Friday, January 29, 2010
The NFL made a huge, monumental mistake scheduling the Pro Bowl the week between the league championship games, and the Super Bowl. Every player in this league wants to be in the position that players who play for Indy & New Orleans are in. Probably 95% of them would give up ANY trip to a Pro Bowl, for a trip to the big game.
Guess who the voted-in starting QBs are? Right, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning.
These two NFL teams had 14 players voted into the Pro-Bowl (7 each) - a super honor for any team, given that only 2 other teams had more of their players voted in (Dallas & Philly, both 9).
Now, back to the Super Bowl. Wait.. We can't because the NFL is mandating those 14 players to make a Pro Bowl appearance - whether or not they choose to play in the game. At this point I have no idea what that number is. I would guess it's close to zero. And it should be.
And that's a shame for everyone involved - except certain guys who may have otherwise been snubbed. All 14 of these guys would much rather not disrupt their team preparation for the BIG GAME (hello?), and have to make that commitment this weekend. So they lose out on an otherwise fun, career-rewarding trip to Hawaii, and the honor of playing in a star-studded game ...if they want. Most of them do, you know.
The game itself suffers because 14 of it's 120 players can't be forced to participate! While the Pro Bowl might attract a significantly larger number of commitments due to the earlier date, it's also guaranteeing itself that those who are on Super Bowl teams won't be there.
And shame on you for doing that to them!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The USA took a first step toward building a national high-speed rail network when the Obama administration announced the winners of $8 billion in grants for rail-building projects Thursday.
"We want to start looking deep into the 21st century," President Obama said at a town hall meeting in Tampa. "There's no reason why other countries can build high-speed rail lines and we can't."
Thirteen existing rail corridors in 31 states will receive funds. The big winners: California, Florida and Illinois.
High-speed rail advocates, who have seen the U.S. fall far behind Japan, France and China in developing fast passenger trains, were elated. They acknowledge, however, that intercity high-speed rail is still a long way away.
"We're in the very beginning stage of seeing that happen," said Rick Harnish, executive director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association. "It's a small first step, but it's an exciting first step."
He cautioned that the U.S. has taken a similar first step before but did not follow through. Harnish said the world's first train built to cruise at 150 mph was developed in Chicago in 1967.
John Robert Smith, co-chairman of Transportation for America, a coalition of highway safety, conservation and other groups advocating less use of cars, said a high-speed rail network could be completed in two decades.
"China is spending $500 billion over 20 years to do it, Smith said. "If this country has the vision to follow through on the president's vision, we will have the high-speed rail network, and we can have it in 20 years."
He said much of the grant money will be used to upgrade existing track and signaling systems, improve crossings and do other work to prepare for high-speed rail, and that the important second step will be congressional approval of funds to move the projects forward.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Once upon a time, in the far, far away land of Techgeeks lived two university pals named Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They spent long hours dreaming of a company that one day would be the biggest search engine in the world, offering mere mortals the opportunity to traverse the great plains of the planet without moving their lazy asses.
Information would be available at the touch of a square key and people could search for the most bizarre, beautiful, weird and wonderful images relayed by satellites dotted around the globe. This would make for a very happy life.
The ghostly image of a lady appears in a field in Ohio. Zooming in closer to the image reveals the eyes may be trees that the farmer has cut around and the mouth is just a naturally darker patch of grass. Ah, the wonders of nature.
Calm down boys! Yes, it’s real, and not only can you touch it, if you book a trip to Sicily (which seems to have a few strange sights for a little island) you can walk and lie all over this babe, too. That should keep some people happy. They’d be desperate, but happy.
Finally, proof that giants did exist, and that they’re none too clever by leaving fingerprints behind. This tell-tale sign can be found in Hove Park, near Brighton and Hove in the UK. It measures 38 metres around. Imagine the size of the hand!
This swastika-shaped building on a US Navy base in California was never designed to entice as much speculation as it has. Some people think the architect designed the building purely to maximize light in the space given as well as to allow for greenspaces around the site. Others think the building should be amended so that it no longer looks like a symbol associated with so much bad history.
Continue to the rest..
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
And it's time to start paying attention. All we'll hear about in the world of sports for the next 2 weeks is:
1) Is Favre gonna retire?
