Rocco

Rocco

I am Rocco. I am living a Life of Leisure. I am a fun enthusiast. I enjoy declarative sentences.

Posts by Rocco

SQL, 8.23.11

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I hate politics.

Hmm.  That might not be entirely true.  Let me re-state:

I hate the idea of entrenched idealogues playing & rooting for a ‘team’ instead of trying to make progress on the problems they’ve been elected to solve.

Yeah.  That’s the bit I hate.

———-POST INTERRUPTED BY AN EARTHQUAKE———

What the?  An earthquake felt in Pittsburgh (swingin’ city that it is) ?!?!

Around 1:55 ET, and as I was about to opine on the futility of American politics (definitely a ratings winner…ZZZzzzz….), my house began to shake.  A sign from Mother Nature not to beat to death a horse that’s been savaged by countless others?  Perhaps.

Either way, I’ve got at least one link to get to re: politics, and though its thunder was absconded with by some tectonic plates in Virginia, I feel it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

This is insane.

In May, ThinkProgress reported that Kentucky approved a $43 million tax break for Ark Encounter, a Bible-themed amusement park that religious organizations are building outside Williamstown. Now the state is giving the creationist project another kickback in the form of a 75 percent property tax discountover the next 30 years:

Forget the implications of spreading this kind of dis-education–that this park is getting ONE CENT of public funding is a pox on reason, responsible fiscal policy and good taste, all at the same time.  Just…wow.  Kentucky -5.

Now onto some cool science stuff:

–Here’s a story about the U.S. spending their money more wisely, as the R.O.I. in science can be huge.

–This is great news for anyone rooting for a cure for the perplexing ‘Lou Gehrig’s disease‘, also known as ALS.

Some more background:

 

–A fine question, now with something of an answer, via science: ‘Does Marijuana make you stupid’?

So here’s the very un-D.A.R.E. takeaway: Heavy marijuana use doesn’t seem to cause any sort of lasting brain damage. All the negative side-effects are relatively temporary. (But those side-effects are real.) Furthermore, the sort of anxiolytic giddiness triggered by THC comes with its own unexpected benefits, which is probably why humans have been self-medicating with cannabis for thousands of years.

–The guy wrote a couple thousand words in this story, only to have his conclusion totally bogarted.  Party foul.

–The Chinese are finally doing something for the well-being of mankind.

They’ll be an invaluable ally in the case of something truly terrible happening, as in the above story.  Imagine the industrial giant they’ll be in 20 years, 50 years.  They’ll make WWII-era America look like WWII-era China.  Frightening and reassuring at the same time.

–In case China becomes a problem in the near-mid term, at least we’ll have this completely awesome gun.

 

SQL, 8.20.11

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I’m in a science-y mood today.  Mrs. DeMaro thinks it’s because my default setting in life is set on ‘nerd’, while I maintain it’s because I watched ‘Species’ before bed last night.

Natasha Henstridge +5.

Speaking of science gone terribly wrong…

Scientists Rewind Evolution, are apparently oblivious to the horrors they’ll eventually release.

Although ethical rules prevent the eggs from bring hatched, Dr Abzhanov said he hopes to complete the work one day by turning chickens into Maniraptora.

Maniraptora are small dinosaurs which it is thought spawned thousands of species of birds which exist today.

–Have these people not seen Jurassic Park?

–On a brighter note, here are some candid photos from various ‘camera traps‘ set up in wild places across the globe.  Very cool, as most of these animals have proved difficult to photograph.  Note:  Lindsay Lohan not pictured.

–Now for a series of life-help science links which, used together, will extend your life by years, if not decades, and earn you more money…though there are some conditions.

First of all, you’ve got to be kind of an a-hole, as nice guys earn less, study finds...

And the authors do mean guys. They found that men who are nice, in defiance of gender stereotypes, “do take a hit for being highly agreeable,” suffering a “backlash” that shows up in their paychecks.

