Sports fan lobbyist fights NFL blackouts, taxpayer-funded stadiums, and Comcast

David Goodfriend, founder of the Sports Fans Coalition.

Since 1973, the National Football League has prevented local TV stations from broadcasting games when tickets aren’t sold out—and Federal Communications Commission rules enable this decidedly fan-unfriendly policy. The rules are finally close to being overturned, and if they are you can thank David Goodfriend.

Founder of the Sports Fans Coalition, Goodfriend is an attorney and lobbyist with years of experience in government and private industry. He was a Clinton Administration official, a Congressional staffer, legal advisor at the FCC, and executive at Dish Network. The Sports Fans Coalition teamed with four consumer advocacy organizations in 2011 to petition the FCC to stop supporting the NFL’s blackout regime.

In practice, the FCC rules primarily benefit the NFL because the nation’s other major sports leagues don’t punish fans by keeping games off local TV when they aren’t sold out. The NFL has resorted to astroturfing to make it seem as though the general public supports blackouts, and dismissed opposition from fans as being incited by cable and satellite companies. NFL attorney Gerard Waldron (who also lobbies for broadcasters on other matters) disparaged Goodfriend’s motivations, telling Ars that the Sports Fans Coalition “has received funding from Dish, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon,” and that Goodfriend “has close and longtime ties to Dish as their former in-house lobbyist and now is an outside consultant.”

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Sports fan lobbyist fights NFL blackouts, taxpayer-funded stadiums, and Comcast

David Goodfriend, founder of the Sports Fans Coalition.

Since 1973, the National Football League has prevented local TV stations from broadcasting games when tickets aren’t sold out—and Federal Communications Commission rules enable this decidedly fan-unfriendly policy. The rules are finally close to being overturned, and if they are you can thank David Goodfriend.

Founder of the Sports Fans Coalition, Goodfriend is an attorney and lobbyist with years of experience in government and private industry. He was a Clinton Administration official, a Congressional staffer, legal advisor at the FCC, and executive at Dish Network. The Sports Fans Coalition teamed with four consumer advocacy organizations in 2011 to petition the FCC to stop supporting the NFL’s blackout regime.

In practice, the FCC rules primarily benefit the NFL because the nation’s other major sports leagues don’t punish fans by keeping games off local TV when they aren’t sold out. The NFL has resorted to astroturfing to make it seem as though the general public supports blackouts, and dismissed opposition from fans as being incited by cable and satellite companies. NFL attorney Gerard Waldron (who also lobbies for broadcasters on other matters) disparaged Goodfriend’s motivations, telling Ars that the Sports Fans Coalition “has received funding from Dish, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon,” and that Goodfriend “has close and longtime ties to Dish as their former in-house lobbyist and now is an outside consultant.”

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FLIR One gives your iPhone infrared Predator vision

Apparently, my normal every-day resting face is SEVERELY GRUMPY when viewed in infrared.

Like most geeks in my generation, my first real glimpse of thermal imaging was provided by John McTiernan’s 1987 film Predator, where Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team of badasses are stalked and killed by an even badassier three-meter-tall alien out on safari. The eponymous “predator” perceives the world through machine-augmented infrared vision, and Ahnold’s body heat is brightly visible to the creature as he and his crew scurry around amidst the comparatively cool jungle foliage.

It makes for a neat visual effect, and Ahnold must figure out how to evade the hunter’s thermal vision as the movie violently explodes toward the inevitable final showdown. But real-time infrared thermal imaging is expensive—McTiernan had a Hollywood budget and could afford to rent the bulky equipment required to capture the film’s iconic imagery. Thermal imaging is still most often seen as a tool of military and law enforcement, with even small hand-held thermal cameras costing thousands of dollars.

FLIR Systems wants to change that. The Oregon-based company is the largest manufacturer of thermal imaging systems in the world, and it has a substantial customer base in the United States Department of Defense (the company’s name comes from the acronym FLIR, which stands for forward looking infrared). The company also makes medical grade thermal imaging devices and even professional-level thermal cameras intended for use by civilian agencies (like local fire departments). But FLIR Systems’ newest product is aimed at normal folks who don’t necessarily have thousands of dollars to spend on a pro-grade thermal imaging system.

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FLIR One gives your iPhone infrared Predator vision

Apparently, my normal every-day resting face is SEVERELY GRUMPY when viewed in infrared.

Like most geeks in my generation, my first real glimpse of thermal imaging was provided by John McTiernan’s 1987 film Predator, where Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team of badasses are stalked and killed by an even badassier three-meter-tall alien out on safari. The eponymous “predator” perceives the world through machine-augmented infrared vision, and Ahnold’s body heat is brightly visible to the creature as he and his crew scurry around amidst the comparatively cool jungle foliage.

It makes for a neat visual effect, and Ahnold must figure out how to evade the hunter’s thermal vision as the movie violently explodes toward the inevitable final showdown. But real-time infrared thermal imaging is expensive—McTiernan had a Hollywood budget and could afford to rent the bulky equipment required to capture the film’s iconic imagery. Thermal imaging is still most often seen as a tool of military and law enforcement, with even small hand-held thermal cameras costing thousands of dollars.

