Sunday, April 29, 2012

AFL Power Rankings: Round 5 2012

The big development in this week's rankings is the Sydney Swans jumping from eighth to fifth - yes, even above Collingwood - after comfortably beating Hawthorn on the weekend. They're still a bit away from the top four, but they've closed the gap considerably in the past two weeks.

Meanwhile in the bottom half of the rankings Fremantle has significantly improved their standing so far this season. Could it be that Ross Lyon is one of those coaches who actually has a considerable impact on his team's performance? Possibly, given that St. Kilda - the team he left - has gone backwards so far. Or could it just be that the Dockers have regained a few of their better players? Or maybe it's just natural improvement? Whatever it is I'm feeling less certain about my bet that the Dockers would win less than 11 1/2 games this season.

1 (1) Geelong 35.9 (37.5)
2 (2) Carlton 29.9 (34.4)
3 (4) West Coast 27.7 (28.7)
4 (3) Hawthorn 26.2 (31.1)
5 (8) Sydney 16.2 (11.6)
6 (5) Collingwood 16.0 (20.4)
7 (6) St. Kilda 13.1 (14.7)
8 (7) North Melbourne 8.3 (11.8)
9 (9) Richmond -3.3 (-4.4)
10 (10) Essendon -3.5 (-6.3)
11 (12) Fremantle -7.8 (-9.6)
12 (11) Western Bulldogs -10.6 (-9.4)
13 (13) Brisbane -13.5 (-14.3)
14 (14) Adelaide -15.8 (-15.8)
15 (15) Port Adelaide -34.5 (-33.5)
16 (16) Melbourne -38.3 (-40.4)
17 (17) Gold Coast -49.5 (-52.1)
18 (18) Greater Western Sydney -55.5 (-55.3)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Is Andrew Bogut A Bust?

It kills me to even ask this question – Andrew Bogut seems like a nice bloke and has one of the best Twitter accounts of any athlete. When he first entered the NBA and basically came out and said that he was a far better player than three-time NBA champion Luc Longley – drawing scorn from outraged Aussies in the process – I just nodded my head in agreement. But has he actually lived up to the expectation of being a No.1 draft pick?

According to the NBA Geek website, Andrew Bogut has averaged 0.133 wins per 48 minutes over his career. What on earth does that mean? Well an average NBA player accumulates 0.100 wins per 48 minutes, so according to this metric Bogut has been better than the average player.

I find it easier to think about this if you look at Bogut’s stats compared to the average center. Bogut’s career true shooting percentage is 53.8 per cent, compared to 55.0 per cent for the average center, meaning that Bogut is not as efficient at scoring as the average center. (One comment I heard from a commentator was that watching Bogut shoot free throws right-handed he thought Bogut must be left-handed). However, Bogut is a better-than-average rebounder (13.7 rebounds per 48 minutes compared to 12.9 for the average center) and assist-maker (3.4 compared to 2.3).

But does one expect more from a number one pick than just being ‘better than average’? Bogut has produced 37 wins in his seven-year career. From 1977 to 2006 the average number of wins produced over the first four years of their careers by number one draft picks was 34.6 wins. This suggests Bogut is below average for a number one draft pick. However, this group includes very productive players such as Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, LeBron James and Dwight Howard, who would all bring up the average wins produced. Hence, without doing the detailed calculations, Bogut may well have been better than the ‘median’ number one draft pick.

In summary then Bogut appears to be a better-than-average player who was an OK but not outstanding choice as a number one pick. Whether or not that should be considered as ‘being a bust’ is up to you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Avengers Movie Review

Since the age of eight I’ve been borderline-obsessed with Marvel’s comic book series ‘The Avengers’, as can be seen here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. I’ve always liked the concept even when the stories sucked; a club of heroes kinda hanging out and taking on evil schemers and such. Naturally then I headed down to the first session on the first day of release to see the new Joss Whedon-directed flick – so what’s the verdict?  

