His First 5K

Rory ran a 5K race last Sunday!  With a finishing time of 24.5 minutes or so. Hope it’s not the last one!


Robert is ending his summer with lots of sailing.  For the last two Wednesdays he has been fortunate enough to crew on Evil Octopus, a J/24,  at the Wednesday beer can races at Richmond Yacht Club.  The owner of the boat, Robin Van Viliet, of Mill Valley, is kind enough to allow lubbers to participate on her crew. Anyway, curiously enough, last night was the final race of the season and turns out that Evil Octopus won the 20-night season trophy!  Lots of hard work organizing by the owner of the boat.  And lots of hard work organizing all the events at the fantastically remodeled RYC.  Robert could get used to this . . .



Robert got to be on the committee boat today, the final day of the 49er sailboat North American Championships held at the Richmond Yacht Club.  He got to blow the horns for starts.  Toot toot!

Somewhat cruddy video of some finishes below.

Short and Distort

Wait, Robert thought anonymity was a good thing . . .



Pseudonymous attacks on public companies are followed by stock price declines and sharp reversals. I find these patterns are likely driven by manipulative stock options trading by pseudonymous authors. Among 1,720 pseudonymous attacks on mid- and large-cap firms from 2010-2017, I identify over $20.1 billion of mispricing. Reputation theory suggests these reversals persist because pseudonymity allows manipulators to switch identities without accountability. Using stylometric analysis, I show that pseudonymous authors exploit the perception that they are trustworthy, only to switch identities after losing credibility with the market.

Inquiring Minds

Robert’s children are not going to college.  Nonetheless, some of the reading public may be interested in information like this.  From Wikipedia.

U.S. institutions that are need-blind and meet full demonstrated need for both U.S. and international students

There are currently only seven U.S. higher learning institutions that are need-blind and meet full demonstrated need for all applicants, including international students.[2] These are:

U.S. institutions that are need-blind for U.S. applicants and meet full demonstrated need

A number of U.S. institutions of higher learning offer both need-blind admissions and meet the full demonstrated need for all domestic students. However, these institutions are need-aware when it comes to international student admissions. However, all admitted students will have their demonstrated need met. The following schools fall into this category:

U.S. institutions that are not need-blind for U.S. applicants and meet full demonstrated need

Many reputable US institutions that once championed “need-blind” policies in the past have modified their policies due to rising tuition and financial aid costs, as well as less-than-ideal returns on endowments. This largely affects prestigious institutions with vulnerable resources that do not offer merit-based aid but base their financial aid entirely on need and promise to deliver 100% of financial need (composed mostly of grants). These stated institutions refer to themselves as “need-aware” or “need-sensitive,” policies that somewhat contradict their call to admit and provide education for all qualified candidates regardless of economic status but allow them to fully fund the needs of all accepted students.[24]

For instance, at Macalester College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, at least 95% of students are admitted without their financial aid need being a factor (i.e., “need-blind”), but a slim percentage (1%–5%), generally students wait-listed or with borderline qualifications, are reviewed in modest consideration of the college’s projected financial resources. All of these aforementioned colleges grant all admitted students full financial aid packages meeting 100% need.[25] At Wesleyan University, attempted shifts to a “need-aware” admission policy have resulted in protests by the school’s student body.[26]

U.S. institutions that are need-blind for U.S. applicants and do not meet full demonstrated need

Some schools have a need-blind admissions policy, but do not guarantee to meet the full demonstrated financial need of the students they admit. The following schools fall under this category:

U.S. institutions that are need-sensitive and do not meet full demonstrated need

The following institutions are need-aware and do not meet full need for the students they admit:

Non-U.S. institutions that are need-blind and meet full demonstrated need for all applicants

Boarding schools

As of 2014, Phillips Academy is the only USA boarding high school that has a clearly stated need-blind admission policy and is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of its admitted students. St. Andrew’s School ended its policy in 2013. Phillips Exeter Academy was “effectively need-blind” prior to the 2009 admission season but stopped the practice because of the economic pressures. Roxbury Latin School, a day school outside of Boston, is also need-blind.

Tennis Fall Season: Priory 12U

Here’s the schedule for this Fall’s 12U Team at the Priory Tennis & Swim Club, featuring Rory Pierce

12U – Green Ball Division   (Flight B)
TennisLink Match ID Match Date Time Home Team Visiting Team Hosting Facility
2071920 9/21/18 4:30 PM The Priory Tennis & Swim Club BYE BYE
2071945 9/28/18 4:30 PM Rafael Racquet Club (Backhands) The Priory Tennis & Swim Club Rafael Racquet Club
2071925 10/5/18 4:30 PM The Priory Tennis & Swim Club Scott Valley Swim & Tennis Club The Priory Tennis & Swim Club
2071935 10/12/18 4:30 PM The Priory Tennis & Swim Club Tiburon Peninsula Club (Team 2) The Priory Tennis & Swim Club
2072545 10/19/18 4:30 PM The Priory Tennis & Swim Club BYE BYE
2071942 10/26/18 4:30 PM The Priory Tennis & Swim Club Mill Valley Tennis Club The Priory Tennis & Swim Club
2071930 11/2/18 4:30 PM Ross Recreation The Priory Tennis & Swim Club Ross Recreation
2071939 11/9/18 4:30 PM Marin Country Club The Priory Tennis & Swim Club Marin Country Club

The Limits of Meritocracy

Robert likes this. Well, at least the first 8 pages, before the math starts.

The Limits of Meritocracy
John Morgan, Justin Tumlinsony. Felix Várdyz
We show that too much meritocracy, modeled as accuracy of performance ranking
in contests, can be a bad thing: in contests with homogeneous agents, it reduces
output and is Pareto inefficient. In contests with sufficiently heterogeneous agents,
discouragement and complacency effects further reduce the benefits of meritocracy.
Perfect meritocracy may be optimal only for intermediate levels of heterogeneity.

Downloadable here.

Robert thinks of his experience with high school swim team.  Very unenjoyable because it was clear that of the 8 standing on the starting blocks, one was almost certainly going to win.  Maybe a second guy had a small chance.  But nobody in the other 6 blocks had a chance.  So why try?