“You have to be ruthless in the corporate world,” said Farhana Qaosar of Sydney. “If you have a weak spot or dare to show it, people will take your advantage. That’s how it is. You don’t succeed because you know more but because you can adapt.”

–That’s enough out of you, geek.  Get back to work.

–…but you can’t be so disagreeable that you turn that mean-ness inward, as bitterness is objectively unhealthy.

“The data that negative mental states cause heart problems is just stupendous,” Raison says. “The data is just as established as smoking, and the size of the effect is the same.”

–Sure, the  angry guy in the office makes more than you do.   But you’ll outlive him. Scoreboard.

–So you’ve decided to take the path of an underpaid, but pleasant and healthy human.  You realize money isn’t everything.  This is savvy.

Now the trick is maximizing your return on these personality traits.

Step 1–do some cardio for at least 15 minutes each day.  The reward for all that sweat?  Three more happy (if underfunded) years on the paradise that is Planet Earth.

Seems like a good tradeoff to me.

Step 2–watch less television.  Ruh-roh.

The academics checked their data against an estimate from 2008 that Australians aged 25 or above watched TV for 9.8 billion hours. This was associated with the loss of 286,000 years of life, the AFP said.

An extrapolation of these figures found that a single hour of TV was responsible for the loss of just under 22 minutes of life, the news agency reported.

Smoking two cigarettes has approximately the same effect.

The problem is not actually TV itself but the lack of activity by the viewer for long periods, the researches said. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, excess weight and other health problems are associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

–Well shit.

Well shit.

Let’s get real here.  You can’t give up TV/videogames/reading the internet.  You’re only human.  Periods of ‘sedentary’ are going to happen.  This is a problem.

You wanna live a long, healthy life but the ‘Breaking Bad’s and ‘Mad Men’s and ‘Skyrim’s of the world are pushing you to an early grave.

Hmm.

Your only move here, as I see it, is to become a vegan…like this guy.

SQL, 8.18.11

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–Starting with some sports stuff: “a few bats and an air cannon, a nuclear physicist and a mechanical engineer set out to bust some of baseball’s most prolific hitting myths

Real Madrid recently signed a 7-year-old soccer prospect.  Here’s a vid:

I’m not entirely sure why deals like this don’t play in the U.S., but here’s my best guess:  Identifying pre-pubescent future stars in basketball, football & baseball would be incredibly difficult & risky given the different skills required in the sports, growth spurts, injury concerns and societal/cultural interference.

For example, in Argentina, as in the case of the above 7-year-old, soccer is the undisputed king for a number of reasons, economics being near the top.  It’s also true that the skills needed to master soccer can be acquired at a very young age with merely a ball and enough practice.

That’s not the case in baseball (very long learning curve, reps vs. advanced competition are critical) or football (physicality, parental interference & seasonality of the sport get in the way) and while basketball might have some similarities with soccer in terms of socio-economic factors and relative simplicity of the skills needed to master the game, I’m not sure teams would have a good grasp of the athletic upside of the player until puberty reveals more of the projected finished product.

Hockey might be the best fit if the goal is to pick ‘em reliably at a young age, as hockey’s skills can be learned and mastered much like soccer’s.  And though the NHL prefers using the feeder systems in place around the globe before signing talent, prodigies can be generally identified pretty young.

 

 

–Staying with sports, this woman is nuts.

Onto some videogame links…

Paging Andrew Ryan.  Andrew Ryan, please pick up the white courtesy phone.  What a wonderful example of life imitating Ken Levine.

–I very much agree with this protest, hope these two get their way.

Wrapping up with something of a military follow-up from my previous two posts:

The Chinese have a new aircraft carrier.

The Russians have a new fighter, and a Generation 5 plane at that.

Pirates Vignettes, SQL, 8.16.11

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What a night for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In signing their first two picks of the 2011 draft, the Bucs continue to put themselves in a position for real, sustainable success.

