Online rock-paper-scissors, for money 

No joke. Ultimatebet is now offering roshambo in addition to its usual card games.

The 10% rake is pretty stiff, though. Even a solid strategy like "always throw rock" will have a hard time turning a profit, methinks.


Straight sets 

Red Sox over Yankees 7-6, 7-5, 7-6.

I actually missed the ending of the first game; I shut it off with the Sox down four runs in the top of the eighth. Oh well.

A sweep is always nice, but I'm unhappy that Boston only outscored NY 21-17 with the Yankees trotting out Andy Pettitte and two rooks versus Boston's top three starters. Beckett and Matsuzaka both had subpar performances. Schilling got lit up as well, but I really don't expect too much more from him -- he's lost a lot on his fastball, and his newfound conversion to a "pitching to contact" style is clearly still a work in progress.


Sisyphus never had it this bad 

Below we have a really hard level on Super Mario Bros. (WARNING: contains foul language and extreme hilarity.)


Greater love hath no man than this 

A Virginia Tech prof, 75-year-old Liviu Librescu, lost his life while protecting his students.

(HT: Volokh Conspiracy)


Playoff time 

From the annals of history, we have here a spectacular save by Colorado Avalanche Patrick Roy against the Detroit Red Wings in a 2002 Western Conference finals game.


Saving the game in the eighth inning 

In baseball, closers typically are expected to pitch the ninth inning of a game when their team is ahead by 1-3 runs, and sometimes when the game is tied. However, this strategy is often not optimal, depending on when the big bats in the other team's lineup are coming up. If the 3-4-5 hitters may come to the plate in the eighth inning, it is wise to have the closer warming up a few batters in advance in case they come up to the plate with runners on base. These high-leverage situations can come up in the sixth and seventh innings as well, but it's usually impractical to have the closer warming up, then sitting back down, then warming up again and coming into the game later. However, all managers should seriously consider having their closer ready to go in the eighth inning.

Tonight's Red Sox-Rangers game provided a clear example of this strategy. With the Sox up 3-1 and the Rangers batting, Joel Pineiro put the #8, #9 and #1 hitters on base. (Kenny Lofton reaching wasn't really his fault, as Lofton sac-bunted but nobody covered first base.) Javier Lopez then allowed a force-out run, but Jonathan Papelbon (who had been warmimg up at the top of the inning, I believe) got Michael Young and Mark Teixeira out on five pitches, then finished off the ninth without incident.


Educational software is a placebo, says US Department of Education 

Well, it's nice to know that the government cared enough to do a study on the subject. As far as I can recall from my pre-college days, the primary benefit of educational software was that the teacher didn't have to prepare a lesson plan that day.

I look forward to the US Department of Education publishing another groundbreaking report, most likely one claiming that publishers are gouging students and schools by churning out marginally new editions of textbooks year after year.


This just in 

Florida has sacked Troy Smith again.

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