Archive for the ‘News & Sports’ Category

Worst to First?

March 24th, 2016, 12:09pm by Jake







I would actually be OK with worst to worst, but that would require the Villanova & Virginia each lose their next game. Otherwise, one of the joke entries is likely to defeat my quirky yet earnest entry based on generally favoring teams of cities/ states/ campuses where I’ve been.

On the other end, I find myself in 19th place, unfortunately with the all too common pick of Kansas to win the whole thing. Picking North Carolina would put in a much better position to win. Still, I hold out hopes of finishing 6th for like the 8th time. How is everyone else doing in this & other pools? I have a good chance at Threepeating in my work “pool,” which is more of an auction for teams. Notre Dame, Wisconsin & Duke carry me into the Sweet Sixteen. I need about 2-3 more wins to guarantee my 3rd straight year of free food courtesy my coworkers.




Hurricane Sandy!

October 29th, 2012, 3:32pm by Mike

Writing from the middle of the storm! Well, if by “middle” I mean 500 miles from the eye of the storm — but we’re getting pretty well pounded here in Boston.

In the interest of future context, the “Frankenstorm” is a rare, late-season hurricane that started up in the Carribbean and basically tracked due north toward the mid-Atlantic. The storm was predicted to combine with a strong, cold jet stream, and a high-pressure area over Greenland was to prevent the normal hurricane track, and force it onshore. In the about 7 days leading up to its arrival, the hype has built and built — and as of now, it looks like it was pretty well-founded.

Here in Boston, we’re having lots of wind, and power outages (or so I’ve heard), but not much rain, and we probably won’t get too much. The coast is really getting battered by the waves, and there’s massive flooding in New Jersey. I cancelled my work trip to NYC — turns out that flights and trains were all cancelled, and NYC transit shut down last night at 7pm — so it would have been all for nothing, anyway.

And I just saw on Twitter that a crane atop an under-construction building, across the street from the hotel I often stay in, is about to collapse.

Every disaster these days seems to bring with it new technological ways of experiencing what’s going on, and this one is no different. Between Twitter’s Sandy hashtag, all sorts of interactive maps (like the Boston Globe’s and NStar’s power outage map, live streams from the Weather Channel, and live updates on the NYT’s site, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with info.

You’ll know if we lose power if the site goes down!

Jake’s Favorite TechDirt Posts from Last Week

April 6th, 2012, 2:53am by Jake

It’s pretty obvious that The Masnick only pretends to take the weekend off, because man did Techdirt start off the week with some solid stories. While the Techdirt team is pretending to relax, you can catch up on the best posts from the week. While it’s true that I occasionally long for the days of single paragraph posts, I’ll ignore fellow short post fans & instead follow Mike’s example by providing more insight into my insights.

Techdirt has been at the fore of intellectual property issues for a decade or more, and I’ve learned much along the way while informing friends about how SOPA and related bills would hinder technology advances, harm free speech and do little to promote the progress of science and useful arts. This post will focus on IP issues, starting off with yet another story that demonstrates the duplicity of Chris Dodd. The man who once proclaimed “no lobbying, no lobbying” upon leaving office now counts the days until he can lobby his former Senate colleagues. In the meantime, he is lobbying the Obama administration and inviting a few select tech companies to join in his secret plan to impose government supported censorship, despite claims to the contrary. All in a futile attempt to preserve the existing MPAA business model so his paymasters are insulated from the independent artists who are competing by embracing new technology.

The MPAA/RIAA lobbying juggernaut has been sadly successful in hobbling internet technologies, as congressional insiders and administration officials conspire to increase government control of the internet by proposing laws that would censor disfavored websites under the guise of copyright protection and cybersecurity. The takeaway is obvious, that internet users have to remain vigilant to prevent Congress from choking innovation on the internet and maintaining freedom of action for themselves. That ties in nicely with a story from Planet Money highlighting the parallels between the MPAA & German button weavers, which used government power to insulate themselves from competition enabled by new technology, leading to stagnation in button weaving technology. The parallel becomes clearer by the day. Viacom continues to sue YouTube as part of it’s long attack on user generated content, while in content industries left unprotected by legal fiat we’re witnessing the movement of creators from old media to new media. Not losing those jobs in the process but merely shifting the work to outlets where the creators provide the greatest comparative advantage.

