Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Burning Man Live Stream is Mesmerizing

I have been watching this thing off and on and it is just fascinating. Lots of people on bicycles driving around aimlessly. Every now and again a car shaped like a fish or a Mad Max style vehicle tools by. It is all under a pall of dust covering everything.

Foot Locker Doing Great While Nearly Everyone Else Struggles

It seems like they have the secret sauce they need to beat Amazon at the retail game.
In the past year, CitySports and Sports Authority both filed for bankruptcy and began the process to liquidate all their stores. Vestis Retail Group, which owned the chains EMS, Bob’s Stores and Sport Chalet, filed for bankruptcy. Quiksilver filed for bankruptcy; Aeropostale is bankrupt; Finish Line will close 150 stores.

Foot Locker has bucked the trend. This month it beat expectations with its Q2 earnings of 94 cents per share and revenue of $1.78 billion, both figures up from the year before. The company forecasts a profit in 2017 while many of its longtime competitors are gasping for air. The stock (FL) is up 15% in the last two years, and 235% in the last five.
They seem to be listening to their demographics quite well.
It’s all because the chain keeps “listening to the kid,” says Jacobs. “The kid is different today than they were in the past… it’s more of a storytelling game.” The new flagship store isn’t as obvious an example of that—it only has one modest area for children’s footwear, because there is a Kids Foot Locker just one block away—but the average Foot Locker brick-and-mortar visitor is between ages 14 and 25.
I guess they just don't want to buy shoes online and like the idea of waiting in lines for exclusive sneakers. 
I have bought sneakers from Foot Locker for a while and never really thought about buying them from anywhere else. The problem is that I rarely wear non-work sneakers so my Nikes last a very long time. 

One thing is interesting is as more players like Sports Authority are swept off the board companies like Foot Locker and Dick's Sporting Goods become more and more valuable. People like athletic wear and sneaker culture is a billion dollar business and there are just fewer places to buy them. Also millennials as a group seem much more health conscious then other age cohorts. Foot Locker seems to be aiming right at them in their strategy going forward.     

Strange Signal Sent from HD 164595 a Sun 94 Light Years Away

I wonder what this signal is supposed to mean?
"The signal from HD 164595 is intriguing, because it comes from the vicinity of a sun-like star, and if it's artificial, its strength is great enough that it was clearly made by a civilization with capabilities beyond those of humankind," astronomer Douglas Vakoch, president of METI International, which searches for life beyond Earth, tells CNN. 
You add this to the potentially Dyson Sphere-covered sun and we are getting some interesting readings from just outside our solar system. Time to make that solar sailed powered space probe.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Olympics Ratings Terrible: Down 17% from London: NBC sucks at the Olympics

NBC needs to make some drastic changes here because watching the games on NBC really sucks. It is a bunch of smarmy vignettes bracketed around matches that you can get the results of with a few taps on your phone. I knew the "Final Five" won the team competition hours before it aired on NBC. Also there are so many commercials that it makes a few taps on the phone much more bearable. If I have to see that Pizza Hut commercial for the dipping box one more time I'm going to plotz.

Also I have no idea what is live and what is on tape or even when things are supposed to air. I wanted to watch wrestling but I have no idea when the matches are supposed to be on. I tune into NBC Sports Network and I lucked out being able to watch the womens matches but missed Helen Maroulis gold medal winning match. I then wanted to watch the match again at night on NBC but men's diving was on. I have yet to see what will probably be a historic match and probably won't get a chance to.

In any case, to fix things, they first they need to embrace digital viewership with both arms.

The bigger story here is that digital viewership is up, up, up. In the first week of these Games, online users streamed 1.86 billion minutes of NBC’s coverage, handily beating streams for the Olympics in London and Sochi. Last Saturday, NBC boasted in a press release, was the best day ever for NBC Olympics on digital platforms, with 155 million live streaming minutes, up 263% from the comparable day at London in 2012.

However, I did not stream the games at all because of this:

But they still had to have a cable login, and therein lies the problem. By requiring cable login credentials, NBC didn’t do enough to pull in cord-cutters, or “cord-nevers” (those who never paid for cable in the first place).
I whole bunch of people did not watch the Games at all because they are in this category. 

As soon as I saw the cable login thing I uninstalled the app. I have cable but why should I have to be tethered to it just to watch some obscure sports that I enjoy. CBS was smart when they allowed free streaming of the NCAA championship and I figured NBC would follow suit but I was wrong.

They should have put the big stuff like USA basketball, swimming, and gymnastics on NBC at night and put wrestling, shooting, etc on the digital app. Instead we are still tethered to the cable box which is something I dislike a lot. In any case NBC botched Rio and I'm not looking forward to how they handle Tokyo in 2020.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Well the Obama White House Just put a Price on Hostages: $100 Million each

It looks like they took every stop they could to get that deal passed. I wonder what else is lurking in that thing?

"We had concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release," Kirby said, citing delays and mutual mistrust between countries that severed diplomatic relations 36 years ago. As a result, he explained, the U.S. "of course sought to retain maximum leverage until after the American citizens were released. That was our top priority."

Both events occurred Jan. 17, fueling suspicions from Republican lawmakers and accusations from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump of a quid pro quo that undermined America's longstanding opposition to ransom payments.
Shipping piles of money in different types of currency in the middle of the night do a great deal to "fuel suspicions."

Aly Raisman Looks Like a Hobbit Compared to this Basketball Player

Gymnasts are pretty small.

On Wednesday, Aly Raisman took to Instagram to share a picture of herself and Australian basketball player Liz Cambage, along with a caption reminding fans that, depending on the sport, sometimes it pays to be on the shorter side. The resulting photograph is absolutely incredible, and the height discrepancy is so extreme that it almost looks like an optical illusion: At 6-foot-8, Liz is laughably taller than Aly's 5-foot-2

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wait: Climate Models Don't Take into Effect Clouds?

This is why it is so hard to say that Climate Science is "settled science."
Climate models have failed to account for mid-level clouds in the tropics. New satellite analysis of tropical clouds has revealed their ubiquity, as well as their underappreciated cooling effect. Thin, tropical clouds form at an altitude of roughly three miles, often near convective clouds. The latest analysis suggests they help cool the climate.
You would think that these clouds would be really hard to model and I guess that is what happened. That's why predictions of 10 degrees of warming or whatever in 100 years are so hard to swallow for many. If it is hard to model the climate now how are we supposed to take these numbers 100 years into the future? There might be man made warming but we need more information before we change societies and keep the Chinese and Indians in poverty indefinitely. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Another Climate Scientist Lets the Mask Slip: Wants "Wholesale Transformation" of Economies and Society

Now this should make every person in the West shudder.
Brazilian scientist Thelma Krug, who will lead the Geneva meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said a "wholesale transformation" of economies and society will be required to achieve the Paris targets.
What exactly does that mean? Moves toward socialism, authoritarianism, or destruction of human rights? Keeping the Chinese and the Indians from realizing a middle class existence that Europe and the US enjoys? Forced sterilization to prevent more people using more energy so that this group can "achieve Paris targets?"  What is on and off the table for Ms. King?

This is why climate change is scary. Un-elected Climate officials trying to do a "wholesale transformation" of economies and societies. That almost always results in death and destruction and a large scale as the Khmer Rouge would attest.

Hope Solo Calls Swedes "Cowards" for playing Defensively

Hopefully, this will be the last we will hear about her for years barring a movie career or more run-ins with the law.
She told reporters that the U.S. had played “a courageous game.” That the U.S. had “showed a lot of heart” and “American heart.” And that Sweden had been “a bunch of cowards” because “they didn’t want to play great soccer.”
They played defensive soccer from all accounts. If they played wide open like Solo wanted they probably would have lost. Instead they had the gall to play to their strengths and beat the whiny Americans in PKs. Also it doesn't matter if the "best team did not win" the US still lost and the US Gold Medal Tour can be officially cancelled. 

Arrogant, Whiny American Womens Soccer Team Loses to Sweden

Well looks like they finally got their comeuppance.

The Americans were the towering favorites. Sweden had managed just two goals in its three group stage goals, and one of those had come in a 5-1 hammering at the hands of the hosts Brazil – which the U.S. was widely expected to face in Tuesday’s semifinal.
But whereas the Americans reportedly already had a plan outlined for another post-championship victory tour, Sweden had a plan for this game.
Don't plan the tour until you win the hardware. I was a big fan of them up until they were scheduled to play in Hawaii and did this.
If there is a legal fight, it could get messy quick. U.S. Soccer made two separate agreements, one with Stadium Authority and one with the Hawaii Tourism Agreement. The Stadium Authority relationship called for the USWNT to play rent-free, collect ticket revenue and control broadcast and photo rights. Stadium Authority's revenue would be made off food, beverage and parking.

Stadium Authority gave U.S. soccer a seven-day window to inspect the field -- but they didn't.
This is the same field that a high school football team played on the night before and the Pro Bowl would play on in a month. The problem I had was that it was cancelled at 9pm the night before the event. They had 7 days to inspect the field and cancel but they waited until the last possible moment to pull out so the field could not get fixed in time. 

So Hawaii had all sorts of egg on their faces and we didn't get a chance to see the heroic US Womans World Cup winning team. People had their tickets refunded but they were out their travel expenses or hotel room bills. Also Hope Solo tweeting a pic of the turf being pulled up in the link above was actually on the sideline and not on the playing field I remember hearing on the news.

In any case they complained about the field yet again this time in the Olympics.
The USA, having complained about the state of the field ahead of the game, quickly threatened when an Alex Morgan header was cleared off the line and a Morgan Brian shot saved by Hedvig Lindahl in the third minute. But their attack soon fizzled as the Swedes consolidated their defense.
The Swedes didn't complain about the field and they still won on PKs. 

I really loved the USWNT when they won the World Cup and I believe they should be paid the same as the men's team. However, with Hope Solo's many legal troubles then whining about Zika and Abby Wambach getting arrested for DUI they just look terrible. Maybe losing to Sweden a year after the World Cup will provide a wake up call for them.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Reince Priebus cut Off Trump Funding and Use it for Congressional Races

I have to agree with this letter.
“Given the catastrophic impact that Donald Trump’s losing presidential campaign will have on down-ballot Senate and House races, we urge you to immediately suspend all discretionary RNC support for Trump and focus the entirety of the RNC’s available resources on preserving the GOP’s congressional majorities,” the letter says.
They are afraid that Trump will cause them to lose the House and the Senate which would be terrible for the GOP. 

Trump Will Now Lose the Election: Admits that He will Not Change Idiodic Style to Win and Instead Go Down in Flames

Well Hillary can really start measuring the drapes because Trump does not want to change is style to win.
Republicans have long hoped Trump will pivot on his behavior, but in the "Squawk Box" interview, he said:

"I'm a truth teller. All I do is tell the truth. And if at the end of 90 days, I've fallen short because I'm somewhat politically correct even though I'm supposed to be the smart one and even though I'm supposed to have a lot of good ideas, it's OK. I go back to a very good way of life." 
He is looking at getting back to his post election life. That means he thinks it is over and Hillary has it sewed up. This is confirmation of all the conspiracy theories about him not wanting to actually govern as the President and instead just wanting to win the job as a jewel in the crown.

He will now say it is rigged and a few months later will launch the Trump News Network and the Trump Media Group. His next billion is now in the bag and he doesn't even have to deal with contractors, cement costs, or build any new high rises. The jokes on the GOP and the American people. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Draconian Insanity Watch: NBC Edition: Wait you Cannot Use the Theme Song or Rings in News Coverage?

