Thursday, May 28, 2009

I do not know what it is about those Subs

As I was eating at Subway today, I started to think about how many possible combinations of sandwiches you could create.

Someone may note that I have more posts inspired by sports and subway...

Anyway, in order to be a sandwich, you need bread. There are 7 or 8 bread choices.
On the website I see 21 permanent meat choices. (Includes veggie, which is the choice of no meat.)
The subway by my office has 3 kinds of cheese. 4 choices if you get no cheese, but 7 with 2 cheese options and 8 cheese combinations if you include no, one, two or all choices of cheese. (2 to the 3rd power.) Has anyone ever asked for multiple cheeses? I think I want to next time.
Toasted or Not. Mutliply by two.
I believe there are 9 veggie choices. I think the easiest way to do this is to raise two to the ninth power because you can get multiple veggies.
Then there are 8 dressing choices, wait, 9 because you can get oil OR vinegar. Again, multiple dressings is also an option.
Salt and pepper comes in one can so thats another times binary multiplier. 
Parmesean cheese sprinkle? Another two. 

So if my memory and math serves me right, that is 8*21*8*2*(2^9)*(2^9)*2*2 
And that is assuming you do not get multiple meat orders. I may try that next time too, "I would like ham, turkey and meatball marina sub please. Toast it. With pepperjack and provolone."

You could bound the options by only allowing choices that have no effect on the price (post-meat selection). I do not know if multiple cheeses increases the price, I am sure that multiple meats would. I also like to get my onions and peppers toasted with the rest of the sub -- that option is free, but not included in my combination calculation. For the sake of simplicity I will say that a sub with toasted onions and peppers is the same as non-toasted.

My product is 2,818,572,288 combinations. If you ate at subway once per day and chose a unique combination, it would take you 7,722,116 years before you ate them all. If you ate 3 times a day that is still 2.6 million years. How about 5 meals a day, all subway: Only 1.5 million years. 

I think my favorite combinations would coincide with the most hungry days: Veggie sub, no veggies, no dressing. You would only have to eat plain toast or bread 16 times. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Home Court/Field Advantage

Dave and I were chatting about baseball and basketball playoffs. He mentioned that there are more upsets in baseball than basketball meaning home field advantage is less of an advantage in baseball.

This is interesting because it seems that baseball would have more advantage due to the home team always having the last scoring opportunity and the fields are not standardized like they are in other sports.

First off, I would need to compare actual data to see if HCA is significantly different (number of upsets) in baseball than other sports. Secondly, if there is a difference, then I would need to make a testable model. 

Some preliminary ideas I have are that due to the simultaneous offense and defense in baseball or that baseball has a slower pace therefore crowd fed momentum may be less influential. Or perhaps scoring in baseball is driven primarily by consecutive hits instead of one time attempts in basketball. 

Any other hypotheses out there? 


This is a great book! The only downside was some locker room and back office quotations that were uncensored- but it was a fascinating look at how some clubs have exposed arbitrage opportunities in baseball created by old baseball knowledge. Strategies and players may be over and under valued because the decision makers in baseball are athletes and not statisticians or analysts for the most part. Thus old ideas have been assumed correct and not been exposed to thorough analysis.

It explores the Oakland A's management techniques and how they have done a lot with a little money by taking advantage of buying assets (players) cheap, in using their talents they show how they are good ball players and then sell them at a profit or lose them to free agency and start over again.