Friday, February 17, 2012

Big Time Football, Lifehacks, and the Death Star

Fried Horned Frogs. Looks like TCU is in some real hot water after a massive drug bust on campus including 4 football players. Way to make a splash in the world of big time college football the right way and earn the top spot in the current Fulmer Cup Rankings.

You gotta fight for your right to Wildcat. In one of the greatest rivalry news stories I've ever seen, a little girl refused to color a Kansas Jayhawk because her proud family are Wildcats through and through. Sure this is silly, but it's highly entertaining and I respect people that are diehard fans like this.

Bama is really excited about this kid. And I'm not going to lie, 105 pieces of recruiting mail to one kid is more than absurd. The waste in funds from an institution of higher learning is downright shameful. I'm okay with the money that goes into and drives athletics (in case you couldn't tell). However, I still believe in pragmatism and letting kids have some peace and quiet and you've violated all of the above Alabama with your recruitment process on this kid. Hope things go well for him, but I can't deny if I was in his shoes and was harassed by Bama that heavily I might be looking at LSU instead.

What sport provides the most exciting finish? Jon Bois of SBNation takes a look at close games. It's pretty interesting, of course you have to work within his definitions of "close". I think it's a fascinating look, but I feel like you could expand the definition of "close" games for the NBA, since finishing within 9 can still be exciting (it's just less likely to be as exciting completely up to the final buzzer). Also, I think he should have stressed better that in baseball a save situation is not necessarily terribly exciting even though it's only 3 runs. As far as the NHL, I think there is some influence with their recent change in the stick curvature. Scoring has become easier so it can be easier to make up the difference than it had been in the past. Especially because I think a lot of teams kind of let up after a high enough scoring differential (although I have no idea what that line is). Really interesting stuff overall.

The "agent" exception. Joe Nocera continues his war in the NCAA by examining an exception for hockey players that allows them to have contact with "advisors" which are really unpaid agents. Nocera wisely advocates this practice to be more widespread. The NCAA really refuses to look after the best interest of student athletes. Money quote: "It is only because the use of agents is so ingrained in hockey culture that the N.C.A.A. has chosen to look the other way. What it ought to do instead is adopt hockey's system for all its athletes in all its sports, giving them the same benefit – the counsel of an experienced advocate – that hockey players have. To do so, though, would require actually caring about the welfare of the athletes who play the games and make everyone else millions of dollars. Which is precisely why it will never happen."

Some things will never die. Grantland takes an interesting look at what the demise of football might look like. And I can't deny, a lot of the issues they are presenting are certainly knocking on the door. However, I could see a few potential remedies occurring to ensure the continuation of this well loved sport. One, there is the potential for waiver or imputing liability. Waiver is probably a little bit more difficult, but I'd imagine they could have players impute liability upon themselves somehow. Maybe I'm crazy, wouldn't be the first time. Second, I could definitely see Congress passing laws restricting recovery in these kinds of actions. Public outcry relative to the head injuries has certainly risen, but I think popularity (plus the lobbying dollars of collegiate and NFL football) can have a ton of sway to fix this. We'll see how it plays out.

Too big to pay. A man in North Carolina has been sued over his enormous hospital bill and soon it will be heard by the state supreme court. So this seems like a real interesting matter. Obviously hospitals pass on costs to individuals that can pay versus those that can't. Technically every business does that to some small degree, although places like Walmart pass on costs of theft to other customers (though that probably indirectly goes to an insurance they pay for). However, since hospitals are offering a service that they can't easily refuse to people they pass on that cost very directly to their consumers. So really that's why the man in this case had some outrageous costs that he had to pay.

The gentleman in the case claims gross overcharging, but the bill is supposedly not itemized so it's interesting to see how they're determining the cost. There's a line of equity between mitigating costs of theft of hospital services by non paying consumers and gross overpayment from those consumers that can afford the cost. Of course if it's found to be unreasonable that means the hospital will have to eat the cost which would probably lead to eventual bankruptcy (presuming the standard continues on to other parties). I'm curious how this plays out, though it appears technically the real issue at hand is whether or not the hospital can force collection without a trial establishing the costs and ordering a judgment for the collection.

Suing over poor education choices. A group of law school alumni from around the country are suing their law schools for misrepresentation of their job placement. Seems like a difficult case to win, but I'd hope at least some punishment is doled out on these law schools that have especially shady practices.

Legislating Pi. Apparently the state of Indiana once tried to legally change the value of pi to 3.2 (and some variations). Just brilliant. Who says good ideas don't come out of Indiana?

Lifehacks. A very impressive list of lifehacks from Mental Floss. My favorites: the banana to fix CD's and the cookie bowls. I haven't tested either, so I don't know that they actually work but they're pretty darn clever either way.

The best $852,000,000,000,000,000 you could ever spend. Student at Lehigh University have calculated the cost of the Death Star and it's not cheap. Of course when you have the ultimate power in the universe as a weapon why on earth would you care about that kind of debt? Just avoid any poor aesthetic choices...

Beating traffic can be hard. Some idiot in a Porsche decided to swing around some road construction and got stuck in some fresh cement. Patience and following the rules of the road are a great way to avoid getting stuck.

Doggy Paddle. The NYTimes has a cool collection of photos of dogs in water. I especially like #4, but the dogs look vicious!

Air traffic. Here's an interesting video monitoring the air traffic before and after the Superbowl. A little long, but pretty cool.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

No comments: