Moulton’s Trade Calculations

March 30, 2013 in Snips

According  to a 1767-1770 study referenced in this essay, the average wage for an English farm worker was approximately 12 pence per day (plus a small beer allowance), which at 12 pence per shilling and 21 shillings per guinea, translates to approximately 17.38 guineas per year. Read the rest of this entry →

3 Graphs That Show Why Sachin Tendulkar Was The Greatest ODI Batsman The World Has Ever Seen

December 23, 2012 in Snips

Sachin Tendulkar, among the greatest cricketers the world has ever seen, has decided to retire from one-day-international cricket. Here are three graphs that show why he was by far the greatest batsman in the format:

Nobody comes even close to Tendulkar’s 49 centuries in ODI cricket. The 19 centuries that separate Tendulkar and second placed Ponting are more centuries than legends such as JH Kallis, AC Gilchrist, and ME Waugh have scored in their entire careers.

And lest one think that this is because Tendulkar has played more matches than any other player, here are the same batsman sorted by the average number of innings it took them to score a century:

Tendulkar scored one about every nine matches. There’s just no comparison.

Ultimately though, cricket is about runs:

Tendulkar has scored 34% more runs than the person who’s scored the second greatest amount of runs in ODI cricket. He has scored 13.5% of all one day runs that have been scored by India in ODIs since his debut, and, in fact, Tendulkar is responsible for scoring 1.6% of all ODI runs that have been scored by all players since he made his debut.

Tendulkar’s numbers show that in ODI cricket, not only was he the greatest, he was in a league of his own. There existed no other player of his caliber.

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Presidential Drinking Games: The Story So Far

October 17, 2012 in Snips

Centives has been tracking debate drinking games since the beginning of the campaign. The second debate between Romney and Obama utilized the town hall format, and this wasn’t particularly conducive to getting a party going. So Centives decided to throw up the results after the first Presidential, and only Vice-Presidential debate. We’ll bring you the final count after the final debate:

Stay tuned to the rest of our 2012 American Presidential Election coverage over here.

Tie Colours And American Presidential Debates

October 16, 2012 in Snips

During American Presidential debates the most minute moments of the candidates’ performance are analyzed in excruciating detail. From the way that the candidates shake hands to the size of the flag pin that they wear. There is however one other important decision that a candidate has the make on the day of their debate: which colour tie they should wear. Centives went through all of the 22 Presidential debates that were broadcast in colour to see if there is any relationship between tie colour and ultimate victor.

Overall candidates have worn a tie with a red base colour 68% of the time, while blue has only been worn 16% of the time. The other 16% of the time candidates have worn a third colour, or a combination of colours.

Republican candidates have worn blue, the colour of the Democratic Party, 18% of the time. Democrats don’t seem to think as highly of their own colours and have only worn a blue tie 16% of the time. This might be because aside from Obama, democratic candidates who have tried wearing a blue tie have always lost the election. Carter was the first to bring out a blue tie against Reagan in 1980. Carter’s defeat was so traumatic for democrats, that it took 20 years before another democrat, Gore, was willing to try a blue tie…only to lose against Bush. In addition to being America’s first black President, Obama has the distinction of being America’s first democratic President who can pull off blue ties, having worn one in a debate against McCain.

Reagan was the only candidate who could be successful in a black tie. He wore one in his only debate against Carter, and for one of the debates against Mondale, four years later. Both Dole and McCain tried to follow in his footsteps by trying out black ties, and both went on to lose the election.

So what does all of this mean for Obama and Romney? Both will want to avoid black ties, unless either of them believes that they can measure up to Reagan. After having worn a blue tie for the first debate, Obama will probably not want to push his luck by wearing another one – after all, even in the debates against McCain he only wore a blue tie once, preferring to retreat to the relative safety of red for the other two debates. Bipartisanship was an important theme in the first debate, and perhaps the candidates will want to try something similar to the blue-red hybrid that Clinton wore during most of his debates.

Should Forrest Gump Have Driven or Flown?

May 14, 2012 in Snips

We have established that Forrest’s run across the United States cost him $23,294.27 in today’s dollars. If you were considering emulating Gump’s feat then compared to other modes of transportation, such as an airplane or a car, how does running the same distance compare in economic terms?

The average cost of an airplane flight per mile is close to 42 cents. This brings the cost of Forrest’s journey by air to a mere $6,404.16. Or Forrest could drive. Since he doesn’t appear to have a car, spending most of the movie sitting at a bus stop bench, he’d have to purchase one for his 10 day, 9 hour journey. A good used car can be found for around $13,200, and gas would run about $2,632.06. He would need to buy food and assuming that he only has to consume 2,800 calories since he’s driving not running, that would be $14 a day.

Overall then travelling the distance by car today would cost $15,986 – or around $7,300 less than it cost to run. This proves one thing: Forrest Gump must have really enjoyed running. Centives can sympathize. Running provides an unrivaled feeling of serenity and freedom. To Forrest Gump this feeling was worth $23,294.27. Good thing so many people like shrimp.

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The Avengers Box Office Numbers

May 6, 2012 in Snips

The Avengers has taken the record for the biggest US opening weekend. Making $200 million it has easily beaten the record of $169 million set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

This means that in one weekend the movie made more than the entire economies of the countries of Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Democratic Republic of São Tomé make in an entire year according to The World Bank.