FLIR Systems wants to change that. The Oregon-based company is the largest manufacturer of thermal imaging systems in the world, and it has a substantial customer base in the United States Department of Defense (the company’s name comes from the acronym FLIR, which stands for forward looking infrared). The company also makes medical grade thermal imaging devices and even professional-level thermal cameras intended for use by civilian agencies (like local fire departments). But FLIR Systems’ newest product is aimed at normal folks who don’t necessarily have thousands of dollars to spend on a pro-grade thermal imaging system.

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Strangers will verbally deliver your messages with this app

No matter how many emoticons you use, messaging apps (for the most part) remain a rather impersonal form of communication that fall somewhere between e-mail and phone calls on the formality scale.

Artist and actress Miranda July is hoping to change this with her new messaging app Somebody, which will send your missives not directly to your friend, but to a nearby human stranger who will relay the message verbally to its intended recipient.

While the app is very much a real piece of technology, it is also a far-reaching public art project that to some extent involves the sender replacing their avatar with a real-life messenger, who is being directed in a mini performance. On the app’s website, July describes Somebody as: “The antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises, here, finally, is an app that makes us nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us.”

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Strangers will verbally deliver your messages with this app

No matter how many emoticons you use, messaging apps (for the most part) remain a rather impersonal form of communication that fall somewhere between e-mail and phone calls on the formality scale.

Artist and actress Miranda July is hoping to change this with her new messaging app Somebody, which will send your missives not directly to your friend, but to a nearby human stranger who will relay the message verbally to its intended recipient.

While the app is very much a real piece of technology, it is also a far-reaching public art project that to some extent involves the sender replacing their avatar with a real-life messenger, who is being directed in a mini performance. On the app’s website, July describes Somebody as: “The antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises, here, finally, is an app that makes us nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us.”

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Learning CPR from YouTube: maybe not a great idea

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YouTube can teach you many things from how to style your hair into victory rolls to how to play guitar, but if you want to pick up advanced first aid, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

A new study has analysed videos showing how to perform CPR and basic life support on YouTube and discovered that many are not consistent with health guidelines and do not qualify as educational material.

The research was carried out by a team of emergency medicine specialists from Turkey who filtered through thousands of results after searching using the terms “CPR”, “cardiopulmonary resuscitation”, “BLS” and “basic life support” to find the videos that were relevant enough to be analysed. Videos that incorporated advertising, were off-topic, that weren’t posted between 2011 and 2013 or that weren’t in English were excluded.

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Learning CPR from YouTube: maybe not a great idea

Shutterstock

YouTube can teach you many things from how to style your hair into victory rolls to how to play guitar, but if you want to pick up advanced first aid, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

A new study has analysed videos showing how to perform CPR and basic life support on YouTube and discovered that many are not consistent with health guidelines and do not qualify as educational material.

The research was carried out by a team of emergency medicine specialists from Turkey who filtered through thousands of results after searching using the terms “CPR”, “cardiopulmonary resuscitation”, “BLS” and “basic life support” to find the videos that were relevant enough to be analysed. Videos that incorporated advertising, were off-topic, that weren’t posted between 2011 and 2013 or that weren’t in English were excluded.

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Same box, better graphics: improving performance within console generations

Atari 2600 Launch: Combat (1977) Believe it or not, those huge blocky walls and pixelated tanks were state-of-the-art graphics in their day.

20 more images in gallery

In the never-ending war between PC and console gamers, one of the PC side’s favorite points is the fact that console hardware stays frustratingly static for years at a time, while PC users can upgrade everything from the RAM to the graphics card as technology improves. Thus, by the end of a given console generation (and sometimes earlier), a price-competitive PC will almost always be able to outclass the performance of its aging console competition.

This is true, as far as it goes. But as any console owners can tell you, unchanging hardware does not mean unchanging graphical performance over the life of a console. On the contrary, as time goes on, developers are often able to extract more from a console’s limited architecture than anyone ever thought possible when the system launched.

In the early days, new processors and memory chips in the actual game cartridges contributed to this evolution. More recently, it’s become a function of developers having the time and experience to know how to get every last ounce of power from an architecture that is intimately familiar.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Same box, better graphics: improving performance within console generations

Atari 2600 Launch: Combat (1977) Believe it or not, those huge blocky walls and pixelated tanks were state-of-the-art graphics in their day.

20 more images in gallery

In the never-ending war between PC and console gamers, one of the PC side’s favorite points is the fact that console hardware stays frustratingly static for years at a time, while PC users can upgrade everything from the RAM to the graphics card as technology improves. Thus, by the end of a given console generation (and sometimes earlier), a price-competitive PC will almost always be able to outclass the performance of its aging console competition.

This is true, as far as it goes. But as any console owners can tell you, unchanging hardware does not mean unchanging graphical performance over the life of a console. On the contrary, as time goes on, developers are often able to extract more from a console’s limited architecture than anyone ever thought possible when the system launched.

In the early days, new processors and memory chips in the actual game cartridges contributed to this evolution. More recently, it’s become a function of developers having the time and experience to know how to get every last ounce of power from an architecture that is intimately familiar.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments