The Escher abstraction of the world is NOT Turing-compatible: From the point-of-view of an Escher program, there is no input and output: There are only emergences and disappearances of events.
Escher presents the world in a model called Choiceless Computation, introduced by the legendary Mathematicians Andreas Blass, Yuri Gurevich and Saharon Shelah, and introduced to me by the dare-to-be-great, soon-to-be-legendary, although-already-should-be Benjamin Rossman.
So painfully Berkeley it hurts. Right down to the autism-obsessed pseudoscience!
“Baroetta and Chang are also hoping to cater to the parents of children with autism, as eating a clean diet is believed to help certain symptoms.”
Bobby Chang, Yrmis Barroeta and Karl Nielsen, who are behind Mission: Heirloom Garden Cafe, which is slated to open in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto this fall. Photo courtesy of Mission: Heirloom
About five years ago, Yrmis Barroeta learned she had two auto-immune disorders. Her husband, Bobby Chang, was having some digestive issues. Meanwhile, his daughter’s energy would often crash before lunch.
“It’s not that we were sick, but we were not functioning right,” said Barroeta. “A friend of ours told us we have to read Robb Wolfe’s ‘The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet,’ and that opened up a whole world of exploration for us.”
It was no small thing, given that Chang is of Taiwanese descent and, to him, giving up rice was unthinkable. Growing up in Venezuela, Barroeta had long ago learned she was allergic to legumes. Yet, within two weeks of eating the Paleo way, in which grains, gluten and soy are avoided, they were feeling better.
That world of exploration led the two former design-world refugees — they both realized they wanted to do something more meaningful with their lives — to launch Mission: Heirloom Garden Café, a business they hope will become a new fixture in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto when it opens in September. The name implies that it’s something worth passing down to future generations. And, while you are welcome to consider it a Paleo eatery, Barroeta says it’s much more than that.(...)
Who says extremist religious sects can't adopt to modernity?
It's actually not technically a niqab (which covers the whole face) because the theological reasoning is different. But, according to the Associated Press, the ISIS rulers of northern Iraqi city of Mosul have ordered shop owners in the city to cover the faces of the mannequins in their showrooms.
Rather than meant to protect female modesty the coverings are apparently an effort to enforce strict interpretations of Sharia law that forbid statues or other representations of the human form.
If you’ve ever tried any of the various vegan cheese substitutes, they are (to put it kindly) awful. The missing ingredient in these products is the milk proteins, or caseins. And of course you can’t use real milk proteins in a vegan product.
But proteins are just organic compounds that are produced, in abundance, by any living cell. And synthetic biology is about engineering cell DNA to produce whatever proteins we want. That’s the central idea behind the Real Vegan Cheese project: can we design yeast to produce the caseins we need for cheese, without involving any animals? There’s no reason we can’t. Once we have the milk proteins, we can use traditional processes to make the cheese. No cows (or sheep, or goats) involved, just genetically modified yeast. And you never eat the yeast; they stay behind at the brewery.
Once we can make cheese, we can go further: is it possible to engineer the proteins to remove allergens? Can we go a step further to truly exotic cheeses? The Real Vegan Cheese project quickly reached its $15,000 funding goal on Indiegogo. The stretch goal (a not-too-ambitious $20,000) is to produce narwhal cheese by synthesizing narwhal milk proteins. No narwhals involved.
Real vegan narwhal cheese? Well, I’m sure synthetic biology can get weirder — but this is a great start. I’m looking forward to tasting some.
The Summer 2014 edition of BioCoder is now available for free download.
Pollet, Gilbert [u.a.]: Indian Toponyms in Ancient Greek and Latin Texts / by G. Pollet & G. van Damme. (Map ed.: F. Depuydt). - Leuven [u.a.] : Peeters, 2014. - XIV, 85 S. : zahlr. Kt. - (Corpus topographicum Indiae antiquae ; 3) (Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta : OLA ; 228)
I am sure that being Google, all their æsthetic decisions about particular details of the font will be driven entirely by whether or not they stimulate more clicks on ads in A/B testing.
“Typography is kind of the skeleton. It’s the unsung hero,” Matias Duarte, Google’s vice president of design, said in an interview this week. "We’re trying to give people one logical, consistent system.”
NFL Sunday Ticket, a popular sports package provided by DirecTV, will be offered as a standalone subscription for the first time in 2014, letting users who do not subscribe to DirecTV service access NFL Sunday Ticket games on their Macs and iOS devices.
Though no announcement has been made, a promotional page noticed by AppleInsider details DirecTV's new standalone plan, which provides full NFL Sunday Ticket access starting at $199.99.
Introducing NFLSUNDAYTICKET.TV. NFL football for all.
Now you can access live, out-of-market NFL games without a DIRECTV satellite TV account--no matter what team you follow! NFLSUNDAYTICKET.TV lets you stream games on your computer, tablet, phone, or game console. All while keeping up with real-time player stats and your fantasy teams.
NFL Sunday Ticket has long been accessible on iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, but in prior years, it has required a monthly subscription to DirecTV's satellite cable service and a satellite dish. Now users can get access on a variety of devices with three separate plans.
The lowest tier plan, available for $199.99, allows NFL Sunday Ticket access on computers, tablets, and phones, while a $239.99 console plan allows access on console devices.