The Pirates spent over $17 million on the 2011 draft, the highest amount of any club in major league baseball.  This is nothing new for GM Neal Huntington, whose attacking style via the draft has seen his Pirates spend more than any MLB club since he took over in late 2007.

Regardless of the record at the major league level, the Pirates front office is taking dramatic, unprecedented steps to ensure that the Ignominy‘s days are numbered in Pittsburgh.

—-

Sound management is the key to success in any business.  To wit:

In the span of a calendar year the Pirates have added five potential stars to their system.

Jameson Taillon (’10 1st rounder), Stetson Allie (’10 2nd rounder), Luis Heredia (16-year-old Latin FA), Gerrit Cole (’11 1st rounder) and Josh Bell (’11 2nd rounder) represent the greatest influx of talent into the system of my lifetime…and potentially in the history of the franchise, though that seems a very subjective argument and one I’ll not try to make.

Either way, the Bucs talent base is light years better today than it was in July of 2010…which was worlds better than it was in July of 2009, which was greatly improved from the group in July of 2008.

In terms of talent, it’s been a story of exponential growth for the Pirates since Bob Nutting assumed control of the franchise in early 2007.  He hired Frank Coonelly late in 2007, who then brought Neal on board.

Some quick, quality links, as my browser is about to collapse under the weight of the myriad tabs I’ve subjected it to…

–The U.S. military (DARPA) has tried at least twice now to get hypersonic flight working.  It seems they’re 0/2.  It’s a good path, though, as travelling 13,000 miles per hour has many benefits, not the least of which is the awesome-sounding ‘Mach-20′ barrier it crosses.

Speaking of Mach-20 and given the troubles DARPA seems to be having, will an aircraft or a razor breach the mark first?

(Note: The link to the ‘Platinum Mach 14′ SNL sketch is locked behind a Hulu Plus pay wall.  Doesn’t seem to be available otherwise)

–A considerably slower, yet considerably safer option for flight:  The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  Cool plane.

The plane is the first commercial airliner to be made mostly of carbon composites or super durable plastic. Those materials mean a lighter plane that Boeing says could use 20% less fuel than conventional airliners, making way for a more environmentally-friendly and cost effective aircraft option for airlines.

The interior of the plane also sports a variety of upgrades. Gone are traditional plane window shades. Instead, a button on the window allows passengers to gradually darken their surroundings.

–The best damn airplane reporter CNN’s got

–Some more flight stuff:  the fancy new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter–also a very cool, if very expensive plane–is having some teething issues.  Computer simulation or not, if the shiny F-35, a generation 5 plane, is losing to a Russian generation 4 fighter, that’s a problem.

–The most infuriating flight-related link yet–Pakistan screws over it’s Sugar Daddy (The U.S.) by reportedly giving the Chinese access to the stealth copter used in the bin Laden raid.

I’d go into further depth here, but it’s all pretty universal stuff.  Swearing, cultural insults, etc.

–Ending on a non-Pirates / non-flight note:

I tried to link to an SNL sketch earlier in the post.  Unless you’re a Hulu Plus subscriber, it was almost definitely a no-go.  Fortunately I’ve got another SNL tidbit for you–the host/musical guest for the new season opener has been announced.  Sounds like a good show to me.

 

SQL, 8.13.11

2

Time for some gamer-cred-crushing admissions…

You might think, given my unemployment and my love for videogames, that I’d be having a ball with all this free time and playing videogames all day and all night.

You would be wrong.

For me, the lack of employment, if anything, is a deterrent to gaming,  Playing games right now isn’t at all relaxing and only reminds me that I could and should be doing things–productive things–other than sitting on my ass playing games all day.

The fallout from this gaming guilt–I have yet to finish the following (excellent) titles:

–Fallout: New Vegas

–Portal 2 (single-player)

–Bastion

–Batman, Arkham Asylum

–Heavy Rain

and perhaps most ashamedly…

–Halo: Reach.

The Halo franchise is one of my favorites.  To not have finished Reach, Bungie’s swan song to perhaps the greatest FPS franchise in gaming history…unemployed guilt or not, it’s inexcusable.

So I’ve decided to dedicate today, August 13, 2011, to finishing Reach.  It could take some time, as I’m only halfway through, haven’t played it since this past winter and am bound by honor to play on ‘Heroic’ difficulty…so there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve as I hop on the bike again.

But I’m going to do it.  I’m going to finish Reach today.

As for today’s link drop–it’ll be a quickie, but a relevant quickie:

We’ll stay with the space / sci-fi theme of Halo–the greatest space-themed TV show of my lifetime is getting re-made, albeit with a new host.  I wish Carl was still around to helm this re-imagining of his brilliant ‘Cosmos’, but his replacement is ok, if less Sagan-ish.

DNA bits found in space rocks = a likely explanation for how life began on our planet.

–GPS not working recently?  Seen some auroras as far south as the Great State of Pennsylvania?  Here’s why:  The Sun has been misbehaving.

–Staying with science, but abandoning space…some scientists argue our species can get no smarter because our brains are full.  I’d make a joke here about Sarah Palin and her remaining cranial capacity, but that seems cruel.

Quick political aside–we should elect the best & brightest to lead us.  Please spare me the partisan commentary, as the woman is a dope.  If she wasn’t attractive, she’d just be another maniac hunting animals from a helicopter.

Some Unconventional Wisdom

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Conventional wisdom is a funny thing.

As helpful as convention can be with matters of crossing streets (look both ways) or paying your taxes (looking at you, Greece), conventional thinking in matters of competition can be dangerous.

In baseball, 100 years of conventional wisdom held that Batting Average and Runs Batted In were accurate measures of a player’s value.  But in the late 1970’s, a curious security guard working at the Stokely Van Camp Pork and Beans Cannery got curious, dug a little deeper and, eventually, turned that conventional wisdom on its head.

The field of ‘Sabermetrics’ was born, baseball was forever changed and that security guard, a Mr. George William James (Bill to his friends), was no longer in the business of standing guard for cans of pork and beans.

Because of Bill James, mathematics and rationality are slowly but surely replacing the dogma of the RBI.  These days, the sport is flush with descriptive, meaningful analytics.  As a result, interested baseball fans in 2011 truly know more about the game of baseball than every generation of fans that came before them.

While the game of football won’t allow for the same exacting revelations as baseball (the games are built on different foundations), some forward-thinking football minds are most definitely channelling their inner Bill James.

Conventional wisdom in football is falling by the wayside.  A quiet revolution is underway.

If you’re a football fan, you’ve undoubtedly been bludgeoned by the footballing credo, ‘Establish The Run’.

The idea behind this bit of conventional wisdom:  Getting a rushing attack going early in football games is key to playing winning football.

We’ve heard it hundreds, if not thousands of times from coaches, players, commentators, analysts, media members, friends, family, the guy at the meat counter…the thing is everywhere.

It’s pervasive–not unlike those damn stink bugs.  And like Halyomorpha halys, it seems to have found a home here in Pittsburgh, where the tenants of two ‘defense and running game’ head coaches–Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher–are generally taught from birth.

The only problem:  it’s complete nonsense.

As with the RBI in baseball, the proponents of ‘Establishing the Run’ seem to be confusing cause and effect.

In baseball, getting to the cause of a player’s RBI total is pretty simple.  It’s a function of the player’s power, his placement in the batting order and the ability of the other players in the batting order to reach base.

If the player is very powerful and hits cleanup for the Yankees, he’s going to collect loads and loads of RBIs.  If the player is not powerful and hits eighth for the Pirates, his collection of RBIs will be much lower.  The RBI total is therefore the effect of those other factors working in concert.

Football has some Jamesian types of its own to help us separate cause and effect–pale, socially awkward statheads that collect data, crunch data, and publish data onto the internet (likely from a basement of some sort) for the world to initially ridicule, but eventually respect and consume.

