Sunday, June 28, 2020

Where's Jon? Online Edition

And now, the recurring feature where we look at conference photos and see where I am. This one is really easy.

This was from the Number Theory Online Conference. I feel obligated to point out that the conference was not this small, but not everyone could run the preferred conferencing software. There is also a Zoom picture containing other people. (And the usual number of people not showing up for either photo.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2020/21 Early Preview

I hadn't been posting on this subject, mainly because there aren't any games being played, but at least there is finally some news.

There is no plan yet for finishing the 2019/20 Europa League, so we don't know what will happen with the coefficient, as a result. Fortunately, those results affect the coefficient for the 2021/22 European season, so we are in no hurry to see those results. In the very unlikely event that Rangers wins that competition, they will end up in the Group Stage of the 2020/21 Champions League. I'm going to ignore that possibility.

Scotland finally called off the 2019/20 Scottish Premiership, which settles the top 3 teams, who will get European places. Normally, the other European place goes to the Scottish Cup winner, or the 4th place team if the Scottish Cup winner is in the top 3. We don't yet know what's going to happen with the Scottish Cup, but...

The Telegraph is reporting that the top 4 clubs would end up with all 4 European places. (The only way this wouldn't have happened is if Hearts or Hibs managed to win the Scottish Cup.) The relevant rankings have Scotland at #20, so here is what to expect (if the 2020/21 Europa League takes place):
  1. Celtic enters in the first qualifying round of the Champions League. Presumably, recent Scottish success will mean this is the last year the Scottish champions enter so early.
  2. Rangers enters in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. Again, recent Scottish success should make this the last year where the Scottish second placed team/Scottish Cup winners enter so early. But it's better than last year, where they ended up entering in the first round!
  3. Motherwell enters in the first qualifying round of the Europa League. Scotland is on track to bump that to the second round for the following season.
  4. Aberdeen enters in the first qualifying round of the Europa league. Again, if Scotland does well enough (keeps its coefficient at 14 or 15), that will get bumped to the second round in future years.
The last time I looked at European places, those were the four most likely teams to make it. I am happy with all of them except Motherwell, a smaller club whose league success is unlikely to translate to Europe. But I am resigned to the idea that there will almost always be one smaller Scottish club in Europe. Stephen Robinson seems to be a good manager there, so they have a chance to steal a few fractional points for the coefficient if he stays on.

Thursday, April 30, 2020 I'm #438

It has been about 8 1/2 years since I posted an update on my progress at on-line Dominion. (Long enough ago that Michigan beat Ohio State while I was playing.) Since then, Dominion has moved servers a couple of times. As a quarantine amusement, I started playing on the latest incarnation, The beginning rating is 38.8. Unfortunately, due to the increased load during quarantine, they stopped updating the ratings for a while. I was pretty sure I was better than that!

I guess I am, because today I logged in and had a rating of 54.3, which is good enough for 438th based on my games from the past few weeks.

(I only play 3-player, so I'm not sure how I'd do in the 2-player ratings instead of the 3/4-player ratings.)

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Geocaching: February 2020

I found 35 geocaches in February, my second busiest month ever. So I will continue reviewing things monthly.

I started the month on a geocaching streak, and bumped my longest streak from 7 to 8.
Included in that streak was a "Fun in All Directions" souvenir for finding one on 02/02/2020 (or 2020-02-02). That brings me to 68 souvenirs.

I started another streak on the 8th. On the 9th, I found my first February 2020 caches (Month 206).
I also got my 24th FTF (First to Find).
On the 16th, I found Minutes 35, 36, 37 and 39 for the West 77 Degrees Longitude Challenge.
I also found my first April 2010 cache (Month 207) that day.
On the 17th, in West Virginia, I found Minutes 45, 46, 47, 48, 49 and 50 for the same challenge. One of those also gave me Minute 20 for the North 39 Degrees Latitude Challenge.
I also got my first 4.0/1.5 Difficulty/Terrain combo (D/T Combo #44).
On the 18th, I found a nice one on the Alexandria waterfront.
I stretched the streak through the 20th. I decided it was too much pressure to have that daily task competing with my other daily tasks (which are generally more important to my life).