Well the first thing to note is that it’s not really that much like ‘The Avengers’ comic book at all. It’s more reminiscent of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s ‘The Ultimates’, a 2002 series that basically re-imagined the Avengers as a big-budget blockbuster. So like that series Nick Fury is black, Captain America uses a gun, Hawkeye and the Black Widow are black-ops agents, the Hulk is on the team, and the heroes are battling some alien race called the Chitauri. Given that ‘The Ultimates’ was arguably one of the best ‘Avengers’ stories ever though that’s not necessarily a bad move. Having said that there are some typically ‘Avengers’-like traits on show. The heroes don’t get along, the main villain is Thor’s brother Loki (who long-time Avengers fans will know was the very first villain the comic book version of the team faced), and it all ends in a huge battle in the middle of Manhattan, that perennial backdrop for destructive superhero fights.

The best Marvel movies to date – ‘Spider-Man’, ‘X-Men’ and ‘Iron Man’ – have taken the best elements out of the original comic books and tweaked them slightly to create their own modern style. ‘The Avengers’ movie does that to some extent, using the S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation to re-create the clubhouse feel, but also to inject some conspiracy and espionage – those tried and true tropes of modern TV and cinema – into the franchise. Frankly, having the heroes hang around in a mansion being served by a butler probably wasn’t going to cut it in 2012. It also makes the heroes – Captain America excepted, but that ends up being part of his charm – seem more worldly and less like Saturday morning animation figures.

Of the players Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark is the obvious standout, and his presence helps to give the film some credibility and clout. Mark Ruffalo though is the best of the many Hulks to date, adding some wit and panache to Bruce Banner’s otherwise brooding existence. A scene with Ruffalo and Downey Jr. bonding over S.H.I.E.L.D’s highly-advanced technological toys is one of the movie’s understated highlights. Tom Hiddleston reprises his role from ‘Thor’ as Loki, but goes from regal pest to full-on chaos-bringer, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Still he remains the strongest of the Avengers-related villains to date (although the villain foreshadowed for the sequel after the credits roll gave me a goosebump or two). The other Avengers are all at least serviceable and do have their moments. Chris Evans portrays Cap as a sort of clueless jock who nevertheless knows how to take charge in an emergency, Chris Hemsworth is epically ham-irific as Thor and has a couple of nice interactions, and Scarlett Johansson holds her own alongside her more noticeably ‘super’ teammates. Only Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye kind of gets the short shrift, spending about half the flick as Loki’s mindless automaton.

Which is not to say it’s a complete home run however. For a two-and-a-half-hour long movie remarkably little seems to happen. There is character conflict, but as Ms Wheatley noted it doesn’t go too far beyond the ‘Biff! I’m tougher than you!’ variety. Still Joss Whedon does a decent job of balancing his cast, and I doubt there will be many viewers coming out feeling like they’ve been cheated. Although, now that I think of it, I don’t remember getting to hear the cry of ‘Avengers Assemble!’ at any point.   

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Parklife v The Village Green Preservation Society

Image: lastfm
One album is the quintessential take on the malaise of modern inner-city British life … from 20 years ago. The other is the quintessential take on the malaise of modern inner-city British life … from 40 years ago … and which longs for a return to a 'simpler' life from 20 years before that. But which album – Blur’s ‘Parklife’ or the Kinks’ ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ is the most wistful of the wistful, the Albionest of the Albionest? Taking our cue from the form guide on the back of ‘Parklife’, let’s do a side-by-side comparison of each album’s first 15 tracks (Lot 105 on ‘Parklife’ doesn’t count).   

