Pacific Northwest from Space

A very nice shot of the Pacific Northwest with minimal cloud cover.  Notice the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon.

Pacific Northwest from space
Pacific Northwest from space. Vancouver Island is prominent in the top center of the photo. In the lower center the Willamette Valley can be seen running north from southern Oregon up to Portland.
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How many World Series have seen Game 7 go to extra innings?

How many World Series have seen Game 7 go to extra innings?

The 2016 Cubs/Indians World Series was the 4th time.(Although in 1912 game 8 went extra innings-see below for more info on that)

World Series extra-innings in game 7
• 1924 Washington def N.Y. Giants 4-3 in 12
• 1991 Minnesota def Atlanta 1-0 in 10
• 1997 Florida beat Cleveland 3-2 in 11
• 2016 Cubs def Indians 8-7 in 10

*55 extra-inning games have been played in World Series history.

Source for above:  World Series extra-inning games: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/1259616//

Interesting fact: I was looking up world series game 7’s with extra innings and noticed in 1912 game 8 went to extra innings. 1912 was one of only four World Series to go to eight games, and the only best-of-seven Series to do so. While the 1912 Series was extended to eight games due to a tie game being called on account of darkness, the 1903, 1919, and 1921 World Series were all best-of-nine affairs that happened to run eight games.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1912_World_Series

Tsunami Balls-Survival Capsules

Call them what you like, these could save lives but until mass produced, they are very expensive.  Would these be a better way to go than building new tsunami wall for billions of dollars?

3484866700000578-3604428-image-a-15_1463995862943
The Survival Capsule designed to withstand tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes (providing you’re not too claustrophobic!) Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3604428/The-Survival-Capsule-designed-withstand-tsunamis-earthquakes-hurricanes

18kyg6cjtwl2ejpg

 

Read more: http://gizmodo.com/5846211/get-ready-for-the-next-natural-disaster-by-hiding-inside-a-giant-yellow-floating-ball

The Sentinelese- perhaps the most isolated people in the world!

sentinel-island
Sentinelese on the beach of North Sentinel Island fiercely defend heir home.

North Sentinel Island is in the Bay of Bengal, in the waters east of India. The Sentinelese inhabit the island and have an estimated population of anywhere from 50-500.  They are aggressively defensive of their island and fend off visitors with arrows and stones and have even killed to keep visitors away from their home.  After multiple failed attempts to communicate with the Sentinelese, the Indian Government has declared North Sentinel Island off -limits and has imposed a 3 mile no-trespassing boundary around the island.

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North Sentinel Island,- The Indian government has officially closed the island and made it illegal for anyone to visit – It is dangerous to outsiders trying to make contact and potentially devastating to the Sentinelese- who have no immunities to diseases such as smallpox, measles, and influenza.

 

A few days after the devastating tsunami in 2004, which killed more than 200, 000 and wiped out nearby islands, the Indian Government sent a helicopter to the island to

In 1981, the ship Primrose ran aground on the coral reef, which surrounds North Sentinel Island.  A few days later, the crew noticed “small black men” carrying spears and arrows and building boats on the beach.  Sensing imminent danger the captain radioed for Sentinelese could reach them.  The tribe used scrap metal from the abandoned boat to build weapons and tools

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Sentinelese chasing potential visitors away1

In 2007,  two fishermen fell asleep in their boat, anchored with a rock tied to a rope.  The anchor failed and the boat drifted near the island and inside the coral reef.   The Sentinelese promptly killed the men andburried them in shallow graves, giving others a grim warning sign to stay away from North Sentinel Island or risk death!

The dense forest canopy makes it impossible to get an accurate count of the tribe.

The Sentinelese survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its after-effects, including the tsunami and the uplifting of the island. Three days after the event, an Indian government helicopter observed several of them, who shot arrows and threw stones at the hovering aircraft.  Although the tsunami disturbed the fishing grounds of the Sentinelese, they appear to have adapted.

Since 1947, India has administered the island as part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory.  However, because there has never been any treaty with the people of the island, nor any record of a physical occupation whereby the people of the island have conceded sovereignty, the island exists in a curious state of limbo under established international law and can be seen as a sovereign entity under Indian protection. It is, therefore, one of the de facto autonomous regions of India.

image37
Sentinelese trying to repel a helicopter with bows and arrows. (/the are quite accurate and deadly up to 30 ft)

The Andaman and Nicobar Administration has stated in 2005 that they have no intention to interfere with the lifestyle or habitat of the Sentinelese and are not interested in pursuing any further contact with them.   Wikipedia- North_Sentinel_Island

After the 2004 tsunami showed the dangerous tribal species, the world was still unaware of them: http://therednews.com/News/1913/indian-sentinel-island-where-untouched-human-living

North_Sentinel_Island
The canopy of vegetation covers almost everything on North Sentinel Island, even when looking at the island from satellite view, making it difficult to get an accurate count of people living on the island or seeing how they live.

 

The Lost Fabergé Egg

In Imperial Russia, Easter was special, even more special for the Empress, who was the recipient each year of an amazing present, a Fabergé Egg.  Each year, a new, unique egg was given to the Empress by the  Tsar, (First Alexander III, then Nicolas II) and made by Peter Carl Fabergé, a Russian jeweller who made his creations of precious metals and gemstones, in the style of Easter eggs.

In 1885, Tsar Alexander III commissioned Fabergé’s  company to make an Easter egg as a gift for his wife, the Empress Maria. The Tsar placed an order for another egg the following year. Beginning in 1887, the Tsar apparently gave Carl Fabergé complete freedom with regard to egg designs, which then became more and more elaborate. According to Fabergé Family tradition, not even the Tsar knew what form they would take—the only stipulation was that each one should contain a surprise. The next Tsar, Nicholas II, ordered two eggs each year, one for his mother and one for his wife, Alexandra.  Wikipedia- Carl Fabergé

The Russian Revolution changed everything and In 1918, The House of Fabergé was nationalized by the Bolsheviks and Fabergé fled to Switzerland. He never recovered from the shock of the Russian Revolution and died in Switzerland on September 24, 1920. His family believed he died of a broken heart. according to his family.

Some eggs were lost in the transition from Imperial Russia to the Soviet Union. Some eggs were sold the Soviets to the west. Eight of them are missing, and only three are believed to have survived the revolution. Now, one of the missing eggs has been found. Here is the story of an egg that was lost, only to show up in an unlikely place…

The Lost Third Imperial Easter Egg By Carl Fabergé- LINK

Easter is the most important of all Russian Orthodox festivals and it’s a long-established tradition to exchange Easter eggs. Carl Fabergé, goldsmith to the Tsars, created the lavish Imperial Easter eggs for both Alexander III and Nicholas II from 1885 to 1916. The Eggs are his most prized creations and have become bywords of luxury and craftsmanship.

The Third Imperial Egg
The Third Imperial Egg is a 1887 Fabergé egg rediscovered in 2012. It is a Vacheron Constantin Lady’s watch, with white enamel dial and openwork diamond set gold hands.

 

This egg was last seen in public over 112 years ago, when it was shown in the Von Dervis Mansion exhibition of the Russian Imperial Family’s Fabergé collection in St. Petersburg in March 1902. In the turmoil of the Russian revolution the Bolsheviks confiscated the Egg from the Empress. It was last recorded in Moscow in 1922 when the Soviets decided to sell it as part of their policy of turning ‘Treasures into Tractors’. Its fate after this point was unknown and it is was feared it could have been melted for its gold and lost forever.

It was only in 2011 that Fabergé researchers discovered that the Third Imperial Egg survived the revolution, when it was discovered in an old Parke-Bernet catalogue. Its provenance had been unknown and so it was sold at auction on Madison Avenue, New York on 7th March 1964 as a ‘Gold watch in egg form case’ for $2,450 (£875 at the time). This discovery started a worldwide race to discover the whereabouts of the egg, which was now worth tens of millions of dollars….

Continue with the link: The Lost Third Imperial Easter Egg By Carl Fabergé

 

 

Prince- does”Creep”at Coachella 2008

Prince gives the Coachella 2008 audience a treat and does a special cover of Creep, by Radiohead.  He definitely makes this version his own and like great cover songs, it isn’t simply him singing/playing the original, it is beautiful in a new, artistic way.

One of the most beautiful “covers” ever!  It stands on its own as a masterpiece!

I shared this with a friend and after listening to it, he said, “I have heard many musicians cover that song, but none did it that well.”

Prince didn’t cover a song, he possessed it. He took over its limbs and made it do things it had never done before—dance wildly down the aisles, scream, shout, and fall to the ground. When he covered a song, it got religion the way people only do in the movies.  http://www.openculture.com/2016/04/princes-extraordinarily-poignant-cover-of-radioheads-creep.html

State Trooper Buys Meal for Panhandler

State Trooper buys meal for panhandler in massachusetts

When an alleged panhandler spotted a Massachusetts State Trooper heading in her direction, she expected to be asked to move along, not treated to a meal.

Trooper Luke Bonin from the State Police Dartmouth Barracks was reportedly driving along when he spotted a woman in Fall River holding a sign, asking for help.

According to a Facebook post by Massachusetts State Police on the deed, that was when Bonin decided to continue driving, and picked up two meals for them to eat.

When the trooper pulled up to the woman, officials wrote, “thinking he was there to remove her from the side of the road, she immediately stated to him that she would leave.”

But Bonin reportedly replied, “I’m not here to kick you out.”

Instead, he pulled out the meals and asked her to take her pick.

And, unbeknownst to him at the time, a passerby snapped a photo that showed him perched on the cruiser’s bumper, chatting up the woman who made herself comfortable in the grass. Link: https://www.yahoo.com/news/state-trooper-buys-meal-panhandler-211800175.html

 

Adam Levine does everything right!

