904: Sports

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Sports
Also, all financial analysis. And, more directly, D&D.
Title text: Also, all financial analysis. And, more directly, D&D.

[edit] Explanation

A random number generator is any object or program that arbitrarily selects and produces a number from within a pre-defined range of numbers. For example, a single six-sided die will produce any integer between 1 and 6, inclusive. In an unweighted random number generator, every number that it can possibly produce has the same odds of coming up. When rolling a single precision die, for instance, there is an equal chance of rolling a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Conversely, in a weighted random number generator, some numbers are more likely to come up than others. A loaded die, such as those used by swindlers to cheat at gambling, is an example of a weighted random generator.

All sports generate numbers that are inherently random. Home runs, goals, sacks, passes, shots, hits, misses, errors, and many more such statistics are generated in every match of every sports game. The rules of the particular sport, as well as the skill of the participants, introduces bias toward certain values; hence, sports matches are weighted random number generators.

If the generator is weighted to favor a specific team in a specific game, that is discussed. Then the results of the game (more random numbers) are discussed. It's the discussion that is the narrative part. If a player breaks a record, that becomes part of the narrative. The number is random, but weighted because of player skill or the rules of the sport.

This strip is one of several in which Randall attempts to trivialize sports.

The title text applies this to financial/stock results/forecasts as well. And, most appropriately to Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), which is a game where most aspects of the game are determined by rolling dice of various numbers of sides and the numerical results are woven into a narrative by the Dungeon Master.

[edit] Transcript

[Two commentators sit behind a desk.]
Commentator 1: A weighted random number generator just produced a new batch of numbers.
Commentator 2: Let's use them to build narratives!
ALL SPORTS COMMENTARY
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Discussion

This comic highlights the tendency to interpret so-called "events" based on essentially random, day-to-day changes that are indistinguishable from trends. Sports writers and directly accused of this. Financial analysts are equally culpable. D&D Dungeon Masters are guilty as well, but I reckon Randall states this somewhat tongue-in-cheek as the role of a DM is to deliberately spin a good yarn.

--Smartin (talk) 04:21, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
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