September 29, 2012

Back again

Sorry for the last bit of the week. It's been rough. Photos are forthcoming.

September 25, 2012

I'm surprised they aren't called rubber

You have this song to blame for today's musical dalliance...

This, though, is a far better song...

Head on through the jump for more Erasure and the final video of the day, a phenomenal cover...

September 24, 2012

A search not quite right

I played this song in class last week...

Which lead to a discussion including this song...

...and this one...

...which lead me on a search of other school-shooting-related songs.

Here are the lists I've found so far. Can anybody think of any other songs - particularly ones you actually know and enjoy rather than these faceless entities on the lists - in this vein that you would recommend?

...and with a far less serious take on the same topic...

September 22, 2012

Happy sleep in Saturday

September 21, 2012

Bringing it back

I've been re-digging Robot Unicorn Attack from Adult Swim. The repetitive music, the stupid graphics, the simple gameplay make for a great experience.

Try and match my high of 41,698 so far...

September 20, 2012

My favorite science webcomics

Some of my favorite science- (or education-) themed webcomics...

September 19, 2012

Neil's most disturbing possibility

I turn again to Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson for today's most disturbing possibility...

And I have now added Neil deGrasse Tyson as a tag so you can find his content a little more easily.

September 18, 2012

Up, up, and away in my beautiful, my beautiful...

Simplicity itself

"Take it easy. Nothing you do matters as much as you think. Your greatest achievements aren't yours at all, they're accidents and jokes. You're a puppet, the universe does the work, and it gets the most done when you're moving the least. Surrender, flow, relax. Don't be hard on yourself, don't put pressure on yourself, life is just a chain of experiments and results, and you'll be perfect when you're dead." ~ Dan Harmon (source)

September 17, 2012

A badger den?


The Girl and I watched Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog a weekend ago. I'd seen it but didn't remember the really depressing ending, and she hadn't seen it before.

We also checked out the bonus features and caught some of the fan-submitted Evil League of Evil applications. Turns out one of the folks is from right here in the Queen City. I give you Tur-Mohel!

A few other entertaining applications were also out there...

September 15, 2012

Gotta give, gotta live

September 14, 2012

Oh say can you say?

Why don't you just take a picture then?

The wikipedia/media folks have a contest currently running (through the end of September) to find the best new photograph of a historical site/building added to their collection.

In the US that means finding a site on the National Register of Historic Places in your state (they even have it broken down by counties - mine, for example), then heading out to take a photo. Yeah, if you're hoping to win the contest (and one of the prizes), you're probably going to need a good camera, great weather, and an eye for photography. If you just want to help them take photos of historic sites before those historic sites go away, however, head out tomorrow and take a few snapshots.

The wikiwhatever foundation is really doing some phenomenal work documenting our world, and this is another example. Help 'em out, would ya?

September 13, 2012

Big guy

Hot Buttered Rum

Found this one while hunting the theme song to the great cooking show Cooks Country from America's Test Kitchen. The band seems to be around on the web both as Hot Buttered Rum and Hot Buttered Rum String Band. Either way, I'm enjoying their stuff. Found this playlist of three of the band's albums...

September 12, 2012

You should read Fallout

GQ's best jokes

Thanks to GQ for posting their 100 best jokes. Some highlights...

From Stewart Francis - "I went to a karaoke bar last night that didn't play any Seventies music. At first I was afraid. Oh, I was petrified."

September 11, 2012

All the way...

I caught the above image from The Weather Channel's This Week in Pictures feature and went looking for a larger image to use as background on my school computer.

In the process of searching, I found a great photo album of the same double rainbow from all around the San Fran area. Here are a few of my favorites...

September 10, 2012


No, today's event wasn't that a woman bigger than everybody else coughed on other sitting people.

Alphabet Game: Favorite Words

My favorite words from Ted McCagg's Best Word Ever tournament...

  • A - akimbo
  • B - boink
  • C - cuckold (clean, anyway)
  • D - discombobulate
  • E - egregious
  • F - flummox (clean, anyway)
  • G - gingham
  • H - hullabaloo
  • I - isthmus 
  • J - juggernaut
  • K - knell (though kerfuffle was robbed)
  • L - loquacious
  • M - mnemonic
  • N - nincompoop
  • O - onomatopoeia
  • P - proselytize
  • Q - quagmire
  • R - rigamarole
  • S - shenanigans
  • T - thither
  • U - usurp
  • V - vivacious
  • W - wonk
  • X - xiphoid
  • Y - yurt
  • Z - zephyr

September 9, 2012

Bonus Sunday coverage

September 8, 2012

DNC? RNC? Can we just vote tomorrow?

September 7, 2012

I've won one of him!

Tennis wonderings

All of these are looking at the open era only. Anything that happened before 1968 happened in a totally different world.

Greatest men's player without a grand slam title? (sources: Forbes... SI... SteveTennis...  TheTennisSpace... bleacherreport)
  • Andy Murray - highest ranking #2...Olympic gold medal...4 grand slam finals...6 other grand slam semi-finals...23 career titles...363 career match wins...
  • Marcelo Rios - ranking #1...1 grand slam final...0 other semi-finals...18 career titles...391 wins...
  • Nikolay Davydenko - ranking #3...0 finals...4 semi-finals...21 titles...429 wins...
  • Tim Henman - ranking #4...0 finals...6 semi-finals...11 titles...496 wins...
  • Miloslav Mečíř - ranking #4...2 finals...2 other semi-finals...11 titles...262 wins...
  • David Nalbandian - ranking #3...1 final...4 other semi-finals...11 titles...372 wins...
  • Tom Okker - ranking #3...1 final...4 other semi-finals...31 titles...2 grand-slam doubles titles...520 wins...
  • Thomas Enqvist - ranking #4...1 final...0 other semi-finals...19 titles...448 wins...
  • Todd Martin - ranking #4...2 finals...4 other semi-finals...8 titles...411 wins...
  • Guillermo Coria - ranking #3...1 final...1 other semi-final...9 titles...216 wins...
  • Henir Leconte - ranking #5...1 final...3 other semi-finals...9 titles...377 wins...
  • Mark Philippoussis - ranking #8...2 finals...0 other semi-finals...11 titles...313 wins...
  • Magnus Norman - ranking #2...1 final...1 other semi-final...12 titles...244 wins...

  • That's everybody mentioned in the above five pages. Rios got to #1; nobody else did. Murray, however, wins finals, semi-finals, titles (other thank Okker's 31 but in a very different era with far fewer tournaments). On match wins, Murray looks to climb the list quickly over the next couple of years. Clearly, if Murray retires without having won a grand slam title, he will go down as the greatest men's player without one. Once Federer's retired, I'm just fine with Murray picking up  few of his own.
Comparing Andys...
  • Andy Murray - highest ranking #2...Olympic gold medal...4 grand slam finals...6 other grand slam semi-finals...23 career titles...8 Masters Series titles...363 career match wins...been in ATP top 5 since Sept 2008 (200+ weeks)...#2 for 3 weeks (August 2009) (source)...14-1 Davis Cup singles record...2-5 Davis Cup doubles...
  • Andy Roddick - highest ranking #1...1 grand slam title (US 2003)...4 other finals...5 other semi-finals...32 career titles...5 Masters Series titles...607 career match wins...#1 for 13 weeks (late 2003 - Feb 2004)...1 year-end #1 (2003)... 52 weeks at #2...70 weeks at #3...30 weeks at #4...43 weeks at #5 (source)...208 total weeks in top 5...33-12 in Davis Cup...1 Davis Cup title...

  • Roddick's highest point - the US Open 2003 and subsequent time at #1 - was higher than Murray's has been yet, but Murray's about equal in all the other ways (same non-winning finals, one extra semi-final) other than career longevity. Murray is 25 years old; Roddick is 30 (as of last week). Five years ago (at the same age as Murray is now), Roddick was rolling along, having been seeded 6th, 3rd, 3rd, and 5th at the Grand Slams that year (he would never be seeded higher than 5th again, and then only once). He finished the year ranked #6 in the world and wouldn't get any higher again, finishing 6th in 2008, as well. If - for a few more years - Murray stays near the top of the world players as he is now, he'll pick up enough titles and wins to easily surpass Roddick, especially as Federer and Nadal fade into the distance (Federer via age and Nadal via physical breakdowns). If, on the other hand, Murray begins the decline that Roddick started at about this point in his career, things could end up a little closer.
Greatest player with 'only' one grand slam title
  • Pat Cash - highest ranking #4...1 grand slam title (Wimbledon 1987)...2 other finals...2 other semi-finals...7 career titles...242 career match wins...
  • Michael Chang - highest ranking #2...1 grand slam title (1987 Roland Garros)...3 other finals...4 other semi-finals...34 titles...662 match wins
  • Alberto Costa - highest ranking #6...1 grand slam title (2002 Roland Garros)...0 other finals...1 other semi-final...12 titles...383 match wins
  • Juan Martin del Potro - highest ranking #4...1 grand slam title (2009 US)...0 other finals...1 other semi-final...11 titles...234 match wins
  • Mark Edmondson - highest ranking #15 ...1 grand slam title (1976 Australian)...0 other finals...2 other semi-finals...6 titles...251 match wins
  • Juan Carlos Ferrero - highest ranking #1 (8 weeks)...1 grand slam title (2003 Roland Garros)...2 other finals...3 other semi-finals...16 titles...475 match wins
  • Gaston Gaudio - highest ranking #5...1 grand slam title (2004 Roland Garros)...0 other finals...0 other semi-finals...8 titles...270 match wins...
  • Andres Gimeno - highest ranking #9...1 grand slam title (1972 Roland Garros)...1 other final...1 other semi-final...5 titles...159 wins...(career straddled pre-open era, though)...
  • Andres Gomez - highest ranking #4...1 grand slam title (1990 Roland Garros)...0 other finals...0 other semi-finals...21 titles...523 match wins...
  • Goran Ivanisevic - highest ranking #2...1 grand slam title (2001 Wimbledon)...3 other finals (all Wimbledon)...3 other semi-finals (2 Wimbledon)...22 titles...599 match wins...Olympic bronze medal...
  • Thomas Johansson - highest ranking #7...1 grand slam title (2001 Australian)...0 other finals...1 other semi-final...9 titles...357 match wins...
  • Peter Korda - highest ranking #2...1 grand slam title (1998 Australian)...1 other final...0 other semi-finals...10 titles...458 match wins...
  • Richard Krajicek - highest ranking #4...1 grand slam title (1996 Wimbledon)...0 other finals...3 other semi-finals...17 titles...411 match wins
  • Carlos Moya - highest ranking #1 (2 weeks)...1 grand slam title (1998 Roland Garros)...1 other final...1 other semi-final...20 titles...573 match wins
  • Thomas Muster - highest ranking #1 (6 weeks)...1 grand slam title (1995 Roland Garros)...0 other finals...3 other semi-finals...44 titles...622 match wins...0-4 match record at Wimbledon...
  • Manuel Orantes - highest ranking #2...1 grand slam title (1975 US Open)...1 other final...2 other semi-finals...33 titles...647 match wins...
  • Yannick Noah - highest ranking #3...1 grand slam title (1983 Roland Garros)...0 other finals...1 other semi-final...23 titles...476 match wins...
  • Andy Roddick - highest ranking #1 (13 weeks)...1 grand slam title (US 2003)...4 other finals...5 other semi-finals...32 career titles...5 Masters Series titles...607 career match wins...
  • Michael Stich - highest ranking #2...1 grand slam title (1991 Wimbledon)...2 other finals...3 other semi-finals...18 titles...385 match wins...Olympic gold medal (doubles)...
  • Brian Teacher - highest ranking #7...1 grand slam (1980 Australian)...0 other finals...0 other semi-finals...8 titles...335 match wins...

  • There are some real flukes there (Edmondson & Gimeno most prominently, even Gaudio & Gomez who never even made another grand slam semi-final). 
  • I'd also kind of forgotten about the world of clay court specialists. We're totally spoiled today with a group of players who are fairly well equally successful on nearly every surface. Federer & Nadal have the career set of grand slams, and Djokovic and Murray are nearly as successful on every surface available. Thomas Muster, on the other hand, seemed to be terrified of the grass of Wimbledon, playing the tournament only four times ever and never winning a match there.
  • The only players in the discussion for the greatest one-slam winner are Michael Chang, Andy Roddick, Goran Ivanisevic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Pat Cash, and Michael Stitch. They're the only ones with multiple finals in addition to their one title. I'm eliminating Stich and Cash because of their low totals of total finals & career match wins. Then it's Ferrero who is lower than the other three (Roddick, Ivanisevic, and Chang) in every measure. Chang's the next out as he didn't really threaten to win his other finals, winning only one set in his three non-winning finals. Ivanisevic, on the other hand, twice took his non-winning finals to a fifth set, but almost all of his success came at Wimbledon as his only non-grass semifinal was at the US Open.
  • I guess it turns out that Roddick is the greatest one-slam champion of the open era. Who knew?
Current dominant era as compared to other eras in the Open Era...

  • 2004-current - Djokovic, Federer, Nadal - 447 (and counting) weeks sharing #1 ranking...won 32 of 35 grand slam titles (29 of last 30) 5 of the last 8 years, a single player of the three has won 3 of 4 grand slam 5 of last 6 years, they have won all 4 between the three of 2011 these three took 10 of a possible 12 semi-final slots in the grand slams (Murray took four more)...three have taken 47 of 70 possible final sports at grand slam tourneys (13/18 Wimbledon, 13/18 Roland Garros, 10/18 Australian, 11/16 US) and 
  • 1974-1983 - Borg, Connors, McEnroe - 448 weeks sharing #1...won 24 of 40 grand slam only 1 of those years did they sweep all 4 5 of 10 years they won 3 of 4...
  • 1981-1988 - Connors, McEnroe, Lendl - 371 weeks sharing #1...won 14 of 28 grand slam titles (but Wilander won 7 in that span, too, only taking over #1 after his seventh)...1 of 8 years did they win three of four titles...never swept all 4...Connors was never #1 after 1983, never won a grand slam after 1983...
  • 1981-1990 - Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, Wilander - 471 weeks sharing #1...23 of 40 grand slam titles (22 of 30 in best streak)...swept all 4 titles 1 in 10 years...won 3 of 4 in 4 of 10 years...

  • No, in the Open Era, we have never seen this run of dominance among three players, especially because all three are still viable competitors for the #1 ranking (when Nadal is healthy, anyway).
Most dominant one-player runs in the open era
  • Roger Federer - 2004-2008 - #1 for 237 consecutive weeks...won 12 of 20 grand slams (11 of 16 in 2004-2007)...18 consecutive grand slam semi-finals (2004-2008...streak continued to 2010)...10 consecutive grand slam finals (2005-2007)...381-39 match record 2004-2008 (90.7% wins)...315-24 match record 2004-2007 (92.9% wins)...#1 year-end 2004-2007, #2 in 2008
  • Pete Sampras - 1993-1998 - #1 for 262 weeks (102 longest consecutive)...won 10 of 24 grand slams (9 of 17 in 1993-1997)...3 straight grand slam titles (1993-1994)...3 straight grand slam finals (same 3)...3 straight grand slam semi-finals (same 3)...

  • There is one other player who should be mentioned here, but she's a girl.

  • Steffi Graf - 1987-1990 - #1 for 186 consecutive weeks (into 1991)...won 9 of 15 grand slams (8 of 9 in 1988-1990)...won Olympic gold medal...13 consecutive grand slam finals...15 consecutive grand slam semi-finals...305-12 match record (96.2% wins)...#1 year-end 1987-1990...
  • Steffi Graf - 1993-1996 - #1 187 non-consecutive weeks (into 1997)...won 10 of 16 grand slam titles...5 straight grand slam finals...5 straight grand slam semi-finals (same)...3 WTA year-end championships...#1 year-end 1993-1996...235-18 match record (92.9% wins)
Greatest men's tennis year ever...
  • Only one true grand slam (all four titles) in a calendar year in the open era (Rod Laver in 1969). There's no way to compare that to the ones I'm about to look at because tennis statistics are effectively absent from that era.

