. Joseph Newgarten, second place in the points, was starting at the rear, in 26th place.

As Newgarten worked his way up in the field, the announcers, both former Indycar drivers, got all excited, implying, and even saying that all Newgarten had to do was pass Power to win the championship. I knew different, and was becoming increasingly annoyed, as it was increasingly unlikely that Newgarten was even going to take the lead in the race, let alone pass Power for the championship.

Finally one of the announcers calmed down as he said that, “We have been informed that because of the way that race points are awarded if Will Power finishes fifth or better he will win the championship.”

I knew that before the race started, as did a million other people. Why did they not?