Thursday, August 30, 2007

Awesome prank

Slightly less serious than the "Bin Laden options" is this story of an awesome, awesome prank via Deadspin.

An OH high schooler distributed posters that when held up by the opposing team's fans just after halftime spelled "We Suck," as you can see on the video

The prank was pulled off perfectly - I'm pretty sure that none of the victims even knew of the prank, but sadly, the school chose to suspend the prankster. I guess they had to do SOMETHING, but given that the rivalry is institutional, and no one was hurt, why all the fuss?

WHOA! Bin Laden options indicate coming terrorism?

Unless some hedge fund making a "Hail Mary"-type investment, there's an indication in the futures market that someone or some group is making a huge bet on a serious short term movement in stock prices - as much as 25% - by the latter half of September.

As the linked article points out, these positions - theoretically synonymous with a terrorist group expecting to profit from an activity like 9/11 - have existed since June, indicating advanced planning.

The linked article from The is worth a read for another reason - I wasn't aware that someone took large put positions on UA and AA in advance of 9/11 (wow!).

In spite of the message implicit in these option positions, Homeland Security's terrorism threat level hasn't changed recently, which means either 1) the markets are better at indicating an iminent terror threat, or 2) DHS/FBI/CIA has already investigated the option holder, and are not concerned about any threat from related terrorists.

Let's hope it's just a crazy hedge fund looking for a huge, last-gasp return on their last few dollars......

UPDATE: rumor busted - nothing to fear here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Eagles: why do we care so much?

Great article detailing the scope and roots of the passion of Philadelphia Eagles fans. I can second some of the points in the article: during football season, the city's mood for an entire week is set by the Eagles' performance on the previous Sunday. It was very strange to see an entire city moving in slow-motion on a Monday following a loss. Luckily, I think there's been more wins than losses since I became of age.

The article could have taken a detour to detail the aggressiveness of Eagles fans, which some well-known football commentator who's name I can't remember once pointed out by saying that average section of fans at an Eagles game make the Oakland Raider's famed "Black Hole" look like a Sunday church service.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Recent travels

Following some business in NYC, I rented a car and zoomed around New Jersey for a weekend to see family and some old familiar places. Pictures, including my old home, are available thru the link above.

Pix were taken using my new iPhone, which is a very cool device, but does not really meet my needs, and will probably be returned soon.

It was great to see my uncle and his family, the Jersey Shore, and the Pine Barrens. It's kinda weird how the utter desolation of the Pine Barrens really resonates with me, probably because to me it represents home. (Not the desolation part, Mom!)

Seeing the Jersey Shore again really re-ignited my thoughts about getting some sort of beach house or lake house. This will have to wait until I decide to put down full-time roots in some exciting geography like DC.

Other simple highlights from the trip include reading the Sunday Philly Inquirer, revisiting my alma mater Shawnee High School in Medford, and sampling a few soft pretzels.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Map(s) o' baseball

Check out these 2 graphical representations of baseball fan geography, that is, what baseball team each part of the country roots for. Here's 2 representations:

One based on hard polling data, and

One more subjective

Both seem to suggest that the Atlanta Braves have the most territory (and perhaps highlighting the opportunity in Charlotte, N.C.

I'm also really surprised (in the first map) by how much of the Washington/Baltimore area expressed a preference for the Nationals. Only Baltimore proper and very northern Maryland prefer the Birds.

If you like this, be sure to spend some time at the Strange Maps website.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New 1st thing in the morning link to take a look at

Wanna quickly and easily get abreast of the news? Try Newser, which will blow you away. Concise, accurate, viewer friendly, and much better than Google News.

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous