He deliberately skips the ball across the pond and onto the green during the par 3 contest before the Masters tournament. (He’s the second player to tee off in the video.)
Trying to put our lives in a larger perspective. Funny, indeed. Via nat via fred wilson.
Here is a snippet of what Nate Silver, author of FiveThirtyEight.com has to say about the election tomorrow:
7pm EST Virginia, for my money, is the most important state in this election. If John McCain loses it, his path to victory is exceptionally narrow—he would need to pull out an upset in Pennsylvania, while holding on to Florida and Ohio, and avoiding a sweep out West. Barack Obama has considerably more ways to win without Virginia, but a failure to close out the state would suggest at best a more circuitous route to victory. As Obama remains about five points ahead in most polls of Virginia, what we’re really looking for is a quick call on anything before 8 PM that would indicate that the map has indeed changed from 2004, and not in McCain’s favor.
Read the whole thing. It gives an hour by hour analysis of what to look for as the results come in.
A nice video demonstrating the physics of a rugby pass. Note that unlike football where a forward pass is determined by the field, rugby’s definition of a forward pass is based on the relative motion of the passer.
I have to think this course looks even crazier in person than in this video. Holy cow. Posted for my cousin Nathan: is this kinda like what you do?
For those who miss football, here is a video of perhaps the most amazing finish that I have ever seen. Sent to me by a buddy – I have no idea why this vintage footage is floating around at the present time. But a nice way to spend 4 minutes.
Oh yeah, and here’s a nice top ten things that Joe Torre has been dying to tell Steinbrenner now that he no longer works for the man.
He doesn’t understand why I write this blog. Although this won’t necessarily answer that question, I think he will enjoy this amazing sports video.
The news for non-sports fans: “The ball Barry Bonds hit for his record-breaking 756th home run will be branded with an asterisk and sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.” Some eccentric rich guy named Ecko buys the Bonds’ ball for $700k, and then runs an online poll to decide what to do: (1) give to baseball’s hall of fame as is; (2) send it into outer space or (3) give it to the hall with an asterisk on it. Number 3 wins!
Poor William Rhodes of the NY Times seems to be Bonds’ only defender. In his column today, Rhodes argues that the Hall of Fame should reject this defiled donation or else be an “accomplice in compromising the integrity of baseball.” Come on, Rhoden: what really hurts the integrity of baseball more: this asterisk or BALCO?
But Rhoden brightened my day with this question and answer: “What would happen if the Hall of Fame rejected the ball? Ecko is stuck with a $700,000 ball.” Yes, that would also be a funny ending to this farce.
Footnote: Immediately after Barry Bonds broke the home run record, the Onion ran this funny headline: “MLB To Place Asterisk, Pound Sign, Exclamation Point, Letter ‘F’ Next To Bonds’ Name In Record Books.” Once again, the Onion is spot on.
Football fans know that the Patriots got busted stealing signals from the Jets the other week. My initial reaction was: why just fine the Patriots rather than a meaningful penalty, like forfeiting the game? But I think Ed Felten, a computer professor at Princeton, asks an even better question, “why don’t NFL teams encrypt their signals better?” (As aside, this blog is amazing in that every response is worth reading too.)
Of course, there are challenges: the game clock keeps ticking, players are traded to rival teams and signals have to be transmitted in open view of cameras and the public. And the players involved are not brain surgeons!
The most prevalent solutions currently used involve secrecy and timing. Think of the third base coach: he makes lots of irrelevant signals, and then at some point he gives an indicator signal and then the next few ones are the real signals. Part of the security comes from the fact the opposition doesn’t know what a real signal is (e.g., is the left foot forward or the right hand scratching the ear?) This is a simple encryption scheme that can easily be deciphered with enough observations. Here’s a short youtube interview of minor league third=base coach:
In football, Ed suggests a better solution: a “one-time use pad.” For example, defensive players can have a grid with the various defenses on it. The coach just sends two signals, one for the row and one for the column. It doesn’t matter if the opponents know what the system is or the signals, so long as the pads are secret. And the pads can be disposed or replaced several times in a game. All of the crypyographic work can be done by computers and experts on the sidelines.
So when will sports teams start hiring cryptographers? First, they could protect their own teams signals. Second they could probably crack the opponents systems as well until they hire their own experts!
My neighbor just showed me these amusing comedic highlights from the US Open. Enjoy!
gimelstob’s next career move:
Djokovic’s imitations of Sharapova and Nadal:
Djorkovic has what I consider to be the best “classic” serve. As you can see clearly in this video, it is compact and hence repeatable. It is a three-step move, (down, up, hit!) and the ball toss is completely vertical. Check it out:
Compare Djorkovic’s serve to Federer’s:
His move is fluid so it’s hard to say how many steps it is. Also, he loops his ball toss! Most instructors will kill you for doing this, because it is so hard to repeat. But for Federer, it gives him a great advantage: he can achieve different spins and placements off the same toss depending on how and when he chooses to strike the ball. In contrast, Djorkovic will vary his toss too to change spins and placements but his opponent can tell before he hits it what he is likely to be doing.
Well, I guess yesterday’s result shows that the loopy toss is the best if you are as good as Federer. I’m not, so I’m working on the straight and narrow!
There can only be one all-time best, and for tennis TV commentators (and perhaps all sports), the best is John MacEnroe.
So here are two great examples of entertaining commentary. In this first clip from sunday night (39 secs), MacEnroe adds cutting social commentary to the match. Tracey Austin tells a heartwarming tale of a woman whose tennis career has actually improved since becoming a mom five years ago. At the end, Austin attempts to credit the boyfriend for providing the encouragement: “Her boyfriend says, ‘You still have your best years ahead of you. Let’s try to go back on the circuit…” And John interrupts, “Let’s not get married.” “John!”
The second one isn’t humorous. But I just think he is on top of the real issues. I asked this exact question to my friend in my match today. And frankly, he had a better answer than anyone on this telecast: “It’s a vestige of how the lines work on traditional grass courts.” But John asked this important philosophical question so much more poignantly than I ever could: “Why is it when it hits that white part–the line–it skids?“