Superdestroyer and I have gone back and forth on the future of lower-level athletics, with him believing that there is none and that before long schools will start dropping football programs and myself believing that (while some may) most will hold on and take the financial loss.

The University of Hawaii is talking about dropping its football program:

Athletic director Ben Jay on Monday asked officials to help lobby the state for $3 million to help keep the the school’s athletic teams competitive or it may have to consider a reduction in sports, according to a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and KITV-4 News.

“There is a very real possibility of football going away,” Jay said under questioning by members of the Board of Regents Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, the Star-Advertiser said.

But, he said, “but even if football goes away, all the revenues that football drives goes away and then it becomes a costlier venture for the university.”

Alex_Green_Hawaii_WarriorsMost likely, he’s bluffing to get the state to cough up more money. The other FBS programs that have talked about dropping their programs (San Jose State, Rice, and Tulane) haven’t. Further, Hawaii is in the Mountain West Conference which is presently in a better financial position than those other schools in terms of revenue.

On the other hand, Hawaii is not a school that necessarily benefits from having a football program. The benefits are mostly comparative, and Hawaii has almost no competition within its state and appeals to a particular kind of student outside of its state. While having a football program or not may be the difference between having heard of Georgia State and not having heard of it, and mentally comparing Georgia State to Georgia Southern, the University of Hawaii has the benefit of being the flagship state university of our nation’s most unique state.

Which is how they have stayed competitive despite numerous disadvantages. I was stunned when I read an account of why June Jones made the lateral move to SMU. He had no recruiting budget and had to actually recruit players that had either never been to the campus or payed their own way to visit it. The facilities are in exceptionally bad shape. They do seem among the more vulnerable to dropping their program.

Other than the realignment ramifications – explored below – Hawaii exiting football would have two effects. Since Hawaii is in a particular position, I wouldn’t expect other schools to start suddenly re-evaluating football. It would, however, put an end to one of the pecularities of FBS football, which is that the NCAA allows teams that make the trip to Hawaii the opportunity to play a 13th regular season game. It is an effort to induce teams to take the long and expensive trip out. The second is the almost certain demise of the Hawaii Bowl, which was pretty much set up solely for the sake of giving Hawaii a place to play during bowl season. Typically, the the participants in the bowl are teams that have trouble filling their own stadium, and aren’t going to bring crowds to the Aloha State. While it’s a reward for players on teams that become bowl eligible, it’s an even greater money-sink than most bowl games and the visiting teams don’t even bring their marching bands due to cost.

Which must have the University of Idaho absolutely salivating. Idaho’s football program is currently languishing in the southern-based Sun Belt Conference while they wait for an invitation to the MWC. Unfortunately for U of I, they will probably be disappointed. Not just because UH isn’t likely to drop its program, but because if they do they are at best third in line. The first position being BYU, who is unlikely to be interested. The second position being UTEP.

UTEP-QBUTEP is also probably closely monitoring the situation. They left the WAC for Conference USA in part for schools that have left Conference USA. There were rumors that they had tried to get into the MWC and were rebuffed. If they can afford the Conference USA exit fee, they’d probably gladly accept the invitation. As things stand now, they’re playing second-fiddle to their sister school in San Antonio. Both in the UT system, both with the same colors, except with UTSA having far more potential as a program. Geographically, they are a better fit for the MWC as well. For the MWC, they would be able to claim the El Paso market and have a presence in Texas (albeit barely).

If UTEP did make the move, then Conference USA would probably need to move to replace them. Last time around, Western Kentucky beat out New Mexico State for the slot. There is a strong likelihood that UTEP played a role in keeping New Mexico State out, and with UTEP out of the picture NMSU may be able to step right in. Though Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette have been mentioned as potential candidates, neither seem particularly likely to me. Both other competitiveness, but Arkansas State doesn’t offer much of a region or market and has a lackluster academic profile. Louisiana-Lafayette has the academic profile, but not much of a market. More likely is that they would skip straight to Georgia State, which has made it clear that they are working to invest heavily in getting their fledgling program off the ground (plus: Atlanta!). Since UTEP itself isn’t very good, they can afford for the replacement not to be very good. Another possibility would be Massachusetts, which is looking for a home for its football program. However, that’s unlikely as UMass wants to keep its non-football sports where they are and the last time C*USA had this choice (with Temple) they were uninterested in football-only members.

