This map comes from: How Survey Data Helped the Federal Reserve Make a Regional Map of the United States
This map comes from: How Survey Data Helped the Federal Reserve Make a Regional Map of the United States
1. Scientific American has some interesting thoughts on How Your Language Affects Your Wealth and Health
... Different languages have different ways of talking about the future. Some languages, such as English, Korean, and Russian, require their speakers to refer to the future explicitly. Every time English-speakers talk about the future, they have to use future markers such as “will” or “going to.” In other languages, such as Mandarin, Japanese, and German, future markers are not obligatory. The future is often talked about similar to the way present is talked about and the meaning is understood from the context. A Mandarin speaker who is going to go to a seminar might say “Wo qu ting jiangzuo,” which translates to “I go listen seminar.” Languages such as English constantly remind their speakers that future events are distant. For speakers of languages such as Mandarin future feels closer. As a consequence, resisting immediate impulses and investing for the future is easier for Mandarin speakers. ...
2.Fair Trade 2.0? Coffee’s Economics, Rewritten by Farmers
3. R. J. Moeller qutoes from John Mackey's (Whole Foods CEO) new book:
“Capitalism has a purpose beyond just making money. I think the critics of capitalism have got it in this very small box. That it’s all about money. It’s based in being greedy, selfish and exploitative. And yet, I haven’t found it to be that way. Most of the hundreds of entrepreneurs I know and have met did not start their business primarily out of a desire to make money. Not that there’s anything wrong with making money. My body cannot function unless it produces red-blood cells. No red-blood cells and I’m a dead man. But that’s not the purpose of my life.
Similarly, a business cannot exist unless it produces a profit . . . but that’s not the only reason it exists.”
4. David Henderson with thoughts on economic impact of marriage: "Get Married and Stay Married"
When I was writing a review of Dwight Lee's and Richard McKenzie's excellent book, Getting Rich in America: 8 Simple Rules for Building a Fortune and a Satisfying Life, I called Dwight to ask a question and we got talking about Rule #5: Get Married and Stay Married. Dwight pointed out that if you follow the other 7 rules but don't get married or stay married, you have a substantial probability of building a fortune and a satisfying life. But, he said, if you don't get married and stay married, you tend not to follow at least some of the other 7 rules.
5. With more thoughts on the economic impact of marriage, Glen Reynolds reflects on The other marriage inequality
While the upscale college-educated crowd continues to marry at very high rates, marriage rates are plummeting among those further down on the socioeconomic ladder.
6. Steven Pearlstein with a thoughtful essay: Is capitalism moral?
... A useful debate about the morality of capitalism must get beyond libertarian nostrums that greed is good, what’s mine is mine and whatever the market produces is fair. It should also acknowledge that there is no moral imperative to redistribute income and opportunity until everyone has secured a berth in a middle class free from economic worries. If our moral obligation is to provide everyone with a reasonable shot at economic success within a market system that, by its nature, thrives on unequal outcomes, then we ought to ask not just whether government is doing too much or too little, but whether it is doing the right things.
7. Matt Ridley with an interesting piece on how Obsidian chronicles ancient trade. This conclusion was interesting.
Instead, Dr. Butzer argues that Sargon's conquest itself caused the collapse of trade by destroying cities and disrupting what had till then been "an inter-networked world-economy, once extending from the Aegean to the Indus Valley." In other words, as with the end of the Roman empire, the collapse of trade caused the collapse of civilization more than the other way around.
8. Speaking of economic History, Rewriting Biblical history? Agriculture might be 5,000 years older than believed.
A new find suggests farmers in Bible lands built channels for irrigation long before historians thought they did, allowing for cultivated vineyards, olives, wheat and barley.
10. The New York Times on New Reasons to Change Light Bulbs. (To LEDs)
11. Science 2.0 on A Biological Basis For Gender Differences In Math?
... “Educational systems could be improved by acknowledging that, in general, boys and girls are different,” said University of Missouri biologist David Geary in their statement. “For example, in trying to close the sex gap in math scores, the reading gap was left behind. Now, our study has found that the difference between girls’ and boys’ reading scores was three times larger than the sex difference in math scores. Girls’ higher scores in reading could lead to advantages in admissions to certain university programs, such as marketing, journalism or literature, and subsequently careers in those fields. Boys lower reading scores could correlate to problems in any career, since reading is essential in most jobs.”
Generally, when conditions are good, the math gap increases and the reading gap decreases and when conditions are bad the math gap decreases and the reading gap increases. This pattern remained consistent within nations as well as among them, according to the work by Geary and Gijsbert Stoet of the University of Leeds that included testing performance data from 1.5 million 15-year-olds in 75 nations. ...
14. Mashable has great advice with 5 Alternatives to Unfriending Someone on Facebook
15. David Brooks with insight on How Movements Recover
... Two rival reform movements arose to restore the integrity of Catholicism. Those in the first movement, the Donatists, believed the church needed to purify itself and return to its core identity. ...
... In the fourth century, another revival movement arose, embraced by Augustine, who was Bishop of Hippo. The problem with the Donatists, Augustine argued, is that they are too static. They try to seal off an ark to ride out the storm, but they end up sealing themselves in. They cut themselves off from new circumstances and growth.
Augustine, as his magisterial biographer Peter Brown puts it, “was deeply preoccupied by the idea of the basic unity of the human race.” He reacted against any effort to divide people between those within the church and those permanently outside. ....
