How to beat the bookies by turning their odds against them

Mathematicians had already developed bookie-beating models that attempt to predict sporting outcomes, but they are hard to devise and don’t perform consistently. So Lisandro Kaunitz at the University of Tokyo and his colleagues tried a more direct approach: using the bookmakers’ odds against them. The team studied data on nearly half a million football matches…

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Why Doing Good Is Good for the Do-Gooder

The past few months, with a series of disasters seemingly one on top of another, have felt apocalyptic to many, but the bright side to these dark times has been the outpouring of donations and acts of generosity that followed. From Hurricane Harvey flooding Houston to Hurricanes Irma and Maria ripping through the Caribbean to…

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The Ignorance of the Crowd

In 1907,  Francis Galton asked participants at a county fair to estimate the weight of an ox. While most individuals guessed rather poorly, the median guess was within 1 percent of the ox’s true weight. It’s not a mysterious finding, as some people guess high and others guess low. When the group gets large, these cancel out and…

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The Ways We Con Ourselves

I support a particular hospital charity that each year or so runs a home lottery and every year I enter. To date I have won a digital camera, an iPod, an Apple TV, a tonne of chocolate, wine (brilliant for a non drinker but good for presents) and a host of other goodies. In fact…

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Why Less Instant Gratification Leads to More Joy

The line stretched as far as my 10-year-old eyes could see. I had never seen a line that long for anything—let alone a movie. It was 1991. My father and I were standing outside on a cold Istanbul afternoon waiting for tickets to see Terminator 2. He had promised to take me to see the hottest…

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Size Does Matter

Whilst wading through all the associated bibs and bobs that accumulate when you are away, this article popped into my feed this morning. For those too lazy to read it and I wouldn’t blame you it is a mild hysteria piece by Fairfax on the collapse of China’s state owned energy producers – PetroChina. Apparently,…

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Things Dont Change Much

Whilst I was away I only occasionally stole a glance at the market. I long ago lost the need to be in constant contact with the market – gone are the days of religiously carrying a pager and trying to do stupid things such as trade the meltdown in the GBP from an airport lounge…

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