Josh Heit's blog


Thursday, November 27, 2003

I normally wouldn't blog on Thanksgiving, but......sometimes stories pop into the news that just throw off your whole paradigm, and you're so close to the action that you kinda need to.

This qualifies. Gao Zhan, a researcher at good old AU, was arrested for selling high-tech equipment to the Chinese. This was the same Gao Zhan whose release was heralded by AU, and even got university president Ben Ladner to come on campus for a ceremony honoring her return. It's quite ironic, I think. I mean, really, whose side is she on?

Just doing a quick search in the AU database for Gao Zhan, I get...

AU WCL's Human Rights Center calls for Gao Zhan's release in April of '01.

A conference report with Gao Zhan attacking China's human rights record.

Another take on Gao Zhan telling her story, I believe this one's closer to her release.

Gao Zhan's statement upon release.

Thinking about it...was she selling equipment to the Chinese in the 90's and then changed her tune after her detention? Did China think that her selling of equipment was a cover for her business? Is that why she was in China in the first place when she was detained?

It's a sticky wicket. No official word's come out of the university. just has a blurb.

As they would say...Developing...


Friday, November 21, 2003

Randomness!: You know, posting more than once a week should probably happen. At this point, I'm not as bad as Rachel Lucas, but worse than the Mad Ponies, except that when they do post, they're entirely more interesting (This is why they have web traffic!).

For the record, I believe the below post is death on statistics. I'm not 100% sure. When I'm done with this Social Science stats class, I'll be more sure. Baseball bloggers, if want any hope of doing interesting analysis, take a stats course. (Yes, this means you.)

The AUCR's are promoting their new blog on the Today@AU webserver. It's a nice blog. I'd join, except that I don't feel like being overtly political, plus I already have this thing to tend to (or not tend to...). I have been thinking about group blogging, if I could grab a bunch of the best and brightest, or at the very least, the goofiest, AU students, and move onto a domain of the non-Blogspot variety. This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that blogging will be even less for me next semester, since I'll be in Australia (have I mentioned that yet)?

In cartoon news, Family Guy may be returning to FOX. Even though I don't catch it on Cartoon Network all that often, it's still hilarious, and I try to join the DVD watching parties whenever possible. In other good news, The Critic on DVD! This one I catch whenever possible, which is usually in its Sunday night Comedy Central timeslot, when I'm home (in New Jersey).

Ben Domenech links to an article in the WaPo on PG-13 movies. Rather interesting, and from having worked in a movie theatre, essentially true.

Blogging's probably shot until Tuesday, and I may try to do some blogroll purging over the Thanksgiving weekend (among other things). I promise an end-of-semester wrap-up in December, although I haven't lived up to that many blog promises in the past (I still owe three book reviews from AUGUST).


Friday, November 14, 2003

Back! With Baseball blogging!: David Pinto has been experimenting with a probabilistic model of range (scroll down to the September 19th entry, and read upwards). In his most recent post, he lists all pitchers with more than 200 balls in play (BIP) and lists them by Expected Defensive Efficiency Rating (DER – see here for an explanation of DER, you need to scroll to the bottom.) WARNING: The next few paragraphs are heavy in statistics.

First things first. 109 pitchers have a negative DER Difference and 121 have a positive DER Difference, so we’re dealing with a sample of 230 pitchers. (Mean: .000557, Standard Deviation: .016902) Let’s define an outlier as two standard deviations outside the mean (95% confidence rate). The range we’re now looking at is then: less than -.033247 and greater than .034361. We’re sitting on eight outliers, then, four negative and four positive. (Two of the negatives barely eek outside of the 2 standard deviation limit, but for the standards of completeness, I’m including them.)

Let’s look at the positives first, those whose Actual Outs exceeded Expected Outs. They are: Rheal Cormier (DER Difference .03737), Paul Quantrill (.04219), Felix Heredia (.04822), and Octavio Dotel (.06265). All relievers. An expected out range of 144.2 (Dotel) to 191.8 (Heredia). As far as I can tell, there’s no discernible correlation between Expected Outs and DER Difference. I’m going to chalk it up partly to good defense and partly to pure chance. (I know I shouldn’t do that, but I can’t think of a real reason for these guys to have such good defense behind them, specifically).

Now let’s look at the positives, starting with the two marginals. More relievers, in the personages of Antonio Alfonseca (-.03337) and Tim Worrell (-.03454). Worrell’s appearance here surprises me, because he pitched well all season, apparently despite his bad defense. And now for the two larger outliers: Aaron Heilman (-.04166) and Jeff Weaver (-.05102). Usually Weaver’s the posterboy for pitchers getting hurt by his defense, in terms of DIPS analysis (although in Baseball Crank’s July analysis, Glendon Rusch showed up as the posterboy, and he’s only sitting at -.02054, good for 28th worst. How much of that is due to second half starts not included in Crank’s data, I don’t know). To emphasize Weaver’s performance (since he’s the only outlier over 300 innings), his Expected Outs – Actual Outs = 29 Outs. The next close on the negative side is Andy Pettitte (-.02294) with 14.8 outs lost, on the other side of the ledger, Jason Schmidt (.02841) gained 15.5 outs from his defense according to this model.

While Weaver’s appearance on the list is interesting, Heilman’s is much more shocking. The conventional wisdom is that he sucks and needs to go back to AAA. However, he did lose 8.6 outs (137 expected) to his defense (I’d probably blame, in order: Roger Cedeno, Robbie Alomar, and Joe McEwing. The Mets do keep showing up near the bottom of David’s studies, if you look at some of the other data sets). He may have just suffered a string of bad defense.

Next, I’m probably going to take my data set and arrange it by team, to see if there are any trends there.

Bye for now.


Sunday, November 09, 2003

Links, kinda:

I apologize for the utter lack of content. Mid-semester stress. I really think that for many people, group blogging's where it's at. This way, not everyone has to be super-active at you still get a ton of content.

Speaking of, The AU Republicans have a blog. Nice of y'all not to link me. One of you has to know this thing exist. I probably won't be migrating over there, simply because I like to keep a wider range of issues (sports, AU events, random links), and because I'm brain-dead about now.

In non group blogs, why am I not linking Dan Drezner? Just keep scrolling. Warning: unhealthy Salma Hayek obsession.

If I don't produce anything resembling coherent context for a little while, just satisfy yourselves with the blogroll, or if you like, the ardhives.


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