So other than hitting the West 77 Challenge hard (I only have 6 caches left for that one), I didn't do a lot of stats this month compared to the number of caches I found. My Jasmer grid only got two additions, so I am one closer to filling this. (31 months left, not counting March 2020.)
My heavy caching has made this third-busiest year. And it's only one-sixth over.
My fastest 100 find is now down to 111 days:
My previous record was 210 days, ending April 20, 2018.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2019/20 Round-of-16 Preview

This is the first time I have gotten to write two previews in the knockout round phase since I started blogging about Scotland's UEFA coefficient.

Against the odds, Rangers are the side that are through. Scotland has not quite, but almost, locked down 15th place, which will guarantee two Champions League places in 2021/22.

This range of teams is self-contained. By that, I mean, none of them can climb above 13th, and there are no teams below 19th place still active.

Round-of-32 Review

50 minutes into the return leg of their matchup with Copenhagen, Celtic was set to make the Round of 16. 84 minutes into it, they were set to compete in extra time. Then everything fell apart, and they lost in aggregate 4-2. At least they picked up 0.25 points for the coefficient before they went out.

Rangers, by contrast, had the opposite experience. They were down 2-0 with 66 minutes gone in the first leg, and ended up winning both legs of their tie with Braga. That's a full point for the coefficient and progression to the Round of 16.

Scotland ended up in 14th, as predicted, with about the number of points as predicted. In fact, 13th-18th were as expected, and Switzerland over-performed to take 19th instead of Croatia.

Round-of-16 Preview

Rangers drew Leverkeusen, probably the second-hardest draw after Manchester United. Still, Fivethirtyeight gives them a 21% chance of advancing. On average, they get one loss and one draw, which moves them ahead of Denmark if Copenhagen gets swept.

That's one way to assure that Scotland stays at 15th or above. Even if Rangers gets swept, they need Olympiakos and Basel both to go deep.

Dale Johnson of ESPN says that in order for Scotland to miss out, you'd need
Olympiakos to reach the semi-final and Basel to reach the final. Those are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for Scotland to get bumped to 16th. Fivethirtyeight gives Olympiakos a 10% chance of making the semis, and Basel a 5% chance of making the final. The chance of both happening is about half a percent, so Scottish fans shouldn't be too worried.

Quarter-Final Sneak Peek

All I have to say here is that in the 21% of universes where Rangers makes the quarter final, I am supposed to be in Scotland during the return leg. (I guess there's about a 1 in 10 chance there will be a Rangers home match then.)

2020/21 Sneak Peek

Scotland is up to 12th for the starting of next year's race. All the nations here but Cyprus have teams remaining, so we could still be some small changes.

Here is how the race for the European places is going in the Premiership:

If a top 4 team wins the Cup (meaning the top 4 teams all go to Europe):

  1. Celtic 100%
  2. Rangers 100%
  3. Aberdeen 70%
  4. Motherwell 65%
  5. Livingston 32%
  6. Hibernian 32%
  7. Kilmarnock 2%
If a non-top 4 team wins the Cup (meaning the 4th place team misses out):
  1. Unnamed non-top 4 team 100%
  2. Celtic 100%
  3. Rangers 100%
  4. Aberdeen 45%
  5. Motherwell 31%
  6. Livingston 12%
  7. Hibernian 12%
The big change from a few weeks ago is that Hibs are up, and Motherwell's down. Based on the relative resources, I think that's a good thing. Also, the Scottish Cup quarter-finals are set, so Kilmarnock, Livingston and Motherwell no longer have a path to Europe that way. However, Hearts, St. Johnstone, St. Mirren and Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle do. We'll see it narrowed down further over the weekend.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Geocaching: January 2020

I got into a weird habit of dividing my geocaching posts up by meteorological seasons. The last few seasons I found 17, 17, 9, 6, 10, 39, 37. This January, I found 47. So it seems time to move to months for a summary.

