Dogs falling

Photographer Julia Christe took pictures of dogs falling through the air.

The eyes are amazing.

Commercials during an NFL game

Vlad Savov at The Verge wondered what it would cost to buy every product advertised during an NFL game, so, he compiled a list.

The purpose of this undertaking was to articulate how saturated in advertising every game broadcast has become. Analogous numbers could be drawn from the typical NBA or MLB game, but the NFL is the clear leader both in popularity and ad density. For every three-hour contest that an NFL fan spectates, 50 minutes (or around 25 percent) is spent irradiated in the ember glow of brand messaging. Buy, drive, invest, consume, insure, consume some more, buy again. I can’t help but wonder if the real price we pay for this entertainment isn’t greater than the fictional bill I have compiled herein.

Wonderful analysis.

How many rats in NYC?

There’s an urban legend that there are as many rats as people in NYC. Jonathan Auerbach, a student at Columbia University, did some research and puts the number of rats at far fewer.

Mr. Auerbach, who was a fiscal analyst for the City Council and for the New York City Labor Market Information Service at the City University of New York before enrolling at Columbia, acknowledged in his paper that conducting a rat census posed significant challenges for a statistician. “Animals are terrible survey respondents,” he noted dryly.

He faced other methodological problems. He could not capture a large number of rats, mark them for identification purposes, release them, capture a second batch and count the number of marked rats in that batch. “Unfortunately,” he wrote, the health department “is unlikely to approve a large-scale rat-releasing experiment (I know, because I asked).”

The main flaw I see in his research is that not every sighting is reported.

Let’s get one thing straight: The Xmas season starts AFTER Thanksgiving!


Like everyone else (I hope), I am sick and tired of the over-commercialization of the Xmas season, but I put up with it because there are some positive aspects to it. However, I firmly believe that we should celebrate one holiday at a time, so, as in previous years, I will be boycotting retailers who start the Xmas season too early. Unlike previous years, I will be publicly shaming them for doing so.

Halloween has been over less than four days, and already Walmart and Best Buy are on the list (let’s be honest, Walmart is always on my boycott list because they suck, but they suck doubly so because they advertised an Xmas sale before the weekend was over).

Personally, I don’t think retailers should advertise Xmas related content at all until after Thanksgiving, however, due to the whole Black Friday thing I allow them to advertise Black Friday sales, and thus Xmas related content, starting the Monday prior to Thanksgiving. This year, that’s Monday November 24th.

Black Friday is a whole other issue for another time.

Without further ado, I present the list of companies that will not see one dime from me during the holiday season (list will be updated as necessary):

  • Bass Pro Shop
  • Best Buy
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • iHeartRadio
  • Infiniti (and by extension, Nissan Motor Company)
  • The Lincoln Motor Company (and by extension, Ford Motor Company)
  • Walmart

Who’s the best World Series pitcher of all time?

Coming off Madison Bumgarner’s impressive complete game shutout on Sunday night, the Times looks at the best World Series pitchers.

Bumgarner now holds the record for lowest career earned run average (0.29) in the World Series among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. The mark is impressive by any standard. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that Bumgarner is the best World Series pitcher ever.

That distinction belongs to Christy Mathewson, who also did his pitching for the Giants (when they were in New York). It’s not even close, either.

Don Larson, who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, didn’t even make the list. Who’s that Babe Ruth guy?

Excellent Ikea commercial

This commercial from Ikea Singapore might just be the best commercial ever made, or at least the best commercial to pay homage to Kubrick.

The “REDRUG” is an especially nice touch.

Nobel Prizes don’t travel well

Brian Schmidt, who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics, talks about what it’s like to travel with it:

You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.

You know, you’d think that the winner of a Nobel Prize in physics would know what would happen when trying to get through airport security with one.

Walnut bread substitute

A customer ordered walnut bread from an online grocer, the grocer was out of walnut bread so they substituted an octopus instead.

Acknowledging their mistake, the team at Tesco cheerfully engaged in some banter about the slimy substitute item and offered Mr Goodger a refund – of ‘a couple of squid’.

‘This has ten-tickled us so much! Maybe the personal shopper was trying to be Billy the Squid?’ the supermarket tweeted.

Not sure if this is a fair substitute. I’ve never had octopus, as far as I know, but I’m not a fan of walnut bread.

News anchor suspended after mispronouncing name

A news anchor in India has been suspended for pronouncing the President of China’s name, Xi Jinping, as “Eleven Jinping”.

“It is an unpardonable mistake,” a senior official said on the condition of anonymity, saying the anchor was employed on a casual basis.

“We have debarred her from news reading for a few months.”

The official said a shortage of news readers had forced the channel to run some news bulletins with less experienced staff.

First of all, the producer of the newscast is at fault. It’s his/her job to make sure that everyone knows how to pronounce names/places/things properly, and to spell them phonetically on the teleprompter if necessary. This is especially true when it comes to foreign nouns.

Second, this is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week, and at first glance I would call him Eleven myself. It always confuses me when words or abbreviations are used that could be roman numerals. Is “Mac OS X” pronounced “Mac O Ess Ten” or “Mac O Ess Ex”? Whenever I read that someone was given a saline solution (or anything) intravenously, abbreviated IV, I always wonder why they were given a saline solution via four. Is the Oliva V cigar an “Oliva Vee” or an “Oliva Five”? Come to think of it, this will never not confuse me.

Derek Jeter total swings

The Times attempts to calculate the total number of swings that Derek Jeter has taken in his entire baseball career.

Need a rest from all these swings? So did Jeter. He took Novembers and Decembers off, and he never practiced at home. “You would have a hard time finding a baseball at my house besides one that’s got writing on it,” he said.

I absolutely love the way the Times presented this.