And they continue to punt!

It is amazing that this has not been more of an issue and a topic of intense and widespread discussion.  Teams at every level of football continue to punt on 4th down when the numbers show that in most situations, coaches should run a play instead of punting on 4th down. Punting should be a rare event, a unique novelty, talked about but seldom seen. It will be interesting to look back at this conservative approach to the offensive game, even in programs running wide-open, offenses.  If high-scoring, yard-gobbling teams commonly punt, one can only wonder about the wasted opportunities. How much better could teams have been with logical and open-minded coaching?

Football coaches have been trained to punt since they learned the game.  As players and as assistant coaches, punting was called almost automatically on 4th down with some rare exceptions.  This way of playing is ingrained in coaches minds and nobody questions or argues when the punting team is sent to the field to use their remaining play of the series and kick the ball back to the other team.  Giving that team a first down and a chance to score. (That is if the other team is stopped before returning the punt for a touchdown, or a yardage gain which essentially cancels out the reason for punting in the first place.)  It is much safer for coaches to punt, and the risk-reward payout leans toward punting, thereby eliminating many scoring opportunities and applying the brakes to offensive production.  They could play that fourth down and increase their chances of scoring and winning the game, and giving the fans a more exciting, better coached game. This could have a positive mental impact on their team and cold build confidence and morale.  It could also make a statement to opposing teams and help win the psychological battle always present in any athletic event. However,the ridicule coaches risk facing if they fail or fall short of earning a first down can be damaging to their reputations and job safety, and possibly their head coaching careers.  If they were able to see what would happen if they changed their mindset and played aggressive football, the call would be almost automatic. “Go for it!”

Hire me as part of any coaching staff.  I can guarantee any team will gain more yards, score more points and probably win more games if they hire me as their 4th Down Assistant Coach.  On any 4th down situation, I make the call.  Every single time I wave off the punting team and give the team and the fans what they want, an opportunity to gain yards, score and win games! If it makes no sense to punt, why do coaches continue to almost unanimously choose punting over getting another chance to earn a first down, gain yards, and/or score?  Coaches and players are entrenched in the game and often in the position and small portion of the game for which they are responsible. Can they get a view of the entire game from their super-focused situation?  How many players or even coaches have detailed and extensive knowledge of the entire game?  Not many.  There is so much to learn about each specific facet of the game, unless the opportunity presents itself or someone is forced into it, they probably don’t have the time, energy or most important of all, the passion to care about other positions, duties and responsibilities beyond the one in which they are immersed.

Game changer Looking at it one way, not punting opens up one more down and therefore one more chance for a team to earn a first down.  A team could also score while they earn that first down. However, using all four downs to score does much more than allow one more opportunity to convert.  Once players (and players collectively playing as a team) know they have four downs, they have a new way of looking at each down.  Conversely, defenses also aware that a team will strike at them with all four opportunities, need to adjust and react to this new offensive approach.  In this era of punt-mania, the teams choosing to eliminate punting will face defenses with no experience defending this 4-stike attack and will inevitably make mistakes.  This opens up scoring chances and games as these defenses lose confidence and the offense builds even more momentum.

Eliminating punting changes the individual characteristics of each of four downs. First down becomes a new type of down never seen in organized football. This is a play which is guaranteed to be followed by three punt-free plays. (Unless there is a score or a turnover, running out of time, etc…)  Sure, this happens when teams have 1st and goal, or 1st and 10 inside 30 yards of their target end zone, but not when a team is in their own territory with a huge field full of opportunity spread out in front of them.  Even in the rare situation where teams will play all four downs without punting, the entire situation is different since these teams normally punt and have no experience and have not developed the new mind-set and philosophy and all the positive attributes that come with this new approach.  This is all new territory…. Second downs are called and played with far less pressure and allow wide-open plays, similar to traditional first downs.  Third down doesn’t have the coin-toss type of drama, forcing fans to cross their fingers and pray for a first down and avoid yet another series ending with the punting team jogging on to the field to punt the ball, and give up another opportunity for the offense to play (players have worked hard year round to prepare for very limited opportunities and they end up giving many away, one for sure each time the punting team takes the field.)

Failing to earn first downs can be tough on morale.  Choosing to never punt should increase the number of first downs earned and thereby lessen this loss of morale experienced by failed 3rd downs.  The no-punt offense can boost confidence and excitement when first downs are earned as a result of the increased number of downs, which also make more big plays possible. This positive momentum is also affected simply by experiencing the new dynamics of this approach, which can confuse, exhaust and frustrate defenses which are accustomed to the traditional three-downs and out (punt) system.  We can all visualize a punting team jogging onto the field, heads hanging a little bit, as they are about to attempt to recoup 30 or 40 yards of field position after the offense just failed to score.  They have little chance to score with this play and this is another opportunity squandered.  Why run plays that don’t give a team a chance to score?  The impact on a team’s fan base will be significant.  Those coaches who are the first to successfully execute a punt-less approach will not only see a rise in offensive production, scores and wins, but will also attract attention from all levels and formats of the media. Fans will respond with enthusiasm and teams will experience increased season tickets sales. College programs will see a rise in donations and a variety of support for the football program, the athletic program and the school.

References

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=40

“The average punt in high school nets you 30 yards, but we convert around half our fourth downs, so it doesn’t make sense to give up the ball,” Kelley says. “Besides, if your offense knows it has four downs instead of three, it totally changes the game. I don’t believe in punting and really can’t ever see doing it again.” Kevin Kelley, head coach of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark.  Read More:   Just Go For It! A coach’s case for kicking conventional wisdom to the curb

The punt seems to contradict football’s essence, as coaches voluntarily relinquish the ball even though they have at least one more chance to move it forward. “If everyone agrees out of fear or ignorance to sort of play ultraconservative, nobody really has an advantage,” Burke said. “There’s no development, no evolution. Coaches have strategies that are generations behind where the sport really is. It’s going to take someone to stick their neck out.”  Read more at NY Times-Punting Less Can Be Rewarding but Coaches Aren’t Risking Jobs on It

New Yorker Magazine piece makes a case against punting on 4th down:  It is not news that we often act against our own interest. Human nature yanks us in so many ways as to make rational decision-making almost impossible. Parents give their teen-agers cars and cell phones. Much of the middle class votes Republican. And N.F.L. head coaches continue to punt the ball on fourth down. A paper by David Romer (PDF), a professor of political economy at the University of California at Berkeley, has become “the gospel for the antipunting faction.” Romer’s determination, after studying punt data from 1998 to 2004, was that teams should never punt when facing fourth down with less than four yards to go for the first, regardless of where they are on the field. Other analysis has suggested that teams should never punt from inside their opponent’s forty-yard line. As a corollary, they should always go for a touchdown, rather than a field goal, from inside the five-yard line.