MAX, the highest tier priced at $329.99, offers access on computers, tablets, phones, and consoles, plus access to Red Zone Channel, which shows every touchdown from every game, and access to DirecTV Fantasy Zone, offering live looks at fantasy plays. All three plans also offer real-time stats and scores along with the ability to track favorite players. Standard NFL Sunday Ticket plans for DirecTV subscribers begin at $240, going up to $324 for a MAX subscription.
The website does not mention Apple TV access, but a 2010 rumor pointed towards an NFL Sunday Ticket channel on the device, which could come to fruition this year following the announcement of the standalone subscriptions.
While DirecTV previously offered a streaming package for subscribers unable to get reliable DirecTV service and tested a console-based subscription plan last year, the new NFL Sunday Ticket standalone offerings expand the service to a much wider range of cord cutters who still want access to live sports.
The changes to NFL Sunday Ticket come following DirecTV's pending acquisition by AT&T, which is awaiting regulatory approval. DirecTV is also set to renegotiate its NFL contract later this year.
Update 1:45 PM PT: As noted by Engadget, an FAQ on the DirecTV site indicates that the NFL Sunday Ticket subscription free plan may be limited to customers in "select areas, residence types, and enrolled in select universities." Users must enter their address information on the DirecTV site to find out if they are eligible.
The most cogent analysis of the Scopes trial you’ll ever read.
The other day I met the head of the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who told me about a talk they'd hosted, a biologist skewering creationism in comic fashion. I admire AU, but I told her I don't find the secular response to creationism very interesting. It misses what's usually at stake -- class -- and ignores the real history of the famous 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial." What did I think that history was, she asked. As it happened, I'd written about it briefly for my 2008 book The Family, but I ended up cutting it. I always meant to come back to it.
The oft-told tale of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” trial, the creation myth of 20th century fundamentalism, is usually taken as the last stand of a know-nothing faith from a vanished America. It’s true that a few old Bible thumpers retreated to their prayer closets never to re-emerge, that the death knell of prohibition was rung eight years before the fact when the judge in Dayton, Tennessee banged his gavel on the close of this case of antique epistemology, that the charms of mass media would thereafter seduce nearly every American, fundamentalists included. But these were not fatal wounds for fundamentalism. The faith healed quickly and grew stronger after Scopes, remaking itself not along the old lines of moral propriety but those of a social movement, a cultural wave, the third Great Awakening of America—a revival so vast and enduring that we are living in it still. That secular America did not see it at the time—that secularism cannot see it now—has much to with the post-Scopes split of American fundamentalism into two, parallel movements, one quiet and elite, the other popular and steadily increasing in volume with the decades.
In 1925, the newly-formed American Civil Liberties Union, seeking a test case with which to overthrow Tennessee’s anti-evolution law before it spread to other states, persuaded a small town school teacher named John Scopes—a robust “parlor socialist” who took the cause on for a lark as much as for politics—to break the law by teaching evolution. The stage was set, and on it strutted two of the greatest public speakers of the times. For the prosecution, William Jennings Bryan, a bow-tied balloon of a man with the lungs of a whale and a monkish fringe of grey hair on his giant black-browed dome. For the defense, Clarence Darrow, a stony-faced courtroom killer with a wit so quick he had talked his way into the national life of the country with the kind of radical views that got less-glib men sent to jail for “subversion.”
The tiny courthouse of Dayton, Tennessee could hardly hold all the locals who crowded in for the fight, much less the massive clot of reporters eager to file dispatches from the battle between “science” and “religion.” So the court borrowed a get-up used by traveling revivalists and convened on the most crowded days out on the front lawn, beneath a blister-hot Tennessee sun that set the big man Bryan to sweating as lean Clarence Darrow danced around him.
But neither Darrow nor Bryan was as nimble as the famously acid H.L. Mencken, writing for The Baltimore Evening Sun. Mencken, who called Tennesseans “yokels” and much of the rest of the American public “boobs,” and who had five years previous defined Puritanism—by which he meant Christianity in general—as the “haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy,” hardly represented conventional wisdom. But his commentaries on backwoods behavior were so funny and ferocious that they tended to set the tone for reporters of lesser abilities. “Poor half wits,” he called Dayton’s local Christians. That was Mencken being sweet. Of a holiness camp meeting, he wrote that it achieved
such heights of barbaric grotesquerie that it was hard to believe it real…. The leader kneeled, facing us, his head alternately thrown back dramatically or buried in his hands. Words spouted from his lips like bullets from a machine gun…. Suddenly he rose to his feet, threw back his head and began to speak in tongues—blub-blub-blub, gurgle-gurgle-gurgle. His voice rose to a higher register. The climax was a shrill, inarticulate squawk, like that of a man throttled.[i]
A “squawk”—that was the sound of fundamentalism to secular America, and Mencken’s rendition of it, slightly diluted, was the only story that came out of Dayton, the last gurgle-gurgle of a religion no longer relevant to a nation enraptured by the “New Nakedness,” the Jazz Age fashions of that year. Summoned to the stand as an expert witness on the Bible, Bryan, decades past the heyday of his oratorical powers, could give no better account of his faith than could Mencken’s preacher speaking in tongues. It was Darrow who shot words like bullets. Instead of asking Bryan about evolution, he demanded that the old man explain the literal truth of the Book of Joshua, in which God is reported to have made the sun stand still.
Bryan had no good answers, and the questions kept coming. Darrow was killing the old man. Bryan’s ideas were old, his mind was slow, his words lacked strength. By the end of Darrow’s attack even Bryan’s supporters guffawed at him. Five days later, Bryan died in his sleep. “Well,” Mencken remarked on hearing the news, “we killed the old son-of-a-bitch.”
