"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Innovation Supreme: The Amazing Pre-Facebook Co-Founding Winklevoss Twins Continue to Astound the Tech and Financial World with Bitcoin and Gemini

Some years ago we wrote quite a bit about the history of Facebook and the Winklevoss Twins. The "Winkelvii" continue to be in the news in a big way (Quartz: "Mark Zuckerberg is five years behind his nemeses, the Winklevoss twins, on cryptocurrency") through the virtual currency Bitcoin and the virtual currency exchange Gemini, as reported in the New York Times by Nathaniel Popper: see How the Winklevoss Twins Found Vindication in a Bitcoin Fortune.

These are great stories about human innovation and our world in a state of flux!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Ike? So You Think You Know Football? Time to Get The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football by S.C. Gwynne as Reviewed at Delanceyplace.com

In order to spread the word, we have below copied the material from the Delanceyplace.com newsletter that we receive (well worth a scrute -- take a look at Delanceyplace.com !).

We hope it increases knowledge about football and ups the sales of the reviewed book. - posted at SportPundit and LawPundit


Today's selection - from The Perfect Pass by S.C. Gwynne.
Football was first played in America in 1869 between the colleges of Princeton and Rutgers, and for almost 40 years it featured nothing but running plays. Then, in 1906, came the first forward pass:

"In an era when Americans had become enthralled with the idea of things that flew, from biplanes to zeppelins -- football rules changed to allow the forward pass for the 1906 season. The change came with severe restrictions. The passer had to be 5 yards behind the line, an incomplete pass resulted in a loss of possession, and a pass could not cross the goal line for a touchdown. The shape of the ball would remain unchanged, watermelon-like and difficult to throw. ...

The entire 1907 Carlisle football squad
"Still, the rules did not say teams had to pass, merely that they could. And, overwhelmingly, they chose not to. But there were exceptions, and the new rules inevitably gave rise to history's first forward pass. On September 5, 1906, in a game between St. Louis University and Carroll College, a quarterback named Bradbury Robinson threw the first downfield overhand spiral pass. The first team to really grasp the significance of the rules changes was the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which had been founded in 1879 as the first federally funded, off­-reservation boarding school for Native Americans. The school's football team was coached by a man named Glenn Scobey 'Pop' Warner, considered to be the father of the modern game of football. Using speed, deception, forward passes -- the Indians had somehow figured out how to throw short spirals with the unaerodynamic ball -- and Warner's brilliant new single wing formation, the Carlisle School became one of the most exciting teams in the country. In a landmark 1907 game against the fourth-ranked, unscored-upon University of Pennsylvania, the Indians completed an unheard-of 8 of 16 passes, gained 402 yards to Penn's 76, and won 26-6. This was in spite of Penn's huge size advantage. A Sac and Fox Indian named Jim Thorpe made his debut in that game, threw a complete pass, and cut loose on a 45-yard run. Two months later Carlisle beat perennial powerhouse Harvard, spawning a near riot on the field.

"Despite such successes, the main body of the game clung tightly to tradition. Harvard and Penn took no particular lessons from the pass-happy Indians, other than the idea that they were running a screwy novelty act. Hardly anybody else did either. Predictably (since it continued to center on smash-mouth, mass formation running plays), the game's mortality rate started to rise again. Between September 1908 and the summer of 1909, the Chicago Tribune reported 31 deaths related to football. Two in particular shocked the nation. On Oc­tober 16 Navy's star quarterback suffered a fractured spine, which led to paralysis and death. Two weeks later, as Harvard bulldozed downfield in one of its trademark massed formations, an Army tack­ler dived headlong into the oncoming mass, breaking his neck and upper spine. He died two days later. Army and Navy both canceled the rest of their seasons. Those deaths, at such prominent schools, sparked renewed controversy, and rules were changed again, to require only seven men on the line of scrimmage and to allow only one offensive player in motion in the backfield.

"Passing's real breakthrough into the national consciousness came in 1913, after even more rules were changed and the ball was made less blunt and more airworthy. On November 1, Army, thought to be the best team in the country, took on upstart Notre Dame, a small regional college in Indiana that no one in the East took the least bit seriously. In fact if anyone at Army or in the eastern press had cared to look, they would have seen that the Fighting Irish's statistics that season were downright scary. They had scored 174 points on their last four opponents -- an unimaginable number to the East Coast football powers -- and they had done it by throwing passes in ad­dition to the usual runs. The East Coast press and football powers tut-tutted and rolled their eyes and rationalized it all by saying that this little-known Catholic school had beaten a bunch of nobodies. The New York newspapers added to the general dismissal of Notre Dame, reporting that West Point would be playing a team from South Bend, Illinois. The boys from Army, of course, were sticking to their old rough-and-tumble ground game.

