Sep

5

Many insights into our field with the value of unpredictability and its measurement.

https://scienceblog.com/496099/hop-skip-run-leap-unpredictability-boosts-survival-bipedal-desert-rodents/

Andrew Moe adds:

One of the best skills you can teach young basketball players is to use multiple speeds when on offense. Stop and go moves, fast to slow to fast, quick changes of direction and hop cuts are all carefully choreographed skills that can be combined into a seemingly random pattern. When you watch Steph Curry juke left, right, forward, back and into a hop step pullup 3, he's not making those moves up on the spot. He's linking sequences of carefully planned, well practiced maneuvers designed to leave his defender completely befuddled. I would guess that additional study on the jerboa, especially on play patterns of the young, would reveal similar sequences of moves to avoid predators. In the markets, the sequences are meant to draw volume. Today we saw a cut downward off the open, a crossover back the other way, another crossover to the downside, a slowing of pace and then a hard drive to the downward basket. I'd call today a Westbrook move more than a Curry so far.

Bo Keely chimes in:

Living in the sonora desert, and having been through three major Mouse Wars, suffered from Mouse Dust, observing thousands, befriending dozens, raised one as if a child in my pendleton pocket, and staying on even footing with them on whole for 20 years, here are my postulates re: desert rodent locomotion. loco is a proper prefix. there are about 7 species that i observe day in and out around my camp, and during long hikes. when they run from me, or predators, the start-up off the blocks is seemingly programmed en utero and childhood, and so is similar across individuals of the same species for the first few yards. this, of course, is the result of evolution, for the poorly locomoting ones would have been hunted and eaten long ago, and not reproduced. then, in the second stage of flight, the animals' instincts give way to sheer terror, and the gait becomes more random. it's in this range that the animals may be more easily mouthed by the snapping jaws, because careful evolution has chosen the best flight plan for the initial stage. the upshot is, in my theory, that the rodents that are able to sustain longest their instinctual gait before caving in to horror will survive to reproduce, yielding the most most disciplined rodents. animals are far ahead of humans on evolutionary scales because we aren't hunted as much except at borders, and then the jail sentence still allows bail or release and copulation. we have become a very undisciplined species except in outlaw towns like Slab City. if you observe a person running from a mugger, even me on my long legs, i follow a prescribed stage one flight that, if closed in on, gives way only after a long distance to an all out adrenaline burst at angles and speeds the brain cannot plan before execution.


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  1. Ryan on September 5, 2017 3:17 pm

    Great analogy. Few are able to articulate the art of basketball so elegantly.

    Two cents for randomness. Though the maneuvers of a point/shooting guard (sometimes a small/power forward) are carefully planned, often times there are significant portions of on-the-spot creativity, that is not necessarily rehearsed or part of a plan. This is what separates the greats from the stars - the Steph Currys from the John Walls - the ability to successfully incorporate randomness into a well thought out plan. In other words, knowing when to break the rules and when not to break the rules.

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