The Scopes Trial was the moment at which reason put old-timey religion in its grave—or so goes the official story. That myth has been burnished for decades, in the press of 1925 and in movies and plays and novels and even now, in the pages of thoughtful magazines that reprise the wholly fictional 1955 drama Inherit the Wind as if it was history. A myth’s power lies not in its details but in its meaning, and the essence of this story was so immediately plain that even fundamentalists conceded its central claim: Something had indeed been lost in Dayton, even as their champion, Bryan won the trial (a detail often forgotten).
Maybe it was Bryan himself who had been lost. Victorious judgment in hand, he stood alone in the minutes after the gavel sounded, as the crowd—his crowd, rural folk, believers—flocked around Darrow. Bryan had won the trial but Darrow had won the war, tricked Bryan into stumbling over his own doctrine, into revealing his faith for what it was: the confused ranting of an old fool, his once-beautiful trombone of a voice honking and sputtering, unable to answer simple questions.
Then he died. Silly supernaturalism breathing its last, announced the press, pleased with the tidy ending. But Bryan’s death didn’t mean the end of fundamentalism. It was Bryan’s faith that expired. “The Great Commoner,” the man who as the Democratic nominee for president in 1896 ran the most radical major party campaign in history, declaring miners and farmers and factory workers the real “business men” of America and decrying capitalism’s “cross of gold” on which, he roared, honest laborers were crucified: Bryan was the last champion of fundamentalism’s now-forgotten justice tradition. He hated evolution not because he feared science but because he feared its applications; particularly its political ones. The high school textbook that provoked the trial, George William Hunter’s Civic Biology, taught eugenics as evolution’s logical extension and offered a cure for criminality, mental retardation, and even epilepsy: “If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading.”[ii] Bryan saw in such prescriptions not a foreshadowing of Hitler—who could have known?—but a cheapening of life. In our times fundamentalists restrict the term “life” to fetal concerns, but to Bryan life meant the right to earn a living, and “a living” was not simply a wage and a store to spend it in but an equal standing before God and mammon for both the weak and the strong.
The second half of that ambition faded from fundamentalism after 1925. The movement split in two, one visible and seemingly weak, the other invisible and strong. One fundamentalism—the movement of the masses, the revivalists, the “yokels”—retreated, backed up into the hills, and in the safety of its own enclaves began rebuilding. The other fundamentalism—the key men, the educated men, the rich men—stepped over Bryan’s body and moved on, quietly, free of his concerns. The Monkey Trial was like a rock in the river, the point at which the movement divided. The elite tradition and the populist tradition went off on different courses. Both flowed rightwards.
[i] H.L. Mencken, “Mencken Likens Trial a Religious Orgy, With Defendant a Beelzebub,” The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 11, 1925.
[ii] Quoted in Larson, Edward L. Summer of the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 27. Larson’s book is the most accessible and thorough account of the trial. A more nuanced and provocative reading of Scopes, however, is found in anthropologist Susan Friend Harding’s examination of the narrative strategies at work around the trial in The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics (Princeton University Press, 2001), a brilliant and lively study of how fundamentalism constructs meaning. Extensive selections from the trial transcripts and the press coverage of the period are also available online, allowing almost anyone to interpret the case to their own satisfaction – an outcome of which I imagine Bryan would approve.
“It’s late. You’re hungry. I will be brief.” – President Obama, joking at the start of his remarks at the annual iftar, a meal marking the breaking of the daily fast during the Muslim month of Ramadan, at the White House on Monday.
In SoMa. How long before this façade is just completely wrecked by graffiti?
The facade is a mural by artist Ian Ross.
When it comes to creating bars, Dennis Leary and Eric Passetti prefer to keep things simple. The idea that a bar should just be a bar — a fun, simple place to socialize and drink — is the the formula they followed with House of Shields, as well as follow-ups Trocadero Club in the Tendernob and Cafe Terminus in the Financial District.
And this week, their latest effort will open: Natoma Cabana.
As reported earlier, Natoma Cabana takes the place of the old John Colins space, a century-old building right next to the forthcoming Transbay Terminal … and a ton of other new construction developments. Originally a blacksmith shop upon construction in 1912, the site features beautiful brick walls and wood beams in the towering ceilings.
Leary and Passetti have redone much of the interior, putting in new skylights, new bathrooms and a new bar — basically all new finishes. The interior is decked out in ferns and a vague southern latitude theme. The cocktail list follows the same tack, with specialty drinks like a Whiskey Vic, Antidote (rye, mezcal, honey, ginger) and Natoma Punch (bourbon, orange juice, lemon). But it’s decidedly not a cocktail place; it’s a bar.
“We want it to be a party,” says Leary.
The most striking design aspect is on the facade, where local artist Ian Ross created a huge mural. Ross, who went to kindergarten with Passetti, was originally going to just create a strip of art on the bar’s exterior, centered around the bar’s outdoor theme. But he liked the design so much, he did the whole side of the building.
Natoma Cabana is slated to open to the public on Thursday. Hours will be 2pm to 2am; closed Sundays.