In fact, if you rank the 190 countries in the world by the amount that each earns in a typical weekend then The Avengers’ gross over this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday places it at #90. This means that The Avengers earned more money this weekend than over half of the world’s countries did. This is visualized in the graph below. All the countries before the red line made less money this weekend than The Avengers. Some of these countries include Iceland, Jamaica, and Nepal.

Finally the $200 million represents just 0.17% of the United States’ expected income this weekend.

Read the rest of our Avengers coverage here.

Portrayal of ‘Winning’ in Serenity

April 3, 2012 in Snips

We suspect that this graph will simply confirm what we have all long suspected. An action movie starts off with things going well for the protagonists, then getting worse, then finally turning around at the end. The graph below shows a minute-by-minute account of if things are going well for the factions, or badly.

As we say; no surprises, but our suspicions are confirmed.

For those who have yet to watch Serenity, the tale is of the crew of a cargo ship (the good guys) on the wrong side of a heartless system-wide regime intent on destroying them. Featuring space pirate-cannibals called reavers.

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How Long Does a Dire Wolf Live?

March 29, 2012 in Snips

Centives’ coverage of The Game of Thrones is spoiler-free for those who have watched the first season.

In the beginning of the popular HBO series The Game of Thrones we see the first Direwolves on the south side of the wall in over 200 years. The group of people who find them note that the Dire Wolf is the sigil of the Stark clan, and that there are six wolves, one for each of the Stark children.

In our own world the Dire Wolf was an actual species that has since gone extinct. It was similar in some respects to the Grey Wolf although it was heavier, weighing up to 79 kg. In the Game of Thrones world though, Dire Wolves grow to be significantly larger. In the books they are said to be as large as horses, and the makers of the television show intend to use CGI to bring the wolves to life in the second season as there aren’t any dog actors big enough to play the role.

How long do these wolves live? Dogs and wolves are closely related and in our world we know that the heavier a dog is, the shorter its lifespan. Any dog that is a “giant breed” (those that weigh more than 45 kg) don’t normally live for more than 6-7 years. Since the Dire Wolves are orders of magnitude bigger than that, if the relationship holds then we’d only expect them to live for about 5 years. The events within the first season last for around a year and so the wolves are still relatively young.

Female dogs normally live longer than male ones. Since Sansa’s Dire Wolf is killed early in the series, Arya’s wolf, Nymeria, as the only other female Dire Wolf, should be the last among the original six Wolves to die.

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Gender in the Game of Thrones

March 29, 2012 in Snips

Centives’ coverage of The Game of Thrones is spoiler-free for those who have watched the first season

The gratuitous amount of sexualized, female nudity in The Game of Thrones has raised concerns about sexism within the show. This is a topic for philosophers and analysts to debate and discuss, and the determination of whether or not the show is fundamentally sexist is beyond Centives’ own scope.

What Centives did note however was that the four individuals who you would think would dominate the narrative of the show after the first episode (The Current King, The Exiled King, The Vicious Barbarian-Challenger and the Protagonist) all die by the end of the first season. Robert Baratheon is replaced by his son and his wife. Viserys Targaryen is replaced by his sister, Khal Drogo is replaced by his wife, and the Protagonist is replaced by his adult son and mother. With the exception of Robert Stark succeeding his father, the four main male characters are replaced either by women or by children.

More generally, according to Wikipedia there are 19 main characters in season 1. Four of them are children, 12 are adult males, and three are adult females. By the end of the season there are still seven women and children but only eight of the main male adult characters remain. Thus going into the second season the number of main male adults and main women and children are roughly equal. This still puts men in the significant majority and women in the minority, but compare that to other fantasy worlds such as Middle Earth or even the Star Wars universe, where females and children are a rare sight.

In the end perhaps this says more about George RR Martin’s inclination to play with the established norms and precepts embedded in traditional fantasy literature, rather than anything about gender issues in Game of Thrones. It is possible, for example, that the second season will see the introduction of a whole host of new male characters (with perhaps some women thrown in to satisfy them.) But perhaps all is not as it would first appear in Westeros. After the first season women seem to be gaining as the men are eliminated one by one.

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How Much is the Mockingjay Pin Worth?

March 19, 2012 in Snips

The Mockingjay pin that Katniss is given has played a prominent role in the film’s marketing. The pin itself is made of solid gold and Katniss states that “the pin could keep a family in bread for a month.” How does that translate into dollar terms?

We’ve previously argued that the levels of poverty seen in Panem are likely similar to those seen in Brazil. Brazilians spend about 25% of their income on food. Brazil has a PPP-Adjusted GDP per Capita of $11,800. So Brazilians make $983 in a month and spend $245.75 of it on food. Therefore the pin is worth about $250.

With some mathematics then we can estimate how much the pin weighs. The price of gold has become a little crazy recently, what with the entire western world on the brink of an apocalyptic collapse. Back in the sunnier days of 2005 when the biggest things we had to worry about were a nuclear capable North Korea, an irritating house guest named Katrina, and a (possibly dystopian) future where face transplants became the norm, gold was worth $512 a troy ounce (about 31.1 grams). Therefore Katniss’ $250 pin weighs around 15 grams.