Shaken And Stirred


Someone has taken the time to count the number of gunshots fired at James Bond (aka Agent 007) throughout all 22 Bond movies.

It turns out that there have been over 4,600 shots fired at him.

A static well-aimed shot would almost certainly have proved lethal, but assuming all 4662 were “on the run”, the probability of a single fatal shot is about 5 per cent. That is, the chance of a single shot missing is 0.95, and hence the probability of all shots missing is 0.954662 or 1.4 × 10-104, which is as close to zero as makes no difference

Now, about all of those Bond Girls he has gotten to know so well.

via New Scientiest by way of NextDraft.

Brooklyn Is Sleeping


So sad about the news of Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys losing his fight with cancer. The Washington Post, of all places, (The Washington Post!) pulled together one of the best tributes I’ve seen yet:

A Tribute to Adam Yauch, Composed Entirely of Beastie Boys Lyrics

Born and bred Brooklyn — U.S.A.
They call me Adam Yauch but I’m M.C.A.
Like a lemon to a lime, a lime to a lemon
I sip the def ale with all the fly women (1)
I’m not James at 15 or Chachi in charge
I’m Adam and I’m adamant about living large (2)
I’ve got more rhymes than I’ve got gray hairs
And that’s a lot because I’ve got my share (3)
Now what do we have here, an outlaw and his beer
I run this land, you understand, I make myself clear. (4)
M.C. for what I am and do
the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true
so as pray and hope and the message is sent
and I am living in the dreams that I have dreamt (5)
I wish for peace between the races
Someday we shall all be one (6)
That’s right y’all
Don’t get uptight y’all (7)
I’m out and I’m gone
I tell you now I keep it on and on. (8)

via The Washington Post by way of Buzzfeed.

This Week’s Tweets

The Great Escape

Steve McQueen in The Great EscapeThis story and the movie of the same name is one that still peaks my interest. Today’s NY Times listed the obit of the World War II veteran Alex Cassie from Britain’s Royal Air Force. He was an unassuming hero in a (IMHO) very under-appreciated element of World War II.

It was on the moonless night of March 24 and 25, 1944, that 76 Allied prisoners of war, most of them British, clambered down a 30-foot shaft and crawled through a 340-foot-long tunnel below the supposedly escape-proof Stalag Luft III camp in eastern Germany — the daring breakout that was celebrated in the classic 1963 movie “The Great Escape.”

In their pockets, the escapees carried what looked like officially stamped documents, identification cards, business cards and even letters written in German from purported wives and sweethearts, all of which were intended to make it possible for them to befuddle a hapless guard or police officer stopping them on their way to freedom.

Flight Lt. Alex Cassie, a British bomber pilot, was one of a half-dozen artists who had been forging those documents for months, playing a central role in the larger conspiracy to free hundreds of the nearly 1,000 airmen in the camp. They called their unit Dean and Dawson, after a well-known London travel agency.

Mr. Cassie created many of the falsified documents, papers and assets that the 76 escapees used to help them escape Nazi Germany. He and his fellow POW used great ingenuity and inventiveness in planning out their task. They used paper from the nicest book bindings for the passport and identification cards. They got ink, photos and information by bribing the German guards with cigarettes. More broadly, they used planks from their beds as support beams for their tunnels, and used the heels of boots as stamps for the forged paperwork.

The 1963 movie “The Great Escape” was a loosely accurate description of this event, with the typical Hollywood flair. Its funny to read the less than kind 1963 review of the movie which today is considered a classic.

Ironically, while his fellow POW’s shimmied their way through the tunnel that evening, Mr. Cassie stayed behind because he was claustrophobic and could not handle the tight enclosure of the long tunnel to freedom. His decision to stay ended up working to his favor as 73 of the 76 escapees were captured and 50 of them were subsequently executed by the Germans.

The Future of Ping Pong

Futuristic Ping Pong Table

Who knew Ping Pong could be so technologically advanced? The above table has an advanced computer system baked into the table, along with a touch surface that responds to voice and real object interactions. So that means you can see where every shot landed incase there is an earth shaking dispute over that double break point serve that just nicked the corner of the table.

The table is part of a broader list of Unbelievable Futuristic Design Concepts That Inspire Creativity.

I Pity The User

Oh, if I had only found this script a week ago.

An absolutely awesome script titled FOOL.JS, full with Mr. T visual, that you too can easily enable on your website.

And when you are done, you can prank unsuspecting visitors to your site with things like an endless loop of Rick Astley, making your site unclickable, and my favorite, the wonky prank that places your site a little off kilter.

Look out on 4/1/13! :)

Ready, AIM, Miss

Granted, the whole “instant communications” sector is going through a major upheaval as there are so so many options for people to use these days – Pinger, FaceTime, Facebook IM, Text Messaging, Skype, ooVoo, and on and on – but wow, AOL Instant Messenger’s usage has fallen 64% over the past year.

Whoever is to blame, the truth is that there has been no bigger missed opportunity in the technology business than AOL Instant Messenger. There’s an investor we (ed: SAI) know in New York who swears AOL blew it when it didn’t turn AIM into a full-on Skype competitor.

When I briefly worked at AOL and on the IM product, it was sometimes referred to as AOL’s “800 pound gorilla” because it had so so many registered users that AOL had no idea what to do with. I guess they never figured out what to do with them and now their once dominant market position has eroded in a major way.

Via SAI

NFL Overtime

Garrett Hartley of the NO Saints kicking winning FG in 2010 NFC Championship

I don’t understand why the NFL can’t get their act together when it comes to Overtime rules during the regular season. I mean, the way the have it now just doesn’t pass the VP of Common Sense or “grandmother” rule (i.e. If you explained this to your grandmother, would she get it?).

Today, the NFL leaders voted to adopt the current Playoff OT rules for all regular season games which are:

An overtime in the regular season now will end on a team’s first possession only if it scores a touchdown or the defense forces a safety. If the team kicks a field goal on its first possession, the opposing team also will get a possession. If it also kicks a field goal, the extra period continues.

As it stands, the Playoff OT rules are just insanely silly – its kinda sorta sudden death – if you score a TD you win right then and there, but it is not sudden death if you score a field goal. These rule changes were made 2 years ago after the New Orleans Saints did what several other teams have done and won the coin toss, marched down the field, and kicked a field goal. Only difference was that their drive won them the NFC Championship instead of giving a random 5-6 team a .500 record.

To me, the way the NBA handles Overtime is the way to go, and in many ways the NFL is a similar ebb-and-flow type of sport with multiple ways to score points. The way the NBA does it is it has a 5 minute extra period – whoever has more points at the end wins. If it is still tied, they play another 5 minutes and so on until a team wins.

I’ve never played football, so I fully admit I don’t know the subtle nuances of these elements of the game. However, from watching the sport for years, it seems to me that teams would still demonstrate a sense of urgency and high levels of game strategy in approaching a full 5 minute extra session compared to the “if/than” option that they just voted to go with. The amount of elapsed “real” time that a full 5 minute session would take wouldn’t be that much different than what we see in today’s format. Having a full 5 minute extra period would give much more of an even balance of responsibilitiy to the offenses and defenses of both teams. And probably most importantly, it won’t force fans to go to the rule book when an overtime game happens to understand the nuances of the “your team didn’t win because the other team scored a TD in ‘Sudden Death Overtime’ after you scored first” scenario. At least by playing out a short, 5 minute extra period, the scenario is crystal clear. Keep on playing until whoever has the most points when the clock hits 0:00 wins.

Things are complex enough today. Do we really need this complexity in the already complex game of football?

South of the Border

Folks who live along the border (I mean, literally ON the border) of North Carolina and South Carolina are running into some issues because the states are re-calibrating the exact location of their shared border. One morning, these folks are paying South Carolina taxes and the next, they are citizens of North Carolina. At first, this may seem trivial, however for one guy who owns a gas station on land that he thought was in South Carolina, this border war is a major issue:

For example, one man owns land where he built a gas station in what he thought was South Carolina, but is now revealed to be North Carolina. He says his station will be worthless due to higher gas taxes in North Carolina, and that the business-boosting sales of fireworks is now illegal.

The governments of each of the states are assuring all people impacted (roughly 90) by the shift of the border will “be taken care of”, whatever that means. At least those folks who are unexpectedly becoming citizens of North Carolina can now support a basketball program (UNC – Chapel Hill) that has had decidedly more success than the program at the University of South Carolina.

Via Consumerist