Thursday, June 01, 2006

Engineers can't spell but these kids can!

The final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is being televised on ABC and they are telling stories about some of the spellers a la the beginning of American idol or the human interest stories during the Olympics. I think they are trying to put a human face on the impersonal world of spelling. I am an engineer and though I have a large vocabulary I am a notoriously bad speller. The words these kids are getting seem to be phenomenally difficult and obscure. There also doesn't seem to be a Frosted Mini Wheat feeding the kids the answers, like in that commercial (ardvark has two a's, I mean three a's, aardvark).

Along the line of you can bet on anything, Pinnacle sports allows bets on some aspects of the spelling bee, though they do not handicap any of the actual spellers.

For instance here are the odds:
Will the winner be male or female?
Male -161
Female +143
Will the final word contain an 'e' in it?
Yes -174
No +156
Will the winner be wearing glasses?
Yes +178
No -201
How many letters in the final word?
Over 10.5 letters -152
Under 10.5 letters +135
Will winner be from West/East of Mississipi River?
West +118
East -134
To read these odds, realize that the minus is the favorite or most expected outcome, while the plus is the underdog. Bet the amount after the minus to win $100, bet $100 to win the amount after the plus sign.

Since there are the same number of boys and girls entered I wonder why a boy winner is favored. Most of the rest of these might be predicted by careful analysis of the previous years statistics or even the statistics for middle school children. That is left as an exercise for the reader.

By the way, if Canadian kids are in the National Spelling Bee which nation is the National for.

tags: ,

No comments: