Saturday, May 2, 2020

He's on Fire

From The New Yorker:

"The Hot Hand, by Ben Cohen (Custom House). In 1985, a group of cognitive scientists released a study in which they concluded that hot streaks—one of the most avidly contested phenomena in sports—were a myth. Cohen, a sportswriter, begins his exploration of the subject with basketball, but soon broadens his scope to consider Einstein’s annus mirabilis, in 1905 (his output: special relativity, the photoelectric effect, and E=mc2), and Shakespeare’s, which occurred during the plague year of 1606. Sports statistics offer some answers as to whether streaks indeed reflect heightened abilities rather than chance and circumstance, but, as Cohen notes, the belief in them has its own value, because it implies that people can “transcend their places in the world.”"

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