Archive for January 2012

A smart character requires smart writers

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A smart character requires smart writers and in this movie the producers saved the money for special effects.

Alex Tabarrok, writing about Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


Written by breckfield

January 31, 2012 at 8:24 am

Posted in movies, writing

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Defense Wins Championships? Not So Fast, My Friend…

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Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim investigate the old football cliche that “defense wins championships” and find that the data does not quite support the legend:

Sifting through the numbers, we found that the answer is again no. In the regular season, playoffs, and championships, underdog teams are no more likely to win if they are good defenders than if they are good scorers…

Bottom line: Defense is no more important than offense. It’s not defense that wins championships. In virtually every sport, you need either a stellar offense or a stellar defense, and having both is even better.

If it’s not true, then why is it such a cliche? Moskowitz and Wertheim have an explanation for that:

If defense is no more critical to winning than offense is, why does everyone from Little League coaches to ESPN analysts extoll its importance? Well, no one needs to talk up the virtues of scoring. No one needs to create incentives for players to score more touchdowns. There’s a reason why fans exhort “De-fense, De-fense!” not “O-ffense, O-ffense!” Offense is fun. Offense is glamorous. Who gets the Nike shoe contracts and the other endorsements — the players who score or the defensive stoppers?

I highly recommend the authors’ book, Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won.

Written by breckfield

January 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

Indians Pitcher Fausto Carmona: The Man Who Never Was

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Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona—or whatever his name is—has some ‘splaining to do

Carmona, the Indians’ opening-day starter last season, was arrested in the Dominican Republic for allegedly using a false identity. Officials in his native country are contesting his real name and birthdate…

…Carmona’s real name is apparently Roberto Hernandez Heredia and he’s 31, three years older than the pitcher claimed.

The Indians are probably not as concerned about the false name as they are about the apparent fact that they have invested millions of dollars in a player who is actually three years older than they thought he was.

Written by breckfield

January 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

Posted in baseball, sports

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The Facebook-Politico Deal: Your Privacy For Sale

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Q: When is a private message not a private message?

A: Whenever Facebook can make a buck from it.

As Liz Gannes reports, Facebook has made a deal to provide Politico with a feed of private messages:

Most notably, the Facebook-Politico data set will include Facebook users’ private status messages and comments. While that may alarm some people, Facebook and Politico say the entire process is automated and no Facebook employees read the posts.

What could possibly go wrong?


Written by breckfield

January 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Posted in business, politics

Tagged with , , ,

Keith Olbermann, Baseball Nerd

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Fortunately for Baseball fans, Keith Olbermann knows far more about Baseball than he does about politics.

I caught him on MLB Network’s “Clubhouse Confidential”, chatting with Brian Kenny, and was impressed.

You can find Olby’s “Baseball Nerds” blog at

Written by breckfield

January 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

Posted in baseball

California: Welcome to The Nanny State

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In California, a 17-year-old can get an abortion, but they can’t buy cough medicine or use a tanning booth:

Next up is the law — one of 761 bills passed in 2011 that became California law — that bans the sale of over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan to minors. That means popular brands such as Nyquil, Robitussin and Delsym that contain that ingredient are essentially controlled substances.

It is now also illegal in California for those under 18 to use ultraviolet tanning devices.

California lawmakers: still crazy after all these years.


Written by breckfield

January 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Posted in politics

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