Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Validation of Laziness

There are many days in which I do not feel motivated and fail to perform any regular definition of the word “work”.  In my conscience I used to feel remorse and shame when I was lazy, but thankfully I no longer have these sensitivities.  Despite my evolution past my conscience there are some people around me who have not evolved as much as I have and believe I am not actually carrying out work when I am lazy.  I think that these people are misguided in their intolerant views.  I think that my movement has a lot of merit to it and that the symbolic representation of my movement should be a cross – both to symbolize the suffering that the lazy have had to endure from the dogmatic employed individuals around them and as a goading against religious zealots. I wish that the narrow-minded people who do not recognize what I believe could feel as liberated as I do.

As a result, I think that the government should validate my belief that all “work” should be rewarded, even if my interpretation of the word “work” effects a complete redefinition of the term and the “work” that I carry out simply pertains to sitting around and doing nothing.  Accordingly, the government should reward my right to have a different definition for what “work” really means and should reward my outstanding productivity on these days and give me the same recognition and benefits that many working-class individuals receive, aka respect and money.  A further collaboration with my reasoning is that there are some employed individuals who earn money in dishonorable manners and the way in which I desire to earn money is no less reasonable.  Those who are employed need not worry about some watering down of “work”, there will surely be no slippery slope of consequences resulting from the substantiation of my belief.  I simply want some sort of “higher being” to validate me.

[I wrote this to be taken as satire, although through it I may happen to be making an analogy to another issue, just in case you could not tell.]

Three Topics: Representatives of what/whom? Can We be God? Flawed Messaging?

Representatives of the People or the Constitution?
I fail to understand why some people get upset when their representative or representatives in the US congress or their state legislator or legislators, etc., disregard what appears to be the majority of the people's wishes in that particular district or state.  I agree that most representative things should be, you know, representative of whatever they are supposed to be representative of.. But, politicians should not actually be proper representatives.  Last time I checked, politicians do not make an oath to carry out their duties as a politician along the same lines as what the majority of the populace in their representative area wish for them to support. Simply being a representative representative leads to mob rule, which does not quite happen to be what the Founding Fathers intended..  

Instead, I have this silly thought that the representatives should not be representative to the people whom they are representing, unless there is a completely gray area that is being discussed, and should actually be carrying out what the Constitution says they should be doing.  Politicians do not swear to defend the people and all of their many wishes, but to defend the Constitution.  Of course the number of politicians that actually believe that they should defend the Constitution and then carry that out with their actions are few and far between, but I still think that you have to begin with one of the root symptoms of the problem instead of simply attacking politicians with the flawed Constitutional premise that politicians are not truly 'representing' the people by not carrying out whatever the majority of people desire.

Do We Get to be God?
(Here's an even quicker thought, though it grabbed some other flawed premises to make it about the same length as the first discussion point..) I do not understand why some people say that Christians need to BE THE GOSPEL.  How does that even make sense?  I cannot be the Gospel. How can I be God?  We can spread the Gospel certainly, but in no sense of the term can we actually BE the Gospel.

The 'Be The Gospel' kind of thinking tends to run alongside other great beliefs such as, I'm not religious, I'm spiritual, or Jesus is above religion, etc.  In regards to the I'm not religious, I'm spiritual comment, while I would be tempted to just flippantly say to these fine folks that indeed they are not religious and are consequently not actually Christians, that would probably be the wrong thing to do.  While some of them are indeed not Christians, certainly this is not the case for all of them.  This may actually be one of the rare times where improperly judging others may actually apply, and, as such, since we do not get to be the final arbitrate we should not come out and say that those people are not Christians..  However, that obviously still does not at all mean that we should not attempt to convince them that their statement is contrary to the Bible, and attempt to convince them that both 'spirituality' and religion are quite important in Christianity. 

(In general I'm not actually a big fan of 'spirituality'.. Partially because of the lack of common definition, for instance it can mean such things as, relating to ecclesiastical law belonging to the church, attachment to religious values, or, the most common meaning, relating to a person's spirit.  Which leads me to my second main reason as why I think 'spirituality' or being 'spiritual' happen to be silly terms.  What does it even mean for something to 'relate' to a person's spirit?  It doesn't really mean anything.  What it means for one person could be almost entirely different to another person.  The terms that I find which define spirituality and spiritual provide definitions that either do not help an argument for Christians to be more spiritual than religious or provide amorphous definitions that do not truly define anything.)

I find the Jesus is above religion comment to be just a bit pretentious, among other things anyways.  This statement is much like saying that Jesus is above grace or above belief...  Is the Lord above all things?  Certainly, but this is an argument on a different level (I'm not even certain if I nail down the proper level here, since I really think that statements such as Jesus is above religion are just one of the Devil's ways to attempt for Christianity and Christ to lose their proper definitions, so that even so called Christians will not truly be Christians.).  What this Jesus is above religion saying may really be trying to get at is a difference of semantics, with the consequences of those redefinitions being a weakening of a person's faith.  

While it is definitely possible to define religion a bit differently, religion may effectively be simply defined as the following:  Religion is a belief in some sort of deity.  The statement that Jesus is above religion simply does not make any coherent sense.  Are you trying to say that it is not necessary to believe in Christ?  Are you trying to say that Christ is not a deity (much less THE Deity)?  Your logical framework is fundamentally flawed and makes no sense.  While obviously the vast majority of religions do not lead to Heaven (maybe this is the point of the saying?), Christianity does point the true way to Heaven. Christianity is a means to Heaven, a means to spending eternity with Christ.  

Last I checked, Christ said that He alone is the narrow path to Heaven. Trying to unwind the intertwining of religion and Christ simply does not work. We need to believe in Christ's death on the cross, His resurrection, His 100% Godness, etc., to be Christians.  How is it possible to have an ocean yet no water within it?  How is it possible to be with Christ come Judgment Day and yet be saved without faith?  While Christ and Christianity are, or course, not of the same essence, there are plenty of interweaving parts wherein it is impossible to have Christianity without Christ and it is impossible to reach Christ without Christianity, without belief in Christ.  There are no other means by which a person may be saved, Christ has laid out the only path to heaven.  We are saved by God's grace through faith in Christ given to us by the Holy Spirit.

The Flawed Messaging of Pro-Marriage and Pro-Life Groups
Why do pro-marriage groups tend to brand themselves as being against 'gay' marriage and pro traditional marriage? There is only one kind of marriage: marriage between a man and a woman. God set the standard, mankind cannot redefine it. You are either pro marriage or you are for redefining it, there is no middle ground where you should defend marriage on the basis of it being 'traditional'.

While pro-lifers tend to get more of their branding right, I certainly have plenty of problems with their messaging as well. For instance, occasionally you may see billboards that say something along the lines of, “My heart beat 30 days from conception.” I am guessing that the point that Pro-Lifers of America and other groups are trying to propose is that babies are in fact humans, so through the advertisement's messaging they are trying to humanize the babies. While I think that this is a somewhat decent idea and all, I think that it still misses the, uh, heart of the issue.

If we were to all accept that babies are alive once their heart starts beating, then what? If a person heart stops for an instant, can they be killed in that instant? Or does the heart have to stop beating for longer than an instant? Can a person be killed if they have numerous heart palpitations in a day? Or does the line for killing a person begin 'legally' if that person is under cardiac arrest? Why set premises that give your opponent the means they need to murder children? If you say that murdering children is legal at any point beyond conception, then there will still be a vast number of abortions that will take place in that 'murder legal' zone. And if for some reason you think that there will not be any doctors who would be willing to perform murders even if a child is only a few days from being delivered and there are pragmatic laws against said murders, then I have some children in Pennsylvania to show you. NO, WAIT, I cannot show you those children because those children happen to be DEAD.

Knowing that there are billions of people going to Hell should probably be the saddest thing in my life.  But, for whatever reason, a fair amount of the time, I  tend to be the most saddened and angered by all of the abortions which take place in America and across the world.  I get extremely frustrated with the ticky-tack, go along to get along, pragmatic policies of the pro-lifers who while they may save a few kids here and there, in general, those who want to murder children will find a way to keep the murder factories running and accept the human sacrifices before the pragmatic regulations would take effect anyways. In conceding that life beings at some point after conception, pro-lifers may as well be waving the white flag.
Pro-lifers need to have some sort of higher standard.  If everyone simply went basing their decisions on what science proves, then I've got some news for you, we would all be liable to be killed at any instant. Even when there is some sort of general consensus about an issue there will still almost always be plenty of dissenters who do not see that issue in that particular light.  Science can prove nothing. Science can set no true lasting standard.  There is always more potential knowledge which could be learned that would put things into an entirely new perspective. Only lasting things get to set the lasting standards.  If only there would just be some sort of truly lasting thing, some sort of eternal deity that laid down the standards.  If only there would be some sort of eternal deity who would have happened  to step into history at some point and put into place the proper definitions of laws that humans should follow.  If only...

Presidential Race 2012 (part 3)

I wrote this a few months ago since I still occasionally hear some of the dim-witted statements which will soon be mentioned, plus I think I failed addressed some of them at all in my previous blog posts on the presidential race.  Finally, I figured that it would still be relevant since the candidates in that election were irrelevant anyways, and defeating a false choice and other problems can happen in many other circumstances and elections.

Completely false paradox
The statement, 'if you do not vote for Romney, then you are voting for Obama'...  Is such an inane statement.  Here is a scenario...  (As a quick lead-in, I am not necessarily trying to draw an analogy between killing someone and politicians.  Also, I thought about an analogy with demons and Satan, it runs along the same line, I decided to just keep the mushroom illustration though.)  You are captured by the government and you are given a choice between eating poisoned mushrooms and poisoned milk toast.   Which do you choose?  They both will taste bad and they will both kill you. The poisoned mushroom is obvious.  It has a sign saying it is a death cap mushroom.  The poisoned milk toast is not quite as obvious.  It only has a sign saying that while it is indeed poisoned, it does not the same type of poisoning as the death cap mushroom and will be a slower releasing poison.  Which of the two options do you choose?  Poisonous mushroom or poisoned milk toast?

My choice is that it is a completely false choice and paradox and that I would abstain from both. That is when the Republicrats say, Wait, what?  There is no third option, thus your choice is NOT an option.  How dare you do that.  By not choosing to eat the poisoned milk toast you are really choosing to eat the poisoned mushrooms.  Eh?  I did not choose to eat either, because, frankly, both choices stink and will kill me.  There was no statement running through my head like, by not voting for someone thus I am actually voting for the other person.  

And by doing this I am not per se saying that I am smarter than everyone else, nor am I trying to say that I am holier than thou.. I am just saying that compromising from evil A to evil B does not work AT ALL.  Also, in the end I am still forced to eat the poisoned mushrooms by the guards. There is something called a primary.. (At least I think.. Maybe it is just a rumor.)  And in it you can actually choose candidates who are somewhat principled and you can actually tell what they stand for instead of nominating a nominee that is as bad and wishy-washy as milk toast (unless you like milk toast, in which case I should probably have a different analogy).

Anybody but Obama
A good portion of Republicans voted for Romney to be the nominee in the primary, because he was 'anybody but Obama'. They thought he had a chance to beat Obama.  Right...  That worked out really well.  The nominee was anybody but Obama.  Does not mean the nominee had to be better or worse, just that he had to be anybody.  And he was anybody alright...  If the voting populace does not even attempt to hold candidates to standards, then the candidates themselves very likely will not attempt to apply standards for themselves.

Pandering is lying
In politics 'pandering' (see that as going where the wind/public opinion blows and lying to your constituency) happens fairly often.  A candidate realizes that position A is more popular with potential voters than position B, hence he changes his position to appeal to more voters. Romney was and is a genius at pandering. The number of times in which he has changed positions on anything from abortion to taxes has happened is close to innumerable.  But, even when the general election came around in 2012, Romney did not really have any truly good positions.  And even IF Romney would have had any good positions, (and no, 'repealing Obamneycare' does not count for various reasons) I still would not have voted for him.. Why?  Because you cannot trust perpetual liars.  Perpetual panderers.  One of the many, many problems with Romney is that he only has positions he does not have convictions.