The Sun Belt, whether losing Idaho or some school to Conference USA, would probably not expand.


Category: Theater

nucleareuropeTo the right: Nuclear power plants in Europe.

Horrid: Allegedly, a woman slowly poisoned her son to drive up traffic on her mommy blog.

Laurie DeRose has a fascinating piece on how couples resolve conflicts over childbearing (ie how many children to have, if any). It’s surprisingly less a gender issue (he gets his way, or she gets hers) even in countries with little gender equity. The tie-breaker seems to be, as much as anything, social norms.

Why families used to have more children than they currently do.

Harper’s goes undercover with a cult infiltrator.

The Free State Project (wherein a bunch of libertarians moved to New Hampshire) has had a little success, but increasingly according to Kashmir Hill they’re turning to technology to set people free.

Over Hoegh-Guldberg of the Global Change Institute is calling for nuclear power. With James Hansen and others joining the call , though others remain against.

The biggest problem with nuclear power, at this point, seems to be FUD. Among the many reasons I hope that progress on renewables accelerates is so that we will have a better idea of what its limitations are, so that we can more thoughtfully figure out what we need to do (if anything) to plug the holes.

I thought calling “football” by the name of soccer was a purely American thing, but apparently we’re not alone (and we haven’t always called it soccer).

An ex-con reviews Orange is the New Black. She wants to know where all the guards are at.

College educated women are getting married before having kids, but they’re the only group that is.

In China, flight attendants are learning kung fu.

The Supreme Court may be wading in on a lawsuit between Jack Kirby’s family and Marvel Comics.

Assortive Mating 1, Trophy Wives 0

Even hermits need to have good people skills, if they want to go pro.

The efficiency of negativity.

You can buy four houses in Chicago, or five in Atlanta, for the same amount that it costs to buy a house in London or San Jose.

There are 292 ways to make change for a dollar.


Category: Newsroom

I come up with projects at the worst times, sometimes.

When we were preparing for our move from Cascadia to Arapaho, I got the silly notion that I really needed to update my college football database (which included incorporating all of the scores in c college football history).

Now we’re buying a house, and I’m working diligently on getting all of my old computers back up and running in the post-XP world. This means Linux, which means learning a whole lot about Linux. It wasn’t something I set out to do. Rather, I was working on setting up a backup MediaPC and it became apparent that Windows 7 simply wasn’t going to run on it adequately (for reasons unknown, the specs are almost the same as the primary Media PC, which runs it fine). So I installed Linux and got this whole ball rolling.

Right now I am stuck on a Thinkpad T42p. One that has some hardware flaw, to boot. It’s not easy to figure out what I would do with it if I got it working, but I can’t stop trying to get it to work. My preferred Linux distro (brand) won’t install. I can get SUSE and Fedora to install but I can’t get the video files working on it. I can install from a LiveCD where I will have video but not full network capability. It’s really driving me crazy.

And I sort of suspect that it will end up like those desktops I meticulously worked on for weeks. I got them working, finally, then realized what pieces of crap they were and dismantled them and threw them out the next week. This computer is technically weaker than those, though it’s a laptop and my standards aren’t very good. Theoretically, either a video-less networked machine or a networkless video machine could be useful somewhere. But I am hard-minded about getting both of them working. So I’m scanning distro-watch for anything that’s not Ubuntu-based* (which won’t load), polished enough to have networking capability, but not so polished and professional that they leave the video decoders off.

* – Ubuntu is the #1 Linux distro out there, and is really quite good. So good, in fact, that dozens of other distros use the exact same underlying code. That way, you can use their wonderful software bank and have access to a lot more software and its ease-of-use. My favorite distro is Mint, which is Ubuntu-based but better for this reason and that. But all of the Ubuntu-based ones use that Ubuntu installer that won’t work in this particular machine.


Category: Server Room

Romney-TallIn recent weeks, Mitt Romney has been experiencing an interesting insurgence. Emil Henry made The Case for Mitt Romney in 2016, followed by former Romney foreign policy advisor Alex Wong arguing that Romney was right.

More recently, Matt K Lewis argues that Romney in 2016 doesn’t sound as ridiculous as it might, Congressman Jason Chaffetz argues that Mitt Romney will run in 2016 and will win.

It’s not just the media or politicians talking to the media. Romney is in demand for Republican congressional candidates at rallies, and perhaps more notably, Romney beats Obama handily in an “if the election were held today…” question.

Buyer’s remorse is one thing, but I simply cannot remember John Kerry ever getting this kind of love in 2006. The two actually have quite a bit in common. They lost the popular vote handily but not overwhelmingly. Neither was beloved by the party that nominated them. Both lost against incumbents who had either a limited or no second honeymoon. Both had personalities that did not go over well with the electorate. And yet while Kerry may have won such a hypothetical poll in 2006 and probably did, I don’t remember any of this for him and in fact he was talking about running again in 2008 and was pretty much shot down on the idea.

So what’s going on?

I think some of it is a recognition among non-partisans that Romney may have gotten a raw deal. Remember when he ridiculously asserted that Russia was a geopolitical rival? Haha, old-timer! And binders of women? Haha, there was something wrong with that because it sounds funny. He never actually said he likes firing people, we can all pretend that he did.

I can actually sympathize with some of this, insofar as my own view of him is considerably less negative now than it was on election day. The thing about Romney, though, is that he was always better at a distance. The girl in the clown suit.

More to the point, the reasons he lost to a president of at most midling popularity in 2012 haven’t gone away. It can’t even be said that the party that was dragging him down (and it was the party dragging him down rather than vice-versa) has changed, or that he would have more capacity to change it in or by 2016 than he did in 2012.

And, of course, he won’t be running against an unpopular Barack Obama. He’d likely be running against Hillary Clinton, who crushes him just as handily as he did Obama on the very next question of the same poll.

Now, I happen to think that Clinton herself is not as invulnerable now as the polls suggest. I suspect that she will more likely than not be our next president, but like Mitt, Hillary looks better at a distance and she lost a nomination that should have been hers for a reason. If there is a Republican to take her down, I simply can’t imagine it’s the guy with a similar baggage portfolio. About the best that can be said of Romney is that he would be better positioned to defeat HRC than Jeb Bush.

Which brings us to the real reason behind the seeming Romney renaissance. The GOP has nobody else. By the time Kerry came along, many of the Democrats were already looking at Hillary Clinton or dreaming about Al Gore or Barack Obama. Not only did they have a list of winnable candidates, but the Republicans lack their own HRC2016. With Chris Christie torn asunder, Paul Ryan not looking to run, and the other candidates being completely and entirely unacceptable to major fragments of the party, one of the two the tallest men on the field is the guy who was too short to win a winnable election (and the other the brother of the guy who got the party in the position that it’s in).

All of which to say is that the principle lesson to all of this is that the GOP has some serious work to do.


Category: Statehouse


Category: Theater

WaveReportHave we reached Peak Hybrid? This is probably not related to the fact that hybrids are not as efficient as we think, since almost no cars are.

The Japanese Prime Minister wants to ramp up Japan’s cool factor, but artists want no part of it.

Denmark’s free higher education is pointed to by some as something to aspire to, but it’s hurting their economy.

Chris Reed argues that California’s politicians and media are stuck in the 80′s with their love of light rail, when game changing driverless cars are right on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the problem with driverless cars is that its not-drivers are kind of lazy.

China’s Ghost City situation has not improved. But here’s a cool one that looks like Manhattan.

Meanwhile North Korea has created its own ghost town near the border.

Advances continue to be made on the storage side of the renewable power equation.

More metal, less emissions? Sounds good to me.

MIT’s Technology Review interviews Joseph LeDoux on attempts to understand and tinker with human memory.

