Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 21, 2021

special return
Among the loose ends that came about due to this blog going kaput last month was the continuation of this weekly look at National Hockey League special teams performance. Now that I’m back, it’s back. And since this is All-Star Game week, the leaguewide break in gameplay is an ideal time to gawk at where all the teams stand in odd-man performance.

This doesn’t have anything directly to do with the Index, but a look at the archived editions of this series reveals something significant: The first solid evidence that the technical difficulties on this site actually removed some data. I’ve been trackbacking each new week’s post to the previous week’s, as a way to link them all together. But now, none of those trackback links are still in place. I know I sent them the first times around; compare this current edition from November with the Google-cached version. I can alway solve this particular problem by making a subcategory for STI. But this is stil disquieting, because now I wonder what else might be erased around this blog…

Anyway, on to the puck action! Here’s the leaderboard through last night’s games. As you can imagine, quite a bit has shifted since the last lineup, although the Habs remain on top of the heap. What stands out for me: Rampant examples of imbalance, ala rosters with a strong power-play but weak penalty-kills, and vice-versa. We’ll see if this persists into the second half of the season.

As usual, higher-ranked power play breaks ties in STI Number.

STI Rank Team PP % (Rank) PK % (Rank) STI Number
1 Montreal Canadiens 23.1 (2) 86.9 (3) 110.0
2 San Jose Sharks 25.8 (1) 83.9 (10) 109.7
3 Anaheim Ducks 22.0 (3) 85.6 (6) 107.6
4 Vancouver Canucks 17.4 (15) 88.4 (1) 105.8
5 New Jersey Devils 18.4 (10) 86.7 (4) 105.1
6 Nashville Predators 17.6 (14) 85.2 (7) 102.8
7 Minnesota Wild 16.4 (22) 86.2 (5) 102.6
8 Edmonton Oilers 15.1 (27) 87.3 (2) 102.4
9 Florida Panthers 18.6 (8) 83.2 (13) 101.8
10 Ottawa Senators 17.9 (11) 83.8 (11) 101.7
11 Dallas Stars 17.8 (13) 83.3 (12) 101.1
12 Boston Bruins 19.7 (4) 81.0 (20) 100.7
13 Carolina Hurricanes 16.4 (21) 84.0 (9) 100.4
14 New York Rangers 17.8 (12) 82.3 (17) 100.1
15 Detroit Red Wings 16.9 (18) 82.4 (16) 99.3
16 Pittsburgh Penguins 18.9 (7) 80.1 (22) 99.0
17 Columbus Blue Jackets 15.8 (24) 83.2 (14) 99.0
18 Washington Capitals 17.4 (16) 81.5 (19) 98.9
19 Philadelphia Flyers 14.3 (28) 84.5 (8) 98.8
20 Colorado Avalanche 19.0 (6) 79.5 (24) 98.5
21 Toronto Maple Leafs 19.2 (5) 78.8 (28) 98.0
22 New York Islanders 16.7 (20) 79.9 (23) 96.6
23 Buffalo Sabres 15.8 (23) 80.8 (21) 96.6
24 Atlanta Thrashers 16.8 (19) 79.5 (25) 96.3
25 St. Louis Blues 14.0 (29) 82.3 (18) 96.3
26 Phoenix Coyotes 15.4 (25) 79.3 (27) 94.7
27 Calgary Flames 15.2 (26) 79.4 (26) 94.6
28 Tampa Bay Lightning 18.4 (9) 76.1 (30) 94.5
29 Chicago Blackhawks 11.1 (30) 83.0 (15) 94.1
30 Los Angeles Kings 17.2 (17) 76.7 (29) 93.9
by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/21/2007 09:11:20 PM
Category: Hockey | Permalink | Feedback (1)

When YouTube reaches its saturation point later this year (probably when everyone links to/forwards some clip of Paris Hilton exposing her ass in public), you’ll know about it even before you get the news. Because by then, your usual news site/feed will be coming at you at a slow, practically dialup-like crawl, regardless of how amped your computer is or how fast your cable modem is.

Why? Because videos are heavy filewise, and when you have a few million of them coming through the pipes at once, something’s got to give:

“The twin trends causing this are an explosion in demand, largely fuelled by the growth in video traffic and the lack of investment in new, functioning capacity,” said Igal Brightman, global managing partner at Deloitte. “Bottlenecks are likely to become apparent in some of the Internet’s backbones, the terabit-capable pipes exchanging traffic between continents.”

He said that investment, either in laying new cable or lighting existing fiber, may be stifled by continuing falls in wholesale capacity prices…

“The impact may be most noticeable in the form of falling quality of service,” he said. “Surfers are most likely to be annoyed by the slowdown in service. And it may only take an unexpected upsurge in video usage to turn the inconvenience caused by a drop in access speeds into full-scale consumer dissatisfaction.”

Basically, the Internet has always been a telecommunications network masquerading as a media network. It was originally designed to handle low-load types of data, like text and other static forms of information. Pushing rich media like music and television shows through it goes way beyond the intended capability; no matter how many servers get added on (in a piecemeal fashion, it should be noted), eventually the tub fills up.

It’ll be interesting to see how Web junkies, from dot-com businesses to (ahem) bloggers, will cope when their need for speed gets blunted.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/21/2007 07:18:54 PM
Category: Internet | Permalink | Feedback

Remember the late ’90s, when the explosion of phone-based gadgets led to an explosion of extra phone numbers, which led to an explosion of new telephone area codes? It seemed like a new numerical designation was being assigned every week, turning what used to be a fairly stable, geographically-designated map into a hopelessly convoluted jigsaw puzzle. The future looked bleak, with more splits/overlays down to the street level, and eventually the rollout of 12+ digit numbers.

But somehow, the insanity stopped. Changes in number bloc assignments have resulted in a slowdown in area-code proliferation, to the point where some newly-instituted ones are, unexpectedly, practically moribund:

“These area codes are living longer,” said John Manning, director of the North American Numbering Plan Administration, which manages the registry of area codes, phone numbers, and the database used by North American carriers to route calls.

Indeed, the numbering administration has extended the projected “exhaustion” dates of nearly all 322 geographic area codes. Among the few estimated to be depleted earlier than expected are the 212 and 646 codes that serve Manhattan; 229 for Albany, Ga.; 254 for Waco, Texas; 309 for Peoria, Ill.; 702 for Las Vegas; and 904 for Jacksonville, Fla.

What’s going on? Obviously, the telecom device landscape has thinned out since circa 1998. Back then, people were adopting cellphones, but also had their established landline phone. Plus, they had their pagers, and additional landlines for home-office fax machines and dialup Internet service. Granted, not everyone loaded up to this degree; but enough did to put a strain on the numbering system.

Now, nearly a decade later, the requirements have changed. In addition to the new assignment rules that cut down on unused numbers, the ability to transfer and retain your phone number across landline and cellular networks means people are keeping a single number longer, regardless of their physical location. Customers are also increasingly abandoning their landlines, which frees up more numbers. And of course, in addition to pagers going the way of the dinosaur, broadband Internet eliminates the need for another telephone-based pipe in the house (and also, incidentally, takes out the fax, which can be subbed for email or even Web-based fax-and-print options).

All this represents a fundamental shift away from the telephone wire as the main medium of communications. The unfortunate side effect is that the concept of “area codes” — i.e., their identity as representative of a specific physical location like New York City or the state of New Mexico — is now practically dead. It used to be a convenient knowledge shortcut to know that a phone number with an (813) area code, for instance, was surely connected to someone in Tampa. Not any more, obviously.

I’m thinking the term “area code” will fade out in due time. I’m already hearing the word “prefix” used more and more, which makes more sense, given the context.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/21/2007 06:12:24 PM
Category: Tech | Permalink | Feedback (1)

layin' down
Organized religion meets organized crime? The official numbers out of the Vatican show that The Holy See has the highest per-capita crime rate on the globe:

The Vatican’s attorney general Nicola Picardi released the astounding statistic at the start of 2007: The tiny nation’s justice department in 2006 had to contend with 341 civil and 486 criminal cases. In a population of 492, that measures out to 1.5 cases per person — twenty times the corresponding rate in Italy.

The guy in charge advocates, predictably enough, prayer as a preventative action. A more effective tactic: Keeping a closer eye on the touristas:

Picardi did say that most criminal cases were matters of pickpocketing or purse-snatching. The rest amounted to other petty crimes like fraud and forgery — committed not by kleptomaniacal nuns but by a handful of black sheep among the 18 million pilgrims and tourists who visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican Museums every year. About 90 percent of these crimes go unpunished, which is not a measure of Christian mercy but a sign of the perpetrators’ favorite method of escape. They can break for the border — a few meters away — to Italy.

At this rate, the next edition of everyone’s favorite videogame will be dubbed Grand Theft Auto: Vatican City

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/21/2007 05:02:39 PM
Category: Political, Videogames, True Crime | Permalink | Feedback

Here I was, all set to fix what needs fixing by way of WordPress upgrade.

And wouldn’t you know it, I went and got Dugged.

I guess my indignation over a manufactured word being declared “Word of the Year” struck a chord. As is usually the case whenever this blog attracts heat, I never imagined such a relatively throwaway post would garner something so big as the famed Digg Effect. But I’ll take the attention and the traffic (even though, as that last link notes, all that action likely will impart no adclicking revenue nor regular vistors).

Therefore, I’m going to hold off on sitewide tinkering, in the interest of keeping all links live. Right now, as of this writing, my post just Digg-ed its way to the front page. So this will be a good test of my new webhosting service; let’s see if its servers can handle the flood. This should be fun!

UPDATE: And fun it is: Visits are skyrocketing, currently at 1,300 just this hour. Yikes. Easily a record for this blog. And weekends are supposed to be slow for Digg.com! Can’t wait to see how this all shakes out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/21/2007 01:09:02 PM
Category: Internet | Permalink | Feedback (1)