At home with Taipans coach Aaron Fearne and his wife Amy. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTYAFTER a pulsating night at the convention centre, win or lose, Taipans coach Aaron Fearne knows he can go home and take some precious time-out. Last year he and his family moved from their longstanding Bayview Heights home to a larger property at popular Brinsmead estate, The Peak. With striking views west to Redlynch, the home offers tranquillity to Mr Fearne and his wife Amy, a teacher at Cairns State High School. “You come home from a day at work and it’s just quiet, peaceful and easy to unwind here,” he said. A basketball hoop in the driveway is mainly used by Mr and Mrs Fearne’s two children, Tyler, 14, and Jasmine, 12. Aaron Fearne in his media room PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY“The thing that gets overwhelming in a big house is things like art work, plants, pots and furniture. It takes time to get a feel for what you want,” Mr Fearne said. Downstairs is a self-contained living quarters, which is currently being rented by a Taipans squad member, and an impressive media room. “I like watching movies. And the sound in here blows you away,” Mr Fearne said. Far North Queensland is a long way from Minnesota, USA, where Mr and Mrs Fearne met during college.But, having spent almost 20 years in Cairns, they couldn’t feel more at home in the tropics. “When we first came to Cairns in 1998, we thought we might only be here for one year,” Mr Fearne said. “Basketball has been the vehicle keeping us here.“We’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a great place to bring up the kids.” Their Brinsmead home was built in 2004 by Cairns builder Craig Burrows.Mrs Fearne, also a keen basketballer, said moving had been the right decision. “There’s a lot more space here, I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “As long as Aaron has a job at the Taipans, we’ll be here.” The property is in Brinsmead’s The Peak estate PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTYYou walk through the front door into a vast kitchen and living area which opens onto a pool and colossal timber deck, totalling about 120sq m. The area is made for entertaining.“We had a Christmas Eve dinner, there would have been 35 people here and we didn’t feel like we were on top of each other,” Mr Fearne said. “There were family and friends from the Taipans, including some imports who had nowhere else to go.”There is of course some, but not an excessive amount, of basketball memorabilia on display. Hanging above the TV is a photo from the Taipans’ 2004 playoff appearance against the Perth Wildcats; in the living room are signed playing strips from Cairns product Aron Baynes and his former San Antonio teammate Tim Duncan. More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago
Facebook1Tweet0Pin0Submitted by O’Blarney’s Irish PubEveryone knows that one person that loves to impress others with the random knowledge and facts they have accumulated over time. O’Blarney’s Irish Pub in Olympia hosts a weekly opportunity for people over 21-years-old like this to showcase their trivia knowledge while enjoying good company, food, and beer. This event is a great time to team up with some fellow trivia lovers and put your knowledge to the test against other members of the community.Appetizer sampler at O’Blarney’s. Photo courtesy: O’Blarney’s Irish PubThese Pub Quiz Nights occur just about every Thursday night from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. or so. The event is a great way to end the day, is free to participate in, and the top three teams win gift cards. Usually, Pub Quiz Nights are sponsored by a local or regional brewery so there are fun giveaways throughout the night. In the past, these giveaways have included pint glasses, t-shirts, and other merchandise from the sponsoring brewery. Come early and enjoy a burger or sandwich along with $3 Micro Brews starting at 6:00 p.m. If you are feeling extra hungry, there is a Steak Special on Thursdays as well. For $9.99 you can get an 8 oz. Sirloin steak with roasted vegetables, baked potato, or fries.This combination of trivia, local beer, food, and fun make O’Blarney’s Irish Pub of Olympia a premier destination to be on a Thursday night. O’Blarney’s hopes to see you at this Pub Quiz Night and others throughout the rest of the summer. These events are an excellent way to spend time with old friends while meeting a few new ones along the way. For more information about O’Blarney’s specials or other events go to their Facebook page or Website.
Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend He got his second by sliding to redirect Jordi Alba’s pass by goalkeeper Pau Lopez. Messi started the attack but lost the ball, only for it to take two deflections off defenders before falling to Alba in the area.After Espanyol forward Pablo Piatti hit the post, Messi made it a treble with a left-footed strike to slot in another pass from Alba.Dembele went on moments later to a round of applause from his new supporters. Barcelona paid a club-record sum to Borussia Dortmund for the 20-year-old France forward. With add-ons, his transfer could reach 147 million euros (about $173 million).Dembele showed his speed when he raced down the right side on a quick counterattack and crossed for Suarez to score.Suarez was making his league debut this season after missing the first two matches with a leg injury.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ A costly, catty dispute finally settled OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi scored a hat trick and Ousmane Dembele set up a goal in his debut for Barcelona in a comfortable 5-0 win over crosstown rival Espanyol on Saturday.Messi struck twice in the first half, and leads the Spanish league with five goals. Gerard Pique headed in a fourth goal.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Winning start After going on as a second-half substitute, Dembele didn’t take long to help his team when he passed for Luis Suarez to round off the rout in the 90th.A third win in as many rounds left Barcelona atop of the standings, with two more points than second-place Sevilla and four more points than defending champion Real Madrid in sixth.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogMessi opened the scoring at Camp Nou when he received a pass from Ivan Rakitic in what appeared to be an offside position. With no call coming from the referee, Messi dribbled around a defender and fired home.“They told me that the first goal could be offside, (…) but we did a lot to create several chances,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. Break new ground Stephens wins first Grand Slam, routs Keys for US Open title It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Learning about the ‘Ring of Fire’ Mayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’
Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award are UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010), Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011), Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts (2012 and 2013), Florida State’s Lacey Waldrop (2014), Florida’s Lauren Haeger (2015), Michigan’s Sierra Romero (2016) and Kelly Barnhill (2017). Newman, who missed nearly all of the 2017 season due to injury, was the 2016 MVC Pitcher of the Year. She was named the MVC Freshman of the Year in 2015, is a two-time All-MVC First honoree and a two-time NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team selection. Newman with 740 strikeouts is just 21 strikeouts away from new school record. She has 58 career victories, a mark that ranks No. 3 all-time in school history. In her career, Newman has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a game 25 times, including a career-high 18 in her second no-hitter of the season against Valparaiso. OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Drake University softball redshirt junior pitcher Nicole Newman (Madison, Wis.) is one of the Top 25 Finalists for the 2018 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced Wednesday, April 25. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball, recognizes the outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female student-athletes across the country.Newman, who earlier this week was named Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week for the 12th time in her outstanding career, owns an impressive 16-2 record with the nation’s lowest earned run average of 0.44. She has yet to allow a run scored by an MVC opponent, tossed two no-hitters against Valley opponents, holds a 9-0 record against league opponents and has 109 strikeouts with just eight walks in MVC play. Overall this season, Newman has 185 strikeouts with just 18 walks and allowed only seven earned runs. Comprising this year’s list of finalists includes nine seniors, nine juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen. The student-athletes selected represent 17 NCAA Division I universities and eight athletic conferences. Reigning NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) Champion Oklahoma is the most represented university among the finalists, having three athletes making the list while Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington are each represented by two athletes. Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Drake, Florida State, Kent State, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas State each have one athlete in the Top 25 Finalists. Print Friendly Version
