Friday, July 31, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Race4Chase Time

Happy Friday, folks!  Hope everybody’s set to have a great weekend.
The Obama administration outraged human rights advocates on Monday by removing Malaysia from its list of the world's worst human trafficking offenders -- a move that the activists said damages U.S. credibility -- simply to boost the president's trade agenda…
Hundreds of Democrats and a handful of Republicans had previously urged the State Department to maintain Malaysia's ranking as a "Tier 3" human trafficking violator. For years, the Malaysian government has largely turned a blind eye to sex slavery involving men, women and children. Forced labor is rampant in several sectors of the country's economy, particularly the electronics industry. In April, mass graves holding more than 130 human trafficking victims were discovered near the country's northern border with Thailand. That same month, the U.S. ambassador to Malaysia said the government needed to take human trafficking prosecution more seriously.

This is the crap that really pisses me off about the way that this country is governed.  These guys—and it’s both parties—will say and do whatever they have to in order to win short term political gains on their pet issues, without any thought whatsoever to the long-term consequences.  
The consequences in this case are severe.  Not only are people being sold into slavery, but now we’re moving to put slave labor on an equal economic footing via free trade with paid American labor.  Paid workers are never going to compete!  How does that help anyone?  Americans lose their jobs, Malaysians get sold to electronic factories and brothels, and a bunch of idiots talk about the benefits of “the market”.  
Slavery is not free market economics, people.  Slavery is slavery.  It hurts the slaves, and it hurts people trying to work for an honest living elsewhere.  
Welter, via Tumblr.
Welter, 37, has been making history throughout her career. In February, she became the first female coach in a men's professional football league when she was hired by the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League to coach linebackers and special teams. The Revolution's general manager is Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown. In February 2014, she became the first female to play a non-kicking position in a men's professional football league when she played running back and special teams for the Revolution.
Welter played professional football for more than 14 years as a linebacker, mostly with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women's Football Alliance. She helped lead them to four championships.
This is shit journalism.  ESPN’s article was okay, but finding salient details on Welter’s background required five separate sources.  All of this is germane to her hiring:
 -- She is Dr. Jenifer Welter.  She holds a Masters in Sports Psychology and a Doctorate in Psychology.  It’s maybe worth mentioning that the Ph.D. is from a for-profit university.
 -- She graduated from Boston College where she played rugby as an undergrad.
 -- She has fourteen years of professional football experience, including stints with the Dallas Diamonds and the Dallas Dragons and a men’s indoor team, the Texas Revolution.
-- She won a gold medal with Team USA at the IFAF's Women's World Championship in 2010 and 2013.
 -- She played running back for the Revolution and has experience coaching running backs and linebackers.
Welter was on the Revolution’s roster as a running back in 2014 and became running backs and linebackers coach in 2015.  That’s impressive because it means that the Revolution weren’t trying to do her a favor or create a publicity stunt by keeping her around.  They kept her around to coach because they clearly thought that she knew something about football.
Of note: Dr. Welter’s job with the Cardinals is an internship.  As of this writing, she’s only on staff for training camp and the preseason, although the internship is presumably a potential opportunity going forward.
From self-driving cars to sex bots, more and more of humanity's fundamental tasks are being taken over by robots. The inevitable march of the machines has spurred both utopian and apocalyptic visions of the future…
But increasingly, these fears aren't just being played out on the silver screen. In fact, artificial-intelligence researchers themselves have voiced concerns over how innovations in the field are being developed. With autonomous AI weapons — such as drone planes that could seek and kill people using a face-recognition algorithm — the technology could be here in a matter of years…
And while drone fighters could limit battlefield casualties, these autonomous bots could also lower the threshold for initiating conflicts in the first place
The key thing is cost.  Then they need to make these things solar powered, so that they can loiter at high altitude for months at a time.  Then you give them a telescopic lens, face recognition software, and a .50 caliber sniper rifle assembly, so that they can make shots from inconceivably long ranges…
Well, this is pretty much what the article is warning about, no?  I’ve been wondering lately if the U.S. Army has started reinvesting in Air Defense technology, and if not, how long it’s going to take them before they realize that a lot of this drone tech is already available on the open market.
UConn plays Army Sept. 12 at Rentschler Field at noon. After that, three of four are on the road, so beating Army takes on added importance. This is toughest schedule the program has had and includes trips to Missouri (Sept. 19), BYU (Oct. 2) and two-time defending league champion Central Florida (Oct. 10).
UConn had problems with Army's option last season, so it needs to straighten that out. The Huskies will face Navy (Sept. 26, Rentschler) as well. Are there two teams that run the option better? The answer is simple: no.
An interesting article for Army fans looking to reminisce about last season’s best game.  It includes a note about Connecticut’s 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year, Dario Highsmith Jr. from Middletown High.  Highsmith chose the U.S. Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS) over an offer of preferred walk-on status at UConn following Army’s victory last year at Yankee Stadium.  Speaking personally, I think that’s a no-brainer for a talented option quarterback.  Choosing between Forbes’s #11 school versus paying tuition at UConn?  I doubt that was a tough choice, honestly, but the author takes Highsmith’s decision as an indictment of UConn’s football program.  
Hey, maybe Highsmith just wants to serve?  Trust me, there’s more to life than college sports, even if you’re a recruited athlete.  After a while, you might be tempted to do something different with your life.  You can do that at West Point.  It’s a Hell of a lot harder if you have to fight just to earn a scholarship State University.
Anyway, the Courant runs down a few of the big developments from Army’s offseason, the most positive of which is that Army now has an experienced offensive line.  However, the author also notes that Army has a lot of questions, and reading this, it’s hard to conclude that the Army team ought to be favored when these two play.
A proud sports program.  Though more well-known for their basketball teams, UConn
football moved to Division I-A in 2002.  The team improved steadily until 2010,
when coach Randy Edsall left the team.
As noted above, Connecticut is probably looking at this game as a must-win.  Unfortunately, it’s probably a must-win for Army as well since games at Penn State, against Duke, at Rice, and at Air Force all look substantially more challenging.  If Army is going to have a realistic shot at earning a bowl appearance, the team needs to win its first four games and its November 14th date against Tulane.  That would give Army five wins towards bowl eligibility[1] with a home date against Rutgers and the Navy game still on the schedule.
If this was your wife, you'd destroy your phone,
too, rather than turn it over to some half-assed
investigators with no legal authority.
This isn’t The Wire, and snapping a cellphone in half and tossing it in the gutter wouldn’t be enough to erase Brady’s history anyway. The digital trail our phones now leave behind long outlive the life of the physical device itself, and the league could have potentially tracked down the information in a number of ways—which is why the whole story was utterly ridiculous.
The NFL’s approach to this entire issue has been anti-scientific in the extreme.  They’re going to lose on appeal because of obvious conflict-of-interest, and it’s going to be embarrassing.  I won’t be surprised if Brady turns over his text records in detail in an actual court of law, saying (as he has said all along) that the issue here is League president.  When his records show nothing, the whole world is going to be shocked.  Honestly, I’m starting to think that Goodell and the other owners don’t care if they lose at this point because for them this scandal has already achieved its primary purpose.  It’s kept the League in the headlines all offseason long.
The big activity for our family this weekend is our kids’ first triathlon, the Race4Chase, given in honor of Chase Kowalski, a young runner and triathlete who was killed at Newtown. For the past six weeks, our kids have been in an intense triathlon camp for children between the ages of six and twelve, coached by my wife Sally.  They’ve run, biked, swum, done brick workouts, PLYOGA and boot camp-style work, and generally begun to see themselves as athletes for the first time ever.  All of that pays off this weekend with their first race.  I'm signed up as one of the bike course marshals, and Sally, of course, has to get the kids where they need to be when they need to be there.  I'm super-excited for them.
There will be pictures, so check back later if you’re interested.

[1] Since Fordham and Bucknell are both FCS schools, only one of those games will count towards the six needed to become bowl eligible even if Army wins both games.

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