Tag Archives: radio

Israel Story / Sipur Yisraeli

I just met Mishy Harman, who here in Madison is a mild-mannered visiting Ph.D. student in history but who back in Israel is a radio superstar!  He’s one of the hosts of Israel Story, a.k.a. the “This American Life” of Israel, which I’m told is one of the top-rated programs in the country.  The show’s in Hebrew, but for my non-Ivritophone readers (and for me!) the good news is that Mishy will be producing some segments in English in collaboration with WPR’s To The Best Of Our Knowledge:  here’s the first one, about the Alepo Codex.  If you want there to be still more English “Israel Story” than this, support their crowdfund campaign!

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I say two sentences about the World Series on NPR

Transcript and recording here.

This was based on a much longer conversation.  I’ll just add that yes, not only do wild card teams not always get blown out, they sometimes win!  The larger point stands, though — if the pennant winners are drawn somewhat uniformly from the best four teams in the league, you’re more likely to have a mismatched World Series than you were in olden times, when the pennant winner was usually the best team in its league.

Here’s my old Slate piece on why the World Series should be stopped when one team goes up 3-0, but should go to best of 9 if the first six games split 3-3.

If you like Mike Pesca’s voice and you like smart sports talk, I highly recommend Slate’s Hang Up and Listen podcast.

 

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I talk about Pi Day on Wisconsin Public Radio

Tomorrow (Monday) morning on Morning Edition at 88.7FM, aired at 6:35 and again at 8:35.  Available online at Wisconsin Life.

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Robert Siegel said my name

I was on All Things Considered today, talking a bit about compressed sensing. They let me tell the syphillis story that didn’t fit in the Wired article. The radio broadcast has come and gone, but you can still hear it at NPR’s website. Laura Balzano made the audio demo; for more explanation and more cool demos, see her page.

Update: I just listened to the piece.  Sorry for the inaccurate title:  Art Silverman, not Robert Siegel, said my name.

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On your radio

I’ll be on WSUM, 97.1 FM at 10pm this Friday night, spinning prog records and talking math with a student of mine on Progressive Rock Radio. I actually know very little about prog beyond the Yes, Kansas, and Genesis records of my youth, so please feel free to suggest ace tracks in comments.

Update: You can download the show here.

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First day of a long season

The always great Tom Scocca on the mental state of Oriole Nation as the 2008 campaign gets underway:

Beyond plain categories of optimism and pessimism live those of us who see a sparkling half-glass of water and know for sure that the Orioles are eventually going to take a crap in it.

More Orioles dyspepsia at Tom’s season preview at Deadspin.

My WNYC piece about sabermetrics and Alex Rodriguez (plus a little Orioles dyspepsia for my fellow orange-and-blackers) can now be heard online.

In today’s New York Times, Samuel Arbesman and Steven Strogatz argue that Joe DiMaggio’s streak wasn’t as miraculous as you think. They ran 10,000 Monte Carlo simultations of the history of major league baseball and found that, 42% of the time, someone had a hitting streak 56 games or longer. In every case, there was some player in some season who put together a hitting streak of at least 39 games.

That’s a nice experiment, but I don’t think it quite justifies the headline. The figure below shows that, in the simulation, long hitting streaks were strongly concentrated in the pre-1905 era, when higher batting averages were more common. In 1894 (the big spike in the chart below) the batting average for the entire National League was well over .300. The relevant question is not so much “is it surprising that someone had a 56-game hitting streak?” but “is it surprising that someone playing baseball under modern conditions had a 56-game hitting streak? And how likely is it ever to happen again?” The number I’d like to see is: of the 10,000 simulated seasons, in how many did a player have a 56-game hitting streak after 1941?

Despite my criticism, I’m delighted the NYTimes published this. The main point — that unlikely-seeming events are actually quite likely, as long as you give them enough chances to happen — is a crucial and subtle one, which should be repeated in a loud voice at every possible opportunity.

Arbeson has a blog which is mostly about computational biology and urban planning, not baseball. Strogatz has no blog, but his book Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order is surely very good, based on the lectures I’ve seen him deliver.

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On your radio

I’ll be on the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC from 1-1:20pm this Friday, March 28, talking about why, from a quantitative standpoint, Yankee fans should get off A-Rod’s back.

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