Wednesday Open Thread

I'll be working all day (and probably tomorrow as well.) Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    From our "Patriot Games" file: (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:24:51 AM EST
    Let the flamethrowing commence again. Analyst Warren Sharp continues to press his increasingly compelling case that the deflated football controversy currently enveloping the New England Patriots on the eve of their appearance in Super Bowl XLIX was likely not just a one-time occurrence in last week's AFC championship game, but rather has been an ongoing issue with the team since 2007.

    Specifically, he further examines in detail the precipitous and suspicious decline in the overall number of fumbles committed per season by the Patriots versus the rest of the league's teams, after Tom Brady and Peyton Manning successfully lobbied the NFL in 2006 to allow teams to supply their own footballs both at home and on the road:

    "Based on the assumption that plays per fumble follow a normal distribution, you'd expect to see, according to random fluctuation, the results that the Patriots have gotten since 2007 once in 5842 instances.

    "Which in layman's terms means that this result only being a coincidence, is like winning a raffle where you have a 0.0001711874 probability to win. In other words, it's very unlikely that results this abnormal are only due to the endogenous nature of the game."

    If all this is indeed true -- and the statistics provided by Sharp strongly suggest that his findings are not merely a matter of coincidence -- then the Patriots are clearly undermining the integrity of the NFL's product with their chicanery, and league officials need to act.


    And what I found interesting is that (none / 0) (#8)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:11:19 AM EST
    when he looked beyond just the Patriots' performance, and included the other teams in the league, the anomaly didn't go away.

    Watched Inside the NFL last night, and they showed how little time it takes to take a football from 12.5 psi to 10.5 psi - and that the difference can be felt.

    Wonder if there's any pre-game/equipment guy videotape from the other Patriots' games...???


    Trial by Bombast & Innuendo (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:03:53 AM EST
    When Errorbars Hit Mainstream News

    The NFL recently hired physicists at Columbia to help make the case for science with the football fiasco, but I think that's unnecessary: a few good experiments with temperature and friction and lots of measurements by lots of different pressure gauges will empirically demonstrate how much of a range we might expect from such things. In other words, understanding errorbars.

    In fact, I heard quite a few people call in to ESPN radio over the past week trying to explain to the sports radio hosts what might be going on scientifically, only to be hung up on. The truth is, it's not as interesting a story to think about it just happening outside our control. It messes with our sense of omnipotence and control.

    This is bad news for society, as more and more things become "datafied" and as we assume that will translate into perfect information.

    I've been reading MathBabe's blog for a number of years and, as an old engineer, recommend her writing, especially re statistics.


    Maybe I'm always thinking too much like a lawyer (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:39:03 AM EST
    and not like a scientist, but isn't the issue here whether the footballs were deflated in violation of the rules (i.e., whether one team was cheating) and not whether deflating the footballs would give one team an actual advantage over the other? I mean, the latter question is interesting, but it should be of no moment in an investigation of whether a team is due to be sanctioned for cheating.  (It's not like there's a plagiarism defense that goes, "Sure I copied from that other kid's paper, but her paper turned out not to be as good as I thought it would be.")

    It's very strange, Peter, watching (2.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:27:53 PM EST
    people rush to judgement, especially here, where we are constantly reminded by Jeralyn to wait for the evidence, and even more important, since this is a blog and we are unlikely to ever see, hear, smell, or touch the evidence, to refrain from judging, period.

    Anybody who wants to prove the Patriots cheated is free to build a case.  So far, we've had plenty of hypotheses but none proven.  Even the few facts we're given are fuzzy.  First reports were that 11 of 12 footballs were 2 psi under at halftime.  Then we're told that only one ball was maybe 2 psi under and the other ten, only 1 psi under.  And for comparison?  Nothing.  According to the Google cached copy of the previous story, no measurement of the Colt's balls was taken synchronously with the halftime measurements of the Patriot footballs.

    Although the case is about air, it cannot be proven with hot air.


    You are Misrepresenting People... (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:13:25 PM EST
    ...and policy.  It is not 'rush to judgement policy' it's an 'innocent until proven guilty' policy.  For anything non-defendant related, that policy does not apply.

    For a game you dislike, don't seem to know much about, you sure have an opinion about it how infractions should be processed by fans.  It's the NFL, there will be no court date, no proof is needed to pass judgement or punishment and most importantly, no one will be imprisoned.

    Which is precisely why anyone can make any judgement here about the NFL.  I would also add that the proof that has been represented may not meet the burden of 'beyond a reasonable doubt', but it does meet the NFL's burden of proof, which is 'no proof needed', so please stop implying that they are one in the same.

    If you are going to keep insisting on no 'rush to judgement' then at least have the decency to abide by your own ridiculous notions and stop rushing to judgement of others and the game you dislike.


    I hope you are not accusing me (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 03:11:09 PM EST
    of "rushing to judgment," Mr. N. I suggested that the issue at hand was really "whether" there was cheating under the governing rule book, as opposed to "whether" underinflation of the footballs would (as a matter of fact) give an unfair advantage to one team over the other. I don't really know anything about pro football, don't watch it, don't enjoy it, and don't even know its rules that well. I am only interested in the social phenomenon that a team that is seriously suspected and accused of cheating in the semi-finals will apparently without question be permitted to take that victory and play in the very-big-deal national finals in their sport.

    I'd never accuse you of that or anything, Peter (none / 0) (#94)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 06:58:34 PM EST
    It's the social phenomenon that interests me as well.  Unfortunately the  phenomenon I'm now interested in is right here, playing out in a group of otherwise thoughtful people.

    Earlier this week, Quarterback Brady's preference for less inflated footballs was alluded to as indicative of his guilt.  I found the source of that statement in Brady's offhand comment about the habit, of one of Brady's teammates, of spiking the football following a touchdown.  According to Brady, spiking the football, i.e., throwing it directly at the ground, results in enough deflation to both perceive and exploit. If the valve is so leaky that simply throwing the ball at the ground causes deflation, why wouldn't being repeatedly jumped on by large angry men result in a similar deflation?

    There are too many unaccounted for variables for us to feel comfortable handing the Patriots to a lynch mob.


    Oy (none / 0) (#95)
    by sj on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 07:00:48 PM EST
    :: shakes head ::

    You're correct. (none / 0) (#42)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:13:39 PM EST
    Yes, purposely deflating a football below regulation pressure is against the rules. And that's what is at issue here, not any supposed advantaged derived by the Patriots when playing with them.

    That said, Warren Sharp is seeking an explanation as to why the Patriots -- and only the Patriots -- have been consistently fumbling well below the league's average since 2007, when teams were first allowed to bring and play with their own footballs while on offense during game time.

