Saturday, December 27, 2014

i <heart> nfl: philip rivers

Many questions regarding which of your teams would be going to the playoffs were resolved last week. Except of course mine, whose Week 17 features both the Falcons and Ravens vying for the final two playoff spots. So in the mean time, congratulations to the Pats/Broncos/Colts/Stillers/Bagels in the AFC and Boys/Lions/Packers/Cards/Seahawks in the NFC. 

Aside from the battle for the remaining two wildcard spots, a few games will determine division champions and therefore seeding, which are probably just a big deal for fans/rivals of these teams. But one exciting end-of-the-season event for the casual fan is the much-vaunted coach firings! My bets: Jim Harbaugh, Rex Ryan (has already cleared out his office), Marc Trestman, Ken Whisenhunt, Gus Bradley, and Analytical Ron. Hit me with yours!

The Beastquake strikes Arizona!

Sun 1pm: There are still four AFC teams competing for the final wildcard spot. The San Diego Superchargers take it with a win over the KC Reidskins, who can also take it with a win concurrent with losses by both the Ravens and Houstons. KC might have a better chance if they would throw touchdown passes to their wide receivers. The Cleveland Browns will be driving under the influence against my beloved Ravens, who also need to pull out a W (coupled with a Chargers loss). But given the Ravens recent horribleness against backup, backup QBs, that feat is far from sure. I'm very sad that Sexy Rexy had Christmas plans. A more certain victory is the Texas Houstons' imminent defeat of the future London Jags, but they'll still need  losses by the Ravens and Chargers to reach the postseason.

4:25 on the dot (PJ Leahy's, LIC): While God clearly hates the NFC South, Panther's QB Cam Newton should get his Christmas wish of his favorite team reaching the playoffs with a win. Devon Hester is already loosening up the officials for a Dirty Birds victory. The Lions defense hopes to stomp on Aaron Rodgers and his Packers, as these teams compete for the NFC North title. And the Seahawks will finish as division champions assuming they can dispatch the future (and past!) LA Rams. 

SNF: While it is a primetime game, the matchup between the Bagels and Stillers only matters for seeding, so look for your team to receive an effective playoff BYE week against the Bagels.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

i <heart> nfl: joe montana

The games are full of implications this week! Only two games have no consequence for the playoffs (see if you can guess which ones!), so buckle in! In other news, LA is gonna have to wait until at least 2016 before some awful team(s) move(s) there. We've got another player released on rape allegations, conveniently after said team was eliminated from playoff contention. Sadly, you can't wear that Aaron Hernandez jersey you got for Christmas to his murder trial. And Congressional incompetence could cancel the Super Bowl! I suppose if this were ever to happen, this is probably the year for it.

Oh no you DON'T!

TNF: It's nice that Google has the poop emoji () technology necessary to describe this game. The Jags defeated the University of Tennessee by a score of whatever to who cares. (Hint: this is the first game that doesn't matter)

SatNF (Shannon Pot, LIC): Saturday Football... woohoo! Desean Jackson exacted revenge on his former team as the Skins probably knocked the Iggles out of playoff contention in last night's last-minute upset. Only December Tony Romo can save them now! Knowing that Jim Harbaugh hunts children for sport, QB and noted procreator Philip Rivers overcame a 21-point deficit to keep the Chargers' playoff hopes alive, in this Falcons-esque loss for the Niners.

Sun 1pm (PJ Leahy's, LIC): My Dirty Birds check into the Hotel Katrina in a must-win against the Nawlins Aints and the worst fans in football. The Carolina Panthers continue to excel at fan costumes with car-crash Cam Newton facing off against Johnny Fucking Football, expected to perform better this week due to his new playcalling flask. My beloved Ravens, led by QB James Franco, are entertained by the Texas Houstons and QB JJ Watt throwing to tight end JJ Watt, with defensive lineman JJ Watt on the other side of the ball. The D'town Lions didn't need to ruin their appetites by eating butthole when the Bills were going to throw them a pizza party. Having already punched their ticket to the playoffs, they travel to a decrepit Bears team whose coaches are being waterboarded and fans are cutting their wrists. Can Tom Brady headbutt his way to the first seed in the AFC with a victory over the J-E-T-S, whose fans look to be receiving their Christmas wish of firing GM Jim Izdik?

4pm-ish: Andrew Luck looks to compliment the nearly-clinching Cowboys to defeat against his Colts. And the StL Rams host the NYF Giants in the other game that doesn't matter this week.

SNF: This NFC West showdown features the Seattle Seahawks against the Zony Cards battling for first place in their division, which would be an enjoyable game if the Cards had a starting QB.

MNF: The Broncos could do me a solid by whaling on the Cincy Bagels like Wes Welker on a dog.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

stem surplus

With Obama's recent executive action on immigration, America's need for foreign workers in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to assuage our apparent shortcoming is in the headlines again. Students in the US fair fare around average on international testing in the sciences, and the fear is that American economic competitiveness will stagnate while countries such as South Korea, Singapore, and Finland overtake us. Thus the conventional wisdom espoused by CEOs, editorial writers, and lobbyists is that we must import high-tech workers to make up for our alleged deficit. Now while I'm typically gung-ho for immigration in general, the fact is that there is no STEM shortage in the United States. 

This lack of shortage, which I'll call the STEM Surplus, is evident by analyzing the employment of high-tech workers, as described by the recent Bloomberg article and an excellent piece in the Atlantic from earlier in the year. Unemployment rates exceed 7% for the fields of engineering and computer science, in stark contrast to what they would be in an alleged shortage. Additionally, real wages for many science and engineering fields have remained flat for the past couple decades. Science and engineering fields are often dynamic and on the bleeding edge of economic competitiveness, so lobbyists for an influx of STEM workers are able to cite shortages in certain subdisciplines. However, the articles cite the example of petroleum engineering, which was declining two decades ago, have been facing a legitimate shortage due to the expansion of oil fields in the US and Canada (well maybe not for long, with West Texas Intermediate below $55/barrel). The result is that employers started paying more, and suddenly working at an oil rig in North Dakota became a lucrative job. Shortage adverted. The free market works!

The received wisdom of a high-tech worker shortage is propagated by those that benefit from lower wage workers. I'm looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg. A class action lawsuit by Silicon Valley engineers this year concerns the anti-poaching collusion between Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe. Allegedly orchestrated by Steve Jobs, an agreement was in place between 2005 and 2009 to not recruit each other's employees, thus curbing wages. The tacit admission is that high-tech workers were not properly compensated given their skills. That, and that only half of bachelors recipients in STEM fields find STEM jobs, shows the impossibility of a shortage. 

Bringing the STEM surplus up the educational ladder, it is now typical for recent PhDs in the sciences to be employed in postdoctoral positions (hi!), temporary assignments known for their lower wages and lack of definite career path. And this competitiveness and lack of options may compel some postdocs to compromise research integrity to get ahead. A recent report on US postdocs found “junior scientists are primarily treated as cheap labor rather than as participants in a well-rounded training program.” Getting a job in research after receiving a Physics PhD is a tough, and I can attest that less than half of my friends from grad school continued in research, with most of the remainder finding other technical work (still very good!), and others even going on to ruin Wall Street. Physics seems to be one of those fields that still doing pretty well. Examples of those that aren't are the biomedical field detailed by Derek Lowe of In the Pipeline, and featured in Dan Rather's report PhDon't.

All that being said, if you really love the sciences or engineering, I would never discourage you from following your dreams. But knowing what is on the other side of that education is key to making the right decision. And those espousing falsehoods for their own economic benefit aren't helping. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

i <heart> nfl: brandon marshall

It's been awhile since we talked about the awful goings-on inside the NFL. This week we learn that the ass-clowns that work for that idiot NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are too cowardly to eat a slice of pizza before his majesty Lord Rog does. Is it any wonder that they try to solve their problems with domestic/child abuse by issuing complicated flowcharts. The league seems to think the Ray Rice/Adrian Peterson sagas were a result of their lack of power, but this seems to me a clear case of people being horrible at their jobs. Roger Goodell clearly lied about the Ray Rice tape and interview, and is hopefully soon replaced by someone competent. Elsewhere we have sweatshirt enthusiast and NE Pats coach Bill Bellchick colluding with the team doctor to defraud a player out of millions of dollars. And Adrian Peterson has nothing else to do while suspended, so he's expected to sue the NFL tomorrow, and may retire from football altogether. A good summary of the recent atrociousness can be found in this Deadspin article. What fun!

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, this week's slate of games is quite good! With three games to go for each team, no team has yet to clinch a playoff spot, the first time in 35 years. And a full two thirds of teams are still in the hunt, making every victory/loss that much essential for postseason hopes. Also look for coach firings to commence!

Oh no! Flopping has come to the NFL!

TNF: Yielding to the wishes of the Furgeson protestors, the Zony Cards and StL Rams scored only fieldgoals, in an awful throwback game to a time before the invention of the forward pass.

Sun 1pm (PJ Leahy's, LIC): The car wreck that is the NFC South transmogrified into an actual car wreck, as Carolina QB Cam Newton's truck flipped over four times, barely hurting the QB as he is apparently on God's fantasy team. He will remained sidelined due to pain however, as the Panthers face off against former employer of indentured servants, the TB Bucs. My division-leading (5-2^3) Dirty Birds host an inconsistent Stillers team that is likewise vying for a vision title. Noted midget Johnny Fucking Football makes his first start for the Browns, as he attempts to hug it out against division rival Cincy Bagels. The question of whether F-Bombs can hurt aquatic lifeforms will be answered as the NE Pats can secure the division and the firing of Miami coach Joe Philbin with a win over the Fins. And the JJ Watts host the Confederate States of America, as Texas must win out for the possibility of a playoff spot.

