Saturday, November 17, 2012

Big Bang Theory flash mob dance number

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln

This week's movie was "Lincoln" the Spielberg epic, with Daniel Day-Lewis.

I liked it.

But I should disclose that I'm a huge Lincoln buff. One of my all-time favorite books is Gore Vidal's historical novel "Lincoln". And I read, and enjoyed, Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals" soon after it was published.

So I came to this movie with a lot of expectations, and I wasn't disappointed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Baseball is more popular than football.

Just watching a report on TV about the increasing problem of extreme injuries in the sport of US Football.

At one point they referred to football in a way that is very common: "the most popular sport in the US."

I've always had a problem with this claim, let me tell you why.

Disclaimer: This is a quick and dirty analysis of numbers I quickly dug up on the net. The data might benefit from fine-tuning, but I believe the underlying conclusion has validity.

Let's start with football.

There are 32 teams in the NFL. Each team plays 8 home games. According to wikipedia the average stadium size is about 70,000. If we assume that every game is a sellout then football sells almost 18 million tickets in a season (17,920,000).


There are 30 teams. They each play 81 home games. The average ballpark seats 43,000. Again assuming sellouts then baseball sells over 104 million tickets in a season (104,490,000).

That makes baseball almost 6 times as popular as football.



Now I realize most baseball teams don't sellout their parks. I'm thinking that maybe some football teams don't either. So what kind of numbers can we find for this.

According to ESPN's 2012 attendance numbers. Football averaged 96% turnout. Baseball averaged 72%.



Do the math and that makes football's tickets sold 17,167,360, compared to baseball's 74,710,350. That makes baseball over 4 times as popular as football.

OK so this is a pretty quick-and-dirty analysis. And if it was close I'd wonder what a more diligent comparison might show.

But it's not even close. Baseball is the most popular sport in America.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Modern farming not so good.

Here's an opinion piece about a govt study that shows that modern farming methods are not good for us, and not even cost effective.

src: NYT
IT’S becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. And I’m not talking about imposing some utopian vision of small organic farms on the world. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use — if it wants to.
This was hammered home once again in what may be the most important agricultural study this year, although it has been largely ignored by the media, two of the leading science journals and even one of the study’s sponsors, the often hapless Department of Agriculture.

Read the whole opinion piece.

I originally found this through one of my most favorite bloggers, Lloyd Kahn.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Notes on James Bond, Skyfall (no spoilers)

Went to the 11:30 am showing of Skyfall yesterday (opening day in the US). Here are a few thoughts. No spoilers here.

I haven't been to many James Bond movies recently so what do I know, but...

I like the Adele theme. I've been hearing it on the radio, and liked it there. And it works well in the title sequence too.

I also liked the incidental music throughout the movie. The Bond riff, and bits from the Adele theme kept fading in, and nicely underscored the emotion of the scenes.

I've never been a big fan of Daniel Craig as Bond, but I liked him much more in this one. I think seeing more of his vulnerability and backstory helped a lot.

They did a real nice job of mixing modern Bond with vintage Bond.

I don't hate the new Q, but I don't think he comes close to the wonderfulness of past incarnations.

Stating the obvious, but Dame Judi Dench is an awesome M. A real bad-ass grandma.

I won't go so far as to say the movie ever dragged, but I felt that at 2 hours 23 minutes, it was maybe 20-30 mins too long. Cutting one action sequence, or trimming them all by a few mins, might have helped.

Two thumbs up. If you like this kind of movie, then you'll be happy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jack Interviewed by Airspeed's Steve Tupper

Way back in May Steve Tupper, of the Airspeed blog and AcroCamp, got me on the phone, and we talked for almost two hours. I've listened just now to what I said, and it doesn't horrify me.

From Steve's shownotes of the interview:

On UCAP, Jack spends much of his time eliciting reactions from co-hosts Jeb Burnside and Dave Higdon and directing the conversation.  I had always wondered what it might be like to give Jack a free hand to talk about stuff as a featured guest.  It’s not that Jeb or Dave crimp his style by any means.  They don’t.  But solo solo Jack is a different thing from UCAP Jack and I wanted to explore that.  So I called him up earlier this year and he agreed to jump on Skype and hold forth for an hour or two. 
During the conversation, we talked about Jack’s flight training, airports, the pilot population, the aviation podsphere, and lots of other topics.  There’s something in this episode for everyone.

Direct link to the episode's audio (mp3).  Or better yet subscribe to Airspeed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

President Obama's final 2012 campaign speech in Iowa

While we're all sitting around waiting for the results to start coming in, here's President's Obama's final campaign speech from last night in Iowa. Good stuff.

(Jump ahead to about 12:10 for the beginning of the President's talk. Or jump even further, to 30:30, to hear Obama's remarkable "Fired Up!" story.)

Could Christie Restore the GOP?

I'm a big fan of Dave Winer as a tech visionary, but I don't usually think of him in terms of political thought. But this idea is intriguing.

My wish if Obama wins tomorrow is that he start building a cross-party coalition with his new buds Chris Christie and Bill Clinton. Go to a Jets game maybe. Ask Christie which Repubs are fun to party with.

The idea is that Governor Christie -- who's shown that he's a real Republican, but not one who's afraid to tell truth to foolishness -- might be the guy who can bring the adult Republicans in from the cold.

It's encouraging to think that Christie might be able to gather other sane Republicans together into the beginnings of a new faction of the GOP that will maintain its basic values, but is willing to work with others.

Ballot scanner momentarily jammed at my polling place.

Prob not a big deal, but for the record...

While I was at my polling place this morning, here in Nottingham NH, the ballot scanner was jammed for a few minutes, and they were collecting ballots for later scanning.

I asked to wait until it was unjammed, which it was within a few minutes, and I then put my ballot into the scanner slot.

Just for the record.