I have no idea if any of those cliches are true about Aaron Schatz of Pro Football Outsiders, but it’s his work and that of his company that’s been fueling the fire that is the performance analysis movement in football.

‘Outsiders’ breaks down years and years of play-by-play information, runs fancy statistical constructs called correlation coefficients, and report the findings.  It’s neurotic, comprehensive analysis that accounts for as many variables as you can possibly imagine.

In the case of ‘Establishing the Run’, Aaron and his calculator found that piling up lots and lots of rushing attempts early in a game has virtually no correlation to winning football games.  In other words, one has nothing to do with the other.

Racking up lots and lots of late rushes, on the other hand, turns out to have a very strong correlation to winning football games.

The takeaway:  Winning teams that put up gaudy rushing totals aren’t winning because they ‘Establish the Run’, as the conventional wisdom would have us believe.  In fact the opposite holds true much more often–teams pass to get ahead, then pile up those impressive rushing totals as they run out the clock and ice the game.

Amassing lots and lots of rushes is the effect of playing winning football.  The cause:  Getting ahead early via the pass.

Unconventional?  Perhaps.  But correct beats convention every time (and twice on Sundays).

 

SQL, 8.9.11

1

‘It’s a little early in the day for war and death’. — Butch, Pulp Fiction (paraphrased)

All due respect to Butch, for me it’s never too early–or late.

For whatever reason, I’ve gotten into the habit of watching The Military Channel each night as I crawl into bed.  Much to the detriment of my dream-life, I fall asleep to the sound of bombs dropping, machine guns blazing and narrators describing all manner of war strategy, death and dismemberment.

Mrs. DeMaro, bless her heart, puts up with this for whatever reason.

I’ve touched on this a bit in the podcast, but given some of my subject matter here on the blog in recent days and weeks, I thought today’s post would be as good a time as any to share some thoughts on this odd obsession of mine, and the military in general.

It’s remarkable how much material World War II has given both historians and, tangentially, the television industry.

Limiting my scope to channels 125, 126, 127 (FIOS) I’d say roughly one-third to one-half of The Military Channel / Military History’s late-night content is WWII-based.  They’ve got WWII in Colour (a British import), World at War (another British series from the 1970′s), Dogfights (which features a lot of WWII content), The Greatest Tank Battles, (also features a lot of WWII content), Hero Ships (invariably features a ship that served in WWII), Commanders at War (almost 100% WWII content), Battle 360 (a series that chronicles the USS Enterprise in WWII), The Last Days of WWII (self-explanatory)…the list goes on and on.

Given that the War only lasted about six years from the time Hitler invaded Poland to the time the U.S. dropped The Bombs on Japan, you wouldn’t think it could generate a near-limitless amount of content to be explored…but it has.

I’ve been watching this stuff e-v-e-r-y night for months upon months and I have yet to be bored by it.  I watch re-runs.  I can’t explain it.

I’m transfixed by the strategy.  I’m compelled by the personalties.  I’m awash in the incredible data that World War II generated…

It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. In a state of “total war,” the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it was the deadliest conflictin human history,[2] resulting in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities.

–Wikipedia

…especially as it relates to differences in culture, technological advancement and lessons to be learned from the conflict.  Much like the jelly of the month club, World War II, for me, the television viewer, is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

With my (potentially unhealthy) obsession of WWII well-established, it’s time to branch out into some other bits of military relevance.

–Part of the reason I wanted to touch on WWII today and, specifically, the extremity of the conflict was this tragic bit of news that hit the wire over the weekend.  Make no mistake–losing more than 20 members of Navy Seals Team Six is a blow…but it also highlights the relative pittance of lives we lose these days in military conflicts.

In World War I, wave after wave of infantry simply ran into machine gun fire, as ghastly trench warfare was the order of the day.