Before getting to January 2020, I found two caches in the winter portion of December 2019 that I should acknowledge. On a stop on Skyline Drive, I found an earthcache, which gave me County 101 (Warren County, VA). On New Year's Eve, I found a cache to give me the Goodbye 2019 souvenir (64th souvenir).

So, why 47 caches in January? Partially a desire to get more exercise, partially a well-timed trip to Colorado. 47 is of course, my busiest month.
Get ready for many more stats I achieved in January.

On January 1, I found a cache in Virginia, which gave me the Hello 2020 souvenir (65th souvenir), and the 3, 2, 1 go souvenir (it was the last day of a period in which I had to find 6 geocaches). It was also my first cache placed in March 2019 (Month 197).

I had a busy weekend the first weekend of the year, which led to my best weekend yet, and second busiest day yet on Sunday.
At the end of that Sunday, I had found some traditionals, some mysteries and a virtual when I saw a nearby, easy multicache. That's four types in one day.
One of the caches I found that day was placed in May 2007 (Month 198), which finishes off all 2007 months for me.

On my trip to Colorado, I decided to break my maximum distance in a day.
The Colorado souvenir was my 67th.
While staying in Denver, I found 10 of 13 counties in the North Central Colorado Urban Area. (I skipped the mountainous ones, since it was January.) Those were counties 102-111 for me.
The week of the trip was my most in a week.
My list of highest elevation caches looked substantially different, with only two caches from a 2007 cross-country drive remaining on the list, compared to the ones pre-trip.
While I was out there, I also managed to add January 2010 (Month 199), September 2008 (Month 200), December 2018 (Month 201),  January 2020 (Month 202) and June 2011 (Month 203).

Since Colorado is approximately the same latitude as Maryland and Virginia, I made some progress towards the North 39 Degrees Latitude Challenge, which requires me to find a cache in each minute of 39 Degrees North. After adding minutes 32, 33, 42, 44, 47, 49, 50, 58, I had 29 of the required minutes. (3 of the minutes were from a trip to California, where I may end up again this year.)

On the trip, I added my 41st and 42nd difficulty/terrain combos.
A very nice caching week, and not just statistically. There was also some very nice scenery. I wouldn't mind going back, and maybe hitting those mountain counties.

Back in the East, I got my 22nd First-to-Find on the 24th (my birthday!).

On the 26th, I knocked out a few more degrees. I picked up a cache in 38'43". I now have all the latitude minutes from 38'40" to 39'08". On the longitude side, I also got 77'06", 77'14", 77'16" and 77'38". I now have 45 of the 60 I need for the West 77 Degree Longitude Challenge. I now have all longitudes from 76'39" to 77'34".

On that day of caching, I stopped for a bite to eat. I went to see if any caches were nearby, and one was. After finding it, I discovered it gave me December 2009 (Month 204) and my 43rd D/T combo.

On the 28th, I picked up my 23rd FTF.
Then, on the 30th, I found a May 2019 cache (Month 205).

I am writing this in early February, so the stats below include a few caches I found this month, but no new months placed, I believe.

I see four distinct groups of missing months. There are the "ancient caches" -- from 2000 or 2001 (8 missing months). Those are often ones people need to plan trips in order to get, as there are only a few from certain months.

Then there are the "old caches" -- from 2002 to 2005 (11 missing months). These are rare, but not spectacularly so.

Next we have the "middle-aged caches" -- 2008 to 2013 (10 missing months). Because they are not of historical value, they are less likely to be preserved, but often they will pop up at random.

Finally, we have the "young caches" -- 2018 to present (3 missing months). They are not hard to find, but they are easy to miss as new months keep popping up on the calendar. (I am not counting February 2020, since this is a January post.)