4pm-ish: Noted porn-lover and Seattle QB Russell Wilson takes on the newly hapless Santa Clara 110001ers, led by chump/bitch-ass QB Colin Kaepernick. All of the J-E-T-S are showing concussion symptoms, so they'll be grounded against no one. A contest between Manning-face and Laser-face will commence that could allow the Broncos to capture the division, so look for them to get shocked by the Chargers. And that's all the division-capturing that can happen today! 

SNF: The Double J and his 'Boys are hosted by the Philadelphia Iggles and QB impersonator Sanchize, as viewers patiently hold their collective breathe, look at the calendar, and wait for the inevitable Tony Romo collapse. Take care not to choke on your plate of nachos.

MNF: Although suffering from buyer's remorse, da Bears could do me a solid here by defeating the equally-hapless NO Aints.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

i <heart> nfl: andy dalton

I grew up in the ATL burbs listlessly watching Falcons games on Sunday. Moving to Baltimore after college, my friends instilled appreciation of The Game into me, and I became a fan of both the NFL and the Ravens. I started a bowling team in grad school consisting of fans of the Packers, Bears, Seahawks, Colts, Skins, and Cowboys. I hung out at a local Midwest bar that had Sunday ticket with an old Browns and Niners fan. And then I went and married an Eagles fan! Now we're a Falcons/Ravens/Packers/Bears/Seahawks/Colts/Skins/Cowboys/Browns/Niners/Eagles family, controlling 34% of NFL teams and earning tens of billions yearly in revenue. 

TNF: Jay Cutler doesn't care about how bad his team is beaten by the Cowboys.

This is what I think of your call!

Sun 1pm: In a concerted effort to protect their potentially high draft picks, fans of both New York NFL franchises recently took to the streets, shutting down bridges and tunnels as they demanded only fieldgoals from the J-E-T-S and Giants, especially given the strong draft-pick contenders they face in the Minnie Vikes and some other team, respectively. Houston FC's star footballer Arian Foster wishes the future London Jags a welcome Tally Ho! Much to the disappointment of Drake, Indy travels toHoyer Country to face the Browns, who are sitting on the fence of their first playoff appearance in, like, my lifetime. My beloved Ravens travel to the pastel lands of Miami, without star defensive end Haloti Ngata, who was suspended for focusing on the family. The StL Rams travel to the mess of FedEx field to face the Snyder Shitshows, a matchup of sadness you can see live for a cool three bucks.

4pm-ish (we're going out in LIC for this one!): The Bay Area matchup will be noted for how many hundreds of people get arrested in addition to the trolling of Niners QB Kaepernick, as those with expert knowledge prefer Oakland rookie Derek Carr. Also Jim Harbaugh will be freaking out on the opposite side of the field next time these teams meet. The matchup of the day features the pure offensive vs pure defensive as the Iggles host the Seahawks.

SNF: After losing to the Packers last week, the NE Pats are looking to throw their season away as theCurse of the Bieber befalls them, as travel to the Q to face the San Diego Superchargers.

MNF (Shi, LIC): My Dirty Birds will try not to be too embarrassed as they travel to Green Bay to battle the Pack.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

i <heart> nfl: dan marino

Football fans can be thankful that not every game results in the same kind of one-sided play we saw on Thanksgiving. The roars of the D'town Lions proved too much for hungover Bears QB Jay Cutler. The Sanchize redeemed himself on the two-year anniversary of The Buttfumble by leading the Iggles to victory over the Dallas 'Boys, setting them up perfectly for the traditional December collapse. And while not even playing for the division lead, the Seattle Seahawks constricted the SF Niners' offense like a pair of hipster jeans.

For posterity, ODB with the best catch of the season, if not history:
Odell Beckham Jr. Makes Circus Catch Of The Year For A Touchdown

Sun 1pm (cleaning the ol' apt): My beloved Ravens look to pull the plug on the San Diego Superchargers in a solid matchup as both teams need the win to stay afloat in their competitive divisions. Meetings of industrial rustbelts Cleveland and Buffalo are mostly derided and quickly disregarded, especially this late in the season, but these teams are both surprisingly still in contention this season, so look for one of them to screw themselves hilariously or sadly, depending on your point of view. Can the Tennessee Titans, whose existence is still disputed, rally behind the selfielessness of QB Zach Mettenberg as he battles his addiction with social media against the JJ Watts? The RG3 era is over in Washington, as the Dan Snyder Gargling Hot Balls are hosted by Indy.

4pm-ish (PJ Leahy's, LIC, perhaps?): My Dirty Birds need to continue to suck just as badly as the rest of the NFC South if they wanna stay on top as they host the Zony Cards. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady should bring a lot of offensive production to the late afternoon slate.