16. A great piece by someone who considers them unaffiliated with any religion. Every Christian and congregation needs to reflect on the insignificance of the church in this writers life. His tribe is growing: The significant insignificance of religion
Atlantic Cities: The Geography of March Madness
While you're filling out your expertly analyzed bracket, you might want to take a look at how March Madness fandom is spread across the country with this map from Facebook (via Gizmodo). Michael Bailey of Facebook's Data Science team analyzed the way "likes" are spread through teams and conferences, across the country—in similar fashion to this Super Bowl map.
Here, for instance, Facebook looks at the conference divide. Bailey points out in his analysis how the ACC fan base is spread across the country, despite pockets of dominance for other conferences....
The article has other interesting maps as well.
1. The United States had its financial bubble. Europe is having one too. Is China next? If it is, it could reshape the global economy and radically reshape Chinese government. Here is an interesting piece about China's real estate bubble.
2. Robert Tracinski thinks we are in midst of a Third Industrial Revolution.
... I like the idea of a breaking the Industrial Revolution into stages, but I would define them in more fundamental terms. The first Industrial Revolution was the harnessing of large-scale man-made power, which began with the steam engine. The internal combustion engine, electric power, and other sources of energy are just further refinements of this basic idea. The second Industrial Revolution would be the development of interchangeable parts and the assembly line, which made possible inexpensive mass production with relatively unskilled labor. The Third Industrial Revolution would not be computers, the Internet, or mobile phones, because up to now these have not been industrial tools; they have been used for moving information, not for making things. Instead, the rise of computers and the Internet is just a warm-up for the real Third Industrial Revolution, which is the full integration of information technology with industrial production.
The effect of the Third Industrial Revolution will be to collapse the distance between the design of a product and its physical manufacture, in much the same way that the Internet has eliminated the distance between the origination of a new idea and its communication to an audience. ...
3. Tyler Cowen has some thoughts about the impact our technological revolution as well Are we living in the early 19th century?
... Eventually all of the creative ferment of the industrial revolution pays off in a big “whoosh,” but it takes many decades, depending on where you draw the starting line of course. A look at the early 19th century is sobering, or should be, for anyone doing fiscal budgeting today. But it is also optimistic in terms of the larger picture facing humanity over the longer run.
4. You may have seen a deeply flawed viral video about wealth inequality this past week. I working on my own response but here is economist Mark Perry's response. In response to the viral ‘Wealth Inequality in America’ video
5. What are the contours of income inequality in the United States? This 40 minute video by Emmanuel Saez offers some important insights.
6. Futurist Ray Kurzweil is a little too sensationalist for my taste but this vid offers interesting food for thought about nanotechnology and the future sports. We will even be able to have meaningful sports competition?
7. Atlantic takes up at a frequently perpetuated myth. 'Women Own 1% of World Property': A Feminist Myth That Won't Die
The recovered wealth - most of it from higher stock prices - has been flowing mainly to richer Americans. By contrast, middle class wealth is mostly in the form of home equity, which has risen much less.
10. When looking at decisions in your own context, Seth Godin explains why Macro trends don't matter so much
Whether or not you think science is wonderful, the stereotype of all scientists being atheists is unrealistic. There is, however, a special dance.
12. I consider this good news. Old Earth, Young Minds: Evangelical Homeschoolers Embrace Evolution
More Christian parents are asking for mainstream science in their children's curricula.
13. Remember to keep Syria and Egypt in your prayers. Nearly 1 in 20 Syrians are now refugees
Mar 09, 2013 in Asia, China, Current Affairs, Economic Development, Economics, Religion, Science, Sports and Entertainment, Technology, Technology (Biotech & Health), Technology (Digital, Telecom, & Web), Technology (Energy), Technology (Food & Water), Technology (Manufacturing & Construction)), Technology (Transportation & Distribution), Weatlh and Income Distribution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Elite soccer players are smarter than you are, and the sharpest of them score more often than dimmer teammates.
Top-tier players think more clearly, quickly and flexibly than non-players, and there is a correlation between cognitive ability and the number of goals and assists a soccer player scores, Swedish researchers found. The study, published in the journal PLoS One, says measuring cognitive skill could predict a player’s potential.
“Our data suggest that measures of executive functions with validated neuropsychological tests may establish if a player has the capacity to reach top levels in soccer,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, the present study may change the way ball-sports are viewed and analyzed and how new talents are recruited.” ...
... Petrovic and his colleagues used standardized tests to analyze the executive functions of 31 male and 26 female soccer players over the course of five months in 2007. The players were drawn from six teams in Sweden’s elite Allsvenskan league and five teams in next-tier Division 1. Players from both groups performed far better than non-players, with Allsvenskan footballers ranked among the top 5 percent of the general population. The Allsvenskans also outscored their Division 1 counterparts.
The research then moved to the pitch as the scientists followed several players between 2008 and 2010 to record the number of goals and assists they made. Here, too, the smartest players performed best, even after accounting for age and position. ...
It would be interesting to know of other elite atheletes in other sports have similar cognitive advantages. I had a roomate in graduate school who was getting his Phd. in Psychology. I remember him showing me a study about perception of field and ground among American football players. One of the key issues there was that pro running backs had a keen ability to see the spaces between players versus seeing the players themselves.
Let us bow our heads and give thanks that life begins anew. ;-)
Slate: The Economics of The Hunger Games
Could any real country have an economy like Panem’s? Actually, yes.
