January 2013 archive

Whether Simulating Super Bowls or Financial Portfolios, the Assumptions Matter

Statistical models are created by identifying influential random variables and then assigning characteristics to those variables. In the case of football, how many rushing yards the 49ers will gain is a random variable. So is the number of interceptions the Ravens will make. The formulation of a statistical model involves identifying the most important of …

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67% Chance the 49ers Will Win, Pretty Good Chance the Prediction is No Good

Predictionmachine.com ran 50,000 iterations of its statistical model to give a 67% chance the San Francisco 49ers will win the Super Bowl. Such a large number (50,000 iterations) and “computer model” may create an impression of validity and sophistication about the prediction. This could be a false impression. The output from a statistical model is …

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Personal Injury Lawsuits Against NFL Will Increase if Junior Seau’s Family is Successful

With the SuperBowl coming up next weekend and many players suffering from some sort of injury sustained during the season, the recent wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of former pro football star Junior Seau may be getting more media coverage than usual.   Junior Seau retired from pro football in 2010 and committed suicide …

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Employee Theft of Office Supplies Can Really Add Up

An employee in the New York office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP  has been indicted for stealing more than $376,000 worth of copy machine toner over approximately two years.  The employee accomplished this by ordering excess toner from two vendors and effectively setting up a side business through which he sold the toner. …

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High School Graduation Rate Highest Since 1976

A study of the 2010 school year by the Education Department shows that the nation’s four-year high school graduation rate is the highest it has been since 1976. The national dropout rate has also fallen to about three percent overall. Many students who don’t finish their coursework in four years instead take five or more …

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Super Bowl XLVII Expected to Flood New Orleans

This past Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers battled their way uphill from an early 17-0 losing position and still managed to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 28 to 24 in a particularly exciting game. Now the 49ers look to steal the silver right from underneath the Baltimore Ravens’ noses in their quest for the Vince Lombardi …

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I Smell A Hoax.

Sometimes reporters are so eager to tell a particular story that they will not apply a sufficient level of skepticism. On Friday January 18, news sites across the web linked to a story from the Salt Lake Tribune titled  “Utah business owner fires two who backed Obama”.  The story apparently started from the following comment …

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How much money would Hulk Hogan make for the rest of his life?

If Hulk Hogan successfully proves his medical malpractice lawsuit against the Laser Spine Institute, we should find out the answer. Mr. Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) recently filed a lawsuit which alleges, among other things, that the Laser Spine Clinic performed unnecessary surgeries on Hulk Hogan over an 18-month period.  Hulk Hogan alleges these excessive …

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401(k) Roth conversions are a good long-term deal if you can afford the additional taxes now

Under the notion that things could always get worse, some commentators state that the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the so-called “fiscal cliff” fix) was good for affluent Americans. This is nonsense, particularly with the threat of even higher taxes under some “balanced” approach. But, there is one aspect in which the American Taxpayer …

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Home Office Deduction Just Got Easier

On January 15, the IRS issued Rev. Proc 2013-13, which gives taxpayers a safe-harbor calculation for a home office deduction. Instead of a specific identification of the costs paid for the home office, taxpayers who elect this method can deduct $5 per square foot for the office, up to a maximum of 300 square feet …

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