Normally, my insecurities, ingrained into my DNA, and giving me an excuse to hate those guys who seem perfect, would not allow me to show any respect or give any praise to the extremely talented and super-nice-guy, Adam Levine.

He is just too cool and seems to be nice to everyone he meets.  He covers Prince’s Purple Rain for Howard’s birthday bash and the performance may be his best ever!

Adam Levine, Purple Rain  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w2lNpixqOc

Adam Levine Performs  Purple Rain  At The Howard Stern Birthday Bash on SiriusXM   YouTube

 

 

Prince does “Creep” at 2008 Coachella- Beautiful!

One of the most beautiful “covers” ever!  It stands on its own as a masterpiece!

-Creep    Prince at Coachella 2008  Uploaded via Permission from Radiohead   NPG Music Publishing    YouTube

“Creep” – Prince at Coachella 2008 (Uploaded via Permission from Radiohead & NPG Music Publishing):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFXZNt4oLkE

 

Tracking and Mapping Space Junk

More than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.

In the 50-plus years that humans have been zipping through space more than 6,000 satellites have been launched. While some have made their way back down to Earth, more than 3,600 remain in orbit.

 

  • It’s estimated that between 100 and 150 tons of space junk re-enters our atmosphere each year — with the vast majority of it burning up before it hits the ground.
  • Scientists are looking to develop methods of removing some of the space junk that’s currently in orbit.
  • Some worry that if we don’t act fast enough, the Kessler syndrome will be observed. This would occur if space debris continues to pile up, eventually reaching the point where it would be impossible to launch new objects without creating a collision.

SourceInteractive map shows how much space junk is flying around Earth

Stuff in Space

Stuff in Space.- Key-Legent

Stuff in Space
Stuff in Space is a realtime 3D map of objects in Earth orbit, visualized using WebGL. (Shown above)

The website updates daily with orbit data from Space-Track.org and uses the excellent satellite.js Javascript library to calculate satellite positions.

Stuff in Space on GitHub, by James Yoder.: https://github.com/jeyoder/ThingsInSpace

The US. department of Defense maintains an accurate log of all the objects in the Earth’s orbit that are larger than a softball — and if you’d like to get an idea of what all that might look like, you can — via an interactive map called Orbital Objects.  http://www.alexras.info/code/orbital_objects/

The rising population of space debris increases the potential danger to all space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with humans aboard.

NASA takes the threat of collisions with space debris seriously and has a long-standing set of guidelines on how to deal with each potential collision threat. These guidelines, part of a larger body of decision-making aids known as flight rules, specify when the expected proximity of a piece of debris increases the probability of a collision enough that evasive action or other precautions to ensure the safety of the crew are needed.

Space debris encompasses both natural (meteoroid) and artificial (man-made) particles. Meteoroids are in orbit about the sun, while most artificial debris is in orbit about the Earth. Hence, the latter is more commonly referred to as orbital debris.

Orbital debris is any man-made object in orbit about the Earth which no longer serves a useful function. Such debris includes nonfunctional spacecraft, abandoned launch vehicle stages, mission-related debris and fragmentation debris.

There are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting the Earth. They travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. There are 500,000 pieces of debris the size of a marble or larger. There are many millions of pieces of debris that are so small they can’t be tracked.

Continue reading Tracking and Mapping Space Junk

The Final Days of Albert Einstein

This is from the Princeton University Press Blog,

November 24, 2015 by

In April of 1955, shortly after Einstein’s death, a pathologist removed his brain without the permission of his family, and stored it in formaldehyde until around 2007, shortly before dying himself. In that time, the brain of the man who has been credited with the some of the most beautiful and imaginative ideas in all of science was photographed, fragmented —small sections parceled to various researchers. His eyes were given to his ophthalmologist.

These indignities in the name of science netted several so-called findings—that the inferior parietal lobe, the part said to be responsible for mathematical reasoning was wider, that the unique makeup of the Sulvian fissure could have allowed more neurons to make connections. And yet, there remains the sense that no differences can truly account for the cognitive abilities that made his genius so striking.

Along with an exhaustive amount of information on  the personal, scientific, and public spheres of Einstein’s life, An Einstein Encyclopedia includes this well-known if macabre “brain in a jar” story. But there is a quieter one that is far more revealing of the man himself: The story in which Helen Dukas, Einstein’s longtime secretary and companion, recounts his last days. Dukas, the encyclopedia notes, was “well known for being intelligent, modest, shy, and passionately loyal to Einstein.” Her account is at once unsensational and unadorned.

One might expect a story of encroaching death, however restrained, to chronicle confusion and fear. Medically supported death was a regular occurrence by the middle of the 20th century, and Einstein died in his local hospital. But what is immediately striking from the account is the simplicity and calmness with which Einstein met his own passing, which he regarded as a natural event. The telling of this chapter is matter of fact, from his collapse at home, to his diagnosis with a hemorrhage, to his reluctant trip to the hospital and refusal of a famous heart surgeon. Dukas writes that he endured the pain from an internal hemorrhage (“the worst pain one can have”) with a smile, occasionally taking morphine. On his final day, during a respite from pain, he read the paper and talked about politics and scientific matters.

“You’re really hysterical—I have to pass on sometime, and it doesn’t really matter when.” he tells Dukas, when she rises in the night to check on him.

What did Einstein believe at the end? We can’t know, but An Einstein Encyclopedia opens with his own words,

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose….To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.

http://blog.press.princeton.edu/2015/11/24/the-final-days-of-albert-einstein/

Pike Place Market Bubble Gum Wall – Cleaned of Decay

Evoking lips by Man Ray, many pieces of gum went into this attachment to Post Alley's Gum Wall. Scheduled to be cleaned in a week.  (Tuesday Nov 3, 2015)  Seattle Times
Evoking lips by Man Ray, many pieces of gum went into this attachment to Post Alley’s Gum Wall.  Scheduled to be cleaned in a week. (Tuesday Nov 3, 2015) Seattle Times

Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a very popular tourist attraction and one of my favorite things to do at the market is to visit and even make a contribution to the Pike Place Bubble Gum Wall.  That will all change when the wall is scrubbed clean next week. Officials admit the gum will probably return, but they feel the accumulation is too much and must be removed.

Some Facts:

  • The gum wall is cleaned “every other month” with a steamer, but this will be the first time all the gum is removed
  • The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) has hired a contractor, Cascadian Building Maintenance, “because it’s going to be a very large job.”
  • The gum will be removed with an “industrial steam machine that works like a pressure washer.”
  • The machine will melt the gum with 280-degree steam; it will fall to the ground, and a two- to three-man crew will collect the gum in five-gallon buckets.
  • “This is probably the weirdest job we’ve done,” Kelly Foster, of Cascadian Building Maintenance
  • The PDA estimates 1 million pieces of gum are adhered to the walls of Post Alley, and the buildup is in some places 6 inches thick. The cleaning job is expected to cost $4,000.
  • Crawford said the gum needs to be cleaned off the walls to preserve the historic buildings in the Market district. “It was never part of the charter or the history of the Market to have the walls covered with gum,” she said. “Gum is made of chemicals, sugar, additives. Things that aren’t good for us. I can’t imagine it’s good for brick.”
  • The job will likely take three or four days.
  • “We’re not saying it can’t come back,” Crawford said. “We need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh.”

Source: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/pike-place-market-to-give-post-alley-gum-wall-a-scrubdown/

           

Washington State on Right Track Under Coach Leach

Mike Leach
WSU Head Football Coach Mike Leach

Fire the coach!  This happens at most other colleges, but not at Wazzu!  After an ugly home loss in their season opening game, many so-called loyal Cougs are calling for the firing of Washington State University Head Football Coach Mike Leach.  Just starting out in his 4th season at WSU, Leach 12-26, a record that has many fans unhappy and feeling that there should be more wins by now.  One has to wonder, who would these people want to replace him with?  What has happened to the Coug fans whose pride for the Palouse and WAZZU is far more passionate than we see at any other school in the nation?

Saturday, September 5, 2015, in rainy weather, at Martin Stadium, the Washington State Cougars,and FBS school of the PAC-12 Conference lost to Portland State University,an FCS team, of the Big Sky Conference.  Does this signal the end of Mike Leach’s coaching days at WSU?  Not at all.  Is this season over after just one  game?  Not even close.  Is losing to an opponent from a smaller conference humiliating? It stings, but there is much more parity in NCAA Div-1 Football than ever before and these types of upsets, when FCS teams are able to topple FBS opponents, seem to be happening much more often.

Coach Leach has elevated the program to a place where they can now win any game they play.  Obviously they need to actually do more of this and earn more victories, but the overall process is working and they continue to improve.  Last September, the Cougs fell to Oregon, 31-38, one score away from defeating the Ducks!  The following weekend, WSU beat Utah, and in November the Cougs knocked off Oregon State, and both PAC-12  wins were on the road. They also suffered tragic losses in a 3-9 season, but they were a team that could put together some very good games.  In 2013, Washington State won 6 games and went to their first bowl game since 2003 and had some big wins, including a 10-7 victory over then #25 USC in early September, and wins over Cal, Arizona and Utah.

The Cougars should have rolled over Portland State, but the pass oriented offense had a difficult day in the rainy weather and after a 10-0 lead in they fell to a senior-dominated, physical Portland State team. The fact that WSU had not lost to a Big Sky Conference team in 60 years may be true, but it probably isn’t as bad as it sounds. The playing field in college football is much more level today than in past decades. This is due to NCAA limits on the number of scholarships football programs may grant to players.  The Texas Longhorns used to give out over 120 football scholarships and a coach was once asked if that was fair to some players who may never play in any games with so many players competing for positions . He said something like, “certain players with scholarships may not ever play for us on a game, but we sure as hell won’t have to play against him.”