Chelsea will assess Ramires ahead of the derby with Fulham.The midfielder missed Saturday’s 2-1 win against Wigan because of illness but it is hoped that he will be available for the Easter Monday clash at Craven Cottage.John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, who all missed the Wigan game, will also be checked to see if they can rejoin the Blues squad.Skipper Terry is nursing a rib injury, while Lampard has a thigh problem and Cole recently suffered a twisted ankle.See also:Last-ditch Mata gives Chelsea victoryChelsea showed their strength, insists bossFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Kolo Toure’s ninth-minute own goal gifted Fulham the lead at Craven Cottage.Rene Meulensteen’s side, bottom of the Premier League but buoyed by Sunday’s draw at Manchester United, had Liverpool on the back foot straightaway and Simon Mignolet saved Ryan Tunnicliffe’s low shot in the opening minute.The Whites kept up the early pressure and Toure had to react quickly to prevent Darren Bent getting to Kieran Richardson’s left-wing cross.But the next time Richardson crossed from the left Toure contrived to slice the ball into his own net from close range.And on-loan Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby almost doubled the lead with a 20-yard effort that fizzed just wide.Two mis-cued attempts by Luis Suarez is all Liverpool have managed to muster so far.The striker chipped straight into the arms of keeper Maarten Stekelenburg and then sliced high and wide from an acute angleFulham: Stekelenburg; Riether, Heitinga, Burn, Riise; Tunnicliffe, Sidwell, Kvist, Richardson; Holtby; Bent. Subs: Stockdale, Hangeland, Kasami, Kačaniklić, Duff, Cole, Parker.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… My6sense just announced a new version of its iPhone application that can automatically highlight the most relevant tweets from the users you follow. The mytweetsense feature learns from the user’s implicit and explicit actions and builds a model of what is interesting to the individual user. Mytweetsense works best for tweets that include links. The app’s features are clearly geared towards these kind of tweets and include previews for links, videos and images.The default view in the app displays all the recent tweets you received according to relevancy. You can also switch to a chronological view of your timeline and the app allows users to easily reshare content on Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed, as well as by email.Finding Relevant Tweets The app trains itself. My6sense just watches what links you click on, and which articles you retweet or share on other social networks. It takes a little bit of training, but if our experience with the my6sense RSS reader is any indication, the results are surprisingly good. We got a chance to talk to Barak Hachamov, the company’s founder and CEO at LeWeb earlier today. According to Hachamov, my6sense creates an extremely detailed personal profile of every user. It’s important to note that mytweetsense mostly looks at the content of the links that you receive in your Twitter stream. While the app has an option to turn on the relevancy algorithm for tweets without links, the service works best when it can work with the additional information that is implicit in these links.Twitter lists and smarter real-time search engines have made it easier to keep up with the constant stream of updates on Twitter, but this is still a random stream of information. My6sense’s iPhone app may not replace your favorite Twitter app right now, but it’s a great tool to catch up on your tweets if you have been offline for a few days. You do, however, have to use it for a few days before so you can get the best experience. The app first has to get to know you, after all. Tags:#news#web Related Posts frederic lardinois Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza returns to Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova during their Women’s Singles semifinal match on day nine at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London Thursday, July 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)LONDON – Garbine Muguruza advanced to the Wimbledon final by beating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1 on Centre Court.Muguruza reached the Wimbledon final in 2015, but lost to Serena Williams. She will get another chance at the title on Saturday against either Venus Williams or Johanna Konta.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Muguruza won the first five games of the first set, facing only one break point and saving it. She then broke Rybarikova twice to open the second set and take a 4-0 lead.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Petron claims PSL All-Filipino title, sweeps F2 View comments
The vast majority of our collective sports-viewing is on television. Around 21 million people watch an average Sunday Night Football game on TV, for example — some 300 times more than the 70,000 who are able to see it in person. Our sports experience is, to a first approximation, a television experience. I’ve seen Tom Brady play dozens of times, even though I’ve never seen Tom Brady play.And television has been enhancing — or, at the very least, altering — how we watch sports ever since TV was invented. NBC coverage of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the first sporting event ever televised, used slow motion footage to “show the form, the poetry of motion” of a pole vaulter.It seems a natural fit. Cameras and technology can do many things our eyes can’t. If we can see closeups of Pluto, surely we deserve a crystal-clear view of Odell Beckham Jr.’s catch. “Keep your eye on the ball” is the child’s earliest and most universal sports lesson. And nowadays we can see just about every little thing that happens to the ball. Or puck.Nearly 20 years ago, on Jan. 20, 1996, at the NHL All-Star Game, FoxTrax made its debut. FoxTrax is better known as a glowing hockey puck whizzing around the screen. Matt Ginsberg’s technology may be able to tell us mortals what the universe already knows — it may let the universe whisper in our ear. We may not have to wait for a resolution. We may, for example, have been able to hear Cinderella’s death knell just a little bit sooner. Rather than “keep your eye on the ball,” it’s now “keep your eye on where the ball will be.”Sportvision — the company behind football’s 1st & Ten, baseball’s PITCHf/x, sailing’s LiveLine and other tech — has undertaken some real-time projections of a different sort. It has tech that tells TV viewers when one car is expected to pass another in NASCAR, for example. But Hank Adams, Sportvision’s CEO, told me he wasn’t aware of any other technology like Ginsberg’s. It seemed reasonable. “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he could predict, with some accuracy, whether a ball was going to go in or not,” Adams said.Adams also mused on the implications of Ginsberg’s technology. Its use as a TV storytelling tool may be limited, he said, given the mere second or two that it allows us to see into the future. He was also skeptical that the NBA would allow any in-game use by teams. It could be a valuable coaching tool, he thought. Or in training. Perhaps in a golf telecast. Maybe for players in a volleyball game. Neither of us was really sure. Watch FiveThirtyEight’s Oliver Roeder and Jody Avirgan talk about Ginsberg’s invention. The development of this tech, which looks quaint in retrospect, was a major undertaking. In 1994, an executive vice president at News Corp. promised to develop glow puck technology within two years, for $2 million, according to a 2003 article in IEEE Spectrum. He scooped up a team of 10 with military engineering experience — in radar, underwater sensors and radio-positioning systems — and sought outside help from other defense engineers. It was all hands on deck to track a hockey puck.But the system was discontinued after three years. FoxTrax’s main problem was probably aesthetics. It was distracting, and the puck’s “tail” looked better suited to a comic book than a hockey game. Hockey fans protested, the broadcast rights changed networks, and the phenomenon died.But its developers were undeterred. They turned their attention to a problem that sounds easier, but was much trickier. A couple years later — on Sept. 27, 1998 — the middling Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens met in Baltimore. At 8:20 p.m. local time, a technology called 1st & Ten debuted. It’s better known as the yellow first-down line. The yellow line isn’t official — as anyone who’s ever watched a football game on TV could tell you — but the yellow line is beloved. I had 13 good football-watching years under my belt before its introduction, but I can’t remember watching a single game without it. The yellow line is ubiquitous. The yellow line won an Emmy. The yellow line is here to stay. Truth No. 1: Most of us watch sports to see the unexpected. Truth No. 2: Plenty of us want to predict the future.Somewhere, where those two contradictory truths meet, there has been a movement afoot. For decades now, sports-crazed statheads — the sabermetricians and forecasters and moneyballers bent on winning their fantasy leagues, assembling an actual professional team or simply understanding the sports world — have been honing their techniques, trying to find the signal hiding in the noise. In baseball alone, an alphabet soup of player projection systems have been born — ZiPS, CAIRO, CHONE. We just introduced CARMELO to basketball. The movement is trying, in other words, to predict the unexpected.There are some in the movement who want to project the future, quite literally, on the screens in front of our eyes. Somewhere in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, an astrophysicist and his son are working, with the backing of an outspoken billionaire, to bring us just such a glimpse. Armed only with a camera, a laptop and their custom code, they’re working on a system that calls a 3-pointer a swish or a brick, a volleyball serve in or out, a soccer shot over the bar or in the goal, all before the ball completes its flight. If the system works — and that’s a big “if” — it would be equivalent to a minor superpower: flash precognition. The sports fan would become, if only for a second or two, a superhero.And the system is almost done. This, right here, could be the future of sports: Matt Ginsberg is tall and fit with sharp features and, aside from his closely cut grey hair, resembles a 40-year-old rock climber more closely than the 60-year-old technologist and businessman that he is. He’s affable but deeply serious. I first met him in Stamford, Connecticut, in March, at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, where he was operating Dr. Fill, his artificial intelligence crossword puzzle solver. In the crossword community, he’s both loved and hated — he’s the guy who might be a little too clever for his own good who’s trying to ruin all the fun with his fancy computer program.His would-be revolution in sports technology grew out of his role as unofficial statistical analyst for the University of Oregon’s women’s volleyball team. He has, among other things, imported basketball’s adjusted plus-minus system to volleyball, and convinced the team’s coach that the way timeouts were traditionally used was inefficient. Last November, while Ginsberg was watching a game, a player hit a serve that, from Ginsberg’s bleacher seat, looked like it was sure to go out. The returning players should’ve simply let the ball go out but they didn’t. Ginsberg was annoyed. “I can fix this. We can have a computer help,” he told me. “I did not realize how hard it would be.”While the development of FoxTrax and 1st & Ten resembled military contracts, Matt Ginsberg’s purported crystal ball was developed in a son-and-pop shop in Eugene, Oregon. Navarre Ginsberg is a 21-year-old programmer and Matt Ginsberg’s son. When I reached Navarre Ginsberg by phone in early October, his dad told me not to take up too much of his time — he had to get the camera working. It was the younger Ginsberg who first suggested to his dad that this technology could be taken far beyond just volleyball. Matt is in charge of the big picture; Navarre is responsible for handling coding issues as they arise, and making sure the damn thing works.The result looks like this. Here’s a Rajon Rondo shot that misses right — as correctly called by the computer: Technologies like these told us more about what we were looking at by putting a visual layer between us and a game on our TV. FoxTrax told us where the puck was at all times. 1st & Ten tells us where a team is trying to go. But they were just building blocks. Data was the next frontier.A torrent of new innovations followed in their wake. The NFL and Zebra Technologies have strapped radio-frequency identification chips onto players this season. The camera-tracking system SportVU has been hailed as the future of the NBA by our friends at Grantland. ProTracer technology has given golf fans something to stare at other than the warm plasma-screen glow of the summer sky. Hawk-Eye technology in tennis powers replay challenges and can track a ball to within mere millimeters. LiveLine, another Emmy winner, does its best to make sailing interesting to watch. And one word — in press releases, company websites and media coverage of these technologies — appears over and over again: “revolutionary.” Layering data on top of a sports broadcast is the frontier.But, as with most revolutions, there is a staunch establishment that leans against the shifting winds. In April, Vice published a philippic against K-Zone, the imaginary strike zone projected on the screen during baseball games. “The calculus at the root of this experiment seems to be that we prefer perfect information to beauty, precision to custom,” Robert O’Connell wrote. And some even rebel against television itself. Each season, the supremacy of radio-baseball to TV-baseball is vocally declaimed by acolytes. “Listening to a game on the radio, while driving along through the night hits some sort of cosmic level of perfection, especially if you can find it on an AM station, with a slight whine from some other signal, scratchy static calling the game in from across time and space,” Todd VanDerWerff, Vox’s culture editor, wrote in his newsletter earlier this month. “The fall of baseball could certainly be tied to the slow decline of radio as well,” he added.The natural-human-beauty-vs.-cold-mechanical-statistics sports debate has been thoroughly litigated, including on FiveThirtyEight. The jury is hopelessly hung. Do you want a dressed-up broadcast? Do you want a television screen augmented with pitch counts and wind speeds and strike zones and Bryce Harper’s velocity running to first? Or do you simply want to tune your dial to AM 720 for the crack of the bat and the passionate, pained voice of Ron Santo, may he rest in peace?I’d guess the split is largely generational. As the aesthetics of real televised sports approach those of sports video games, with their elaborate heads-up displays and options, the younger set may feel more at ease. But there’s more than just aesthetics that sports share with video games. The outcomes of events in both are pre-known, if you know where to look. When you kick a field goal in Madden 16, for example, the path of the ball is already written. Sure, you’ll see the ball fly through the air for a few seconds, and perhaps drift slowly toward the right upright, causing you to clench. But the game and your Xbox already “know” if it’s good or wide right — the kick’s power and distance, the wind, etc. have already been thrown into whatever algorithm and the result already spat out. The anticipation is just an illusion. But isn’t that the same in real life? When Butler’s Gordon Hayward launched the shot that would’ve beaten Duke in the 2010 NCAA final, it hangs in the air for-seemingly-ever — in fact it’s just shy of two seconds — and we don’t know whether it will go in or out. (See Truth No. 1, above.) But the universe “knows.” Physics “knows.” Again, the idea is simple. Almost comically so, judging by illustrations in the patent application.The execution, on the other hand, is not simple. Matt Ginsberg’s training is in astrophysics. He got his Ph.D. from Oxford when he was 24 years old. His doctoral advisor there was the famed mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, and he recalls rubbing elbows with the academic rock stars Stephen Hawking and the late Richard Feynman. He created an artificial intelligence crossword puzzle solver called Dr. Fill and a computer bridge world champion called GIB.Unsurprisingly, there’s pretty heavy math involved to make this real-time sports predictor work. For one element of the system’s calculations, Ginsberg sent me a pdf with eight dense pages of physics diagrams and systems of equations and notes on derivations. It uses something called the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm. It requires Jacobians and the taking of partial derivatives and the solving of quartics, and code efficient enough to calculate it all up to the split second. If predicting the future were easy, I suppose everybody would do it. (See Truth No. 2, above.)One thing this project can’t predict, however, is its own future. Its uses are, so far, largely speculative, and cashing in on a minor superpower might not be easy. Even gamblers who bet during play would struggle to make much money from a half-second heads-up that a shot is going in. But Ginsberg’s system would find a natural place in the long line of sports technologies that have been used for a singular end — TV. The footage is from a Dallas Mavericks game against the San Antonio Spurs in March. What you see was calculated in real time, but for demonstration purposes the shot itself is slowed down. A computer tracked the ball’s position as well as its projected position, and the three red bars underneath the action indicate the system’s confidence that the ball would miss left, go in, or miss right, respectively. In this clip, it was a Monta Ellis jumper that went in, just as the tech predicted.“Many decisions in sports relate to the trajectory of a ball or similar object, such as a puck or shuttlecock,” reads the patent application for this technology filed in late August. There are three names on the patent application: Matthew L. Ginsberg, Navarre S. Ginsberg and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The Ginsbergs have ambitions to spread their technology far and high, including to the NBA and its billionaire owners, including Cuban.When Matt Ginsberg first mentioned this project to me, back in March, he began the conversation like this: “I’m going to revolutionize sports.”His idea is simple: Find a ball with a camera and have it tell a computer what’s up with the ball (or shuttlecock or javelin or frisbee or whatever). Then have the computer calculate, in real time, where the ball’s going. Then turn that into some useful piece of information, knowing what sport we’re watching and the dimensions of that sport’s infrastructure — lines on the ground, baskets in the air, and so on. Have the computer tell you, maybe along with some measurement of its certainty, “that basketball will go in the basket” or “that volleyball will land outside the lines.”Then do something interesting with that fact. Have a red light go off to signal an out-of-bounds serve to the returning team. Have a soccer goalie’s smartwatch buzz if a shot is going to clear the bar, telling her she needn’t parry it and concede a corner kick. Put it on the TV screen for the folks at home. The Ginsbergs are aware of their system’s imperfections, but they share an enthusiasm for what it can become. And they want to get it out into the world, perhaps as soon as this NBA season.“If we haven’t figured out why that’s valuable to a sport yet, we just haven’t thought hard enough yet,” Navarre Ginsberg said.Looking for investors, and an eventual outlet for his project, Matt Ginsberg approached Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Mavericks, in January. The idea had applications beyond volleyball, Ginsberg had realized. Cuban was hesitant, Ginsberg said, until Ginsberg proposed a deal: Give me $50,000, he said, and I’ll develop it, and the Mavericks can use it in one game.“$50,000 to win an NBA game of your choice is incredibly cheap,” Ginsberg recalled telling Cuban. “And you don’t care about the 50 grand but I do. And I’ll also give you a right of first refusal across the NBA.” Cuban wanted two years, and Ginsberg could keep the right of first refusal. Ginsberg agreed. A lawyer came in to iron out the finer points of the deal. The lawyer was suspicious. What the hell were the Mavs even buying? It could be unicorns.Cuban described his involvement in the project to me as “active” — providing tech and design recommendations. But Ginsberg is the brains behind the coding, he said in an email last week. The most promising use of the project, in Cuban’s view? “Real-time predictions on court that can be relayed to the sidelines.” He wouldn’t comment on how the Mavericks intend to use it, if at all.When I asked Cuban how he thought the NBA would respond, he deflected a bit: “It will have amazing real-time applications in the future — things like detecting whether or not a shot was goaltended, in real time, and relaying that information to officials or displaying it on the backboard.”“If we can make basketball more fun to watch on TV, how much is that worth? I am completely clueless.”Ginsberg’s views on the technology’s uses have been evolving dramatically since we first talked in March, but they’ve always been broad. Some uses seem doable; some no doubt pie-in-the-sky. Goaltending, as Cuban suggested, is one humble but useful application. The technology could ensure that goaltending is always called correctly — it analyzes a ball’s arc, so finding the apex of a given ball’s trajectory to check for goaltending would be easy pickings. Another use is volleyball serves. A system like this is legal in NCAA volleyball — or at least it’s not illegal. Yet. (The Ginsbergs are unabashed Oregon Duck homers. “I’m excited about helping my team,” the elder said.) Another is for soccer goalies. The tech could prevent them from ceding unnecessary corner kicks. Another is tennis. Tennis players could train with the technology, and learn in real time what types of passing shots they should let go at the net and which they should go all out to try to volley.But the killer app, in many of our conversations, has been basketball tactics. Imagine, Ginsberg would describe, if the home team’s players knew when their opponents’ shots were going to go in. They’d be signaled — a flashing light, maybe — and most of them could immediately race down to their offensive end, knowing they needn’t play any more defense on that play. A huge advantage; a sea change in basketball strategy.Now, whether that’s practical or would be allowed by the NBA seems questionable, at best. And Ginsberg has backed off this idea somewhat. At the very least, he doesn’t want this tactic available to just one team.