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Trans Tasman Tour Diary – Michael Chapman

first_imgWednesday, 25 April 2012 Early start this morning with the local Mudgee Dawn service. Had a fair few of us from the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed teams attend, swelling the local turn out to the biggest the MC had seen in 27 years. Although the air was fresh and the speeches often diverted to the story of the Titanic, there was a fair bit of pride standing with the Australian contingency.  Back to the hotel for breakfast and a quick wade in the pool before we kitted up ready for the local ANZAC Day march. Us Aussies scrubbed up alright as we were led through the streets of Mudgee by our flag bearers Stevie Roberts, Kylie Hilder and Gary Rose. We  were warmly welcomed, as it proved beneficial for the outlook and professionalism of our sport. Completed the march with the formalities in the park, with the haka, sore feet and an amazing local band as some of the highlights. Courage, camaraderie, pride and dedication were some of the words thrown around and it was hard not to parallel them to our job ahead.We were then straight out to the fields to check them out and iron out the last of our kinks. Getting the last of the cobwebs out before a team photo at the hotel, Dyl Thompson and Michael ‘Dr Dre’ Law were both notably late as hair was not perfect. Dinner plans at 7:30 at the ‘Lowe’ family winery. Perfect meal and setting for the formal jersey presentation that was to ensue. Mixed emotions as myself, along with eight others are debuting for the Mixed team at the 2012 Trans Tasman. A few wise words from Tony Trad, Jamie Stowe and Colm Maguire stuck. Enjoying every moment, continuing a strong history and the strength of the Australian contingency was a common theme throughout.With this wrapping up the formalities and preparation side of things, there seems to be a resinating hunger to just get stuck in. Can’t wait to rip into the Kiwis tomorrow. Time to cuddle up to Chucky Chan. From the Aussie Mixed, all the best to the Men’s and Women’s. Time for all that training to pay itself off! There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with the 2012 Trans Tasman Series, which will be held at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex from Thursday, 26 April to Saturday, 28 April 2012, including in the following ways: Websites: www.austouch.com.au www.transtasman.mytouchfooty.com Facebook – www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustralia  Twitter – www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus (be sure to use the hashtag #transtasman2012 in your tweets) YouTube – www.youtube.com/touchfootballauslast_img read more

a month ago​Rodgers: Maddison still an injury doubt for Leicester recall

first_imgTagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say ​Rodgers: Maddison still an injury doubt for Leicester recallby Ian Ferrisa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLeicester boss Brendan Rodgers has been giving the latest update on the injured James Maddison.”We’ll see over the next couple of days. He’s obviously going to be a doubt. He’s put some weight on his ankle so we’ll see over the coming days.”He’s a big talent and he’s been playing great. We’ve got a really strong squad. We made some changes in the week, and the rhythm, speed and intensity in the team was the same.”It’s just the risk of whether he’s going to last the game or not. It’s questionable whether he’ll play or not. He’s such a talented player, we’ll give him every chance.” last_img read more

Dawson Creek woman among four caught driving stolen vehicle

first_imgBoth suspects were arrested and taken into custody without further incident.37-year-old Dawson Creek resident Shauna Liza Freeman has been charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000, obstructing a police officer, and failing to comply with conditions.Grande Prairie residents Claude Normand Dufresne, aged 39; Crystal Mary Kiyawsew, aged 37; and Adam Patrick Byrne, aged 34, are each charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000 and failing to comply with conditions.Kiyawsew and Byrne are each facing an additional charge of obstruction a police officer, while Byrne alone has been charged with identity fraud.All four appeared in court in Grande Prairie on September 19th. GRAND PRAIRIE, A.B. – A woman from Dawson Creek is one of four people who were arrested and charged over the weekend after they were caught driving in a stolen vehicle.At approximately midnight Sunday, Grande Prairie RCMP officers were patrolling near Rotary House when they initiated a traffic stop with a vehicle that had been reported stolen.As police attempted to arrest two men, two women fled the area on foot. Police quickly caught up with one of the women, while the other was located with the help of Police Dog Services.last_img read more

Local Youth Liason Officer Goes Back to School

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – In September of 2018 the Fort St. John RCMP initiated a pilot project for a Youth Liaison Officer for the Detachment.Constable Chad Neustaeter had been selected for this position for his extensive history in working with youth.Staff Sergeant Steve Perret chose to implement this proactive position as it is part of the RCMP’s strategic priorities. Officer Chad looks for any opportunity to connect with students while visiting various schools. His interactions vary from schools visits, participating in recess activities with the youth, to presenting classes with proactive information on topics that are relevant to their safety.Officer Chad says the interactions with the youth in elementary schools is about Who are the police and what do they do. While Sexting and managing your online presence, are key topics for middle school students, the Party (Preventing Alcohol-Related Trauma in Youth) Program allows him to connect with students in the Senior Secondary Schools.“Although the program is still in its early stages, I am starting to see the benefits already. In the fall, I received feedback from a parent who let me know their children couldn’t stop talking about how I had participated in a game of Tag with them. I am extremely flattered that the youth in our community recognize me and feel comfortable just stopping to say hi.”If anyone has any questions or concerns about this project, please feel free to contact S/Sgt. Steve Perret of the Fort St John RCMP at 250-787-8100. “Youth Involvement is of the RCMP’s national strategic priorities that impact RCMP planning and operations within our community. Our goal is to reduce youth involved in crime, both as victims and/or offenders.”The RCMP say this position will run until June 2019 where it will be re-evaluated at that time to determine its effectiveness and if any modifications will be required.Constable Neustaeter introduces himself to students as Officer Chad.Even though he has almost three years’ experience as a police officer, he comes to the position with 16 years of experience in working with youth.Officer Chad is one of two DARE (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) trained officers at the detachment that is instructing the DARE Program to grade five students.The goal of the program is to provide students with the knowledge to make safe and responsible choices with the hope of protecting themselves now and in the future.last_img read more

Looking forward to play different characters

first_imgNew Delhi: Actor Jim Sarbh who has created a niche for himself in Bollywood by playing grey characters in films like Neerja, Raabta and Padmaavat is back with web series ‘Made In Heaven’. “There are plenty of projects in my hand right now. I am looking forward to play characters that I have not played so far. It is important for an actor to play different roles,” Jim said. The 31-year-old is currently enjoying praise for portraying Adil Khanna in web series ‘Made in Heaven’, which he says explores reality of society. “The show is like a great juxtaposition of all those that go on behind beautiful facades. It removes the curtains and make you see the reality of backstage. It shows what actually goes on in a wedding, not just looking perfect from outside. It reflects the integration of modernism and traditionalism,” said Jim. To a question whether a web series give more depth to an actor, he said: “It totally depends upon the writing. Be it films or shows or plays, it’s the content that matters the most. Good writing is the key.”last_img read more

Historic vote Chicago elects Black gay woman as mayor

first_imgChicago: Chicago on Tuesday became the biggest US city to elect a black woman its mayor, as voters put their faith in an openly-gay political novice to tackle difficult problems of economic inequality and gun violence. Lori Lightfoot, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer who has never before held elected office, won the Midwestern city’s mayoral race in a lopsided victory. She beat out Toni Preckwinkle, a career politician who is also black, by a wide margin of 74 to 26 per cent with most ballots counted. “We were up against powerful interests,” Lightfoot said in a victory speech, with her wife and young daughter by her side. “Today, you did more than make history, you created a movement for change,” she told a cheering crowd. Lightfoot will become Chicago’s first openly gay mayor as well as the first African America woman to hold the post. Since 1837, Chicago voters have elected only one black mayor and one female mayor. Her ascendancy to the top of Chicago government was a stunning development in a city where insider deals and entrenched party politics held sway for decades. “It is a city-wide rejection of the Chicago political establishment at the mayoral level,” Evan McKenzie, political science professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, said. Preckwinkle, the chief executive of Cook County in which Chicago is located, has for decades held various local elected offices, which analysts said hurt her in an election in which voters were looking to shake up city hall. Among the top issues were high levels of gun violence that claims more lives than in other major American cities, and years of political corruption in the Democratic stronghold. The initial field in the mayoral race consisted of 14 contenders, but Lightfoot managed an upset — sidelining moderates and establishment figures by promising to clean up city government and reduce economic inequality. She and Preckwinkle were the final two left competing in Tuesday’s run-off election. Voters left little doubt they wanted the next mayor to tackle the major issues vexing the city of 2.7 million people — including economic disparities and gun violence. “The message is that (voters) want new ideas and cleaner government,” McKenzie said. Community groups have for years complained about disparities in living conditions among the sprawling city’s diverse communities. Gun violence, fuelled by gangs and the drug trade, plagues economically-depressed neighbourhoods in the South and West, which are majority African American. The downtown business district, and areas to the north and along the city’s famed lake shore, have enjoyed an economic boom even as more than 550 people were murdered last year alone. Reforming the police department, which has a sordid history of abusive tactics, and city hall, which is mired in a federal corruption probe of one of its members, were priorities for voters, McKenzie said. Lightfoot headed a panel investigating the city’s policing problems and held a number of appointed positions in city government. She has promised to increase affordable housing, fight homelessness and crime, and boost oversight of the police department. “We can and will finally put the interests of our people, all of our people, ahead of the interests of a powerful few,” Lightfoot said Tuesday night. Lightfoot will replace outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel — once a rising star in the Democratic Party and former president Barack Obama’s first White House chief of staff. The powerful Emanuel sustained political damage for his handling of murder of black teenager Laquan McDonald and declined to run for a third term. Lightfoot emphasized during her campaign that she was among the few early candidates to declare her candidacy before Emanuel decided not to run again. McDonald was a 17-year-old boy shot dead by police in a 2014 encounter caught on police dash cam video. The video — showing officer Jason Van Dyke firing 16 bullets into the knife-wielding teen even after he fell to the ground — was not released for more than a year. Emanuel faced accusations of an attempted cover-up. He fired the police chief and brought in a reformer who instituted changes, worked to rebuild public trust, and reduced gun violence. But as Van Dyke was about to go on trial for murder in September, Emanuel announced he would not run for re-election. Van Dyke was convicted and sentenced to nearly seven years in prison.last_img read more

Two criminals involved in 85 heinous cases in Delhi arrested

first_imgNEW DELHI: The special cell of Delhi police has arrested two criminals Shakeel and Rashid involved in almost 85 heinous cases in Delhi. One of them was having a reward of Rs 50,000 on his arrest. Both were arrested from their rented house in Shahin Bagh, Jamia Nagar, Delhi on April 2.Two semi-automatic pistols of .32 along with 8 live cartridges have been recovered from the duo.During surveillance, it was found that Shakeel was wanted in three fresh cases. He was having a reward of Rs 50,000 in a case of armed dacoity, committed on September 17, 2018 in broad daylight in the area of Jagatpuri. In this dacoity, Shakeel along with his 5/6 associates had waylaid a businessman and his employee in Old Arjun Nagar area and tried to rob them at gunpoint. When victims resisted, gang members opened fire and injured Ram Sewak. They robbed Rs 15 lakh from them and fled from the scene. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”He also disclosed that he along with Rashid and other associate burgled the house of the famous poet Ashok Chakradhar in the area of Sarita Vihar and took cash and valuables from the house, but his awards and medals luckily remained intact. Shakeel is facing trial in many criminal cases in various courts but he is not appearing in these cases,” said PS Kushwah, DCP Special cell. Arrested Shakeel and Rashid were thoroughly interrogated. It is revealed in the interrogation that Shakeel is previously involved in more than 70 cases of dacoity, robbery, snatching, extortion, kidnapping, attempt to murder, assault on police, hurt, arms act etc. Arrested accused Rashid is previously involved in more than 15 cases of various nature including murder, dacoity, arms act, rape, burglary.last_img read more

Can An Astrophysicist Change The Way We Watch Sports

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. read more

NFL hopefuls put talent on display at Ohio States Pro Day

Ohio State Football had its annual Pro Day on Friday to showcase the speed, strength and precision of NFL hopeful seniors. Buckeyes including running back Brandon Saine, linebackers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle, wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, guard Justin Boren, and defensive backs Jermale Hines and Devon Torrence looked to improve on their marks from the NFL combine. And in most cases, they did. The players worked out in front of NFL scouts, families, and Coach Jim Tressel. Tressel is in the middle of a current NCAA investigation for allegedly failing to report e-mails from attorney and former Buckeye football player Christopher Cicero, indicating players sold football memorabilia to Eddie Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos. Tressel’s failure to report the e-mails is in violation of both his contract with OSU and NCAA Bylaw 10.1. The university conducted a self-report on the infractions, and is awaiting the results of a report from the NCAA. OSU notified the NCAA of Tressel’s violation Feb. 3 after becoming aware of the Jan. 13 violation. Early results of the 40-yard dash were an improvement for Rolle and Homan. Rolle ran a 4.56 at the combine, and improved that to a 4.51 at OSU’s Pro Day. Homan ran a 4.68 at the combine and improved to 4.60 at Pro Day. Homan talked about the difference between his experience at the NFL Combine and OSU’s Pro Day. “There is pressure, but at the combine, it’s a lot more heightened, you have all 32 teams in the stands, it’s a bigger stage,” Homan said. Present at OSU’s Pro Day were scouts from all teams except three; the Arizona Cardinals, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks. To no one’s surprise, former Ohio track star, Brandon Saine, posted the fastest time of the day with a 4.40, an improvement on his 4.43 time at the NFL combine. Saine talked about the speed difference between himself now, and when he won the high school state championship in track. “I like to think I’m faster; I’m stronger. If I could race my former self, I don’t know who would win,” Saine said jokingly. Sanzenbacher seemed to gain the most of any prospect today as he answered a lot of questions about his speed. He ran a 4.48 at OSU’s Pro Day. “I’ve been working on it every day. My goal from the beginning was to try and touch four-four, wherever it was,” Sanzenbacher said. “Speed is probably one of the biggest questions withme, I think you can only control things that there’s questions about when you are going into Pro Day. Speed was a big thing.” Cameron Heyward, OSU’s top prospect, did not participate in workouts while he is still recovering from January surgery. read more