Soccer Has No Interest in Fairness

Alejandro Chacoff writing for The Atlantic:

Replays also don’t always tell you the whole story. Slow-motion video can’t guarantee a clear sense of impact or intentionality. It doesn’t help that many professional players have spent a lifetime training themselves in the art of deceit, making what is often deliberate look like an accident—an elbow “accidentally” touches the opponent’s neck, a defender “accidentally” loses balance and falls on the striker’s rib cage.

These complications pale in comparison to the fact that deceit is woven into the fabric of the game. Soccer, as a sport, has no interest in being morally upright, or even fair. A game in which so many events occur—22 players chasing a ball over a huge field for about 90 minutes—and only one event (the ball in the net) truly counts seems, in fact, sadistically and delightfully bent on being unfair. The setup incentivizes players to do everything they can to manipulate all the minor events that might lead to scoring.

Add these things to the fact that Soccer doesn’t even have a standard ball design or consistency when it comes to awarding extra time and the only conclusion is that the sport is a mess.


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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: K Sam Ficken, kickin and stickin?

When Los Angeles Rams K Greg Zuerlein went for surgery on a herniated disc in his back last year, the Rams were in a uniquely tough spot.

It was late December. They had two games left in the regular season. The playoffs loomed. The team had to find a replacement for a kicker on pace to break the single season scoring record. With little time and slim pickings late in the season, they turned to undrafted, untested and unemployed K Sam Ficken.

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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: QB Brandon Allen Tries to Cling on to Need for Depth

Los Angeles Rams QB Brandon Allen was originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent that season as the third string quarterback behind QB Blake Bortles and QB Chad Henne, but he was waived in the roster cuts heading into 2017 and the the Rams grabbed him the following day. Allen would once again spend the season as the QB3 this time behind QB Jared Goff and QB Sean Mannion. He didn’t take a regular season snap having been placed on injured reserve with a back injury prior to the Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers where he likely would have seen some game time.

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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: S Nate Holley Looks to Stand Out in a Crowded Position

In 2016 Nate Holly was a promising Safety from Kent State. In three consecutive seasons, Nate ranked #1 in the MAC in solo tackles. He was considered a top 10 safety and looking like a favorite as a mid-round pick, but then legal issues got in the way. He ultimately cleared his name, but the damage had been done. He missed the final four games of his senior season and didn’t get invited to the Senior Bowl or the NFL Combine because of character concerns. The 2017 draft came and went, and no one called his name.

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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: RB Nick Holley Needs to Show He’s Not Made of Glass

Kent State graduate Nick Holley (Toledo, Ohio) recently signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams. After proving his ability to play multiple positions with the Golden Flashes, the Rams currently have Holley listed as a running back.

In 10 career starts at quarterback, Holley had six 100-yard rushing performances and 11 rushing touchdowns. Following the first four games of the 2016 season, Holley was the top wide receiver for the Flashes, before making the transition to quarterback.

From 2014 through the beginning of the 2015 season, Holley found success as a running back with 649 rushing yards and six total touchdowns over 14 games.

Thank you for that marvelous introduction Kent State Sports!

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Apple Is Rebuilding Maps from the Ground Up

Matthew Panzarino reporting for TechCrunch:

Apple has a team of cartographers on staff that work on more cultural, regional and artistic levels to ensure that its Maps are readable, recognizable and useful.

These teams have goals that are at once concrete and a bit out there — in the best traditions of Apple pursuits that intersect the technical with the artistic.

The maps need to be usable, but they also need to fulfill cognitive goals on cultural levels that go beyond what any given user might know they need. For instance, in the US, it is very common to have maps that have a relatively low level of detail even at a medium zoom. In Japan, however, the maps are absolutely packed with details at the same zoom, because that increased information density is what is expected by users.

This is the department of details. They’ve reconstructed replicas of hundreds of actual road signs to make sure that the shield on your navigation screen matches the one you’re seeing on the highway road sign. When it comes to public transport, Apple licensed all of the type faces that you see on your favorite subway systems, like Helvetica for NYC. And the line numbers are in the exact same order that you’re going to see them on the platform signs.

These are the kind of details that I expect Apple to care about. Don’t be fooled though, the new Apple Maps is more that just some visual design tweaks and eye candy, there’s some serious rebuilding going on under the hood. This whole piece is a fascinating look into the project that’s going to see Apple attempt to build a whole stack Mapping solution that’ll rival Google’s.


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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: CB Taurean Nixon needs to grab the bull by the horns

Taken by the Denver Broncos with the 251st overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, Los Angeles Rams CB Taurean Nixon didn’t initially win a spot on Denver’s active roster. He landed on the Broncos’ practice squad but was promoted to the active roster prior the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots in January of 2016 but didn’t see any snaps for Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips’ No-Fly Zone with CB Aqib Talib . While still a part of the roster for the Super Bowl 50 win over the Carolina Panthers, Nixon was one of the inactives for the game.

Bouncing around the roster and practice squad for 2016 before being waived in the summer of 2017, he played in two games and was credited with a single tackle.

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Turning Apple Reminders Into a True Task Manager

Bradley Chambers writing for 9to5Mac:

Overall, Reminders is a solid application. It works great on iOS, macOS, and on Apple Watch. With some additional features, it can be one of the best task managers for Apple users.

It’s been so long that at this point trying to get Apple to improve reminders to the point of usability for all but the basic tasks seems like trying to make “fetch” happen.

Donald Trump: Eagles Uninvited to White House over Disagreement on Anthem Policy

Joseph Zucker writing for Bleacher Report:

President Donald Trump rescinded an invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles to commemorate their Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots at the White House on Tuesday.

I’m sure the Eagles are heart broken.

Sony Removed Spider-Man Spinoff Silver & Black From Its Schedule

Andrew Liptak reporting for The Verge:

Word broke last year that Sony was developing the superhero spinoff based on the Spider-Man-adjacent characters Black Cat and Silver Sable, and Sony announced that the film would hit theaters in February 2019, just months after its other Spider-Man spinoff film, Venom, would hit theaters. Now, Deadline reports that the film is off the schedule completely, and is headed back into development.

This is for the best. Sony should ditch the “Spider-Man-adjacent” idea. They should sign a contract for all these “Spider-Man-adjacent” with Marvel and just cash in on the royalty checks every time Marvel brings out the money printer with new Spider-Man MCU movies.


Joining the Team at The Turf Show Times

I’m excited to announce that as of Tuesday of last week, I’m officially a contributor to Turf Show Times. I’m looking forward to adding my skills to that already talented group. Hopefully, I can put out some sweet, sweet content the rest of LA Rams community will be excited to read.

Horns Up!


N.F.L.ʼs Alternate ʻCheerleadersʼ Donʼt Cheer or Dance

Juliet Macur reporting for The New York Times:

Several N.F.L. teams determined cheerleading programs had a scarcity problem on game days. If cheerleaders were on the sideline dancing, none were available to serve as scantily clad hostesses who could mingle with fans high up in the cheap seats or in the luxury suites, where teams catered to big-money customers.

I don’t see this going well.

In interviews with a dozen women who have worked for N.F.L. teams as noncheering cheerleaders and six others who had direct knowledge of the noncheering squads, they described minimum-wage jobs in which harassment and groping were common, particularly because the women were required to be on the front lines of partying fans.

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

One of the worst parts of the day was the morning inspection.

Dennis Greene was head of business operations for the Redskins from 2007 until recently. He was ultimately in charge of the ambassador program, and his job was to sell suites and keep the suiteholders happy. He would have the ambassadors line up so he could examine them and choose two to accompany him to suites during the game.

“He would look each of us up and down and say, I want that one and that one, and everyone hates when you got selected for that,” a former ambassador said of the lineups that occurred just a few years ago. “It was humiliating, like we were cattle.”

This is disgusting, but this is only the latest in a few reports of harassment and abuse against cheerleaders in the NFL. It’s time for the NFL to scrap the cheerleader program which is designed to treat women as nothing more than sexual objects for its predominantly male audience. Will they do it? Probably not, because, you know, kneeling during the national anthem is a bigger issue than making sure women are treated with basic human decency. The NFL has their priorities in order for sure.

Halide: One Year Later

Ben Sandofsky writing at the official Halide blog:

We set out to build Halide after trying every major camera app and being left unsatisfied. We wanted an app for thoughtful, deliberate photography, not selfies. We wanted a tactile experience that felt like a high-end physical camera. We wanted the professional tools you’d end on a DSLR.

We hoped others shared our experience. We hoped critics understood what we were going for, and would forgive a few missing features. We hoped the app economy wasn’t dead, and you could still make a few bucks. […]

One year later we can say Halide has exceeded our wildest expectations.

Halide is my camera app of choice. I know it’s built with professionals in mind, and there is definitely a lot of power packed into it, but even if you want a little more control than what the native app gives you, you could use automatic settings for what you don’t want to fiddle with. I’ve been blown away by how good it is and how much I’ve been able to learn by experimenting with different settings. Happy first year to Halide, and I hope it’s around for many more.

Border Patrol Agent Detains American Citizens After He Heard Them Speaking Spanish

Amy B. Wang, reporting for The Washington Post:

Suda said she felt uncomfortable and began recording the encounter with her cellphone after they had moved into the parking lot. In the video Suda recorded, she asks the agent why he is detaining them, and he says it is specifically because he heard them speaking Spanish.

Suda, 37, was born in El Paso and raised across the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, but has spent much of her adult life moving around the United States with her husband and young daughter. Hernandez is originally from central California, Suda said.

Despite explaining this to the agent and showing him their IDs, Suda said, he kept them in the parking lot for 35 to 40 minutes.

I honestly can’t tell you if the uptick in these types of incidents, like those involving black men and the police, or the recent slew of school shootings, is an actual increase in the raw number, or if the increased attention to them due to our current political climate is causing them to be reported on more often. But either way, this is reprehensible. The ACLU has already issued a statement on this incident, and I wholeheartedly agree, speaking Spanish, or any language that is not English should NOT be grounds for suspicion.

Teen Phone Monitoring App Leaked Thousands of User Passwords

Zack Whittaker, reporting for ZDNet:

The mobile app, TeenSafe, bills itself as a “secure” monitoring app for iOS and Android, which lets parents view their child’s text messages and location, monitor who they’re calling and when, access their web browsing history, and find out which apps they have installed.[…]

But the Los Angeles, Calif.-based company left its servers, hosted on Amazon’s cloud, unprotected and accessible by anyone without a password. […]

The database stores the parent’s email address associated with TeenSafe, as well as their corresponding child’s Apple ID email address. It also includes the child’s device name — which is often just their name — and their device’s unique identifier. The data contains the plaintext passwords for the child’s Apple ID. Because the app requires that two-factor authentication is turned off, a malicious actor viewing this data only needs to use the credentials to break into the child’s account to access their personal content data.

As was noted by John Gruber over at Daring Fireball, it seems like the app extracts it’s data from a device’s iCloud backups, which is why they require two-factor authentication turned off. Setting aside the discussion about whether an application / service like this is actually useful / necessary, if a company is going to ask you to trust them with your child’s personal information, I would hope they’d do better than storing the information in plaintext on a server without a password.