Charles Emile 'Gus' Dorais
"They would soon have cause to rethink their assumptions. In the middle of the first quarter, with the game tied, 0-0, Notre Dame quarterback Charles Emile 'Gus' Dorais took the snap from center, dropped back five steps, and launched a perfect spiral that traveled 40 yards and hit receiver Knute Rockne at a full run for a touchdown. It is impossible to fully appreciate today the shock that this single play produced. Neither the Army team nor the spectators had ever seen anyone throw a football 40 yards, much less a perfect strike to a sprinting receiver. 'Everybody seemed astonished,' recalled Rockne, who would go on to become the 20th century's most famous college football coach. 'There had been no tackling, no plunging, no crushing of fiber and sinew. Just a long-distance touchdown by rapid transit.' It was as though, in that split second, when the ball had landed in Rockne's outstretched hands, the men on the field were suddenly playing a completely different game, one that involved speed and deception and movement through open space instead of the usual bloody grind. Dorais mixed long and short passes with the usual runs, and Notre Dame not only upset the favored team but completely outmaneuvered the Black Knights, 35-13. (On the Army bench that day sat an injured, deeply frustrated halfback named Dwight David Eisenhower. Next to him sat his injured roommate, Omar Bradley.)"

To subscribe, please click here or text "nonfiction" to 22828.
The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football
Author: S.C. Gwynne
Publisher: Scribner
Copyright 2016 by Samuel C. Gwynne
Pages: 23-25

If you wish to read further: 

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Final College Football Rankings FBS 2017-2018 (by SportPundit)

Final College Football Rankings FBS 2017-2018 (by SportPundit)
(updated 11 January 2018)

These are the SportPundit final college football rankings for the 2017 regular season including the 2017/2018 bowl and playoff games. Our system is based on NAYPPA (net average yards per play advantage) stats, which we calibrate primarily by adjusting for schedule difficulty. Other adjustments are made (*=adjustment(s)). We take the season's cumulative yards per play stat data from cfbstats.com or from college and university football athletic pages online, as linked below next to each team's name.

UCF is in our view the undefeated FBS football champion this season. 

As written at Wikipedia: "The College Football Playoff is not an officially sanctioned championship event by the NCAA, the sport's governing body. Consequently, Division I FBS football is the only NCAA sport in which a yearly national champion is not determined by an NCAA event, nor is an official NCAA national championship awarded." See also FBS.

The Knights weaker schedule is compensated by the fact that they were the top scoring team in the nation, which balances out the scheduling argument, since that scoring proficiency must be added to UCF's credit to counterbalance the weaker schedule calculation.

We put undefeated UCF at Nr. 1 primarily for the following logical reason.
Georgia is 13-2 with a loss to Auburn (40-17). 
The Dawgs won "the return match" 28-7, which combined gives Auburn a two-point edge.
Alabama is 13-1 with a loss to Auburn (24-16), which gives Auburn an 8-point edge.
UCF (Central Florida) is 13-0 with a win over Auburn (34-27), which gives UCF the edge. 

Schedule difficulty may give other teams a higher rating here, e.g. Alabama, but it is WINS and LOSSES that (should) always determine championships, not the statistics.

Caveat emptor (Buyer beware): We make this material available in good fun out of interest for the sport of college football. Please do not rely on our material to place bets or wagers of any kind. No one knows the exact outcome of a game or a season before it is played and that is what makes it so interesting. We disclaim any and all liability for the consequences of anyone relying in any way upon our postings, analysis, links or reasoning -- for which we make no warranty of accuracy. May the best team win.

Final College Football Rankings FBS 2017-2018 by SportPundit
(note that our "normal" UCF ranking would be about 10th by rating) 

As written at the Wikipedia: "As of the current 2017 college football season, there are 10 conferences and 130 schools in FBS...."

Column 1Column 2Column 3Column 4Column 5Column 6Column 7Column 8
Post-Bowl RANK 2017-2018 by Sport Pundit TEAM
(# sign means a coaching change for the upcoming 2018-2019 season)
NAYPPA= net average yards per play advantage offense over defense, stats calculated using data from cfbstats.com (our calculation) yards per play offense via cfbstats.

links below are to the school sites
per play
via cfbstats.
Schedule difficulty based on Massey Ratings, Sagarin USA Today Rankings & Ratings,
& our own ratings of average rank of opponents
x 3 divided by 100 which is then deducted from NAYPPA (*= plus other adjustments)
Won-loss record (W-L) for the 2017-2018 season - with 0.2 rating points deducted
per loss)
Post-Bowl 2017
-2018 Team Rating
Sport Pundit
(no rating is given below -4.9)
1UCF #1.77.465.7440*13-00.5***
UCF 712016 UCF season -0.14.684.7840*6-7-2.7
5Ohio State2.46.884.4420*12-2+1.4
9Penn State1.86.584.7730*11-2+0.5
10Notre Dame1.36.395.0520*10-3+0.1
11Miami (FL)*10-3+0.0
12Oklahoma St.1.87.345.5140*10-3+0.0
16TCU1.06.095.0740*11-3 -0.8
17Michigan St.*10-3-0.9
20N. Carolina St.0.45.995.5620*9-4-1.0
21Washington St0.45.565.1320*9-4-1.0
23Iowa State0.2 5.555.4010*8-5-1.1
24 Memphis1.67.355.7570*10-3-1.1
25Boise State1.05.804.8350*11-3-1.1
26Miss. St. #0.35.515.2320*9-4-1.1
27Florida State #0.9 5.664.7525*7-6-1.1
28Wake Forest0.76.295.5625*8-5-1.1
31FL Atl. FAU1.66.805.1980*11-3-1.4
32South Florida1.36.154.8480**10-2-1.5
34South Carolina0.35.465.1635*9-4-1.6
35Oregon #*7-6-1.7
36Virginia Tech0.35.395.0640*9-4-1.7
37Texas Tech0.36.175.7820*6-7-1.7
39San Diego St.*10-3-1.8
40Mississippi #0.76.906.1645*6-6-1.8
43Georgia Tech0.25.745.5230*5-6-1.9
44UCLA #0.16.396.2620*6-7-1.9
45Florida #-***4-7-1.9
46Kansas State0.36.145.8245*8-5-1.9
47Fresno State0.95.784.8665*10-4-1.9
49Boston Coll.-*7-6-2.1
50Army 0.35.976.2565*10-3-2.2
54Appalach. St. 1.16.455.3190*9-4-2.4
56Texas A&M #-0.15.545.6340*7-6-2.5
57West Virginia0.26.356.1450*7-6-2.5
60N. Illinois0.55.104.6270*8-5-2.6
61Arizona State-0.65.716.3330*7-6-2.7
62Nebraska #-0.85.596.3410*4-8-2.7
63 Vanderbilt-0.25.605.8540*5-7-2.8
64Tennessee #-1.24.775.940***4-8-2.8
67Arkansas #-0.85.596.4520*4-8-3.0
71N. Carolina-0.55.325.8530*3-9-3.2
72W. Michigan-0.25.465.6475*6-6-3.2
74Colorado St.0.36.556.2975*7-6-3.2
75Arkansas St.*7-5-3.2
78Miami (OH)0.15.555.4270*5-7-3.4
81SMU #-0.26.396.5960*7-6-3.2
82C. Michigan0.55.495.0390*8-5-3.2
84M. Tennessee0.75.684.9595*7-6-3.4
85E. Michigan 0.15.425.3470*5-7-3.4
86North Texas*9-5-3.5
87N. Mexico St.0.55.825.3695*7-6-3.5
88Utah State0.55.625.1790*6-7-3.6
89Louisiana Tech0.15.735.5985*7-6-3.7
91W. Kentucky -0.25.325.5270*6-7-3.7
92Florida Int. FIU-0.35.736.0280*8-5-3.7
94Georgia State 0.35.465.80100*7-5-3.7
98Southern Miss0.85.895.0590*8-5-3.9
100UTSA 0.75.654.96120*6-5-3.9
101Air Force-1.35.526.8145*5-7-4.0
105LA Monroe-0.96.377.2660*4-8-4.3
106LA Laf. #-0.85.786.5870**5-7-4.3
108Co. Carolina # -0.55.536.0570*3-9-4.4
110Oregon St. #-*1-11-4.5
111New Mexico-0.65.506.1370*3-9-4.5
112Idaho -*4-8-4.5
115Baylor -0.95.556.4650*1-11 -4.6
116Old Dominion-0.94.945.8080*5-7-4.7
118Bowling Green-1.15.486.610*2-10-4.8
119S. Alabama # -*4-8-4.8
120San Jose St.-1.64.606.2180*2-11-4.9
121Rice #-1.05.446.4390*1-11-4.9
123East Carolina-2.35.447.7250*3-9-4.9*
125Texas State-1.44.776.18100*2-10-4.9
126Ball State-2.24.466.62110*2-10-4.9
127Charlotte -1.24.926.16100*1-11-4.9
128GA Southern #-1.84.756.6080*2-10-4.9
129Kent State #-1.84.386.2170*2-10-4.9
130UTEP #-*0-12-4.9

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Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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