Peter Cappelli argues that non-compete clauses punish the wrong party. It’s become increasingly popular for college football coaches to have buyouts so large that only the schools that would hire them can pay it.

Don’t try to read your employees’ minds, and don’t pretend they are family.

Government corruption is good for infrastructure spending, bad for education and health care spending.

The Space Station is getting a coffee machine!

Teenage Mutant Ninja History.


Category: Newsroom

Typically, it’s female actors who have to worry most about the effects of aging. Producers and casting directors tend to favor younger, and younger-looking actors for both genders, to be sure, but it tends to be more pronounced with women. There are more role niches for aging men than women. This is part and parcel of more general trends, where men are also allowed to be fat more frequently than women.

They don’t have to be young heartthrobs. Often, though, they are. Hollywood does like its hunks.

As a straight male, I’m not an expert at assessing male attractiveness to women. But I do read things, and I do have eyes and see some guys that I think have to be attractive to women.

Thomas Gibson and Benjamin Bratt are two such people. I see those guys and think to myself “Those are especially good looking guys.” Even by Hollywood standards. (Note, the picture of Bratt – left – isn’t the best.)

Young

For such attractive men, it seems like both of them have aged particularly poorly. Neither of them are what I would consider unattractive, but there used to be a magic in their appearance that seems gone now. They seem less like “pretty attractive men” and more like “aging hunks.”

Older

It is probably related to the fact that I got to “see” most of them when they were at their peak and it’s hard not to compare them to that.

Bratt is in Private Practice, which I’ve commented about a couple of times here. On the show, he is presented as being extremely attractive. He just doesn’t quite look the part anymore. It feels like the opposite of Carol on Growing Pains, where the writers just decided that she was fat even though the actress, Tracey Gold, wasn’t. Gold would later go on to develop a serious eating disorder.

Better this than the alternative, I suppose. If it were decided that Bratt were the unattractive character, he might have mutilated himself.


Category: Theater

A few months ago, I upgraded from the Samsung Galaxy S3 to an S5. I wasn’t expecting a huge difference, but I figured with the increased processing power and bigger screen, those differences I noticed would be in the positive. They were, as far as that went. That paled in comparison to one adaptation that took a new phone and made it actively worse than its two-year-old predecessor.

Specifically, I was suddenly extremely restricted in what I could do with my external SD card. For instance, I could no longer take files off the computer network and copy them directly to the card. The reasoning was that it was a security precaution:

This keeps things “tidy.” Apps aren’t dumping files everywhere on the card — something we’ve all encountered — and instead have one central location to put all their files. There also are some serious security concerns that were addressed by not letting an app write files just anywhere.

This means that Jerry’s Awesome Photo Viewer app can still scan your entire system for images, build a thumbnail database of them all and save it to a folder on the SD card. But it can’t move or save the pictures themselves to folders — including the Pictures folder — on the SD card because it does not “own” those folders. If programmed right, it could save copies of the pictures to Jerry’s Awesome Photo Viewer’s own folders on the SD card. The folder is part of the app, and if you uninstall it, the folder goes, too. The old method of putting anything anywhere you want is gone, forever.

The author asks whether I want it to be “easy” or “secure.” In fact, what I really wanted was the ability to do something that I consider to be unremarkable and not-particularly-risky, without having to take intermediate steps.

Which is to say that I am not hugely invested in the Open vs Closed debate. I am perfectly fine with Closed as long as I can do what I want and have the features that I want. It’s my experience that the more open a system is the more likely I am to be able to do that, but up until this I never (for instance) felt the need to root my phone because I could do what I wanted on it without going to the trouble and voiding my warranty.

This changed that. It could have been avoided with a more intermediate computer step (apps cannot write to the SD card without the users’ express consent each time). More to the point, it could have been avoided by having a capable file management application included with the phone with the appropriate permissions.

Google, though, isn’t particularly interested in that. They are more interested in trying to dictate how we use the device, which is to say that they appear not to want us to be able to sift through the file structure at all.