At first glance, the economic landscape depicted in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling Hunger Games trilogy doesn’t make much sense. Despite its post-apocalyptic condition, the fictional nation of Panem is quite technologically advanced. It has high-speed trains, hovercrafts, extraordinary genetic engineering capabilities, and the ability to create extremely advanced weapons. And yet Panem is also a society of tremendous economic inequality, with clear examples of absolute economic deprivation and even famine.
Economic theory teaches us that over the long term, prosperity is driven by two factors—capital accumulation and the “Solow residual” of technology—and that of the two elements the technology is more important. Perhaps the best example comes to us from the experience of Germany and Japan around World War II. These were, before the war began, prosperous, technologically advanced societies rich in industrial capital. They had the capacity, in other words, to build the tanks and bombs and aircraft carriers one would need to mount a successful effort at global conquest. But during the course of the war, the capital stock of both countries was run down to almost nothing by massive Allied bombing. In the very short-term, this impoverished both countries, but they bounced back remarkably quickly. Knowing how to build a prosperous society, in other words, was more important than actually having the physical stuff.
So how can Panem, more than 70 years after the conclusion of its last major battle, be so poor and yet so rich in knowledge?...
... District 12 is a quintessential extractive economy. It’s oriented around a coal mine, the kind of facility where unskilled labor can be highly productive in light of the value of the underlying commodity. In a free society, market competition for labor and union organizing would drive wages up. But instead the Capitol imposes a single purchaser of mine labor and offers subsistence wages. Emigration to other districts in search of better opportunities is banned, as is exploitation of the apparently bountiful resources of the surrounding forest. With the mass of Seam workers unable to earn a decent wage, even relatively privileged townsfolk have modest living standards. If mineworkers earned more money, the Mellark family bakery would have more customers and more incentive to invest in expanded operations. A growing service economy would grow up around the mine. But the extractive institutions keep the entire District in a state of poverty, despite the availability of advanced technology in the Capitol.
Similar conditions would apply to the plantation agriculture we briefly see portrayed in District 8, and presumably other commodity-oriented Districts such as 7 (lumber), 10 (livestock), and 9 (grain). On the other hand, Collins wisely avoids going into detail about what life is supposed to be like in Districts specializing in luxury goods or electronics. It’s difficult to have a thriving economy in electronics production without a competitive market featuring multiple buyers and multiple sellers.
Absent market competition, personal computers never would have disrupted the mainframe market and the iPhone and Android never would have revolutionized telecommunications. Entrenched monopolists have no interest in developing new technologies that shake things up. It’s difficult to get real innovation-oriented competitive markets without secure property rights, and exceedingly difficult to have secure property rights without some diffusion of political power. That needn’t mean real democratic equality—a standard the United States and Europe didn’t meet until relatively recently—but it does mean fairly broad power-sharing, as the U.S. has had from the beginning.
But Collins is right in line with the most depressing conclusion offered by Acemoglu and Robinson, namely that once extractive institutions are established they’re hard to get rid of. Africa’s modern states, they note, were created by European colonialists who set out to create extractive institutions to exploit the local population. The injustice of the situation led eventually to African mass resistance and the overthrow of colonial rule. But in almost every case, the new elite simply started running the same extractive institutions for their own benefit. The real battle turned out to have been over who ran the machinery of extraction, not its existence. And this, precisely, is the moral of Collins’ trilogy. [Spoiler alert: Ignore rest of this story if you haven’t finished the trilogy.] To defeat the Capitol’s authoritarian power requires the construction of a tightly regimented, extremely disciplined society in District 13. That District’s leaders are able to mobilize mass discontent with the Capitol into a rebellion, but this leads not to the destruction of the system but its decapitation. Despite the sincere best efforts of ordinary people to better their circumstances, the deep logic of extractive institutions is difficult to overcome, whether in contemporary Nigeria or in Panem.
... From a map like this, a player can quickly learn both where he should try to shoot during a game (the red spots) and where he should shoot during practice (the blue spots). A coach, meanwhile, could layer the equivalent map for each one of his players on top of one another and find in the visual data inspiration for new plays that lead each man to one of his sweet spots. And for the mere fan, such maps can not only lead to a greater understanding of the game, but also provide at least a hint of the aesthetic pleasure that makes basketball enjoyable in the first place. As Michael Scott might say, win-win-win.
ASYMCO: Hollywood by the numbers
... Drama / Comedy vs. Adventure / Fantasy: Why the Ancient Greeks had it all wrong
Storytelling has not changed throughout history. The same types of stories affect audiences the same way since stories were first told. The earliest known “genres” were tragedy and comedy and they are still seen as the bedrock of theater today. The same is true for movies. The following bar chart shows the distribution of genres as cited by movies over our data set.
Drama and comedy are about 50% of all movies made. If we add romance they are 60% of cited genres. This is understandable given the history of theater. However the profitability (or revenue potential) of those genres is not as strong as Action, Adventure and Fantasy. The following chart shows the same count of genre citation but only for movies grossing over $200 million (which we chose to call “blockbusters”).
Action, adventure and fantasy handily beat Comedy and even SciFi beats drama. Romance, musicals and and mystery genres typically associated with female audiences are very rarely successful as blockbusters. The overall data is shown in the following table. The rows represent gross revenues and the columns genres cited ranked in order of frequency. One can easily observe the density of low earning drama and comedy (grey colored) vs. the more lucrative instances of fantasy and adventure. These male-dominated genres have consistent success into middle, high and very high revenue tiers. ...