As copyright law is a mess, so is the copyright office itself. Copyright assignments last 70 years or more, but electronic records are not available before 1978. That was backward a decade ago and inexcusable today. Billions are spent to influence legislation & hundreds of law enforcement personnel work to enforce intellectual property laws, yet so little heed is given to cataloging our cultural heritage that millions of copyright records are effectively inaccessible. That has real world consequences, as there is a paucity of in print books from the 1930s-1960s since the copyright status of those works cannot be ascertained; in contrast, books from earlier decades enjoy widespread availability. With all the attention being paid to copyright enforcement, we’ve managed to neglect great works that have already been produced by emphasizing profit over culture. But “is there any value in cracking down on ‘piracy’ if it doesn’t increase sales?” Congress repeatedly compromises our liberties in the name of fighting piracy, but this story suggests even that doesn’t boost sales. By emphasizing enforcement and neglecting record keeping, the government has effectively made it more difficult to enjoy new & old cultural works while doing little to improve revenues for the Old Media companies the laws are intended to protect.

Alas, even internet pioneers are allowing this unhealthy obsession with IP enforcement cloud their judgments. As an admitted Flickr addict I’ve taken a keen interest in the developing tactical nuclear patent war being fought between Yahoo and Facebook. It’s shocking enough that Facebook was awarded patents for (a) drawing rectangles on photos and linking that box to a person, and (b) displaying an integrated list of actions on my items & those I’ve commented upon. What’s more preposterous is that Facebook would sue over concepts so barely differentiated from preexisting Flickr features to (a) draw rectangles on photos and add a note or link, and (b) display separate lists of actions on my items & those I’ve commented upon. I imagine the 18 other patent claims in the lawsuit are similarly specious. Hopefully both come to their senses and drop their lawsuits before spending all their money on lawyers.

Now, my least favorite story of the week, which completely destroys my plan to become a multithousandaire should anyone ever decide to take up Techdirt on CWF+RTB and shut down the site for the year. Yes, fellow favorite posts of the week writers, our dreams of launching a class action lawsuit to obtain our just rewards have been squelched by an activist judge* who opined that Huffington Post contributors that wrote articles without any expectation of compensation aren’t entitled to any compensation even though Huffington Post turned out to be quite profitable. No justice, no peace!

*Whereby activist judge I mean any judge I disagree with.

March Madness 2012!

March 17th, 2012, 6:53pm by Jake

So after 34 games, I’m tied for 7th place. This is my year! Derrick is holding down 330th out of 366, while Mike is 179th & his dad is in 154th.  I have a couple other entries, too.

Manhattan Beach Mad Hatters!

December 27th, 2011, 10:54pm by Jake
Marvnet Championship score

Marvnet Championship Box Score

There it is! After more than a decade of futility, I finally won the coveted Marvnet Fantasy Football League Championship. Including the years where I acted as Kelvin’s co-GM, it’s probably been 15 years of futility. Sure, there were a couple Toilet Bowl victories, but never the big prize at the end of the rainbow. Until this year!

It was made possible primarily by 3 stars: Lesean McCoy, who exceeded already lofty expectations to finish the season as the #1 scoring RB in the league. Ron Gronkowski, who defied the expectations of his low draft position to lead all tight ends in scoring, and 2nd among all pass catchers. And the star of stars, Mr. Tom Brady. While only the 4th best QB over the course of the season, Tom Terrific always saved his best for when the stakes were highest, scoring a team high 32 points in the tightly contested finale.

Rounding out the squad were steady receiver Jeremy Maclin, greatest TE in history, former Manhattan Beach resident and sand dune fan Tony Gonzalez, the daunting Ravens defense, the steady leg of Stephen Gostowksi, and late season addition Ahmad Bradshaw who was the difference between hoisting the championship banner and an early exit for the top team of the regular season.

So it’s time to pop the champagne corks and parade around the city! Not sure exactly what it will be, but pretty sure I’ll have to commemorate the momentous occasion sometime this New Year’s weekend.

Operation Jack Marathon– join the fun(draising)!

December 11th, 2011, 11:02pm by Jake

So you all remember the 2010 Operation Jack Marathon, right? You can check my recap on the CORE blog. And watch the great video reviewing the race and Sam’s epic achievement of running (and running HARD) 61 marathons in 2010.

So we’re back in 2011. The race itself, held right in Manhattan Beach, is set to be a sell-out. Which is awesome. At the same time, we are trying to raise more than $30,000 for autism charities and we need help across the country & the world. And here’s how you can help:



1) Enter one of the satellite races. We have an awesome medal for 2011, 4″ die cast metal. And an excellent t-shirt and stellar bibs. Want to get all 3? Sign up for the 2011 satellite runs, 6.2 miles. Just register by December 16 for $35 to get all the gear by race day. You can read more about the satellite runs on Sam’s blog and then register to run as part of Team CORE. Choose the Satellite Run option.


2) You can also donate through my fundraising efforts. I’m matching the first $5 of every donation and another $5 for each runner on Team CORE. If you donate $25 or more through me, you’ll get a t-shirt too (just remind me).

For LA locals, there’s still time to register to run or sign up as a volunteer.


He really did Think Different

October 5th, 2011, 8:11pm by Jake

Hurricane Irene!

August 27th, 2011, 6:54pm by Jake

Derrick got the heck out of Dodge just before they started to shut down the city. Mike looks to get a nice big ‘ole windstorm. And I’m on an island in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee, waiting for the storm to announce its arrival around midnight, get serious around noon and peak sometime around 6 PM. I’ll live tweet or live blog as long as I have power & internet… which may not be that long. Any other front-line reports?


March 21st, 2011, 5:10pm by Jake

Well, would you look at this! Made my traditional 3 entries into the tournament, and using 3 highly dissimilar methods, I’ve got all 3 entries in the top 25. That includes 3rd place entry Xanadu! I’ve been near the top of the leaderboard before, only to fall one or two games short of a pretty nice payday. Will this be the year Pyslent represents? As for my method, I chose the bracket based upon which teams I acquired in a NCAA tournament auction I join every year. That in turn was largely influenced by sports stats guru turned political predictions guru turned sports prediction guru Nate Silver of Thus, Butler & San Diego State in the Final Four, both of which seem quite possible. That might put me over the top in the competition, but there’s still a lot of basketball to play.

Quarterbacks and the draft

September 14th, 2010, 6:52pm by Jake

Apropos of a discussion Kelvin & I had this morning about the sorry state of Alex Smith (sorry Niners fan), we started talking about drafting quarterbacks and wondering if NFL teams were any good identifying the top QBs in the draft. After manually flipping through a few Wikipedia pages, I decided to shortcut the process with the always excellent Pro Football Reference. Here’s a look at all the signal callers that have been drafted in the first 3 rounds since 1980. At some point I’ll test Kelvin’s theory that the 3rd QB drafted is usually the best. For now, here’s a look at all the #1 picks:

Year ▴ Rnd Pick
1983 1 1 John Elway HOF
1987 1 1 Vinny Testaverde
1989 1 1 Troy Aikman HOF
1990 1 1 Jeff George
1993 1 1 Drew Bledsoe
1998 1 1 Peyton Manning
1999 1 1 Tim Couch
2001 1 1 Michael Vick
2002 1 1 David Carr
2003 1 1 Carson Palmer
2004 1 1 Eli Manning
2005 1 1 Alex Smith
2007 1 1 JaMarcus Russell
2009 1 1 Matthew Stafford

Among those 14, there are 3 Hall of Famers (Elway, Aikman & P. Manning), 5 more gamers (Testaverde, Bledsoe, George, E. Manning & Palmer), 5 guys that are likely or certain busts and Michael Vick. In fact, drafting a QB #1 seemed sure fire until 1999, when teams started taking QBs that high every year!

Looking down to the top 32 players by approximate value among passers in all rounds, here’s the breakdown by round drafte with some representative stars:

  • Overall #1: 7 players (John Elway, Jeff George, Carson Palmer)
  • Remainder of round 1: 8 (Dan Marino, Jim Harbugh, Chad Pennington)
  • Round 2: 4 (Brett Favre, Drew Bree, Jake Plummer, Kordell Stewart)
  • Rounds 3-7: 13 (Tom Brady, Jake Plummer, Neil O’Donnell)

Looks like you’re as likely to get a star QB after the first round as in it, and picking a QB with a high pick is no guarantee of success.

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