An important lesson we can learn from the Seahawks

Seahawks Stadium at Night

A combination of fear with hubris so often produces results that, in hindsight, everyone can agree did not need to happen. 

Almost always, we can understand why people so often do stupid things – fear so often drives stupidity, Fear is, as Frank Herbert wrote, the mindkiller.

From Carroll’s comments, it appears to me that fear colored the team’s decision. Fear changed what would, in a calm, rational world, be the obvious course into one that they could not take, while the extremely risky approach that lost them the game, seemed ‘obvious.

The coaches were afraid of being stopped if the Hawks ran, then afraid they would have to call a pass on 3rd down and then maybe have to go to fourth. Fear  of doing the ‘obvious’ thing (they had the best short yard runner in the league against the worst short yard defense in the league) and failing.

Fear of having to answer, “How could you be at the 1 yard line and not get in?

But fear. by itself, usually results in inaction. Here, it was combined with (often justifiable) hubris. The Hawks had practiced and executed so often when they needed the big result, that I bet it never entered any Seahawks’ head that there could be a bad result.

Hubris alone is not really a problem. Believing on oneself and one’s team can produce results far beyond expectations. But, it sometimes can, as seen here, lead to making a poor decision. It reduces the ability to rationally see the right solution if it blinds one to reality.

And combine hubris with a little fear and bad things almost always happen.

In contrast, the touchdown they scored at the end of the first half had little fear behind it. It was all about belief and execution. They had nothing else to lose.

I bet that if the Seahawks had been at the 10 yard line instead of the 1, they would have done a much better job. Fear of failure would not have entered their heads.

Fear and hubris – a very bad combination. Now they know and I hope they never make that mistake again. Pride is wonderful. A little humility is great. And fear needs to be banished.

Perhaps the rest of us could learn something from them.

Another test of FLickr

French Creek by Ian Sane
French Creek, a photo by Ian Sane on Flickr.

I am going directly from FLickr to WordPress with this test.

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Denying evolution by denying evolution

NewImageby jonrawlinson

Also, the sharks are smarter than Eric Hovind
[Via Freethought Blogs]

The news a few weeks ago was that hybrid sharks had been found off the coast of Australia. They looked like tropical Australian black-tip sharks, but genetic testing revealed that they’d hybridized with the common black-tip, which has a wider range; these hybrid black-tips were similarly extending their range and living in colder waters.

This is an excellent example of evolution: it’s a population shifting its range, correlated with an observation of novel genetic attributes. This is exactly the kind of gradual transition that we’d expect to be compatible with evolutionary theory.

Unless you’re a creationist, of course. Or an idiot. But I repeat myself.

I wonder if they ever considered that when you stand back and look at them, they are all sharks. That means they are the same kind of animal. That is not evolution taking place; there is no changing from one kind of animal into another kind of animal happening here. We started with a shark and now we have a shark. That is not evolution!


Yes. define evolution as something that is not evolution. That is how creationists role.

When I read the story, my first thoughts were how the hybrids reacted to changing conditions, did the hybrids exhibit a greater ability to deal with the new environments and, if so, how much better was it than either parent alone.

To a creationist, the story leads to denialism and no further questions.

Scientists knew this over 400 years ago. Johannes Kepler, when describing the first nova seen in the West in the Middle Ages, stated:

Priusquam autem ad creationem, hoc est ad finem omnis disputationis, veniamus: tentanda omnia existimo.
However, before we come to [special] creation, which puts an end to all discussion: I think we should try everything else.

Even then, scientists realized that  special denialism stopped discussions and prohibited understanding of the world around us.

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Turning an iPhone into a clinical spectrophotometer and more

photonicby jurvetson

Cradle attachment turns Apple’s iPhone into handheld biosensor
[Via AppleInsider]

Demonstrating again the versatility of the device, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a cradle and app that turns Apple’s iPhone into a powerful biosensor in the vein of Star Trek’s fabled tricorders.


Here is the video demonstrating doing a spectral analysis of two samples. Pretty amazing.

And getting to set up for actual medical examination of things like vitamin A deficiency.

Their technology uses photonic crystals o detect all sorts of molecules. This material, which they can deposit directly on a slide, affects specific wavelengths of light – whether they are reflected or transmitted. It provides a useful waveguide for examining what happens when different wavelengths of light hit a biological substance on the slide.

Essentially, the wavelengths reflected change after a molecule binds. They have used this to detect very small amounts of DNA. They have also used it in a screening approach for cancer cell therapies.

They can prime the device allowing them to look for a specific molecule, such as a protein or DNA. And they say that the $200 in parts is as accurate as a $50,000 spectrophotometer.

In a recent paper, the researchers describe how they used the system to detect the presence of an antibody in a concentration dependent way.

And they have more ideas on the way.

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Printing solar cells – 10 meters a minute

sunby Rhys Asplundh

CTRL+P: Printing Australia’s largest solar cells |
[Via  CSIRO]

The printer has allowed researchers from the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) – a collaboration between CSIRO, The University of Melbourne, Monash University and industry partners – to print organic photovoltaic cells the size of an A3 sheet of paper. According to CSIRO materials scientist Dr Scott Watkins, printing cells on such a large scale opens up a huge range of possibilities for pilot applications.


Being able to cheaply print out  solar power cells could change things once again. 

This technology could allow solar cells to be placed in all sorts of locations not found today. And these cells can be designed to efficiently capture certain wavelengths that standard solar panels cannot. 

Such additive manufacturing will change many things.

Posted in General. 1 Comment »

The comic shows what needs to change

The Oatmeal Tried to Watch ‘Game of Thrones’ and This Is What Happened
[Via Daring Fireball]

Infuriatingly spot-on.


The comic explains the piracy that really hurts companies – the people who want to buy the product but can’t.

Pirates that simply coopy without thinking about paying are nevert going to be dislodged. But a large number of people using these sites want the product – they just can not get to it legally.

As Apple showed with iTunes, make it easy and legal and people will pay.

Putting people in jail is not the right approach.

Posted in Cargo Cult Worlds, Entertainment, General. Comments Off

Google Reader becomes less useful

Farewell Google Reader – We’ll Miss You – Forbes
[Via Forbes]

Word on the street is Google Reader’s social functions, its funky community of shares and comments, and the archives of these interactions, will all be flushed down the memory hole tomorrow.

I check my Reader every day and it’s always a minute or two before I realize that these people I’m following, these comment threads I’ve become accustomed to, these excellent finds – will all be gone.


Google messed with Search, to its detriment in my opinion. It is messing with its Maps, now charging perhaps $10,000 for a license to put tMaps on a website.

And Now Google Reader is messed around with. I think Google’s focus on social sharing to compete with Facebook will harm it. It is competing head to head with way too many companies – Apple with regard to mobile devices, Facebook for Social sites, Microsoft on Search.

Can gmail be far behind?

I just do not believe it will be able to keep its eyes on the prize in so many different areas. We can see this in the problems each area has. Google is starting to fall into the same sort of trap others have of trying to be all things to everyone in all the cutting edge areas.

I simply do not trust Google like I used to. They are becoming more and more interested in doing things for their own purposes rather than making my life better. They are focussing on copying others, becoming the second to market in areas rather than the best.


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