25 November 2007

Accountability, American football and forecasting

AS A Green Bay Packers fan, I frequent the Yahoo! Sports website a lot. In its NFL section, one finds a six-person panel of experts who predict outcomes of all games for the entire season.

Actually, the panel comprises of more than six because the sixth man represents the Yahoo! user, or more accurately, football enthusiasts all over the world who have an account with Yahoo! and have signed up for its Pro-Football Pick'em service.

And guess what? As of last Thursday's final game (Friday morning in the Philippines, as everyone here is anxiously waiting for 'Mina') between the Colts and the Falcons, the average football enthusiast is actually doing quite well compared to the five other *experts* that include Cris Carter, a former Minnesota Vikings star.

In fact, they have the same record as Carter (104-59 correct-incorrect picks), which is better than two of the other *experts* in the employ of Yahoo!

I have to mention this because this waiting game for 'Mina' has become one big football game -- where you have a veritable panel of international experts and enthusiasts on storm tracking (the JTWC of the U.S. Navy, the IFA of the University of Hawaii, the TCT of the University of Wisconsin, the TSR of the University College of London: they're all in Mike Padua's website), a Naga-based enthusiast who had been tracking typhoons for 10 years now, and of course, PAGASA, the official state weather agency.

With Bicol now safe from 'Mina', it is clear that PAGASA -- notwithstanding DOST Undersecretary Graciano Yumul's strained explanations -- bungled this one. This morning's Inquirer story asks correctly: What went wrong?

Of course, his boss -- Secretary Estrella Alabastro -- was correct in saying that PAGASA forecasters in fact mentioned two possible scenarios in regard to 'Mina': one running smack into Bicol and exiting via Mindoro (which brought us sleepless nights), and the current one, which spares the region and hits Northern Luzon and Cagayan Valley instead.

The problem is, they chose to play out the former, when all the other experts are saying otherwise. My two previous posts highlight this. Thus, massive preemptive evacuations had to be made in Albay and Camarines Sur, involving hundreds of thousands of residents, prompted by this Inquirer banner: "1 million Bicol folk told to flee".

If there is one thing I agree with Yumul, it is when he said that PAGASA forecasts are "accountable." Some accountability here would definitely help, because as Irvin Sto. Tomas, who has not been posting lately at Filipinayzd, pointed out, "In the end, you can't point the finger at the enthusiast."

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that PAGASA has that accountability factor. But who will be held accountable for the 19 million pesos expense, for that pre-emptive evacuation exercise in Albay ? just asking.


Porfirio Rubirosa

dave (",) said...

Let's think of it as practice. (As if the annual typhoons isn't practice enough.)

Irvin said...

Sto. Tomas, the skeptic

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Irvin: Sorry. Mix-ups like this really show you're getting old.

Porfirio, Dave: Garo mababawasan ang additional bonus kan mga taga-Albay capitol

Anonymous said...

Willy,

Nata man ? baku man sainda baga an screw-up, PAGASA su nag predict, sinda an kakasturan ....

Pero according to the broadsheets, Power of prayer daa, kaya nag -veer away si Mina.

BTW, could you give as a primer on American Football ? it's not so popular here.


Porfirio Rubirosa

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Porfirio: Seems were not alone. Check out the Inquirer's editorial this morning.

American football's also not really popular in the Philippines. But for a starter, you may want to check this Wikipedia article .

Anonymous said...

Willy,

Another bone-head screw-up like this, and PAGASA will definitely lose its credibility. When asked if the 19 million peso was well-spent , Joe Salceda, said he will have a philosophical answer to that, at least nobody died kuno.
For the next typhoon coming , better tune-out PAGASA, and listen to CNN or the US Navy meteorological station based in Hawaii. It's far more accurate. Kun sabagay, it's self-explanatory, State-of-the-arts equipment vs Third World facilities, what do you expect ?


Porfirio Rubirosa

amateur misanthrope said...

Re: your poll on the left. I was a high school teacher for two years (one year in a public high school, another in a private high school). I kept a daily lesson plan at the start but then stopped doing it. I believe my student learned a lot even if I didn't itemize everything I did in the classroom before or after. I simply taught.

benny said...

Should there be a Salary Cap in Football?
Personally I think there should be! It’s just getting to be stupid money in football at the top of the premiership!
It’s always the same teams at the top proving that football success is based purely on money which ruins the idea of it being a sport! They’ve done it in rugby, basketball, hockey and American football and it makes the sports more competitive and better to watch!
I do a little Spread Betting from time to time and most matches don’t hold much surprise who is going to win, its boring! I want to see a team at the bottom pulling off an amazing season beating last seasons winners in a close fought battle!
Make things fair! It shouldn’t be about money!
Plus!
All there is all that money in the premiership and barely any of it stays in the UK so it’s not even helping the economy!
From my Spread Betting (or more precisely Football Spread Betting) if I ever win big (which is never, I’m unlucky) it’s still nothing compared to the average premiership players weekly wage!

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3d ultrasounds said...

Very thorough article with some interesting points raised – not entirely my thing, but there you go.

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