    Regarding your other point, it's been further noted that New England only scored 17 points on offense during the first half when the balls were underinflated, but then rang up 28 points in the second half once the officials had re-inflated them to regulation pressure.

    Therefore, one could also argue -- and it has been argued -- that for the AFC championship game at least, whatever "advantage" an underinflated football might have offered the Patriots that day was due more to that team's own psychological perceptions, than any actual reality.



    Sharp also cautioned us about (none / 0) (#43)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:21:16 PM EST
    small data sets.

    He considers a single season to be too small, I wonder what he would say about 1/2 of one game.


    You might want to read his (none / 0) (#60)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:33:47 PM EST
    posts here, and here, which address sample size, among other things.

    I found this pretty interesting:

     1.  Patriots players fumbled SIGNIFICANTLY more often when playing on other NFL teams than when playing for the Patriots:

            Individual players who played on New England during the 2007-14 span and on other teams fumbled 46% less often ON the Patriots as compared to on their other teams (98 touches/fumble on NE, 67 on other teams).

      2.  The most utilized of the Patriots players fumbled even more frequently when paying for other NFL teams:

            The players who played the MOST often for the Patriots during this span fumbled the ball TWICE as frequently on other teams as they did on the Patriots (107 touches/fumble on NE, 53 on other teams).

      3.  Learning ball possession skills in New England did NOT transfer to other NFL teams after players left:

            Individual players who played on the Patriots fumbled 88% more often after LEAVING the Patriots as they did when playing on the Patriots (105 touches/fumble on NE, 56 after NE on other teams).

      4.  In fact, the opposite was true - players were MORE secure carrying the football before even playing for the Patriots than they were after leaving the Patriots:

            Individual players who played on the Patriots fumbled 25% less frequently before joining New England as they did after playing for New England and then leaving (70 touches/fumble before NE, 56 after NE).

    Thanks, cool links, lots of info there. (none / 0) (#80)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:57:16 PM EST
    Was there something specific I should notice w/regard to my comment about whether 1/2 of one game is a suitable sample size?

    No, not really. Your mention of it (none / 0) (#87)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:25:44 PM EST
    reminded me that Sharp had addressed this in a couple of his posts on the subject, and I wanted to be sure you saw that.

    Thanks, they were very interesting. (none / 0) (#91)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 06:04:42 PM EST
    The Argument... (none / 0) (#45)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:33:18 PM EST
    ...originally made was yes there were low pressure balls, but the atmosphere was responsible, not a human being.  Like car tires, the argument was it was scientifically possible for a football to lose 2lbs of air at the temperatures they played, or so many Boston fans claimed.

    It lasted a day, maybe, because they tested both teams balls, only one's pressure decreased for 11 of 12 balls.  But seems like they are still pushing it, which to me is what the NFL wants, an excuse to take the investigation beyond Sunday.

    At this point, as you mentioned, they have determined rules were broken, that link was more in tune with the information available 9 days ago.  Now they have guy on video taking the balls into the equipment room for 90 seconds.

    Plus of course, it's the NFL, not court, they don't have to actually prove anything to discipline.

    If the argument was advantage, surely the score proved the Pats scored more points with properly inflated balls, well over double.  The under-inflated balls were removed at halftime, Pats had 17, at game end they had 45.


    All true (none / 0) (#53)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:16:44 PM EST
    But an argument can be made that a team who is down 17-7 at halftime, as the Colts were, could have also lost momentum (and conversely, the Patriots gained extra momentum) to help them come back and score 28 more.  

    No, the final outcome probably wouldn't be different, but there are rules for a reason.  I don't like Seattle, but I hate cheaters more.  Go Seahawks!


    I Agree, and More Importantly... (none / 0) (#61)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:38:36 PM EST
    ...with other games coming into question, did the Pats even belong in the game.  Probably, but with cheating and the butterfly effect, we will never know and that sucks.  One more loss and maybe no home-field, two and maybe no bye week.

    I am in the same boat as you, don't like cheaters, and the Hawks are just getting annoying.  I will be cheering for great plays, which hopefully will allow me to celebrate twice as much.


    You have misrepresented the facts (none / 0) (#62)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:44:27 PM EST
    "only one's pressure decreased for 11 of 12 balls."

    You have no evidence, period, that this assertion is true.

    One team's set was judged within the limits, but of that set, you have no knowledge, none, of where those pressures were relative to the starting pressure, which, fwiw, you don't know either.  So, you don't know the final pressures; you don't know the starting pressures.  You don't know when those pressures were measured.  You don't know the ambient air temperature at any point of this progression.  You don't know the temperature of the air inside the ball or the condition of the balls themselves.  

    You're not just cherry picking evidence.  You're cherry picking words to reassemble into sentences to support your prejudices.

    Gotta feel for defense attorneys who have to face this day in and day out.


    But do you know how many angels can (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 03:35:44 PM EST
    dance on the head of a pin?

    We know that each team gets to use its own footballs, the referee checks the pressure in all of them prior to the game, and marks each ball as it is approved for play.

    So, at the point at which all the balls were approved, they were handed over to each team's respective designated equipment/ball manager.  We know that the person responsible for the Patriots' footballs made a 90-second stop in a bathroom; we do not know - because there are no cameras there - what transpired therein.

    At halftime, the pressure in all the footballs was measured.  I think it is reasonable to infer that, absent any finding to the contrary, the pressure of the Colts' footballs was within the mandated 12.5 - 13.5 psi range.  We also know that 11 of the Patriots' 12 footballs were not, and all 11 were below the low end of that range, some by as much as 2 lbs.

    We know, because Brady told us so, that once he gets his footballs to the point where he likes them for play, he doesn't want anyone touching or messing with them.  Anyone who thinks there's someone on the team who would mess with them without Brady's knowledge is - you should pardon the expression - nuts.  After years and years of handling footballs, I think it's safe to assume that Brady can put his hands on a ball and instantly know whether it's "right" or not.  Anyone who thinks Brady wouldn't have screamed to the heavens had any of those balls not been up to his specifications is also nuts.

    Please check out the Patriots' fumbling stats, which underwent remarkable - actually, unbelievable - improvement from 2007 to 2014, far surpassing any other team in the league over that same period.  Those stats also tell us that players who were remarkably fumble-free while playing for the Patriots suddenly developed fumble-itis after going to other teams.

    Something stinks, I think the league knows something stinks, and is once again going to come under fire.


    Anne. please (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:20:48 PM EST
    Stop with the logic and facts.  It makes my head hurt.

    Oh, for crying out loud! (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:54:04 PM EST
    As I told you earlier, the officials tested each football's pressure before the game. That's the NFL's standard operating procedure, and that's your starting point!

    Further, we're talking about sporting events, which require quick judgments on the part of players, coaches and referees, and prompt and timely resolution of disputes and controversies on the part of league officials. It doesn't require a court of inquiry.

    Only if the NFL itself or one of its members were to file suit in civil court to legally vacate New England's playoff victories and seek return of the team's share of earnings derived from its forthcoming Super Bowl appearance, would your points be valid and come into play.

    But we're not talking about any of that. (At least, not yet and hopefully, never.) New England's all set to play Seattle in the Super Bowl, and that won't change.

    But the NFL reserves every right per its own bylaws and its collective bargaining agreement / contract with the NFL players' union to levy fines and suspensions unilaterally against those individuals and teams which the league itself determines are in violation of its stated policies, guidelines and rules.

    While Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady will obviously be on the sidelines this Sunday, they could still face serious sanctions and even expulsion if league officials subsequently find that either individual was being untruthful, evasive or misleading during the league's investigation of this matter.

    Further, the Patriots as a team could face penalties as well, such as the loss of one or more or even all of its upcoming draft picks, or possibly the loss of home field advantage in future postseason appearances, regardless of how well it finishes in the league's final standings.

    All this is purely speculative, given where we are right now in the ongoing investigation. But it's also entirely within the NFL's purview and dominion per pro sports' general exemptions from compliance with U.S. antitrust laws, and its findings, determinations and rulings are subject only to the bylaws and collective bargaining agreement.

    Therefore, as far as the NFL has thus far determined, the footballs used by the Patriots during the first half of the AFC championship game were significantly deflated below official regulations, and there's a very good chance that it may be human-related rather than caused by natural phenomena. That's a finding not necessarily subject to further debate, save at the sole pleasure of league officials themselves.

    With their finding of probable cause for further investigation, what NFL officials are ostensibly doing now is attempting to determine how exactly this occurred, and if it's human-caused (as it presently appears to be) who's responsible and / culpable for it.

    That's why they've hired an outside counsel to conduct its investigation -- and are further doing so, I might add, over the strenuous objections of the Patriots organization. That should tell you something right there.



    But MathBabe's post says nothing about ... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:19:15 AM EST
    ... the controversy, and is mostly a lament about how nobody is paying attention to science anymore. While I'd agree with her about that, her reference to the NFL is merely tangential.

    Perhaps all these people who are pointing so frantically to the science of air pressure and temperature in their quest to exonerate the Patriots, might want to also explain how the cold weather only managed to affect the footballs on the Patriots' sideline in Foxboro, while simultaneously leaving unaffected the Colts' footballs on the other side of the field.

    Or maybe we're to then assume that some sort of mysterious and divine provenance was somehow at work against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady on that day, not unlike how the Angel of Death passed over the houses of the Israelites in the Book of Exodus while on its way to kill the firstborn sons of their Egyptian captors.

    Sorry, but given their past behavior, New England does not deserve the benefit of the doubt here.



    You haven't proven any of that, Donald. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:31:42 AM EST
    So far you haven't provided anything but bombast and innuendo to make your case, enhancing it by smearing the motives of anybody, like me, who dares question your great outgassing of hot air by asking for the methods and empirical data supporting your suppositions.

    I've forwarded a couple of pieces of explanation.  In response, you've offered little but rote appeals to authority, the classic logical fallacy.

    I don't have any skin in this game.  I don't give a damn about either team.  American style football is a stupid brutal sport.


    If you "have no skin in the game" ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:40:19 PM EST
    ... and you don't care about football, then why comment about it?

    All I've done is link to some statistical information from Sharp that I found compelling. People can read it and decide for themselves regarding its veracity.

    I'm not an engineer like you, but I'm also not stupid, either. I was a biology dual major (with history) as an undergraduate, and I think I know enough about science to realize when someone's not making a convincing case. The basic facts of the case are roughly as follows:

    • Because both the Patriots and the Colts were playing outside at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA that day, both teams and their respective equipment were simultaneously exposed to the same temperatures and weather elements.

    • Per league rules, NFL officials first examined all 24 footballs from both teams prior to kickoff, and then did so again at halftime, after suspicions about ball deflation had been conveyed to them during the first half of play.

    • Upon that second examination, those officials determined that 11 of the Patriots' 12 footballs were significantly underinflated by as much as 15% below regulation, while every single one of the Colts' dozen footballs had remained at the required regulation pressure.

    Therefore, those persons who are seeking to offer a scientific rationale for what happened to the Patriots' footballs that day need to also explain how only the footballs on the Patriots' side of the field were affected thusly by the outside air temperature, while the Colts' footballs were not.

    I happen to think that's a very fair question to ask of those who are insisting that there's a valid and logical scientific explanation here. And if neither you nor any other person can answer it to my satisfaction, then all of your huffing and puffing and threatening to blow my house down is hardly going to convince me otherwise.

    I'm not the only one here or elsewhere who thinks that somebody tampered with those footballs. The evidence that we've seen thus far strongly suggests that it was human intervention, rather than atmospheric phenomena, which caused the Patriots' footballs to become significantly underinflated after their first examination by officials prior to kickoff.

    But as of this moment, we just don't yet know who did it, because nobody is thus far willing to step forward and take responsibility for the deed.



    Post hoc statistical fantasies, (none / 0) (#57)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:21:47 PM EST
    conflation of causation and correlation, begging the question, and the usual ad hominem, which is beneath you, although you have in this debate embraced it with uncharacteristic zeal.  There are more flaws in your argument but who cares.  Everybody knows (I hope you don't mind if I borrow your favorite fallacy) that appeals to emotion trump appeals to reason.

    Here's the latest from one of the biggest blatherers in this case, Peter King.

    King waits until the last few paragraphs to admit that he may have been completely full of beans.  At that point, where the difference between legal and not is only 0.2psi, error bars become relevant, the importance of which you laughed off.


    If you tell me that any of the footballs (none / 0) (#28)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:02:40 PM EST
    used by the Colts that day were registering lower than the mandated 12.5 psi, I'm happy to put this all off on air temps and contraction/expansion, etc.  Or if you can tell me that the Colts kept their footballs next to the heater on the sidelines, and the Patriots didn't, then there may be a case for why the pressure in one team's footballs differed significantly from the other team's.

    Since these are explanations that are eminently obvious even to the non-scientists who still remember from their elementary school science - or Seinfeld - that heat expands things and cold contracts them, I have to believe these were the first possibilities considered as an explanation.  In other words, if you hear hoofbeats, look for a horse.  I think they looked for the horse, and failing to identify it as the source of the hoofbeats, are now considering it could be a zebra - and not the kind wearing a referee uniform.

    Is there an explanation for the Pats' startlingly good - low - stats on fumbling as a percentage of plays?  Is it possible that, in the years since teams were allowed to provide their own balls, that there's an explanation that doesn't involve playing with a tampered ball?  Is there an explanation for these numbers to be so consistently low regardless of when and where and under what conditions the games were being played - indoors, outside, cold, heat, rain?

    I don't know that anyone has any answers, other than those who may have been involved, if this was a case of equipment tampering.  But what we do know doesn't lend itself to accepting the Pats' denials as the last word.


    I'm not a scientist (none / 0) (#46)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:35:54 PM EST
     and don't have the data necessary to analyze if I was.

      One thing that would be interesting to test is how long it would take footballs that had stored in a relatively hot environment, prior to the inspection, to cool internally sufficiently to have the pressure drop below the acceptable minimum limit.

      For example, I inflate a football so it is below  the acceptable limit at "room temperature." I then put the balls in a very hot environment long enough that the internal temperature of the football increases enough that the pressure is within the acceptable limits.

      If I then removed the balls from the hot environment shortly prior to the inspection, could I "fool them?" You could do the math to an extent based on gas laws but without knowing the insulating properties of a football and the times involved  you don't have enough information for a complete answer. I also have no idea whether a quick cold rub of the balls would make the outer surface not feel suspiciously warm without reducing the inner temperature, etc.

       In short, is it possible the Pats could be both telling the truth (we didn't tamper with balls after they were inspected) and within the letter, if not spirit, of the rules (if there is no rule regulating the manner in which balls are to be stored prior to inspection?



    I've noticed that air pumps get pretty hot (none / 0) (#83)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:06:55 PM EST
    when used, which I would assume heats up the air that they are pumping.

    I would guess a "newly" pumped up ball would be filled with hot air, and that after a certain amount of time that air would cool and thus lower the pressure.

    I suppose you could also figure out other ways to get hot air in a ball if you really wanted to.

    Heck, I bet you could use a microwave, now that I'm thinking about it...


    Just to be ultra-nitpicky... (none / 0) (#54)
    by unitron on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:17:00 PM EST
    ...if a football has been sitting next to a heater, the material of which it is made is likely going to be softer and more flexible compared to one just sitting there in the cold, even if both started out with the same amount of inflation.

    Yeah, maybe (none / 0) (#59)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:25:29 PM EST
     that and other possible issues were kind of glossed over with the "etc."

    In the Peter King half-apology I linked to (none / 0) (#64)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:52:01 PM EST
    he admits that wet leather skins, stretching because they're under pressure, thus increasing the volume of the container constraining a fixed amount of air, could add contribute another 0.7 psi of pressure drop.

    There are a huge number of holes in this case.

    Insulting each other for mooting one view or another is the last thing we should do.


    The biggest hole might be (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:21:46 PM EST
    the one you seem to be standing in...the one that seems to be rendering you incapable of seeing that the weather conditions were the same for both teams.

    What I don't think we know is where the Colts' balls were measuring at the time they were presented for approval, and where the Patriots' balls were measuring at the same time.  I don't think I've heard anyone suggest the possibility that the Colts' footballs were measuring at the top end of the range, and the Patriots' footballs were measuring at the bottom end, which would open the door to the Colts' balls still being within the mandated range at halftime after losing pressure due to atmospheric conditions, and the Patriots' footballs falling out of range for the same reason.

    It's possible.  That I haven't heard anyone talk about this possibility could mean nothing, or it could mean something.  It could mean there was no record of what the starting pressures were.  It could mean that was looked at early, and found not to be a factor.

    What I can't ignore is that, as the links I provided in this thread show, from the time the league - courtesy of lobbying for a change by Brady and Peyton Manning - allowed each team to use its own footballs, in 2007, through the 2014 season, the Patriots had an astonishingly low rate of fumbles, markedly down from 2006 and before.  What's more, players with very low fumble rates while playing for NE were not able to maintain those rates when they moved on to play for other teams.  And not just one player or two, but across the board.

    What could account for this, if not playing with footballs that were deflated enough to make them easier to catch and hold onto?

    No, I think - and I'm still allowed to do that, and have an opinion - this is a case of the Patriots finally getting caught doing something they've been doing for years.  

    And I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't other areas where they've taken or are taking advantage by bending or breaking other rules they think no one will catch them doing.


    There (none / 0) (#71)
    by FlJoe on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:07:37 PM EST
    is an internal bladder that keeps the air pressure.It might even contract a bit in temp drops who knows The external condition has nothing to do with it.
    There should no holes in the science by now. The physics is basically HS level, it could be empirically determined by a sixth grader. My back of the envelope calculation using the ideal gas law indicates a possible loss of 0.6 pounds, If I had a ball, pressure valve and thermometer I could prove it to myself in a couple of hours. Repeat it a few times wet, dry, whatever.. soon you could have a good idea if this was possibly weather related or not.

    Unfortunately the empirical science (none / 0) (#78)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:46:25 PM EST
    for a real-life football is not anywhere close to what a sixth grader nor high schooler might study in school.

    Among other things, footballs stretch to some extent under these pressures. Therefore a football's volume varies somewhat in response to these varying internal pressures.

    However, any "back of the envelope calculation" based on sixth grade or HS physics must assume constant volume, and therefor are not accurate in this case of a football's varying volume.

    I suppose if you had some way to accurately define the "stretchiness" of a football, you could do a fairly reasonable empirical calculation.

    Seems like it would be easier to merely pump up some balls and measure any changes.


    But we're not talking about one football. (none / 0) (#88)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:30:52 PM EST
    Rather, we're talking about eleven of them, all of which were coincidentally located on the Patriots' sideline under their exclusive control and, if we are to believe the Patriots thmselves, simply deflated both unilaterally and simultaneously during the first half of the AFC championship game, likely due to the weather conditions.

    I'm sorry, but that explanation just defies common sense and doesn't fly at all, particularly since the Colts' footballs were subjected to the exact same temperatures and conditions, yet remained fully inflated.

    I'm perfectly willing to listen to any rational, science-based explanation as to what happened to those eleven footballs in Foxboro.

    What I do know about science is that its theories and hypotheses generally don't work in random and helter-skelter fashion, to the point where all other things being in equilibrium, its physical effects are applicable to one side of the football field only.

    So, if someone really wants to tackle the science behind that particular phenomenon and explain it to me, trust me, I'm all ears. Should be fascinating stuff, I'm sure.