“I don’t want to have every basketball fan who doesn’t live in Dallas hating me,” he said. “That would not make my life better.”So what about TV?“There are going to be media applications that I can’t predict, because I’m not a media guy,” he said. “The other thing that’s really become apparent to me, as we’ve gotten closer here, is that I don’t know what I’m doing. In the sense that there’s huge economic value to this. If we can make basketball more fun to watch on TV, how much is that worth to NBC? And I am completely clueless” — so clueless he didn’t realize the NBA hasn’t aired on NBC since 2002. But the system’s not perfect — not yet. It occasionally doesn’t even recognize a shot is happening, or it thinks a pass is a shot, or it simply makes the wrong call after identifying a shot. Here, it thinks a long pass is a long shot: This technology’s future may become a lot clearer very soon. Ginsberg has been taking meetings over the phone. This month, he talked with an NBA executive vice president to discuss what impact this technology should have on the game. And he talked with Marc Lasry, the billionaire hedge-fund manager and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, who Ginsberg thinks can help advise him on the economics.But here’s the thing about predicting the future: You’d better be right. In the 13-minute video Ginsberg sent me, the computer was right on 23 of its 30 calls — about 77 percent accuracy. It also didn’t recognize a shot, or thought a pass was a shot, on 10 occasions. Even just miscalling a few shots in a game could doom a project like this. If this tech is ever integral to the game — for a broadcaster or a pro team — it’ll be a fine line between the computer as Oracle of Delphi and the computer as useless hunk of junk.The Ginsbergs know this, and have been so busy hammering away at the last pesky nails sticking out of their project that they haven’t even named the thing yet. The patent application calls it Real-Time Sports Advisory System Using Ball Trajectory Prediction — and RTSASUBTP doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. My suggestion: The tRuth. The technological Babe Ruth. He called his shot, after all.
Five games into the 2012 campaign, the undefeated Ohio State women’s lacrosse team continues to dominate every team in their path with their best start in 10 years. Led by second-year coach Alexis Venechanos, the No. 12-ranked Buckeyes have outscored their opponents, 86-26, and allowed less than 15 shots per match. Brown University was OSU’s latest victim Saturday. OSU won, 16-3, in Ohio Stadium on the heels of a 21-7 win against Louisville on Feb. 19. “I am pleased with how we turned it around and put the tempo in our favor,” Venechanos said in a press release Saturday. “Brown is a good team and the game was closer than the score shows. They definitely made it difficult for us to get our game going at the beginning.” On the defensive end, the Buckeyes forced 15 of Brown’s 18 turnovers, which helped the Buckeyes score 12 unanswered goals at one point in the match. Senior attacker and co-captain Alayna Markwordt became the leading scorer in school history, edging the previous mark by four points, in the game against the Cardinals. Markwordt stands at 252 career points which date back to the fourth game of her freshman season on March 1, 2009. “As a team, we were really just focused on coming out and winning, and breaking the record was just part of that,” Markwordt said in a Feb. 19 press release. “I’m very grateful to have been able to play here for four years and remain healthy to get to this point.” The Buckeye offense is averaging 17.2 points per game, second in the American Lacrosse Conference only to Johns Hopkins’ 19. A newly installed “man-advantage” rule, where teams play without a player in each attacking zone for two minutes after a yellow card penalty, has not slowed down the Buckeyes. OSU was called for yellow cards three times in the Robert Morris game and twice against No. 6-ranked Stanford. No points were given up during those two-minute impediments. Co-captain and senior midfielder, Gabby Capuzzi, was honored as the ALC Offensive Player of the Week after the opening weekend of play. Capuzzi tallied six points in the 14-10 upset against Stanford. She leads the team with 15 ground balls and caused 14 turnovers. In OSU’s season opener against San Diego State Feb. 11, senior midfielder and co-captain Kirsten Donahue added four goals to her 15 on the season . Freshmen goalies, Caitlin Hester and Tori DeScenza, had a combined six saves in their first match of their collegiate career. The Buckeyes take on Notre Dame (2-0) at home next at 1 p.m. Sunday.