In 1973, the NCAA limited college football programs to 105 scholarships each. This number was reduced to 95 scholarships in 1978 and reduced even further to 85 in 1992, where it remains today.  Since the mid 1990’s, some traditional “powerhouse” football programs have suffered a significant decline in success while many smaller schools, from smaller conferences, have become very successful . Winning is the result of many factors, but the NCAA rule limiting football programs to 85 scholarships has made an obvious and dramatic impact.

The PAC-12 also has tougher entrance requirements, and  players who are not able to get into PAC-12 institutions can sometimes find a way into schools from smaller conferences. Beyond that, the Big Sky Conference has a rich history of winning and a ton of pride.  On August 25th, the University of Montana beat defending FCS Champions, North Dakota State, 38-35, showing how tough the Big Sky Conference can be.  Portland State finished last season 3-9, which led to the firing of their head coach and allowed offensive coordinator Bruce Barnum a chance to take the reins.  To say he had a big win in his first game as head coach would be an understatement.

I’m not making excuses for Washington State’s loss to Portland State, but I’m not sure it is accurate to call it the “worst loss in WSU history”, and I don’t think it is productive to or say that Coach Leach should be fired.  Washington State hired a great coach in Mike Leach and things are on the upswing, lets not give up on him now.  He has raised the overall team grades and the wins are coming, He has a proven track record and if he is not able to win at WSU it could show that the problems complex and the solution is much more complicated than simply replacing the head coach!

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Sounds Like Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” and “Dancing Tony” Hodgkinson

After the song became an enormous hit, many others pointed out that the main riff did indeed sound like Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” even though they’re in different keys. They probably weren’t similar enough for Boston’s Tom Scholz to file any sort of legal action, but he said he didn’t mind at all.

“I take it as a major compliment,” he said in 1994, “even if it was completely accidental.”

The group made fun of the whole thing in the summer of 1992 when they played the Reading Festival in England. After the opening bars of the song, Kirst Novoselic and Dave Grohl sang the chorus of “More Than a Feeling” while Bivouac drummer Antony “Dancing Tony” Hodgkinson danced around wildly. After about 18 goofy seconds, Novoselic launches into the “I see Marianne walk away” part, but Kurt interrupts him by beginning the song for real. It’s a great moment…

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/flashback-nirvana-play-a-bit-of-bostons-more-than-a-feeling-20150129#ixzz3fioA45jE

Dancing Tony?

But maybe you wondered about the dancer after reading the excerpt above and if you watched the video, you noticed the dancer for sure.  Who was he?  What was the story on THAT dude?  It was Bivouac drummer Antony “Dancing Tony” Hodgkinson.  Read an interview below, he has fascinating comments on a show at Leeds University, giving readers a glimpse of the attitudes, the crowds and the overall scene at that time.

“I think it was a Leeds University show we did. It was a Nirvana, L7, and Victims Family show. It was quite a hairy show, really. Quite violent. It was just a stream of stage-divers – just a queue – really people trying to punch you out and whatever. I don’t know. You used to get a bit of a weird reaction, but that’s their fucking problem at the end of the day and not mine. So I did that and they were into it, so I did it again. And they used to just call me up when they were in the UK. It was just being at the right place at the wrong time, or the right place at the right time, you know? Did you ever see them live?” 

From “An Interview With Antony Hodgkinson, The Guy Who Danced Onstage With Nirvana”: http://rickish.tumblr.com/post/674022755/an-interview-with-antony-hodgkinson-the-guy-who

American Pharoah is Triple Crown Winner # 12!

Triple Crown Winners

Sir Barton – 1919
Gallant Fox – 1930
Omaha – 1935
War Admiral – 1937
Whirlaway – 1941
Count Fleet – 1943
Assault – 1946
Citation – 1948
Secretariat – 1973
Seattle Slew – 1977
Affirmed – 1978
American Pharoah – 2015

Sir Barton – 1919    Gallant Fox –1930      Omaha – 1935      War Admiral – 1937      Whirlaway – 1941     Count Fleet – 1943 Assault – 1946 Citation – 1948 Secretariat – 1973 Seattle Slew – 1977 Affirmed – 1978     American Pharoah – 2015

To read more about each triple crown winner, click on any of the 12 names above

Triple Crown Records:

Kentucky Derby- 1:5925, Secretariat, 1973
Preakness Stakes- 1:53, Secretariat, 1973 
Belmont Stakes- 2:24, Secretariat, 1973 

Kentucky Derby Facts and Information

Kentucky Derby facts:

  • First Saturday in May- The Kentucky Derby is run annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Triple Crown Part 1- The Derby is the first race in horse racing’s coveted Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
  • Greatest Two Minutes in Sports- The race is known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate run time. The Derby is also referred to as “The Run for the Roses” due to the garland of 554 red roses draped over the winner.
  • 3-Year Old Race- The maximum age for a competing horse is three years.  All the horses are 3 years old.
  • Mint Julep-  the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. (What is a Mint Julep?)
  • Approximately 120,000 mint juleps are served annually during the two day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
  • Female Derby Champs?- Only three fillies have won the Derby: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).
  • No Rain-outs- No Derby has ever been postponed because of rain or bad weather.

Timeline:

May 17, 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby is held. The winner is Aristides, a three-year-old chestnut colt, beating fourteen other horses.

1892 – Only three horses run the race, making it the smallest field ever for a Kentucky Derby.

1896 – The race distance is reduced from 1.5 miles to its present 1.25 miles.

1925 – N.Y. Journal-American writer Bill Corum coins the phrase “run for the roses.”

May 3, 1952 – The Kentucky Derby is televised nationally for the first time.

1956 – The first Kentucky Derby Festival is held. This annual event runs for the two weeks preceding the actual races.

1973 – Secretariat wins with a time of 1:59 minutes, setting the record for the fastest time.

May 3, 2008 – Shortly after winner Big Brown crosses the finish line, second place finisher Eight Belles suffers fractures in both front legs and falls to the ground. Due to the severity of the injuries, the filly is euthanized on the track.

Above facts: CNN

The Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875.

The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup.

No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without having raced at age two.

In 1970 Diane Crump became the first female jockey to ride in the Derby, finishing 15th aboard Fathom.

In 2005, the purse distribution for the Derby was changed, so that horses finishing fifth would henceforth receive a share of the purse; previously only the first four finishers did so.

The 2004 Derby marked the first time that jockeys, as a result of a court order, were allowed to wear corporate advertising logos on their clothing.

In 2010 Calvin Borel set a new record, being the first jockey to win 3 out of 4 consecutive Kentucky Derbys

As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville Marching Band plays Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” a tradition which began in 1921

The fastest time ever run in the Derby (at its present distance) was set in 1973 at 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds when Secretariat broke the record set by Northern Dancer in 1964. Not only has Secretariat’s record time stood for 41 years, but in the race itself, he did something unique in Triple Crown races: each successive quarter, his times were faster. Though times for non-winners were not recorded, in 1973 Sham finished second, two and a half lengths behind Secretariat in the same race. Using the thoroughbred racing convention of one length equaling one-fifth of a second to calculate Sham’s time, he also finished in under two minutes. Another sub-two-minute finish, only the third, was set in 2001 by Monarchos at 1:59.97

   Source: Wikipedia

Pick a horse name beginning with the letter “S”- There have been 19 winning horses in the Kentucky Derby whose names began with the letter “S.” Horses beginning with the letter ‘S’ have won 19times, and there are no winners beginning with the letters ‘Q’, ‘X’ or ‘Y’. Following is a list of the number of Derby winners followed by number of starters for each letter of the alphabet and the most recent horse to win with that letter.  Alphabet KD

Kentucky Derby 138 Fun Facts- Churchill Downs realeased this list of facts about the Kentucky Derby including; the race, the food, the wagering, the people, the horses, the trophy, the flowers, the weather, and more: 138 Kentucky Derby Fun Facts

Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, sometimes shortened to Triple Crown, consists of three races for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. Winning all three of these Thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment of a Thoroughbred racehorse. The term originated in mid-19th century England and different nations where thoroughbred racing is popular each have their own Triple Crown series.

The Triple Crown is considered to be one of the most difficult triumphs to attain in all of sports.  The three Grade 1 races run in May and early June of each year consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.  The complexity can be attributed to the grueling schedule of having to partake in three races within five weeks, each of which are at longer distances than the three-year-olds have previously run throughout their careers. The Belmont Stakes is extremely punishing as most thoroughbreds never run such a long distance (1 1/2 miles). TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS

  • Only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown: The Triple Crown winners are Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015)

All three Triple Crown legs are open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds.   In all three races, colts and geldings carry 126 pounds and fillies carry 121 lbs.

Kentucky Derby-  (1 1⁄4-mile) held annually at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May.  The race is one and a quarter miles.  A new points system was started in 2012 for Kentucky Derby qualification.

The Preakness Stakes (1 3⁄16-mile) held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a Grade I race run over a distance of one and 3/16 miles.

The Belmont Stakes- (1 1⁄2-mile)  held every June at Belmont Park in Egmont, New York. It is  1.5 miles in length, the longest race the horses will probably ever run.  The race is the third and final leg of the US Triple Crown, following exactly five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. Consequently, it is run on Saturday, but never before June 5, nor after June 11.

Triple Crown Race Distances The Kentucky Derby is one and 1/4 miles, followed 2 weeks later by The Preakness, a little shorter at one and 3/16 miles.  Three weeks after the Preakness, the Belmont is the longest at one and 1/2 miles.

Triple Crown Winners Face Fresh Horses- Owners may decide to run their horse in all three races (if they are good enough) or in just one or possibly two legs of the Triple Crown.  Thus, a horse trying to win the Triple Crown will face horses in the Belmont that didn’t run in the Preakness two weeks previously.  This makes the Triple Crown even more elusive.

California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn was a bitter man after his horse lost the 2014 Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown  to Tonalist, which did not run in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.  His horse won the first two legs and Coburn didn’t think it was fair that horses were allowed to run in the Belmont even if they didn’t run in the Derby and Preakness.

Coburn, normally mild-mannered, said it was a “coward’s way out” that horses who don’t run the other two Triple Crown races come in fresh and win this.

“It’s all or nothing. It’s not fair to these horses that are running their guts out. This is a cowards’ way out,” Coburn said. “If you’ve got a horse that earns points, that runs in the Kentucky Derby, those horses should be the only ones who should run in all three races.” Read more

He later apologized for making his comments. On Good Morning America, he said was ashamed of himself for his rants after his horse came up short in its bid to win the first Triple Crown since 1978.  Coburn blamed his post-race tirade on his desire to make many people happy.  “This is America’s horse. I wanted it so much for this horse to win the Triple Crown for the people of America,” he told ABC during an emotional interview in which he held back tears. “And I was very emotional.” Read more

Triple Crown Race Records

Fastest Kentucky Derby- The mighty Secretariat holds the record for fastest Kentucky Derby, which has held since his 1973 victory in the Run for the Roses.

Secretariat Finally Gets Preakness Record- Secretariat did not hold the record in the Preakness,  however, until 2012, even though experts at the race agreed his 1973 race was indeed record-setting. The official timer had malfunctioned and the Maryland Racing Commission refused to award the record to Secretariat, It took 39 years, a movie on Secretariat,  new technology leading to even more evidence, and a rule change which allowed the use of information beyond official clockings to determine race times to convince the commission to finally declare the fastest Preakness ever was run by the mighty Secretariat.

Fastest Belmont- The fastest Belmont Stakes was also clocked by Secretariat and since it is rare for horses to run one and a half miles anymore, this record might not be broken for a long time.  In the 1973 Belmont Stakes, Secretariat won the race by an amazing 31 lengths!

Interesting Facts

Sham- In the 1973 Kentucky Derby, Secretariat defeated Sham, who was runner-up in the Derby and Preakness, even though Sham ran one of the 4 fastest Kentucky Derby times recorded.

Alydar- In 1978, Alydar finished a close second to Triple Crown winner Affirmed in all three races, a feat not achieved before or repeated since. He has been described as the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.  In all three legs of the Triple Crown, Alydar lost to Affirmed by a combined total of less than two lengths.

Read Quiet was Real Close- In 1998, Real Quiet won the Derby and Preakness and was winning the Belmont, but could not hold on as Victory Gallop edged him out by a nose. Visa had offered $5 million to a Triple Crown winner, and owner Mike Pegram was just a nose away from that $5 million!

Seattle Slew-In 1977, Seattle Slew became the first horse to win the Triple Crown undefeated.

Triple Crown near misses:  A total of 22 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but did not win the Belmont.  Nine of these near misses have been since 1997. Big Brown just missed the Triple Crown when he was pulled up at Belmont in 2008. In 2012, I’ll Have Another won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but was scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes, due to tendonitis. In 2014, California Chrome finished in a tie for 4th place, extending the longest Triple Crown drought in history, which ended one year later when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015.

  • Since 1978, 13 horses have won the first two races, but have fallen short of the Triple Crown:  1979- Spectacular Bid, 1981- Pleasant Colony, 1987- Alysheba, 1989- Sunday Silence, 1997- Silver Charm, 1998- Real Quiet, 1999- Charismatic, 2002- War Emblem, 2003 Funny Cide, 2004- Smarty Jones, 2008- Big Brown, 2012- I’ll Have Another, 2014- California Chrome
  • There have been 46 horses who won two out of the three Triple Crown races but only 21 who won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in the Belmont Stakes.

Should Clarence Thomas Speak in Court?

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn't speak in court
US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t speak in court.

United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was nominated by George H.W. Bush, in 1991 to succeed Thurgood Marshall.  He was narolloly confirmed by the US Senate and has since had a strange presence on the court, speaking or asking questions almost never and going almost 7 years without speaking at all.  In 2013 he cracked a joke, surprising many that he had spoken at all.

Thomas’s confirmation hearings were bitter and intensely fought, centering on an accusation that he had sexually harassed—or engaged in unseemly behavior toward—attorneyAnita Hill, a subordinate at the Department of Education and subsequently at the EEOC. The U.S. Senate ultimately confirmed Thomas by a vote of 52–48 then confirmed after a media filled US Senate hearing. (Wikipedia)

Since joining the Court, Thomas has taken a textualist approach, seeking to uphold what he sees as the original meaning of the United States Constitutionand statutes. He is generally viewed as the most conservative member of the Court (Wikipedia)

Read more:

Clarence Thomas’s Disgraceful Silence – His behavior on the bench has gone from curious to bizarre to downright embarrassing, for himself and for the institution he represents.

Who Cares About Clarence Thomas’s Silence?–  His jurisprudential vision is unattractive in many respects, but he’s far from unqualified or incompetent, and his silence at oral arguments is an interesting trivia question but really nothing more than that.

What to do if your antivirus subscription has expired in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

Many Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users are faced with a decision when the security software that came installed on their computer expires. What choices do users have?

Problem- Free security software is included with Windows 8 and 8.1 but is usually free just for a trial period, and when it expires some users have experienced frustration.  Users can either pay for continued use of the security software or use something else.

Solution # 1-  Users may decide to pay for the software installed when computer was purchased.  This is the security software that was offered for free during the introductory trial period and signing up and paying a subscription fee will allow the user to continue using  this product. This may or may not be the best choice, and it is definitely more expensive than the next solution.

Since it isn’t good to have more than one security program installed at once, if they do use something else they must first remove the existing security software.

Solution # 2-  Windows 8 and 8.1 already have free anti-virus, security software installed and available for free in Windows Defender.   Windows Defender is included with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and helps protect your PC against malware (malicious software). Many new computers come with free subscriptions to antivirus software and other security programs from companies other than Microsoft. When the trial period expires and users do not want to pay to continue using it, they can remove/uninstall it and turn on Windows Defender.

How to make Windows Defender your choice security method?  Follow these directions to remove the existing, expired security software and turn on Windows Defender, which provides security for free.

  1. Fully uninstall the non-Microsoft security software that came with your computer.
  2. Make sure Windows Defender is turned on.

To uninstall the security software that came with your computer, check the software’s Help file.

Make sure Windows Defender is turned on in Windows 8

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Search (or if you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search).
  2. In the Search box, type Windows Defender.
  3. Tap or click the Windows Defender icon.
  4. Go to Settings, and make sure that Turn on real-time protection (recommended) is selected.
  5. Tap or click Save Changes.

Information above from this link: http://blogs.microsoft.com/cybertrust/2014/09/16/what-to-do-if-your-antivirus-subscription-has-expired/

Solution # 3- When the free trial period for the security software that came with Windows 8 expires, remove it and use another 3rd-party program, either the free or paid version.If uses do not want to use Windows Defender and do not want to pay to continue the software they were using during the trial period, they may find information on many other options online:

Slurpee Waves

Jonathan Nimerfroh, a photographer and surfer in Nantucket, took this amazing photo on February 20, 2015 of an ocean wave, just before it freezes solid. He calls it a slurpee wave.
Jonathan Nimerfroh, a photographer and surfer in Nantucket, took this amazing photo on February 20, 2015 of an ocean wave, just before it freezes solid. He calls it a slurpee wave.

The February 2015 deep freeze of the eastern United States broke hundreds, maybe thousands of record daily low temperatures. A photographer who is also a surfer in Nantucket, photographed some partially frozen waves on February 20, 2015, just before they froze solid.  He calls them slurpee waves.

Nimerfroh said he returned the following day to the same beach. That day it was a few degrees colder still and the water had completely frozen. He said: “Nothing was moving. There were no waves anymore.”

Even experts commented that they had not seen waves like this before.

  • Helen Fricker, a glaciologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, who studies the dynamics of ice flows in Antarctica, told the New York Times that a full scientific explanation was “outside her expertise.”
  • Erin Pettit, a glaciologist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, added that waves in Alaska tend to break up sea ice and said, “I have never seen frozen waves like this.”

EarthSky: Slushy wave off coast of Nantucket

New York Times- Article on the wave

Jonathan Nimerfroh’s collection of Slurpee Waves

Sweden is Now Recycling 99 Percent of its Trash. Here’s how

Sweden does such a good job with recycling, they need to import trash from neighboring countries in order to fuel their existing  Waste-to-Energy Program
Sweden does such a good job with recycling, they need to import trash from neighboring countries in order to fuel their existing Waste-to-Energy Program

 Sweden is Now Recycling 99 Percent of its Trash. Here’s howhttp://themindunleashed.org/2014/09/sweden-now-recycling-99-percent- trash-heres.html

America should take note of this process considering we only recycle approximately 34 percent of the garbage we throw away:  http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/2012_msw_fs.pdf

How does Sweden do it?

  •  They have an aggressive recycling policy, which goes in an order of importance: prevention, reuse, recycling, recycling alternatives, and as a last resort, disposal in landfill.
  •  Amazingly, just 1% of Sweden’s trash ends up in landfillsMuch of the left over waste is taken care of by using “recycling alternatives”, such as the Waste-to-Energy program, which is explained in the video, “Importing garbage for energy is good business for Sweden”  http://vimeo.com/103801887
  • Waste is sorted, then remaining waste is incinerated and converted into electricity
  • 3 tons of garbage contains as much energy as 1 ton of oil
  • Sweden is so good at recycling its trash in fact, that it now has plans to import 800,000 tons of garbage from other countries in Europe in order to create heat for its citizens through its Waste-to-Energy program.

