Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 28, 2021

Who knew that bananas were a strong sleep-inducing food?

They’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.

Magnesium? Does this mean eating two or three ‘nanners right before bed amounts to mag loading?

I suppose if you really want to hedge your bets, you can kick in that old reliable sleepy-timer, tryptophan, and whip up a turkey-and-banana sandwich before head hits pillow. Assuming you think a good night’s sleep is worth such culinary larceny.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/28/2007 11:01:57 PM
Category: Food, Science
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In response to the phenomenon that is Second Life, Darren Barefoot (an avatar-sounding name if there ever was one) implores you to Get A First Life, um, first. Something to do with pint-sized pirates, apparently.

This lighthearted parody comes with some background of the overhype treatment that Second Life has received, with which I concur. In fact, most of the media attention seems to be coming via Time Warner’s business publications, which makes me wonder if the editors at Fortune, Money, and Business 2.0 aren’t doubling-down to the extreme to avoid missing out on a perceived next-big-thing. The snowball-effect introduction of brand-name marketing and ad campaigns no doubt feeds this illusion: “Geez, if Nissan and Hilton are in on this, it must be major!”

Due to this, I’ve taken to calling the site/game “Sims on steroids”. Because, really, that’s all it amounts to, in my view.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/28/2007 10:06:00 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Comedy, Videogames
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Everyone’s well used to it when booking an airline flight. Now, paperless ticketing is poised to transform the way seats are sold for sporting events, with Cleveland Cavaliers games serving as the testing ground.

Why the Cavs? They happen to have an inside connection to the e-ticket biz:

While some Major League Baseball teams have introduced electronic ticketing, the Cavaliers have taken it a step further, providing a completely paperless transaction. Nearly a third of their season-ticket holders use Flash Seats, [Cavs] owner Dan Gilbert’s online ticketing company.

The firm is looking to sell other professional teams on the concept, allowing them to cash in on the lucrative secondary ticket market. Teams have long been frustrated by the fact that they sell seats for the price listed on the ticket only to see scalpers outside the stadium get double and triple that figure.

“I hope to be in every league starting next fall,” said Flash Seats chief executive officer Sam Gerace, who would not say which teams have expressed interest.

The real genius of this development? It kills several birds with one stone:

1. The obvious: It makes the event-ticketing transaction more completely electronic, cutting down on paper.

2. It addresses the major issue of ticketbuyers giving away their tickets — something that’s fairly negligible in the airline business, but is a constant when it comes to sports season tickets. People buy into season ticket packages knowing they’ll give away some to friends and associates; for corporate accounts, the whole point is to give away tickets to guests. Observe:

“I love it,” said [Cavaliers season ticket holder] Lee Baskey, who won’t go back to paper tickets next season. “It’s a neat concept. When I first heard about it I had 8,000 questions.”

Baskey, who uses his tickets for both his family and customers in his insurance business, said his main concern was how easy it would be to transfer tickets. He said there’s been no glitches.

It would have been too easy, and shortsighted, for Flash Seats to have made their e-tickets nontransferable, thus sinking the concept instantly. But they accounted for it, and make it as easy as sending an email to the person receiving the gift ticket (I wonder if the guest has to register with Flash Seats to complete the transfer; that’d be a pain, but then again, I can’t think of a better incentive to go through with a laborious registration process than getting gameday tickets!).

3. It comes with a controlled ticket-selling exchange marketplace, where season ticketholders can sell individual game e-tickets to others, with Flash Seats taking a 20 percent cut. This freezes out traditional ticket brokers and scalpers — at least until they figure out how to infiltrate it. It also makes eBay’s recent $310 million purchase of StubHub look like a dead-end proposition, since the e-ticketing system would put entire process into the teams’ hands.