SNF: The Denver Broncos may want to bring their own Papa Johns to the game, as Arrowhead Stadium's concessions are reportedly disgusting. You know what's also disgusting? Losing to the Raiders.  

MNF: The Miami Dolphins swim into Snoopy Stadium to observe how much 'fun' can the NY J-E-T-S put in 'dysfunction.'

Sunday, November 23, 2014

i <heart> nfl: aaron rodgers

The first Raiders win of the season completes the Circle of Parity, in which every team has transitively beaten themselves. In an exemplary demonstration of the season thus far, the KC Chiefs, fresh off a victory against the Super Bowl defending Seahawks, go and lose one to the winless Oakland Raiders. 

TNF: The Oakland Raiders blew their one year anniversary of losing by winning.

Sun 1pm (PJ Leahy's, LIC): Now that the NFL has legalized Josh Gordon, will my Dirty Birds still be able to ride dirty against the recently hapless Cleveland Browns? The Bagels get hosted by the Texas Houstons and their Harvard-graduate QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has failed upwards into a gig as Vice President of Sideline Communications. Chicago continues to fail at everything sports-related, but the could get a leg up against TB Bucs. The Iggles get their second BYE of the season, because for some reason the AFC South only has 3 teams. 

4pm-ish: RG3 is apologizing in advance for his teammates' loss to the Santa Clara 110001ers. My brother is yelling at me to get out of the apartment.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

i <heart> nfl: larry fitzgerald

Well the one-sided primetime matchups don't get much worse than last week, which saw blowouts in all three of TNF, SNF and MNF, but it did feature the best penalty ever. If everything goes as planned, the teams I root for could both end up in 1st place in their respective divisions this week (!?).

For all those Euros that don't like our sport named "football"

TNF: The Miami Fins have taken a solid hold of 2nd place in the AFC East with their win over the Buffalo Bills. Bills fans continue to excel at being drunk.

Sun 1pm (couch!): Da Bears are so sad that Chicago sportswriters can't bring themselves to write headlines describing them, and they will be cold as well, as they're hosting the University of Minnesota in the first snow football of the season! The Who Dat!-Who Dey! Bowl takes place in a meeting of Bagels and Aints, teams both featuring idiotic fan bases. Noted Dirty Bird fan hosts his favorite team, in what looks like the making of a Play 60 commercial. In a metaphor for their season, the Washington Fredskins' team buses crashed into each other, and they face another wreck in the form of the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Seattle Seahawks, like the beer their stadium sells, have been watered down as they face the streaking KC Reidskins.

4pm-ish (Misconduct Tavern, Center City, Philly?): Can the Iggles steamroll the offensive force of the Packers, as Aaron Rodgers was injured by inactivity by last week's blowout of da Bears? The Sanchize Era is here in Philadelphia! Surprisingly competent teams face off in the desert as the Zony Cards host the D'town Lions. And the San Diego forecast calls for sun and a 90% chance of stabbings as they host the Oakland Raiders.
SNF: The Patriots can thank their racist fans in prime time as they are hosted by the Indy Fighting Amish.
MNF: Former dreamy QB Kurt Warner has been trying to disprove the Theory of Evolution by citing Ben Roethlisberger, whose devolution against the J-E-T-S last week was widely blamed by the enigmatic Curse of the Beiber. Such mysticism and half-truths are quite fitting this week, as the Yinzburgh Stillers travel to the remote backwoods of southern Kentucky to face the mythical Tennessee Titans.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

i <heart> nfl: eli manning

There's gotta be some NFL sponsorship deal with Instagram, which has been in the NFL news quite a bit this week, or maybe it's just the universe's way of trolling JJ Watt. A former Ravens cheerleader has been indicted for raping a 15-year-old she met on the social media platform. It's nice that the Ravens have achieved gender parity in their quest to ruin football, and perhaps NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will try a bit harder to find videotape of this particular offense. But I was reminded again that, while the Ravens efforts have only been during the current season (and I guess that time when they had 2 Lewis's also), the Yinzburgh Stillers have been working at this for some time. In addition to their prominence in last year's Frontline exposé "League of Denial: the NFL's Concussion Crisis," a recent Vice Sports article on the making of the 1997 video game NFL Blitz, with all its extravagant after-the-play pro wrestling-esque violence, was marketed by former Stillers QB Kordell Stewart. Watch that and consider whether it'd see the light of day in 2014. I suppose you could get away with that in the 90's, a simpler time: 'Merica had just won the Cold War, Slick Willy was in the Oval Office, and no one outside the medical profession knew what CTE's or ACL tears were. 

You barely have to get off your ass to score on the Jets secondary

TNF: The Battle for Ohio was supposed to be a watchable game this year, with both the Browns and Bagels in possession of winning records (!). But no, the game turned out to be sadder than a kid with cancer watching her Dad's team get humiliated in his first NFL start by the Factory of Sadness, as Bagels QB Andy Dalton posted a historically horrific passing game.

Sun 1pm (Couch, unless you've got something better): My beloved Ravens host the ghosts of the former Houston Oilers, the Tennessee Titans and their new not-so-handsome yet quite maniacal QB Zach Mettenberger. Emphasizing the 'gram' in 'Instagram,' my Dirty Birds are riding dirty against the calculator-fonted TB Bucs. After last week's Taintfumble, can C-Kaep and his Niners check into the Hotel Katrina and defeat the NO Aints? Tony Romo has been airlifted onto America's largest aircraft carrier, Great Britain, to make sure the #CowboySUK on a different continent, although they are facing the future London franchise Jaguars. Andy Reid may be disappointed that Buffalo is not on the menu, especially when he gets the Bill. Ben Roethlisberger and the Stillers will fit right into my fair city, given the prevalence of street harassment and objectification. #YesAllJetsFans. It's so sad that even other planes are turning against the Jets. And the early slot tiff that actually features two competitive teams, the D'town Lions host the Miami Fins.

4pm-ish: Will the Denver Broncos be prepared for the considerable challenge of playing against the Oakland Raiders? Overshadowed by the mountain of suck that is the NY J-E-T-S, the NY Football Giants could quietly slip into last place in the NFC East with a loss to the world champion Seahawks, especially given the slowness with which Old Man Coughlin fishes the challenge flag out of his sock. With the talk starting about the possibility of the Zony Cards as the first team to host their own Super Bowl, look for them to get upset by the upsetting StL Rams in likely the most competitive late afternoon matchup.

SNF (former roommate and current Queens cohabitor Matt will be joining me in LIC, probably PJ Leahy's... JOIN US): Even though da Bears are diversifying their losing portfolio to include away games as well as home ones, they can nary afford another loss against Green Bay if the wish to stay in contention. But they probably DOOOOONNN'T CAAAAAAAAAAARRREE.

MNF: The Panthers have looked quite spayed this season and they face a frisky Chip Kelly offense at home in the Iggles, so expect this game to quickly become unwatchable.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

i <heart> nfl: drew brees

Well we're halfway through the season, and the only team that looks remotely dominant in any way is the Denver Broncos, which means they'll probably lose today. Many teams have shown combinations of brilliance and buffoonery this season, and coupled with the normal slate of injuries (and the unusual ones!), most teams are still capable of reaching the playoffs. I guess we'll have to watch and see! 

TNF: At 4-4, the NO Aints now sit atop the steaming pile that is the NFC South with their victory over the Black Panthers. Hey, at least my Dirty Birds are only two games out!

Sun 1pm EST (Cavanaugh's Rittenhouse, Center City, Philly): With the conclusion of Daylight Saving Time, we get to endure another hour of wondering whether or not Tony Romo will start against the Zony Cards. After last week's back-breaking injury, in which Cowboys owner/GM/team doctor the Double J personally put Romo back into the game for their decisive last-minute loss, keep posted on more ludicrous antics in Jerryland. Philadelphia will attempt to fly, Iggles, fly against a stout Texas Houstons defense led by JJ Watt and/or Jesus Christ. Although being haunted by dog ghosts would have made for good Halloween weekend fun as Vick is the starting QB this week, the NY Just-Endure-The-Suffering look to lose instead through the classic combination of incompetence and hilarity, even with Percy Harvin fighting tooth and nail every huddle, as they are entertained by the KC Reidskins. The Vikings look to hobble the DC Fightin' Snyders by ordering pizza to the sideline. Fresh off their victory in the Sadness Bowl, the Browns host Tampa Bay in the featured meeting of the elite rivals: Glennon-Hoyer Bowl I is upon us!

Sun 4pm-ish: Bill Belichick now knows how to dress for success as picking the appropriate hoodie for today's matchup is key to defeating the Superbowl-losing Broncos.

SNF: Tonight's game is brought to you by pain, hatred, and horrible fan art, as a resurgent Yinzburg Stillers host my beloved Ravens for control of the sometimes competent AFC North.

MNF: After getting blown out last week, Indy will like visit the same fate upon the NYF Giants.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

i <heart> nfl: sam bradford/kirk cousins/mike glennon

Good morning to you all! While the games have already started thanks to the Brits getting an afternoon game, I am working hard to get this email out as half-fast as possible. General NFL news includes that Rogel Goodell will be compelled to testify about what the NFL knew regarding the Ray Rice videotape. TESTIFY. 

GUYS... this isn't funny! You GUUUUUUYS

TNF: Leave it up to Peyton Manning to ruin Thursday night football again. While not quite a blowout, it was widely anticipated the Superchargers could make it a game against the Broncos. 