... The reason for this blockbuster attention to action and adventure is probably the prevailing theater-going audience demographic: adolescent males. The industry still produces the classic genres but less profitably than what the current targeted markets.
Indeed, these genres were very uncommon in eras predating the late 1970s. More “adult-oriented” movies like romance (Gone with the Wind), musicals (The Sound of Music) and epic movies (Ben Hur, The Ten Comandments) were common in the “golden age” of Hollywood. As we’ll see in the next section, the age of the audience is a now driving more than just genre selection. ...
Check out the whole article. It's an interesting window into the movie industry.
Guardian: A Hitch in time: save the Hitchcock 9
Nine of the 10 films Hitchcock directed in the 1920s are getting a full restoration. Henry K Miller enters the dusty world of the archivists and learns about the race to save the silents.
The audience at the Capitol cinema in London during the middle week of April 1926 witnessed an unusually bold declaration of authorship. The opening moments of The Pleasure Garden, touted in the fan magazines as the debut of "the youngest director in the world", contained, under the "directed by" credit, the slanted and underlined signature of the 26-year-old Alfred J Hitchcock. What followed was also – as it would become clear over the decades – signature Hitchcock film-making. The film's first scene gives us a voyeur's-eye-view of a dancer's legs; and then makes us share the voyeur's unease as the look is returned. The Spectator's influential critic Iris Barry scented the "new blood" desperately needed by the ailing British film industry, writing that Hitchcock had "astonished everyone with his freshness and power".
Despite the plaudits, and despite Hitchcock's self-confidence, there was no inkling that his films would be seen in five years' time, let alone 85. Three million Britons went to the pictures every night, and the turnover was fast. Most movies played for half a week before being replaced, with a favoured few lingering in circulation a little longer. Survival was a matter of luck and the market. But next year, if all goes to plan, nine of the 10 films Hitchcock directed during the 1920s will be seen as no one has seen them since their first release, restored thanks to the BFI National Archive's Rescue the Hitchcock 9 project.
Publicly launched a year ago, and yoked to 2012's Cultural Olympiad, the biggest single undertaking in the archive's history is global in scope, but has its nerve-centre on the edge of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, in what used to be – and from the road still resembles – a farm. Home to vast air-locked, low-temperature film vaults, and to the personal papers of the likes of Michael Powell and David Lean, "Berko" is a hive of white-coated, clean-handed, obsessive activity.
Now the largest film archive in Europe, it was among the very first. The National Film Library, as the archive was originally called, was launched in July 1935, a few weeks after the release of The 39 Steps. A lowly department of the young and deeply troubled British Film Institute, it started out, in the words of its first curator Ernest Lindgren, 24 years old when he took on the role, with "no films, no equipment, and no money". Most of the silent heritage had been destroyed since the coming of talkies at the end of the 1920s, and so the library comprised, said Lindgren, "scraps of flotsam and jetsam, the wreckage of a vast output of film, which purely by chance have survived the destructive storm of time". ...
New York Times: New Time Warp for ‘Doctor Who’
The namesake character in “Doctor Who” can travel through time and space, but he cannot outrun the Internet.
When new episodes of that long-running BBC science-fiction drama were broadcast in Britain last year, executives at the BBC America cable channel observed a major spike in illegal file sharing of the show in the United States. Some stateside fans, it seemed, were unwilling to wait the two weeks between the British and American premieres. Many other “Who” fans who did wait were frustrated by online spoilers on blogs and Twitter.
The BBC’s solution is to compress time and space. Taking a page from the same-day worldwide premieres of blockbuster films, the new season of “Doctor Who” will start on Saturday not just in Britain, but in the United States and Canada too.
“Frankly, there are compelling reasons to do it more quickly,” said Perry Simon, the general manager for channels at BBC Worldwide America, citing an opportunity to make the telecasts feel like worldwide events for fans. But the main reason relates to online piracy.
“The moment it airs in the U.K., it’s open season for pirates around the world,” Mr. Simon said. “It’s the dark side of living in a global media village.” ...
Yet another interesting impact of globalization and the internet. I watched the season premiere on Saturday.
I've been DVRing some episodes on BBC America for later in the week. I'll need something to watch while all the William and Kate nonsense is going on. ;-)
Wall Street Journal: God at the Grammys: The Chosen Ones
... When this year's Grammy winners accept their awards on Sunday night, God is likely to be thanked and praised more than a few times. It's a longstanding showbiz tradition, after all, prevalent at the Oscars, the Emmys and even the AVN Awards for adult movies. Until I began interviewing many of the winners of these awards two decades ago, I thought this was a sign of humility and gratitude (or at least an affectation of them). But the truth is more interesting than that.
Before they were famous, many of the biggest pop stars in the world believed that God wanted them to be famous, that this was his plan for them, just as it was his plan for the rest of us not to be famous. Conversely, many equally talented but slightly less famous musicians I've interviewed felt their success was accidental or undeserved—and soon after fell out of the limelight.
As I compiled and analyzed these interviews for my new book, I reached a surprising conclusion: Believing that God wants you to be famous actually improves your chances of being famous. Of course, from the standpoint of traditional theology, even in the Calvinistic world of predestination, God is much more concerned with the fate of an individual's soul than his or her secular success, and one's destiny is unknowable. So what's helping these stars is not so much religion as belief—specifically, the belief that God favors their own personal, temporal success over that of almost everyone else. ...
