The Reward

This is easily the best short animated bit I’ve ever seen. Watch it and feel inspired.

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How Oblivion and Skyrim destroyed my homerow positioning

I’m sure it’s happened to millions of people out there…

Image

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Updated NHL Overtime Goal Graphics

I’ve updated the graphics I made last year to include the 2011 playoff overtime goals scored.

These images show the minute-by-minute breakdown of goals scored in the first and second overtimes over the last decade. 3OT+ isn’t very interesting as there are too few data points to show any sort of pattern.

Not much has changed, but I wanted to keep the data updated to make it easier for me to manage year by year. Enjoy!

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The Claude Giroux-adjusted statistics

I stumbled upon a clever analysis of player production comparing Eric Staal to (who was at the time of posting) the current assists leader in the NHL, Claude Giroux, by user bandwagon cole canes (bcc) on the Hockey’s Future forums. It’s an interesting take on player production, and kudos to bcc for taking the time to figure out and post the data.

While I take the analysis to be tongue-in-cheek (and ‘Claude Giroux-adjusted’ is simply brilliant), it did make me think about how a great player makes those around him greater.

If we look at Staal’s assists and know a little about the season he’s had, I think Kirk Muller has had him playing with everyone on the team in an attempt to kick-start his season. I like to think I have well-above-average hockey knowledge, but even I don’t know who a good half-dozen of those players he’s dished off to are. If he was having a full season as good as his last half has been, the ‘Canes would be in the playoff picture, and his CG-adjusted statistics would fall much closer to the mean.

Please, if you haven’t already, click on the first link above which will take you to the original post. It’s well worth the read (and try to parse the numbers in your head!) and should make you smile.

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The NHL and the 2014 Olympics? Maybe not? Then why play in Europe at all?

Hockey Canada just revealed that Steve Yzerman will be the Team Canada executive for the 2014 Winter Games to be held in Sochi, Russia. If you click over to the TSN page, you can listen to the commentaries about how it may or may not happen due to the First World Problems™ it would generate for the North American viewing audience and NHL.

Sure, I’d have to set my alarm at weird hours and be up in the middle of the night to watch some of the games. Every four years, I’m okay with that. It gives viewers who are far away a chance to participate in some Olympic-level feats of wakefulness and stories to tell around the water-cooler the next day

“Were you able to stay up until 4:00am to catch all of the game?”

“Did you see the overtime goal by Belarus? You mean you actually fell asleep?”

These conversations make up half of the Olympic experience. I was in Finland during the 1996 Summer Games and stayed up well into the night to see the 100m finals and the 4x100m relays. Those are the only events I remember seeing from the entire Olympic games. We watched them a lot while we were there, but it’s those epic moments that stick with you for years afterwards.

But back to 2014 – the Olympics are supposed to be about the spirit of sports and the goodwill of humanity. The NHL has a chance to say, “We love our sport above all other considerations. We’re happy to be a part of Sochi, and anything we can do to enhance the sport globally we are happy to do. We willingly join with our players and will stop our league for three weeks to come to the Olympics. It doesn’t matter where they are, we’ll be there!”

Instead, they’re saying, “We love our sport above all other considerations except the bottom line. We’re happy to be a part of skip Sochi, and anything we can do to enhance the sport globally in first world countries with lots of money we are happy to do. We willingly join will go kicking and screaming and use the Olympics as a bargaining chip during the next CBA with against our players and will won’t stop our league for three weeks to come to the Olympics. It doesn’t completely matters where they are, we’ll be there when they’re in North America where we can make a ton of money!”

I understand many of the implications of having an Olympic Games so far away. I do. However, I can’t quite wrap my head around they hypocrisy of not wanting to go to Sochi, yet insisting on starting the NHL regular season in Europe. Many European countries that they play in have superb leagues (Finland, Sweden) and others are catching up (Germany, Switzerland) without any benefit of the NHL’s physical presence in Europe.

Does the NHL want a bigger pie by including Europe as part of its empire? Are they worried about the (very real) threat of the KHL stealing away European talent?

I don’t know. To me, it’s silly that the NHL insists on sending four to six teams to Europe to play regular season games and then hums and haws over the biggest world stage sports has to offer. After all, which is going to grow the game more?

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Cats can hug, too!

When I check my YouTube homepage, there’s always the “Things we think you’ll like, based on what you’ve watched before” waiting for you. Most of the time I scroll down to my subscriptions to see if there’s anything interesting, but every now and then, something will catch my eye. Of course, kitteh videos always do because:

  1. They’re cute
  2. They’re short

This one is one of the best I’ve found to date. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

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Time Magazine Endorses Bigfoot

Well, maybe not Time Magazine, but Time.com does. Of course it goes with the usual deflection of fact, evidence, and consensus. For example:

A team of over a dozen experts. from as far afield as Canada and Sweden, have proclaimed themselves 95% certain of the mythical animal’s existence after gathering for a day-long conference in the town of Tashtago in the Kemerovo region, some 2,000 miles east of Moscow.

Experts at what? Mythology? Pseudoscience? Over a dozen experts? I can only assume that means that there were thirteen of them. 95% confident? I guess that leaves them with some squirming room for when they inevitably fail.

The Kemerovo government announced on Oct. 10 that a two-day expedition the previous weekend to the region’s Azassky cave and Karatag peak “collected irrefutable evidence” of yetis’ existence on the wintry plateau.

Irrefutable evidence? How can you be only 95% confident with irrefutable evidence? And it only took them two days to find it, too. What have all the yeti hunters been doing these last few hundred years?

“Conference participants came to the conclusion that the artifacts found give 95% evidence of the habitation of the ‘snow man’ on Kemerovo region territory,”

So now we’re down to the testimony of conference ‘participants’ are we? What are these artifacts they found? There are no pictures with the article, so perhaps they found some corroded tuna cans or maybe a discarded gas can used by a yeti to fill up his carboat. Either way, it would be nice to see if the artifacts are stamped with “Made in China.” In fact, that might be expected considering how close China is.

“In one of the detected tracks, Russian scientist Anatoly Fokin noted several hairs that might belong to the yeti,”

I wonder what kind of beast produced those hairs that keep clogging my shower drain? Best not to think about it if I want any sleep tonight.

In conclusion this mind-boggling article states:

The scientific community has historically disputed the existence of the yeti given scant conclusive evidence. But numerous sightings of such creatures have been reported in Himalayan countries and in North America, where it is know as sasquatch or Bigfoot.

This is a very clever play on words here. It’s like saying the scientific community has historically disputed plate tectonics, evolution, or heliocentrism. Sure, if we go into our way-back machine, there was serious debate long before we were born, but they’re scientific facts, and there’s no serious debate anymore.

Time.com, you fail, and shame on you for allowing such tripe to get past your editors. Articles like this keep you on a steady decline to the levels of WorldNetDaily. But hey, if that’s what’s going to bring in the traffic and advertising revenue, I guess that’s what you need to put food on the table. Just don’t expect me to believe much of anything you say anymore without a grain of salt.

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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in the NHL

Today there was an article on the TSN website about Rick Martin, a former NHL player, who was the first ‘non-enforcer’ to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). While I don’t think my opinions on the subject are mixed, I’m still feeling a little unsure of what I think, so I’ll write things down for clarity.

First, I am very happy that the NHL, NFL, and WWE (among others) are taking the problem of concussions and repeat concussions seriously. While the implementation of the quiet room in the NHL was received lukewarm at best when introduced in the middle of the season last year, it was a start, and has been refined. The addition of Brendan Shanahan to the NHL disciplinary team has been a huge boon, and his heavy-handed crackdown on hits targeting the head have (in my opinion) been a very welcome addition to the game, despite grumbling from a few players.

But.

The scientist in me wants to know how abnormal CTE is in the wider population. Brains that are being donated for CTE research are from professional and amateur athletes that have had documented or suspected concussion issues during their careers. Whether this sampling bias is simply a media thing or there isn’t a baseline to compare to irks me. I don’t doubt for a second that someone who has had several documented concussions is more likely to suffer from CTE than somebody who has never been concussed. But again, within the population, many people are concussed (sometimes multiple times) in their lives, take a few days to recover, and go on with their lives. Athletes in full-contact sports these days have been put under a microscope with regards to head injuries – with good reason! Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to know when a case like Rick Martin comes up: is he ‘average’ in the population as a whole, or is he abnormal because of his profession?

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Why I Love My Adopted Shelter Pets (and why the Seattle Humane Society is a wonderful place)

Last February, my wife and I decided to get cats. We hummed and hawed for quite a long time before we decided that two would be how many would be ideal for us (neither of us has had a pet since 1998 or so). Then we needed to decide where to get our animals from. Growing up, my parents always seemed to know someone who had a cat that was producing kittens, so it was always an early adoption of a kitten from a family friend, and this is how I wanted to start searching. My wife wanted to adopt from a shelter – something that I wasn’t opposed to, but was very lukewarm towards.

So we ended up going to the Seattle Humane Society to start our search. Most of the cats we saw were already grown (i.e. not kittens anymore) and I was still not warming to the idea of adopting a ‘middle-age’ cat. There was one girl, Anna, who was instantly friendly to my wife, and while we were almost prepared to adopt on the spot, she was ‘bonded’ to a boy cat (they needed to be adopted together, and I’d been leery about adopting a boy since boys can spray indoors) and it was very close to Christmas, and we were going away and didn’t want the cats to be alone for well over a week. The woman at the shelter asked if we wanted to put a hold on them, but I told her that if they were adopted before we came back, it would be okay, because they would go to a home just as good as we could provide, and we could choose different cats.