SMF (9:30am): Tally-ho! In what is likely a dual bid to convince the Queen to allow Detroit to go into Canadian receivership while allowing Atlanta to get some practice in the home stadium of their division rival future London Bucs, this game takes place at Wembley Stadium. But this is the first time the NFL decided to give East Coasters the West Coast experience by not scheduling the game in accordance with usual football times. Hopefully this comes without the stabbings. In what looks like a metaphor for their season so far, my Dirty Birds don't know where they're going. But don't worry, I made an ATL victory a virtual lock by starting Matt Stafford in fantasy.

1pm: In a seamless continuation of our 14 hours of glorious football, my Bodymore Ravens get hosted by the red hot Cincy Bagels. Missouri loves company, fitting as the Stl Rams visit the KC Reidskins. Da Bears can't win at home, perhaps they can at Foxborough against the NE Pats. The hapless Minny Vikes visit the hapless TB Bucs. Instead of playing a football game this week, the Texas Houstons will investigate the disappearance of the former Houston franchise. The Seattle Seahawks, in their quest to become a purely defensive unit, are shedding all players with any offensive production, and who better to show them how to do that than the Carolina Panthers.

4pm-ish: Stay tuned for the Sadness Bowl (editors note: I was gonna call it this even before I read the KSK post): the worst team in football 0-7 Oakland Raiders are hosted by the just-beaten-by-the-Jaguars Cleveland Browns. You made winners out of the Jags, Cleveland, are you sure you wanna do that again? The Eagles are looking to get a leg up on division rival Cowboys with a victory against the Zony Cards. That these two teams each have a single loss this season forbodes a quite watchable late afternoon game. Oh and also the Colts and Stillers are playing. 

SNF: Will motivational posters be enough to motivate the NO Aints as the GB Packers check into the Hotel Katrina? 

MNF: Save yourself the pain of watching another Cowboys victory and instead check out the wonderful South Park episode about the Washington R-words.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

i <heart> nfl: colin kaepernick

It's still Pinktober, which raises the awareness of backfield cancer. We're still waiting to hear back from the Mueller report, but just for fun let's mention that John Elway's son got probation for a domestic violence case, but that's probably okay because it's only one of hundreds. Or maybe I'm just pissy cause the Ravens and Falcons play each other today.


TNF: Renewing a division rivarly, the NE Pats hosted the NY J-E-S-T in what was actually another surprisingly close Thursday night event. The game ended in true J-E-T-S from, by having the game-winning fieldgoal blocked in the final seconds, and also in true Pats form, by having a ref instruct a LBto move so as to not incur a 5-yard penalty, which would have made that final fieldgoal attempt a more manageable 53 yards. On Friday the J-E-T-S traded for WR Percy Harvin, thereby adding even more dysfunction to an already hilarious J-E-T-S squadron.

Sun 1pm (cleaning/organizing the ol' apartment): The once every four years when my beloved Ravens and Dirty Birds square off is a melancholic matchup, but at least Matt Ryan gets to be around people that care about him. Da Bears look for their first home win against a sometimes good Miami Fins team.Hodor and his Colts host the recently hapless Cincy Bagels, who have the dubious distinction of sharing the highest-scoring tie in NFL history last week with the Panthers. As everyone knows, ties are like kissing your sister, but these teams really slip her the tongue. The Seahawks attempt to make it even against the future (and past!) LA Rams by playing without a receiving core. The suddenly decent Browns will learn that in Florida, neither NFL franchises nor gubernational candidates have any fans, as they are hosted by the Jacksonville Baguars. The Eagles are on BYE this week, so Nick Foles has a chance to try those chicken tenders he's been hearing so much about.

4pm-ish: Can the NYCWTF Giants do their part to prevent a Cowboys winning-season apocalypse as they travel to Jerryland? Probably not. If the San Diego Superchargers stay classy against division rival KC Reidskins and no one is around to see it, does it still count as a win?

SNF: An excellent matchup between the Denver Broncos and Silicon Valley 110001ers has likely been ruined by the occurrence of a watchable Thursday night game.

MNF: An excellent matchup if it happened 5 years ago, the .500 Yinzburgh Stillers host the .500 Texas Houstons. Maybe we could have another tie?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

i <heart> nfl: jay cutler

Well it's Week 6, and already no team remains undefeated. Since it's October, the NFL is reminding us that breast cancer is also undefeated, and are apparently content to cure it through awareness instead of research. It was supposed to be a lightly-bruising week for the NFL PR depeartment, as the pre-tainted Mueller report investigating the Ray Rice incident has yet to come out. But lo, a casting call for the Will Smith-starring film 'Concussion' has been announced in Yinzburgh. Let's enjoy this game while it's still around!

You know, I thought my week sucked.

TNF: BEARD BOWL I! While resembling your standard Thursday night bloodbath after the first quarter, as Indy put up 24 while the Houstons laid a goose egg, it most surprisingly was not. The Houstons fought back to within a score, and Texas was driving down the field within the two minute warning. And then Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbled the ball and the game was over, no doubt because of the lack of 'Holding onto the Fucking Football 101' course offering at Harvard. 

