Monday, March 30, 2015

The Australian Test Cricket team

My pick for the Australian Test team is: Warner, Rogers, Smith, Clarke(c), Voges, Maxwell, Nevill(wk), Johnson, Harris, Starc, Hazlewood. The list of players unlucky to miss out is huge:
  • Fawad Ahmed. A Test-quality wicket-taking wrist spinner. Australia loves to have one of those.
  • Lyon. The best attacking orthodox spinner Australia has ever produced.
  • Agar. Much improved and a very good bat as well.
  • Lots of competitors for Hazlewood in the 4th fast bowler spot: Cummins, Pattinson (if ever fit), Siddle and more.
  • Watson. The best paid cricketer in the world. Could possibly replace Rogers as opener.
  • Faulkner. A genius with bat and ball. How can I leave him out.
  • Mitch Marsh. Unfairly deprived of the opportunity to play 1st class cricket recently.
  • Shaun Marsh. One of the best batsmen in the world on his day, but so inconsistent.
  • Every other first class wicketkeeper.
Maxwell and Smith (and Clarke and Warner) allow us the luxury of 4 fast bowlers. This is a team that nobody will want to bat against. The tail bats well down to number 11.

[update: Can't believe they've left Maxwell out of the squad. I've been watching Cricket for over 50 years and I rate him as one of the best players of all time.

IF they're going to put the long form of the game on a pedestal, and select people based on 1st class cricket performance.
THEN they have to allow players to say "I'm only available for short form international cricket when there are no 1st class matches I could play in."

It may be that they want Maxwell to play a bit in India (in the A side) and maybe play for a county, rather than touring but not playing much which won't suit his temperament.

In my initial version of this post I put in a different (retired) Peter instead of Peter Nevill. A "senior moment".]

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A peek into the quantum world

In, John Baez discusses the amount of information in a gram of water. In Newton's classical world this doesn't make sense. To describe even the position of just one molecule of the water would take an infinite number of decimal places, and hence an infinite number of bits. But when we get into the quantum world things actually get simpler, and Baez can write:
we see a gram of water holds

4.05 × 10^24 bits

of information.  And amazingly, this is something we know quite precisely!  I've rounded off the numbers, but we could actually work it out to more decimal places if we wanted.
[10^24 means a 1 with 24 zeroes following.]

This makes me feel that I understand a bit more about what the quantum mechanical view of reality is [though obviously nobody should take my opinion too seriously]. Any time you have a very large finite system obeying relatively simple rules then it's going to look like some infinite thing which is philosophically more complicated, but likely to be more tractable mathematically. For example, if you plot the distribution of the result of 10^24 coin tosses then it is going to look indistinguishable from a continuous bell shaped curve (a gaussian distribution).

Will this viewpoint help me the next time I try to understand quantum mechanics a bit? We'll see.