Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Debt Ceiling Speech : In Numbers

This isnt about politics, it really never is. This is about words and numbers, and what a speech looks like. I did an earlier segment about The State of the Union and the length of the words. It is something that really means nothing, but an interesting analysis anyway.

7/25 Speech

Length (in minutes) 14:44
Length (in words) : 2289

Rate : 153.6 words per minute

Longest Word : 14 letters twice |  infrastructure responsibility

Most Common Word [of substance*] :  Approach used 15 times.

Average Word Length : 4.667
Median Word Length : 4 characters

Mentioned the Republicans 9 times , Democrats twice

*of substance refers to a word no included in this list ( the to and a of we that in on is For have our But I).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why The DMV Sucks

Recently I have switched abodes, in the fine District of Columbia. For most of you, you're probably unaware of how the parking works in this dungeon city. There are 8 zones, and within your registered zone, you can park as long as you want [given its not street cleaning day] in your particular zone. I was zone 4, but have recently upgraded moved to zone 1. However, with that, I need a new Parking Pass. I paid, did all my DMV work, and my licence came, but not my new parking pass. So I called the DMV to ask them where it was. Now in comes the statistics.

The phone system at all DMV's i am assured is terrible, lucky for me, i only had to deal with one of them. But DC is a clever little bunch, they dont allow you to "skip" sections of the call.

The Stages of a DMV call.
1. A useless note from the Mayor's Office
47 seconds . Then press 2 (for the DMV)

2. A useless note from the DMV
25 seconds . Then press 1 (for English). Which had me thinking, what if I spoke Spanish, the first minute and 2 seconds would be VERY confusing for me.

3. Another useless note from the DMV
35 seconds

Recap : Before i could begin to make selections, I had to wait 1 minute and 47 seconds.

Selections for a Registration Card (for parking)

4. 45 seconds for Information about how to apply for a Registration card.
5. 20 seconds about how you can do this on-line
6. 30 seconds about how you will need to get a new licience
7. 50 seconds about what a Customer service rep can handle
8. 30 seconds with a number you can call to pay tickets
9. FINALLY 10 seconds, and you get to customer representative.

Add all that up (and graph it below), you get 5 minutes before you can even get on hold to speak to someone. In that amount of time, I can toast a bagel, make 5 bags of minute rice, grab a coffee or avoid all that and talk to a person. There really should be a number, a more direct one that gets me to a human, that not only has emotions (now that i think about, DMV workers dont have emotions), or can get my logic.

Of course, that is 5 minutes assuming you clicked everything correct, sadly for me, that wasnt the case. I missed a few buttons here and there and needed 4 calls. To be fair, their menus are pretty confusing, since you cant just press 0 (just an FYI hitting zero restarts that stage, so dont do that).

The true kicker to this, was how much the DMV hates American Express. In the scenario i listed above, I was told of the DMV's credit card policy 5 times they take Visa, MasterCard and Discover, but they make a note to tell you "The DC DMV does NOT accept American Express"!

All in All I honestly believe the DMV tries to suck time and life out of their customers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter : The Franchise

Harry Potter has begun its final decent into the Hollywood Hall of Fame. Assuming it doesn't pull a Brett Favre and come out of retirement 3 times, one can assume that Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows Part 2 is the final film to this saga. Not only did the film touch endless numbers of children and adults; it also merged great stars while forming new ones. Just think about the Lottery that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rubert Grint (thats Ron Weasley if you didn't know) hit when they were drafted for this film. Not just with money, as i am sure there was a lot of that, but just their pictures sitting on millions of desktops, and all over the walls of readers. This blog though is about numbers (or rather statistics), and anyone can read US Weekly (just for the record, that is not a credible source of information) if they wanted to know how the Harry Potter Characters were going to live. As I sat through the final (touching have you) moments of the final film, I realized my childhood was over. I'll try to breakdown some cool facts and figures, as well a give respect to how well the franchise did.

