Roundup – Ohio

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Line O’ the Day:

“We make fun of Ohio here at Deadspin an awful lot, and with good reason. If you placed an electrified cupcake in the center of the state, half the population would be dead by morning. And the other half would be asking for extra sprinkles.”

– Big Daddy Drew, The Hater’s Guide To The Field Of 68, Part I [Deadspin] Best of the Best: This Wu-Tang Clan Super Game Boy Commercial Was Banned For Being “Too Ill” [COD via Vimeo via Deadspin]

In 1993, members of the Wu-Tang Clan produced a 40-second spot for Nintendo’s Super Game Boy. Filmed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1993, it featured a beat by Prince Paul, voice-over from RZA and ODB, and a work of graffiti from the COD Crew. A member of COD found the old video and uploaded it to Vimeo a few weeks ago. He writes in the description that the commercial “was banned from networks for being too ill.” That’s all you need to know.

The Brains Behind Jägermeister Have Gone To Heaven [The Local via Brian Hickey on Deadspin]

And I thank Mast (on left in photo) for the inspiration to kick through a wall back in ’95 just to pose through it, bottle of Jäger in hand.

The Miami Heat Have Failed Us; Or, How Chris Bosh Is Like The Space Station [Bethlehem Shoals on Free Darko via Deadspin]

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have, if not made each other worse, certainly reduced each other to almost rote displays of brilliance. It is, after all the shouting, a marriage of convenience that has diluted both men while neither diminishing them nor forcing us to reconsider their meaning. Bosh has been most transformed, and for all the jokes last summer about folks having never seen the former Raptor play, it’s embarrassing what an easy target he has become.

Bill Simmons, Malcolm Gladwell, And The Dirty Secret Of The MIT Sports Analytics Conference [Jack Dickey on Deadspin]

Analytics played a large role in their ascent, obviously, but as I will quickly learn, this conference is more about the ascent itself than the complicated and often abstruse means to achieving it. It’s an MBA mixer in the guise of a statistics seminar. Everything here carries the faint air of the hustle.

Tea Party Cements Patriot Act Into Place [Bob Adelman on The New American]

Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. The Patriot Act should be right at the top of that list. Nobody who has supported that wretched law should ever be allowed to brag of defending liberty again. That goes for the Tea Party. By voting to extend surveillance of American citizens, they have abandoned the principles of freedom that brought about their rise to power. They have shown their true face.

Japan earthquake: The explainer [Chris Rowan via Scientific American]

Friday’s earthquake has been followed by a huge swarm of aftershocks (at my last count, there have been more than 250 aftershocks of greater than magnitude 5, and aroundr 30 of greater than magnitude 6), as the crust around the rupture zone responds to the large stresses applied by the sudden movement of the subduction thrust. However, there was also some noticeable seismic activity before the main shock: on Wednesday, there was a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the same region as today’s earthquake, followed by a number of smaller magnitude 5 quakes, and three magnitude 6-6.1 events. These were mainly clustered in a region just to the northeast of Friday’s larger rupture, and within the much larger cloud of aftershocks In hindsight, these earthquakes were foreshocks of today’s main event. However, there was no way of telling this in advance: there is nothing particularly “foreshock-y” about foreshocks beyond the fact that they end up being smaller in magnitude than the main shock they precede. In fact, if you plot the last few days of earthquakes over time, you can see that, on Wednesday and Thursday, seismic activity seemed to be dying down again in the wake of Wednesday’s 7.2 quake.

How does radiation travel, and what kinds of damage can it do? [Esther Inglis-Arkell via io9]

Gamma rays travel like any other electromagnetic waves – cutting a fairly straight line through world. They can move through a vacuum, or through air or water. They can also cut through light elements like aluminum or most metals. Lead can cut down on gamma radiation, but it can’t really stop it. One inch of lead will cut any amount of gamma radiation by half. Another inch will cut it by another half, and so on, and so on. Practically speaking, a few feet of lead will weed out pretty much any gamma radiation, but technically nothing can block all gamma rays from coming through.

Lebanon was the forgotten player in the sixties space race [New Scientist via io9]

The Lebanese Rocket Society was the brainchild of Manoug Manougian, a 25-year-old math and physics lecturer who in 1960 was teaching at Beirut’s Haigazian College. Deeply fascinated with rockets, he enlisted some students who shared his love and together they started building the things. They weren’t just playing around with models – using a student’s family farm, the newly formed society set up shop and started experimenting with various solid rocket fuels.

ESPN, Jalen Rose, And The Manufactured “Uncle Tom” Controversy [Jack Dickey on Deadspin]

The program did such a nuts number in large part because of its hype. Jalen Rose, one of the documentary’s executive producers, called Duke’s black players “Uncle Toms” in the movie. Well, sort of. All week long, it was all anyone could talk about, especially on ESPN, and it wasn’t long before we were presented with the spectacle of an ESPN on-air personality, one who’s producing a movie for ESPN, appearing on ESPN programs to talk about his comments made in this ESPN movie, comments that aired in advance on an ESPN program. ESPN wins, and Jalen Rose wins, too, and in a way it’s the perfect coda for the Fab Five’s story.

An Advanced Statistical Analysis Of Jimmy Chitwood’s Basketball Performance In Hoosiers [David Roher on HSAC via Deadspin]

Hoosiers, for those of us born after its release, is based on a true story of what Indiana high school basketball was like in the 1950s when imagined by white people in the 1980s.

Why a nuclear reactor will never become a bomb [Alasdair Wilkins on io9]

A nuclear weapon is designed to release all its energy in one incredibly destructive blast, which means the material wants to be as densely packed with fissile material as possible, and the material should be packed into as homogeneous a sphere as possible. That’s absolutely nothing like the design of reactor cores, which is meant to produce a steady, controlled release of energy, and even the sort of energy buildup needed to produce a meltdown can’t ever attain the speed and intensity needed for an explosive nuclear energy release. The geometric arrangement of uranium-235 in a nuclear reactor is just fundamentally not conducive to the spherical arrangement needed for an explosive chain reaction, and the amount of non-fissile uranium-238 in reactor-grade uranium also stops any runaway reactions dead in their tracks.

Why we will probably never be able to predict the next big earthquake [Alasdair Wilkins on io9]

There are very few areas of science where experts are actually willing to make definitive statements that something is impossible. And yet that’s pretty much exactly where the field of earthquake prediction stands, at least ever since a 1996 paper in the journal Science in which four seismology experts published a paper simply entitled, “Earthquakes Cannot Be Predicted.”  That’s a remarkably absolute statement, and it’s worth understanding just why seismologists took such a strong stance.

How the Large Hadron Collider could create time-travesling Higgs particles [Discovery News via io9]

“One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes,” Weiler said. “Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example. However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future.”

Get your stout beer perfect by putting crap in it [The Economist via io9]

The fizziness of drinks is a result of tiny pieces of grit in the container. In a bar, or in most homes, there might not be a lot of dirt in a container, but there is cellulose. Cellulose are little strings of plant material from the rag or paper towel that the glass was wiped with. These pieces of cellulose come with small amounts of air, and that air provides the seeds for bubbles.

How Wearing a Glove Can Warp Your Sense of Good and Bad [Psychological Science via io9]

Casasanto had healthy university students slip bulky ski gloves on one of their hands, then tested them again. For right-handers who had the ski glove on their dominant hand, just twelve minutes of this impeded motor experience was enough to switch their unconscious associations to favoring the left side, as though they had been lefties their entire lives.

Could we be on the verge of inventing tractor beams? [Esther Inglis-Arkell on io9]

Even more impressively, a Bessel beam is able to reconstruct itself. Place an object in front of an ordinary laser and it will cut off that laser. Place it in front of a Bessel beam, and the beam will appear again on the other side.  It’s these qualities that allow Bessel beams to become tractor beams.

The worst statistics in the world [Cochrane Review via io9]

Statistics have a huge influence on a how effective people think drugs are – except, of course, it’s the wrong influence. For example, in a case where a drug lowers the risk of contracting a disease, there are four ways to describe its effects. According to the researchers, these are:

•Relative Risk Reduction (RRR): there’s a 50% reduction in risk
•Absolute Risk Reduction (ARR), the risk has fallen from 1% to 0.5%
•Number Needed to Treat (NNT), 200 people need to be treated to prevent one occurrence
•Natural Frequency, 1 out of 200 people will be helped by this drug

In a meta-analysis of 35 studies, the one description that both consumers and doctors most reliably understood was frequency, and the least accurately comprehended was the relative risk reduction, which usually lead to individuals thinking a drug was far more effective than it actually was.

UFC 128: A Hero Is Made And Dollars Are Born [Luke O’Brien on Deadspin]

Newark is as close as the UFC can get to New York City, but it’s still too far.

Whimsical Remains:


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