They have their reasons, of course. The end result to all of this, though, is that they tipped my hand and forced me to finally look into how to root my phone. Which I’ve done, disabled the security feature, and can now get my 2014 phone to do what my 2012 (and 2010, 2008, 2007…) phone could without question.

Of the major mobile operating systems, Android is still the lesser of evils. Unfortunately, a lot of the trust has been lost here. Now instead of wondering what cool thing the next version of Android will do, I am worried about what feature the next version of Android will take away.


Category: Market

TheDevilWatchesSome people avoid Gmail because they don’t want Google having access to their private lives. The problem is, whether you use Gmail or not, they already have access to most of them.

Of course: Drones are being deployed for crowd control.

In a country where everyone likes to think of themselves as middle class, “rich” is a moving target. Just ask Hillary Clinton, who may suffer from Status-Income Disequilibrium.

Isolation is unhealthy. But unhealthy relationships are also unhealthy. So what to do?

Teenage test scores do a pretty good job of predicting future income in the aggregate. There’s a lot of noise, however.

Josh Barro makes the straightforward case that no, unbundling cable would probably not save you money.

Charles Orlando goes undercover to find out why women cheat.

Kenneth Arnold made flying saucers famous.

Razib Khan decoded his newborn son’s DNA.

Every Russian novel ever written.

Chili’s is installing tablets in its restaurants. Not only can that help them spread the waitstaff out further, but people tend to order more.

Millenials are discovering that Washington DC may be too expensive, long-term. Fortunately, the city is responding to housing concerns by preserving row-houses at the expense of denser condos.

Millenials may not be so different in their housing preferences than previously supposed. A greater percentage of them live in the suburbs in 2010 than in 2000.

In Texas, Millenials are preferring Houston and San Antonio over Dallas and Austin.


Category: Newsroom

Several years ago, Heritage came out with a fascinating look at the demographics of those who enlist in the military. I wrote about it here. BusinessInsider has done a report here:

Differences exist at the regional level as well. In 2013, 44% of all military recruits came from the South region of the U.S. despite it having only 36% of the country’s 18-24 year-old civilian population.

On the above map, some of the lowest rates of state-by-state enlistment are in New England and the Northeast, Maine notwithstanding. The Northeast of the U.S. was the most underrepresented region of the country for recruitment in 2013: Despite having 18% of the 18-24 year-old civilian population only 14% of new enlistments came from this area.

Among the more interesting of Heritage’s results were the economic backgrounds of the enrollees, which were less skewed towards the poor as we might think. Unfortunately, BI just looked at states. It is likely that the socioeconomic profile changes as the military’s needs do. The more soldiers that are needed, the lower the standards have to be, and the lower the standards are, downward on the SES scale the average enlistee is. And wartime changes the profile, I’m sure, though I’m not sure how much.

But comparing what we can, state-by-state data, what are the similarities and differences? There are more similarities than differences. Red states tend to be more represented than blue, though with low numbers for North Dakota and Utah and high numbers for Maine. High representation in the South (Louisiana excepted), and low representation in the Northeast (Maine excepted).

There are some differences, however. Montana has gone from a high-representation state to a mid-range state. This most likely relates to the increased economic opportunities for high school graduates either in Big Sky Country or next door in North Dakota (which was then, as is now, a very low-rep state). I don’t know why Mississippi would go from a blow-average to above-average state, so I would guess it is either less economic opportunity in the Gulf (pollution’s hand in the fishing economy, the drilling moratorium) or just statistical noise. Nevada is a curious case, as their economy was stronger in 2007 than it is now, but enlistment rates have fallen from among the highest in the country to something closer to mid-range.

Regionally, North West Central has joined New England as the least enlisted (probably relating to other economic opportunities) while the South Atlantic (Florida up to Maryland) has overtaken West South Central (Texas and company) as the most-enlisted region. Perhaps related to more opportunities in Texas and Florida’s housing bust, or perhaps something else.


Category: Newsroom

Queenland

Greetings from Stonebridge a fictitious city in a fictitious state located in a tri-state area in the interior Mid-Atlantic region. We're in western Queenland, which is really a state unto itself, and not to be confused with Queensland in Australia.

Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.


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