Sunday, November 8, 2009


Nothing But Net: The Physics Of Basketball Free Throws

ScienceDaily (Nov. 8, 2009) — Pay attention, Shaq: Two North Carolina State University engineers have figured out the best way to shoot a free throw -- a frequently underappreciated skill that gets more important as the game clock winds down.


To get a swish rather than a brick, you need the best possible conditions for releasing the basketball from your hand.


First, the engineers say that shooters should launch the shot with about three hertz of back spin. That translates to the ball making three complete backspinning revolutions before reaching the hoop. Back spin deadens the ball when it bounces off the rim or backboard, the engineers assert, giving the ball a better chance of settling through the net.

Where to aim? Tran and Silverberg say you should aim for the back of the rim, leaving close to 5 centimeters -- about 2 inches -- between the ball and the back of the rim. According to the simulations, aiming for the center of the basket decreases the probabilities of a successful shot by almost 3 percent.

The engineers say that the ball should be launched at 52 degrees to the horizontal. If you don't have a protractor in your jersey, that means that the shot should, at the highest point in its arc to the basket, be less than 2 inches below the top of the backboard.

Free-throw shooters should also release the ball as high above the ground as possible, without adversely affecting the consistency of the shot; release the ball so it follows the imaginary line joining the player and the basket; and release the ball with a smooth body motion to get a consistent release speed.


Big Sis warns against anti-Muslim backlash...

Janet Napolitano says her agency is working with groups across the United States to try to deflect any backlash against American Muslims following Thursday's rampage by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim who reportedly expressed growing dismay over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Texas law School Results

Texas Bar Exam Results

Here are the results of the July 2009 Texas Bar Exam for first-time test-takers by law school, along with each school's U.S. News ranking:

  1. Texas Tech:  94.52% (Tier 3)
  2. Baylor:  94.12% (#65)
  3. Texas-Wesleyan:  93.29% (Tier 4)
  4. Texas:  92.36% (#15)
  5. Houston:  91.63% (#59)
  6. SMU:  90.99% (#49)
  7. South Texas:  89.66% (Tier 4)
  8. St. Mary's:  82.80% (Tier 4)
  9. Texas Southern:  71.11% (Tier 4)

Media and Muslems

Media 'Cringe' That Mass Killer a Muslim Since It 'Inflames' Right Wing, 'That Makes It Much Worse'


Newsweek's Evan Thomas regretted the Fort Hood mass murderer, Major Nidal Hasan, is a Muslim because of how that reality will be abused by conservatives. On this weekend's Inside Washington, Thomas, now Editor at Large with Newsweek after stints as Assistant Managing Editor and Washington bureau chief, rued:

“He was a typical fundamentalist Muslim”

New York bicycle cabbie and Muslim extremist who has called for the murder of Jews pens well-wishes to suspected Fort Hood gunman, saying, 'We love you.'

Martini History

Nambe Crystal Twist Martini ...

Jimmy Carter. During the 1976 presidential election campaign he railed against the "$50 martini lunch", which he saw as a wasteful, tax-deductible vice that could only be enjoyed by rich businessmen. His opponent, Gerald Ford, displaying a wryness that would be unthinkable in a Republican presidential candidate today, replied that the three-martini lunch was, in fact, "the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?"

Manhattan - where to find the perfect martini

Martini is making a comeback in Manhattan

Martinis don't come much more classic than Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. One bartender, an Irishman by the name of Tommy Rowles, has been mixing drinks here for 51 years and once poured a bourbon on the rocks for President Truman. At $17 (£10), the Bemelmans martini isn't cheap, but it's still, unexpectedly, a bargain. After he mixes your cocktail, the bartender fills your glass and then pours the remainder of the drink into a small flask which is packed into a cup of ice to keep it frosty. It is, in effect, two drinks in one, and comes with big bowls of nuts, crisps and small goldfish-shaped biscuits to nibble on.

The King Cole Bar at the St Regis Hotel, located just off the smartest stretch of Fifth Avenue shopping, is another venerable cocktail venue. Famous for its huge oil painting by the American artist Maxfield Parrish, which shows the merry old soul enjoying a laugh, the bar is quite small and fills up quickly with well-heeled visitors and locals who appreciate a well-mixed drink.

Two cats, two birds

This big cat earned the nickname Mick Jaguar after his 15-inch tongue was compared to the iconic lips-and-tongue logo of the Rolling Stones

This big cat earned the nickname Mick Jaguar after his 15-inch tongue was compared to the rock band's iconic lips-and-tongue logo. Rolling Stones fan Ruth Savitz snapped this impressive picture at Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania

A lion jumps on the front of a car while guests watch at the Werribee Open Range Zoo, Werribee, Victoria, Australia...

A lion jumps on the front of a car while guests watch at the Werribee Open Range Zoo, Werribee, Victoria, Australia. The car has a big piece of glass just in front of the steering wheel with the bonnet sitting in the lions' enclosure, but from the right angle, it looks like there is no glass

This duck must have thought he was about to become bird food for the giant Shoebill...

This duck must have thought it was about to become bird food for the giant Shoebill. but it was just being moved out of the way

“Love’s mysteries in souls do grow, But yet the body is his book.” Not bad for a minister.

John Donne in his twenties

John Donne in 1595 at the age of twenty-three
by an unknown artist.


"No man is an island", he told them, and "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee”

To his mistress going to bed, Donne wrote -

Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land. . .

In "The Good-Morrow", Donne wakes at dawn to find the one he loves lying beside him. He begins with several funny, true questions, then brings us heartbeat close,

. . .And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

Since the Media won’t tell you

When Muslims Commit Violence.

muslim terrorist

Here’s a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course. Elite opinion makers do not, as a rule, try to protect Christians and Christian belief from investigation and criticism

“He was making outlandish comments condemning our foreign policy and claimed Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans,” Col Lee told Fox News.

“He said Muslims should stand up and fight the aggressor and that we should not be in the war in the first place.” He said that Maj Hasan said he was “happy” when a US soldier was killed in an attack on a military recruitment centre in Arkansas in June. An American convert to Islam was accused of the shootings.

From Paris: Boys Will Be Boys...

Although I accept this will come as a shock to many of you (she says clearing her throat, tongue stuck in her cheek), an article in Today's WashPost by Blake Gopnik has confirmed art is "scholarly Viagra." According to Blake:

..."Forgive me, for I have sinned...After well over a century of prim cover ups, literal and metaphorical, of the sexual content in the greatest nudes in art, experts have been waking up to the erotic, even pornographic potential."

Blake details art history in a very unique human way (and the "art of lechery")..."The men of the west, in even their most refined, have long had a Playboy culture."

Did you know that George IV of England was a collector of pornography and asked for paintings of nude women be installed on a rotating base?

The article reviews many works of art and the "centuries of gawking."

Earth to Blake. I think we already know this. Boys will be boys...

Another theory down the tubes

3-D Model Of Lee Harvey Oswald's Head: A Setback For Conspiracy TheoristsFor decades, JFK conspiracy theorists have claimed this photo of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle and a Marxist newspaper was a fake. Dartmouth College digital forensics expert Hany Farid built a 3-D model of Oswald's head and proved otherwise.

He used a computer program Facegen, to build a virtual 3D model of Oswald's head. Once that was completed, he added in the background features of the photo. Through a series of computations, he figured out where the camera had to be, the trajectory of the sun and where Oswald was in relation to the camera.

Farid said given the technology available 46 years ago, there is no way someone would have been able to get the internal and external elements of the photo just right in order to fabricate not only the one photo, but two others in the series.

Not wanting to see the facts


Muslim leader and a fellow student of Fort Hood suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan say his 'anti-American propaganda' signaled problems.

Napolitano Warns Against Anti-Muslim Backlash

Obama says don't jump to conclusions...

WasshPost: Six months ago, investigators came across Internet postings,  by Hasan, that indicated sympathy for suicide bombers and he reportedly said the U.S. "war on terror" was a "war on Muslims."

220 to 215 - Washington and Death

Is this the high-water mark for ObamaCare?

The Democrats wheedled, cajoled, begged, and finally abandoned its defense of abortion — truly a watershed moment — in order to get their version of ObamaCare passed … in the House of Representatives, where they enjoy a 75-seat majority. In the end, they could only muster a five-vote win on Nancy Pelosi’s bill out of that strong majority. Until this week, most had assumed that any ObamaCare bill would pass the House easily, but that the fight would be in the Senate.

So what does this 220-215 vote tell us? Capitol Hill Democrats know that this bill is an albatross. It’s true that Pelosi was able at the end to negotiate votes to allow a few at-risk Democrats that supported the bill to oppose it in the final vote, but even that tells a tale of fear and consciousness of unpopularity. The razor-thin vote, as well as a number of earlier, more sincere defections, show that this bill was a radical and expensive approach to fix a 13% problem — and even most of the Democrats know it. . . . We always thought the fight was in the Senate, so the only real surprise yesterday was how weak Pelosi actually was on ObamaCare.


A NARROW SLIVER: “One would think such an historic and noble action, as the Democrats have styled it, would enjoy robust support from the full spectrum of the House Democratic caucus. But in this case, only those who occupy safe seats (or think they do) can be corralled. If Pelosi gets her 218 votes, it will be unprecedented. It is fair to say that never will a piece of legislation this sweeping (and damaging) have been passed over the opposition of so much of the electorate and on the votes of such a narrow ideological slice of the governing class.”


JERRY POURNELLE: “Unemployment is over 10%. It wasn’t supposed to get that high. TARP was supposed to fix that. . . . If the health care bill passes, it will fundamentally convert these United States into a different kind of popular democracy, which generally means rule by a unionized bureaucracy organized to vote. Once that much of the economy is run by government, economic recovery as many hope for will simply be impossible. Permanent unemployment at 7% or so; median income perhaps 10% higher than it is now, but not much higher; and a long period of stagflation. Reluctance to take on new employees, and great incentive to export jobs. Is this a picture of the future? We will have to see, as Congress debates the health care and carbon tax bills. . . . With Detroit a ruin and manufacturing industries on the ropes, small business is the only possible engine of recovery from what they don’t call a Depression; so the Congress is going to add an 8% tax on employing people. We already have the longest period of increasing unemployment since the Great Depression; I presume we are going for a really big record setting period of increasing unemployment. . . . The incentives are now to the job black market — hire illegal immigrants who don’t have to have health insurance — or to export the job if that can possibly be done.”

Scary: “He was a typical fundamentalist Muslim”

Report: Feds didn’t follow up on Hasan’s Internet postings

Hasan attended same radical mosque as 9/11 hijackers; Update: “He was a typical fundamentalist Muslim”