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Hurt-o-meter marking: yellow

So, we're out.

The match was pret­ty even, not bad­ly played, but both teams played ex­cel­lent de­fense, so ...

Penal­ty kicks can go ei­ther way, and we are out.

What I have learned:

  • Enalapril does work.

  • Tevez is a mon­ster.

  • Ger­­many will not win the cup... un­­less they get some more luck. Like Ukrayne in semis and France in the fi­­nal. Any­one else and they are toast (ok, maybe Italy sucks enough).

  • We have a very good shot in 2010.

I am ob­vi­ous­ly not feel­ing ok right now, but ... I said quar­ters or semis, and I said it would be with suf­fer­ing. So there. I was right. Not that I ac­tu­al­ly en­joy be­ing right. It's more like I hate be­ing right.

The Value Of Difficulty

I am not an artis­tic per­son. I am not able to ap­pre­ci­ate whole arts (po­et­ry does­n't move me, Lyric Singing an­noys me). But I do have a taste, which is my own, al­though I un­der­stand it is not ex­act­ly good taste.

Now, what do I like?, or rather, why do I like it? Does it say some­thing about me?

I find that I don't like any form of art with­out in­trin­sic dif­fi­cul­ty. Or rather, that I en­joy more if it is some­what dif­fi­cult tech­ni­cal­ly.

For ex­am­ple, I know all the the­o­ry be­hind why this is sup­posed to be a great paint­ing:


Her­mann Nitsch's work draws par­al­lels be­tween re­li­gion and the rit­u­al­is­tic spir­i­tu­al­ism of cre­ativ­i­ty. Heav­i­ly en­trenched in an­cient phi­los­o­phy and a dis­si­den­t, ques­tion­ing Chris­tian the­ol­o­gy, he ac­tive­ly seeks cathar­sis through pain and com­pas­sion, a rig­or­ous­ly dis­ci­plined quest for ethe­re­al re­lease and en­light­en­ment through an em­brac­ing of pri­mal in­stinct and an­cient sacra­men­t.

Er­mm­m... I see most­ly a red blotch, which I sup­pose makes me a philis­tine.

On the oth­er hand, I see this, and I ac­tu­al­ly see a lot more that fits that de­scrip­tion:

I like In­gres more than Rothko, I like Rubens more than Pi­cas­so... maybe I am just old fash­ioned?

I think not. I think I de­spise those who de­cide to mas­ter a game with no rules, where you can de­clare your­self win­ner with­out con­trast­ing your­self to oth­er play­er­s. That's why we watch the foot­ball world cup and not oth­er games, be­cause it's damn hard and you have to do it with your feet. I think mod­ern paint­ing is tak­ing the ball in your hands and declar­ing your­self rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

This out­look, that hav­ing a good tech­nique, a do­main of a dif­fi­cult craft be­fore both­er­ing with art has some strange ef­fects in my life. I don't like the low hang­ing fruit. But then again, I am not re­al­ly tall enough or strong enough for the one that's on the hard to reach branch­es.

That leads to a life of al­most un­end­ing frus­tra­tion and yearn­ing, yet gives me lots of en­er­gy, and I think I have come to do some things I would­n't have done had I set­tled for eas­i­er pick­ings.

I have been work­ing for years on how to har­ness that thrust for my own ben­e­fit, and I am not too good at it yet. Maybe that's the tough­est craft I need to mas­ter, and I am work­ing on it.

This is a podcast.

Thanks to a post Rich Bur­ridge I found out about Talkr which pro­vides a cute RSS-­to-voice ser­vice.

It works pret­ty well, and it was a piece of cake to add to the blog.

So, you can click on the "Lis­ten to this post" links and ... lis­ten to this post.

In any case, this con­firms I am a blog-­fid­geter. And if any­one knows of any oth­er cute toys for it, please let me know :-)

Exhausted by a match. And I was just watching.

I wrote in my first post about the world cup this:

We have a prob­a­ble su­per­star, but he's too young and a lit­tle in­jured. We have a ter­ri­ble goalie, an ag­ing de­fense, a lot of above av­er­age for­ward­s... I say semis, or quar­ter­s. If we get any fur­ther, it will be in the Italy way, not the Mex­i­co way.

When I said the Italy way, I meant as Ar­genti­na ad­vanced in Italy 90: with lots of suf­fer­ing.

Now, this was not even close to the equiv­a­lent match in Italy: re­lent­less­ly be­ing dom­i­nat­ed by Brazil, but boy was it painful.

Not a great match, but I have hope that's just beause we match up bad­ly with Mex­i­co.

Ger­many beat the tar out of Swe­den, and Eng­land has just fin­ished beat­ing Ecuador.

  • Ger­­many is good, but I still want to know what hap­pens when they play a team that can ac­­tu­al­­ly score. The clos­est they had was Ecuador, but they played with­­out their best for­ward.

  • Swe­­den... what a de­­press­ing team.

  • En­g­­land... Like Swe­­den, but with a guy that can do free kick­­s.

  • Ecuador... ner­vous. But not a bad game, they could have won if they had de­­cid­ed to bring it to En­g­­land, which should have had some play­er thrown out for re­­peat­ed foul­ing.

  • Mex­i­­co... gut­s. Lots of them. Peo­­ple have said Lavolpe is crazy. His name means "the fox". So, yeah, he is crazy... like a fox! He made a per­­fect tac­ti­­cal set­t­ing, but was un­lucky with in­­juries.

  • Ar­­gen­ti­­na... we can get bet­ter. I feel there is still an­oth­er gear. But we need it on fri­­day.

And to all my ger­man friends in KDE... good luck, and a pain­less 1-0 de­feat to you! ( just kid­ding ;-)

BTW: this is what hap­pens when Ar­genti­na plays (game start­ed at 16 hours):


If you have read the past 5 post­s, you saw it was com­ing, right? ;-)

Via Slate here's a pa­per ap­ply­ing game the­o­ry to penalties:


The con­clus­sion (and they made me re­type this, be­cause of stupid DR­M):

The im­pli­ca­tions of the Min­i­max the­o­rem are test­ed us­ing nat­u­ral da­ta. The tests use a unique da­ta set from penal­ty kicks in pro­fes­sion­al soc­cer games. In this nat­u­ral set­ting ex­perts play a one-shot two-per­son ze­ro-­sum game. The re­sults of the tests are re­mark­ably con­sis­tent with equi­lib­ri­um play in ev­ery re­spec­t: (i) win­ning prob­a­bil­i­ties are sta­tis­ti­cal­ly iden­ti­cal across strate­gies for play­er­s; (i­i) play­er­s' choic­es are se­ri­al­ly in­de­pen­den­t. The tests have sub­stan­tial pow­er to dis­tin­guish equi­lib­ri­um play from dis­e­qui­lib­ri­um al­ter­na­tives. These re­sults rep­re­sent the first time that both im­pli­ca­tions of von Neu­man­n's Min­i­max the­o­rem are sup­port­ed un­der nat­u­ral con­di­tion­s.

In hu­man:

  • Play­ers are pret­­ty good at mak­ing de­­ci­­sions ac­­cord­ing to game the­o­ry

  • Game the­o­rists call that good

How­ev­er (this I am mak­ing up as I go)...

  • A well kicked pe­nal­­ty is a goal, be­­cause there are places the keep­­er sim­­ply can't reach in time.

  • Since there is a win­n­ing strat­e­­gy, it makes no sense to ap­­ply min­i­­max: there is a glob­al max­i­­mum (yes, I know, it makes sense, you just need to con­sid­er mis­s­ing the goal as the chance of fail­ure, then it is not a win­n­ing strat­e­­gy... and I am not go­ing to read the 21-­­page pa­per to see if he thought about it).

Of course the win­ning strat­e­gy (strong kicks to the top an­gles of the goal) is im­prac­ti­cal for mere hu­man­s. All the more rea­son to con­sid­er RoboCup the most im­por­tant tour­na­ment for the fu­ture.

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