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traynor
12-17-2008, 05:22 PM
An inappropriately titled book that has a lot of insights for handicappers:

http://www.amazon.com/Drunkards-Walk-Randomness-Rules-Lives/dp/0375424040/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229548365&sr=1-8

An excerpt, cut-and-pasted from the Amazon website link above, will give you an overview of the topic:
<quote>
This smart book will make you think. Academic yet easy to read, it explores how random events shape the world and how human intuition fights that fact. I found this point fascinating. It never occurred to me that our brains naturally want to see patterns and order, and life doesn't necessarily work like that.

It's comforting to think of an orderly world, with everything in its place, running according to plan. It dovetails into our yearning for meaning and control, and the need to feel that we are important. The idea of randomness is frightening. If the world is shaped without conscious decision, it's a pretty chilly prospect.

Author Leonard Mlodinow examines the importance of randomness in diverse situations, including Las Vegas roulette tables, "Let's Make a Deal," the career of Bruce Willis, and the Warsaw ghetto after Hitler invaded Poland. The author does a good job explaining how chance and luck are vital factors in how things turn out.
</quote>

Good Luck!

Sinner369
12-17-2008, 06:50 PM
Traynor:

I have not read the book but I agree that randomness or even luck has a say in the outcome of a race!

Look at what's happening in the economy or this Madoff guy stealing 50 billion dollars.....wow.......totally unbelieveable........nothing fits the textbooks anymore.

I assume you have read the book.........Can you tell us what it means to you as it relates to horse racing and handicapping?

sinner;)

DJofSD
12-17-2008, 07:04 PM
The expression "a drunkards walk" was used quite a bit in my physics classes.

Overlay
12-17-2008, 07:36 PM
The expression "a drunkards walk" was used quite a bit in my physics classes.

A brief discussion from Wikipedia:

"Imagine now a drunkard walking randomly in a city. The city is realistically infinite and arranged in a square grid, and at every intersection, the drunkard chooses one of the four possible routes (including the one he came from) with equal probability. Formally, this is a random walk on the set of all points in the plane with integer coordinates. Will the drunkard ever get back to his home from the bar? It turns out that he will. This is the high dimensional equivalent of the level crossing problem discussed above. However, in dimensions 3 and above, this no longer holds. In other words, a drunk bird might forever wander the sky, never finding its nest. The formal terms to describe this phenomenon is that a random walk in dimensions 1 and 2 is recurrent, while in dimension 3 and above it is transient. This was proven by Pólya in 1921, and is discussed in a section of Markov Chains available online (for specific conditions, see Chung-Fuchs theorem)."

DJofSD
12-17-2008, 07:44 PM
To take the random walk in a slightly different direction, given an 11 by 11 grid with a starting position being any corner, how many different paths can be taken to get to the opposite corner where the only restriction is the path can not cross over itself?

Dave Schwartz
12-17-2008, 07:48 PM
Personally, I found that the book was a pleasant read.

However, it was more of a history of gaming research and development.

Tom
12-17-2008, 08:23 PM
I enjoyed the walk! :D

sally
12-17-2008, 10:50 PM
Traynor-

You might be interested in the book Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales

He explores the reasons behind why certain people live or die in survival situations and he goes into detail about the tendency for humans to see what they want to see--those patterns etc. Excellent read. It's a fascinating subject...

traynor
12-19-2008, 10:10 AM
Traynor-

You might be interested in the book Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales

He explores the reasons behind why certain people live or die in survival situations and he goes into detail about the tendency for humans to see what they want to see--those patterns etc. Excellent read. It's a fascinating subject...

I will certainly look into it. As you probably know, the old Stargate concept (nothing to do with Atlantis) was that people surviving extraordinary situations must have some kind of latent ability that "encouraged" serendipitous "luck." In fact, a number of the original Stargate subjects were hand-picked because they had survived very sticky situations in which most everyone else had "worse luck."

Interesting idea, but conceptually impoverished; the "lucky" ones avoided the extraordinary situations entirely, rather than struggling to "survive" them. In short, they adopted don Juan's concept of "not making themselves available."

Thanks for the pointer. It looks interesting, and it IS a fascinating topic.

Cangamble
12-19-2008, 10:50 PM
I enjoyed the walk! :D
Lucky for you that you have a computer with internet access on every level.

Greyfox
12-20-2008, 01:46 AM
Traynor:

I have not read the book but I agree that randomness or even luck has a say in the outcome of a race!

sinner;)

Unless a horse steps in a hole : "Not every race."
Even then it won't be random.