Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cartman Sings "Poker Face"

Despite the fact that I've been quite busy lately, I've started to watch South Park again.

Here's a nice little nugget from this week's episode that I enjoyed:


Friday, October 30, 2009

#566; Supernatural Collective Nouns.

Mr. Malki: very well done.

 
 

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via Wondermark by David Malki ! on 10/30/09

A wall of text.


 
 

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coheed and Cambria - "Feathers"

I haven't heard this song in months. Just figured I'd post this for current and future enjoyment.




David James and Fabio Capello: The Biggest NFL Fans in England

Very interesting to see this sort of dynamic and relationship with the NFL and English soccer. I read an article the other day about Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur, who is abandoning the reserve league to favor loaning younger players to other teams to help them develop in a competitive environment. That's not quite the same, but it's interesting how the English system is generally slow to change. Good to see this sort of stuff.

 
 

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via EPL Talk by Dave Warner on 10/29/09

2659651344 6fe1dc8141 David James and Fabio Capello: The Biggest NFL Fans in England

Those of you living in America probably couldn't stop hearing about last weekend's big National Football League game in London, the third such contest in three years, in which the New England Patriots tonked Malcolm Glazer's hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers — who have cut costs to the bone this season, and we can all have a guess as to why.

Despite the NFL's talk of how quickly their showpiece sells out Wembley Stadium each year and how the league could add more London games in the future because of that success, the truth is that England doesn't really care all that much. Far more sports fans in that country (and its press) were more concerned with Liverpool's win over Manchester United and the swine flu scare at Stamford Bridge on Sunday than they were about two random NFL teams ripping up the sod in Wembley. As a sporting event, the London Bowl is mostly manufactured hype, an NFL specialty.

Two rather notable figures in English football, however, seem to believe their colleagues have quite a lot to learn from American football.

In his recent column for The Guardian, Portsmouth goalkeeper David James revealed that England manager Fabio Capello sat down last weekend with Mike Holmgren, a former NFL head coach who's been to three Super Bowls with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks and won one of them, to discuss coaching ideas and techniques. Capello, James reveals, has borrowed several ideas from the NFL for the England squad — most notably increased film study of training sessions and opponents' tendencies.

James in particular seems to be a big proponent of film study:

I've taken to doing my own video work with a psychologist. Video analysis highlights the gap between perception and reality – your awareness of space and time during a game can be so distorted you are unable to assess accurately every detail on the pitch, a problem that can affect managers as much as players.

James also admitted that his visits to several NFL teams in 2003 made "a huge impression" on him, and that he was stunned by how much emphasis was put on individual aspects of the game. He noted how much time players spent together studying in the film room and how closely Jim Zorn, then a quarterbacks coach for the Seahawks, worked with the team's QBs to improve their skills. He went on to write that he's never seen any English football club do anything similar:

I've never been at a club where we sit down as a formation – a defensive or offensive group – and spend time working out systems. That's just not the culture in England, where we seem to have this idea that sitting in a video room for any amount of time is boring and the wrong thing to do.

James finished his column by stating that if he ever gets into management, he plans on borrowing even more ideas from NFL than Capello has — beginning with a more robust coaching staff:

Imagine if we had kicking coaches, heading coaches, attack coaches, defence coaches. Why not? We have keepers who can't kick the ball properly, and strikers who can't head. Why wouldn't you want to give them additional coaching to improve their all-round game? … Whatever you would spend on these specialist coaches, it would be a drop in the ocean compared to players' wages. Not investing in them seems a false economy.

What I would like to know is this — why haven't most EPL clubs done this already? Or have they? Do the clubs that haven't simply assume that this sort of training only works at the youth level, and that adult footballers no longer need it? Are players tasked with finding their own instruction outside of regular training? Are managers simply holding on to archaic traditions because they fear other coaches would attempt to usurp their authority? Or do they simply think that too many cooks will spoil the broth?

It seems almost abhorrent to suggest that the beautiful game would somehow be less beautiful if clubs paid more attention to details, group tactics and specific skills like heading and free kick accuracy. Perhaps the only question is which club will be first to invest in the heftier coaching staff and enhanced video suites necessary to focus on those details. Arsenal already has the latter at its London Colney facility, which Capello uses with the England team for film study. So perhaps Arsene Wenger is slightly ahead of the curve. On the other hand, Arsenal hasn't won any trophies since 2005, and that's the true measure of success, isn't it?