    But what I'm really unwilling to endure is having my intelligence insulted by Belichick and Brady and other key members of the team's staff, of whom logic would indicate at least one likely knows a whole lot more about this matter than he or she is presently willing to admit publicly.



    Maybe you meant this response for someone else?

    Mr Natural (none / 0) (#84)
    by Uncle Chip on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:07:47 PM EST
    You're up --

    Instead of blabbering on about this why don't you go to your local sports shop.

    Pick out a football, a pump and a gauge.

    Fill the ball up to 12.5lbs at room temperature.

    Put it in a refrigerator [they're usually about 40 degrees] for 15 minutes.

    Take the air pressure of the ball at 40 degrees.

    Then let the ball sit out back at room temperature for 15 minutes for another 15 minutes to warm back up to room temperature and take it's air pressure again.

    1] What was the air pressure at 40 degrees???

    2] What was the air pressure after the ball had warmed up to room temperature again???

    Then report back to us your findings.

    This is not rocket science.


    Yesterday, Gregory Matthews and Michael Lopez of Deadspin.com posted their lengthy detailed rebuttal to warren Sharp's analysis about Patriot fumbles or alleged lack thereof.

    And so in the interest of fairness, here's the link to that rebuttal, "Why Those Statistics About The Patriots' Fumbles Are Mostly Junk," posted with the caveat that I've not read their analysis yet and probably won't get to it until later tonight.

    But if anyone else wants to have a crack at it and interpret their findings for me and the rest of my fellow the unwashed masses, please do so. I have my own biases, obviously, but since I started this particular debate, it's only right that I should hear out those who've taken the time to put together a thoughtful, detailed but quite contrary opinion.



    NASA - Day of Remembrance is Today (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:57:05 AM EST
    NASA will pay will tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues, during the agency's annual Day of Remembrance Wednesday, Jan. 28.

    NASA's Day of Remembrance honors members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and other agency senior officials will hold an observance and wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.


    I had no idea they did this every year, but very grateful there are people willing to risk their lives to better humanity.

    Parachute failure 1967
    - Vladimir Komarov

    Decompression 1971

    • Georgi Dobrovolski
    • Viktor Patsayev
    • Vladislav Volkov

    Vehicle disintegration during launch 1986
    • Greg Jarvis
    • Christa McAuliffe
    • Ronald McNair
    • Ellison Onizuka
    • Judith Resnik
    • Michael J. Smith

    Vehicle disintegration on re-entry 2003
    • Rick D. Husband
    • William McCool
    • Michael P. Anderson
    • David M. Brown
    • Kalpana Chawla
    • Laurel B. Clark
    • Ilan Ramon
    • Dick Scobee

    Training/Test Related can be found HERE.

    In 1986 (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:02:53 AM EST
    I was in my senior year of high school, sitting in Mrs. Sogge's 5th hour speech class when the principal came over the PA and made an announcement about the Challenger.

    Wow - can't believe it's been so long.

    And how old that makes me!


    You feel old? (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:33:12 AM EST
    You're not old, I'm old.
    I was a Girl Scout leader back then.  We had a meeting that day, and naturally enough, the girls knew about the disaster and wanted to talk about it, so we did.
    Then I had them stand in a circle as we sang "Taps" ("Day is Done, Gone the Sun").

    I was playing cards (none / 0) (#22)
    by sj on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:37:51 AM EST
    with some friends when another friend dropped by and casually said that the Challenger had exploded. I was engrossed in the game and it took me a second before I thought, "wait, what?"

    I'm no fan of Reagan and never have been, but I thought his speech that day was fine, moving and honorable.

    Wait.. there are words to Taps?


    I had a 2 1/2 yr old on my hip and was (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:28:53 PM EST
    about to find out I was pregnant with our second child - who turned 28 in October.

    Where does the time go?


    Yes, there are (none / 0) (#29)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:21:57 PM EST
    Although the lyrics were created later.  

    Day is done, gone the sun
    From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
    All is well, safely rest
    God is nigh.

    Fading light dims the sight
    And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
    From afar, drawing near
    Falls the night.

    Thanks and praise for our days
    Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
    As we go, this we know
    God is nigh.

    Lyrics written by Horace Lorenzo Trim

    It was often sung at Girl Scout (and Boy Scout, too, I think) meetings and encampments.
    I don't know if the Girl Scouts still sing this, but they did 30 years ago.


    I can confirm the BS still sing it today. (none / 0) (#31)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:23:13 PM EST
    We held our meetings (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:36:27 PM EST
    in the local elementary school.  
    That day, as the girls were singing "Taps," some of the teachers going by in the hallway stopped to listen to us, and those who knew the words sang along.
    By the time we were done, everyone was crying.

    Thought you were a decade younger than me (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:56:11 AM EST
    But I was only a sophomore in college in 1986. You learn something new every day.

    Just turned 46 (none / 0) (#18)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:36:06 AM EST
    Almost 3 weeks ago.

    I'm old enough (none / 0) (#49)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:05:30 PM EST
    to be your mother.
    Told you that you weren't old.  I'm the old one.   ;-)

    Nah (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:11:46 PM EST
    An older sister, maybe.  :)

    Thanks, but I am (none / 0) (#56)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:20:12 PM EST
    as many years older than you as my mother was to me.   ;-)

    I Was in 10th Grade... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:51:29 AM EST
    ...and my locker mate told me between classes.  I don't remember an announcement or anything at school.

    I could point to that spot, almost 30 years later, to where I was standing when he told me.  Which is odd considering I don't remember thinking it was a huge deal until I got home and saw my parents, they were never home when I got home.


    Saw it from (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by FlJoe on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:32:25 PM EST
    my front yard. It was too cold to work that day, ironically we were sent home because the o-rings in the nail guns refused to work. I was shocked when they went ahead with the mission, they never launched anything when it was that cold. Definitely etched into my memory.

    Also, we should remember ... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:42:17 AM EST
    ... astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chafee of NASA's never-completed Apollo 1 mission,, who were killed in January 1967 when their command module caught fire and burned during a routine launch pad exercise, only 25 days before they were to actually launch into orbit.

    Thank you for posting this, Scott. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:17:43 AM EST
    Just one minor correction. Dick Scobee was not a crewmember on Columbia in 2003. Rather, he served as commander of the Challenger in January 1986.

    Dang... (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:24:29 AM EST
    ...sorry about that.

    Maybe NASA... (none / 0) (#58)
    by unitron on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:22:25 PM EST
    ...should just take Januaries and Februaries off every year.

    Mike Pence, Republican (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 03:56:42 PM EST
    governor of Indiana announced that his state will now expand Medicaid under the ACA as of Feb 1.   However, the expansion will include some bending, if not breaking, of the federal rules.  Medicaid will be expanded to an additional 350,000 Indiana residents with incomes of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level--about $16,000 for singles, $27,000 for a family of three.

     Pence, a possible presidential candidate and Koch Brothers darling (a non-coincidental interrelationship), will accept the federal money (100 percent this year and at least 90 percent in future years) only with his own conservative twist that insists that "when people take greater ownership of their health care, they make better choices."

    Until now, unless disabled or pregnant, Indiana  adults qualified for Medicaid only if they had young children and earned less than 25 percent of the poverty level, or about $4,500 a year for a family of three.  

    Now, under Pence's plan, most will have to pay monthly premiums equaling 2 percent of the household income, between $3 and $25 per month for a single childless adult (coverage includes vision and dental).  Those below the poverty level do not pay premiums, but they are then excluded from vision and dental.  And, there are co-payments including $4 for a doctor visit and $75 for a hospitalization.

    If premiums are skipped, Indiana will lock people out of coverage for six months--an exception does exist for the "medically frail."      This complicated expansion should surely make the working poor make better choices.  

    Good grief. (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:22:01 PM EST
    When will the GOP realize that people don't choose to be sick?

    they jsut want them to choose not to get well (none / 0) (#74)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:30:13 PM EST
    Like (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:42:46 PM EST
    Alan Grayson said the GOP plan is for you to die quick.

    He is my personal House rep for a reason! (none / 0) (#81)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:00:33 PM EST
    Good Greif (none / 0) (#77)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:45:12 PM EST
    When will Dems be happy that a republican Govenor actually compromised.  

    The right in my state is screaming bloody murder.


    I am not (none / 0) (#89)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:36:50 PM EST
    surprised to hear that at all. It's the reason Deal is letting hospitals go out of business here in Ga--he's too afraid of the right.

    Well, on the bright sides: (none / 0) (#90)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:53:41 PM EST
    (l) Pence has moved at bit on the ACA.  After the US Supreme Court (June 28, 2012) decision on ACA, Pence likened the ruling upholding the law to the September 11 terrorist attacks. And, (2) Indiana is finally extending coverage in an apparent fit of compassion, albeit the structure of the coverage means that many poor adults will not be able to access all the services needed.  

    Well, if it (none / 0) (#100)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 07:41:35 PM EST
    is like Ohio unfortunately it's not a whole lot better than not having insurance. The irony is that the way this is set up it actually encourages hospital admissions and people showing up when they are deathly ill only. The GOP never remembers my grandmother's saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 07:39:08 PM EST
    the news is full of Walker in WI cutting 300 billion from education so people are going to have to be laid off. But somehow there's 220 million for a new Bucks stadium.

    Hillary's Weight/Shape (2.00 / 1) (#101)
    by McBain on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:19:04 PM EST
    We're supposed to vote for presidents based on issues the like the economy and foreign policy but I wonder if people will hold Hillary's physical appearance against her? I haven't heard many people talk about that yet. I've heard questions about her age and health but not her shape.

    When was the last time we elected a significantly overweight president?

    She sure (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:30:02 PM EST
    doesn't look overweight to me.

    And talking about that kind of thing by the GOP is going to run a lot of people off. It sounds like they once again are stuck in 1950. Plenty of women in this country, in fact the majority, that don't have rail thin bodies. Hillary can smack them down saying we have enough young girls in this country with anorexia and other disorders due to this kind of thinking. So Go ahead GOP and start shooting yourself in the foot once again.

    It's like you mention the name Hillary and the GOP goes completely brain dead. It's a sight to see.


    "significantly overweight?" (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:42:45 PM EST
    Been watching Fox News again, haven't you, McBain?

    The latest attack on Clinton's appearance came from Ed Klein, an author who has penned a number of controversial and criticized books, including "The Truth About Hillary", which delves into Clinton's private life.

    "At this very moment that we're speaking right now, Brian, [the Clintons] are already thinking seriously about running in 2016," author Ed Klein told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade. "She'll be 69 years old. And as you know -- and I don't want to sound anti-feminist here -- but she's not looking good these days. She's looking overweight, and she's looking very tired."

    Or is it Breitbart?  To whom I will not link, but I'm sure you're familiar with John Nolte's remarks.

    And so it begins.  Again.

    Thank you so much for your, er, concern.  Tell me, do you bat your eyes when you ask these disingenuous questions?  


    In that case (none / 0) (#104)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:56:27 PM EST
    Chris Christie is even more unqualified to be President, based on his highly visible morbid obesity.

    I don't think he has a chance (none / 0) (#106)
    by McBain on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:09:01 PM EST
    I don't think most Americans want their leader to look like that.  It's not fair but his size would probably turn a lot of voters off.  Keep in mind, in some of those debates, he can't hide behind a podium.

    I take it you don't think it will be an issue? (none / 0) (#105)
    by McBain on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:04:30 PM EST
    I don't know who John Nolte is.  I agree, somewhat, with your Ed Klein quote.

    I think physical appearance is a legitimate issue for Hillary.  Looks do matter for some people.  She has a lot going for  her but if she doesn't slim down it might cost her some votes.  


    Brains matter for a lot of people, too. (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:26:32 PM EST
    Why do you care what Hillary looks like, anyway - you wouldn't vote for her if she looked like Kate Upton, so why bring it up?

    I mean, have you looked at the GOP field?  I don't see any beauties there.

    I hate to tell you, but Jeb's fat.  Huckabee's pudgy - he has jowls, for heaven's sake.  Scott Walker's got something weird going on with his eyes. Christie?  Still fat, still a bully.  Rand Paul?  Can't talk for more than 5 minutes before he takes a detour to Crazy Town.  Ben Carson?  On the same train with Rand Paul.  Ted Cruz?  Looks like Mr. Haney from Green Acres; sounds a little like him, too.  Mitt?  Think he paints in the gray on top of the hair dye for just the right touch of wise?

    Seriously, this is the kind of stuff that matters to you?  

    ::rolling eyes::


    You can pretend the average American voter (none / 0) (#108)
    by McBain on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:47:39 PM EST
    only cares about issues like jobs and foreign policy if you want.

    I'm not a Hillary fan but I'm not fond of the GOP crop either with the possible exception of Mitt Romney.  That's right, Mitt Romney. I don't think he would win but I think he might make a decent president.

    If Hillary looked like Kate Upton people would call her a bimbo. No one would take her seriously.

    I think most people consider Hillary to be smart and tough. When she sticks to issues, she does well. When she pretends to be one of us she fails miserably.



    No Presidential candidate can pretend (none / 0) (#110)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:20:27 PM EST
    to be "one of us."  The question is whether the positions that a candidate takes, the votes they've cast allow said candidate to claim a policy alignment with the middle class (or "one of us.")  

    Of all potential candidates, we surely know that the biggest pretense about understanding the poor and less well-to-do has somehow come from the mouth of Mr. 47%er, Mitt Romney.  If populism, in some form, is going to be an entry ticket to the 2016 Presidential election, I suspect the first one shown the door is adopt-a-new-persona Mitt.


    You didn't mean to make such a (none / 0) (#109)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:14:06 PM EST
    backward statement, did you McBain? Scrape yourself together and come up with something other than an adolescent comment.  (Well, since you are so weight conscious, the actual obesity of a C. Christie or M. Huckabee should really trouble you.  Jeb Bush has been packing on the pudge too.  The old mud-slinging--huh--we could all do it.)

    From our "Only in L.A." file: (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 07:33:47 AM EST
    So, where was Batman when she needed him? Likely, he was drinking a pitcher of margaritas with Robin at The Abbey in West Hollywood:

    Los Angeles Times | January 28, 2015
    Mr. Incredible convicted in Hollywood Boulevard brawl with Batgirl - "A man who wears a Mr. Incredible costume to entertain tourists on Hollywood Boulevard was convicted Tuesday of punching and body-slamming a Batgirl during a fight last year. Muhammet Bilik, 35, was convicted of battery and sentenced to a day in jail, three years probation, 20 days of Caltrans work and 36 anger-management classes in connection with the Oct. 22 attack in front of TCL Chinese Theatre that was caught on camera and uploaded to YouTube."

    And sadly, this isn't the first instance of superheroes and lovable children's cartoon characters going astray in the City of the Angels.

    Please join us next time on "Sesame Street After Hours," boys and girls, as Bert and Ernie take us to visit Miss Helena Hanbasquette on the set of her latest video shoot at the Manhole Productions Studios in Reseda, while Kermit and Miss Piggy teach us the importance of knowing how to hold our liquor, as they roll drunks on Santa Monica Blvd.


    I Went to Find the Video... (none / 0) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:16:03 AM EST
    ...for laughs.  Not really funny when you realize a guy assaulted a woman, so I am not posting.  It's hard to tell if the guy is really big, or if it's the costume muscles, but seeing a big dude go after a woman is bothersome.

    Yes, it is disturbing. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:39:27 AM EST
    And to get serious about it for the moment, I think that L.A. city officials have been painfully slow to recognize that the sidewalk solicitations of tourists in Hollywood by individuals seeking to capitalize on the popularity of these characters have become evermore competitive and aggressive. Further, it's been an ongoing problem for quite some time now. They really need to draft and promulgate rules  to regulate this sort of activity, and enforce applicable ordinances to curb disreputable and potentially dangerous behavior.

    How Do You Regulate... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 08:58:20 AM EST
    ...the activity of superheros, the keep trying in Xmen with little luck.

    I don't know. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 09:42:48 AM EST
    I've lost track over the years as to the overall number of superheroes there actually are in this country.

    Congress and state legislatures need to address the compelling issue of superhero standards because honestly, we can't have just anybody don a cape, mask and set of tights on a whim, and then claim that he or she is a crimefighter worthy of superhero status.

    Otherwise, what happens when someone who's truly in distress puts out an urgent call for a superhero's assistance, only to have this schmuck show up?

    There really oughta be a law, I tell ya.


    "the overall number of superheroes" (none / 0) (#17)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:05:05 AM EST
    is ZERO.

    Jeez, dude. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:24:45 AM EST
    Did the dog eat your sense of humor this morning, along with your homework? You need to go back to bed, and then try getting up on the right side.

    Plus Donald... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:53:58 AM EST
    ...there is no way he could know that, ditto for aliens, zombies, and gods...

    I believe the expression is (none / 0) (#69)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 03:58:08 PM EST
    "Did someone <substitute rude word for urinate> in your Cheerios?  ;-)

    Never mind the city... (none / 0) (#48)
    by unitron on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:59:19 PM EST
    ...why hasn't the MPAA jumped all over these people because of copyright infringement?

    They certainly aren't shy about doing so in other arenas.


    There's a decent documentary about (none / 0) (#63)
    by McBain on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:51:51 PM EST
    people who dress as superheros on Hollywood Boulevard.

    I met the woman who dressed as Wonder Woman in that film.  She wasn't crazy or violent but I can't say that about all of them.  


    Thanks. (none / 0) (#97)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 07:03:28 PM EST
    I'll watch it tonight.

    I think the problem here is not that the people doing this are necessarily crazy. Rather, the market for superheroes and lovable cartoon characters on Hollywood Blvd has gotten crowded and competitive.

    And with everyone jockeying for the best and most potentially lucrative locations on that stretch, tempers are understandably going to get frazzled and tested, which sometimes leads to bullying and violence.

    That's why everyone should just mellow out, and listen to The Kinks' "Celluloid Heroes." Because Ray Davies still said it best: "Those who are successful, be always on your guard; success walks hand in hand with failure down the Hollywood Boulevard."



    Willie McCool... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:01:26 AM EST
    ...is still the best astronaut name ever. RIP to him, and to all those adventurous souls. (Way more adventurous to me, I might add. I'm like Christoper Walker, who, when asked by Jay Mohr what he would rather have, the gift of flight or the tail of a dog, Chris replied without hesistation, "A tail, it's no contest! Come on, you can always get in a plane and fly. But a tail. People could know, without saying a word to you, how to deal with you that day.  

    "Production Asst: 'Uh oh, look out, Chris is in a bad mood today, stay away from him if you can.'

    "Production Asst 2: 'How do you know?"

    "Production Asst: 'Just look at his tail.'"

    No space travel for me!

    Christopher WALKEN (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 10:01:53 AM EST

    I Was Looking at My Dog... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 11:38:40 AM EST
    ...this weekend thinking the same thing, how different humanity would be if we couldn't hide our emotions.

    I was watching TV, and my dog was on her bed facing the opposite direction.  She was not happy with me, so I did what I always do, gave her some turkey jerky, rubber her belly, and told her what a good dog she is, problem solved, she was facing me and tail was a wagging.  She was happy.

    I looked at the GF and thought, there has got to be an easier way.  And then it hit me, tails would allow us a little insight into what others are thinking.  Not entirely, but just enough to solve so many problems and miscommunications.


    Did you try rubbing the GF's belly? (none / 0) (#32)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:24:02 PM EST
    Sorry - it's just that that part of your comment cracked me up.

    Think about this for a minute: what if you couldn't speak, or read or write?  What if the only communication tools at your disposal were your facial expressions and your physicality?  And what if the people around you were in the same boat?  If you wanted to communicate, you wouldn't be able to hide your feelings - because they - and the ability to hug someone, or push them out of the way, or turn your back on them would be about all you'd have to get your meaning across.  

    Would there be less misunderstanding?  I don't know - but it might not be as easy and simple as we'd like it to be, and it might not be all better with a special treat and a belly rub.  

    It puts me in mind of babies.  They can't tell you the why of anything - crying could mean anything from "I'm hungry" to "I'm so tired crying is the only way I know how to bleed off enough energy so I can sleep" to "I don't want you to put me down - I like it here in your arms."

    Trial and error - there would be a lot of that.  We'd become mimes, I guess; not a great selling point.  And I don't know that we'd be any better at figuring each other out, but we'd get good at being glad someone got it close enough!


    No, Just a Tail... (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:56:21 PM EST
    ...tails don't lie.  I don't want to communicate without words, just a gauge to let me know the general mood of people, including myself.  I would have a sign, "When the tail is down, Don't come around."

    I did give another GF some dog treats long ago and told her to hold them, little did I know she though it was a snack.  By the time I got my dog's collar a leash on, the treats were gone.

    I thought it was hilarious, but I did not need a tail to know she was not happy.


    Now, if someone was just scanning (none / 0) (#50)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:10:13 PM EST
    Anne's subject line and your subject line without reading the comments themselves, the whole thing could be seriously misconstrued.  To wit:
    "Did you try rubbing the GF's belly?"
    "No, Just a Tail...."
    I mean, ahem.

    Just for you (none / 0) (#96)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 07:01:25 PM EST
    Has anything been changed for the SB (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:22:05 PM EST
    re: each team controlling their own balls or checking pressure or anything?

    Seems to me that, even if it's just for appearances, the balls should be above suspicion for the big game.

    I'm more interested in this Seahawk god thing (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:45:21 PM EST
    Is there a betting line on how many interceptions god will make Russell Wilson throw to keep the game interesting? And will the betting line only count god induced interceptions as opposed to those that Wilson is responsible for?

    Also, when asked what he's going to do if he wins the Super Bowl, will Marshawn Lynch say he's going to Disney World or will he say "I'm only here so I won't get fined".

    I pulled for the Seahawks last year but these two could be a little too far out there for me this time around.


    Guess I missed the whole God thing, (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:57:40 PM EST
    which doesn't hurt my feelings.

    Maybe Disney will have to have the Disney-bound player say, "I'm going to Disney World - right after I get vaccinated for the measles!"


    You Missed Wilson Crying... (none / 0) (#55)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 02:19:34 PM EST
    ...right after the game.

    My take, the god reference didn't bother me in that he thanked god for giving him the skills to win, not for winning.  Not much of a differentiation, but it was there.

    I despise the looking at the heavens, pointing the #1 finger, and saying whatever it is they are saying to apparently, god.  That implies that god cares about that person more than others, which rubs me the wrong way, big time.


    I'm not rooting (none / 0) (#38)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:56:17 PM EST
    For either team.  
    But we'll watch it, anyway, and I'll make my usual, once a year batch of Buffalo wings and St. Louis toasted ravioli.

    As a Giants fan I root against the Pats as a rule. As an LA resident I root against Pete Carroll as a rule.

    Decisions, decisions.

    Pretty easy choice really, decision made, I'm rooting for the Seahawks.


    I believe the NFL has said that ... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 12:50:57 PM EST
    ... the officiating crew assigned to the Super Bowl would keep all the footballs in their possession throughout the entire game.

    Thanks. (none / 0) (#41)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 01:06:35 PM EST
    "Like many aspects of our policies and procedures, there are modifications for the Super Bowl," league spokesman Michael Signora said. "At the Super Bowl, the equipment manager of another team [Bears, Tony Medlin] is in charge of the game balls and arranging for the ball attendant crews, which are hired before the Super Bowl teams are determined. The officials will maintain strict control of the game balls for the Super Bowl.

    Do you have a prediction as to (none / 0) (#67)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 03:54:18 PM EST
    when this happening will no longer dominate the public discourse?

    Feb 2. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 04:03:41 PM EST
    Sorry for the lengthy response.

    That could be dependent on (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:01:30 PM EST
    the pressure in Punxsutawney Phil's bladder.

    College tuition and debt (none / 0) (#85)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 05:16:39 PM EST
    In another thread the other day someone asked why college costs so much theses days.

    Here is an interesting article on the subject

    Like with the housing bubble the easy access to money for the debt taker is allowing the for profit and even state universities to raise their tuitions and still get the enrollees that they need because of increased demand.   All this extra money is poorer back into lavish buildngsand expanding of campuses in a type of arms race for the best and brightest.

    Has anyone else had the same experience I had recently? Went back for my 15th college graduation reunion a couple years ago and didn't even recognize parts of the campus.    Typically when I go back for sporting events I just hit a few of the spots and the change isn't as dramatic.  Spending a couple hours going through some of the new dormitories and student facilities I was simply amazed at how much has been poured into facilities.   What I found interesting was it was a pretty nice place when I was there.  While it must be nice to be a freshman and have a smoothie machine around every corner I'm not sure it's worth the $62K/year it coststo go to my university now.

    That number is more than double my freshman tuition in 1992.

    Something is out of whack.

    I was at the tail end of cheap public uni times (none / 0) (#98)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 07:25:52 PM EST
    In 1984, it literally cost, in tuition, less than $2000 a year to be a full time student at the University of California, San Diego.

    Two grand a year. Rent and food were waaaaayyyy more of the budget. Now, I guess, you just live in your car and eat post-dated Top Ramen dry, and drink free hose water wherever you can suck it.

    Suck it being the operative word for students today. For most of average America really. Suck it or die. And/or/until. It's all the poor folks going into debt at all those bullsh*t online "colleges" and "universities," including tons of vets spending their GIB bennies for degrees that are largely worthless in the real job market, just ask any HR person. And where that amount of money is there to be pilfered, you can bet there are hedge funds and billionaire investors raking their take from all of it. Ugh.

    And yeah, for me, it's been three decades since I was a freshman, so the campus has changed radically. One of my jobs that first year was telemarketing to alumni and parents to raise money for the sweet new Student Center they finally built, of course, a few years after I graduated.  Raised over ten grand for that placed, I want my honorary brick! Those bastards.