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Intelligent Soccer Journalism

My wife would probably call the title an oxymoron, or worse, but I am always pleased when Frank Dell’Apa gets to write a column. Now with ESPNSoccernet (previously writing only for the Boston Globe), Frank understands both soccer and writing.  A real pleasure to read, at least for me.

I have also enjoyed Center Line Soccer in San Jose for great coverage of the NewQuakes. While maybe not as analytical as Dell’Apa, Jay Hipps and the rest do real coverage that years ago was done by major metropolitan dailies. SF Chron take notice, you are nowhere when it comes to covering this team. Although I would give an adequate grade to the SJ Merc News, as Ann Killion and others have done more than just report the scoreline.

Anyway, because of the internet, I can follow soccer without needing to go the a big newstand for the various papers. And thanks to RSS feeds, I can have it centralized and fed to me daily.

Heathly Medicine

Well, now there is some evidence that a popular pain killer and recreational drug may indeed help you ward off infection. And not just against trivial diseases, but against drug resistant strains of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which claimed more lives than AIDS in 2007 or, more recently, extensively drug-resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis (XDR-TB.) that are infecting people in hospitals.

The wonders of nature…

Vuelta Video Revisited

Well, there is some online video after all for the Vuelta. I have been watching some of Cycling News Video highlights, and while they are short they do give some indication of the terrain, the road, the crowds, the villages, etc.

However, it is not as fun as watching the whole thing. My searching has found that it is available online in some countries, but I haven’t explored thoroughly enough to find one worth watching.

Dangers of Nalgene Bottles

Here is a SciAm article that portraits the woman who made the breakthrough about the problems with a key component of polycarbonate.  Patricia Hunt figured out how bisphenol-A (BPA) can leach out of the plastic, and into our food. Good read, and makes one think about how we store our foods.

Just the other day, I had given my wife some grief about buying a new lexan Nalgene bottle, instead of the softer kind.

No Vuelta Video

I may be missing something, but it doesn’t appear that there is any video of the Vuelta Espana this year. Too bad, as it seems to be a race where Astana is trying to prove a point about not being at the Tour de France.

And it also seems that there is a really epic climb, to give the race to a true climber. See the Velo New story about the Angliru.

Funny Commercial

Thanks to Sean Wheelock and USSoccerplayers.com for this. A great PS on an interview with the funniest guy in MLS, Jimmy Conrad.

Don’t we all have fantasies?

Silverlight Olypmics Viewing

The promise of internet video on demand seems to be close to fulfillment. So far, it seems that various events are available to view “on demand, on line” (OK, so far, only soccer games, but what else is so important besides bike racing?) at my convenience. And note, I enjoyed watching the Dutch play Nigeria without a voice over announcing what I could see for myself, and without promo and popup adds. It seems that nbc has put the raw feeds from the venues on their web site ( http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/index.html ) for your enjoyment. Check it out.

Now, of course, the bad news. NBC uses Microslop Silverlight as the player. Note from the screen shot that the resolution is decent on our DSL line. And it caches info locally, so there is no noticable stutter. But:

  • Silverlight is only available for the major browsers (IE, FF, Safari) on Windows or OSX. Sorry Linux fans, can’t watch on that OS.
  • Silverlight locks down the content with DRM, so you can’t save it locally without some hacks that I haven’t yet researched. I guess I should research this, but it seems I couldn’t burn this to DVD for archiving.
  • There is no full screen mode. i repeat, THERE IS NO FULL SCREEN MODE. So the screen shot is the best I could do to watch it on the TV from my easy chair. I couldn’t get the stuff above the viewer “off screen,” but thanks to Firefox 3 I could zoom the image to take up more screen real estate. I estimate that on the TV I could use about half of the available pixels before I zoomed the lower part of the content off the screen.

But, I could pause, rewind, and fast forward, adjust the volume, etc.

And by the way, with the stadium sound pumped from the computer into the stereo in the living room, it did sound a lot like I was in the stadium.

Now, if they really cache the full bike race, and other full events, I won’t need to watch the evening shows much. I might avoid all that endless talking head filler that always gets in the way of the Olympics.

Alternative Communte Transportation

Sometimes it is hard for die-hard athletes to admit that others may not have the physical tools to walk or bike to work or the store, even for fairly short trips. In China and Europe, many “bicyclists” have been using power-assist bikes to get around.

Here is an interesting review in SI. Note that one can only now get this in the USA, but it is already pretty well tested.

Of course, it also needs lights and racks. Some other manufacturers probably already provide that.

Another Class Act Retires

Sorry, Mr. Favre, but please look at this man as the proper way to retire. From the IHT.

Lilian Thuram decided to retire, even though his medical condition was a “false alarm,” to spare his loved ones from worry. Of course, he has enough money to last him ( and them ) a good long while.

Surfer dude talks about the California lifestyle from Ohio

Good old Spicolli, hero to surfer dude Frankie Hejduk of the Columbus Crew and Cardiff. Best interview from the Columbus Dispatch with him I’ve seen in a while, extolling the fitness one gets from surfing. It also allows him to get away with a high fat diet.

Some questions I wish they had asked:

  • How many espressos a day does he drink?
  • Is he a better surfer than Brian Ching?
  • When is he going to open a brewery to make his own pilsner?

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