‘Village Green’ comes out strong in the first half of the race, with big guns ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Big Sky’ flanked by steady pace-setters in ‘Picture Book’ and the opening track. But ‘Parklife’ comes home strong, rounding the bend with ‘To The End’, and blazing home with one of the greatest finishers ever, ‘This Is A Low’. ‘Parklife’ gets the win then by a nose and gets the honour of proudly waving the Union Jack at all those Yanks that don’t understand it. (It still lacks a song about a pudgy cat though.)   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

AFL Power Rankings: Round 4 2012

Most of the top seven teams took a hit in their ranking points this week. This included sizable drops for the Cats, the Blues, the Pies and the Saints, meaning that Carlton couldn't grab the number one slot.

1 (1) Geelong 37.5 (42.2)
2 (2) Carlton 34.4 (39.7)
3 (3) Hawthorn 31.1 (30.8)
4 (4) West Coast 28.7 (29.3)
5 (5) Collingwood 20.4 (26.5)
6 (6) St. Kilda 14.7 (20.4)
7 (7) North Melbourne 11.8 (13.4)
8 (8) Sydney 11.6 (8.3)
9 (9) Richmond -4.4 (-7.6)
10 (11) Essendon -6.3 (-11.0)
11 (10) Western Bulldogs -9.4 (-8.6)
12 (12) Fremantle -9.6 (-14.2)
13 (14) Brisbane -14.3 (-16.1)
14 (13) Adelaide -15.8 (-15.1)
15 (15) Port Adelaide -33.5 (-37.9)
16 (16) Melbourne -40.4 (-39.6)
17 (17) Gold Coast -52.1 (-49.6)
18 (18) Greater Western Sydney -55.3 (-55.5)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why the AFL Draft Seems To Work, Or Why There is Hope For Gold Coast and GWS

Recently on the excellent Wages of Wins Journal there have been a few articles explaining how “tanking” for higher draft picks – i.e. losing more games to move up in the draft order - doesn’t work in the NBA. This was proven by showing that NBA teams that are good one season are generally also the good teams the next season, and the season after that, and the season after that. Given that the “tanking” debate seems to rear its head every season in the AFL, I was curious to find out if this finding also applied to the AFL.

To work out the answer I calculated the correlation between a team’s winning percentage in one AFL season with their winning percentage the year before that. The correlation is some figure between -1 and +1; a high positive correlation means that the teams that were good in that season were also the good teams the season before it. I also then calculated the correlations for 2 seasons apart, 3 seasons apart, 4 seasons apart and 5 seasons apart. The results since 1940 are shown in the figure below. (To remove some of the volatility of the series I averaged each series using the corresponding correlations over the past five seasons.)

Unsurprisingly a team’s winning percentage in one season is positively correlated with its winning percentage the previous season – that is, the good teams in a season are likely to be the good teams from last season. Also unsurprisingly the strength of the correlation is reduced as the seasons become further apart, so the good teams in a season have often been the good teams from five seasons ago but the relationship is not as strong as it is for the “one season apart” series.

What is interesting though is that the strength of the correlations has been historically low from about the 1997 season onwards. Indeed, once we get to the mid-2000s there are negative correlations for the 3, 4 and 5 season aparts series, indicating that the good teams in a season were the bad teams from a few seasons ago. If one postulates that teams did not begin to use the draft well until the mid-1990s (it was instituted in 1986) then this could be taken as an indication that the draft has helped bad teams to become good. And if this is the case then that gives hope to Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney that their high draft picks will pay off for them in a few years.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

AFL Power Rankings: Round 3 2012

Is it the year of the Blues? Last week Carlton moved into second spot - this week though they have become firmly entrenched there following their huge win against the Magpies, and are just a few ranking points away from spot number one.

Meanwhile Richmond move up to (gulp) ninth thanks to their comfortable win against Melbourne and unimpressive efforts from the Dogs and the Dons. Their early record may not show it due to a tough early draw, but the Tigers so far are looking distinctly like a "mid-range" team. North Melbourne are other notable movers following their win against the No.1 ranked Cats.

And the Demons are now closing in on Gold Coast/GWS territory. It's not all bad news for these teams though, as I'll show in a post next week teams don't stay stuck in the cellar as long as they used to.

