Join 3,415 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Raise Thumb. Close One Eye. Squint.
October 14, 2009 2:01 PM   Subscribe

The eyeballing game: compare your best attempts at several instinctive everyday tasks - determining a point of convergence, bisecting an angle, finding the midpoint of a line - against mathematical certainty. In a more financial mood? Play Chartgame: given a random historical stock chart of an unnamed S&P 500 company, choose to buy and sell as time advances to see if you can beat the market.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (22 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
we've seen the first one before, but I'd forgotten all about it. Thanks!
posted by xbonesgt at 2:06 PM on October 14, 2009


I'd seen and done the first one before too (I rock, total of 3.1 off), but what I didn't notice was what a great woodworking site it was parked on.

It makes sense that someone into carpentry would also be dedicated to this kind of thing, too.
posted by rokusan at 2:22 PM on October 14, 2009


How do I buy a credit default swap? I hear those are going places.
posted by albrecht at 2:39 PM on October 14, 2009


given a random historical stock chart of an unnamed S&P 500 company, choose to buy and sell as time advances to see if you can beat the market.

Winners receive a complimentary Nobel Prize in Economics!
posted by GuyZero at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Historically, stock prizes tend to go up. So if the charts are truly selected at random, the best strategy would be to place a buy order on the first day and hold till the end of the chart.

I tested my hypothesis with four charts and almost quadrupled my $10000 to a cool $38536.70 in 4 x 251 days.
I feel validated.
posted by sour cream at 2:45 PM on October 14, 2009


Historically, stock prizes tend to go up. So if the charts are truly selected at random, the best strategy would be to place a buy order on the first day and hold till the end of the chart.

Right, but the goal of the game is to outperform that strategy.
posted by albrecht at 2:55 PM on October 14, 2009


4.91. Much better than the last time I did this. Maybe tracking changes in Word all day helps...
posted by limeonaire at 4:17 PM on October 14, 2009


2.22, 5th place of the most recent 500.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:19 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, I did much better at that eyeballing game than I thought I would. Thanks for the little self-esteem boost at the end of a crap day.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:22 PM on October 14, 2009


3.5
posted by jock@law at 5:04 PM on October 14, 2009


Historically, stock prizes tend to go up. So if the charts are truly selected at random, the best strategy would be to place a buy order on the first day and hold till the end of the chart.

But then how is your broker supposed to afford that sweet new BMW he has his eye on?
posted by blenderfish at 6:20 PM on October 14, 2009


Actually, that's a good question. Does this take brokerage fees and taxes into account? My understanding is that any oh-so-slight edge you might get (or might not get) by actively trading is more than eaten up by recurring costs.
posted by blenderfish at 6:22 PM on October 14, 2009


1.86 - I got a bit impatient at the end. I feel like if I had spent a bit more time on the last center of the circle test I would have done a bit better.
posted by arcolz at 6:48 PM on October 14, 2009


2.11, 2nd of the last 500. I think arcolz was cheating.
posted by Dr. Send at 7:54 PM on October 14, 2009


Was not! I just took my time and used a few strategies:

Parallelogram - Get the longer sides parallel and then move the mouse back and forth along the long side until the shorter ones look parallel. Double check by comparing the angles and making sure they match.

Midpoint - Focus on getting the line as straight as possible.

Bisect angle - Mentally rotate the angle (or your head) so that the arrows would be connected by an imaginary horizontal line. Move your line so that you get two symettrical pieces of pie.

Triangle center - This one I found quite hard. I just tried to imagine three lines perpendicular to the triangle's edges and move the box where they would intersect.

Circle center - Another hard one. Try to get the box even horizontally, then move it vertically into place.

Right angle - Pretty much the same as bisect angle. Rotate the fixed side so that it is perfectly horizontal or vertical, then draw your line perpendicular to it.

Convergence - Just make all the lines straight. I would usually try to get the 'center' line as straight as possible, then move the mouse on that axis until the others line up.
posted by arcolz at 9:34 PM on October 14, 2009


albrecht: "How do I buy a credit default swap? I hear those are going places."

Actually, if you had bought credit default swaps you'd be sitting pretty right now. It's the selling that's the problem...
posted by jckll at 7:18 AM on October 15, 2009


Buy and hold: -85%
Me: -95%

Yeah, the computer really came out a winner, eh?
posted by spamguy at 7:44 AM on October 15, 2009


After fifteen minutes of practice, I got up to a score of 4-point-something on the eyeballing game.

I'm a disgrace to my gender.
posted by Scattercat at 9:29 AM on October 15, 2009


I got 5.36 and was quite impressed with myself--I guess that's not quite as fantastic as I thought.
posted by epj at 10:52 AM on October 15, 2009


It makes sense that someone into carpentry would also be dedicated to this kind of thing, too.

Whatever happened to measure twice and cut once?
posted by Chuckles at 1:39 PM on October 15, 2009


I can believe that 1.8ish is possible, but doing it first time through seems tough. Also, it was already boring me on my first play.
posted by Chuckles at 1:41 PM on October 15, 2009


2.20 (6th of last 500) and feeling satisfied with that, though I suspect I could improve.
posted by Songdog at 12:40 PM on October 16, 2009


« Older October is American Archives Month....  |  "America's Toughest Sheriff", ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments