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DVOA Wed, Oct 01, 2008
The current method of quantifying the performance of NFL quarterbacks is with the much-aligned Passer Rating.  It's calculated with typical quarterback stats, including completion percentage, yards per completion, touchdowns, etc.  However, it has two glaring downfalls:  (1) It ranges from 0 to an obscure 158.3, and (2) it consistently ranks bad quarterbacks quite highly. 

A new statistic called Defense-adjusted Value Over Average has been developed that seeks to avoid these pitfalls.  It's based on a percent scale, making it easy for normal people to understand what's good and bad.  If a quarterback's passer rating is 95, is that good?  Who knows?  With the DVOA, it's easy to see that a value of 100% is good while a value of 50% is not (although DVOA uses negative percentages, which to me seems to defeat the purpose of using percentages).  Also, a quarterback like Donovan McNabb, who traditionally has a high quarterback rating, is ranked lower with DVOA (sorry there's no proof for that; it was in a Popular Science magazine article). 

Personally, I'd like to develop my own rating system that takes into account whether the team won or lost.  Because when it comes down to it, the best quarterback on a losing team is still on a losing team. #sports

Netherlands (1) Wed, Oct 01, 2008
The Netherlands is a confusing country.  Sometimes it's called Holland.  But its people are Dutch.  Dutch sounds like Deutsch, as in Deutschland, which refers to Germany, but which Americans butchered and further confused by developing terms like "Pennsylvania Dutch" (which should really be "Pennsylvania Deutsch" since the people are of German descent).  Holland is technically an area in the central-western part of the Netherlands, but the term "Holland" is often used to refer to the country as a whole (pars pro toto).  In addition to describing the people from the Netherlands, the term "Dutch" also refers to a language spoken not only in Holland, but also in neighboring Belgium, France, and a few other places. #travel

Auto-ordered plates (10) Wed, Oct 01, 2008
If there was ever a doubt as to how much of a geek I am, this should make it clear. 

Our household owns several different colors of solid-color plates.  Two each of red, orange, yellow, and blue.  We use these plates in a random order, i.e. we don't intentionally use plates of the same color for a meal for two.  Furthermore, the order of the plates is constantly changing (and randomly, at that) because the order in which they're used isn't the order in which they're replaced, and sometimes newly washed plates are placed on top of the pile, while other times they're placed at the bottom.  If anything can be said about the usage of these plates, it's that it's completely random.  There's no order involved whatsoever.  Which makes it interesting when something like this happens: 


What we have here is a set of eight plates that have almost grouped themselves by color.  Two blues, one orange, two reds, two yellows, one orange.  There's most likely a way to calculate the probability of something like this happening, though I don't claim to understand probability.  What's equally interesting is that this isn't the first time it's happened.  It happened at least one other time in the last few months, which would make that probability even more amazing.  The day the plates completely auto-order themselves will most likely be the day the world ends.  If not, I'll post that picture too. #math