Chances are little will change at the club level until one club that takes a chance on these ideas wins some real hardware. Perhaps it will be left to Capello and James to prove that the beautiful game might actually have something to learn from the gridiron game after all.

Related posts:

  1. Fabio Capello's England FC
  2. England: Back to Life, Back To Reality With Fabio Capello
  3. Fabio Capello Restores Faith In England National Team


 
 

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elephants on parade in Bridgeport

A few times while in Bangkok, I saw an elephant on the street. Now they're doing it in Bridgeport.

10-27-09: The Resurgence of Hank Greenberg

I’m writing this while wearing my father’s old AINetwork shirt, which is the same shirt I was wearing earlier this morning when I read about Hank Greenberg’s new company, C.V. Starr, which made it into today’s paper because it’s stealing a lot of talent from A.I.G.

American International Network, “AINetwork,” was a small and relatively short-lived subsidiary of American International Group that my dad helped run in the 1980’s. My dad actually worked briefly for Hank’s son Jeff, and even met Hank a couple times at company functions. My dad later helped run The New Hampshire Insurance, another AIG subsidiary.

So when I read the story, I immediately e-mailed it to my dad, who responded a few hours later with his take on the situation. My dad was a PR guy primarily, a role he enjoyed for years before becoming sick of the industry as a whole. He quit and eventually became a teacher and coach, which he enjoys thoroughly. But this story brings back memories of his time with AIG. He recognizes a few names on the C.V. Starr website as possible Greenberg recruits from AIG, notably Tom Tizzio and Joe Cassano (despite his spotty track record). He doesn’t have a problem with these guys getting jobs and getting paid big bucks by Greenberg, since it’s not really taxpayer money that will be spent.

But one thing my father, an ex-AIG employee years out of the industry, is puzzled by is how Hank Greenberg, who together with his son were the targets of a failed federal case of price fixing (among other things), is now in the position to help the Federal Government by taking some individuals off the Federal bailout payroll. My dad’s impression of Greenberg was that of a brilliant businessman, but all in all not a very nice man (he fired his own son at one point). My dad and I have different political opinions, but I think at this juncture we both agree: this should be interesting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

10-16-09: Nice Shootout Goal

Well done, young man. Not quite as great as another I've seen, but a young kid pulling this off in one try is very, very impressive. Link to article on Boston.com can be found here. The lady friend sent this to me.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TED: Eric Sanderson pictures New York -- before the City

10-14-09: The Two Doors Riddle

I was reminded of a scene from Labyrinth last night while watching an episode of Numb3rs. The scene, from Labyrinth, involved two doors, whereas the scene in Numb3rs involves two criminals. The logic is essentially the same.

Let's go with the Labyrinth scenario, in which the main character Sarah, played by Jennifer Connelly, comes upon two doors. Each door has a guard, and she is told one door leads to the castle, and the other leads to certain doom. She is also told one of the guards always lies, and the other always tells the truth.

She ends up solving the riddle by asking each guard "What would the other guard tell me about this door?" She then reasoned that, given the rules, she'd go through the one that she was told led to certain doom. She was, of course, correct.

I worked out the logic today once again, as this particular riddle has always boggled me a bit. I did get it at one point in time, but every time it comes back up, I have to reason it out again.

Let's look at it from each of the two generally possible scenarios (there are of course four combinations, but the doors can be interchangeable). The guards A and B are assigned to doors A and B, respectively:

1) Door A is the safe door and Door B leads to certain doom. Guard A is the liar and Guard B tells the truth. If you ask Guard A (the liar) what Guard B (the truth teller) would say regarding where Door A led, Guard A would say it led to certain doom (the opposite of the truth). If you ask Guard B what Guard A would say regarding where Door B led, Guard B would say it led to safety (the opposite of the truth).

2) Same door assignments as in 1, except Guard A tells the truth and Guard B is the liar. If you ask Guard A (the truth teller) what Guard B (the liar) would say regarding where Door A led, Guard A would say it led to certain doom (the opposite of the truth). If you ask Guard B what Guard A would say about Door B, Guard B would say it let to safety (the opposite of the truth).

