the inevitably necessary political post

(if after reading this post you find yourself wondering, what the heck brought that on? then don’t worry. it’s not aimed at you.)

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I am not anonymous. It’s pretty easy to know my real name, and thus know where else I blog, and other facts about me, most of which are very strongly correlated with a certain kind of politics. From time to time I slip and that political bias leaks out here at haibane.info. Here, I am not interested in being publicly liberal like John Scalzi or alt-right like Vox Day or even partisan on niche issues but determined to link all sides fairly like Mike Glyer. I just want to write about stuff that I like.

In a few days, we enter a new political era, and this has certain people emotional for different reasons. That’s understandable. I like a good playoff game as much as the next guy, and I enjoyed the game so much more when Dallas tied the game – twice – and Rodgers only had 30 seconds left. The emotion I felt, and would have felt had it gone the other way, is real. Same thing with politics. I am allowed to feel what I feel, and so is everyone else. This is the Internet, however, and some people just don’t seem to grok this.

There are people I disagree with profoundly with whom I am able to have a perfectly civil conversation. That is because I consider respect to be the first and foremost responsibility of anyone engaging someone else. If you don’t respect someone, then don’t concern yourself with what they do or think or especially, post on the Internet. This is common sense and civility. Again, I am not surprised that some people on the Internet don’t seem to be able to understand this concept.

I am quite sure that I fit the definition of a SJW or moonbat or whatever other fancy buzzword du jour has all the cucks kecking. But to paraphrase a certain timeless truth, “to you be your way and to me, mine.”

and that’s enough said about that.

And yeah, the photo doesn’t have much to do with the post – apart from the obvious fact that there is only one Green Deity, and his name is Godgers.

You are more likely to play in the NFL than become an astronaut

Consider playing in the NFL as the epitome of sports – and being an astronaut as the epitome of a STEM career. In both cases, postulate that college is where you can reasonably draw a line for determining basic qualification for application. In the case of the NFL, to reasonably apply to the NFL you must at minimum play NCAA football. In the case of an astronaut, you must at minimum have a Bachelor’s degree in a STEM-related field. Fair enough?

The NFL statistics are summarized in this graphic (via @GatorsScott) –

nfl-player

The relevant numbers are: 15588 NCAA seniors playing football, of which 256 are drafted to the NFL, or 256/15588 = 1.6%. (note, these numbers are from 2013, via a study commissioned by the NCAA.)

This year’s astronaut corps application had a total of 18,300 applications. The minimum education requirements to apply are “a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable” (about a third of astronauts have an MS, and a third have PhDs). There will be 8-14 open slots, so lets assume the maximum for best possible probability: 14/18,300 = 0.07%.

Now, this doesn’t disprove the so-called STEM shortage – the evolution of the modern-day disposable academic suffices to do that on its own. It is however a cautionary tale about the rhetoric we use when we tell children to “reach for the stars”. Thats good for *children*, but as advice to college students, it’s terrible. A child should be encouraged to dream, and dream big. A college student is practically an adult and deserves to hear stark realities about the job market because that is precisely the moment in time where they can have to make decisions about the rest of their life – decisions that should be informed by those dreams, but not dictated by them.

There are a lot of astronauts and NFL players who decided from day one that was what they were going to do, and succeeded. And that is amazing. But there just isnt enough room for everyone who is equally capable and has the same amount of sheer determination and talent to do the same. We don’t need 18,300 astronauts, nor do we need 15,588 NFL players drafted every year.

Los Angeles Rams – logo suggestion

Welcome back to Los Angeles, Rams!

As a new LA resident myself since June, I am looking forward to rooting for you (after the Packers, and the Giants). I also have a suggestion for a new team logo which I think properly honors your LA history and has a very modern look. I’ve created a mockup in Powerpoint accordingly:

rams logo ikea

I also can’t wait to attend a game at the new Inglewood stadium – some assembly required, first, of course.

NFL week 2: Giants lose, Packers win

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The Giants lost to the Cardinals, and the Packers beat the Jets. So i’m doing 1-3 overall in my teams’ progress πŸ˜› Well, I did say I wanted narrative…

The Packers game was a great example of how that team reacts to pressure. They were down 3-21 in the 2nd quarter. Then they just took off, with the big play a TD run by Jordy Nelson for 80 yards (!). The Jets put up a fight early on and then just couldn’t stop the Pack.

However, the Giants loss was a disappointment, of course, especially since according to the 538 analysis a team that starts 0-2 has only a 12% chance of making the playoffs. If they can win their next game that goes up to 25%, but if they lose it drops to 2%.

I’m pretty forgiving of this loss, though. Eli actually seemed more comfortable and was better protected by the O-line this time around, which had definite impact:

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Manning got the Giants back in the game with a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that ended with Randle making a one-handed catch of a 7-yard fade pass to the corner of the end zone. Manning hit 6 of 7 passes on the drive, including a 25-yard to Cruz on third-and-11.

Jennings fumbled the ball which was painful to watch but really looked like bad luck, not skill (slipped and hit his elbow on the ground). If not for that, the Giants would have tied the game at that moment.

The problem this game was the WR crew, especially Cruz who seems to be all talk. Shout-out to TE Donnell, though, who has been solid both games so far (and is on my fantasy team :).

The Cardinals scored half their points from FGS. That means the Giants’ defense is doing something right, right? Likewise, Eli had 277 yards. That means the o-line is doing something, right. Even the receivers were doing all right – Randall had that awesome one-handed catch, Donnell had 80 yards, even Cruz had his moments to shine.

I think the bottom line is that DESPITE all the turnovers, penalties, and problems with scoring, the Giants were still contenders to win the game, if not for some bad luck (Jennings). And that was against a team with a tough defense like the Cards.

All the pieces are in place and coming together.