So Christmas came and went, and we were ready to go and adopt. Anna was still there and available with her partner Baby. We adopted the two of them in early February and they quickly adjusted to life with us. They are (99.9% of the time) wonderful cats with strong personalities that make them welcome additions to our household.

So now I come to one of those Facebook posts that was semi-viral a few weeks ago, by an unknown author entitled Why We Do What We Do from a page by a person/organization called Advocate for Saving Dogs. I will repost the text of the article here in case the link doesn’t work if you don’t have a Facebook Account:

A Letter from a Shelter Manager – anonymous in North Carolina

I think our society needs a huge “Wake-up” call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all…a view from the inside if you will.

First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the “back” of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don’t even know.

That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it’s not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there’s about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are “owner surrenders” or “strays”, that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; “We are moving and we can’t take our dog (or cat).” Really? Where are you moving too that doesn’t allow pets? Or they say “The dog got bigger than we thought it would”. How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? “We don’t have time for her”. Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! “She’s tearing up our yard”. How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me “We just don’t want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she’ll get adopted, she’s a good dog”.

Odds are your pet won’t get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don’t, your pet won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.

Those dogs just don’t get adopted. It doesn’t matter how ‘sweet’ or ‘well behaved’ they are.

If your dog doesn’t get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn’t full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don’t have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here’s a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being “put-down”.

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to “The Room”, every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it’s strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. Hopefully your pet doesn’t panic from being restrained and jerk. I’ve seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don’t just “go to sleep”, sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You’ll never know and it probably won’t even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can’t get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.

My point to all of this DON’T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!

Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say “I saw this and it made me want to adopt”. THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT.

The picture associated with the story is of a pile of dead cats, stacked like firewood. I haven’t been able to verify whether the story is true or not (that’s what happens with an anonymous author), but I think it is innocent enough, and brings home a very important point, that it doesn’t matter. It’s fundamentally changed how I look at how I will adopt future pets for the rest of my life.

The picture and story really stuck with me for well over a week. I would look at my adopted cats, and picture them on the top of that pile. They had been in the shelter for almost three months when we adopted them, which is far longer than the anonymous author says pets will stay in his. The Seattle Humane Society will try to keep animals for as long as possible, and we’ll be forever grateful that they had such a policy, and I’m sure Baby and Anna will agree that they had such a policy that allowed them to find a forever home with loving people to take care of them for the rest of their lives.

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Samuel L Ipsum

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything here, so what better way to try and kick off a string of posts than with the help of Samuel L Ipsum?

Here goes:

Do you see any Teletubbies in here? Do you see a slender plastic tag clipped to my shirt with my name printed on it? Do you see a little Asian child with a blank expression on his face sitting outside on a mechanical helicopter that shakes when you put quarters in it? No? Well, that’s what you see at a toy store. And you must think you’re in a toy store, because you’re here shopping for an infant named Jeb.

Well, the way they make shows is, they make one show. That show’s called a pilot. Then they show that show to the people who make shows, and on the strength of that one show they decide if they’re going to make more shows. Some pilots get picked and become television programs. Some don’t, become nothing. She starred in one of the ones that became nothing.

Do you see any Teletubbies in here? Do you see a slender plastic tag clipped to my shirt with my name printed on it? Do you see a little Asian child with a blank expression on his face sitting outside on a mechanical helicopter that shakes when you put quarters in it? No? Well, that’s what you see at a toy store. And you must think you’re in a toy store, because you’re here shopping for an infant named Jeb.

Look, just because I don’t be givin’ no man a foot massage don’t make it right for Marsellus to throw Antwone into a glass motherfuckin’ house, fuckin’ up the way the nigger talks. Motherfucker do that shit to me, he better paralyze my ass, ’cause I’ll kill the motherfucker, know what I’m sayin’?

Do you see any Teletubbies in here? Do you see a slender plastic tag clipped to my shirt with my name printed on it? Do you see a little Asian child with a blank expression on his face sitting outside on a mechanical helicopter that shakes when you put quarters in it? No? Well, that’s what you see at a toy store. And you must think you’re in a toy store, because you’re here shopping for an infant named Jeb.

Normally, both your asses would be dead as fucking fried chicken, but you happen to pull this shit while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you. But I can’t give you this case, it don’t belong to me. Besides, I’ve already been through too much shit this morning over this case to hand it over to your dumb ass.

The internet is so easy.

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