Sun 1pm: (Brooklyn or my place): The Minny Vikes, the first team with the dubious distinction of being the first to start three different QBs, host the D'town Lions, the perennial snatchers of defeat from the jaws of victory, so look for the usual NFC North hilarity factor, especially with Megatron sidelined and a decent rookie QB starting for Minny. My Bodymore Ravens visit the NFC South punching bag TB Bucs. While the J-E-T-S are at home against the Broncos, their offense may be delayed due to the time zone difference. The Factory of Sadness could soon be manufacturing outbreaks as the Browns host the towel-laden Stillers. The Bagels host the Panthers in a contest to see whose defense went down the shitter the fastest. While the actual game might not be so bad, I'd much rather watch a beer chugging contest between Tom Brady and Kyle Orton.

4pm-ish (Lucky 7s, Jersey City): Really wishing I had an ATL Devin Hester jersey, I'll be on the road (PATH actually) to Jersey City, where I'll take in the Falcons/Bears game with a bunch of Bears friends of mine. Perhaps my Dirty Birds could gain an advantage by bringing their smartphones on the field, as da Bears have been instructed to ignore those Twitter terrorists. The DC Redskin Potatoes travel to the only state that doesn't think their name is offensive, and will proceed to be defeated by a QB who is still concussed. Will a stout Seattle secondary prevent Dez Bryant from bailing out Tony Romo again? Does Richard Sherman shit-talk in the woods?

SNF (My couch or a gutter, depending on the outcome of the previous game): In a divisional battle between two surprisingly competent NFC East rivals, the Philly Iggles host the NY Football Giants in a matchup that hopefully features a plethora of Manningface.

MNF: I just checked Stubhub, and the price to see the Santa Clara Niners visit the baseball-crazed city of StL was a cool 11 bucks. That would be totally worth it to see the imminent firing of SF coach andnoted spazz Jim Harbaugh, but apparently the Frisco front office does not want cake now.

Friday, October 10, 2014

spending the money

There have been a few announcements over the past few months of big technology companies placing large sums of money betting on the future of computing, in particular the quantum computing variety. At first glance, it seemed to vindicate my entire career decision of getting involved in the physics found at the end of Moore's Law, with quantum computing my subdiscipline of physics for the past year (and nanotechnology being the previous one, so also yay!). But I find this raises some important questions, with answers to be eventually discovered over the long term, so the more important to start thinking about them sooner.

We'll begin with Microsoft, who made a splash into the scene of quantum computing with the establishment of Station Q in 2006, a sort of home to quantum computing theorists and a network of experimental labs on retainer. Recently they're in the news again for their continued investigation into the a <deep breath> topological quantum computer based on the ν = 5/2 fractional quantum Hall state </inhales>. This is the sort of thing that was heavily researched in the 70's and 80's and netted a couple Nobel prizes in the process, mostly owing to the advances in materials science that allowed growth of high-purity AlGaAs/GaAs films (you'll find transistors made out of this in your cell phone). Quick explanation: these films act as a two-dimensional conductors in which the collective behavior of electrons mimic particles that possess charges that are a fraction of the electron, which is neat because fundamental particles with this property don't exist. Those with the specific fraction of 5/2 (and at least another one, I'm pretty sure), have world lines that get all tangled up in knots, hence the 'topological'. And this actually improves the lifetime of the quantum information considerably, assuaging one of the major obstacles in building quantum computers. Theorists in particular love this implementation of quantum computing, and if you look back at the sum Microsoft is spending on this ($10 million, FOR REALZ?), you'll see that's all they can afford. No big fancy labs are being built with that kind of money, and Microsoft has no experimental effort to support experimental research. As a substitution, they do provide grants to experimental endeavors, with the Kouwenhoven group at Delft University in the Netherlands being the most notable. And actually they've been researching a related quasi-particle called the Majorana fermion, which has been a hot area of condensed matter physics research lately. What's not been so hot recently, however, is research into quantum Hall physics, with this guy apparently leading the experimental charge to understand the ν = 5/2 fractional state at Bell Labs (in Murray Hill, NJ), which hasn't been a hot place to work for 20 years. This is interesting because I know nobody working in this experimental subfield and, perhaps recently, considered every research group on the East Coast appropriate for the condensed matter experimentalist that I am (was?) without happening upon this group.

If dropping serious bones is your kind of thing, then IBM takes the cake with the announcement of three billion (!) invested in the future of computing. While supporting many efforts besides quantum computing, including nanophotonics, carbon in both graphene and nanotube form, and low power transistors such as tunnel field effect transistors and III-V nanowires, one can see IBM is serious about superconducting qubits by hiring former members of the Yale and UCSB quantum computing groups and putting them in PR videos. IBM certainly has the research facilities for experimental advancement in this fields, with a group at Watson Lab (Yorktown Heights, NY) leading the way, both experimentally and theoretically. Superconducting qubits have the distinct advantage of their fabrication being compatible with existing silicon semiconductor fabrication methods, and that you get to design the parameters of your qubits rather than dealing with whatever you can trap. But with Big Blue seemingly getting out of the hardware fabrication business, there are questions about its commitment to actually making things (as opposed to providing solutions!). But I suppose the superconducting qubits are easy enough to make, and there's always value in the talent and patents. Sweet delicious patents.