The archetype for non-punting football has become a high-school team in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Pulaski Academy Bruins do not return punts (fumbles and penalties outweigh big returns, they say), they perform onside kicks after almost every score, and they never, ever punt. Last season, they went undefeated and won the state title.  Read more- THE CASE AGAINST PUNTING

Here is an example of a coach who is out of punters but keeps punting anyway:   Raiders – Chargers game(9/11/12) gave one team a unique opportunity to implement the no-punt strategy.  With the Raiders’ long-snapper hurt, the Raiders coach had a much less risk-averse reason to try always going for it on fourth down. Especially after the first punt was blown and the punter tackled with the ball, who could blame the coach for going for it on fourth every time? Alas, he proceeded to attempt more punts, and three in a row were blocked or otherwise blown.   (Freakonomics.com)

In this post I’ll explain, as clearly and simply as possible, why the evidence points to a more aggressive attack on 4th down.”  The 4th Down Study – Part 1

This article has stats and even a calculator to help make decisions based n statistical data:  Are NFL Teams Making a Mistake by Punting on 4th Down? When Economists Talk, Pulaski Academy Listens

  • Don’t punt on the opponent’s side of the field.
  • Really consider going for it on 4th down after crossing your own 40.
  • Field goals only make sense if there are more than 5 yards to go and you are between the 10 and 30 yard lines.
  • If you’re in opponent territory and these two criteria aren’t true, you should be going for it.   Fourth Down Decisions: Never Punt With Tebow
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New Building!

Redesigned during construction to include additional floors, elevator was overlooked.
Skyscraper was redesigned during construction to include additional floors, elevator was overlooked.

This new building in Spain is missing something that could be a deal-breaker for prospective tenants; an elevator!

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/-spanish-skyscraper-going-up—-without-an-elevator—214416887.html

The Great Gatsby Curve

The Great Gatsby is one of those stories everyone can relate to in some way.  These economic and cultural times offer up even more correlations and connections than in past decades.

“The Great Gatsby,” is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald and now a movie (again) that highlights the inequality and class distinctions in America during the Roaring 20s.

PNG file - Great Gatsby Curve
It is hard to look at these figures and not be concerned that rising inequality is jeopardizing our tradition of equality of opportunity. The fortunes of one’s parents seem to matter increasingly in American society.

The Great Gatsby Curve was introduced in a speech last year (Jan 2012) by Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. It illustrates the connection between concentration of wealth in one generation and the ability of those in the next generation to move up the economic ladder compared to their parents. Krueger’s speech

The curve shows that children from poor families are less likely to improve their economic status as adults in countries where income inequality was higher – meaning wealth was concentrated in fewer hands – around the time those children were growing up.

So why does this matter for the United States? The U.S. has had a sharp rise in inequality since the 1980s. In fact, on the eve of the Great Recession, income inequality in the U.S. was as sharp as it had been at any period since the time of “The Great Gatsby.”

It is hard to look at these figures and not be concerned that rising inequality is jeopardizing our tradition of equality of opportunity. The fortunes of one’s parents seem to matter increasingly in American society.  Whitehouse.gov Article

Orb will be challenged in Preakness Stakes by Departing, a boyhood friend!

Orb finishes hard in the mud to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby
Orb finishes hard in the mud to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby winner Orb could face five of his beaten rivals in the May 18 Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, including Departing, from the same Clairborne Farm as Orb.

  • The numbers for the 1 3/16-mile middle leg of the Triple Crown is notorious for fluctuating greatly.
  • So far, Derby horses besides Orb running in the Preakness are: , sixth-place Oxbow, eighth-place Will Take Charge and 17th place Goldencents is “a strong possibility.” Fifth-place Mylute and 15th place Itsmyluckyday termed “60-40” to run by trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.
  • Preakness candidates who did not run in the Preakness are headed by Departing, the Illinois Derby winner. Others under consideration are Sunland Derby winner Govenor Charlie, who skipped the Derby after missing some training with a foot bruise; Fear the Kitten, unable to run in the Derby as the 21st horse in preference; and Bellarmine, winner of a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on the Derby undercard.
  • Departing is co-owned by Claiborne Farm, the same Paris, Ky., farm where Orb was born and raised for Claiborne’s long-time clients, the Phipps family and Stuart Janney III. When Orb is retired to a stallion career, it almost assuredly will be at Claiborne. In fact, Orb and Departing actually were raised in the same paddock at Claiborne.

Source:  http://blogs.courier-journal.com/racing/2013/05/05/preakness-2013-derby-winner-orb-will-face-departing/

Preakness Stakes: http://www.preakness.com/

Kentucky Derby Fees- Horses

The fees to own and race a horse in the Kentucky Derby go beyond buying a horse or breeding a horse capable of qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.  Owners are faced with decisions as they navigate an interesting fee system for the Triple Crown races. (This same system is used for the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes)

Many owners pay a relatively small fee early on, if they feel their horse has  a chance at qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.  The fee goes up geometrically as the date of the race approaches.

  • The nomination fee an owner pays to make a horse eligible for the Kentucky Derby is $600 per horse — if you register during the “early period,” which runs through late January. After that, the fee goes up to $6,000 through late March. Last-minute entries will pay a supplemental fee of $200,000.
  • The entry fee for the Kentucky Derby is another $25,000. Another $25,000 is paid if the horse enters the starting gate. By now, the owner has also paid entry fees at a number of other races through the winter and spring as the trainers prepare the horses in “prep” races.

Link: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/dollars/post/_/id/3423/the-cost-of-owning-a-kentucky-derby-horse

World Wide Web turns 20!

In the last 20 years, our lives have changed drastically with the explosive growth of technology and the use of the internet. Amazingly, the internet has only been in use for the past 20 years. What will things be line in another 20 years? Or, even in the next 5 years?

Here's what the original website looked like, click on image to go to the first internet website
Click on image to go to the first internet website

“Physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1989 at CERN, the European nuclear research and particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN didn’t try to keep the technology to itself. The Web became publicly accessible on Aug. 6, 1991, and “[o]n 30 April 1993 CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web (‘W3’, or simply ‘the web’) technology available on a royalty-free basis,” the organization wrote today. “By making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser and a library of code, the web was allowed to flourish.”
Snapshots of the original website were preserved, but not the site itself at its original URL, until now. “Although the NeXT machine—the original web server—is still at CERN, sadly the world’s first website is no longer online at its original address,” CERN wrote. CERN is now fixing that oversight, with the first site back online at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. Previously, that URL simply redirected to http://info.cern.ch. “
Article: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/04/first-website-ever-goes-back-online-on-the-open-webs-20th-birthday/

Link for first website: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

Handicapping the Kentucky Derby- Picking the winner

derby_charismatic
31-1 longshot, Charismatic, winning the 125th Kentucky Derby on May 1, 1999

There are many strategies, techniques and angles and systems used to choose a winner  in the Kentucky Derby.  Each year brings a new crop of 3 year old horses to analyze and study.  See links and info below:

Racing form for Derby and Oaks contenders: HERE

How to use the Daily Racing Form:  HERE

2013 Daily Racing Form Kentucky Derby Top 20 (includes early odds, last race, Beyer numbers, comments and more): HERE

**Handicapping the Kentucky Derby (Information, tips and more): http://www.predictem.com/horse/kentucky-derby-betting.php

Analyzing the Top 2013 Kentucky Derby Contenders (Goldencents, Normandy Invasion and Overanalyze are picked with a point system): HERE

Derby prep race charts and videos – free from DRF HERE

Daily Barn Notes – for the Derby and Oaks HERE

Derby Horses sold at auction and the prices: HERE

Handicapping Kentucky Derby General tips article from 2004, open link for full list, shortened list below. Full article: HERE

  • Don’t pick a horse with a trainer or jockey making his first trip to the Derby. 
  • Don’t pick a horse with a new jockey. 
  • Stay away from horses with no two year old starts and/or fewer than 6 starts lifetime.
  • Your pick should have finished in the money in his last pre-Derby start. Since 1957, only Sea Hero and Thunder Gulch have broken this and they were both 4th in their final prep. A strong late move in that race is a big plus.
  • Your pick must be a stakes winner and have run in at least one 1 1/8 mile prep race.
  • He must have either 3 or 4 prep races since January 1st, no more, no less.
  • Don’t pick the post time favorite or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner. 
  • Pay close attention to the horse’s Churchill Downs workouts. 5 furlong or longer works are important.
  • Horses with good tactical speed and the ability to stalk have preference over pure speed or rally from way back types. Proven ability to handle bad traffic situations is a plus.
  • Stay away from geldings. No gelding has won since 1929 except Funny Cide in 2003. Flip side of this is not many geldings are entered as horses good enough for the Derby are rarely gelded.
  • Dosage index of 4.0 or lower
  • At least one race on a Kentucky track is a plus. 
  • If a trainer enters more than one horse, beware the one they don’t hype. Thunder Gulch and Charismatic are perfect examples of this.
  • The Derby has a huge field, up to 20 horses, so traffic is a big problem. Remember that anything can happen with all the bumping that will go on.

How to Find a Key Horse That Can Lead to Boxcar Derby Payoffs
by Kenneth Strong, Professional Horse Handicapper of Predictem.com http://www.predictem.com/horse/kentucky-derby-betting.php

(Highlights from article, click above link for entire article) Finding your Key Horse in the Kentucky Derby- All we have to go on is history, but combining that with decent handicapping skills will give us a better shot than 90 percent of the crazies that will be betting house numbers, birthdays, names, colors and just about anything else you can think of on Derby Day, including horses that wink at people in the post parade.

  • Favorites and Speed Rarely Win
  • Poor Works Better Handicapping Angle than Fast Works
  • Watch Key Derby Prep Races Closely- Any horse that can get within four lengths in a key prep race for the Derby deserves a second look, especially if the horse made a bid to win the race. A decent late rally to get within four lengths in an important prep could mean the horse is perfectly suited to the longer distance of the Derby.
  • Beware of Romping Winners- Horses we like to avoid in the win spot in the Derby are those coming into the race off numerous romping wins.
  • Beyer Speed Figures- We’ll be looking for horses that have cracked the 100 Beyer mark at least once in their lives and preferably run 105 or higher. Keep in mind that the horse with the top Beyer Figure coming into the Derby often loses, possibly because a number of runners may still be improving. Horses that have run a lifetime best Beyer Speed Figure in their race prior to the Derby can and do improve enough to win the big prize.
  • Outside Posts Better Than Inside-  Many bettors think that outside posts can hurt a Derby runner but in fact an outside post is probably better than an inside post and is at least as good as a middle post.
  • Jockeys and Trainers – Experience Required- Don’t bet a Derby horse to win unless a top jockey is aboard. The same goes for trainers.
  • Dosage a Minor Factor-  As far as pedigree goes we’ll be looking for a horse with a dosage of 4.0 or less but won’t throw a horse out unless their dosage is over 6.0.
  • Kentucky Derby Betting Summary – Bring Your Wheelbarrow There are only two horse racing days a year in North America when you truly have an excellent chance of making a monster score for a modest outlay of cash – Breeders’ Cup Day and Derby Day. Watch the prep races closely prior to handicapping and betting the Kentucky Derby – look for courage under fire and apply the principles above. You’ll find your key horse. A horse you can wheel – all the way to the bank.

New qualifying system for Kentucky Derby!

Starting this year,there is a new qualifying process for the Kentucky Derby.

  • In the past, qualifying  was based on a horse’s earnings in any and all Graded stakes races run prior to the Derby.  Those graded earnings could be acquired in April or the previous October – it didn’t matter. As long as a horse finished in the top three or four in a graded stakes race, they were one step closer to running in the Derby.
  • Starting with the 2013 Derby, Churchill Downs will determine the twenty horses* in the starting gate by using a point system in 36 races. Gone are the days were any and all graded stakes races provided an opportunity for a horse to make his way towards the Derby; now a horse must accumulate points (finish in the top four) in pre-selected and official “Kentucky Derby Prep Races”.

*The starting gate at the Kentucky Derby is limited to twenty horses (with a possibility of four “alternate entries” or “AEs”).

Read more: HERE

Reaction to the changes is mixed: HERE

App a hit with Icelanders

The risk of Icelanders accidentally sleeping with a relative is apparently high enough to justify a smartphone app to help prevent it.

  • Iceland isn’t a big country. Most Icelanders are descended from the Norse and Celtic settlers that first began arriving on the island some time in the 700s and 800s, with few additions to the gene pool.
  • Roughly two-thirds of its 320,000 population live in and around the capital, Reykjavík, so the chances that you’re at least not-too-distantly-related to most of the strangers you walk past in the street are high. Or, indeed, someone you might meet in a bar and go home with.
  • Part of the problem, beyond the small population, is that Icelandic naming conventions don’t reflect someone’s descendants.
  • Android app seeks to save any incredibly awkward revelations in the future. It uses an online genealogical database that contains records of more than 720,000 Icelanders going back 1,200 years.
  • When two people who both have the app meet — they both get their smartphones out and “bömp”(bump) them together. If they share a grandparent, the app will bring up an alert that it is most definitely not cool to go any further than a handshake with that person. The feature is called “Sifjaspellsspillir”, or “Incest Spoiler”. Link: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-04/18/iceland-incest-app

Link (Video included): http://www.newsy.com/videos/new-app-helps-icelanders-avoid-accidental-incest/

http://www.newsy.com/videos/new-app-helps-icelanders-avoid-accidental-incest/#ooid=F1amMyYjqlZj535gVMdHdw_saQxLCcKd

Future? Sight

Sight is a short futuristic film, which may not be that far-fetched.

In fact, Google Glass has many similarities to what is shown in Sight.

Google Glass   What It Does

The Redesigned $100 Note

Front view of the new $100 bill, which will begin circulation in October, 2013

The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced that the redesigned $100 note will begin circulating on October 8, 2013. This note, which incorporates new security features such as a blue, 3-D security ribbon, will be easier for the public to authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.  Full press release: http://www.newmoney.gov/stakeholder/journalist/release_04242013.htm

The Redesigned $100 Note
The new $100 note is the latest denomination of U.S. currency to be redesigned. Over a decade of research and development went into its new security features.  Read more:  http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/default.aspx

New Security Features
The advanced security features offer a simple and subtle way to verify that a new $100 note is real.

  • 3-D Security Ribbon-  Look for a blue ribbon on the front of the note. Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the blue ribbon. You will see the bells change to 100s as they move. 
  • Bell in the Inkwell- Look for an image of a color-shifting bell, inside a copper-colored inkwell, on the front of the new $100 note.

Additional Design and Security Features

  •  Portrait Watermark- Hold the note to light and look for a faint image of Benjamin Franklin in the blank space to the right of the portrait. The image is visible from either side of the note.
  • Also:  security thread, a color-shifting “100” on bill, raised printing, and more.

Security Features:  http://www.newmoney.gov/uscurrency/redesigned100.htm

Many additional features are included in the redesigned bill for added security

Volcano under Yellowstone bigger than we thought!

Yellowstone is an active volcano. Surface features such as geysers and hot springs are direct results of the region's underlying volcanism. (National Park Service)
Yellowstone is an active volcano. Surface features such as geysers and hot springs are direct results of the region’s underlying volcanism. (National Park Service)

Yellowstone National Park is actually a giant caldera, which is the large cauldron-like feature formed by a volcanic eruption.  Driving through the park is much different from what people may expect. The park is unique and amazing, with wildlife, geysers and more to thrill visitors, but it does not have the towering peaks that other Rocky Mountain parks, Like Glacier or the Tetons offer up.  The park is actually on top of a massive volcano!

  • Yellowstone’s underground volcanic plumbing is bigger and better connected than scientists thought, “The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imaged.”
  • Knowing the volume of molten magma beneath Yellowstone is important for estimating the size of future eruptions.
  • The last caldera eruption was 640,000 years ago. Smaller eruptions occurred in between and after the big blasts, most recently about 70,000 years.
  • The magma chamber seen in the new study fed these smaller eruptions and is the source of the park’s amazing hydrothermal springs and geysers.
  • Previously, researchers had thought the magma beneath Yellowstone was in separate blobs, not a continuous pocket.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/04/18/yellowstone-volcano-bigger-than-thought/?intcmp=obinsite#ixzz2RPK4MANY

 

 

Neil Diamond at Fenway Park

Boston showed the world how to overcome a tragedy, by joining together and refusing to be victims.  There is a lot of pain, but the people of Boston showed why they and their city are so special and they made us all proud!

  • Neil Diamond surprised baseball fans at Boston’s Fenway Park on Saturday, taking the field during a Red Sox game to lead the crowd in a sing-along of his classic hit, “Sweet Caroline.”
  • The 1969 song has been an eighth-inning ritual for some time now, played at every Fenway game since 2002.
  • Diamond reportedly flew in to the city just to attend the game.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/neil-diamond-leads-sweet-caroline-sing-along-at-fenway-park-20130420#ixzz2R9VbUjef

 

Yankees play “Sweet Caroline”/Honor Boston

Sweet Caroline at Yankee Stadium 4/16/13 to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Classy gesture by the Yankees and Yankee fans showing respect.

Woods falls short at Masters, can he catch Nicklaus?

Tiger Woods has 14 major titles, Jack Nicklaus has 18.  Who will end up with more?
Tiger Woods has 14 major titles, Jack Nicklaus has 18. Who will end up with more?

Tiger Woods fell short of capturing his 5th Masters title.  TV ratings soar whenever he is closing a major tournament.  His mistake with a penalty drop and the subsequent and controversial ruling to penalize him 2-strokes, instead of disqualifying him from the tournament, created a media frenzy.  The controversy was due to a recent rule revision which gives tournament committees the right to add retrospective penalties when the players could not have known they had committed an offence. Some are still saying the rule was misused and that Woods should have been disqualified, since he clearly showed “ignorance of the rule,” (Rule 26-1) which is not protected under the recent revision of Rule 33-7 and wrongly signed his scorecard.  Many golfers, experts and fans thought Tiger should voluntarily withdraw, but that didn’t happen.  More HERE

Is Woods, 37, running out of time to topple Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships?  Can he threaten the Golden Bear’s record 6 Masters titles?  This article says the advantage goes to Nicklaus: http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/04/15/tiger-woods-jack-nicklaus-comparison/2083049/

Jack Nicklaus won 18 professional majors, an iconic total that has become the most significant record in golf, and one of the most significant in all of sports. Tiger Woods has won a staggering 14 majors, but his quest to pass Nicklaus has stalled.  Go to this link for a chart listing major championships by Nicklaus and Woods, including their age when they caputured each one. http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/tiger-woods-vs-jack-nicklaus-major-championship-records

Woods still hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open and hasn’t captured the Masters, a tournament he’s won four times, since 2005. After winning three times earlier this season, it appeared this would be a terrific chance for Woods to resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors. Source:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/golf/2013/04/14/tiger-woods-masters-final-round/2082497/

Huge ratings- For at least a decade, when Woods is in final-round contention in tournaments, ratings generally jump 50% — or sometimes double. Saturday’s ratings peaked from 5:30-6 p.m. ET — when Tiger Woods was finishing his round and ending up tied for seventh.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/hiestand-tv/2013/04/14/the-masters-cbs-tiger-woods-tv-ratings/2081891/

Nicklaus and Woods don’t appear to have a close relationship, with Nicklaus stating he has never had a long converstation with Tiger. http://www.golf.com/ap-news/jack-nicklaus-says-he-has-never-had-long-conversation-tiger-woods?sct=obinsite

Tax Day!

Caddie Steve Williams gives great advice to golfer Adam Scott!

Steve Williams was Tiger Woods’ caddy for 12 years, from 1999 -2011, during the pinacle of his career.  When Woods took a break from golf,  Williams had caddied for Adam Scott in the 2011 U.S. Open and 2011 Open Championship.  Woods announced on July 20, 2011 that Williams would no longer be his caddy. Williams released the following statement on his official website:

“Following the completion of the AT&T National I am no longer caddying for Tiger after he informed me that he needed to make a change. After 13 years of loyal service needless to say this came as a shock. Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger’s scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries I am very disappointed to end our very successful partnership at this time. I have had the opportunity to work of late for Australian Adam Scott and will now caddy for him on a permanent basis. Having started my caddying career with Australian great Peter Thompson and working for Greg Norman in the ’80s I am excited about the future working for another Australian.”   It is estimated he earned $12m working for Woods.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Williams_(caddy)

Nearly two years later, Williams was on the bag for Adam Scott at the Masters, and even helped him win it with a clutch read on the winning putt.