... This hardly proves that there is a God guiding the destiny of these stars. But it does suggest that unshakable confidence and a powerful sense of purpose are good predictors of success. Look at Justin Bieber, who released a single two months ago titled "Pray" and seemed untouched when getting booed recently by fans at a New York Knicks game. Or consider the derision heaped on Ms. Aguilera for botching the national anthem at the Super Bowl. If an unknown singer had made the same mistake, most people would have felt sorry for her.
But the more successful you get, the faster, louder and more savage the criticism becomes. To deal with the psychological burden of becoming a household name and the attacks that come with it, it helps to be thick-skinned. It helps even more to have a sense of divine mission and to feel that, when everyone else seems to be against you, God is walking at your side. Most stars who feel even a sliver of doubt about being in the spotlight will buckle under the constant pressure. Fearing criticism or failure, they become risk-averse and pass up opportunities.
The hip-hop mogul Diddy, for example, has been in and out of courtrooms over the years, facing charges for assault, gun possession and bribery—yet he continually bounces back with a new name and a new career. When I asked him if he ever felt fear, he replied, "My faith is in God. Like, look who I'm rolling with. Look who my gang really is. My gang is God. Come on, now, I don't have fear."
The meek may indeed inherit the Earth, but until then, stars who are presumptuous enough to see themselves as God's chosen ones are likely to dominate the pop charts, award shows and sports championships. Talent counts for a lot, but so too does the motivating power of divine conviction.
Forty-one years ago this month, Len Dawnson led the Chiefs to their first and only Super Bowl Championship in Super Bowl IV. For forty years the Chiefs have been wandering in the football wilderness. But to make matters worse, the chiefs have had chances to return to the big show six times over the last seventeen years. The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game was against the Oilers in a divisional playoff game on January 16, 1994, under the leadership of Joe Montana. They lost the next week to the Bills in the conference championship game.
Since then, the Chiefs have made it to the playoffs five times, only to lose the opening game: '95, '96, '97, '04, and '07. Probably the most painful loss was the '96 playoffs when the Chiefs had home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The divisional game was against the Colts on a bitterly cold day. They lost 10-7 in a game where Lin Elliot missed three field goals and three of Bono's fourteen complete passes were to the defense. (For a complete recounting of Chief's misery, see blogger Benjamin Herrold's post.) No team has lost seven consecutive playoff games.
So Chief's fans come to this weekend in hopes of deliverance from their wilderness wanderings and ending their string of playoff futility. In honor of the event, I thouht I would offer a Chief's playoff carol for the hometown faithful.
O come, O come, Matt Cassel
O come, O come, Matt Cassel
And put an end to our losing spell
We wait in chilly Arrowhead here
Until the Chiefs of old reappear
Go Chiefs! Go Chiefs! Matt Cassel
Shall come to us, and end our losing spell.
O come, Thou Coach Todd Haley, free
Chiefs fans from hapless tyranny
From football Hell Thy faithful save
Put opponents hopes in the grave
Go Chiefs! Go Chiefs! Matt Cassel
Shall come to us, and end our losing spell.
O come, Chiefs players, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And winless shadows put to flight.
Go Chiefs! Go Chiefs! Matt Cassel
Shall come to us, and end our losing spell.
That said, I confess I really feel a bit like Mircacle Max in The Princess Bride, sending off Wesley and friends to storm the Castle.
Business Week: MLB Discusses World Series Winner Playing Japanese Champion
Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Major League Baseball will continue talks next month on a plan that would pit the World Series winner against Japan’s champion.
Jim Small, MLB’s vice president for Asia, said at a media conference in Tokyo yesterday that MLB officials will meet with counterparts from Nippon Professional Baseball in January for a fourth round of discussions.
Any title series schedule would be complicated by cold weather, MLB free agency and competition from other sports for air time, Small said.
“When you really get into the details of it, it’s a difficult thing to see happening, but we continue to do it,” he said. “Not all those things are insurmountable, but they do create some issues.”
A matchup this year immediately after the World Series would have pitted teams from the milder climates of San Francisco and Chiba, east of Tokyo. ...
Oh my! This is going to send the purists over the edge.
Ethics Daily: Behind Colbert’s Right-wing Funny Man, a Quiet Faith
... It was a different kind of religious message than Colbert typically delivers on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” where he often pokes fun at religion—even his own Catholic Church—in pursuit of a laugh.
Yet it was the kind of serious faith that some of his fellow Catholics say makes him a serious, covert and potent evangelist for their faith.
“Anytime you talk about Jesus or Christianity respectfully the way he does, it is evangelization,” said Jim Martin, the associate editor of the Jesuit magazine America, who has appeared on Colbert’s show four times.
“He is preaching the gospel, but I think he is doing it in a very post-modern way.” ...
... Colbert has said that he attends church, observes Lent and teaches Sunday school. “I love my church, and I’m a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout,” he told Time Out magazine. “I was raised to believe that you could question the church and still be a Catholic.”
His on-air persona is a bloviating holier-than-thou conservative whose orthodox Catholicism is part of what makes him funny. On air, Colbert has chided the pope as an “ecu-menace” for his outreach to other faiths, referred to non-Catholics as “heathens and the excommunicated” and calls those who believe in evolution “monkey men.”
Diane Houdek has tracked Colbert’s on-air references to Catholicism on her blog, Catholic Colbert. When he recites the Nicene Creed or Bible verses from memory, as he did in 2006, it shows how foundational his faith is, she said.
