NBA big man extensions

October 30, 2008

Andrew Bynum: 4 years, $58 million.  At about $15mil per year, he’s now close to max contract money, but not a ton more than the markey for run-of-the-mill starting big man (like Okafor and Nene).  Only an extra $4mil or so per year, and i’m sure the nuggets or bobcats would surely trade straight up for Bynum.  So good contract for the Lakers, especially since it’s only 4 years they hedge against a career-ending injury.  Also probably a good contract for Bynum, since he’s only 21 and will come back on the market at 25 with a chance to get his 9-figure mega-contract.

Jason Maxiel, 4 years $20 million.  Another good contract for Joe Dumars.  Maxiel has shown he’s a good energy big off the bench, and his offense is getting better.  Against the Celtics he hit a number of good-looking elbow jumpers, which is a good sign going forward.  His weight is under control too, and as with Bynum I think the number or years works for both sides (although Maxiel is a bit older, and I’m sure would have preferred a longer, bigger deal.


Free NBA picks: 10/30/08

October 30, 2008

CLEVELAND (-9.5) over Charlotte:  The Cleveland LeBron’s looked great on opening night, losing a close game on the road to the fired-up defending champs.  Charlotte…let’s just say they’re not as good as Boston.  Lebron doesn’t start 0-2, and this will be a blowout.

Houston at DALLAS:  UNDER 190:  It seems that good teams, or at least veteran teams tend to cover the under since they know how to defend, while young inexperienced teams cover the over because of blown assignments, poor box-outs, etc.  These are two older, veteran teams known for defense, and without a lot of great scorers (Ron Artest for 3!  Jason Kidd with the pullup!)

I’ll keep a running total of accuracy

slime molds are beautiful

October 28, 2008

These are some pretty neat pictures.  If anyone comments feel free to link to other ultra-close up pictures of cool things.

Being stuffed up is what separates us from the animals

October 22, 2008

Robert Sapolsky, noted neuroscientist, baboon researcher, and commentator on human characteristics, recently wrote an article describing the role of smell in the animal world.  The main point was that not much happens for animals, especially emotionally, outside the context of smell.  From sex to violence to friendship to bonding with family members, he describes smell almost in a way as the music in the room.  Even more than body language, he suggests, two dogs in a confrontation communicate by there phermones, relating which is the confident aggressor and which is covered in the smell of fear.  Here is the article

The most interesting point of all this talk about animal noses is what it means for humans.  Humans have much, much weaker senses of smell than other primates, even chimps.  Sapolsky makes the point that almost half of the genetic variation between humans and chimps involve these smelling genes, with the usual pattern being the gene being on in chimps and off in humans.  He then unfotunately trails off into talking about how our other senses make up for smelling, and can “move us to tears.”

But the fact that we smell so poorly means that we aren’t nearly so emotional as other primates.  And I think that it’s really this that makes us so different.  If we’re wronged, we may not fight back immediately if the situation is threatening, and instead plan our revenge for later.  We control our sexual urges, allowing us to form more cooperative and less competitive relationships.  Basically we’ve become more like machines as we are less influenced by direct emotional stimulation from our noses.  This is a cool piece of the big puzzle of how humans became so different from all other animals.

Hello world! Will everyone have a blog in 50 years?

October 22, 2008

This is to be the first post in a narcissistic, introspective web log.  What are common reasons people start blogs?

1.  To feel cool.  Do most people think this is cool?  Would James Dean have been the top-rated blogger?  Blogging might be dorky the way e-mail used to be dorky.  Or it could be lame the way things like dungeon’s and dragons have always been lame.  I think right now it’s leaning toward e-mail dorky, everyone LUUVs Facebook afterall.