Google is known for making big bets on nascent technologies, and perhaps slightly less well known than the self-driving car, last year the Googs went in with NASA on a D-Wave machine. This purchase went over with much fanfare, including this past Feburary's cover of Time Magazine, but since I'm discussing quantum computing, I will stop talking about D-Wave right now. More far-reaching, however, is Google's hiring of John Martinis, the leader of one of the most prominent superconducting qubit groups in some sort of new arrangement I can't say I've seen before.

Quantum computing is one of many solutions we'll see in response to the expiration of Moore's Law in the next decade or so, when the number of transistors on a chip no longer doubles every 18 months. Concurrently there seems to be a change in the nature of scientific funding, with corporations providing grants to academics directly, previously the purview of government agencies and more recently public-private partnerships. Although this could just be news to me as a physicist; I seem to recall Intel sponsoring parts of the ECE department at my alma mater. The hybridization, if you will, of the Martinis group at UCSB with Google is definitely something to follow, especially since it's not so clear at this point what is going on. Seemingly contradictory to these splashy announcements is Microsoft's recent shuttering of their Silicon Valley research facility, suddenly and without warning, and the fact that IBM's committed 3 billion is actually a maintaining of current levels of funding for chip development. Which begs the next question: with these large companies doling out the cash on scientific research, what do they expect in return: PR, patents, talent, a working quantum computer...?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

i <heart> nfl: joe flacco

Welcome to Pinktober, where football fans are reminded of something else that's bad for women! I personally won't be able to catch any of the games with you, cause I'm on the West Coast for my brother's wedding. This email comes to you early by virtue of my procrastination in writing the best man speech. Enjoy!

No first downs for you!

TNF: The Packers rolled all over the Vikes in another Thursday night onslaught that can only be described as good for my fantasy teams. 

Sun 10am PDT (some bar in the San Diego Airport): It's not so lonely in Lone Star State as Texas' two teams square off. Now that the NYF Giants are scoring off the field, can they handle the sometimes potent Dirty Bird offense? Or will they just continue to bench themselves? After spraying blood and guts everywhere, my Bodymore Ravens travel to Indianapolis, hopefully not permanently this time. The suddenly hapless Panthers host da Bears in a contest of animals that lurk in the woods. The Rams have chosen to name a starting shitty QB instead of having everyone wait  in anticipation of which shitty QB will start for them as they host the Eagles, who are too tired to actually play football for more than a half.

4pm-ish EDT (35,000 feet): I will be on a J-E-T from San Diego to NY as SD hosts the NY J-E-T-S. Fun fact: the Ryan brothers are the defensive geniuses behind the two teams whose defenses are without an interception all season. The KC Reidskins travel to Silicon Valley to take on the 110001ers.

SNF (Couch): This game is the Bagels to lose as the NE Pats look quite hapless, with their only win of the year being against the Raiders in a game where every point was scored by a '-kowski'.

MNF: A rematch of that famous divisional game when RG3's knees were first blown out. Look for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks to run up the score against the Washington [censored]. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

i <heart> nfl: brett favre

Given that I've been doing my best earning points for Stevie Johnson's fantasy team by both working and moving over the weekend, this email is coming to you later than usual. And it's more abridged as usual, as well. And getting this email done will earn him some more points. BOOM!


TNF: Something about playing for the cellar spot in the NFC East caused Eli to cast off his interceptions and have Kirk Cousins throw them instead, in yet another Thursday night rout. The best thing about this game is the DC Peopleskins got "The Treatment" from South Park the previous day.

Sun (Ikea, Red Hook, Brooklyn and Cleaning My Old Apartment, Murray Hill, Manhattan): Only thing of note is that I hope you have your goggles on, because there are blood and guts everywhere as former Panther and now current Baltimore WR Steve Smith is putting up a big game against his former team.

4pm-ish (PJ Leahy's, LIC, Queens if I ever make it): C Kaep will be dropping N-bombs with opponent WR Riley Cooper, and everyone will hear them because of the noted quietness of the "new" Niners fans. Apparently 60-second elevator pitches don't do a great job of disrupting (ha!) offensive play calls. The Bridgewater era is upon us in Minnesota, where my Dirty Birds look to run up the score for the second week in a row.

SNF (Couch Time!): It's great seeing both NO and DAL fall apart this season, and best wishes to their continued demise.

MNF: As his star fades, Tom Brady is preparing for his next career as internet troll when he is hosted by the KC Reidskins and their stadium lair. Might be a pretty even matchup.