This is the problem with the 1-year contract for a player such as Brett Favre. He should come right out and say I'm not finished doing what I set out to do. If I make the decision to retire, that's not gonna happen until August. And that's it. Because no matter how he handles the next 6 months (and he's hurting his legacy by allowing there to be the "Brett Favre Soap Opera" that has taken place for nearly 3 years now), they will keep bring up this issue.
2) Super Bowl next: New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts
You already know it's gonna be great. Being a Cowboy fan, it's the match-up that I 2nd-most-wanted to see. We beat the Saints. We also peaked too soon. I was one of the happy ones when Favre threw the interception. I love the guy, but this year is all about Brees and this Saints team. The beat a monster Vikings squad Sunday.
I also think that most people are overrating the Colts just a bit. Manning is surely MVP. They are certainly worthy. But this game is gonna come down to the Colts' secondary. It took them a while to figure out what rookie Sanchez and the Jets were doing to them. And the Colts D is gonna be eerily responsible for forcing the Saints to win in the only way that it can be done - by causing more turnovers than they do. There will be more on this later..
3) When is Tiger coming back? No later than The Masters.
4) NBA Basketball is about half-way through the season!
Click to enlarge
A lot of great teams have been struggling, and a lot of good teams have been kicking ass the last week or so. The competition is gonna be fierce!
Start paying attention - this is gonna be a crazy-good season! There will be more on this later, too
What's in a name? A Ford Edsel by any other name would still drive as sweetly, right?
Maybe -- or maybe not. At their core, cars are essentially appliances to get from one place to another. And yet, we want our cars to protect and project a certain image. As J Mays, Ford's chief designer recently told Esquire, "Anybody can make a toaster toast. Very few people can make a toaster something you covet."
A car's name is part of how automakers make their cars worth coveting. Get it just right, and the car's image can be projected in a single word. Get it wrong, and the car can become the butt of jokes and a sales nightmare.
Know Your Numbers and Letters
Because so much is riding on a car's name, a lot of carmakers play it safe. That means designating a car not by a rugged locale, powerful animal or made-up word (Acura Integra, anyone?) but by a few letters and numbers that have less of a risk of offending consumers. According to Forbes, with number/letter names part of the goal is for owners and buyers to "think and talk of the brand, and not the nameplate." That works well for automakers with focused lineups.
Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't trends in the letter names. Odds are, if there's an X in the name, you're looking at a crossover or SUV (Lincoln MKX, Volvo XC90, Infiniti EX, BMW X3), though there are a few exceptions -- like the Jaguar XF and Acura TSX.
Tacking a few numbers onto a car's name not only helps it sound cool, it can tell savvy shoppers exactly what the car is packing. The Infiniti QX56 gets the "56" from its 5.6-liter engine and the Infiniti G37 has a 3.7-liter engine. However, the pattern doesn't always hold. While the BMW 3-Series has 3.0-liter engines across the line, so does the BMW 1-Series. And while we'd love to see what a giant engine could do in the BMW 7-Series, that model only has a 4.4-liter V8, not 7.0 liters.
Of course, automakers don't have to stick with numbers and letters to let you know what's under the hood. The Porsche Boxster, for example, gets its name from its flat-six "boxer" engine. The now-discontinued Volkswagen Cabrio got its name because it was a cabriolet.
Animals have almost always been the go-to area for carmakers hunting for names. It's usually pretty obvious what image the maker is going for: something powerful and unique. No one wants to drive a Honda Tadpole.
So automakers have headed out into the wilds and come back with the Mercury Cougar, Ford Mustang, Chevy Impala and Dodge Ram. The Ram takes its theme even further; while a Ram is simply an uncastrated male sheep, Dodge offers its Ram truck in a Bighorn edition, which is a larger mountain sheep species. The often-maligned Ford Pinto had its name spun off of the Ford Mustang (a Pinto is a horse with large patches of white and another color), which launched the entire breed of pony cars.
Animal names don't always work, especially when they come from an animal that isn't as tough as car buyers might like. While the Volkswagen Rabbit projected an image of speed and nimble handling, VW ultimately switched the car's name to the Golf. Of course the Rabbit is just one of VW's animal-themed car names. VW has used the Beetle nameplate for decades, and one of their more recent models, the Tiguan, got its name by combining the words tiger and iguana.
Lost In Translation
While some carmakers use numbers and letters to keep the focus on their brands, others choose to add a little foreign flair to their models.