Percentage vs Percentage Point: A Primer

If your (ordinary least squares) regression coefficient is .047, that is an increase of .047 points, or an increase of 4.7 percentage points.  When X goes up by 1, Y goes up by 4.7 percentage points (or 4.7 ppt for short).

It is not an increase of 4.7%.

To determine what percent change it is, you need to start with a base or an average. If, for example, the mean of the Y variable is .47, then an increase of .047 would be: .047/.47*100 = an increase of 10% off the mean.

Note that 10% is not the same as 4.7%.

Percentage vs. percentage point is a way that people lie with statistics.  A small percentage point change can look large in percentage terms and a large percent change can look small in percentage point terms.  Most people don’t know the difference, and think both mean percent.

*disclaimer:  if both your X and Y variables are in natural logs then, because of the beauty of Taylor approximations, the regression coefficient can be read as a percent with certain assumptions about the size of the change etc.

Pizza algorithm

A big question for any children’s party in which you are providing lunch is how many and what kind of pizzas to provide.

The internet has a few algorithms that address this subject, but I can’t find the super-useful one we used last year (that I probably got off a mommy forum). Instead there’s people’s own personal algorithms, which seem to be a bit, I dunno, personal-preference heavy (#2, for example, feels about mushrooms how #1 feels about eggnog, and #1 has a green pepper intolerance).

Do these algorithms really work?

In my years as a parent to a small child and chauffeur to and chaperone at children’s parties, I have made the following Scientific Observation: Kids seem to like Cheese or Pepperoni (originally had “and Pepperoni” but in reality, the cheese eaters eschew pepperoni entirely, and some pepperoni eaters will not eat plain cheese, “no! want pepROni pizza!”).

I have also noted: Adults seem to like more variety (and pepperoni, unless they’re vegetarian).

Last year we had 15 kids and at least 15 parents and didn’t get it quite right– there wasn’t quite enough veggie and one vegetarian kid was sad to have cheese as hir third piece…

Here’s what we’re trying this year for 4-7 year olds and their parents (or n people total):

(n+1)/4 for large pizzas (because we’re from the midwest and would rather have leftovers than run out of anything)
Order of pizza ordering based on number of people:
1.  Cheese
2.  Pepperoni
3.  Cheese
4.  Pepperoni
5.  Something with veggies (ex. vegetarian lover)
6.  Something with meats (ex. meat lover)
Then cheese, pepperoni, individual veggies (mushroom or onion), individual non-pepperoni meat (sausage or hamburger), cheese, pepperoni etc. Normally I would prefer onion to mushroom in terms of individual veggie, but this part of the country seems to be anti-onion, which I don’t understand.

If there were more adults, I would make pepperoni the first ordered pizza, and replace every other cheese pizza with a single-topping vegetarian pizza.

Hopefully this modified algorithm will work!

What are your pizza preferences and what is your ideal algorithm?

My adorable little nerdlet

Disclaimer:  If you don’t like reading about parents bragging about their kids, click away now.  Go on.  Nobody is forcing you to read this.  Tomorrow I’m sure will be back to standard grousing about the world.

DH’s main reason for wanting a child was to have someone to game with.  My main reason for having a child was to see DH as a father.

DH is a total gaming nerd.  The first time I spent any appreciable time alone with him, we walked along and he told me about some D&D mission he’d been on, as if it were real.  I thought, amused, “My lord, what a huge nerd.”  He grew on me though.  (Being tall dark and handsome didn’t hurt.)

Our house is full of games, mostly Eurogames which replaced more standard gamer-type-games such as Risk or Stratego (think Settlers of Catan, though it is not actually one of the best, it was the one that introduced Eurogames to the US).   We’re not talking Pictionary here, though we do have Apples to Apples (saved for when DC gets older).

And so DH introduced my little darling to hir first real game.  A simple little $15 lego board-game called Castle Draida in the Heroica series.  DC was hooked.  One lego game became two.  Then DC saved up hir allowance to buy a third.  Then the in-laws got the last (and most expensive) for Christmas.  Ze has spent hours upon hours playing with relatives, alone, trying out different scenarios, intimately getting to know the instructions manual, and so on.  Just like DH with his bigger kid  board games.

Man, I wish I could show you all a video of DC talking about Heroica.  Dark druuuuids and knights and orcs and goblins… and their hitpoints and healing potions and treaaaasure.  High speed kindergarten nerdity.

DH’s next contribution after Heroica, and just in time for the relatives, a fun board game called Castle Panic.  It can be played cooperatively or competitively.

My poor parents.  DH’s poor parents.  They listened patiently to DC going on and on about game mechanics and orcs and trolls and bosses and boulders.  Then they gamely played the cooperative version.  My sister I feel less sorry for– she got the mechanics right away and doesn’t let DC cheat.  Listening to them play is kinda like listening to two kids the same age play together, complete with, “Nooooo, you can’t DO that.”  When played competitively, DC likes to play the monsters.  Last game DH won by a single point when a lucky boulder got DC’s last two monsters, preventing them from taking down his last tower.

Ze is now attempting to shuffle:  this may be hir next big goal now that ze’s mastered shoe tying.

We’re so proud.  :)

What are your kids into?  Alternatively, what were you into when you were little?

[p.s. Also, DC isn’t immune to my form of nerdity.  Anime may not be an all-consuming passion for hir, but ze will watch it with me.]

Favorite Webcomics

Something Positive  Not really sure how to describe this one.  It started out as a group of seriously deranged friends going through life… and they’ve kind of grown and mellowed and moved apart in their 30s… I dunno, it’s kind of like life.  But with a boneless pink cat named choochoobear who can go through the plumbing to steal panties to sell on ebay.

Questionable content  About a group of 20 somethings disaffected hipster youth… or something like that, but with AI.  The AI are awesome.

Gunnerkrigg Court    Love this story-based comic about kids at a very large very strange boarding school, and particularly about one girl with an interesting past who seems to attract things.

Unshelved  The webcomic about librarians for librarians, and you know, everybody interested in reading a webcomic about librarians.

Sheldon Comics  This comic gets better and better all the time… it is totally different from, but also reminds one of Calvin and Hobbes, because of the awesome.  Oh, it’s nominally about a kid-software-whiz-billionaire living with his grandpa, but it’s so much more.

xkcd  The web comic for those of us who feel most comfortable with other people who read xkcd.  (You know… nerds.)

Penny Arcade  The web comic for gamers.

What are your favorite web comics?

In which I am a Giant Nerd

I don’t even play D&D (YET!?!?), but I made a D&D character (4th edition).  I thought it would be fun.  It was!  I did a lot of it online, and we also whipped out some of my partner’s large collection of D&D books in order to help with the many options.  The great thing about the online system is that it spits out printable cards with all your attacks on them, with necessary stats on each, and color-coded.

Meet Dara, the level 1 half-elf swordmage.  That isn’t her real name.  I know her first, middle, and last names — but I’m not telling you because neither is she.  She’s going by Dara because she’s not too proud of a certain event in her past.  She travels around trying to get back to something that happened years ago.

Dara has a familiar, because I thought it would be fun to have one.  Also, it gives her fire resistance, because I know it sucks bad to be on fire all the time (thank you, WotC podcasts with Penny Arcade, PvP, Wil Wheaton, and celebrity DM Chris Perkins [who is totally cute]).

She’s highly intelligent, which wasn’t actually my first choice, but when I started constructing her stats, all her good attacks were int-based.  She’s also got a knack for success to help her friends and an aegis of assault to mark an attacker — look out, monsters!  So far she only has leather armor — look out, me!  Dara is good with Arcana and History, but terrible at bluffing.  She’s pretty decent with Insight.  She’s got a booming blade and a lightning clash, which seem fun.  Even better is her Vanishing Blade attack, where she becomes invisible and teleports.  Wheee!  It’s a daily, but a cool one.

Dara is currently unaligned and prays to Ioun.

My partner, of course, thinks this is awesome, because he also is a giant nerd.  A hot nerd.  Who bought a very hot table (“Suck it, Swiss army”).  Another reason I am a nerd is because I want this, even though I have no real use for it.  No use, and nowhere to put it.  And it would be ridonkulous expensive. But still.

#2 has played D&D first edition (with the boy she had a crush on in middle school, she was DM), D&D second edition (with her first boyfriend and his friends, she was a Psionocist), and D&D third edition with her partner and some of his friends of friends (she was a cleric).  That’s not counting all the computer games she used to play, ending with Neverwinter Nights.

#2 sometimes makes role-playing gaming jokes in class and a small handful of students will giggle.  She wishes a subset of that small handful would learn to make friends with soap and water.

Eat poop you cat: Telepictionary

Eat Poop You Cat is a fun and frugal game. All you need is a pencil or pen and some paper. And some friends, or at least acquaintances willing to play.

Eat Poop You Cat combines the bad artistry of Pictionary with the elementary school humor of a rousing game of Telephone.

Basically, you start with a sheet of paper. One person secretly writes a sentence on the top of a sheet of paper so that nobody can see it. Then he hands it to the next person. She then looks at the sentence and attempts to illustrate it. Before handing it to the next person, she covers up the first sentence, boardgame geek suggests doing so by folding it backwards. Person 3 writes down the sentence that he thinks her picture is describing. Then he covers both the first sentence and the first picture, leaving only his sentence for person 4 to illustrate. The pattern continues until you run out of people (or are one away from running out of people) and you end on a sentence.

Boardgame Geek suggests using several sheets of paper, one for each person and going round robin so everyone is drawing or writing down a sentence at the same time. That probably makes things more entertaining.

Here’s a fun one.

My favorites are the ones where you have to start with a common saying. Sometimes people start with nonsensical sayings and the end result just isn’t as funny.

How do you turn, “Don’t drop the soap” into “Mom says you’ll poke your eye out”? Here’s how.

Anyhow, fun for the whole family.  A good party game, if you party that way.

(We were not paid by the Eat Poop You Cat association to write this post.  We know of nobody making money from said game.  But it’s only a matter of time before Hasbro picks it up, right?) (WRONG!  the game is called Scribblish, by Cranium.  #2 has played it with family; it was fun.  We changed the rules a bit but it’s the same idea.  I believe Hasbro owns Cranium, so it’s already happened!  The future is now!  Give us moneys!)

What are your favorite party games?

Moar video games

I have written before about enjoying video games even though I don’t play them.  In that post I said Kingdom Hearts was pretty.  Well lemmee tell you, those days seem to be over because I can’t stand whatever new/current version of KH my partner is playing right now.  Here’s what’s been going around the #1 household lately, in case you care…

Bastion: pretty decent.  Highlight is the musical score, which the composer describes as “acoustic frontier trip-hop”, which is really very accurate.

More fun than that: Infamous 2.  (Still not on my all-time high list)

Games like Vanquish bore the hell outta me.

Alan Wake: Are you SURE Stephen King didn’t write this game?  A writer encounters zombies.

This video is AWESOME:
pitching a video game to Cookie Monster

(unrelated but: new podcast I’ve been enjoying recently: Dead Robots Society.)

#2 is hoping her partner will get Portal 2 one of these days.  Sure, she can listen to the new ending credits song on Youtube, but is that really the same?  #1’s partner has beaten Portal 2 and gifted a copy of the original Portal to me so I can improve my terrible video-game skills.  This was a triumph.

Do you play video games? What are your favs?

(#2 likes to listen to her partner sing along)