The fit with sports, especially for extended schedules like those in the NBA, NHL and MLB, is a natural for e-ticketing. I wonder how bumpy the process would be for one-time-only event, like concerts. Indeed, that’s an area that can be addressed when they start offering e-tickets for single-game sales.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/28/2007 09:10:08 PM
Category: Tech, Basketball, SportsBiz
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Dating from (gasp!) the pre-Web era, the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon trivia-association game stubbornly persists, long after the 1993 film that inspired it has been forgotten.

Rather than continuing to regard it as a “horrifying” phenomenon that he wishes would go away, Bacon has embraced his namesake cultural oddity, in the name of the greater social good. SixDegrees.org is a charitable initiative endorsed by the actor, where you can register your own personal fundraising efforts for your favorite charity. To foster the online community feel, it’s got blog-able/email-able buttons and links to help you spread the word and solicit donations.

Nice to see something worthwhile came out of that one-trick pop-culture pony. I still remember the college boys who dreamed it up making their appearance on the old “Arsenio Hall Show”, circa 1990; they demonstrated the breadth of their Baconnectivity knowledge like they were competing in a spelling bee or something…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/28/2007 07:56:35 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Celebrity, Movies
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odd-man jobs
Sunday means National Hockey League special-teams scrutiny again!

Due to the limited number of games since last time — All Star Game week resulted in contests only on Friday and Saturday, and not every team played those days — overall team numbers are fairly static. As a result, not too much change in the standings. But as usual, comparisons with previous week’s leaderboard can be made here.

And as always, higher-ranked power play breaks ties in STI Number; only one such tie this week (Pittsburgh-Detroit at Nos. 16-17).

STI Rank Team PP % (Rank) PK % (Rank) STI Number
1 San Jose Sharks 25.4 (1) 84.1 (9) 109.5
2 Montreal Canadiens 22.8 (2) 86.0 (4) 108.8
3 Anaheim Ducks 22.0 (3) 85.6 (5) 107.6
4 Vancouver Canucks 17.3 (16) 88.6 (1) 105.9
5 New Jersey Devils 17.9 (11) 86.4 (3) 104.3
6 Nashville Predators 17.6 (12) 85.6 (6) 103.2
7 Florida Panthers 19.0 (7) 83.3 (12) 102.3
8 Edmonton Oilers 14.9 (27) 87.2 (2) 102.1
9 Minnesota Wild 16.4 (20) 85.5 (7) 101.9
10 Ottawa Senators 17.6 (14) 84.1 (10) 101.7
11 Dallas Stars 18.0 (10) 83.1 (13) 101.1
12 Boston Bruins 19.3 (6) 81.3 (20) 100.6
13 New York Rangers 17.4 (15) 82.5 (17) 99.9
14 Washington Capitals 17.6 (13) 82.2 (19) 99.8
15 Carolina Hurricanes 15.9 (24) 83.8 (11) 99.7
16 Pittsburgh Penguins 19.7 (5) 79.9 (23) 99.6
17 Detroit Red Wings 16.8 (18) 82.8 (16) 99.6
18 Columbus Blue Jackets 16.2 (22) 83.0 (15) 99.2
19 Philadelphia Flyers 14.2 (28) 84.9 (8) 99.1
20 Toronto Maple Leafs 20.0 (4) 78.9 (27) 98.9
21 Colorado Avalanche 18.7 (8) 79.6 (25) 98.3
22 Buffalo Sabres 16.3 (21) 81.2 (21) 97.5
23 New York Islanders 16.2 (23) 80.1 (22) 96.3
24 Atlanta Thrashers 16.5 (19) 79.7 (24) 96.2
25 St. Louis Blues 13.6 (29) 82.4 (18) 96.0
26 Tampa Bay Lightning 18.2 (9) 76.6 (30) 94.8
27 Calgary Flames 15.4 (25) 79.3 (26) 94.7
28 Phoenix Coyotes 15.4 (26) 78.9 (28) 94.3
29 Los Angeles Kings 17.0 (17) 77.1 (29) 94.1
30 Chicago Blackhawks 10.9 (30) 83.1 (14) 94.0
by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/28/2007 07:01:54 PM
Category: Hockey
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