Scott and Williams celebrate 2013 Masters

“The winning putt might be the highlight of my career, because he asked me to read it,” Williams told The Associated Press. Link:  HERE

Scott said after the round that it was dark and he had trouble reading his putt on the second playoff hole. So called over Williams for help.  Story on this:  HERE

Scott and Williams high five after Williams helps read a putt for Scott

“I don’t get him to read too many putts. He said it’s at least two cups, it’s going to break more than you think. I said, ‘I’m good with that.’ He was my eyes on that putt. It managed to hang in. Amazing feeling.”

Read more: HERE

 

Adam Scott Wins 2013 Masters!

Adam Scott wins the Masters Green Jacket in  playoff!
Adam Scott wins the Masters Green Jacket in playoff!

On a rainy Sunday in Augusta, Georgia, Australian Adam Scott, 32, captured his first green jacket by winning Augusta National’s Masters Tournament.  Argentinian Angel Cabrera,43, who was the 2009 champ, was trying to earn his second green jacket and came close with a clutch birdie putt on the 18th, forcing a playoff with Scott, who had finished a group ahead. They tied on the first playoff hole, # 18, when each scored a birdie, then went to the 10th, where both had similar drives and approach shots.  When Cabrerra’s birdie putt came painfully close, Scott made an amazing putt to take the title. No Masters sudden-death playoff has gone past 2 playoff holes since the current system was adopted in 1976. (Replacing the 10-hole playoff) Cabrerra had been there before, winning his  title in a 3-way playoff with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.  Overall, this was the 17th playoff at Augusta. (See link below)

Winning the Masters is huge.  Champions get a life time exemption to The Masters, a 5 year exemption on the PGA Tour and a 5 year exemption to the other 3 majors.  They get their name on the Masters trophy, access to the Masters Champions Locker Room, over $1.3 million in prize money,  and they are awarded the coveted green jacket. (although after one year, they must give the jacket back)  Champions also get to host the following year’s Champions Dinner.  HERE

Who gets invited?-  The Masters invites the smallest field of the majors, generally under 100 players.

  • World’s top 50 prior to the event
  • Former Masters champions 
  • Current champions and top finishers of the major amateur championships. (Major tournament champions earn 5 year exemptions)
  • Most of the previous year’s PGA Tour winners
  • Official Masters Qualification for Invitation list: HERE
  • 2012 amendments to the invitation system HERE

Masters Playoff History: HERE.

Historical Records and Stats and Past Masters Champions: HERE

A Wild Story of Geologic Cataclysm

This chunk of granite, 300 feet from the Map House (near Eugene, Oregon), likely arrived embedded in an iceberg that was carried here by one of the Missoula Floods.
This chunk of granite, 300 feet from the Map House (near Eugene, Oregon), likely arrived embedded in an iceberg that was carried here by one of the Missoula Floods.
drumheller_channels near Othello, WA.   These unique landforms were created by huge floods, thousands of years ago.
drumheller_channels near Othello, WA. These unique landforms were created by huge floods, thousands of years ago.

Megafloods of the Ice Age:  About 15,000 years ago, in the waning millennia of the Ice Age, a vast lake known as Glacial Lake Missoula suddenly burst through the ice dam that plugged it at one end. In the space of just 48 hours, geologists believe, the collapse sent 500 cubic miles of water cascading across the Pacific Northwest, creating overnight such unusual landscapes as the scablands of eastern Washington State.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/megafloods-of-the-ice-age.html

Continental glaciers blocked the Clark Fork River and created prehisoric Lake Missoula. When this ice dam broke, the water flooded across present-day Eastern WA and continued to the Willamette Valley and out to the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

 

 

The Hero:   A geologist named J. Harlen Bretz,  proposed in the 1920s that the topography of eastern Washington State was the result of a massive catastrophic flood.  He named this area of eastern Washington the Channeled Scablands. The idea that sites such as the Palouse Falls Gorge were the results of floods was thought to be outrageous, and described by some as near lunacy since the area receives very little rainfall today.  It took many decades for Harlen Bretz to finally receive the credit he deserved. In fact, it was not until the area was observed from the air that many of the Scabland features were accepted as flood deposits, such as the giant ripples in the Misoulla Valley, which are up to 30 feet high and 250 feet apart.

Almost fifty years following his original proposal, Bretz was hailed as a hero, and in 1979, at the age of 96, he was given geology’s highest honor — the Penrose Medal, which rewards one researcher each year for exceptional contributions to geology. The Channeled Scablands have now been dedicated to Harlen Bretz, and it is commonly known that this area was destroyed by a massive flood catastrophe. Source: http://www.nwcreation.net/scablands.html

Giant ripple marks in the Missoula Valley, created by the megafloods
Palouse Falls- formed by the floods

Links:http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/geology/publications/inf/72-2/contents.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channeled_Scablands

Interesting stie with interactive and a video:  http://hugefloods.com/Scablands.html

NOVA interactive website:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/explore-the-scablands.html

Channeled Scablands; Scientific Bias Against Catastrophism: http://www.nwcreation.net/scablands.html

Ice Age Floods (YouTube video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Na-yPW-52I

Austerity- Insanity!

Europe was a good model for us to examine, where austerity has failed.. Their extreme action are actually having a reverse effect with negative economic impact.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/28/sequester-austerity_n_2782773.html

“Insanity,” as Albert Einstein is said to have once remarked, “is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

The results of Europe’s experiment in fiscal shock therapy are in: austerity has failed, and failed miserably. The Eurozone club of 17 countries is now plagued by mass unemployment –- 26 percent and rising in Spain and Greece –- and a prolonged drought in demand. Recession-hit Italy is in the grips of a political crisis; neo-Nazis have been elected to parliament in depression-hit Greece.

Why then is the United States Congress committed to repeating Europe’s economic mistakes?

Europe, suffice to say, lacks a Grover Norquist.

IOC Plans to Cut from Wrestling from 2020 Olympics

IOC drops wrestling from Summer 2020 Olympics (ESPN):  The executive board of the International Olympic Committee reviewed the 26 sports on its summer program in order to remove one of them so it could add one later this year. It decided to cut wrestling and keep modern pentathlon — a sport that combines fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting — and was considered to be the most likely to be dropped.  Article HERE

In recent years, the I.O.C. has expressed concern about the growing size of the Summer Games and has wanted to cap the number of athletes at about 10,500. It has also said that it wants to attract younger viewers to the international television audience. 