Who chooses whom?
(This next short topic is sort of irrelevant to Romney and Obama, but I wanted to include it.)  Who owns the US military?  There are various stages as to who controls it, but the true owner of the military is the American people.  For a random example.  Who paid for an American F-35?  The government, duh.  Close, but no banana.  Actually, while the government did do the official purchasing, the people who paid for that F-35 were the American people.  (Technically this is not entirely accurate, since the US is in debt to such a large extent, especially to China, etc... So it might be more accurate to say that the Chinese people paid for the plane.)

President Obama and Governor Romney were both applying to be hired by myself and the rest of the American people.  THEY are the employees, WE are the employers.  Obama and Romney both failed my application assessments miserably.  Thus, neither received any positive recommendation or feedback from myself and I denied their job applications. Sadly, many other people gave their recommendations to Obamney and accepted their job applications.  Why?  Well, many peoples' beliefs and standards are semi-different to vastly different from myself.  And a decent portion of them have a completely different view of the presidency; they view the president as the ultimate boss, while the people are mere subjects or employees.  And that would indeed effectively be the case if America's government included a Monarchical form of rule or  dictatorship, but, last time I checked, I think America is supposed to have a presidency.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Preview of the 2015 NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors versus The Cleveland Cavaliers
Draymond Green #3 vs. LeBron James #1
First of all, the numbers after the names (one line above) are simply the overall rating the player has in the series, for instance Draymond Green is the third best player in the series and LeBron James is the best player in the series. However, a quick caveat is that these ratings are based solely on statistics and the numbers I am using are only based off of the player's various performances in this year's playoffs.
Secondly, an explanation to the numbers below. The original numbers I use are simply based off of a player's statistics in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, true shooting percentage, minutes played, and turnovers. I then incorporate those numbers into different formulas to create the player's overall performance level, offensive performance level, and defensive performance level. The actual formula for PPL, player performance level, in the spreadsheet looks like: =((((((M14*(7*M19*M19^1.085)) +M15+M16 +M17+M18-M21)*14)^1.07 +((M20*1.18)^1.98)) /1.07)/ 1.39125) *6/100. The formula is weighted especially towards points scored, true shooting percentage, and the number of turnovers a player has. A fairly average NBA player could expect to have a player performance level approximately equal to 1.00. I would consider the general range of overall player performance level numbers to be something along these lines -
AntagonistDeep Bench PlayerRotation PlayerLikely StarterQuality StarterPotential All-Star PlayerPotential MVP Candidate


LeBron JamesPer 100 PossessionsPlayer Performance Level Percentage    Weighted  P100P*PW
TS %0.49DPPL0.240.12
Draymond GreenPer 100 PossessionsPlayer Performance Level Percentage    Weighted  P100P*PW
TS %0.52DPPL0.240.13
Green only gives approximately an inch and twenty pounds to LeBron James, so he or Iguodala should provide a fairly decent deterrent to the best player in basketball.  While I would say that in the larger context of things LeBron is indeed a better player than Stephen Curry, I partially disagree with what the data says about James being slightly better than Curry in the playoffs; after I further slightly tweaked the PPL numbers, later then the insertion of these numbers, James and Curry's numbers ended up being virtually identical.
LeBron James has been putting up some fairly fantastic numbers in the playoffs, per his norm, except for in regards to turnovers, to a limited extent, and especially in regards to his true shooting percentage.  Oddly, LeBron's shooting percentages have been rather low in the playoffs in large part on account of having a very inconsistently connecting jump shot. 
If the Warriors are going to continue their excellence on defense, then Draymond Green will need to keep excelling on the defensive side of the ball, especially when he is guarding LeBron James.   If the Cavaliers are going to prevail against Golden State, then LeBron will effectively-definitely need to have a serious increase in his true shooting percentage, most likely bumping it up to a minimum of 53%.

Harrison Barnes #13 vs. Tristan Thompson #6
Harrison BarnesPPL0.86OPPL0.69DPPL0.71
Tristan ThompsonPPL1.19OPPL0.96DPPL1.33
Harrison Barnes has continued to be a moderately quality contributor to the Warriors, I partially disagree with the PPL numbers' conclusion on Barnes here. Tristan Thompson has been seemingly grabbing nearly every rebound that LeBron James or Timofey Mozgov have been unable to snag.  
While both Barnes and Mozgov will certainly have some impact on the series, I expect their impact to remain somewhat minimal as compared to the bigger picture.  However, for the Cavalier's ultimate goal of winning the NBA Finals the matchup of Barnes and Thompson will still be quite important as the Cavaliers can ill-afford to lose the matchup as Thompson should have a somewhat sizable advantage over Barnes.

Andrew Bogut #4 vs. Timofey Mozgov #10
Andrew BogutPPL1.32OPPL0.92DPPL2.39
Timofey MozgovPPL1.03OPPL0.75DPPL1.71
The PPL numbers attest to Andrew Bogut being the semi-significantly better player, but I disagree with their conclusion and think that the matchup will end as largely a draw at the end of the series.

Halftime Interruption
I wanted to have a March Madness post approximately three months back, but I did not have the time to get around to it at the time, as such I will give a small portion of the numbers that would have been included for that post.

Possible opponents
Actual opponents
Predicted opponents
I never understood why it was considered to be a foregone conclusion that Kentucky would reach and win the NCAA Championship game.  While I did consider the Wildcats to be the favorites to win the bracket (and really who did not?), I certainly did not view the Wildcats as being the overwhelming favorites.  Although my simulation numbers certainly still have some flaws that will hopefully someday be ironed out, for instance Kentucky had a 102% chance of winning their first game, I would consider them to be fairly accurate predictions of whichever team would happen to be better than the other.  

What would the NBA playoffs be without a quick gibe at Kendrick Perkins?  Not the NBA Playoffs I would imagine.  The clear MVP of the Cavaliers' playoff run has been  Kendrick Perkins.  Not only has he brought his A game to the playoffs (a little different from most people's A games), but he has even brought along his classiness. Admittedly, however, one play certainly does not necessarily tell a lot about a player and the condemning PPL numbers are only based off of 30 minutes of playoff action; as such I also inserted Kendrick Perkins' career numbers to see what story they would tell.  
Kendrick PerkinsPer 100 P
Player Performance Level
TS %0.42DPER0.240.10
Career Numbers for Kendrick PerkinsPer 100 PPlayer Performance Level
TS %0.55DPER0.240.13
The NBA Playoffs: Watch Classiness In Action.
Semi-surprisingly the numbers actually indicated that Perkins is only rated as a below average starter, aka a rotation type level player.  Glancing at the year by year numbers, however, provided some telling information about Perkins.  Over the past five seasons Perkins has not posted an overall PER in a single year above even 10, and Perkins has not had a WS/48 even approaching .100.  Consequently, it appears that since nearly the time I started paying at least moderate attention to the NBA, Perkins' basketball skills have been on a steady decline which does likely mean that at some point Perkins was able to play on a level close to an average level starter.  

Stephen CurryLeBron JamesChris PaulAnthony DavisRussell WestbrookHassan WhitesideBlake GriffinJames HardenJeremy Evans
Here are some PPL numbers for different players, I checked around twenty-five players, but these were some of the more interesting players.  The numbers are somewhat inaccurate because I have since tweaked the PPL formula around 10%, but the general estimate is at least accurate.  It appears that PPL endorses Anthony Davis as the Most Impressive Player of the year.  Also, I just wanted to mention that Jeremy Evans continues to be a borderline All-Star player who gets the minutes of a deep bench player.