Trench warfare has become a powerful symbol of the futility of war.[9] Its image is of young men going “over the top” (over the parapet of the trench, to attack the enemy trench line) into a maelstrom of fire leading to certain death, typified by the first day of the Somme (on which the British suffered 57,000 casualties) or the grinding slaughter in the mud ofPasschendaele. To the French, the equivalent is the attrition of the Battle of Verdun in which they suffered 380,000 casualties.[10]

Trench warfare is associated with needless slaughter in appalling conditions, combined with the view that brave men went to their deaths because of incompetent and narrow-minded commanders who failed to adapt to the new conditions of trench warfare: class-ridden and backward-looking generals put their faith in the attack, believing superior morale and dash would overcome the weapons and moral inferiority of the defender.[11] The British and Empire troops on the Western Front are commonly referred to as “lions led by donkeys.”[12] This view persisted in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.[13]

–Wikipedia

In WWII, entire cities were razed.  The Allies pummeled Germany, set Japan’s wooden cities ablaze with napalm, and eventually went nuclear.  The Germans did their share of civilian bombing, too, especially in London and parts of Russia.  Tens of millions died.

In 2011 the loss of 30 personnel is just as painful for the families involved, but in the larger scope, it’s clear that technology has advanced U.S. warfare to a much more surgical, precise place.

By no means should the loss of dozens of elite commandos be marginalized–the value of those troops via training and investment is enormous.  But as we remember those lost members of Seal Team Six, let’s also be grateful for the evolution of technology and the less destructive approach to war it affords us.

–As great as tech has been for reducing deaths on the battlefield, it does come with some downside.  Cyberwar is becoming a larger and larger threat, one the U.S. would currently not win.

–Lest we not become too enamored with our fancy toys and tech, the rather brilliant Fareed Zakaria makes a sound argument for fiscal restraint in the ways of national defense.

–And while we’re on the subject of the economy, another genius-level intellect, David Gergen, offers this essay on the failures of leadership in the U.S., and invokes one of World War II’s great heroes, Winston Churchill.

–One last bit–Happy Birthday to the World Wide Web. Lookin’ good in it’s age-20 season.

 

SQL, 8.6.11

1

I’d like to have a little fun with today’s post, as I’ve stumbled upon a site that I think you’ll enjoy.  But first, some items of newsworthiness…

–Last time, we looked at a story detailing the United States’ bungling of billions of dollars via a Navy ship that does nothing.  Today I’d like to illustrate a more efficient solution to that same puzzle from another government.  Naturally, it comes from the Chinese.

–Exhibit Q on why David Simon is the most relevant mind in television, and, perhaps, entertainment:  Life imitates Tremè.

First the guy gives us ‘Homicide: Life on the Street‘, which was ahead of it’s time, even if it doesn’t hold up particularly well.  Then came his opus, ‘The Wire‘, the single greatest piece of television ever created.  Currently working on Tremè, Simon hits the nail on the head months and perhaps years before the real-world catches up.  I’ll not get into great detail on exactly how–check out the series for yourself–but the link I’ve provided is a clue.

–I have no idea how our elected officials couldn’t agree on re-working the tax code to help out on the revenue side of the recent Debt Ceiling deal–a act that would seemingly work to every reasonable person’s benefit–but their intransigence on the issue has apparently led Standard & Poors to downgrade the U.S.’s credit rating to AA+ from AAA…a decision that’s creating lots and lots of fallout.

–Alright.  Enough of the serious stuff.  Onto a find I’ve enjoyed a lot over the past few hours–AnimalsBeingDicks.com.  Some of my favorites include this one, this one, this one, this one, this one and this one.

There are many more.  Have a go.

 

 

 

SQL, 8.4.11

1

We’ll begin today’s tour around the internets with a retraction from Tuesday’s post–it turns out the story that claimed ‘Internet Explorer’ users are less intelligent was baloney.

Be that as it may, I maintain you’d have to be a little daft to use a slow browser riddled with security issues instead of Chrome or Firefox.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, it’s on to the post proper…

–Two items of national security caught my attention yesterday:

-There’s this story of the bungling of billions of taxpayer dollars on a ship that, apparently, serves no real purpose (an enjoyable, if infuriating read).

-And this ditty on the emerging front of cyber-warfare.

–Progress has been made on an invisibility cloak.

The cloak the researchers constructed and tested could disguise a miniscule object, 0.000024 inches wide by 0.000012 inches high — roughly the size of a red blood cell or 100 times thinner than a human hair, according to study researcher Majid Gharghi, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

–’Cloaking’ something you can’t see with the naked eye…guess we’ll take their word for it.

In high school I often asked friends which superpower they’d prefer if given the choice:  X-Ray vision, Invisibility, Flight or Mind Reading.  I’m a Flight guy, through and through, but invisibility would be my second choice, as it combines the perv-power of X-Ray vision with some of the espionage perks of mind-reading.

–A typically strong piece from SI’s Tom Verducci on Billy Beane, ‘Moneyball’ and the importance of starting pitching.

–I was sad to hear of Hightower’s passing yesterday.

His ability to haul brawlers, in bunches, out of the Blue Oyster was valuable–I’m not sure Mahoney, Tackleberry and the rest would have lasted long without his 80 strength.  But I’m a sucker for a cannon…and Hightower’s 80 arm was a sight to behold.

Moses Hightower, a.k.a., Bubba Smith, dead at age 66.

–”How Chocolate Can Help Your Workout

“A very small amount is probably enough,” Dr. Villarreal said. Extrapolating from his group’s mouse data, he said, five grams of dark chocolate daily, or just a sixth of an ounce — about half of one square of a typical chocolate bar — is probably a reasonable human dose if your aim is to intensify the effects of a workout.

–Damn.

–We”ll end this post with a pair of videogame items:

-On one hand, this seems like cheating.  On the other, Blizzard will make tons of money allowing players to buy and sell in-game items for real-life dollars, a practice that’s been going on for a while now.

-Getting a little geeky here, but this tech could revolutionize graphics in gaming (The audio quality is pretty awful, as is the delivery of the CEO.  But the tech is impressive).

 

 

SQL, 8.2.11

3

Feeling like some one-liners today…

–Sleep could soon become a thing of the past.

The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired.

The study, published in the Dec. 26 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, found orexin A not only restored monkeys’ cognitive abilities but made their brains look “awake” in PET scans.

Siegel said that orexin A is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is “specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness” without other impacts on the brain.

–Old friend Alexis Madrigal, Wired.com

–China basically owns the U.S., so it’s good to know they can’t yet compete militarily.  That said, they’ve got lots and lots of missiles.

–Speaking of entities that could, in theory, buy the United States

–I’ve long considered people that still use the very slow ‘Internet Explorer’ to be, well, morons.  It’s cruel and judgmental and, as it turns out, correct.

–Speaking of stupidity, Nintendo recently launched a handheld mostly without games and in an iPhone-saturated marketplace.

The historic price drop of the 3DS announced overnight by Nintendo is a transparent acknowledgement by the most successful company to ever make video games that it is struggling.

Nintendo cut the price of its flagship gaming handheld by an extraordinary 32%, while making some dramatic turns.

–Stephen Totilo, Kotaku.com

–Another merging of gaming and stupid:  a 20-year-old has died from video games (via sloth).

Chris Staniforth, 20, who would play his console for up to 12 hours, died in May from deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  His father David believes the condition may have been triggered by long gaming sessions.

DVT can form during long periods of immobility and can kill if the clots travel to the lungs.  Computer records showed his son would sometimes play online on his Xbox for periods up to 12 hours.

–Exercise–it’s a good thing!

–Finishing the ‘stupid’ portion of today’s post, here we have the story of an idiot from a great city who may or may not have an attorney.  Also featured:  Batman.

–I’ll wrap today’s post with some smarts, as too much stupid could leave one loathing his or her fellow man:  Fuel milage in automobiles is set to dramatically improve over the next couple decades.

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