Saturday, December 31, 2016

i <heart> nfl: whitebear justice park

Congratulations firstly to the Dallas Cowboys (NFC 1st seed), ATL Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, NY Football Giants (NFC 5th seed), NE Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Yinzburgh Steelers (AFC 3rd seed), Texas Houstons (AFC 4th seed), KC Chiefs, and MIA Dolphins for making the playoffs (and none to me for missing another post on Xmas weekend!). We have four teams vying for the final two spots in the postseason (both in the NFC), and if your team was supposed to be one of them, here's the moment it started going wrong for them. Also interesting is that four of the teams in the playoffs will be featuring starting QB's with no playoff experience, whether due to injury as for the Raiders and Dolphins, benching due to the shittiness of the QB you gave an $72 million contract to as with the Houstons, or you managed to pick a very talented rookie as did the Cowboys. On top of that we've got two more head coach firings! Baguars HC Gus Bradley was shitcanned and then forced to ride home with his former team on their chartered plane. And the Ryan brothers rode away into the sunset in Rex's obnoxious Bills truckas this Buffalo Bills franchise is literally rewriting history after also benching former starting QB Tyrod Taylor. Finally, let the NFL provide you with inspiration for all of your New Year's resolutions.

To keep things simple, I'll go through all the games that have playoff implications this weekend.

Sun 1pm: The TB Bucs probably stop here, as they require a seven-game parlay, which includes a tie game, to make the postseason, as they host the Carolina Panthers, who really need a sabbatical after not catching a break all season. Backup QB Matt Moore will manage the MIA Fins to a 5th or 6th seed showing in a game that the NE Pats need to win to get 1st seed in the AFC.

4pm-ish: (Misconduct Tavern, Center City Philly) After clinching the NFC South, my Dirty Birds look for a playoff bye as they hate the hosted NO Aints, who will play without a Pro Bowl QB and soon may see their head coach head for desert-ier pastures. The Oakland Raiders will probably get at least a first-round bye, which probably won't matter since their Super Bowl dreams broke along with starting QB Derek Carr, since the Denver Broncos failed to defend their Super Bowl Championship and are treating Week 17 as an exhibition game. After the doink that changed everything, the KC Reidskins have been outrunning other teams and having their fattest players throw touchdowns in what should be an easy game against the San Diego Superchargers, who have the NFL's worst fans and whose QB Philip Rivers' face is now stuck like that after handing the Cleveland Browns their first win of the season, as they host possibly the last game at the Q because San Diego told the Superchargers to wank off over a stadium deal. The Seattle Seahawks are stunned that they might not have an extra bye week for sexy dancing since they need both a Falcons loss paired with a win against a Santa Clara Niners squadron whose most courageous and inspirational events occurred off the field this season. And how you like the Washington [Redacted] now that they can still make the postseason with a win over the entrenched NYF G-men, as long as the SNF result is not a tie. 

SNF: The winner in this division battle between the GB Pack and D'town Lions determines the NFC North division champion and 4th seed in the playoffs, while the loser may still make wildcard berth depending on what happens prior on that day.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

i <heart> nfl: hot shots

Forgive me for the lack of post last week, as I spent the whole weekend entertaining a friend from out of town. I'll do my best to ensure that this one makes up for it. First, congratulations to the Cowboys and Seahawks for clinching playoff berth! And to help you figure out how your team can make it into the playoffs, here are the NFL's tiebreaker rules. In other news, we had our first head coach firing! Former LA Rams HC Jeff Fisher now has plenty of time to find his challenge flag since he won't be coaching one of crappiest teams in the league. And for some reason, the NBC now plays the theme to 'Law & Order: SVU' every time a play is challenged, I guess to make us feel violated while watching the replays.

PoopfestNF: The crappiest TNF game of the season showcased Seahawks HC Pete Carroll burning through challenges like the explosives the government set on 9/11, Richard Sherman playing in the snow for the first time, a fake punt that was executed flawlessly until the punter was crushed and taken to the hospital, an interim Rams coach with three days to prepare his disastrous team against one of the best defenses in the league, and Rams QB Jared Goff concussed for his disrespectful running style

SatNF: If you Just Endured The Suffering last night, you were treated to Bryce Petty time getting demolished and replaced with the QB they forgot to tell was benched, who was up against a backup MIA Fins QB that could manage the game well enough to hand the NY J-E-S-T their asses yet again.

Sun 1pm: In a surprisingly meaningful game, will D'town Lions' QB Matt Stafford get throwing love, even though he is not in love with the glove he must wear due to a finger injury, against the NYFG-men and an HC that knows about details, but not about shenanigans or deflated footballsCincy Bagels' perennially reckless LB Vontaze Burfict has the foresight to ask the NFL if a handgun in his waistband would be a uniform violation before taking on a Yinzburgh Stillers offense featuring nerf balls and top secret WR Ronald OceanSince the Ryan brothers are on tandem hot seats, the Buffalo Bills are personally guaranteed to be left standing against the second Browns dynasty of RGIII and their garbage, accurately speaking, wide receiver. In what is shaping up to be the coldest game in Chicago history, da Bears QB Matt Barkley will wear a wetsuit to keep his Jim Bob Cooter warm, as they host a GB Pack team making a painful playoff push.