I am a Harry Potter Fan and it cost me :
If you just read the books, and bought them
Now : $43 Soft Cover , $114 Hardcover
At List Value Day of Release : $230

If you just  watched the films once :
$95 [ fees, buy in advance options] [8 films mind you]

If you just bought the films
$175 [Sorcerers stone through Deathly Hollows Part I]

If you love harry Potter, and maxed out the above, you spent $500 dollars on Harry Potter, that is an average of $35 dollars per year.

Movies - Sure no Oscars, Golden Globes, but money talks.
This past weekend Deathly Hollows became the number 1 Opening Box Office film by $10,138,517. Just for perspective, when #2 past #3, it only did it by $6,000,000. The Deathly Hollows Part II is on pace to become the highest grossing movie of all time.

Based on Opening weekend ALONE, Harry Potter DH 2 goes down as the 168th highest grossing movie of all time. That is, if the movie never sold another ticket, and only showed on 4 days, it is 168th of ALL TIME!

Its more than the finale though,sure once you are hooked on Harry Potter, its a like a drug you can put down.
Every Harry Potter Movie (minus Deathly Hollows Part 2) is in the top 75 of all time sales.  Think about that, thats like saying the 7 out of the top 75 (all time) baseball players came from the same team. The trick here is that there were seven movies.  Although the franchise is successful, it still has its faults.

Below is the series combined total. Think of this as Golf, the lower the number the better.

Spiderman[9,14,19] = 42
Lord Of The Rings [13,17,28]= 58
IronMan [25,29] = 54
StarWars [4,12,30] = 46
Pirates of the Caribbean [8,31,34] = 73
Best Three Harry Potters[26,36,39] = 101

So although the Harry Potter movies have grossed a lot of movie, and began a legacy, it did so with a consistent stream, not a Babe Ruth All-Star.That is the key about this series, it bought us for the long term. It convinced us to keep going through 10 years, that this was something worth waiting for. Most of the movies in that list above came out within 5 years of each other, we didnt have to wait long for the ending.

If Harry Potter wants to become the best franchise movies, it needs Deathly Hollows Part II to do well, and just not good, but excellent. It needs to become the Avatar of 2011; despite the 3d technology i dont think it will do it. It has $591,957,625 more to go, which seems like a lot, but the movie isnt closing tomorrow (well hopefully anyway).

The irony of Harry Potter, people wait in line until 12am on the night before to be the first to watch this movie. The top five films (grossing all time) did not have people waiting in line. People didn't wait in line for Avatar, they didn't have someone scout out seats 4 hours before hand. In fact, Avatar's opening weekend was half  that of Deathly Hollows Part II and Part I; but movie box offices are not a sprint, they are marathon. Harry Potter probably wont convince people to go back several times, or will its amazing 3d images convince critics that needs to win an award (despite being a rip of a movie called Ferngully).

Despite the statistics, the movie is amazing, and it has surely touched more hearts than any Statistician could count, it made people lose hours of sleep reading those books, or millions of costume sales and lighting bolt tattoos.

Friday, July 15, 2011

TV Digits : How I Met Your Mother

Once Upon a time, CBS released one of the best shows called How I Met Your Mother. The show has main character Ted Mosby recall to his two children [Narrated by Bob Saget] how he met their mother. I am a fan of the show, thanks to a great teacher of mine! Despite my love for the show (and after getting my degree in Statistics), I have come to learn that it is set up to succeed.

Since the show came out in 2005, it has appeared only on Monday nights. The largest markets for TV are Wednesday and Thursday Nights. The most watched show for the last 8 Years, American Idol has shown on Wednesday and Thursday, not Monday.Actually, for the last 30 years, the most watched show for each year always appeared on Thursday. That means, the best shows are competing for that prime spot Thursday nights. Don't believe me, here was this season's Thursday night line up.

MTV : Jersey Shore
FX : Always Sunny in Philadelphia
NBC : Community, The Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock [Out Sourced]
ABC :  Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice
Fox : Glee, American Idol,Bones

Of course, there is more, but just look at that line up. Competing against that is like playing in the All-Star Game. How I Met Your Mother, finished with two million less viewers than GLEE, which had all of that competition. The key thing to understand here is market share. The market is not as tough on Monday, so it is easy for How I Met Your Mother to succeed, because frankly there aren't as many "All-Star" shows. Instead everyone goes after that Thursday night slot [which is stupid if you ask me].

Some things to note, Modern Family has the same approach as How I Met Your Mother. It is on Wednesdays, where its main competitor is American Idol Wednesday (the singing portion, not the vote off show). Since it has a lack of competition, it ranks fourth on  market share with 12%. Parks and Recreation has the opposite effect, it is punished for being on Thursdays, pulling in a sad 7% of the Market. Something to note here is that Modern Family is on its second season while Parks and Recreation is on its third season. How I Met Your Mother ranks (25th) with 10% of the market.

Well isn't Monday Night Football a problem? No sweat move the show time.Once ESPN gained the rights to show Monday Night football, (2006) CBS moved the show time to 8:00 from 8:30 to avoid losing all those manly dads who dream of telling their kids about how they met there mother, then watch some men crush each other.

What amazes me the most is how long this show survived. Shows with terminal starts (meaning they start with an ending, like Lost) typically suffer after three seasons. Think of it this way, its like a person telling you a story, but it just wont end. Ok I got it, you wrecked 6 cars on your route, but how did you get there already. There have been 2640 minutes of How I Met Your Mother aired already. If anyone ever took that long to tell me a story I probably wouldn't be friends with them.

Prediction : Sooner or later, the producers are going to have to cut the show. If they are not idiots like those that produced Jericho they will start the season letting everyone know it is going to end that season (just like lost did). I just hope Ted doesn't come on the screen and say, sorry kids you are adopted, so i never actually met your mother, if so i can promise you i will sue CBS for all my lost minutes watching that show, and even its repeats.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nationals : Guess What, they are not better

Hi Readers, I may have a Washington Nationals bias, and being such I will continue to write about them until something more exciting comes up. Most of my news in the morning is about the terrible Washington based sports teams, not excluding the Washington Capitals, who fail to execute in the playoffs.

With this in mind, the buzz in DC is about HOW GREAT THOSE Nationals are!!! Guess what fokes, they are shockingly only a whole six games better than last year at this point. This change of pace season, the big spending of Jason Werth (more to come) has all come-to-forwishen for a whole measly 6 games.

The Numbers
The Nationals have scored less runs than last year. 18 less runs have been scored. So while they have acquired a very very expensive free agent Jason Werth (7 yrs 126 m.), they are not scoring more runs.

The Nationals have allowed less runs than last year; that's even without Stephen Strassburg. They have allowed 67 less runs with the same pitchers of last year.
Problems to solve:
Jason Werth : Not exactly worth it. He is batting .215, when he has a career average of .265. His on-base is not any better, .319 vs his career average of .361. Well he is driving runs in, and has power doesn't he? His Slugging Percentage has dropped as well, when he was with Philadelphia his numbers were .506 and .362 with the Nationals. His RBI's are down as well! In Philadelphia he hit .544 RBI's per game, while now he is hitting .352 per game. [Just an FYI what this means, is that over 10 games in Philadelphia he would have hit about 5 RBI's and now he hits about 3]. The ironic part, is that everyone praises how good he is. The only thing he improved on was stealing. He is averaging more steals.

Catcher: The Nationals need a catcher. Ramos is below average for catchers in every category. Ivan Rodriguez is going to retire soon (as he should), and they will be left with nothing. Their next best catcher, Jesus Flores, who hit .234 in the MINORS! For those not aware, that is pretty bad. There only hope is a second-stringer named Jhonatan Solano who hit .316 in the minors. Moral of the story, this position is thin and is going to get thinner.

