Rank the Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Here is the still-growing corpus.

Phase One: Avengers Assembled
Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk (2008, Mark Ruffalo version)
Iron Man 2
Thor
Captain America: The First Avenger
Marvel’s The Avengers

Phase Two:
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant-Man

Phase Three:
Captain America: Civil War

Coming up next are Doctor Strange (this year) and three films in 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarock.

NFL 2016: Week 4

Thursday
Dolphins-Bengals Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Week 4’

A Case for Hillary Clinton–Why She Would Make a Far Better President Than Trump

(Note: Don and Mitchell–I’m not writing this with you as the intended audience. I’m writing this more for the undecided voter who views both candidates as equally bad. Also, the writing is an exercise–a preliminary attempt–to see if I can make a positive case for Hillary Clinton. But as always, I welcome any comments or feedback.)

From the time I started paying attention to presidential campaigns (1992), the “lesser of two evils” seemed like a popular rationale for choosing a candidate. But in this election that rationale seems even more prominent and intense. Voters really seem to really dislike both major party candidates, viewing both candidates as equally bad (for the most part).

But is that really true? Personally, I don’t think so. Hillary Clinton has flaws, but those flaws fall well within typical range, while Donald Trump’s problems are qualitatively and quantitatively much worse in my opinion. I’ve spent time talking about Trump’s flaws, but I want to now try and explain why I believe voters can feel confident about voting for her. Continue reading ‘A Case for Hillary Clinton–Why She Would Make a Far Better President Than Trump’

2016 Presidential Debates

If you guys watched the presidential debates, I’m curious to hear your reaction. I’ll post my thoughts up soon.

A Search to Understand the Difficulty of Building More Affordable Housing

I’ve been on a search to understand the difficulty of providing affordable housing, partly out of my interest in effectively addressing the homeless problem; and I’m going to use this thread to chronicle this search, as well as allow for discussion about the subject.

I’m going to start with sharing my basic understanding of the topic, and also offer some thoughts and hypotheses for solutions. Based on what I’ve been reading, the main problem seems to surprisingly simple and obvious: Continue reading ‘A Search to Understand the Difficulty of Building More Affordable Housing’

Why Journalists Must Cover Donald Trump in an Different Way

I’ve been reading complaints on twitter from journalists about the false equivalence in the presidential campaign coverage. The complaint is based on the opinion that one candidate’s (Trump) deficiencies and missteps are so much worse than the other (Clinton). I agree with this, and I think the MSM doesn’t really make important distinctions between various failings of both candidates. Here are three things that I believe the mainstream media (MSM) can do to change that: Continue reading ‘Why Journalists Must Cover Donald Trump in an Different Way’

NFL 2016: Week 3

Thursday
Houston-Patriots Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Week 3’

The Problem with Journalists Calling Out Politicians for Lying

There has been discussion and calls for the mainstream media to confront Donald Trump when he lies. I sympathize with that position, but I also think this approach is quite tricky and even problematic. My thoughts on this matter are a jumble, and I’m going to use this post to sort them out. (I’m also writing this to invite others to help me in the process.) I’m going to organize this post, but making a few points and commenting on them. Here’s the first one: Continue reading ‘The Problem with Journalists Calling Out Politicians for Lying’

I Totally Disagree With That!

I listen to several sports radio shows, and frequently I’ll hear comments that I disagree with, and I’ll feel the urge to express my disagreement. Since I can talk to the people making those comments, this is thread to respond.

One of the guys I find myself responding to the most when I disagree is Colin Cowherd. I think this is the case because a) I think Cowherd is an intelligent guy, and often gives thoughtful answers–so I actually respect what he says. If I didn’t, I would feel less of a desire to respond, I think; b) He can come across as arrogant, smug and even dismissive of people that disagree with him.

On Monday’s podcast, he made a compared Jimmy Garoppolo and Dak Prescott, essentially saying that Garoppolo was a really good QB (I think he called him a franchise QB), while being more dismissive of Prescott. Personally, I don’t know really know who is the better QB at this point, but I objected to Cowherd’s reasoning. Continue reading ‘I Totally Disagree With That!’

NFL 2016: Week 2

Before I list the games, I wanted to list the ESPN’s current power rankings, mainly because I have some points of disagreement. Here’s their list: Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Week 2’

Thoughts on Why the Press May Be Covering Clinton’s Scandals Unfairly

Several prominent journalists and public thinkers have been critical of the New York Times and Associated Press for the way they have covered the Clinton Foundation’s connection with Hilary Clinton while she was Secretary of State (SoS). (Actually, they’re critical of how various publications have investigated potential scandals by the both Bill and Hilllary Clinton.) Many of these critics (Matthew Iglesias, Norm Ornstein, James Fallows, et. al.) believe some publications are spending an inordinate time investigating and reporting on potential stories that don’t warrant this; and in the process, these publications create the impression that Hilary Clinton has done something really bad. So, the issue is 1) the amount of scrutiny and coverage; and 2) the lack of any egregious wrong-doing by Clinton.

Honestly, I’m not 100% sure if these critics are correct. I do think they are, but I can’t be sure if this is my bias at work. I’ll definitely try to keep this in mind, but I want to proceed by offering a possible explanation for why certain publications (like the Times) is treating Clinton this way.

First, here are two possible reasons some publications like the NY Times favor viewing Clinton as suspect and corrupt, even if the evidence doesn’t really support this: Continue reading ‘Thoughts on Why the Press May Be Covering Clinton’s Scandals Unfairly’

The Secret of Kells (2009)

Mitchell said Continue reading ‘The Secret of Kells (2009)’

NFL 2016: Week 1

Thursday
Panthers-Broncos
Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Week 1’

The Qualities of a Great QB/The Russell Wilson Thread, Part 2

Part 1 was getting really long, so I’m going to continue that thread here in this new one.

To start things, off I wanted to mention a little detail I noticed in the preseason game, something I’ve never seen Wilson do. Continue reading ‘The Qualities of a Great QB/The Russell Wilson Thread, Part 2’

Check This Out (Post-2015)

I’m having a hard time loading the current CTO thread, so, if it’s OK, I’m starting a new one.

2016 UHM Football

First game of the season is on ESPN tomorrow (our Friday) at 4:00 vs UC Berkeley in Sydney, Australia.

A Discussion of Fermi’s Paradox

I never heard of Fermi’s Paradox (FP), but I recently read about it here. FP involves two components: 1) probability suggests that there should be other life-forms similar or even far more advanced than human beings are now; 2) If this is true, where are they? Why haven’t we had any evidence of their existence?

In the link above, the writer does a really good job of walking the reader through the steps as to why there should be life similar and even more advanced than our own. Instead of explaining the whole process (or forcing you to read it–although it’s an interesting read), I’ll try to summarize the process. The conclusion that similar life forms exist rests on two facts– Continue reading ‘A Discussion of Fermi’s Paradox’

When There Are No Credible Gatekeepers

In The Social Needs of Social Media and How This Relates to the Rise of Donald Trump, I discussed the way the lack of social constraints that exist in offline interactions has lead to an erosion of behavioral norms and the notion of mainstream ideas. In this thread, I want to discuss the way the press can help improve the situation. To start off, I wanted to post an excerpt from a interview with a Conservative talk show host:

tweet from Oliver Darcy, a political writer for Business Insider

The quote comes from an interview between Darcy and Charlie Sykes, a Conservative talk show host. Sykes speaks about excoriating the mainstream press, with charges of liberal bias, and how this has basically destroyed or severely damaged the ability of the press to serve as sources of facts and truth. I do think Conservative attacks have contributed to this, but I also think the democratizing effect of the internet created the conditions where this could really occur. In the internet age, the elite, which the press is a part of, have less and less authority as filters and arbitrators of what is important, meaningful and true–creating a situation where the individual, and algorithms, more and more, have supplanted them.

This is something I’ve been worrying about. In this thread, I’m going to offer some quick ideas to address this problem. way to address the problem. Continue reading ‘When There Are No Credible Gatekeepers’

The Social Needs of the Social Media and How This Relates to the Rise of Donald Trump

I’ve been spending more time on the Atlantic website, including participating in the comments section. There are some ideas I wanted to get off my chest based on this experience (and, really, I may have had these ideas before, but my recent experience has just underscored them.).To start off, I want to list some of the differences between online and offline communication and social interactions, including some observations about both: Continue reading ‘The Social Needs of the Social Media and How This Relates to the Rise of Donald Trump’

Can We Isolate a QB’s Performance From the Contribution of His Teammates?

I’ve been having this long discussion about whether the notion of the best QB is something objective or not. (I’m assuming you guys agree with me that it is not.) In the course of this discussion, we decided to examine the conceptual possibility of separating the QB’s contribution to a team. This is important because almost everything a QB does on the field–the way he performs–depends on the players around him. The quality of competition, the style of offense and coaching can also impact his performance. This is true of most statistics used to evaluate a QB. However, if one could isolate the QB’s contribution in some objective way, perhaps that would be the start of an objective way to identify the best QB. (I think there would still be problems, but that’s another story).

In this thread, I want to examine this question, conducting it like a thought experiment. Continue reading ‘Can We Isolate a QB’s Performance From the Contribution of His Teammates?’