Brawl of the Wild- Montana and Montana State battle for Great Divide Trophy

One of the oldest and most intense rivalries in college football.
One of the oldest and most intense rivalries in college football.
University of Montana, Missoula
University of Montana, Missoula

The Montana–Montana State football rivalry is an annual college football rivalry game between the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State University Bobcats. Primarily known as Cat-Griz, it is also referred to as Griz-Cat and the Brawl of the Wild.  The winner receives the Great Divide Trophy.  Source: Wikipedia

This intense rivalry is over 100 years old and the University of Montana leads overall 70-37-5 (.647) The first game between the two teams was played in  Missoula, Montana, in 1897. Montana beat Montana State 18-6 to take first lead in the series.  Montana won the first 3 in a row, but Montana State finally got their first win in 1899, winning 6-0 in Missoula. See results from each game in the history of the rivalry: The Brawl, year by year

What is so special about this game?  Plenty: Cat-Griz rivalry among oldest in college football

http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/27422741/cats-and-griz-ready-for-114th-brawl-of-the-wild

Other great college football rivalry games: http://bloguin.com/crystalballrun/2013-articles/ten-places-college-gameday-needs-to-visit.html

Wrestling Practice at NYAC in 1905

I like their warm-ups.  They take off their robes and go!

This was posted on a very cool wrestling blog, and also a WordPress blog: http://thewrestlingsite.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/wrestlers-at-the-new-york-athletic-club-1905/

Macau dwarfs Las Vegas!

Macau is exploding.  The Asian gambling city dwarfs Las Vegas!
Macau is exploding. The Asian gambling city dwarfs Las Vegas!

 

Las Vegas is the gambling center of the world, right?  Very wrong!  Macau has surpassed Las Vegas and Atlantic City and as of early 2014 has 7 times the gambling revenues of Las Vegas.  The Chinese territory reported gambling revenue of 360 billion patacas ($45 billion) for 2013, an increase of almost 20% over the previous year.  The city of Macau, pronounced Ma COW  is just 64 kilometers (about 40 miles) from Hong Kong.  The former colony of Portugal was transferred over to Chinese control in 1999.  Hong Kong was a former British colony and went to Chinese control two years earlier,  in 1997. The cities are  Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China,

Macau’s casino revenues overtook those of Las Vegas back in 2006.
Macau’s economy is growing at a rate of 19 percent per year—faster than mainland China.
In Macau, most of the revenue comes from gaming tables—not slot machines. The most popular game is baccarat.

The 2,200 room Galaxy Macau, opened in 2011 and cost $1.9 Billion.

The Sands’ owner, Sheldon Adelson, has vowed to build a replica of the Las Vegas strip on an artificial pier between two Macau islands.  http://www.businessinsider.com/these-casinos-in-macau-make-las-vegas-look-like-a-dump-2012-7?op=1#ixzz392ETZGqT

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/these-casinos-in-macau-make-las-vegas-look-like-a-dump-2012-7?op=1#ixzz39n8DN0bY

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/these-casinos-in-macau-make-las-vegas-look-like-a-dump-2012-7?op=1#ixzz392ETZGqT
The dark side of Asia’s gambling Mecca:  http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/17/world/asia/macau-dark-side/

45 Interesting things about Macau:  http://www.weekendnotes.com/interesting-facts-about-macau/

Portuguese egg tarts are Macau's most famous and popular local snack
Portuguese egg tarts are Macau’s most famous and popular local snack.  

 

 

Kim Jong Un Missing?

Looking for Kim Jong Un
Looking for their leader?

Is Kim Jong Un laying low due to an injury, or has he possibly been overthrown?  Has there been a coup in North Korea and those who are now in charge are keeping it secret to maintain political stability?

Kim Jong Un is the thrid in the line of succession to lead the reclusive, communist state.  His father, Kim Jong Il, took overl when revolutionary leader, Kim Il-sung died in 1994.  Kim Jong Il ruled until his death in 2011, whereupon his third son, Kim Jong Un gained control and became the new leader.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un absent at major event, but there are indicators he’s still in charge: Seattle Times

Apparently some in China refer to Kim Jung Un as “Fatty the Third”: Wash Post article

Kim Jong Un Misses Shrine Visit:  CNN Article

Where in the World is Kim Jong Un?:  MSNBC Video

Kim Jong Un loojking at a sock
Kim Jong Un loojking at a sock

Interesting website of Kim Jong Un “looking at things”: http://kimjongunloo

Looking at a snack!
Looking at a snack!

kingatthings.tumblr.com/

Malé

Click for larger image of Malé, capital of the Republic of Maldives
Click for larger image of Malé, capital of the Republic of Maldives

This fascinating city is Malé, the capital  and the most populous city in the Republic of Maldives.

Here are some facts:

  • The central part of the city is formed by the island of Malé. Three more islands form part of the city. A commercial harbour is located on Malé Island and serves as the heart of all commercial activities in the country.
  • The central island is heavily urbanized, with the built-up area taking up essentially its entire landmass.
  • Slightly less than one third of the nation’s population lives in the capital city.
  • The population of Malé has increased from 20,000 people in 1987 to 100,000 people in 2006.
  • The whole island group, the Maldives, is named after its capital. The word “Maldives” means “The islands (dives) of Malé”.
  • The Island of Malé is the firth most densely populated island in the world. Since there is no surrounding countryside, all infrastructure has to be located in the city itself.
  • Water is provided from desalinated ground water; the water works pumps brackish water from 50-60 m deep wells in the city and desalinates that using reverse osmosis.
  • Electric power is generated in the city using diesel generators.
  • Sewage is pumped unprocessed into the sea.  Solid waste is transported to nearby islands, where it is used to fill in lagoons. The airport was built in this way, and currently the Thilafushi lagoon is being filled in.
  • Many government buildings and agencies are located on the waterfront. Malé International Airport is on adjacent Hulhule Island which includes a seaplane base for internal transportation. Several land reclamation projects have expanded the harbour.
  • Source: Wikipedia- Malé
  • Map: Malé Map

 

 

Belmont Stakes 2014- Pedigree

Is this finally the year of the elusive 12th Triple Crown?

Some information from Bleacherreport.com:

There are few horses in the history of racing with as much momentum as California Chrome carries into the Belmont Stakes, and the horse’s hopes of winning the Triple Crown are the most realistic in a long time.

Not only did California Chrome win at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but he also won at the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, California Cup Derby and King Glorious Stakes

For a horse that is the son of a $8,000 mare and was studded for $2,500, few expected him to be a serious contender. As the distant relative of Seattle Slew (1977 Triple Crown winner), racing in big events is in his blood.

Horse racing insider Bill Oppenheim … about how tough the profession of breeding horses is and how hard it is to find a challenger worthy of winning all three races:

“I think it’s important to remember that it’s livestock being bred here, and you can only be so precise when you’re trying to breed. Even when we’re talking about human beings, full brothers and sisters can be vastly different, not only in temperament but in looks.

You always shoot for the best, but breeding is different from racing, so more of the genetics apply. It’s not one of those deals where you breed the best with the best and come out with the best. That’s not how it works.”

Source: Belmont Stakes Picks 2014

Daily Racing Form‘s John P.Sparkman penned an excellent analysis on how well California Chrome’s bloodlines compared to previous Triple Crown winners:

“…there is no way to argue that Lucky Pulpit is anywhere close to the same class as either a racehorse or sire as the sires of the 11 previous Triple Crown winners.”

If California Chrome can pull off the spectacular and take first place at the Belmont Stakes, the victory would prove to be even more amazing considering his underwhelming pedigree. Secretariat and Seattle Slew—Triple Crown winners in the 1970s—are buried deep within his bloodlines and could be an ancestral explanation for this horse’s surprising display of strength and speed in 2014.

Source: 2014 Belmont Stakes Field

Preakness- Two weeks after Derby- Enough rest? Derby Champ to win Preakness?

California Chrome wins the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.  Recent history shows he has a good chance of winning again in the Preakness!
California Chrome wins the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. Recent history shows he has a good chance of winning again in the Preakness!

It sometimes doesn’t seem fair when the winner of the Kentucky Derby is defeated in Baltimore two weeks later by a horse that didn’t even race in the Derby.  However, often times there is a repeat, and the first two legs of the Triple Crown are captured yet again, only to break the hearts of millions, 3 weeks later in the Belmont.

The Kentucky Derby is just tough to predict and even good handicapers may rarely cash in winning tickets.  A good bet in the Preakness Stakes is to stay on the winner in Kentucky.  An even better bet 3 weeks later in the Belmont, is to get off that horse, the Belmont is a heartbreaker, plain and simple.   The Belmont is the impossible leg of the Triple Crown, hope for it, but bet against it.

Just three horses from the Kentucky Derby field will start in the Preakness this Saturday, continuing a trend in recent years, with many claiming the two-week period between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes isn’t enough rest for the horses.

The belief that horses need lengthy rest between races has become part of the orthodoxy of the sport. It’s a radical change from the past. In the 1950s and ’60s, good horses often raced with a week’s rest (or less). Now 3-year-olds get their final prep race three, four or five weeks before the Derby, and so the 14-day layoff before the Preakness looks like a daunting challenge.

Why do modern-day thoroughbreds need such gentle handling? The change in training philosophy may have occurred because horses are less robust than their forebears. It may have to do with the almost-universal use of Lasix; the diuretic causes horses to lose significant weight, and they need time to recover from a race. Many leading trainers are believers in the Ragozin Sheets and the Thoro-graph speed figures, both of which espouse the philosophy that horses will “bounce” — i.e., run an inferior race — if they run back too quickly from a peak effort. Five-time Preakness-winning trainer Bob Baffert believes that the Derby’s now-common fields of 20 horses puts so much stress on runners that they need more time to recover than the Preakness allows.

Preakness Stakes updates:Because the trainer of a Derby winner will almost always take a shot at the Triple Crown, the Preakness is one of the few races in which top horses will run with two weeks’ rest. The results at Pimlico contradict the belief that this short layoff is too difficult for the horses.

Kentucky Derby winners regularly come back to deliver smashing performances in Baltimore: Funny Cide (2003) won by nearly 10 lengths, Smarty Jones (2004) won by 11.5  Big Brown (2008) by 5.5. In 2012 I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister finished 1-2 in the Derby, then ran much faster in the Preakness and finished 1-2 again. None of them bounced. When Derby winners have flopped in Baltimore — such as Orb in 2013 and Super Saver in 2010 — the explanation may be that they benefited from perfect trips at Churchill and didn’t get such an easy setup at Pimlico.

Article: A fortnight’s rest is often not enough these days, which hurts the Preakness field

Bet on the Kentucky Derby Champion to win the Preakness The paragraph above explains why many bet with a strategy of choosing the Kentucky Derby Champion to win again in the Preakness, which is very similar at in length, the Preakness being  just 1/16 of a mile shorter than the Derby.  However, if the horse does win both  the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, staying on that horse as it tries for a triple crown is wishful thinking, as it just hasn’t been done since 1978!

Secretariat Gets Preakness Record!

Not that his résumé as one of the greatest racehorses of all time needed any more burnishing, but Secretariat had some gold dust added to his legend Tuesday when the Maryland Racing Commission decided he ran a lot faster than he was credited for in the 1973 Preakness Stakes.  More

Secretariat won the did not hold the record in the Preakness until 2012, even though experts at the race agreed his 1973 race was indeed record-setting.  A clock malfunction gave Secretariat’s victory an incorrect time and the Maryland Racing Commission refused to reverse the official time and award the record to Secretariat. It took 39 years, a movie,  new technology leading to even more evidence, and a rule change which allowed the use of information beyond official clockings to determine race times to convince the commission to finally declare the fastest Preakness ever was run by the mighty Secretariat.

Link

“Selfie” in1920

"Selfie in 1920
“Selfie in 1920”   Click on photo for full size

This 1920 version of the “selfie” was on an excellent Twitter page, History in Pictures

Users can browse through a variety of fascinating photographs, with new ones added daily.

2014 Kentucky Derby payouts and order of finish!

Wagering Payouts for win, place, show bets and exotics

Payouts  are listed for a $2 wager except where noted

California Chrome-   $7.00 to win     $5.60 to place       $4.20 to show
Commanding Curve-   $31.80 to place     $15.40 to show
Danza-  $6.00 to show

Exotics- (Note: West coast tracks usually  list payouts for $1 exotics, these are listed for $2 exotic wagering, except where noted)

$2 Exacta (5-17): $340.00  ($1 bet= $170)
$2 Trifecta (5-17-4): $3,424.60  ($1 bet=$1,712,30)
$2 Superfecta (5-17-4-20): $15,383.80  ($1 bet=$7,691.90)
$1 Super High Five (5-17-4-20-6): $149,764.70
Multi-race Exotics:
$2 Daily Double (n-n): $9.00
$2 Oaks / Derby Double (13-5): $5.70
$.50 Pick 3 (9-1-5): $45.00
$.50 Oaks / Woodford / Derby Pick 3: $4.24
$.50 Pick 4 (5-9-1-5): $394.45
$.50 Pick 5 (8-5-9-1-5): $694.95
$.50 Pick 6 Jackpot (2-8-5-9-1-5) 6 of 6: $5.574.10
$.50 Pick 6 Jackpot (2-8-5-9-1-5) 5 of 6: $47.40

Complete order of finish, odds at start, and much more- Kentucky Derby Chart

George Brett Story

George Brett Shits Pants- This is a true classic.  I like the look on the players faces as they listen to him tell the story.  At the end of his story, he shifts gears and gets right back into the game, ha:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PseNrUeSmXk#t=47

Gary Player says “Arnold Pooped On Green” in Japan-  I think there is a little “lost in translation” here with Player’s South African English seeming to label farting as pooping.  Gary Player is a classy guy and iron tough, even at his age: http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/9/5597634/heres-a-story-about-arnold-palmer-pooping-on-a-green

 

Augusta National, The Masters- 2014

The big course change/update this year is the absence of the Eisenhower Tree, which was probably the most famous tree in golf and one of the most famous landmarks in golf.

The Eisenhower Tree in 2011.
The Eisenhower Tree in 2011 at Augusta National, Augusta Georgia.

The tree  was a loblolly pine. It stood about 65 feet  tall and was located on the 17th hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, approximately 210 yards (190 m) from the Masters tee on the left side of the fairway. It was estimated to be 100 to 125 years old at the time it died.
The tree was named after President Eisenhower, an Augusta National member.  Ike hit the tree while playing golf so many times that, at a 1956 club meeting, he proposed that it be cut down. Not wanting to offend the president, the club’s chairman, Clifford Roberts, immediately adjourned the meeting rather than reject the request. The tree was linked to Eisenhower ever since.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne released a short statement confirming the demise of the famous tree (via Golf Channel): “The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept. We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible …”

The Eisenhower Tree before and after the February 2014 ice storm.  It has been completely removed from the 17th.

In 2011, Tiger Woods was playing a shot from underneath the Eisenhower and damaged his left knee and Achilles tendon when he slipped on some pine straw. The injuries sidelined him until August 2011 and his world ranking dropped to 58th.

Woods under the Eisenhower Tree in The 2011 Masters Tournament.

Augusta National Golf Club is a private with a restricted membership list, and many fans know the course well. The course was formerly a plant nursery and each hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated. Here is a tour of the course, hole-by-hole.  2014 Masters- Augusta National Golf Club course guide

The  Masters Tournament, is one of the four major championships in professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course.  It is also the first major of the season, played in early April.

Sources:   Wikipedia- Augusta National Golf Club

SBNation: Eisenhower Tree Removed

ESPN: Ike’s tree lives only as a memory

The Masters Golf Tournament, at Augusta National

Augusta_National_Golf_Club,_Hole_10_(Camellia)
The Masters at Augusta National, Augusta, Georgia

Each spring, the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National draws millions of TV viewers. The unique tournament usually provides challenging competition and athletic drama.  The Masters is even more special for those lucky enough to be able to attend the event in person and has been sold out for years.  (See more info on this below) Here are some interesting facts about Augusta National that they may not tell you on TV.

Info below shortened and taken from an online article, link included at the bottom of this list.
Green Jacket-  The Green Jacket came about for a very simple reason. In the tournament’s early years Augusta National members were encouraged to wear the jacket so patrons would know who to ask questions. Secondarily, when a member hosts guests in the clubhouse, the green jacket designates who gets the bill.
Cheap badges- A badge that allows you to see four competitive rounds will cost you $200—$50 per round.   In 1934, a badge was  $2.20 ($2.00 + .20 cents tax)
Junior Admittance– Children of all ages must have a ticket to enter the grounds. On Tournament days only, a child between 8 and 16 years of age, accompanied by the patron of record (the person whose name is on the Patron List) may obtain a complementary ticket for that day. As a reminder this is limited to one child per day for the patron of record only.  Patron Info

Of course, the stories are legend about how long it takes to get a Masters pass—years. Families will them down to generation after generation. Each year the badge has a unique design and artwork.  Here is a link which has images of all past Masters Tournament Badges.

Careful with commentary–  More than 40 years ago, during one tense moment, CBS commentator Jack Whitaker used the term “mob” to describe the scene around a green. The Masters leadership let his bosses know that he wouldn’t be invited back, and he wasn’t.  Of course, there were Gary McCord’s famous lines about “bikini waxes” and “body bags.” It’s been 17 years. He hasn’t been back, either.  McCord doesn’t care

Patrons (spectators) enjoy the Masters!

Polite fans- They are not fans. They are not a crowd or even a gallery. They are patrons. You’ll hear it often during the CBS broadcast. Also, while on the grounds, patrons are told not to run. Walking only.

Icing the Azaleas-  the site founder Bobby Jones selected was a nursery, so the flora is amazing, to say the least.   If an early spring comes, grounds crew will put ice under the azaleas to slow down their blossoming. They want everything in full color come Masters week. (Note: They cannot control rain, however. Yet.)

The Masters menu, low prices!

1980 prices for food and beer:  It used to be pimento cheese  sandwiches, but now there’s bbq, chicken and others—each for about $3. A beer costs under $3.

Grounds crew keeps the course perfect!

Small field of golfers, large maintenance crew-  It’s the smallest major field—only 99 competitors compared to the 156 in the other three majors. Following the second round, the low 44 scores, plus ties and any golfer within 10 strokes of the lead advance to play the on the weekend.  (making the cut)  That means for Saturday and Sunday the field will be anywhere from 44 to 55. Get there early enough you will find more than 60 people working on the course, mowing, raking, edging, etc.

Augusta National bad for golf?- Of note, there are many who think this does the golf industry a disservice by showing a course so luxurious, verdant and immaculate. It’s a standard that any other course cannot meet, much less your local municipal.  (Augusta has almost unlimited resources for maintenance and the course is closed half the year.)  Article on the topic:  HERE

Limited playing time-  Augusta National closes in late spring and doesn’t open again until fall. Part of this stems from its origins in the mid-1930s. Jones wanted it to be a “national” club, meaning members live all over the country to play. For business executives from the Northeast, the winter was the best time to play.  During that no-play period during the summer, Augusta National undertakes projects to improve the course…..  “This club changes something in this course every year, and they never tell you about it.”

Cheap golf-  It’s one of the best-kept numbers in sports—the initiation fee to Augusta National. With barons like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, among others, as members it goes without saying that money isn’t the object. And it isn’t. To join is reportedly under $100,000, which might be one-tenth of other high profile clubs in the country.  And if you were lucky enough to play the course with a member, you can probably afford it. Guest fees are said to be about $40.

Fine wine  Augusta National is presumed to have one of the best private wine cellars in the world, buying the best French, Italian, American and Australian wines on futures. Those glasses of wine that tasted so good during dinner came from bottles that run $1,000 apiece, and more.

The Masters: 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Augusta National on TV: `

More info and links

Waiting lists for badges:  Beginning in 2012, Augusta National Golf Club announced it would begin making a small number of tournament tickets available for purchase through a random drawing following online registration, directly from Augusta National. Each year, a small number of tickets are returned to ANGC following the deaths of longtime ticket holders, or other reasons. Previously, those tickets were simply removed from circulation. But since 2012, fans can register online to take part in a random drawing for those tickets. To do so, golfers much register on the tickets page on Masters.com; registrants receive notification when the ticket application process is opened each year, shortly following each Masters tournament. The number of available tournament tickets is not listed, but rest assured the number is very small and your odds are very, very long. Link for Masters Ticket Info.

Prior to those announcements, tickets to tournament days (rounds one through four) had not been available from the Masters Tournament directly to the general public since 1972. That year, Augusta National Golf Club opened a waiting list, but due to demand the waiting list itself had to be closed in 1978. (Practice-round tickets have been available) Twenty-two years later, in the year 2000, a new waiting list was opened. But it is now also closed.

Augusta National Golf Club-  located in Augusta, Georgia, is a famous golf club. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts on the site of a former indigo plantation, the course was designed by Jones and Alister MacKenzie and opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934, it has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in men’s professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course. It was the number one ranked course in Golf Digest’s 2009 list of America’s 100 greatest courses and was the number ten ranked course on Golfweek Magazine’s 2011 list of best classic courses in the United States, in terms of course architecture.

The golf club’s exclusive membership policies have drawn criticism, particularly its refusal to admit black members until 1990, a former policy requiring all caddies to be black and its refusal to allow women to join.   In August 2012, it admitted its first two female members – Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. The golf club has defended the membership policies, stressing that it is a private organization.  Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta_National_Golf_Club

Patron behavior rules-

  • No running anywhere on the grounds.
  • No sitting on the grass near the greens.
  • No bare feet (even when sitting down).
  • No chairs with arms. No folding chairs. No flags. No signs. No banners. No coolers. No strollers. No radios.
  • No standing in officially designated sitting areas. No sitting in the standing areas. No cameras. No rigid chairs. No hats worn backward. No metal golf spikes. No outsize hats. No carts. And absolutely no lying down anywhere . No fanny packs larger than 10 inches wide, 10 inches high or 12 inches deep (in their natural state).
  • No ladders.
  • No selling a Masters badge within 2,700 feet of an Augusta National gate.
  • No walking through a driving gate.
  • No recorders.
  • No periscopes.
  • No outside food.

Things you will not see at Augusta National:

  • No Crowding- There is no crowding at the Masters because the club limits the number of entrance badges sold to keep the attending masses manageable. A four-day badge will go for as much as $5,600 on the secondary market, which means there is also no complaining. Badges are included in many wills.
  • No membership applications- The club has no membership application process; if someone asks to join, the unified retort is, No chance.
  • No cellphones
  • No Yelling- At the Country Club of No, because the atmosphere is reserved and austere, no one shouts “You da man!” after a golfer’s shot, another pleasant outcome.
  • No weeds-  there are no weeds at the Masters, to the naked eye, on the more than 350 acres that play host to the tournament.
  • No litter- There is no litter because at least one maintenance employee is assigned to each quarter-acre, and should someone attempt to carelessly discard a food wrapper, an employee dashes over and snatches it before it hits the ground. It is then deposited in a garbage receptacle
  • No large wildlife- There are squirrels and birds. But a high protective fence around the entire tract keeps out larger animals, spurned as unwanted interlopers. A few years ago, when a deer ran across the eighth green, spectators gasped and pointed, and the local newspaper ran a picture of the animal. People who have been coming to the Masters since the 1950s said they had never seen a deer on the course.

Links and articles used in this post:

Tiger Woods is out for the 2014 Masters

Tiger Woods will miss the 2014 Masters and his chance at a 5th Masters title and the accompanying green jacket!  Read about it HERE

The 2014 Masters:  http://www.masters.com/en_US/index.html

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975)] is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. Currently the World No. 1, he has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.  See some of his impressive achievements below. (Most taken from Wikipedia, see links at bottom of post)

Childhood Achievements:

  • He was a child prodigy, introduced to golf before the age of two, by his athletic father Earl, a single-figure handicap amateur golfer
  •  At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes over the Cypress Navy course
  • Before turning seven, Tiger won the Under Age 10 section of the Drive, Pitch, and Putt competition, held at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California.
  • He first broke 80 at age eight
  • In 1984 at the age of eight, he won the 9–10 boys’ event, the youngest age group available, at the Junior World Golf Championships.
  • He went on to win the Junior World Championships six times
  • Tiger first defeated his dad at the age of 11 years, with Earl trying his best. Earl lost to Tiger every time from then on
  • First broke 70 on a regulation golf course at age 12
  • At the age of 15, Woods became the youngest ever U.S. Junior Amateur champion (a record which stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010)
  • In 1993, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship; he remains the event’s only three-time winner
  • In 1994, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida, he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record he held until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee
  • Graduated from Western High School, in Anaheim, CA in 1994 at age 18, and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” among the graduating class.

College Career- Golfing at Stanford University

  • He enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship, winning his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, that September
  • He was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford’s Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports)
  • Woods participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters Tournament, and tied for 41st as the only amateur to make the cut.
  • At age 20 in 1996, he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles and won the NCAA individual golf championship

Professional Career

  • Woods became a professional golfer in August 1996, and immediately signed deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time
  • Woods turned professional in 1996, and by April 1997 he had already won his first major, the Masters, becoming the tournament’s youngest-ever winner.
  • The 1997 Masters in a record-breaking performance, winning the tournament by 12 strokes
  • He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997.
  • In the 2000 U.S. Open, he broke or tied nine tournament records in what Sports Illustrated called “the greatest performance in golf history,” in which Woods won the tournament by a 15-stroke margin .
  • Through the 2000’s, Woods was the dominant force in golf.

Fall from the top- From December 2009 to early April 2010, Woods took leave from professional golf to focus on his marriage after he admitted infidelity. His many extra-marital indiscretions were revealed by several different women, through many worldwide media sources. This was followed by a loss of golf form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011.

Back on top-  Ended a career-long win less streak of 107 weeks when he captured the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, 2013, he ascended to the No.1 ranking once again.

Tiger’s Golf Records:

  • He has been world number one for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any other golfer.
  • He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record eleven times
  • Leader of money list in ten different seasons.
  • Has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18) and 79 PGA Tour events, second all time behind Sam Snead, who had 82 wins.
  • He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer.
  • He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, . Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times.
  • Is the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour
  • Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods

Official Website: http://www.tigerwoods.com/home

 PGA Tour- Tiger Woods:  http://www.pgatour.com/players/player.08793.tiger-woods.html

Blowing in the Bottle, and Chops!

I knew Mungo Jerry did “In the Summertime,” but until I saw this video I was not aware of the influence of the bottle in this song.  Check it out, and don’t miss the chops!

Volcano Stadium

Volcano Stadium in Guadalajara
Click on the image above for a slideshow of the Volcano Stadium

A stadium with grass sloping up the sides, which is used as a park when the stadium is not hosting an event.  Cars are parked under the stadium and it is all environmentally friendly.  Where?  Guadalajara, Mexico!

 

The city of Guadalajara has unveiled a volcano-like soccer stadium that is veritably exploding with green features. Created for the popular Chivas team by French architects Jean-Marie Massaud and Daniel Pouzet, the stadium features a volcano-evoking exterior that captures rainwater and processes it through wetlands for use in watering the pitch. All lighting is energy efficient, and the parking garage features natural ventilation.

The stadium, which hosted its first match last year, consists of a white membrane — intended to look like a cloud hovering atop the volcano — and grassy sloped sides. It seats 45,000 and tucks away 8,500 parking spaces under the hillside, which will be open as public parkland when there’s no match on. Link

Google Converter Tool

Click on graphic above for acutal tool.  You can also use link included below this image.
Click on graphic above for acutal tool. You can also use link included below this image.

Use this tool to make easy conversions. Link:  Conversion Tool  You can change the cateogories, then select variables for the units of measurement for each category.

Click “More Info” (Green arrow in above image) for this link: Calculator and unit converter

China Successfully Launches Rover Mission!

China has launched a lunar rover, only the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union.  The rover, named Jade Rabbit (called Yutu in Chinese) is solar-powered, has 6 wheels and four cameras.  It also has mechanical arms that can dig soil samples up to 30 meters deep.  It can travel up to 200 meters per hour and weighs 120 kg.

Yatu’s mission is to explore the moon’s surface and look for natural resources.  The rover was able to send photos of itself back to Earth.  A rover “selfie.”  Link

China's lunar rover, Yatu
China’s lunar rover, Yatu

 

200,000 would like to live on Mars!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4tgkyUBkbY

If you have ambitions of being one of the first people on Mars, listen up: A Dutch company says it is moving along with its plan to send four lucky Earthlings to colonize the Red Planet. The catch: They won’t ever come back.

The Mars One foundation announced Tuesday that it has secured lead suppliers for an unmanned mission launching in 2018, which involves a robotic lander and a communications satellite. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to study building the lander, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. will develop a concept study for the satellite, Mars One said.
This first mission will demonstrate technology that would be involved in a permanent human settlement on Mars. If all goes well — and that’s still very much an “if” — the first pioneers could land on Mars in 2025.
Enthusiasm has been growing since the project’s first big announcement in April.

  • More than 200,000 people have signed up to be prospective astronauts, Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp said in Washington on Tuesday.

Apparently, they’re OK with living out the rest of their lives on Mars.

  • The technology for a return flight doesn’t exist
  • There’s no Kennedy Space Center launch pad over there
  • Having a one-way trip greatly reduces costs, the company has said.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/10/tech/innovation/mars-one-plan/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

The Fifth Down- Why to not punt!

Punting.  Giving the ball to the opponent.  Giving away scoring opportunities.

Here is a good way to sum it up:

Here’s a thought exercise for you. Imagine that for decades no one ever thought of the punt. Teams knew nothing else than to run or pass on 4th down. And then one day it’s invented. Some guy comes up to a coach and says, “Kick the ball on every 4th down and the other team gets possession 37 yards further down the field.” The coach would think he was crazy: “Wait, you want me to give up one quarter of my opportunities for a first down on every series…just for 35 yards of field position? Do you realize how much that’s going to kill our chances of scoring?”

Every single serious study of 4th-down decisions has found that, in most situations, teams would be better off by going for the conversion attempt rather than kicking.

 

LINK

Rivalry Weekend in Pac-12

Rivalry Weekend: Each year in late November, rivalry weekend brings upsets, bragging rights, huge crowds, office jokes, family feuds and much, much more.  Here are some of the games that make the Pac-12 special:

The Apple Cup- The Apple Cup is the trophy awarded to the winner of an American college football rivalry game played annually by the teams of the two largest public universities in the U.S. state of Washington: the University of Washington (UW) Huskies and the Washington State University (WSU) Cougars. More

The Civil War-  an American college football rivalry game played annually by the Oregon Ducks football team of the University of Oregon and Oregon State Beavers football team of Oregon State University. First played in 1894, it is the seventh most played college football rivalry game in the United States. MORE

The Territorial Cup- The Arizona–Arizona State football rivalry, sometimes known as the Duel in the Desert, is a college football rivalry between the University of Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State University Sun Devils. The winner receives the Territorial Cup, the oldest trophy in college football. The two schools first played in 1899, and the game now continues annually as a Pacific-12 Conference match-up. It is part of the wider Arizona–Arizona State rivalry, which crosses all sports.  More

Territorial: The History of the Duel in the Desert

UCLA–USC Rivalry- The UCLA–USC rivalry is the American college rivalry between the UCLA Bruins sports teams of the University of California, Los Angeles and USC Trojans sports teams of the University of Southern California.
Both universities are located in Los Angeles. The rivalry between the two is among the more unusual in NCAA Division I sports because the campuses are only 12 miles (19 km) apart, and both are located within the same city. The close proximity of both alumni and students, and the likelihood of encountering each other and interacting on a daily basis make this one of the most intense college rivalries in the United States. MORE

The Big Game-  The Big Game is an American college football rivalry game played by the California Golden Bears football team of the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Cardinal football team of Stanford University. It is typically played in late November or early December and the rivalry. First played in 1892, it is the ninth most played college football rivalry game in the United States.  MORE

The Play-  The Play refers to a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the University of California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, November 20, 1982. Given the circumstances and rivalry, the wild game that preceded it, the very unusual way in which The Play unfolded, and its lingering aftermath on players and fans, it is recognized as one of the most memorable plays in college football history and among the most memorable in American sports.  More on The Play   Video of “The Play” 

Coaches should study and learn from “The Coach Who Never Punts”

I posted about this already, a few posts back.  However, it came up in the media again and it is worth revisiting.  A fascinating concept.  The numbers are there, major college football coaches punt too much and take a very conservative approach, even though they might coach a wide-open offensive game.  Job security seems to big too much of a deterrent for coaches to use all 4 downs, and  instead stay with the “status quo” and use  “3 downs and punt.”

Some gutsy coaches will take advantage of this strange mindset and reap the rewards in the form of first downs, scoring and ultimately in wins.  It is just a matter of time.  Who would have thought the game would turn into such a passing frenzy with points adding up so fast that even the powerhouse programs who dominated college football for decades had to abandon their consistent but reliable ground game in order to keep up?  We may see a similar morph and coaches will reluctantly abandon their old ways of giving the ball back to the opponent one down too early.  Maybe I will put together a resume and just apply as the “punting coach” or at least have a consulting firm persuading coaches to use all four downs they are allowed under the rules of football.

As it turns out, going for it on fourth and one from anywhere on the field makes statistical sense. Teams convert a fourth and one — which includes situations ranging from fourth-and-inches to fourth-and-a-yard-and-a-half — around 74 percent of the time.  Football Statistics Suggest Teams Should Go For It On Fourth Down

 

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Alaska is Huge! Also a link to the best map of USA ever made!

ReDiscover the USA / Alaska is so big that…

…if Alaska were divided into two states of equal area, Texas would be our 3rd largest state, even if it included Louisiana. –Dave Imus

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Russia had acquired Alaska in the mid-18th century and wanted to sell the vast territory.  In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, after very intense negotiations, was able to help the USA to buy Alaska from Russia, for $7.2 million. This worked out to a cost of roughly two cents an acre, which is an amazing price, even back then.  However, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s folly,” and “Seward’s icebox,” and it was ratified by the U.S. Senate by a margin of just one vote!  Of course nobody could predict the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, or the wealth of the oil fields and other resources abundant in Alaska, making the purchase one of the best deals in history.   More info:  HERE

This map and info on Alaska is from a FaceBook post put out by the company that makes these maps, Imus Geographics. (I have nothing to do with the company, I’m just sharing a great map/company) My father-in-law bought me a copy of The Essential Geography of the USA,, made by company founder and owner, cartographer Dave Imus.  It is the best map I have ever seen!  I absolutely love geography and this map is at the very top of the list!  Read all about the map and even order one of your own at the website below.

“Until the publication of the Essential Geography of the USA, Americans lacked the most basic tool of geographic understanding, a general map of the place we call “home.” By allowing us to visualize the basic layout of our country, the Essential Geography, the first and only general map of the United States, has the power to increase awareness and understanding of basic US geography, and help start a new tradition of geographic literacy in America.”

Thank you,

David Imus, Cartographer

The best map ever made of the USA:  http://www.imusgeographics.com/map-of-the-usa

Links to various maps of states and regions in the USA:  http://www.imusgeographics.com/maps-of-the-states-of-the-usa

Website:  The Essential Geography of the United States of America: LINK

 

Yosemite’s Frazil Ice and Giant Snow Cone (and Horsetail Fall)

This unique phenomenon takes place in March and April, in Yosemite National Park, as a slurry of slushy, watery, snow pushes down Yosemite Creek and into the Yosemite Valley.   A giant snow cone is formed under the falls and pieces of ice fall off the cliff onto the cone. (watch at about 4:30 for the snow cone)

“Horsetail Fall looks like a glowing fire fall in February” (6:53)  See additional video below

“The Snowcone, at the base of Upper Yosemite Fall” (7:00)

Frazil Ice

Horsetail Fall – At about 4:00 watch people push coals over the edge to put on a show for spectaors below

Outside In

Get ready for an amazing IMAX film!

Stephen Van Vuuren is a self-described musician, photographer, ubergeek and filmmaker whose diverse background includes growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa and Knoxville, Tennessee. Like most filmmaker’s, Van Vuuren has a current film project, but the movie he wants to make is a bit unique. He wants to personally take hundreds of thousands of still photographs from NASA‘s Cassini-Huygens Mission and turn them into an animated IMAX film. The film called Outside In has been profiled previously, but a recent posting about Van Vuuren and his movie on io9.com has giving his project new life since his video with scenes from the movie have gone viral. More on Geek.com

Taxes on Visiting Professional Athletes and Entertainers

Professional athletes must pay taxes in many of the cities and states in which they play road games, which can create a tax preparation nightmare.  Article – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

…nonresident athlete taxes — seldom collected 20 years ago — are now significant sources of revenue for municipalities and states and can cause serious headaches for entertainers, athletes and accountants at tax time.

Any employee who travels with the team, which includes coaches, broadcasters, equipment managers and scouts, is subject to the same tax requirements.

Of the 24 states that house professional sports teams, 20 collect income tax on their home and visiting teams. And nearly a dozen cities, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Cincinnati, impose “jock taxes” and fees on teams and players to address budget shortfalls and to help pay for arenas and stadiums built with the taxpayers’ wallet.

Athletes, entertainers and support staff receive dozens of W-2s in the mail each year, and the stack of tax returns for dozens of states is as thick as a phone book.

NFL Win Probability Widget

This is a widget from http://www.advancednflstats.com/ that shows the win probability of any NFL team users select.

NCAA Football Week 4- http://www.whatifsports.com/beyondtheboxscore/?article=2013CFB_Week4Picks

College Football TV Schedule:  http://www.lsufootball.net/tvschedule.htm
Graph link modified to Seahawks: http://live.advancednflstats.com/featureGraph.php?team=SEA

Article: http://www.advancednflstats.com/2011/09/attention-bloggers-win-probability.html