Mark Adams, a spokesman for the I.O.C., told reporters, “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”  Article HERE

Iranians upset by the decision: Iran has racked up dozens of Olympic medals in wrestling, more than in any other sport.  “Do we destroy our historical sites which are symbols of humanity? No. Then, why should we destroy wrestling?” Iranian gold medalist Ali Reza Dabir told the Associated Press. Article HERE

Stench of IOC corruption- Reports from Lausanne said that the wrestling federation didn’t push as hard as the modern pentathlon people, that these are games won or lost not on the playing field, but standing alongside a bar, a glass of fine Bordeaux in hand. Reports also cited the importance of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., son of the former IOC president, on the side of modern pentathlon. HERE

Impact on NCAA Wrestling- What kind of impact does NCAA wrestling face as a result of the IOC’s decision?  HERE

USA-led group tries to save Olympic wrestling (ESPN):   USA Wrestling has announced that a group led by former world champion Bill Scherr, along with World and Olympic champions Bruce Baumgartner, John Smith, Rulon Gardner and Dan Gable, will work to fight the IOC’s decision earlier this week to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 Olympics.  Article HERE

Keep Wrestling in the Olympics website launched:  HERE http://keepwrestlingintheolympics.com/

Corruption in Olympic wrestling? HERE

IOC President Jacques Rogge said he will meet with FILA President Raphael Martinetti:  HERE

FILA to debate president Raphael Martinetti dismissal:  HERE

Martinetti steps aside: HERE

Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

The right man, in the right place, at the right time!

Martin Luther King Jr. has now been dead longer than he lived. But what an extraordinary life it was.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
  • At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy.
  • At 34, he galvanized the nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech.
  • At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

  • At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today

Special MLK website by the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.com/special/mlk/
How can you help others?  MLK Day of Service: http://mlkday.gov/

2012- Year in Review

Google Zeitgeist 2012- Year in Review- What did the world search for?

The Zeitgeist- (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought which typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time. For example, the Zeitgeist of modernism  typified and influenced architecture, art, and fashion during much of the 20th century.

www.google.com/zeitgeist/  1.2 trillion searches. 146 languages. See what the world searched for.

Google’s revealed its annual list of the year’s top searches, with the death of Whitney Houston gleaning more requests than even the Gangnam Style juggernaut and site powering over 1.2 trillion searches. One Direction topped the most searched image category, while events like Hurricane Sandy and the Olympics made an impact both in the primary top ten and the people we searched for. The top searched-for gadgets saw a conspicuous absence of the iPhone 5, likely due to its launch in the second half of the year. The new iPad (well, iPad 3) claiming first place, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S III. We’ve included Google‘s obligatory uplifting video after the break, if you’ve already started to forget what happened this year.

Top 10 Global Searches

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Gangnam Style
  3. Hurricane Sandy
  4. iPad 3
  5. Diablo 3
  6. Kate Middleton
  7. Olympics 2012
  8. Amanda Todd
  9. Michael Clarke Duncan
  10. BBB12

These were the top 10 news stories, according to the Associated Press:  Click HERE

USA today’s top stories:  HERE

Reuters 2012- Year in Review: HERE

North Korea

Kim Jong Un, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Yong Chun

Weird, fascinating and tragic for those living under the oppressive regime.

Here is an interesting link:

http://kimjongunlookingatthings.tumblr.com/

and this one (his dad, who died last year):  http://kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com/

About these links: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/12/20/kim-jong-il-looking-at-things-has-a-tumblr-successor/

10 Things you might not know about Kim Jong Un (Current Great Leader of North Korea):  http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/12/19/kim-jong-un-10-things-you-might-not-know-about-north-koreas-new-leader/

Mind boggling facts about Kim Jong Il (The current leader’s dad, and previous Great Leader, who died in Dec 2011): http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/from-fashion-icon-to-golf-pro-mind-boggling-facts-about-kim-jong-il/story-e6frf7lf-1226226100974

Airbags for Smartphones and Other Devices!

Broken_tablet 280

Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com get a patent for “airbag-like technology” that would protect smartphones and other devices, if dropped.

The technology “….would use a phone’s motion sensors to detect when it’s in a freefall and deploy what is described in the patent applications as an airbag.”

Article:  HERE

China Airport Boom!

Construction is underway at the new Hefei Xinqiao airport and its four runways, in Hefei, east China’s Anhui province on March 14, 2012

 

China Airport Boom: Will There Be a Bust?

Daxing airport (On the outskirts of Beijing) will cover more than 90 square kilometers and boast nine runaways by 2030, with an annual capacity of 80 million passengers. At that size, it would surpass both Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport and London Heathrow airport to become the busiest aviation hub in the world. Daxing’s price tag? $12.66 billion.
Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/11/02/china-airport-boom-will-there-be-a-bust/#ixzz2B6tZpHtJ

Google “Street View” Expands

Google Street View Product Manager Ryan Falor controls the Trekker with his Android device.

In its ongoing effort to create the perfect map of the world at ground level, Google took a trek into the Grand Canyon this week. Although this is part of its Google Maps Street View project, there are of course no streets in the national park.

 

 

Read more:  http://www.technewsworld.com/story/76473.html

Giant wind-blown ball rolls around and detonates landmines

Another fascinating example of human ingenuity!   A childhood toy inspires a wind-powered minesweeper that could help clear the millions of active landmines buried around the globe.  CNET article HERE

Video (Yahoo!) showing the Mine Kafton in action:  HERE 

Another cool video: http://vimeo.com/51149501

Check it out at:  www.massoudhassani.com

Luna Mimics Outboard Engine

Luna (September 19, 1999 – March 10, 2006) also known as L98 or Tsuux’iit, was a killer whale (orca) born in Puget Sound. After being separated from his mother as a toddler, Luna spent five years in Nootka Sound, off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Although Luna was healthy and his presence in the area delighted tourists and drew a large paparazzi, there were concerns that his behavior was endangering people. After years of debate, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) authorized an effort in June 2004 to capture Luna and return him to his family. However, the plan was ultimately thwarted by the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, who believed Luna was a reincarnation of a former chief. The orca was killed by a tugboat in 2006.  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_(killer_whale)

Here is Luna imitating a boat engine:

 

GOP Party of the Rich

Great Rolling Stone article:

After taking office, Clinton immediately seized the mantle of fiscal discipline from Republicans. Rather than simply trimming the federal deficit, as his GOP predecessors had done, he set out to balance the budget and begin paying down the national debt. To do so, he hiked the top tax bracket to nearly 40 percent and boosted the corporate tax rate to 35 percent. “It cost him both houses of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections,” says Chafee, the former GOP senator. “But taming the deficit led to the best economy America’s ever had.” Following the tax hikes of 1993, the economy grew at a brisk clip of 3.2 percent, creating more than 11 million jobs. Average wages ticked up, and stocks soared by 78 percent. By the spring of 1997, the federal budget was headed into the black.

Deficits and Debt- Republicans or Democrats?