Either way, you get the lie twice. In both cases, the door you are told leads to certain doom is, in fact, the door that leads to safety. Try the other two combinations (Door A leads to certain doom and Door B leads to safety) and you will come to the same scenario.

Simply go with the opposite.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

10-5-09: 2009 MLB Dollars Per Win

One of my favorite indicators to point out with Major League Baseball is the "Dollars per Win" ratio. It's simple: which teams get the most bang for the buck?

Here are the results for the 2009 Regular Season (in ascending order):


Team Payroll Wins $ / Win
Florida Marlins $36,834,000 87 $423,379.31
San Diego Padres $43,734,200 75 $583,122.67
Tampa Bay Rays $63,313,034 84 $753,726.60
Minnesota Twins $65,299,266 86 $759,293.79
Texas Rangers $68,178,798 87 $783,664.34
Pittsburgh Pirates $48,693,000 62 $785,370.97
Colorado Rockies $75,201,000 92 $817,402.17
Oakland Athletics $62,310,000 75 $830,800.00
St. Louis Cardinals $77,605,109 91 $852,803.40
San Francisco Giants $82,616,450 88 $938,823.30
Cincinnati Reds $73,558,500 78 $943,057.69
Milwaukee Brewers $80,182,502 80 $1,002,281.28
Washington Nationals $60,328,000 59 $1,022,508.47
Baltimore Orioles $67,101,666 64 $1,048,463.53
Arizona Diamondbacks $73,516,666 70 $1,050,238.09
Los Angeles Dodgers $100,414,592 95 $1,056,995.71
Toronto Blue Jays $80,538,300 75 $1,073,844.00
Kansas City Royals $70,519,333 65 $1,084,912.82
Atlanta Braves $96,726,166 86 $1,124,722.86
Seattle Mariners $98,904,166 85 $1,163,578.42
Los Angeles Angels $113,709,000 97 $1,172,257.73
Philadelphia Phillies $113,004,046 93 $1,215,097.27
Chicago White Sox $96,068,500 79 $1,216,056.96
Cleveland Indians $81,579,166 65 $1,255,064.09
Boston Red Sox $121,745,999 95 $1,281,536.83
Detroit Tigers $115,085,145 86 $1,338,199.36
Houston Astros $102,996,414 74 $1,391,843.43
Chicago Cubs $134,809,000 83 $1,624,204.82
New York Yankees $201,449,189 103 $1,955,817.37
New York Mets $149,373,987 70 $2,133,914.10


It's interesting to me that a team in the top five has the potential to make the playoffs. Let's go Twins!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Same Color Illusion

 
 

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The Same Color Illusion Are square A and B the same color? They are. Are too. To verify this, click here to see them connected. The above illusion, called the same color illusion, illustrates that purely human observations in science may be ambiguous or inaccurate. Even such a seemingly direct perception as relative color. Similar illusions exist on the sky, such as the size of the Moon near the horizon, or the apparent shapes of astronomical objects. The advent of automated, reproducible, measuring devices such as CCDs have made science in general and astronomy in particular less prone to, but not free of, human-biased illusions.

 
 

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10-4-09: Tottenham vs. Bolton Wanderers

Great game between Bolton and Spurs yesterday. It was very fun to watch.



Watch Bolton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur in Sports  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Saturday, October 3, 2009

10-3-09: The Nerds at Toad's Place

I'd never been to a show at Toad's Place before, and had heard a lot of good things about The Nerds, so I was pleased to be able to see their show last night at the historic New Haven small venue.

The Nerds are a cover band, but, unlike most cover bands, they have a very substantial repertoire that runs from Metallica to Justin Timberlake to Bon Jovi. They also did a couple Springsteen songs, which makes sense, since they are also from New Jersey. Almost everything was pretty spot on, though the tempo was usually stepped up a bit for entertainment value. Quite a show. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

10-1-09: The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: "Death Cab For Cutie"

Pat wants you to see this article from HowStuffWorks.com

From: Pat

Hello.
I found this on HowStuffWorks.com and thought you might find it of interest.

It's called: How Drive-by-wire Technology Works
Here's the link: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/drive-by-wire.htm


If the link above doesn't work, then copy and paste this URL into your web browser:
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/drive-by-wire.htm


See How Drive-by-wire Technology Works and many other cool topics at http://www.howstuffworks.com


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Here are some additional comments from Pat: