Joey Wagner, writing in the Herald & Review, has a story about the University of Illinois Basketball walk-on players. I certainly had an idea about what they do day in and day out, but this story put the spotlight directly on these players and how they go about their business.

What an outstanding group of young men.

February 21, 2019

Living in a Bubble

Emma Green, writing for The Atlantic, has a fascinating story about the bubbles Americans live in and why. You should read the whole thing, but the subhead tells the story.

A significant minority seldom or never meet people from another race, and they prize sameness, not difference.

I find this attitude sad.

February 21, 2019

Think You Can Do Better Than That Bum MLB Player? Nope.

Eno Sarris, writing for The Athletic, has an entertaining story about average joes going up against professional baseball players in several drills.

What did we learn?

You might have one tool that comes close to major league quality. Maybe you can see really well and could pick out a slider early. Maybe you could beat a really slow baseball player in a sprint. Maybe you could hit a BP ball hard. Maybe there’s one thing that you could do around, let’s say, a Single-A level.

But put them all together? We’re all really far from being able to do anything at even close to the level that professional baseball players are accustomed to. It can be a painful realization, sure.

Read the whole thing.

February 19, 2019

Then & Now

Ard Gelinck photoshops celebrities posing with their younger selves and posts the results on Instagram. Some of the photos are surreal.

February 17, 2019

Andres Feliz Scoring Life Opportunities

Here’s my latest piece on fightingillini.com.

If there was ever a play that epitomizes the Brad Underwood style of basketball, it was this one.

During the first half of the Illinois men’s basketball home match-up with Minnesota, Andres Feliz rebounded a missed shot and took the ball coast-to-coast for a layup. From rebound to two points, it took less than five seconds.

Rebound. Drive. Score.

Read the rest.

February 17, 2019

Every Best Picture Oscar Winner Ranked

Will Leitch and Tim Grierson, writing for Vulture, undoubtedly spent far too many hours attempting to rank all 90 Best Picture winners. You can quibble about several of these, but number one is absolutely correct (and, no, it isn’t The Godfather).

February 16, 2019

The Rude Awakening

James Vincent, writing for The Verge, highlights a website that is the tip of the iceberg of a technology war that I think will be the leading issue of the 21st century: The ability of AI to generate fake visuals.

ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com creates an endless stream of fake portraits. The software is relatively easily available and has already changed the face of porn and in a lot of places eliminated the uncanny valley” of CGI.

…the ability to manipulate and generate realistic imagery at scale is going to have a huge effect on how modern societies think about evidence and trust. Such software could also be extremely useful for creating political propaganda and influence campaigns.

In other words, ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com is just the polite introduction to this new technology. The rude awakening comes later.

Expect porn and politics to be the first places this technology thrives.

February 15, 2019

A Blueprint

I really like Andrew Sullivan’s approach to writing about the political ramifications of what’s happening in the world today. Each Friday, I peruse his New York magazine column looking for a turn of a phrase or an interesting insight. In today’s column I found this:

If the Democrats want to fight the next election on the need for a radical rebalancing of the economy in favor of the middle and working class, for massive investment in new green technology, for higher taxes on the superrich, and for health-care security for all Americans, they can win.

I think these are the general policy positions for nearly all of the Democrat candidates running for President. It is nice to see it wrapped up in a perfect little 50 word sentence though.

February 15, 2019

The Luckiest Guy

I’m sharing with the world the note I gave my wife this morning. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

I know you didn’t want any flowers, cards, or any of the other trappings of Valentine’s Day, but February 14 did make me stop and think that I don’t always take the time to remember and enjoy the things that made me fall in love with you. It’s certainly unintentional, but with a day filled with hearts and roses, it’s good to stop and remind ourselves.

Because we get caught up in our lives and our jobs, the waves of emotions we both differently experience, or the unending daily task list, we sometimes miss what we love about each other. Some days I’m struggling. Other days, the struggle is real for you. Still, there are a few moments when I’m instantly attracted to you: a knowing smile, a joke that makes me laugh out loud, a touch under covers, or just seeing the love in your eyes.

When I’m with you, I see how imperfect I am yet you patiently show me the way. You see my potential and your encouragement is sometimes all I need to get through a trying day. You support me as I hope I do for you. Together we can face whatever comes next.

Thank you for your patience with me, because I know I’m not easy to be with sometimes. I hope every day before you go to bed that you feel our love and are reminded of it even when you are mad or upset.

Your decision to love me has completely changed me for the better and I hope my decision to love you has changed you. You deserve nothing more than all of my love as I feel all of yours every day.

Years ago, I intrigued you by asking if you would be my muse. Today, I continue to be inspired, impressed, and in love with you. I continue to be the luckiest guy on the planet.

February 14, 2019

Rest in Peace, Opportunity 2004-2019

After turning 90 days into 15 years, NASAs Mars Opportunity rover mission is officially over. Marina Koren, writing for The Atlantic, has an incredible moving story about Opportunity as well as its brother Spirit.

The Washington Post has the full history of Mars Opportunity rover and The New York Times has an interactive look at the rover’s work. Of course, Randall Munroe of xkcd also paid tribute to Opportunity.

One day when humans reach Mars, they will find Opportunity covered in dust and they will display him in a museum.

February 13, 2019

© 2018-2019 Sean McDevitt