Natoma Cabana: 90 Natoma Street, near Second Street, San Francisco. (415) 952-0481 or natomacabana.com
· Previously: Next up for Dennis Leary and Eric Passetti: Natoma Cabana [Inside Scoop]
DK Note: With Arif's excellent breakdown on Seahawks free agent signee Kevin Williams from yesterday, it reminded me that he put together a similarly detailed and in-depth breakdown on the acquisition of Percy Harvin last March. This post is obviously a little outdated at this point, but since we saw so very little of Harvin last season -- he played exactly 19 snaps all year -- it's still applicable in that we may still have little idea what to expect from the explosive playmaker.
Here's Arif, on Harvin, which was originally published on March 18th, 2013.
Hello, Field Gulls! My name is Arif Hasan, and I'm a contributor over at the Daily Norseman; I'm one of the many fans over there with mixed feelings about the departure of our #12, who became your #11 after learning that the jersey assigned to #12 was unattainable.
I've been tracking the Vikings' offensive (and defensive) playcalling over the course of the season, and thought it would be helpful to copy the most relevant notes to give you the Xs and Os on how Bill Musgrave employed Percy Harvin. If this is successful, I'll see if I can dig up some of the more relevant Darrell Bevell game film and let you know how your offensive coordinator handled a playmaker like Harvin.
We'll start with the Jacksonville game. I'll avoid the use of block quotes to make it easier to read. Just know these are copied from much larger posts and may be missing context. I'll also add some of my own notes and X's and O's to further illustrate the point.
Week 1: Jacksonville vs. Minnesota
The 11 package is interesting, because the Vikings have done a lot with it. On four or five instances (not exclusively on third down), the Vikings formation was a "full house" formation, also called an inverted wishbone:
We had Percy Harvin line up as the deep back all but once, if my notes are correct (Adrian Peterson was the other one), and had Felton as one of the fullbacks with Rudolph as the other. The run/pass split was only a little run biased, with Harvin running routes out of the backfield on the pass plays.
Harvin was the best offensive playmaker on the field for either team. He was playing outside the numbers, in the slot, as a returner and in the backfield, running nearly every route and acting as an effective rush option. He showcased excellent block reading ability on his screens, and displayed surprising strength on some of his plays, pushing players much heavier than him in order to gain extra yards.
The young utility receiver did a good job finding space and running precise routes despite the lack of landmarks. He was a reliable option and didn't drop a single pass. His run blocking could have been better.
The primary philosophical switch from the wishbone to its inverted variant is sacrificing options for versatility. This sacrifice is not nearly so large with running fullbacks, something the Vikings might want to employ slightly more regularly.
But what it loses in deception as a result of sacrificing some option plays, it gains in creating confusion—the defense cannot cheat to one side or the other, even with a tight end on the field to signal which side is the "strong side" given that excessive defensive adjustment will give the offense a big numbers advantage in blocking.
Here, the offense has forced the strong safety into the box and has walled off every defender except the free safety in the backfield. The FS is frozen because it doesn't know whether or not to follow the decoy lead fullback (who takes on the strong safety) or the actual lead fullback (taking on the middle linebacker):
And of course, there are plays that emulate the veer and other options. One great advantage to this formation is how often one can pass out of it because of how it stacks the box. While the Maryland I clogs things up and complicates routes, the inverted wishbone is spaced out enough to flood zones and set receivers free:
The tight end and halfback are flooding the flats while they and the strong-side fullback are hoping to force the free safety to stay home. The split end is running up the field, either dragging a corner (if so, the weak-side fullback is free to catch on the wheel route) or challenging a deep safety—which is likely a strong safety that has to turn around and play catch up as a result of entering the box.
The strong-side fullback will enter the seam both to challenge the free safety (and prevent him from dealing with the split end) and to draw a linebacker. At the break, the fullback comes back in order to create a checkdown for the quarterback.
Both the wishbone and inverted wishbone also have the opportunity to create interesting zone runs, with one fullback cleaning up the back side of the play on the edge and the other one leading or motioning a fullback to stand pat behind a guard to create two lead blockers.
And of course, you can run the bastardized veer (so-bastardized because the quarterback isn't running) I drew up above:
The pitch will be to the trailing fullback if the read of the defensive tackle leads to crashing down on the halfback. The quarterback will be dropping back to meet the halfback in order to give him time to pull back and pitch should the defensive tackle target him. More often than not, the halfback will have an advantage, especially because it will be Adrian Peterson.
The point here is that the Vikings used their All-Pro running back as a means to set up their other playmaker, and Seattle can do the same. With Russell Wilson and Sidney Rice, they have a number of other options as well, including a full triple option from the inverted wishbone:
This is of course an extremely risky triple option that requires that Wilson read the weak-side defensive end, followed by the strong-side defensive end. In the Florida triple option, the pitch man was often Aaron Hernandez with the halfback being Percy Harvin. In this case, Harvin should probably be the halfback while Lynch fills in as the pitch man—I doubt the defense would be fooled with Percy Harvin lining up as a fullback in the formation.
Alternatively, Zach Miller could be the pitch man, lined up as a fullback, with Harvin back deep, simply to spell Lynch. Naturally, Michael Robinson would be the other fullback. The fantastic thing about this play is that, coming out, it's a "12" set that doesn't seem all that set for running (although I suppose Robinson is somewhat of an alert), but Harvin and Miller can motion in to their respective spots pre-snap before running the play.
Of course, it's not Madden. This particular play would only work once every month or so, unless you want Russell Wilson to die. Still, getting five blockers to the second level is worth something. There's a natural level of deception that comes with a late-reacting halfback who initially looks to run between the center and strong-side guard before splitting out. Even more so with a set of options.
The inverted wishbone/"full house" is a great formation because, if you have good route-runners out of the backfield, you've got dozens of passing options as well.
The point is that Harvin creates endless opportunities for deception, and can provide those opportunities to move defenses. His versatility allows you not just to create one-on-one matchups, but to create schematic matchups—a defense in a nickel personnel package might find itself in the wrong package as a result of a pre-snap shift.
For an example of that, we can look to how the Vikings took on the Detroit Lions in Week 4.
Week 4: Minnesota vs. Detroit
We'll start with a play drawn up like this:
There were, of course, some controversial calls by Musgrave, and I won't defend most of them. I will, however, defend the direct snap to Percy Harvin. Take a look at the gif of the play:
Seems dumb, right? Perhaps. But if so, Detroit was even stupider. It's more important to take a look at the stills to see why it could have been effective and what happened on the play.
At the snap, Detroit is in a nickel formation. This is because the Vikings were running a no huddle after entering the first "02" personnel package of the season, with two tight ends and three wide receivers. An "obvious" pass tell, the Vikings had run it for two consecutive plays before this, the first of which was successful.
Detroit's pass defense is on the field, and they're not entirely sure what to do when the see the formation.
More importantly, Detroit (as a result of the no huddle) is playing their base nickel defense. They have one safety in the box, with every corner in off man coverage. One of the corners is eight yards off the line of scrimmage, covering Rudolph (a known red zone threat). The Vikings have never shown this personnel package before, and have also consequently never shown this formation with the package.
The defense has a single-high safety and only seven men in the box.
Here, the Vikings have clearly signaled a run, as Fusco runs a trap to take out Hill and Sullivan neutralizes Suh. This takes advantage of Hill's overpursuit, who is removed from the play. Cliff Avril is intentionally left unblocked for a few reasons: 1) he's the backside end on a play running left 2) he will have to freeze in order to read the play, even if it seems obvious that a run up the middle is coming (his assignment will task him to attack Ponder on the first step, anyway) 3) blocking Justin Durant on the play is much more important, as he'll have more space and time to make the play. Loadholt shoots out to do so. Avril, as expected, is frozen.
Johnson and Kalil have made a lane. Tulloch is tackling Harvin. Later, Devin Aromashodu blocks Dwight Bentley (also known as "Bill" Bentley) out of the play, Kalil pushes around Erik Coleman and the only player left unassigned is new safety Ricardo Silva, who had signed to the team just that day from the practice squad. I am 100 percent confident that if Loadholt held his block, Harvin would have had a touchdown. From this look, play and formation, I would expect a touchdown the majority of the time.
The announcers kept saying that Detroit was clued into the fact that there's not much the Vikings could do with a direct snap to Harvin, and I thought the same. Not so. Had they been a bit more aware, Vanden Bosch and Avril would both play contain (instead of just Avril), while Hill would have tried to maintain his gap assignment instead of pursue. There would have been a zone or corners playing press man instead of off and eight men in the box as well. Seeing none of this, the play went forward as planned.
Plays like this are often packaged with an easy "kill" call if the Vikings see Detroit selling out for the run. Likely, Ponder would have audibled to a passing play while Harvin ran a route out of the backfield, while Sullivan snapped at an angle. Gimmicky, but not as awful as I initially thought. Detroit lined itself up to get beat on that play. I've talked to a couple of people who break down plays, including the person at Pro Football Focus who broke this game down, and they all seem to agree that the play was much less ill-conceived than we may have initially thought. "Blazer," this was not.
Incidentally, he was much better in this game at run blocking, something you in Seattle might value. Here, the point is that Harvin is not only willing and able to execute any number of roles, but that he'll do it with abandon. This play would have likely been a gamechanger had one player held up his block, despite all of the complex blocking endemic to the play.
Of course, you may be concerned about Harvin running up the middle. That makes sense, given his injury history. How about putting Harvin in space away from the boundary? The Vikings loved that, and I think Bevell will do that too. In the Vikings' surprising victory over San Francisco, we saw that.
Week 2: Minnesota vs. San Francisco
It's a simple swing pass to Harvin, several yards behind the line of scrimmage, and it gets the job done. It starts with play-action to suck the linebackers in, with receivers running routes to clear out coverage.
I'll keep beating my Bill Musgrave drum. His playcalling has been superb through three games, and much of it has to do with an evolving gameplan. Musgrave and the other coordinators have not only adapted their gameplans to the weapons they have on the field, they have changed it according to current opponent and a season-long evolution. To demonstrate that concept, I'll do a short diagram of a play below, which is simply a swing pass to Percy Harvin.
First, I'll start with the play that helped set it up: a play action end around intended for Percy Harvin. The end around is a fairly common play for the Vikings, who used it quite well in 2011 for a few big gains, and deployed it at least once in 2012. Below are two snapshots of the Vikings deploying the end around against the Chiefs in Week 4 of the 2011 season.
Donovan McNabb is currently at the mesh point with Peterson and selling the run as Harvin runs behind the handoff for the play. McNabb then pitches it to Harvin who will attempt to outrun the player circled in red below.
The circling is there to indicate that in this game against a 3-4 system, the plan was to leave outside linebacker Tamba Hali unblocked in order to sell the run up the gut. That is, the left tackle would crash down to the defensive end so that the guard could move up and make a second level block. Hali actually does a great job not biting on the play action and waiting for the play to develop. Still, he can't prevent Harvin from breaking an 8-yard gain.
One of the keys to the play is that it starts on one hash mark, and Percy Harvin runs to the far hashes—a play design that gives Harvin room.
At this point, Hali is the only Chiefs player free and close enough to Harvin to make a play. Inside linebackers Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher are too far away from the play to make a difference.
The Vikings run a slightly different play against the 49ers. They block Aldon Smith to sell the pass off the play action (and keep him occupied), which might alert the 49ers to expect the pass and back the inside linebackers up. At this point, it looks like the Vikings have left two runners dead in the water and out of the play (until AP is presumably open later as the play action develops).
The play once again starts with Harvin lined up on the near hashes and pulling back and out as if reversing.
Carlos Rogers is trying to follow Harvin, but will naturally lag behind as he's attempting to read the play as well. Inside linebackers Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis are grouped pretty closely to the near hash, giving Harvin space as he moves to the open side of the field. This play is more effective against man coverage—something the 49ers do a lot—than against zone coverage. This is for no other reason than the fact that there would be a defender patrolling the flat or curl/hook zone that Ponder enters to begin his run.
As Ponder hitches forward, Bowman crashes upfield, then back into coverage while Willis stays still. Both of those decisions take them out of the play. It no longer looks like there will be a runner, because Ponder has turned away from Harvin. This keys Willis, who opened his hips in order to stop a reverse or end around, to stay inside. Tarrell Brown is also wary of a run by Harvin, but releases to cover Jenkins as Ponder turns away from Peterson and Harvin.
On this play, Harvin received the pass 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, but there were no defenders near him.
It's only because Willis has excellent reaction time and good speed that he ends up making a tackle at all, but by then, Harvin already moved the chains for a first down.
There are a few reasons this play exemplifies what I've enjoyed from the playcalling group at the Vikings. The first is that it is a natural evolution of the plays that the Vikings are known to run, particularly the devastating reverses and end arounds that Harvin ran much of last year and a little bit this year. It takes advantage of a well-known tendency, and tweaks it enough so that anyone taking advantage of the tendency will get exploited (because movement will shift coverage enough for the quarterback to move to another receiver, probably the running back).
The second reason I liked the play design is because it also took advantage of the defense's scheme, which includes largely man coverage. This means that there is empty space on the swing pass given Rogers' natural lag on finding Harvin. Harvin knows where he's going to be, doesn't have to make any reads and runs at a good speed, all luxuries Rogers doesn't have. It looks like Harvin's taken out of the play at that point, because Ponder turns downfield.
Finally, the play was entirely consistent with the gameplan Minnesota was gunning for, which was designed to limit turnovers and find creative ways to put playmakers in space. This was also part of a strategy that combined a very heavy running load with play action passes designed to freeze the defense.
Seattle ran a very run-heavy offense (the heaviest run balance in the league at 55 percent), but didn't have the same capabilities they now have with Harvin. Getting a shifty back outside without any defenders near him is an offensive coordinator's dream.
Even when Adrian Peterson is on the field (and likely the same for Marshawn Lynch), defenses always had to keep track of Harvin. In fact, he's been used as a decoy often enough to open up the game... for himself.
Take a look at how they did that against the Redskins
Week 6: Minnesota vs. Washington
My favorite play was a zone stretch play action, with a pass to Percy Harvin, who crossed behind the line of scrimmage to take advantage of the defenders working to prevent the run to the outside. Once again, the Vikings gave the ball to Harvin in space, using the extra space given by the outside hash marks. Opponents would do well to pay attention to runs aimed towards the near hash marks—they often result in a play action to the "backside" of the play.
For some reason, these GIFs won't play on my computer unless I click on them. Enjoy.
Here the Vikings fake a sweep by motioning Harvin into a slotback role, then play action off of a zone stretch outside run for Peterson and Felton. The playside OLB crashes down on Peterson and misses Harvin getting open, who has no one covering him. The motion clogged the defense, the fake sweep took the defensive linemen out of their assignment, and the play action moved all the defensive playmakers. Harvin gets into space.
Obviously Harvin is multitalented. You've probably seen his highlight reel by now, which should include the following plays:
Specifically, a scouting report on Harvin would include the fact that he has some of the best short-area quickness in the NFL, extraordinary vision, both of the field and the ball in the air, patience to set up blocks, excellent hip wiggle, an ability to sink hips when necessary (in route and while in pursuit), very precise footwork in routes, efficient movement at the stem, the ability to set up defensive backs (he doesn't give his routes away with a shoulder lean, a look or his hips), burst in and out of cuts and surprising strength for his size.
With all of that comes the intuitive talent one needs to consistently beat defensive backs to the ball. Not only does he possess a wide variety of subtle moves in-route to create separation, he has a good nose for where to go where he needs to. Often asked to run unusual routes with the Vikings, Harvin would often run with precision despite being asked to play without traditional receiver landmarks; he would have to break before he reached seven yards (like in the route below):
The former Gator has a good sense of where the weaknesses of zones are and can sit in them if need be—a big part of the reason the Vikings were better against zone coverage than man coverage.
He has a number of weaknesses to his game as well. He will fight for the ball, but despite his strength won't win as often as he'll lose—without extending his arms completely, he limits his opportunities. He also has a somewhat smaller route tree than many top-tier receivers, although not by much. He needs more moves at the line of scrimmage on the release, although his strength and quickness serve him well.
His size limits his opportunities to be a jump-ball receiver, and despite the highlight above of catching a fade route, he can't really be asked to be the one who catches in the corner of the end zone. For some time, Musgrave (erroneously) kept him out of the red zone packages, and its true that he doesn't do as well in traffic as you would want. Despite a good vertical leap (37.5 inches), he just doesn't possess the capability to outmuscle and outleap defensive backs for the ball.
The bottom line is that there isn't a running back in the league who is better at running routes and playing the receiver, nor is there a receiver in the league who is better at running the ball. Not just an elite playmaker, Harvin is a unique talent. His talents don't just mean you have a running back and a receiver. The synergy of his talents creates rare opportunities that simply having a good running back or a good receiver don't provide.
This is a departure for Apple in a couple of ways—first, Xcode betas have heretofore been available to paying OS X or iOS developers only. The membership is just $99 a year, but it's still a paywall that has separated developers from the general public up until now. Along with the upcoming Yosemite public beta and the Beta Seed program, Apple is offering enthusiasts and developers access to more and more of its software before it's officially ready for public consumption.
Second, Apple engineers usually don't get to talk about what they're doing. Apple's official communication comes from its PR department, from various executives giving carefully controlled interviews, or from executives standing up on a stage in front of anyone who wants to stream it. The single post on the blog now doesn't go into detail about much of anything, really, but there's a chance the site could be a valuable source of information going forward.
49ers transformation from representing working-class of South San Francisco to representing the elites of Silicon Valley is now complete.
Inside the food options at the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium
Yesterday, the San Francisco 49ers unveiled much of the food and drink concession situation at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Two caveats: The stadium options discussed here are those from Centerplate, which is running the food program at the Levi’s Stadium. They have nothing to do with Michael Mina’s project within the stadium, Bourbon Steak & Pub, which is a separate entity. And, no one from the 49ers or Centerplate could/would speak to the pricing of any of the food and drink options, since those apparently won’t get decided until closer to the stadium’s grand opening next month. So that remains an unknown.
But here’s what is known about the food and drink concessions at Levi’s Stadium:
“We are going to be the most vegan-friendly stadium in the entire sports industry,” declares General Manager Zach Hensely.
In fact, there are even dedicated vegan dog stands serving Field Roast vegan franks, and 32 vegan menu options total, with at least one at every permanent food stand. You’re welcome, NFL fans.
Unlike some other newer stadiums around the country, Levi’s Stadium elected to handle all concessions themselves, and the vendors are branded simply by their offerings. Whereas New York stadium brought in outside vendors like Shack Shake or Parm, for example, the signs above the food shops at Levi’s Stadium — outfitted with postcard San Francisco scenes like cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, rather than Santa Clara County landmarks like the Winchester Mystery House — intuitively read “Franks” or “Tortas” or “Soft Serve” and so on.
There will be “core” gameday foods throughout the stadium, like franks, burgers, garlic fries and the like. Do note that they do not bill them as hot dogs; Centerplate made a concerted effort to note that they call them frankfurters. They’re nitrate-free, have a nice little snap, and are served on bready Le Boulanger buns; sundried ketchup and housemade mustard are on offer. Not hot dogs. Everyone got that?
“We think we’ve really got the most differentiated food and beverage plan in the NFL, if not all of sports,” San Francisco 49ers President Paraag Marathe, rattling off the diversity of options, the quality of ingredients and the emphasis on sourcing locally. [On that local front, 85 percent of products come from California, 78 percent within 150 miles of the stadium. "That is unheard of in our industry, " says Hensely.]
While burgers and hot dogs frankfurters will be available everywhere in the stadium, the rest of the football fare will be supplemented by fancier specialty foods like Indian curries, Asian steam buns, pizza, tortas, panini (Pistachio Muffuletta, Grilled Chicken & Brie, etc.) and barbecue, including a BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich. That’s a departure for stadiums as well; see photos of some of those specialty menu items in the gallery above.
Beer geeks: There’s a dedicated tap room bar area on the 50-yard line, offering up 42 varieties of beer, both domestic and international, and two wines on tap. It bears noting that Anheuser Busch is one of stadium’s partners, and just about all of Anheuser Busch’s 20 or so big-name beers are represented on the list. But there will also be a handful of local breweries represented, like Anchor, Speakeasy, 21st Amendment and Lost Coast, among others. Centerplate said that the smaller craft beers would be available around the stadium as well.
Some other numbers rattled off during the press preview:
180+ menu items total
800+ points of sale, all taking credit cards
33 permanent concession stands
13,500 pizza slices estimated to be sold on game day
5,000 burgers estimated to be sold on game day
7,000 frankfurters estimated to be sold on game day
12,000 garlic fries estimated to be sold on game day
1,000+ beer handles
27 miles of beer lines
What do you think, Niners fans? You digging the fancy stadium food? What are your thoughts on the vegan appeal?
Red Alert: Israel sends notifications about airstrikes and has partnered with Yo to "yo" subscribers, too.
An app that became infamous for its astounding lack of utility has found a purpose: warning Israeli citizens about rocket strikes. As reported by the Times of Israel (via Valleywag), Israelis have been using the app Yo to subscribe to alerts from Red Alert: Israel about incoming attacks during the Hamas-Israel conflict.
Yo was roundly mocked when it secured $1.2 million in funding and again when it was shown to have gaping security holes. It does almost nothing; tapping a contact's name within the app sends a push notification to that person's phone and makes it say "yo." That's... it.
Now Yo has partnered with Red Alert: Israel, an app that shows users "where the rockets fired at Israel by Gaza terrorists are aimed," according to the Times of Israel. Red Alert: Israel's app sounds an alarm during attacks, and it's meant to work as a backup for the sirens that sound to alert residents. Users who so choose can now receive a "yo" when rockets have been launched.
Yesterday, Trick Dog unveiled its latest menu format: The Tourist Menu.
Changing the cocktail menu at the Mission bar has become a ritual of sorts, with the Bon Vivants behind the bar doing a new one every six months. They started with the original Pantone version, then moved on to versions rotating around records and most recently, horoscopes.
Now, they take their cue from San Francisco tourist destinations, with a little help from artist Jack W. Schneider. That means drinks themed around the Cliff House, the Painted Ladies, Alcatraz, City Lights, the Fugazi Bank and more. Each location has corresponding original artwork, which is also available on postcards that you can mail from the bar; Trick Dog will even cover the postage.
The cocktail menu:
It runs until January 7.
Trick Dog: 3010 20th Street, near Florida, San Francisco; (415) 471-2999 or www.trickdogbar.com. Open daily.
A Pennsylvania man was arrested just blocks from the TPM headquarters yesterday morning with a note saying he wanted to "die in combat and want to go to heaven and meet god and a stash of knives, rifles, assault rifles, a shotgun, handguns and even a bottle rocket. He was driving the wrong way on 7th Avenue and his note also discussed his interest in cats.
[Unidentified soldier in Confederate uniform with shotgun sitting next to dog]
[United States] ; [between 1861 and 1865]
1 photograph : hand-colored ambrotype ; plate 82 x 70 mm (sixth plate format), case 95 x 81 mm.
Notes: Title devised by Library staff.
Case: Rinhart, no. 93.
Use digital images. Original served only by appointment because material requires special handling. For more information see: (www.loc.gov/rr/print/info/617_apptonly.html)
Deposit; Tom Liljenquist; 2013; (D067)
Purchased from: Cal Packard, Lexington, Ohio, 2013.
Forms part of: Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs (Library of Congress).
Forms part of: Ambrotype/Tintype photograph filing series (Library of Congress).
Subjects: Confederate States of America.--Army--People--1860-1870.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Military personnel--Confederate.
“Munoz started to say that Rad hadn’t done this solely because Wolfe was a woman. But I asked him if it wasn’t the case that Rad had shunted aside a good, if not excellent, female employee in favor of someone whose main qualification was being his “bro pal.” Munoz laughed. “I think that’s a fair interpretation of events,” he said.”
Nick Summers, writing for Businessweek on Whitney Wolfe’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Tinder:
This conduct would be abhorrent directed at anyone. What gives
these allegations even greater sting is Wolfe’s contention that
she was not just any employee but a Tinder co-founder — and was
stripped of the designation as a result of the treatment she
endured. This isn’t just adding insult to injury; it’s adding
injury to injury, since a co-founder of a hot startup can be
expected to attract better career opportunities than someone who
was a mere early employee.
Was Whitney Wolfe a co-founder of Tinder? I think the answer
exposes a different, quieter, but no less punishing form of the
sexism that is pervasive in the startup world.
None of the many men I spoke to had mentioned her name. In my
notes is a single reference to “Whitney” — from a preliminary
phone call with Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s PR rep, who described
her as one of five company co-founders. (Take note, Wolfe and IAC
The Denisovans, relatives of the Neanderthals who inhabited Asia before modern humans arrived, are known only from a scattering of small bones and a wealth of DNA data. So far, all of that originates from a single Siberian cave (called Denisova, naturally). Like the Neanderthals, the Denisovans interbred with those modern humans once they arrived. But the modern populations who have the most Denisovan DNA are far from Siberia, occupying southern Asia and some Pacific islands.
Now, a tiny fragment of Denisovan DNA has also been found in a group that's much closer to Siberia: the Tibetans. And all indications are that it helps them adapt to the extreme elevations of the Tibetan plateau.
Large parts of that plateau are 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) above sea level. The populations native to the area have lower infant mortality and higher birth weights than people who have relocated to the area. In addition, the Tibetans have acclimated to the altitude without relying on increased red blood cell counts, which is how most other people respond after spending time at altitude. Higher red blood cell counts mean a more viscous blood, which creates its own health hazard, so this difference is also likely to be very advantageous.
Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen was suspended from his work after texts such as this one surfaced as part of a filed complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Tinder, the iOS App Store's fastest-growing dating app, set itself apart from the online dating competition in early 2013 by combining the personality-algorithm matching of OKCupid with GPS functionality, allowing users to comb through eligible, interested singles faster than ever before.
Yesterday, the app gained a different sort of attention after former Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe filed a wide-ranging sexual harassment claim against the company. The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, included copies of enough scathing text exchanges sent to Wolfe by co-founder/CMO Justin Mateen to prompt the company to announce Mateen's temporary suspension "pending an ongoing internal investigation."
In addition to allegations of frequent, public, and sexist name-calling, the 19-page complaint alleged that Mateen "told Ms. Wolfe that he was taking away her 'co-founder' title because having a young female co-founder 'makes the company seem like a joke' and 'devalues' the company." Additionally, the complaint alleges a complete failure by both Tinder CEO Sean Rad and parent company Match.com CEO Sam Yagan to react to accusations of corporate impropriety; in the case of the latter, Yagan was alleged to have reacted to her complaints by saying, "I can still sleep at night."