1 (1) Geelong 42.2 (46.2)
2 (2) Carlton 39.7 (33.7)
3 (3) Hawthorn 30.8 (32.2)
4 (5) West Coast 29.3 (29.3)
5 (4) Collingwood 26.5 (31.7)
6 (6) St. Kilda 20.4 (16.6)
7 (8) North Melbourne 13.4 (8.7)
8 (7) Sydney 8.3 (9.4)
9 (11) Richmond -7.6 (-12.2)
10 (9) Western Bulldogs -8.6 (-6.4)
11 (10) Essendon -11.0 (-10.3)
12 (12) Fremantle -14.2 (-15.3)
13 (14) Adelaide -15.1 (-16.2)
14 (13) Brisbane -16.1 (-15.6)
15 (16) Port Adelaide -37.9 (-39.4)
16 (15) Melbourne -39.6 (-36.9)
17 (17) Gold Coast -49.6 (-50.9)
18 (18) Greater Western Sydney -55.5 (-55.0)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jimmy McNulty and the Economics of the Baltimore Serial Killer

In HBO’s ‘The Wire’ drug kingpin Stringer Bell was an economics student, but unfortunately for him he did not live to see possibly the most interesting illustration of economic theory the show had to offer. In season five, police detective Jimmy McNulty misleads his department, the mayor’s office and the media by fabricating evidence that several unconnected murders are the handiwork of a mysterious serial killer in Baltimore. At first this seems like utter madness, but as the season goes on one can see why McNulty’s gambit might indeed be a rational response to the issues facing the police department, and why society might even benefit from it.

The optimization problem

In economic theory the optimization problem is that rational economic agents try to maximise their utility subject to their budget constraints. Utility is essentially a measure of what the agent values and dislikes. The budget constraint is the set of resources available to the agent.

In season five of ‘The Wire’ the police department is operating under severe budget constraints, with many officers owed back pay for overtime worked. Less money for the police department also means less money to spend on cases and combatting crime. Baltimore’s mayor, Tommy Carcetti, is reluctant to seek extra funds for his “broke-ass” city because he believes it will lower his chances of becoming Governor of Maryland down the track.

With this scenario before us, let’s look at the optimization problem for each of the major players:

McNulty: McNulty’s utility is positively related to his ability to bring bad guys to justice. In season five McNulty is primarily concerned with bringing drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield and his crew to justice for their drug dealings and murders. The problem for McNulty is there are not sufficient funds available to the police department to do this. McNulty therefore needs to expand the budget set available to him so as to be able to reach a higher level of utility. By manufacturing a serial killer, McNulty is able to leverage a sensitive political issue in order to obtain more funds for the department and expand this budget set.

There are arguably other utility gains to McNulty from being able to expand the budget set. As we see McNulty is able to allocate resources to other “real” cases, therefore increasing the chances of bringing more bad guys to justice. He also gets the satisfaction of outsmarting his superiors and the mayor’s office, but despite McNulty’s smirk let us assume that this results in only a minor utility gain.

On the other hand McNulty’s utility is negatively related to the chance that he will get caught for fabricating evidence and therefore be kicked off the force and even go to jail. He may also potentially lose the support and respect of his family and friends, with best friend Bunk Moreland being a particular critic of McNulty’s scheme. McNulty therefore needs to put in measures to reduce the likelihood of these negative outcomes. This is explained further in the section on game theory below.

Carcetti: Carcetti’s utility is positively related to his chances of becoming Governor of Maryland. It would also be positively related to the wellbeing of the city, but through his decision to forgo funds he has revealed a preference for his political ambitions over the city’s health. Conversely his utility is negatively related to anything that diminishes his chances of becoming governor, such as political scandal. Carcetti’s budget constraint is the city’s balance sheet, which has been left in poor health by the time he gains office.

The Baltimore police officers: Like McNulty all of the work of the Baltimore police officers is being constrained by the limited funds available to the department. Many police officers have things to gain or lose from McNulty’s serial killer hoax, but the three most interesting cases are Cedric Daniels, Lester Freamon, and Bunk Moreland. Daniels has been promised by Carcetti that he will be the next police commissioner. Daniels’ utility is positively related to his level of authority and his ability to ‘do the right thing’ (and negatively related to the absence of these things). Freamon is working the Marlo case, and his potential gains and losses are fairly similar to those of McNulty’s. Moreland’s are similar as well, but he reveals a preference for keeping his job, staying out of jail and maintaining the respect of the department over potentially bringing Marlo to justice. He therefore takes no part in McNulty’s scheme and even actively discourages McNulty to drop it.

Game theory

Given the utility functions and constraints of each of the major players what are their best strategies? We can work this out using a bit of game theory.

For McNulty there is some probability that he will get caught. If there is no chance he will get caught his best strategy is to fabricate a serial killer, since it increases the chance of bringing the bad guys to justice and brings in money for the police department (though it does lose him some respect with Moreland). But if there is a chance he does get caught this is not so clear – he may lose his job and go to jail. McNulty’s best strategy then will depend upon the chance he gets caught, as well as the likelihood that he loses his job and the likelihood he goes to jail.

As it turns out McNulty does get caught but he does not (technically) lose his job or go to jail. The reason is that, when Carcetti finds out, he decides to continue to play along with the hoax. For Carcetti, once he finds out the killer is a fake this is his best strategy. If word gets out that he has been directing funds to catching a fake serial killer his chances of becoming governor are substantially reduced, and he has to fire Daniels, who is his first choice to become Commissioner. If the hoax is covered up then Carcetti’s chances of becoming governor remain roughly the same, and he is able to appoint Daniels (or so he thinks).

Whether McNulty planned it or not he has locked Carcetti into a particular strategy. Once Carcetti has committed to chasing the serial killer booting McNulty off the force and indicting him is no longer a credible threat. Given this is the case the expected payoff for McNulty of fabricating a serial killer is even higher; even in the case where McNulty does get caught the probability of him going to jail is low and so it is clear that this is the best strategy. Once again Carcetti’s political ambitions have given McNulty the incentive to deceive the mayor’s office. To avoid this situation Carcetti needed to convince others that he cared more about the integrity of his city’s institutions than his political ambitions (even if in truth he didn’t). This would have increased McNulty’s estimation of how likely he was to go to jail if he got caught.

For Freamon the best strategy is also to maintain the fiction of a serial killer for the same reasons as McNulty. Further Freamon probably cares less than McNulty about losing his job given he has an excellent “outside option” – that is another source of income. For Bunk the probability of losing his job and going to jail is too high for his liking to become a co-conspirator.

For Daniels the best strategy, when he learns the truth about the serial killer, is less clear. If he covers it up he increases the chances of bringing the bad guys to justice but is not doing what he perceives to be ‘the right thing’. If he does not cover it up he does ‘the right thing’ but raises his chances of being fired. Given that he does come forward to Carcetti with the truth perhaps he too perceives that Carcetti firing him is not a credible threat.


In the end did McNulty’s strategy result in better outcomes for all concerned? For McNulty and Freamon they didn’t go to jail but they were prevented from ever doing police work again. They brought some of the bad guys to justice and effectively crippled Marlo’s organization, although it’s clear that other drug dealers are ready to take Marlo’s place. For Freamon, because of his older age and alternative source of income, it could be argued that he came out slightly ahead. For McNulty, he possibly came out behind, given he is banned from ever doing police work (therefore being unable to bring further bad guys to justice) and he lost the respect of Daniels, and to some extent Greggs and Moreland. Moreland meanwhile also came out slightly behind given he lost his best pal McNulty from Homicide (yes we’ll count that as a loss).

Of the police officers Daniels was the biggest loser. While Daniels was not fired by Carcetti the incident made it less likely that Daniels would cover up other things in the future, as shown soon after when he refuses to tweak the crime statistics. The result is that Daniels never gets the chance to become Commissioner (again we’ll count that as a loss), and is instead replaced by Major Valchek.

Carcetti also came out behind. In terms of his chances of becoming governor these were barely harmed due to the cover-up, and in the end he does become the Governor of Maryland. But given that he also cares about the city’s health he does suffer a hit in utility in that he is forced to replace Daniels with the rather less competent Valchek.

So all up most of the individuals lose out from McNulty’s strategy. Does this mean that McNulty should not have done it? No, from McNulty’s standpoint it was the best thing for him to do. Although things turned out worse for him because he was caught, given there was some probability that he would never be caught the expected gains from his gambit outweighed the expected losses. Essentially Carcetti contributed to making this the best strategy for McNulty when he made the cuts to the budget of the police department.

Further, while the individuals lost out it is possible that the city of Baltimore gained as a result. Essentially McNulty’s ‘serial killer’ directed funds towards bringing the bad guys to justice and away from other public goods. If the value of bringing the bad guys to justice outweighed the value of these other public goods then society gained as a result. But did they? One of the main reasons Carcetti wasn’t directing funds to the police department was because he was directing it to schools. Which has the greater public value? McNulty thought it was the police department, but I’ll have to leave each viewer to make up their own mind on that one.

Monday, April 9, 2012

AFL Power Rankings 2012: Round 2

In this week's rankings, Carlton move up to second after their massive win in Brisbane, replacing Collingwood, who fall to fourth place.

The rankings suggest that next week's match between the Blues and Pies is essentially a flip of the coin though, with very little separating them, as well as Hawthorn and West Coast. Geelong remain on top by about a two-goal margin.

1 (1) Geelong 46.2 (46.8)
2 (4) Carlton 33.7 (27.6)
3 (3) Hawthorn 32.2 (31.0)
4 (2) Collingwood 31.7 (33.6)
5 (5) West Coast 29.3 (24.7)
6 (6) St. Kilda 16.6 (13.2)
7 (7) Sydney 9.4 (11.1)
8 (8) North Melbourne 8.7 (1.3)
9 (9) Western Bulldogs -6.4 (-6.4)
10 (10) Essendon -10.3 (-9.9)
11 (12) Richmond -12.2 (-16.0)
12 (14) Fremantle -15.3 (-18.6)
13 (11) Brisbane -15.6 (-12.1)
14 (13) Adelaide -16.2 (-18.5)
15 (15) Melbourne -36.9 (-33.4)
16 (16) Port Adelaide -39.4 (-42.2)
17 (18) Gold Coast -50.9 (-50.5)
18 (17) Greater Western Sydney -55.0 (-49.2)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Spider-Man Cover Experiment

Warning: If you don't know (or care) a lot about Spider-Man comics you can probably tune out now and come back another time.

Recently on the Comic Book Resources website a poll was conducted to find the 50 Greatest Spider-Man Covers Of All-Time. The list threw up few surprises to long-term Spider-Man fans, which led to the following interesting remark from "T.":

You know what I think would be very interesting? I remember the last time we have a top Amazing Spider-Man cover contest a lot of people just automatically picked the Romita cover when there was a batch, or they picked a cover based on whether it was a landmark issue rather than based on the objective quality of the cover.

Since as fans we all bring nostalgia, artist preferences and knowledge of the stories to the table, I think it would be interesting to do cover contests like this with voting strictly from people who aren’t Spider-Man fans, or even comic fans at all. Just a bunch of regular people with no attachment to Spider-Man comics and have them just vote without knowing any context or background. I’d love to see such a list side-by-side with one by fans.