I haven't been paying attention but I guess this is why ESPN SportsCenter's top plays are all baseball and no Olympics at all.

Tomasulo lamented the lack of WGN Chicago’s Olympics coverage, which, per NBC’s rules, can include only two minutes of video and must contain a three-hour gap between programs. And those minuscule video rights are just the beginning.

“We’re not even allowed to use the Olympic theme song this year,” Tomasulo said. “Did you know that? And we can’t even incorporate the Olympic rings in any of our unique graphics. We have to show the whole thing or not at all.”

So they can show a 2 minute highlight and then wait 3 hours? And you cannot use the symbol or the theme song at all? Now that is getting pretty stupid.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Trump has Built in Excuse for Potential Epic Loss: "It Was Rigged"

I mean he has to blame someone.
The poll of North Carolina voters, which showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton up by 1 percentage point, found that 69% of Trump's supporters thought that if Clinton wins the election, it will be because it's rigged. Just 16% thought it would be because she got more votes than Trump.

Among all of those surveyed in the poll, 51% said a Clinton victory in the election would be because she won more votes, while 36% said it would be the result of a rigged election. The remaining 13% were unsure whether a Clinton victory would be the result of election rigging.
That is a pretty wide margin and it would effect Hillary governing. I mean if the idea of an illegitimate President who "stole the election" catches on good luck getting that 36% to back anything she does.

Hillary Pulls Away in Latest Polls: I Blame Trump Going After Gold Star Family

I think Trump is cooked. He picked a fight with the wrong people at the wrong time. This will be his "49% moment" or the "Dean Scream"
The poll shows Clinton leading Trump, 46 percent to 34 percent, among registered voters and finds a similar margin for Clinton among likely voters
A double digit lead would be very hard to overcome especially with these factors.

Trump is losing by a wide margin among white women with a college degree, a typically Republican group. Mitt Romney won this group by 6 percentage points in 2012, but Clinton leads Trump among this group, 57 percent to 27 percent.
He is getting smashed in this group that is traditionally GOP. I think they just don't like how he treats women and how he treats people in general. It's hard to back a loudmouthed bully.
Another warning sign for Trump: 2 in 3 voters say Trump lacks the temperament to be president. Only 27 percent say he has the right temperament for the job — a new low for the candidate in Monmouth’s polls.
I think this is a direct result of him going after the Gold Star family after the Democratic Convention. I read that 60% of Republicans disapproved of him doing that and some wide margin "strongly disapproved" of the action. It was a huge unforced error and I think it will cost him the election. I think only Putin can save him from a record defeat and maybe only if Hillary is perp-walked.

This should be changed to "Kid Potentially Ruins Life By Going to Cornell at 12"

I really think this is a bad idea.
Twelve-year-old Jeremy Shuler will attend Cornell University this fall, The Ithaca Journal reported.

The preteen genius, from Lubbock, Texas, plans to major in engineering, the same field in which both of his parents work.

"I was excited when I found out I got accepted to Cornell,” Shuler told Texas Tech Today. “It is the best choice for me.”
No the best choice is to stay in high school and graduate with the rest of your class while interning or taking courses on the side. This might be part of why he is leaving early. The "history factor."
Perhaps even more astonishingly, if he graduates on time at 16, he will be the youngest student ever to graduate from Cornell.
Yay! He will have a college degree at 16 then wait 4 years or more to get a job. Who would hire a 16 year old engineer? He would not have the maturity or people skills to work with people that will probably be in their mid to late 20s working at an engineering firm. Hopefully he goes on the Doctorate tract so he can stay in school until he is in his 20s.

