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Robotic Sports: Ready for Prime Time

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Robotic Sports Will One Day Rival the NFL

Cody Brown writes: When I was 13, I watched a season of Battle Bots on Comedy Central then attempted to build a killer robot in my parent’s basement. You might think, oh, you were probably a weird kid (and you’d be right) but I think eventually this is behavior that will become normal for people all around the world. It’s had some moments in the spotlight but a bunch of factors make it seem like robotic sports is destined for primetime ESPN in the next five years.

1.) A drone flying through the forest looks incredible at 80 mph.

A new class of bot (FPV Quadcopter) has emerged in the past few years and the footage they produce is nuts. Robots can do things we’re fascinated by but can’t generally achieve without risking our own lives. Drones the size of a dinner plate can zoom through a forest like a 3 pound insect. A bot that shoots flames can blow up a rival in a plexiglass cage.

You can make an argument that the *thrill* of these moments is lightened if a person isn’t risking their own life and limb and this is true to a certain extent. NASCAR crashes are inherently dramatic but you don’t need to burn drivers to make fans scream.

Just look at the rise of e-sports. This League of Legends team sits in an air conditioned bubble and sips Red Bull while a sold out arena screams their lungs out. They’re not in any physical danger but 31 million fans are watching online.

The thing that ultimately matters is that the sport looks incredible on video and fans have a connection to the players. And right now, the video, in raw form, is mesmerizing.

2.) Robot parts have gotten cheaper, better and easier to buy.

When I was a kid, I was limited to things available at the local Radio Shack or hardware store. Now I can go to Amazon, find parts with amazing reviews and have them delivered to my house in a day. The hobby community has had many years to develop its technology and increase quality. Brands like Fat Shark, Spektrum, and adafruit have lead the way.

3.) Top colleges fight over teenagers who win robotics competitions.

If you’re good at building a robot, chances are you have a knack for engineering, math, physics, and a litany of other skills top colleges drool over. This is exciting for anyone (at any age) but it’s especially relevant for students and parents deciding what is worth their investment.

There are already some schools that offer scholarships for e-sports. I wouldn’t be surprised if intercollegiate leagues were some of the first to pop up with traction.

Thunder-Robots

4.) The military wants to get better at making robots for the battlefield.

This one is a little f***ed but it’s worth acknowledging. Drones (of all sizes) are the primary technology changing the battlefield today. DARPA has an overwhelming interest to stay current and they’re already sponsoring multimillion dollar (more academic) robotics competitions. It’s up to the community to figure out how (or how not) to involve them. Them, meaning the giant military apparatus of the United States but also military organizations around the world who want to develop and recruit the people who will power their 21st century defense (and offense). Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Aaron Hernandez Found Guilty in Murder of Odin Lloyd: First Degree Murder

Aaron-Guilty

FALL RIVER, Mass. — A Massachusetts jury of seven women and five men found Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end, guilty of murder in the first degree to conclude a nine-week trial in Bristol County Superior Court.

He will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Hernandez, 25, was on trial for murdering Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old landscaper from Boston. He was also found guilty of unlawful firearm possession and unlawful ammunition possession after prosecutors presented a case based on circumstantial evidence due to a lack of eyewitnesses or a murder weapon.

Hernandez’s mother, Terri Hernandez, and his fiancee openly wept while the verdict was read. Hernandez was emotionless.

In closing arguments last Tuesday, Hernandez’s attorney, James Sultan, acknowledged for the first time that Hernandez was at the murder scene, but only as a witness, insinuating that one of Hernandez’s alleged accomplices – Ernest Wallace or Carlos Ortiz – shot Lloyd while high on phencyclidine, better known as PCP. Ortiz and Wallace both face murder charges, and are expected to be tried later this year…(read more)

NY Daily News


Governor Christie Pardons Shaneen Allen

At The Corner, Charles C. Cooke writes:

Herewith, a beautiful sight: This is Chris Christie pardoning Shaneen Allen, a single mother from Pennsylvania who had been prosecuted for taking a concealed weapon into New Jersey in violation of the law:

signed 1

Allen has come a long way. At first it looked as if her mistake — she did not realize that her Pennsylvania concealed carry license wasn’t valid in every other state — was going to land her in prison for more than a decade, cost her her job as a medical practitioner, and take her away from her children.

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But then something remarkable happened:  Read the rest of this entry »


LA Desk: Supporters of an NFL Stadium in Carson Deliver 15,000 Signatures to City Clerk in Support of Ballot initiative


[VIDEO] The Controversial Ill-Fated Pass: Russell Wilson Agrees with Decision to Throw

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SI.com: Wilson threw an interception on the play, effectively ending the game. The ball was picked off by Patriots cornerback Malcom Butler on a short slant route.

interception

The New England Patriots came away with the ball, and a 28-24 Super Bowl win over the Seahawks….(read more)

Here’s video of Wilson’s reaction:

Sports Illustrated


おいしい!Seahawks Sushi?