Back to the NBA Finals
Stephen Curry #2 vs. Kyrie Irving #7
Stephen CurryPPL1.56OPPL1.82DPPL0.84
Kyrie IrvingPPL1.16OPPL1.20DPPL0.57
The matchup of Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving is probably the most anticipated matchup of the finals.  Curry has continued his stellar regular season play into the postseason, while Irving has continued to be a quality starter.  Irving will need to improve his defense greatly and not allow Curry to be shooting too many shots or else it could be a short series in favor of the Warriors.

Klay Thompson #12 vs. Iman Shumpert #11
Klay ThompsonPPL0.91OPPL0.91DPPL0.50
Iman ShumpertPPL0.99OPPL0.74DPPL0.88
Klay Thompson and Iman Shumpert are both quality starters who provide some key minutes for their respective teams.  I would expect this matchup to be somewhat even on a general level, but that Thompson will likely play a larger role on the offensive side of things.
JR Smith #5 vs. Andre Iguodala #8
JR SmithPPL1.21OPPL1.07DPPL0.98
Andre IguodalaPPL1.11OPPL0.95DPPL0.83
Somewhat surprisingly JR Smith has actually been around the fifth best player in the playoffs on one of the last two championship contenders.  I would expect that Andre Iguodala will have a slight advantage in this matchup, and Golden State will likely need him to at least even out JR Smith so that the Warriors other matchups where the Warriors have an advantage can take charge. 

Festus Ezeli #9 vs. James Jones #14
Festus EzeliPPL1.08OPPL0.87DPPL1.60
James JonesPPL0.79OPPL0.69DPPL0.38
Festus Ezeli and James Jones will likely not matchup with each other very often.  Jones will likely not play a large role in the series, but it is quite possible that Ezeli's defense and rebounding could provide a spark for the Warriors.

Shaun Livingston/Leandro Barbosa #15 vs. Matthew Dellavedova #16
Shaun LivingstonPPL0.72OPPL0.58DPPL0.45
Leandro BarbosaPPL0.68OPPL0.72DPPL0.28
Matthew DellavedovaPPL0.53OPPL0.56DPPL0.17
I do not really have anything to say about these players and their potential matchup with one another, except that I would randomly guess that they will have limited impact on the series. 

Overall Player Rankings
Golden State Warriors - 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15
Cleveland Cavaliers - 1, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 16
     Based on the matchups that I lined up opposing one another it looks to be a very even series.  The Warriors won the matchups battle 4-2-2, but their advantage mainly came from the end of their bench.

Steve Kerr vs. David Blatt
I also have virtually nothing to say about this matchup, if I do a review of the finals based on the matchups I will likely have a little more to say.  Stellar jobs by both Coach Kerr and Coach Blatt to lead their respective teams to the NBA Finals in their first year as head coaches in the NBA.

Overall Series Outlook
Here are a few quick questions about the NBA Finals.  Why are the Warriors -270 to win the series? Why is Golden State a six point favorite to start the series in game 1? Why is LeBron James the second most likely NBA Finals MVP candidate?  
Accounting for home court advantage for the Warriors, the Cavaliers have a 50.7% chance of winning the series, based solely on each team's playoff statistics.   If regular season statistics were to be used instead, then the outlook would be drastically different and the Warriors would be the favorites at around 58%, or around -140, but since it does not happen to be the regular season anymore I fail to see why the Warriors are such overwhelming favorites in the finals considering the opponent they face. 
The MVP line makes some sense given that Curry would very likely be the MVP of the NBA Finals if the Warriors win, however, I think the odds of the Warrior winning are only at about 55%.  The O/U line for the first game seems quite accurate, I had the first game a little lower, the pure numbers suggested 202 O/U, but if you factor in the fact that it is the first game of the NBA Finals I would partially expect a lower scoring game, in part because both teams are well-rested. 
     I will go ahead and prognosticate that the Warriors split the first two games with the Cavaliers, Cleveland will then go home and do likewise, then each team will protect their home court, and finally I think that the Cavaliers will prevail on the road in game seven, thereby securing the NBA title.  Cavaliers in Seven.  Thanks for reading.