Bryce Harper: Will solve a majority of their outfield issues, but still has a few years to go. Personally I'm not a fan of the kid, but hey, who doesnt love homeruns!

And Finally, a graph of this years wins and last year's wins just incase you didnt believe me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home Run Derby - Its harder than you think

The Home Run Derby, every kid's Dream. Batters get to take some meatball pitches and just crush them out of the stadium. Many spectators, including myself, always wonder why aren't there more Home Runs. I mean seriously, think about this. A pro-athlete who trains to crush a small ball more than 400 feet, and is given a (somewhat) perfect pitch. Surprisingly, it is not as easy as one would think.

Endurance - During a game, David Ortiz sees about 5 pitches per at bat, and has a swing rate of 21.8. That Means on average he is swinging at 1 pitch per at bat. Mind you, these are gross averages. Sometimes Ortiz will swing at 14 pitches, as he did the other day, and other times he will swing and hit the first pitch. He also averages 4 at bats per game. So for a typical 24 hour period, David Ortiz is swinging at 4 pitches. Here are some things to note, before you stop believing. Not every strike is swung at, and he also draws quite a few walks because of his power. So he is swinging at 4 pitches. Ever wonder how many it takes during the Home-Run Derby? It is a minimum of 10! If you are eliminated in the first round, you still are swinging (with power) at 2.5 more pitches than normal. That mind you, those 10 are missed swings. If you hit a Home Run, you keep swinging.

Swings Per Player Per Round

Name Round 1 - Round 2 - Final
Robinson Cano - 18 , 22, 18
Adrian Gonzalez - 19,21,21
Prince Fielder - 20,14
David Ortiz - 20, 19
Matt Holliday - 20
Jose Bautista - 14
Rickie Weeks - 13
Matt Kemp - 12

This may seem silly at first a major leaguer has to do his job and "Swing" at bat as hard as he can to get the ball over the fence. But in reality, it is tougher than the average game. Sure there are outliers, and some people have hit more Home Runs in one game than Matt Kemp did in a competition where that is his sole job.

Wasted Energy
Now sure, I love when the ball travels 459 feet, and it hits some banister and the crowd goes wild. The matter of the fact though, is that all Home Runs are created equal. Distance does not (yet anyway) factor into your outcome. Cano's longest distance was 472. Farthest part of that stadium is 407 (with a pretty tall wall). So that means Cano wasted 65 feet, that perhaps he could have used on other smaller hits, that might have been converted to Home Runs. Sure this is not a dollar value, and can not be added or subtracted, but something to note. The Home Run derby does not reward distance, so why do players insist on crushing the ball father than they have to. Mainly because they don't have a gauge on them that says Hey, let me hit this ball only 408 feet, I'll save that energy for the rest.

I enjoy the Home Run Derby, and this is not a criticism of it. Just a reality of how hard it actually is. I probably couldn't crush 22 Home Runs even on the little league field, (with or without my dad throwing me warm-up pitches).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day and Night : Nationals

No, this post is NOT about how the Washintion Nationals blow 8 run leads but rather a question I was thinking over the past few weeks. After watching a Braves Game at 1:00pm, I saw a rather small crowd (Apparently 21,000) at the game. So I started to wonder, does the whole Day game thing really work, or are teams losing potential profit by having their games at night. Below is a graph I made up, with the time of the game, and the attendance there. This is for the 2010 season, and I only did 5 teams, because trust me this takes some time. As one can see, there really isn't a difference. The Braves are the only team appear to have a difference. Being such, I ran some fantsy statistical tests (a Two-Sample T Test for all you nerds out there), and found that there wasn't a difference between the two. Well, how about the Nationals, they appear to have a huge dip between day and night games right. All those hard working politicians dont see the games at night right? Nope, there is not statistical difference between the attendance of a day game and a night game. They on average receive roughly the same number of people.

Overall, there is no difference between a teams Day Attendance, and Its Night Attendance!