“He is moving in an extremely secular world—it is hard to get a lot more secular than Comedy Central,” Houdek said. “Yet I feel he is able to witness to his faith in a very subtle way, a very quiet way to an audience that has maybe never encountered this before.” ...
And of course it is Colbert who gave us the wonderful term "truthiness."
Tonight is the season premiere of NCIS. When we left NCIS in May, the leader of Reynosa drug cartel was plotting to kill everyone Gibbs cares about. Despite the intervening four months, I suspect she still is. The last episode ended with her walking into the store in Stillwell, PA, owned by Papa Walton ... errr, I mean .... Gibbs' dad ... who, curiously, is also agent Booth's dad on Bones. How many families did that guy have? But I digress. What will happen to Gibbs and the crew? Will any cast members get nixed and replaced?
I will be at a meeting during the airing. I'm recording it to watch later in the evening. So nobody spoil the ending until after about 9:30 central time.
In 1997, Brazilian soccer player Roberto Carlos scored on a free kick that first went right, then curved sharply to leftwards in what looked like a physics-defying fluke. We've finally discovered the physics equation that shows it was no fluke.
The amazing goal, which left French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez too stunned to react, was scored during a friendly match in the run-up to the 1998 World Cup. A group of French scientists, perhaps desperate to prove that at least the laws of physics aren't actively rooting against their national team, were able to figure out the trajectory of the ball and, with it, an equation to describe its unusual path.
It all comes down to the fact that, when a sphere spins, its trajectory is a spiral. Usually, gravity and the relatively short distance the ball travels covers up this spiral trajectory, but Carlos was 115 feet away and kicked the ball hard enough to reveal its true spiral-like path. As you can see in the diagram up top, the ball would have kept spiraling if gravity (and the netting) hadn't gotten in the way.
This means that anyone can perfect this spiral trajectory if they're able to hit the ball far enough and with sufficient force, which might explain why Carlos has pulled off this supposed once-in-a-lifetime fluke so often.
I played fullback in college. (I call it playing. Others refer to it as my foray into comedy.) My friend Dave had a banana kick that was wicked. (You more or less slice through the ball using the outside edge of your foot causing the ball to slice away from that foot. You use the inside to go slice the other way.) It always amazed me what some of the strikers could do with a ball, particularly on set plays.
Yankees.com: A-Rod youngest in history to 600 homers
NEW YORK -- Aug. 4 has been good to Alex Rodriguez.
Three years to the day after Rodriguez hit his 500th home run, he became the seventh player in Major League history to hit 600 homers in his career with a first-inning blast off Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum.
Rodriguez's landmark long ball came on a 2-0 delivery from Marcum with two outs and Derek Jeter on first. The shot into the netting over Monument Park was Rodriguez's 17th of the season, his 255th career home run as a member of the Yankees, his second career off Marcum in 18 at-bats and his 51st career blast against Toronto. It gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead. ...
This graph comes from Marginal Revolution:
Christian Science Monitor: Is World Cup soccer socialist?
No, and Americans -- especially conservatives -- should embrace soccer as a democratic and meritocratic game. ...
... At a deeper level, many Americans – especially conservatives – resent having soccer foisted upon them. Glenn Beck rants, “We don’t want the Word Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.” The late Jack Kemp even opposed a congressional resolution supporting US efforts to host the 1994 World Cup, stating, “a distinction should be made that football is democratic, capitalism, whereas soccer is a European socialist [sport].”
But soccer has plenty to offer Americans of all political stripes. For one, when you take in a soccer match, though goals may be scarce, you’ll be watching 90 minutes of almost nonstop action (not commercials!).
Let’s compare that with America’s favorite spectator sport, professional football. According to a Wall Street Journal study, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL games is less than 11 minutes. The remainder of the 174 minutes that make-up a typical broadcast are filled with images of players huddling and milling around, images of coaches and referees and, of course, commercials. ...
... For conservative hold-outs, soccer may be the most capitalist game going. In most American sports leagues, failure is rewarded as the worst teams get the best shots at the top draft picks, and most leagues have revenue sharing and salary caps to spread the wealth around.
In contrast, the free market reins in most European soccer leagues. Teams that finish last must move to a lower division the following year, while the best of the lower divisions move up. It’s the ultimate meritocracy. ...
... America’s ambivalence toward soccer probably has less to do with politics or lack of scoring than with our already saturated sports market. But we are a sports-loving nation. And as our exposure to soccer continues, I believe we’ll find room for one more sport to love.
We have now finished the knockout round of the World Cup and are ready for the quarter-finals. Prior to the knockout round I made the following prediction:
Final Four: Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain.
Final Match: Brazil vs Argentina
So far so good. What are your predictions?
While the United States may often be described as a sports-crazed nation, Americans were one of the least enthusiastic publics about the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Only 27% of Americans said they were excited (11% were very excited) about the soccer tournament in this year's Pew Global Attitudes survey, which was completed well before the beginning of tournament play. Nearly seven-in-ten said they were not too or not at all excited about what is possibly the world's largest sporting event. Among the 22 nations surveyed, the World Cup was overwhelmingly popular in South Korea (79% were excited about the competition), Nigeria (79%), Kenya (71%), Indonesia (71%) and Brazil (70%). Surprisingly, the tournament was not as highly anticipated in soccer-powerhouse nations in Europe such as Britain (43% excited), Spain (41%) and France (33%). Excitement had little to do with expectations about winning and losing. For starters, despite their anticipatory excitement, neither Kenya nor Indonesia was able to field a team in this year's tournament, and only 11% of South Koreans believed their nation would win the World Cup (by comparison, 43% said Brazil would win). In contrast, a majority in Spain (58%) expected their country to triumph in the World Cup, but an equal 58% were not excited by the prospect of the games. Brazil was the only country surveyed where both a large majority was excited about the World Cup and also expected a victory for the home country (75%).