I would love to see that list as well, but in lieu of surveying a bunch of regular people I decided to survey one specific non-comics fan instead; namely Ms Wheatley. What I did was pick 30 Spider-Man covers, consisting of three groups:

1) The Top 10 vote-winners from the aforementioned poll. These were: Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) #50, ASM #39, Amazing Fantasy #15, ASM #33, Web of Spider-Man (WSM) #32, ASM #122, WSM #1, ASM #238, Spectacular Spider-Man #101, ASM #300.

2) 10 other comics from within the Top 50: No. 14, No. 18, No. 22, and so on down to No. 50. These were: Spider-Man #1, ASM Annual #21, ASM #230, ASM #97, ASM #101, ASM #655, ASM #229, ASM #24, ASM Annual #1 and ASM #90.

3) 10 issues of 'Amazing Spider-Man' that did not make the Top 50 list: ASM #35, ASM #105, ASM #175, ASM #245, ASM #315, ASM #385, ASM Vol. 2 #14 (#455), ASM #525, ASM #595, and ASM #665.

I then mixed up the cover images of all of these comics and asked Ms Wheatley to pick her favourite ten.

These two covers (ASM #300 and SSM #101) got quite a lot of support from Ms Wheatley. I very much agree with her second choice, which is my all-time favourite Spider-Man cover. These were #9 and #10 in the Top 50 survey.

Two other top tenners (WSM #32 and ASM #50) made her list. ASM #50 (see below) came in at #1 in the Top 50 survey, and often polls well in surveys of comics' greatest covers.

Three other covers from the Top 50 made her list (ASM #33, SM #1, and ASM #655). Todd McFarlane's spaghetti-laden Spider-Man #1 cover was the first one that caught her eye.

But here's the interesting bit: three covers that were not in the Top 50 at all made her list. These were ASM #35, ASM #525 and ASM #665.

I suspect that #665 is a favourite among comic fans and would have been a strong contender to make the Top 50 list, but the other two came as surprises to me. When quizzed Ms Wheatley said she liked their sense of design.

In contrast other more feted covers got the thumbs down, including ASM #122 and one of my personal favourites ASM #39. Ms Wheatley said these covers had too much going on, and they looked too much like your "typical childish comic book".

And she really didn't like this one:

Maybe that one did make the list through nostalgia.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

AFL Power Rankings 2012: Round 1

Welcome back to another season of the AFL Power Rankings. Before going into the first batch of rankings for 2012 I’d like to point you over to AFL Footy Maths, which has its own AFL ranking system based on a system from the Idle Summers Blog. You can find out more about TKYC’s ranking system here. There are also heaps of other Sherrin-related mathematical goodies on the site as well.

On to the rankings then. This week was a nightmare for tipsters but it didn't change the positions in the rankings all that much, though it did change some of the gaps. Of those changes, probably the most interesting is that the Hawks are now at almost level pegging with the Magpies for second spot after their win against them on the weekend.

For those who are interested I started GWS off at -50, which was close to Gold Coast's average losing margin last season. (I started Gold Coast off much higher last season, but massively underrated their level of ineptitude.)

1 (1) Geelong 46.8 (51.2)
2 (2) Collingwood 33.6 (35.9)
3 (3) Hawthorn 31.0 (28.4)
4 (4) Carlton 27.6 (27.0)
5 (5) West Coast 24.7 (21.3)
6 (6) St. Kilda 13.2 (16.3)
7 (7) Sydney 11.1 (10.3)
8 (8) North Melbourne 1.3 (1.3)
9 (9) Western Bulldogs -6.4 (-4.6)
10 (10) Essendon -9.9 (-11.1)
11 (12) Brisbane -12.1 (-17.8)
12 (11) Richmond -16.0 (-16.2)
13 (14) Adelaide -18.5 (-23.7)
14 (13) Fremantle -18.6 (-23.3)
15 (15) Melbourne -33.4 (-29.9)
16 (16) Port Adelaide -42.2 (-46.2)
17 (-) Greater Western Sydney -49.2
18 (17) Gold Coast -50.5 (-46.9)