As we watch the Republican Convention, here are some documented facts:

  • The last 4 Democratic presidents all reduced public debt as a share of GDP, while the last 4 Republican presidents saw increase in public debt.
  • The debt has increased since 1973, except during terms of Presidents Carter and Clinton.
  • Spending, taxes and deficits are all lower today than when Obama took office:
  • VP Dick Cheney said in 2002, that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

History of the U.S. Public debt

“Economist Mike Kimel notes that the five former Democratic Presidents (Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Harry S. Truman) all reduced public debt as a share of GDP, while the last four Republican Presidents (George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford) all oversaw an increase in the country’s indebtedness.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_public_debt

“Debt as a share of the US economy reached a maximum during Harry Truman‘s first presidential term. Public debt as a percentage of GDP fell rapidly in the post-World War II period, and reached a low in 1973 under President Richard Nixon. The debt burden has consistently increased since then, except during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.”  (From above link)

Interesting national debt chart:  http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

US-national-debt-GDP

The deficit is the amount we spend more that we take in annually.  In other words, how much more debt we add on each year, which is added on to the overall debt.  The debt is the total amount owed.

If we look at yearly deficits, we can at least see which way the economy is headed, and this is usually for a variety of reasons.

http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html   Look at this link and notice the deficits for each year, represented by red dollar signs on the right side of the chart.  Looking at Ronald Reagan, (1980-1988) see a trend of rapidly growing deficit amounts, and the same general trend under George H.W. Bush.(1989-1992)  See Bill Clinton’s years, (1992-2000) and see the shrinking deficits.  Now for the alarming years of 2000-2008 under George W. Bush, the deficits are alarming.  President Obama’s first 3 years, although still showing large deficits, are at least trending in the right direction.   Are Republicans the economic saviors they claim to be?
One more, just to make a point:

Ideas? Any plan? Republican Convention 2012

I haven’t heard any new ideas or anything interesting coming out of the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa.  The speakers are unanimous in their negativity aimed at President Obama, but have offered very little substance.  The party seems to be confused and leaderless.  They all agree that President Obama is awful and has ruined the economy…  They keep focusing on the Obama’s remarks, taken out of context.

Almost all of the speakers are obsessed with the debt, something they cared very little about until 2008, when under 8 years of George W. Bush’s leadership the economy was spinning out control.   The Bush tax cuts and two unfunded wars created the debt monster.  President Obama inherited that mess, but don’t tell conservative that, they will let you know that we should focus on the future.  I think a little peek at history is probably a good thing.  What is the Republican plan to reduce the deficit and the debt?  They have the Debt Clock up at the convention, what are they going to do to slow it down?  Cut taxes?  Increase military spending?  Give us some ideas.  “Obama bad, Republican Good” isn’t going to do it.

Here is chart, courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office:

Republicans seem to be afraid to get behind their candidate, Mitt Romney.  They are promoting Republicans, and they are proud to talk about Paul Ryan, but they cautiously tiptoe when mentioning Romney.

NY Times Opinion on Truth and Lies About Medicare

We need some way to control misleading campaigns, regardless of party.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/truth-and-lies-about-medicare.html?smid=pl-share

It is utterly irresponsible for the Republicans to promise not to trim Medicare spending in their desperate bid for votes.

Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made statements last week implying that the Affordable Care Act would eviscerate Medicare when in fact the law should shore up the program’s finances.

Olympic Village Sex!

I would have never guessed that there was so much sex going on in Olympic Village.  150,000 condoms?  Wow!   Where is the focus?   Call me old school, but as a coach, if my athletes were sub-par, I would look for any decent excuse and promiscuous activity with the Latvians would be at the top of my list!

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/08/sport/olympics-village-sex-party-athletes/index.html

“(Sex) is all part of the Olympic spirit. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wouldn’t say that, but it is, you can’t shy away from it. Why do you think they give away so many condoms?”

Serial ‘picnic table stacker’ on the loose in Spokane!

A serial table stacker is on the loose in Spokane, Washington!

This is an interesting situation.  The actual headline/link title to this story was –  “Serial ‘picnic table stacker’ on the loose in Spokane park” (click on the title for a link to the story)

There has been enough interest in this to bring about a Facebook page called Spokane Serial Stackers and also a Twitter account, hashtag #serialStackers

Olympic Tower Bridge!

 

The Moon became the 6th Olympic ring, at least for a moment. This photo was taken on August 3, 2012 and topped the trending charts for a day.

A photographer used a smart phone app to predict the trajectory of the moon and timed this photograph perfectly.  The Olympic Rings have been hung off London’s Tower Bridge to celebrate London Olympiad 2012. http://tinyurl.com/c6bawkm

 

The gigantic rings cost about $100,000 to install, and not without controversy.  http://tinyurl.com/9slgvx8

The Tower Bridge is a drawbridge and opens about 1,000 times a year to allow river traffic to pass.
                                             The rings weigh 3 tons and lift up when the bridge opens to let sailboats and other river traffic through.

 

 

Taxes on Olympic Medals

US athletes are going to have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes by wining medals.  It breaks down like this.

  • A gold medal, which is worth $650, according to CNN, could cost athletes about $236 in taxes
  • a bronze metal, which is worth $5, could only cost an athlete $2 in taxes.

The big taxes kick in as a result of the U.S. Olympic Organizing Committee awarding London champions $25,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bringing home a bronze. (Reuters)  At a 35 percent income tax rate, bronze medalists will owe the IRS a total of $3,500, silver medalists will owe $5,250 and gold medalists will be liable for $8,750, according to Americans for Tax Reform.  Of course, many high-profile athletes will also come home to lucrative sponsorships offers, also all taxable.

Other countries also compensate their medal-winning athletes.  Read this article for more info: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/olympians-owe-irs-taxes-medals-cash-bonuses_n_1729486.html

 

Just One Night!

Get a vintage stereo, or use anything you have and kick back, relax, and listen to Eric Clapton’s, Just One Night.  It is a live album recorded in Tokyo, in 1980.  It speaks for itself, a classic!

Early in the Morning

Worried life Blues

Double Trouble

NASA Curiosity

The Rover Curiosity carries the most advanced scientific gear ever used on Mars.

Curiosity to land on Mars.  Article: click here

Although at first glance the mission seems a lot like the others, it is bigger and more complex than ever.  Are Americans even aware that this spacecraft is hurtling toward Mars and about to land and explore our neighboring planet?   Or does the public need new territory as opposed to advancing science and studying a place we have already visited?  Do Americans feel threatened by the new competition from Europe and China?  Is it a blow to national pride that we rely solely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to shuttle humans and much of the supplies to the International Space Station and back?   I remember the Viking missions of the 1970s, then the Pathfinder in 1996 and the Odyssey in 2001. (although I did have to look up the years of those missions)  The Soviet Union was actually the first to send a ship to the planet, which crashed in 1960 and Japan and the European Union have also done some exploring, and now the Chinese are also giving it a go.

Spacecraft to Mars:  http://starryskies.com/solar_system/mars/spacecraft.html

Curiosity is bigger and better, but is it exciting for the average American?  One big problem facing NASA is where else do we go and explore?  The immense distances just in our own solar system are mind boggling and tough to even comprehend.  We have many amazing minds working on these missions and we continue to learn and improve technology.

Hubble Space Telescope- In my opinion,the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the best things we have done is space and Ultra Deep Field is some good proof of how important it has been to broaden our horizons.  The image was the deepest image ever taken by humans, was taken in a dark portion of the sky, and looked back some 13 billion years.