Although it can’t fix the World Cup’s officiating mistakes, a company called Audioanamix has devised a solution to another gripe dogging the tournament by silencing the buzzing drone of the vuvuzela horns commonly played by fans at African soccer matches. Audionamix is providing the drone relief to French pay television broadcaster Current+, and says it will do the same for any other broadcaster who wants it over the next month or so of World Cup matches.
Like many innovations, Audionamix Vuvuzela Remover was invented to solve a problem for its inventor. Olivier Attia, the CEO of the Paris-based Audionamix, said his crew didn’t like the way the vuvuzela overwhelmed other crowd noise — the oohs, aahs and coordinated songs that usually permeate soccer matches.
Lucky for them, the company makes software for separating source audio into distinct elements to help integrate music into film scores (somewhat similarly to the Melodyne Direct Note Access ).
“We were watching the WorldCup with the rest of the world, and found our enjoyment of the experience hindered by the loud drone created by the blowing of thousands of the vuvuzelas,” said Attia in a statement. “Our Audionamix engineers immediately went into to the lab and emerged 48 hours later with a solution that removes the higher frequencies created by the festive instrument.”
As the demonstration to the right shows, Vuvuzela Remover can strip just about every auditory trace of the controversial plastic horns, which produce a low B-flat tone at about 230 KHz with minor variations that occasionally make one stand out from the others. We have verified in the past that computers are capable of teasing out elements from within an audio recording based on pitch and other sonic elements. This technology is real.
For those who wish to remove the sound on their own, one do-it-yourself solution involves running software on a normal computer that removes the vuvuzela’s frequencies using EQ. Another technique involves removing the offending frequencies using the EQ in a stereo system. But Audionamix claims its broadcaster-ready software works better than EQ, and backs up that claim with the above demonstration. ...
I really hat vuvuzelas. I vote for using the sound improving technology.
The festivities start with South Africa versus Mexico at 10:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow. I think the first USA game is versus England on Saturday at 2:3o Eastern. Definitely pulling for the USA and cheering for my sentimental favorite, Denmark. Who do you think will win it all?
Also found this commercial. Took me a second to get it but I love it.
... Washington Nationals that is.
KansasCity.com: Phenom! Strasburg strikes out 14 in Nats debut
Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 batters in his first game, took three shaving cream pies to the face, donned a silver Elvis wig - then compared it all to getting married.
What could he possibly do for an encore?
Baseball's newest wunderkind went beyond the hype - and anyone's reasonable expectations - with an electric and unprecedented major league debut Tuesday night in the Washington Nationals' 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"I've been catching a lot of guys," said likely Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, patting Strasburg on the left shoulder, "but this kid is unbelievable." ...
Detroit's Armando Galarraga illustrated that pitchers don't throw perfect games but that perfect games are played. Everyone, not just the pitcher, has to be unblemished. Unfortunately, umpire Jim Joyce made one mistake and history was snuffed out.
Click here to see the play that cost Galarraga black ink in the record book.
Joyce took responsibility for the gaffe.
"I just cost the kid a perfect game," said Joyce , who personally apologized to the pitcher. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw until I sawthe replay. It was the biggest call of my career."
The blown call is going to increase the pressure on baseball to use more instant replay and this may be the tipping point on that technology.
Click here to vote on replay.
USA TODAY columnist Christine Brennan makes her call on that.
That is, for the future and it is going to take a lot of discussion and plenty of votes behind closed doors.
But in the interim, should the commissioner step in and change the laws of baseball this one time by awarding Galarraga a perfect game? ...
The world cup starts a week from tomorrow. I played soccer in college and loved it. I've been warming up my vocal chords for rousing choruses of "Ole."
I'd love to get out and kick the ball around like I used to. Unfortunately, my eyesight is not what is once was (neither is the rest of me for that matter.) I suspect if I allowed my soccer instincts to emerge I could end up like this poor guy.
Christian Science Monitor: England will win World Cup 2010: J.P. Morgan
Financial wizards at J.P. Morgan have used 'Quant Models' to determine that serial underperformers England will win World Cup 2010, taking out Spain in the final match. Could it be?
Move over, Brazil.
Step aside, Italy.
England will win World Cup 2010.
IN PICTURES: Ready for the World Cup
Stop snickering, you. The financial wizards at J.P. Morgan have used "Quant Models" to determine that the Three Lions will sink their teeth into Spain in the World Cup final. The world will hear them roar.
J.P. Morgan describes Quant Models as "mathematical methods built to efficiently screen and identify stocks" and says it has applied that method to soccer data such as FIFA rankings and historical match scores to come up with its result.
Although every Englishman seems to fancy the national team's chances in every World Cup, few outside Old Blighty see them as favorites when the cup rolls around every four years. ...
Keep in mind this prediction was brought to you be the same people who presided over the 2008 finance collapse. :-)
A pursuit then ensues by agents that leads to the rooftop conversation I already mentioned. Bourne leaps ten stories into the East River. Then there is a scene where the camera angle is looking up through the waters at a motionless body with a light shinning from above. The movie shows a clip of Pamela Landy giving testimony about the corrupt Treadstone and Blackbrier programs at a congressional hearing. The movie then shows Nicky Parsons at a café watching a newscast about the unraveling of the covert programs. The movie keeps cutting back the lifeless body submerged in the water. At the end of the news report Nicky is watching, the reporter says that a man name David Webb, a.k.a., Jason Bourne, was responsible for unraveling the program, but was shot and fell from a roof into the East River. After three days, no body was found. Then a knowing grin comes across Nicky’s face. The camera cuts back to our lifeless body. It suddenly comes alive and David Webb makes his way to the surface. The movie ends.
He went into the water as Jason Bourne who had renounced his identity. He emerged as a new David Webb. He had been baptised anew. He had become unBorune to be reborn.
If you want to view the last five minutes of the movie, I've got a clip at YouTube that begins during Bourne remembering when he made his decision to become Jason Bourne. He has just killed the unidentified hooded man. Click here.
(Note: DMA = Designated Market Area)
For fans of NCAA basketball, it has been an upset-filled March Madness. But there are no surprises in household viewing patterns among the top markets tracked by Nielsen. More than a quarter of households in the Louisville, KY, market tuned into watch the University of Kentucky defeat Cornell on March 25. The Louisville market is once again the highest-rated DMA for NCAA tournament games, averaging a 16.6 household rating through the first two rounds. While Louisville is a mid-sized market with no pro sports teams, it dominates NCAA viewership and is at the heart of a “basketball belt,” an enthusiastic cluster of markets from Raleigh to Oklahoma City that boast nine of the top 10 DMAs in tournament viewing.
Louisville also has the highest average viewership for the NCAA championship game the past 10 years. Historically, viewership hasn’t wavered despite the fact that neither the University of Louisville nor the University of Kentucky have sent teams to the championship game since 1998. ...
... Further analysis shows that Louisville is more than just a college basketball town. When compared to the rest of the U.S., the “Derby City,” is roughly three times more likely to watch horse racing’s Triple Crown (including the Kentucky Derby, obviously) and is twice as likely to view the Indy 500 and Daytona 500. ...
... It should be a great game either way, maybe one of the best in the 113-year history of the Sunflower Showdown.
The buildup was the same for their last meeting on Jan. 30, when Kansas pulled out a taut, 81-79 overtime win in a well-played game at rowdy Bramlage Coliseum.
The stakes will be even higher this time at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
Kansas (27-2, 13-1) is ranked second and Kansas State (24-4, 11-3) is No. 5, marking the first time since 1958 — when coach Tex Winter led the Wildcats and Wilt Chamberlain played center for the Jayhawks — the teams are both in the top 5. ... [Picture Source]
Okay folks ... here is the story. KU's Allen Fieldhouse is the Kansas version of the imperial death star. Wildcats are the jedi seeking to bring balance to the force and end the long night of tyranny. Tonight the jedi wild kitties enter the Allen death star to do battle against Darth Self and his imperial Jayhawk stormtroopers. May the force be with you, young Wildcats.
EMAW! Go Cats!
Marketing Charts: Women Favor Olympics
Unlike the male-favored Super Bowl, the TV audience for the Winter Olympics is predominantly female, according to The Nielsen Company.
Through February 21, 2010, an estimated 56% of Olympic viewers are female, while 44% are male. Super Bowl viewership earlier this month was almost the exact opposite, with its audience composed of 54% males and 46% females.
Older, White Viewers Watch Olympics
Olympics ratings are clearly highest among older viewers. Ratings among teenagers are 57% lower than the national average for this year’s primetime Olympics broadcasts. Ratings among the 18-49 group are 20% lower than the national average, while ratings among those 55 and older are 82% higher.
Olympics viewing among ethnic minorities is considerably lower than it is for the population as a whole. Ratings among Hispanic and African-American viewers are each 74% below the national average. Asian ratings are 15% below the national average.
The Olympics are more widely viewed in the West Central region of the United States than any other part of the country. Ratings in this area are 24% higher than the national average. Viewership is lowest in the Southwest, where ratings are 28% lower than the national average.
Households that view in High Definition are more likely to watch the Olympics. About 55% of Olympic viewers are in HD-capable/receivable homes. Viewing in these homes is 14% higher. DVR households have similar viewership tendencies. About 41% of Olympic viewers are in DVR homes and have ratings 12% higher than the national average. ...
This evening is the 30th Anniversary of the U. S. Olympic hockey team defeating the U. S. S. R. in the Olympics. This is one of those events that is seared into my brain. Many sports experts consider this the most stunning sports event of the 20th Century. The average age of the team was 21 ... I turned 21 a month later. The sight of these nobodies taking down a virtual sports machine was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. As the movie "Miracle" relates so well, the larger social context of what was happening in the world greatly accentuated the event. Watching them come from behind to defeat Finland for the gold was the icing on the cake. What are your memories of the miracle on Ice?
With the exception of one noticeable error (no professional players were allowed to play in the Olympics until the 1980s) the clip below is a nice tribute.
I suspect by now you've seen this clip of the basketball coach sinking a half court shot blindfolded. This happened at Olathe Northwest High School. I went to high school at Olathe North (then the only high school) and Olathe Northwest is across the street from where my parents worship. (Olathe is a Kansas City suburb.) Kinda cool to see a local event go viral.