When I received Significance today—this is the december 2011 issue,  I glimpsed it contained a coverage of the movie Moneyball my son watched a few days ago. Being completely blank about baseball (as well as cricket, but thanks to the Significance editors for their effort!),  I could not follow the argument in the movie (and in the review by Ray Stefani and Jim Albert) that made a statistician more efficient than a baseball scout, but it sounds like a very good argument for the profession! (Having Brad Pitt playing one of the statistically inclined, if not the statistician as mentioned in the review, cannot hurt with the students.)

Thankfully, there was nothing about the Russian election! And then an unexpected piece about a tunneller and the connections drilling tunnels has with statistics and Monte Carlo simulation. As it happened, the editor of Significance ran into the engineer who eventually wrote this paper in a pub in Miami Beach during JSM 11! This reminded me of a chance encounter I had with another tunnel driller in a plane to the US, who was sitting next to me and showed me a movie of his tunneller drilling under one of the major US airports. (This must have been in 2002 as I seem to remember travelling to Banff for an IMS meeting, along with Arnaud Guillin…)

In addition, I also enjoyed the simulation challenge of reproducing every bit of each of Shakespeare’s work by [virtual] monkeys typing at random. And a bit less the simulation of Chopin’s mazurkas as the notes were written in the letter code (instead of do, ré, mi, &tc.).

5 Responses to “moneyball”

  1. Hi, Xi’an,
    Just wanted to thank you for your kind words about Significance. I am its editor but I too am fairly blank about baseball, (and about cricket as well), so I have to rely on our fine authors to inform me on such things (and to supply a box giving the rules…). But I am glad you enjoyed the monkeys-and-Shakespeare piece, and the tunnelling.
    And I shall leave the Russian election well alone in future.
    Very best,
    Julian Champkin,
    Editor, Significance, the magazine of the American Statistical Association and Royal Statistical Society

  2. moqueur que tu es!!! j’en fais le double de toi…

  3. Là, on voit clairement qu’il y a trrrrès longtemps que tu n’as pas fait cours!!!

  4. ca nous rajeunit pas…
    pas tres bon le film dont tu parles… mais bon les etudiantes de dauphine n’ont pas besoin de Brad Pitt… elles ont Bob!!!! et avec ses cours de R elles vont depoter le championnat de baseball!!

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