One bad thing is he gets to miss everything about high school that would give him the shared experience of his peers. So no prom, no first girlfriend so no first kiss, no first high school party, no sports or extra curricular activities with other kids his age like marching band or football. He passes all of that up to be able to go to college 8 years early and have to go to class with 18 year old freshmen who will probably strait-up ignore him. I'm pretty sure you don't want the 12 year old at the dorm mixer anytime soon. He's going to be the loneliest kid on earth.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Wow if this is True Trump is More Dangerous then He Looks #HeWantstoDroptheBomb?

Now this is a person living in his own private world.
“Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons," Scarborough recalled. "Three times, he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, we can’t we use them?’… Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?' "
The answer "orange hairpiece" is that if we drop the bomb when conventional weapons are an option it shows the rest of the world that option is now on the table. It makes the world as dangerous as it was in the 60s. It also shows the naivete of Trump on the world stage. Hopefully the GOP will not be too damaged by Trumps flaming loss.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Wall Street Abandons Trump

Well it seems that Hillary might run away with this thing at least with Wall Street types.
Back in May, I surveyed more than 50 financial professionals across the board. And the overwhelming majority said they were secretly planning on voting for Trump come Election Day. But that was two months ago and now the tides have turned. With the last piece of convention confetti dropped and all of the red and blue balloons popped, I decided to check back in with the financial folks a few days ago. And now, Wall Street is leaning toward Hillary Clinton.

I would say roughly 60 percent of the people I spoke to in my (highly unscientific) poll said if the election were held today, they'd vote for Clinton.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Our F-35s cannot even be Seen By Our Own SAM Batteries?

I guess warplanes are now much better than the defenses nowadays.
The F-35 has hit yet another snag. During a recent exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, US Air Force F-35A pilots set out to practice evading surface-to-air missiles, but they could not, because the SAM radars on the ground could not even find the ultra-stealthy planes.

"If they never saw us, they couldn't target us," said Lt. Col. George Watkins, commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, told the Air Force Times.

To participate in the exercise as planned, the F-35As had to turn on their transponders, essentially announcing their presence so the SAM sites could see and engage them. 
So they had to turn on the "shoot-me" sign or they would have never even got the missiles to lock on? I would hate to be any other country right now. We can essentially fly in and evade any SAMs and then fly out without them even knowing. I guess death by totally stealthy warplane might be yet another way for us to kill ISIS terrorists.

Idiot Trump Continues to Go After the Parents of Dead Soldier and Shows How Pathetically Thin Skinned he Is

What is wrong with this Orange Orangutan?
“Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same,” he tweeted. “Nice!”
Why is he fighting with the Khans for? This is ridiculous even for him. At least the Khans are fighting back.
“This candidate amazes me,” Khan said on NBC. “His ignorance — he can get up and malign the entire nation, the religions, the communities, the minorities, the judges and yet [as] a private citizen in this political process … I cannot say what I feel? That proves the point, he has not read the Constitution of this country. Had he read that, his behavior would be different.”
I'm sure Trump is thinking of some bombastic comeback to this slight or he will whine that he is "being treated unfairly" or some other nonsense. Of all the people he could have written a comeback to at the Democratic Convention these parents should have been the very last ones. Instead he looks like a fool instead of talking back to Hillary. 

Holy crap! Rio's Water is Super Contaminated even Now: Olympic Paddlers Beware

Maybe they should think about cancelling anything that takes place in the open water because this is just scary.
Sampling at the Lagoon in March 2015 revealed an astounding 1.73 billion adenoviruses per liter. By this June, adenovirus readings were lower but still hair-raising at 248 million adenoviruses per liter. By comparison, in California, viral readings in the thousands per liter set off alarm bells.
The Olympic officials better have lots of porta-potties on standby.
The first results of the AP study published over a year ago showed viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe. At those concentrations, swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and more rarely heart and brain inflammation - although whether they actually fall ill depends on a series of factors including the strength of the individual's immune system.
So swallow some seawater accidentally and its time for the trotts. Sailing is not for the faint of heart.