Posted on May 28, 2015 by Michael
Remember when Steve Jobs got a very treatable form of cancer? He chose to go with the pretend/alternative medicine route. He died where most would have survived for quite some time. That was no surprise. Quackery breeds death. But what has been a nice surprise is Valerie Harper, the star of Rhoda and one of the co-stars on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In March of 2013 she emotionally announced that she had cancer and as a result had as little as 3 months to live. Well, thanks to actual medicine she’s cancer-free as of April of last year (with no negative public updates since).
Thank goodness for science, eh?
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Posted on May 8, 2015 by Michael
The NFL recently released its report concerning “deflate gate”. The conclusion was that it was “more probable than not” that Tom Brady was “generally aware” if not outright involved in manipulating ball psi outside the allowed lower limit of 12.5 psi. Here are a few things no one wants to talk about:
- Three of the four balls the Colts used were under the minimum psi at halftime. The report curtly dismisses this.
- The report excluded interviews with Brady.
- Very early reports said most of the balls were well under the minimum, but a later report corrected this and said 10 of the 12 game balls were a few ticks under.
- Ball psi isn’t regularly measured. Refs “check” the balls and approve them before game time, but this mostly consists of a quick squeeze in all likelihood.
- Ball psi certainly isn’t measured at half-time, so there’s no data set for how balls might react between the start of the game and 30 (game) minutes later.
- It makes no sense to say psi is so important to Brady that he would cheat, yet one of the balls was 2 psi under while the others were merely ticks under. You don’t intentionally cheat for your star quarterback by flagrantly messing up. If psi is so important to him, then a 2 psi difference might wreck the game. It’s “more probable than not” that the equipment guys ballparked the psi measurements for the balls, making a genuine mistake on one of them.
- The research firm hired by the NFL has a shady past. It once concluded that oil waste in an Ecuadorean forest didn’t increase cancer rates. The study was commissioned by Chevron. Another time it concluded that second hand smoke doesn’t cause cancer. I’ll let you guess who commissioned that one. Another time it exonerated Toyota’s electronic systems after people found themselves suddenly and uncontrollably accelerating. Yep, you guessed it. Toyota paid for that one.
Here’s the worst part: the report concluded that science can’t account for the difference in claimed psi and measured psi for the ball measured at 10.6 psi. Except it can. Not that that single ball is a valid starting point in the first place. The conclusion here is a pretty obvious one. There’s no good evidence to indicate that anyone in the Patriots organization, including Tom Brady, did anything to intentionally deflate footballs below the league minimum. This is a witch hunt against a team that a lot of people already hate for being so successful over the years. The NFL has taken a beating this past year (no pun intended), so it’s desperate to do everything in its power to regain its reputation. Hiring a shady research firm to put out a bogus, science-free report is exactly what it needs, even if that sounds counter-intuitive. Now the league can say it has met the minimum required to dole out punishments; if Roger Goodell suspends the arguable face of the league, he comes across as stern, swift, and honorable. In reality, he’s just an asshole. Look, Pats haters, I’m pretty envious of Brady, too. He’s got the all-American dream. He’s a star quarterback that is quite literally the best the game has ever seen, he has a supermodel wife, he’s worth $100 million, he’s got just about a fistful of Super Bowl rings, and let’s be honest, plastic surgeons are probably asked every single day if they can make their clients look like him. But that’s no reason to buy into garbage reports from shady firms hired by a damaged league with an agenda.
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