The Shrink on the Seattle Seahawks’ Sideline

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The Super Bowl Champions Swear by a Sports Psychologist

Matthew Futterman writes: For most of the last two seasons, the Seattle Seahawks have been the most physically prepared team in the NFL, a collection of perfectly honed athletes that can outrun and outmuscle opponents at will.

“We want to invite the lion into the room and learn how to pet him. Our mind is easily distracted by thoughts and sounds and smells, and when our mind is distracted, we decrease our ability to perform.”

The Seahawks’ secret weapon, though, just might be the team’s willingness to give a sports psychologist the freedom to roam the training facility, locker room and even the sidelines every game, to make sure their heads are as sound as their bodies.

“We need to get better at being present, and you can be present by understanding and deepening the insight about who we are and how our mind works.”

For nearly three seasons, Michael Gervais has spent three days a week with the team, instilling what he and coach Pete Carroll refer to as “relationship-based coaching.” In the simplest terms, this means making sure coaches and players all understand each other on the deepest possible level, so that everyone feels valued and can communicate effectively.

“It’s the most fascinating culture I have ever been able to witness. There is a relentless approach to the idea that relationships matter.”

“We are an incredibly mindful team,” said Tom Cable, the Seahawks’ offensive line and assistant head coach, using an adjective that rarely comes across the lips of an NFL coach. “If I can understand someone like (guard) James Carpenter at a higher and deeper level, then I reach him further in terms of getting him to be the best he can be.”

“There is the overt objective and need to have the organization achieve. Some organizations sell widgets and some, like the Seahawks, sell outcomes, and the foundation of a great outcome is a relationship.”

— Sports Psychologist Michael Gervais

This sort of pursuit isn’t new to the sports world. Sports figures have long aspired to what is commonly referred to as “mindfulness”—an ability to perform without worrying about what has just happened or what might happen next. The Seahawks also are hardly the first team to give players access to a shrink. Read the rest of this entry »


Liberal Magazine: If You Want The Patriots To Win The Super Bowl, You’re Racist

NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Minicamp

The Nation Wants Seattle Seahawks To Win Super Bowl

Christian DatocDatoc reports: Even as the final days before the Super Bowl draw to a close, the liberal media refuses to quit its slanderous campaign against the 2015 AFC Champion New England Patriots.

The most recent salvo of Pats-hate comes from noted liberal-weekly, The Nation, which decided to abandon any and all shreds of journalistic bias in favor of declaring the Seattle Seahawks as America’s chosen team. The Deflate-Gate scandal has been revealed as a smoke and mirrors effort to undermine the house that Belichick built, and at this point in the game, these last futile proclamations from the self-proclaimed “flagship of the left” are not only easy to see through, but just flat-out repetitive.

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For starters, the article’s main argument is basically as follows: “The NFL is part of a changing, more socially-conscious America, and if you aren’t pulling for the Seahawks, it’s probably because you’re a racist.”

Seriously. It’s all in there.

When I started writing about the intersection of sports and politics in 2003, a countless number of sentences started with two words: “if only”. “If only” star athletes used their hyper-exalted-brought-to-you-by Nike platform to actually say something about the world instead of just trying to sell us more crap. If only they stood up to tired sports media that for decades had treated outspoken athletes with a sneering and, in the case of black players, transparently racist contempt… 

This is a team that has had players speak out for the Black Lives Matter movement and a team that has felt no compunction against calling out a commissioner in Roger Goodell who cares more about public relations than the players and the families of players that the league employs…

To have Marshawn Lynch consciously try to control his own labor and by doing so, dredge up the worst impulses in the sports media aristocracy was, intentionally or not, a national service. Thanks to Lynch, we have seen a layer of sports writers regurgitate all of their suppressed bile against young black athletes—tweeting things like their desire for an “English to Marshawn dictionary”—and exposing the long-standing resentments older and mostly whiter sportswriters have towards the people they cover…(read more)

How many times are these guys going to use the same, tired argument? I guess it’s worked in the last two elections, so hell, might as well try it in the Super Bowl. Read the rest of this entry »


Marshawn Lynch Fined $20,000 for the Post-Touchdown Luxury of Grabbing His Dick

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 reports: The NFL has fined Marshawn Lynch $20,000 for his post-touchdown crotch grab in the NFC Championship, and more fines could be forthcoming if Lynch decides to continue his tradition of not talking to reporters.

“Johnny Manziel was hit with a $12,000 fine for flipping a bird at the Washington Redskins in preseason.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL is also considering fining Lynch significantly more than the $50,000 for each of the past two seasons for not talking to the media. Lynch again declined to speak on Sunday after the NFC Championship.

“Kansas City’s Travis Kelce was fined $11,025 for a gesture that we really can’t even describe here…”

Lynch, along with the rest of the Seahawks, is slated for media availability on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week. If he decides to go with his usual repeat-a-single-phrase routine, the Super Bowl trip could end up being a significant hit to his wallet. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Jets Player Wears NYPD Cap Into Stadium to Support Officers

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NFL games (and pro sports events in general) have become a recurring site of commentary on the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and subsequent lack of indictments. The St. Louis Rams entered Edward Jones Dome at the beginning of a game last month with their arms raised in a “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture, while numerous NFL and NBA players have donned “I Can’t Breathe” shirts in reference to Garner. Both cases angered local police unions(more)

Mediaite


Official Etsy Policy: Anything with REDSKINS Logo FORBIDDEN (Swastikas A-Okay!)


NFL Announces New Zero-Tolerance Policy On Videotaped Domestic Violence

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NEW YORK—Following public outcry over his mishandling of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s aggravated assault of his then-fiancée, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that the league has adopted a new zero-tolerance policy toward all videotaped domestic abuse. “We hold our players to the highest standards both as professional athletes and as people, so any violence toward women that is recorded, authenticated, and then publicly distributed will be met with an automatic suspension and fine,” said Goodell, adding that the new, stricter guidelines reflect the league’s hard-line stance against any spousal abuse that is clearly and irrefutably captured on film. “I can assure you that any member of this league who strikes a woman in front of a live camera will face swift and heavy consequences. Read the rest of this entry »


This is What a Two-Game Suspension Looks Like: The Ray Rice Casino Elevator Championship Fight: Knockout Round

This is what a two game suspension looks like — Ray Rice delivering a a crushing punch to his fiancees face, knocking her out cold. From TMZ Sports.

 


Roger Staubach, Americas Quarterback

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The former quarterback on the Cowboys, his famed pass and his success in the real-estate game

Roger Staubach Justin Clemons for The Wall Street Journal; Grooming by Shelly Cervantes

From this weekend’s WSJ, a profile of one of my heroes:

“This year is our year,” says former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. The legendary football player turned real-estate mogul is sitting far from the field in a glass-enclosed conference room overlooking the Dallas skyline. He’s a few feet from his corner office at real-estate company Jones Lang LaSalle, where he is executive chairman of the Americas region. Although he’s hopeful about the Cowboys’ prospects, he adds, “I said that last year.”

“A reporter later asked what he was thinking, and he replied, ‘I just closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.’ The next day, headlines read, ‘Hail Mary Pass Wins Game’.”

Whether they win or lose, to Mr. Staubach, the Cowboys will always be “America’s Team.” And at age 72, he says he sometimes still gets called “America’s Quarterback.” The Cowboys earned their nickname in 1978, when the National Football League released a film of the same name about the team. The previous year, the Cowboys had earned the highest television ratings and sold the most merchandise of any team in the NFL. Mr. Staubach, who played from 1969 to 1979, still remembers a Philadelphia Eagles player knocking the wind out of him and saying, “Take that, America’s quarterback!”

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More From the Interview

What happened after you threw your famous Hail Mary pass?

“One of the fans threw a whisky bottle on the field hit the ref in the head and knocked him out. He was bleeding. I got hit as soon as I threw the ball, so I didn’t really see…I’m laying there and the crowd is silent and I said, ‘Oh,’then I jumped up because I figure if they’re silent maybe he caught the ball. And sure enough there are already some oranges out on the field because the Super Bowl was going to be at the Orange Bowl and the Vikings fans were counting on being in the Super Bowl. They were shocked.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Corporate Backing is Helping Obamacare Infect National Economy like a Virus

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Obamacare virus is infecting mainstream American life as business conglomerates, sports teams and crony capitalists voluntarily inject it into the corporate bloodstream

Fans of the Jet City Rollergirls are hearing public announcements about Obamacare when they go to the roller derby track north of Seattle.

Univision, the nation’s largest Spanish-language television network, is airing half-hour specials about healthy living and educating viewers about how to sign up for coverage under President Obama’s health law.

“…we knew that if we wanted to reach young people, this couldn’t look like a traditional government program…”

— Michael Marchand

And tax preparers at thousands of Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block offices are talking to their customers about how to enroll in the new insurance plans sold through the law’s online marketplaces.

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Although many companies are wary of associating with the health law while it remains a political lightning rod, the Affordable Care Act is increasingly entering the mainstream as major corporations, sports teams and others integrate it into their businesses.

Read the rest of this entry »


Marijuana Movement Seizes Super Bowl Spotlight

Seen in tobacco store in Seattle, January 25, 2014

Seen in tobacco store in Seattle, January 25, 2014

  reports:  This year’s Super Bowl seems to be perfect for the marketing of marijuana, and pot entrepreneurs and activists are seizing the moment.

[SEE MORE: The Dope on Dope at punditfromanotherplanet]

Fans of the Seattle Seahawks, and team running back Marshawn Lynch in particular, may very well set out a bowl of Skittles for their Super Bowl parties this Sunday. Lynch’s love of Skittles has gotten extra attention in recent weeks as his team advanced through the playoffs, and after giving the brand millions in free publicity, Skittles officially partnered with Lynch in an endorsement deal featuring a limited-edition “Seattle Mix” strain of the candies with only the team colors, blue and green. Read the rest of this entry »


Finally: A Seahawks Logo Marijuana Pipe

Exclusive: Seen in tobacco store in Seattle, January 25, 2014

Exclusive: Seen in tobacco store in Seattle, January 25, 2014

Sign of the times. High times. 

511oOJyCzbL._SX425_[See Denver-Seattle ‘Super Oobie Doobie Bowl’]

And what to go better with this item than a Zippo NFL Seattle Seahawks Chrome Pocket Lighter ?

The weekend’s playoff football victories by the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks have created a teachable moment about the two leading marijuana law reform states in America, as well as a windfall for those who love dumb puns.

“Weed Bowl”, “Salad Bowl”, “420 Bowl”, “Chronic Bowl”, weed heads can’t get enough of the delicious matchup.

Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Compares Pro Football to Smoking, Says He Wouldn’t Let Son Play

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Comparing professional football to boxing and smoking, President Barack Obama said that if he had a son he would not let him play pro football because of the risk of concussions. Last year, Obama said that he would have to think “long and hard” before he would let his son play football.

“I would not let my son play pro football,” Obama told the New Yorker in a lengthy piece that was published on Sunday. “But, I mean, you wrote a lot about boxing, right? We’re sort of in the same realm.”

Obama then compared playing professional football to smoking.

Read the rest of this entry »


NFL: Why are we subsidizing such a hugely profitable sport?

Football: A Waste of Taxpayers’ Money

From right: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte (47) during overtime at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome, in Minneapolis on Dec. 1, 2013.

From right: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte (47) during overtime at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome, in Minneapolis on Dec. 1, 2013.

 writes: As we enter the drama-filled final week of the regular college football season and the final month of the National Football League’s schedule, forget about GM and Chrysler, Solyndra, or even cowboy poetry readings. Fact is, nothing is more profitable, more popular, and more on the public teat than good old American football. That’s right. You, dear taxpayer, are footing the bill for football through an outrageous series of giveaways to billionaire team owners and public universities that put pigskin before sheepskin.

It’s just not right when governments shovel tax dollars at favored companies or special interests, even when those firms are called, say, the Minnesota Vikings or the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University. The NFL’s Vikings are lousy at scoring touchdowns – they have the worst record in the NFC North – but they’ve proven remarkably adept in shaking down Minnesotans for free money. Next year they’ll be playing ball in a brand-spanking new $975 million complex in downtown Minneapolis, more than half of whose cost is being picked up by state and local taxpayers. Over the 30-year life of the project, the public share of costs will come to $678 million. The team will pay about $13 million a year to use the stadium, but since it gets virtually all revenue from parking, food, luxury boxes, naming rights, and more, it should be able to cover that tab. Not that the Vikings were ever hard up for money: Forbes values the franchise at nearly $800 million and the team’s principal owner, Zygi Wilf, is worth a cool $310 million. When the Minnesota legislature signed off on its stadium deal for the Vikings, the state was facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit. Priorities, priorities.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] CHILL: Watch the Pro-Gun, Daniel Defense Ad the NFL Won’t Run During the Super Bowl

According to Guns & Ammo magazine, the ad above, for gun-seller Daniel Defense, was submitted to the NFL for consideration to run during the Super Bowl. It was shot down:

The NFL’s Advertising Policy addresses several Prohibited Advertising Categories, including guidelines for ads featuring alcohol, video games, movies, prescription drugs, and, of course, firearms.

The firearms portion of the NFL’s Prohibited Advertising Categories states:

“5. Firearms, ammunition or other weapons are prohibited; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.”

According to these guidelines, Daniel Defense’s Super Bowl commercial does not violate NFL policy for two reasons:

  • Daniel Defense has a brick-and-mortar store, where they sell products other than firearms such as apparel.
  • The commercial itself does not mention firearms, ammunition or weaponry.

While Daniel Defense’s commercial does not mention firearms, it does include a logo of their DDM4 rifle at the very end.

When the NFL denied the ad, Daniel Defense immediately offered to replace the DDM4 logo with an American flag and/or the words “Shall not be infringed.”

The NFL replied with another non-negotiable denial.

Read the whole story.

Read the rest of this entry »