  • Jimmy Connors, 1974 - Australian, Wimbledon, US titles...did not play Roland Garros (banned because of participation in Team Tennis)...won 12 other titles (two in Grand Prix Championship Series - highest non-slam level at the time)...93-4 (96%) or 99-4 (96%) match record...did not play Davis Cup or tour final (later ATP final)...
  • John McEnroe, 1984 - Wimbledon, US Open titles...F Roland Garros, did not play Australian...won WCT & Grand Prix year-end championships...won 9 other titles (Toronto, Stockholm, Philly, Forest Hills, Richmond, Madrid, Brussles, Queen's Club, San Francisco)...82-3 (96%) match record...
  • Mats Wilander, 1988 - Australian, Roland Garros, US titles...QF at Wimbledon...RR ATP finals...won 6/14 ATP tournaments entered (6 finals)...53-11 (83%) match record...
  • Roger Federer, 2004 - Australian, Wimbledon, US titles...3R at Roland Garros...3 Masters titles...QF Davis Cup...2R Olympic singles...W ATP final...74-6 (93%)...
  • Roger Federer, 2006 - Australian, Wimbledon, US titles...F at Roland Garros...4 Masters titles...1st Rd Davis Cup...W ATP final...92-5 (95%) match record
  • Roger Federer, 2007 - Australian, Wimbledon, US titles...F at Roland Garros...2 Masters titles...1st Rd Davis Cup...W ATP final...68-9 (88%) match record...
  • Rafael Nadal, 2010 - Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US titles...QF at Australian...3 Masters titles...did not play Davis Cup...F ATP final...71-10 (88%) match record
  • Novac Djokovic, 2011 - Australian, Wimbledon, US titles...SF at Roland Garros...5 Masters titles, SF Davis Cup...Round Robin ATP final...70-6 (92%) match record

  • Federer 2006 was his best, and Connors's 1974 was pretty stunning. They're very different eras with Connors playing almost as a barnstormer taking any tournament and all and all comers. Federer hasn't ever played as many matches in a year as Connors did that year. I'll go with a split vote between the two. If pressed, I might take Federer because Connors didn't play Davis Cup, the French, or the tour finals that year - all because of his own choices (playing Team Tennis). Those are negatives in my book. They're points taken away because we - admittedly in retrospect - value those things and don't really value Team Tennis (even though it still exists sort of)

September 6, 2012

If April showers bring may flowers...

A bit of spit and polish

Wikipedia is currently the sixth-most-visited site on the internet.

And it's ugly.

Sure it's on its way to becoming one of the great repositories of human knowledge - slowly eking its way up into the realms of the Library of Congress, the Library of Alexandria, and

Now if only we could make it so that it were a bit prettier to look at, something that had a little color, a bit of style. Thankfully a design agency has taken the task upon itself and gotten to the following design...

I particularly like the unity of style, the chosen font, and the judicious use of color.

Take a look at their full propoal to see that they've really given the thing some thought.

September 5, 2012

And then came TO

It's been a while because I was having some camera problems, but here's the first return of This Day in History for the 2012-13 school year.

To Roger Miller and Nick Offerman

Thank you, Nick Offerman, for recommending this first video...

September 4, 2012

Take a listen

The new Avett Brothers album, The Carpenter, is available for a first full listen from NPR.

Check it out; I did.

It's good stuff.

September 3, 2012

Sadness part final

The above printed remarks were written for President Richard Nixon in case something went wrong with the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and stranded the astronauts there. We had absolutely no hopes of recovering the men if such an accident had occurred, and those men knew that. They knew that they were heading further from home than any human ever had before and that they were entirely on their own the whole way.

As a nation we entrusted our greatest adventure to our greatest men, men who became our heroes, inspiring generations of scientists and military men because they had their feet in both camps having been trained as engineers and airplane pilots before being sent into the wild, black yonder.

When the men came home, they had the world at their fingertips, finding themselves in demand for endorsements, appearances, speaking engagements, and every possible opportunity for moneymaking believable. This era - those of the second seven as well as the original nine - is wonderfully told in Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff.

And there was Neil Armstrong choosing to disappear from the public eye and requiring his accomplishments to speak for themselves, to eschew the greatest of possible famous lives. Instead, he moved back to Ohio and lived not thirty miles from where I eventually made my home, making occasional appearances - most notably in the last few years when he was chosen for and humbly served jury duty, simply and quickly acknowledging the assembled press before heading into the courthouse.

When, this past week, Neil Armstrong passed on, we lost one of our greatest and most private Americans. His family released the following statement after his passing:
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

“Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.

“Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.

“He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.

“As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
I promise I'll stop posting about the man for at least a while, but I thank so many folks on the intertubes for posting their tributes to Armstrong. Here's the last one I'll point out, from the Sci-ence site.

September 1, 2012

Nearly a century gone

Thanks to 5chw4r7z for posting today about the 98th anniversary of the passing of the last passenger pigeon, Martha, at the Cincinnati Zoo.

I didn't know that, as 5chw4r7z posted, the last Carolina parakeet died in the same aviary four years later.

Whachoo talkin' 'bout, Clint?