Oh, and the Bears beat the 49ers at home for the first time since 1985. It’s Eagles vs Colts tonight, i’m rooting for the Colts because that helps the Giants’ standing in their division πŸ™‚

Giants vs Cardinals on Sunday – an NFL newbie’s analysis #AZvsNYG

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Given that I’m a recent convert to football, I have a lot of catching up to do. I’m reasonably solid on how downs work, I can tell the difference between a WR and a RB, and during last week’s Packers opener I learned what a safety was. Miles to go yet before I can actually comprehend what the anchors are babbling about. I watched the Packers game on Thursday, and the Broncos on Sunday, and then followed the Giants using the NFL app on my phone and watched highlights, and then read up on the Cardinals game which was later that evening. So I’m putting in the time.

The Packers play the Jets and the Giants play the Cardinals this week. Since I didn’t see or read anything about the Jets, I don’t have any data to go on, but having paid some attention to the Cardinals and the Giants separately last week I think I’m ready to go out on a limb and try to do an analysis. And no, I really don’t have any clue what the heck I am talking about. Consider this a training exercise and judge/critique accordingly.

* Against Detroit, Eli Manning had no support from his offensive line. The poor guy got sacked more often than [insert folksy humor here]. And even the 2 interceptions werent really his fault – he just didn’t have time to make the calculation about where and how to throw. And Victor Cruz was a disappointment the few times Eli did launch. Eli took the blame but one man doesn’t dictate the team’s fortunes, even the QB.

* If the Giants can’t protect Eli, then they need to rely on their RBs, preferably Rashad Jennings, to do the yeoman’s work.

* Against San Diego, the Cardinals’ defense was pretty strong, according to the recap articles. I am assuming that the Chargers’ O-line is better than the Giants’, so Arizona will have an easier time harassing Eli than they did against San Diego.

* The Giants actually did pretty well against Detroit’s O-line. Googling, it seems that Detroit’s offensive line is ranked in the top 5 (by what metric, I have no clue). Let’s just assume that Detroit’s o-line is a lot better than the Cardinals, so the Giants should be able to return the favor when Arizona has the ball.

So, the upshot here is that both teams have weak offensive lines and strong defenders (“front seven” – I just learned a new term). The game will probably be a low-scoring one, where whichever team makes the fewest mistakes/most turnovers will probably grind out a painful win. If the Giants can protect Eli, and if Cruz can get his act together, they have a real chance at tilting the balance in their favor. The Giants need to trust Rashad Jennings a bit more and let him do his thing.

I’m predicting a low scoring game, predicting under any over/under of 42 or higher. I’ll call for the Giants, 21-14 (and I’m nowhere near sophisticated enough to make score predictions using anything other than multiples of 7). That’s only 5 TDs in 4 quarters, and just for added plausible but indefensible predictive specificity, the winning TD will happen in the last 5 min of Q4. Eli Manning will suddenly find himself standing in a beam of light from the heavens and a mystical voice will tell him to tap into the energy that surrounds us, binds us.

Basically everything above is nonsense. But help me learn why. I’m putting myself out there for this reason alone πŸ™‚

Related: my thoughts about concussions and the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal.

A football newbie chooses a team

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It only took me 4 decades but I have decided to finally Like football. Why? well, partly because I want to be actually converse with most of my friends during the fall about more than the weather πŸ™‚ But also because I am enamoured of narratives, and football is possibly the single most narrative-driven sport. There’s no way for a single player, even the QB, to carry the game on their own, it’s truly a team sport. Fortunes can literally change completely in even the final minute of play. The athleticism of football players runs the full gamut. And finally, it’s a uniquely American sport, so why not claim my birthright?

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As a new fan, I had to choose my teams. Since I live in Madison, obviously the Packers and the Badgers are my default. But I also wanted one more team to root for, and so had to consider my options carefully. What do I really want as a football “convert” ? Unlike those born (or for the less spiritually-sympathetic, indoctrinated) into a fandom, I have the opportunity to choose my loyalty. It’s a big responsibility! So I approached it from the perspective of what matters most: story.

Given that most fans are so passionate about the game, your team should have the potential to excite you or break your heart. It’s the drama, the tension, the potential that makes the narrative compelling, not just the end result. A team like the Cowboys are a routine disappointment, never quite living up to their potential; a team like the Broncos routinely make the playoffs and thus fail to introduce any plot tension. What I wanted was a team that has the proven skill to go all the way, but also has fallen short. Specifically, I decided I wanted to follow a team that has won the Superbowl at least once, and also failed to reach the playoffs at least once, both in the past 5 years. I also prefered a team in the NFC conference (because it wins more Superbowls) but in a different division from the Packers (NFC North) so I get some variety in opponents.

Based on Facebook convos, the clear choice seemed to be the NY Giants. Eli Manning, two Superbowls, dismal disappointments. But I needed to be sure, so I consulted this handy chart:

Handy decision flowchart to choose your NFL team
Handy decision flowchart to choose your NFL team

So, let’s see… I do like football (as of last week). Superpower: time travel. Definitely normal style. And of the TV options given, Clint eastwood by elimination, the rest are boring. Result… Giants! It must be destiny πŸ™‚

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So. Go, Pack, Go! On, Wisconsin! And Go, Giants! I subscribed to the reddits, liked the Facebook pages, downloaded the NFL app and even started my fantasy team. I’m ready for Sunday night!

And yes, I did see highlights of the NYG game last monday.

Eli Manning on Monday night
Eli Manning on Monday night

Sigh.

But it’s not his fault!

I asked for this, didn’t I?

UPDATE: My thoughts on concussions and the domestic abuse scandal involving Ray Rice.

UPDATE 2 – check out my predictions for Sunday’s Arizona vs Giants game.