### MC Monte Carlo - Gridding It Up In the Likeli-Hood

At the end of the term in my Ay117 Astrostats course, the students gave 15-minute oral presentations or poster presentations describing their final projects. The morning of presentations was organized like a Keck Science Meeting, so that students not only learned the primary course material, but also gained valuable practice in giving scientific presentations.

Of the many highlights from this year's session was Scott Barenfeld's performance of his latest single from his upcoming Astrostats hip hop album. It was most certainly the best rap performance of the day.

Griddin' it up in the Likeli-hood
From the upcoming debut album
Straight Outta Inverse Compton

Scott Barenfeld (CIT 1st year)
March 19, 2013

They call me MC Monte Carlo
Be runnin' my code 'till tomorrow
I take the random walk
So don't sit there and squawk
If you need my routines, you can borrow.
I doin' my Bayesian stat stu ff
Comin' up with posteriors off the cu ff
It's Bayes' Theorem yo
You frequentists can go
No root n error bars, son, I had enough.
Findin' your $\mu$ and $\sigma$
Don't have to be such an enigma
Just get the likelihood
You really really should
Then Aaron and John will dig ya!

### The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.