About Ultra Deep Field-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Ultra-Deep_Field

The image was taken from an area equal to roughly one thirteen-millionth of the total area of the sky.  Still, over 10,000 galaxies were identified.  This could well be one of the biggest human achievements in history.

The Image- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hubble_ultra_deep_field_high_rez_edit1.jpg

Back to Curiosity- “… the space agency is tempting fate with a novel approach that involves a big parachute, a specially designed winch, and some very high hopes.”   http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57485016-76/how-nasa-tests-an-against-all-odds-mars-rover-landing/

Some facts on Curiosity:

  •  Mars Science Laboratory rover cost $2.5 billion
  •  Curiosity is a two-year mission.
  • For the first 90 days of the mission, controllers will work together as if each day were 24 hours and 40 minutes long — the approximate length of a Martian day.
  • Curiosity rover is big as a car, and contains a nuclear reactor for power. Its landing mechanism, the “sky crane,” represents a new way of delivering a payload onto the Martian surface. For the first time, this rover possesses a laser with which to vaporize rock and conduct experiments.  Link:  Click Here

Excellent website from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/

NASA continues to dazzle, amaze and spark our Curiosity!

NASA/ISS Photographs of Earth – Where in the World Quiz

Where is this?
Example picture from quiz

Where in the World Quiz. (Very interesting and fun)  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/quiz/quiz.pl?

Advance to next picture by clicking “Click to Refresh” near top of page.  This took me awhile to figure out.

The Gateway to Astronaut Photographs: This is a great link for any one who has a passion for geography, space, etc… http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/

This is a video of the International Space Station flyover of Aurora Australis (Southern Lights)  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/#issborealis_iss_20120423

Earth Observatory: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Coll/EarthObservatory/PostedSort.htm

Photos by map search:  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/clickmap/

Cities of the World:  http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/cities/

Pictured above: Puget Sound, WA, USA. Seattle is near center.

Health Care

A colleague shared her experience with her daughter and the health care situation.  It was via email and articulate and touching.  I told her that what she explained in that email sums it all up concerning pre-existing conditions, loss of health care, inadequate health coverage, etc….  I told her they should invite her to congress and share her experience.  There a millions of stories just as dramatic, many of them tragic. How do those who are so against a new plan but yet with no plan of their own, able to be OK with the current situation?  Aren’t the obligated to help those who they represent from misery and suffering?  Is it that they believe in economic “tough love” much like Hoover?  The sad thing is, those who should feel shame,  just feel greed, envy and hatred instead.  Why isn’t taking care of our people the top priority of our government?  In the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, we spent and are still spending billions.

If I  had no health care plan, our son wouldn’t be talking.  He needed expensive tests at Children’s Hospital and we were able to suppress his seizures, which allowed him to learn how to communicate.  I always think of unemployed or any other example of uninsured or under-insured kids, families or individuals and it breaks my heart.  I really hope we are able to keep stepping forward on this and not step back.

The crazy thing is that a national plan would be way LESS expensive, saving us millions at a time when almost all of those against “Obamacare” are complaining about spending and reducing the debt.  (I won’t bring up the fact that many these same people didn’t care about the debt at all when times were good)  We have social medicine right now.  When those without insurance require medical attention, they go to emergency rooms, filling up the rooms, and that cost is absorbed in many ways by the public.  What a terrible situation.

I also think all kids should get free lunch at school, but that’s another story…….

Charismatic’s close finish, and others

Charismatic came out of a claiming race race 3 months before the Kentucky Derby and fired off as a 31-1 longshot, winning the 1999 Derby and Preakness. Charismatic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_(horse)  He was injured in the Belmont, but still finished 3rd, as jockey Chris Antley quickly dismounted and held up his leg, probably saving the horse’s life.  Sadly, Antley would be found dead less than 2 years later:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Antley 

Jockey Chris Antley dismounts to hold foot of Charismatic

Charismatic’s broken leg ends a promising racing career:  http://tinyurl.com/7wsv6mx

Video of the 1999 Belmont Stakes: http://tinyurl.com/83tlw7q

Charismatic is just one of many who have come close to winning the elusive Triple Crown: http://www.drf.com/news/triple-crown-near-misses-charismatic-1999

Triple Crown near-misses since the Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. (Click names below for information and videos)

Spectacular Bid (1979) Pleasant Colony (1981) Alysheba (1987) Sunday Silence (1989)
Silver Charm (1997) Real Quiet (1998) Charismatic (1999) War Emblem (2002)
Funny Cide (2003) Smarty Jones (2004) Big Brown (2008)

Almost- A list of all those who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but lost their triple crown chance in the Belmont Stakes. Click to open Pdf file: Triple Crown Almost

Rodney King- Interesting Individual

  Rodney King ended up playing a part in American culture, politics, violence and peace, he never intended to play.  He was a reluctant figure in civil rights, a victim, a peace-maker and an occasional criminal.  Quite a mix.  He appreciated life, yet died at the relatively young age of 47 years.

Many of us who followed the story focused on the verdict and the violence the broke out after it was announced.   The public was also concerned about who was at fault in the violent arrest, which was caught on film and played in the media over and over as we all became jurors in the case.  However, what many don’t realize, or may have forgotten, is the severity of the injuries suffered by King, or the emotional and mental anguish he dealt with following the riots which took the lives of 53 people.

Below: NPR with an interesting piece on Rodney King-

Audio with text transcript:   http://www.npr.org/2012/04/27/151526928/rodney-king-two-wrongs-dont-make-a-right

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/06/18/155270776/rodney-king-what-i-had-to-do-was-make-it-better

There will not be another, this year…

Horse racing’s hope for its first Triple Crown winner in 34 years were dashed Friday. I’ll Have Another, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes last month, was scratched on the eve of the Belmont Stakes, ending his attempt to become just the 12th horse in history to win all three races.   http://tinyurl.com/bthf47r

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/tim_layden/06/08/ill.have.another.out/index.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/i-ll-have-another-is-out-of-belmont-stakes-trainer-o-neill-says.html

A game of numbers! I’ll Have Another!

Click on the photo for pedigree!

Interesting twist with the number 12, and I’ll Have Another draws number 11!

The following is taken from the link  below:

History could be made Saturday when Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another attempts to become only the 12th Triple Crown winner in racing history. Curiously, he also is the 12th horse to attempt to win all three Triple Crown races since Affirmed last turned the trick in 1978. Will the 12th time be the charm? Too bad I’ll Have Another drew post 11. Post 12 would have been more fitting, don’t you think?

Approaching this race we must remember that the Triple Crown is very, very difficult to win. That’s not a scoop, but sometimes we get caught up in the emotion of moment and forget that some tremendous horses have failed to win the third leg of the Triple Crown.

Check out the following link for a Belmont Stakes analysis and information on each horse:    Link: http://xpressbet.com/ReadOnTrack?id=4261