Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"Each presidency's best team"


From Axios AM newsletter

Axios Sports' Kendall Baker and Jeff Tracy, who made these picks, give their top three candidates to take the crown during the Biden-Harris years: 

1. Kansas City Chiefs 

2. Alabama 

3. Lakers

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Cheer for Player or Team?


New York Times – "Houston, Seattle Feels Your Loss"

By Kurt Streeter

Beast Quake 10 Years Later


Seattle Times – "How Marshawn Lynch’s ‘Beast Quake,’ which just turned 10, helped prepare scientists for actual earthquakes"

"It was Jan. 8, 2011, and the 7-9 Seahawks led the 11-5 Saints, 34-30, with 3:40 left in the NFC wild-card game. At a supposedly silent Qwest Field in Seattle, Matt Hasselbeck took a snap at his own 33-yard line, turned and handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch.

Amid a morass of broken tackles, the “Beast Quake” was born.

Lynch — a 215-pound, 24-year-old torpedo — laid waste to New Orleans’ defensive line, burrowing through Scott Shanle and Will Smith’s feeble tackle attempts. At the second level, Darren Sharper and Remi Ayodele each latched onto a leg — and Lynch shook them off like Forrest Gump finally breaking free of his metal braces. Jabari Greer wrapped his arms around Lynch’s waist at the 49-yard line, and received a 4-yard ride before unceremoniously tumbling to the turf.

Which is when Tracy Porter ate the most iconic stiff-arm in NFL history. As the Qwest Field crowd came irreparably unglued, the 185-pound corner attempted to wrangle a loose lion by tugging on its fur. Instead, Lynch launched Porter seven yards into the stratosphere, then skirted through defensive lineman Alex Brown’s diving arms along the sideline. He veered inside, evaded a helpless Roman Harper, and somersaulted backward — exalted — into the end zone.

Added first-year Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: “It was one of the greatest runs I ever saw.”"

"At the time, at least, John Vidale didn’t see it (or hear it, or feel it). The director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, Vidale was working in the lab an hour or two after the game when he was told there was a play he needed to see.

“So I went to YouTube and found videos of Marshawn’s run, and it was striking,” said Vidale, who currently works as a professor of earth sciences at USC. “Some of them were taken with phones in the stands. People were just cheering forever. It was deafening. It looked like everything was shaking. So I just figured I’d see if the seismometers recorded anything."

Coincidentally, one of the PNSN’s permanent seismometers — instruments designed to gauge ground motions — was located directly across the street from the stadium. And, sure enough, it registered an unmistakable spike at precisely the moment “Beast Mode” broke free.


“But I was surprised to see it on the seismometer, because it’s just people jumping around and shouting. It doesn’t usually have the power of an earthquake.”

Usually it doesn’t. This time, it did. The sustained fervor inspired by Lynch’s 67-yard scamper reached a peak acceleration of roughly 1/20,000th of a G, and a peak motion of 1/100th of a millimeter — registering as a highly localized magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake. Vidale told The Times the week after Lynch’s run that “you probably would have felt it very easily if you were outside the stadium.”"

Social Networks as Public Square


Platformer – "What social networks can learn from public spaces"

By Casey Newton

"Public spaces display a number of features that build healthier communities, according to researchers. “Humans have designed spaces for public life for millennia,” they write, “and there are lessons here that can be helpful for digital life.” 

Here’s a list (emphasis theirs). These spaces:

Develop programming – social activities – that draw different groups in, without over-optimizing for any one group

Offer visual cues as to what kinds of behavior are invited in the space

Are designed to be physically accessible and attractive to many different populations

Engage stewards, leaders, and maintainers who can do the labor of community-building

Are designed in partnership with the communities that use them.

Save for the third bullet point on that list, these are not features that I would associate with any of our largest social platforms. And that begins to explain, I think, the rot we find throughout them. Giant, rudderless communities left to imagine for themselves what they ought to do on a platform, or how they ought to behave, often turn on one another.

Imagine if a Facebook, or a Reddit, or a YouTube offered actual programming to these communities — constructive, creative tasks that go beyond individual fundraisers or the creation of content. Would they not wind up with services that they were more proud of?

It’s relatively easy to imagine what this might look like. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been captivated by the story of the TikTok users who took it upon themselves to write a musical inspired by the Pixar film Ratatouille. It happened spontaneously — and raised $1.9 million for the Actors Fund — but there’s no reason other platforms couldn’t similarly goad their users into creativity, philanthropy, or other ends more compelling than the traditional like, comment, and share."

The Rise of Josh Allen


New York Times – "Will N.F.L. Teams Learn the Right Lessons From Josh Allen’s Success?"

"The Bills’ 2020 success is a testament to the talent and hard work of Allen, his teammates and coaches, but also to a great deal of patience, a little innovation and inspiration and a dollop of good luck. It’s not the result of a secret recipe, but of a long process that most N.F.L. decision makers pay homage to but few are capable of executing.

In fact, Allen’s success is a result of so many factors that it essentially can’t be repeated. But that won’t stop the rest of the N.F.L. from trying."

Winter Camouflage

From @cetincem: It was snowing in Istanbul during the Basaksehir - Sivasspor game and Sivasspor thought wearing white would be a good idea. Yes, there are actually two sides in this photo - look closely and Sivasspor players are there.

Netflix's 2021 Movie Plans and Beyond

Stranger Things 4 Teaser and Netflix's 2020 Film Roadmap (February 2020)