4pm-ish (PJ Leahy's, LIC): After getting the LA Rams' coach fired last week, my Dirty Birds look to whip it out again against a Niners squadron whose QB C-Kaep is trying to convince people he's focused on winning instead of social justice and whose defensive members keep retiring. This sexy late game features an NE Pats team looking to clinch playoff berth against defending Super Bowl champion Broncos barely hanging onto their playoff hopes, and who may be looking to transition into different sports.

SNF: Cowboys' owner the Double J may be manufacturing a QB controversy by wishing for an obscene fairy tale in which Tony Romo takes over from Dak Prescott in the playoffs, but Tony Romo's collarbones are still rooting for Dak. Their opponent this weekend has been on a bit of a hot streak, as the TB Bucs have won five straight, gotten their defense sorted out, and their QB has settled federal sexual assault charges.

MNF: The Carolina Panthers visit Skins CB Josh Norman, who I'm sure has nothing against his former team, while remaining doubtful about the status of QB Cam Newton due to the burden of wardrobe decisions.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

survey of the qubit landscape

Last week, I poked fun at this Science infographic regarding different kinds of quantum bits (qubits), insofar as topological qubits are as good as unicorns at quantum computing. You could actually replace 'topological qubits' with 'transmogrifier' and the metrics wouldn't change. However, I’d like to highlight that the infographic (and corresponding article) is a pretty good summary of the state of affairs in quantum computing, so I’ve reproduced it here:

Infographic summarizing certain figures of merit for different implementations of quantum computing. Although trapped ions are shown to have a coherence time over 7 orders of magnitude higher than superconducting qubits, the qubit operations for the superconducting style are much, much faster as well. One day I'll have to assemble number of operations per coherence time for comparison. [(GRAPHIC) C. Bickel/Science; (DATA) Gabriel Popkin]

The various styles of quantum computing are told from the lens of ionQ, a hybrid university/startup founded by University of Maryland professor Chris Monroe. Monroe, along with his former boss Dave Wineland of NIST Boulder, is best known for achieving single-atom quantum control in 1995, for which Wineland won the Nobel Prize in 2012, the only such prize in the nascent field of quantum computing. Using ion traps for such atomic control was long thought of the most promising route to building a quantum computer, but recent progress has been hindered by an unexplained heating problem and quadratic scaling complexity. In a magnificent play on words, the article explains that "[trapped] ions are 'a bit of a black sheep right now,' Monroe admits, 'but I think in the coming years people will be flocking to it.'" And although the field is speckled with once-promising techniques such as NMR and optical quantum computing, I don't have much reason to doubt him.

Recently, industry has entered the fray of quantum computing, and superconducting qubits [on which I work] are the style favored, to the point where superconducting qubits and ions have been developed roughly to the same level. There are still some holdouts, most notably topological qubits at Microsoft and quantum dots/silicon impurities in Australia. And the startups are mostly coming from university collaborations helmed by experts in the field, as ionQ with Maryland and Quantum Circuits with Yale, although rare venture capital funded companies such as Rigetti Quantum Computing are out there as well (the latter two of which are using superconducting qubits). While the use of hybrid quantum systems is likely what it takes to build a working quantum computer, in the near future, research groups will continue to advance their favorite style and justify why it's the best system.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

i <heart> nfl: hated in the nation

Well I've got a pre-football brunch to attend before today's viewing of the games. In the mean time, let SBNation's Matt Ufford help you get your hate on.

TNF: Unlike Minnesota public officials in luxury boxes, Vikings HC Mike Zimmer was one of the few who didn't view the most-watched TNF ever, as the daddy and his 'Boys survived the dinking, dunking, and doinking of the Viking's offense.

Sun 1pm (PJ Leahy's, LIC): After their unbelievable OT FG win, the KC Reidskins best chance for victory is if ATL WR Julio Jones misses the bus, but it's more likely my Dirty Birds will run through them as if they were in slow motionLA Rams extensively mediocre HC/elite troll is proud of his rookie QB's ability to perform basic functions, as they and Georgia Tech RB Todd Gurley prepare to take on the nonexistent RBs of the NE Pats, the large-party-bus-sized hole in their offense due to the latest incarnation of the Madden Curse, and the unimpressive fan noise at Foxboro. Will the persistent memories of the Philadelphia Cream Cheeseheads assist them in defeating the flopping Cincy Bagels? Lots of kicking points is updog, as my beloved Ravens look to hold the streaking MIA Fins to crappy teams and give them the shaft.

4pm-ish: After dislocating his pinkie finger inside his center's black hole, Oakland QB Derek Carr and his perhaps-not-future-Las-Vegas Raiders host a surging Bills offense, thanks to a new OC and an Iroquois war god at guard.

SNF: Karma is the reason the Panthers won't be in the playoff yesterday, but now that roughing the passer is finally getting called in favor of QB Cam Newton, Seattle's defense might not be celebrating with wings and beer

MNF: A game that would've been flexed if it were Sunday night, the N-Y-J-E-T-S will attempt further butt touchdowns against a Colts squadron that are 5-6 because they're still in playoff contention.