diversion: do we need to see patterns where none exist?


Big Data = opportunities

Data are information, not knowledge. The New York Times Well blog post this week (Are ‘Hot Hands’ in Sports a Real Thing) is based on a study of five entire seasons of free throws in the NBA (Well says only "an entire season", but click the link to the study) and 50,000 games bowled in the Professional Bowlers Association, testing the hypothesis that a ‘hot’ athlete is demonstrably able to stay ‘hot’. I read the piece and the comments, and was almost persuaded that it is not suitable for a Manhattan Loft Guy diversion because I am not prepared to read (re-read) closely enough to determine for myself how justified the criticisms of this study are. But then I realized that this uncertainty (depth) may make it more diverting.


Read it yourself, if you care about statistics, basketball, or bowling. It is just a blog post, of course, about a study that “[s]ubject[ed] these numbers to extensive (and, to the layperson, inscrutable) statistical analysis”. I need to re-read it, as well.


I was intrigued by this bit of commentary in the blog post about the study, which is sometimes how I feel about Manhattan loft sales data:


we probably imagine and desire patterns where they do not exist. But it may be that we also are capable of sensing and responding to some cues within games and activities that are almost too subtle for most collections of numbers to capture.


Sifting through through recent deed records for downtown Manhattan loft sales between $500,000 and $5,000,000 (as I do for my Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, sometimes weekly) I often feel patterns that may or may not exist, patterns that will never show up in conventional data-crunching because the data are never deep enough, never similar (comparable) enough at that level. My mind, playing games (shooting free throws).


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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