February 2020

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.


Roger Federer as Religious Experience

The metaphysical explanation is that Roger Federer is one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws. Good analogues here include Michael Jordan, who could not only jump inhumanly high but actually hang there a beat or two longer than gravity allows, and Muhammad Ali, who really could “float” across the canvas and land two or three jabs in the clock-time required for one. There are probably a half-dozen other examples since 1960. And Federer is of this type — a type that one could call genius, or mutant, or avatar. He is never hurried or off-balance. The approaching ball hangs, for him, a split-second longer than it ought to. His movements are lithe rather than athletic. Like Ali, Jordan, Maradona, and Gretzky, he seems both less and more substantial than the men he faces.

“Does it Do Anything?” “It Tells the Time.”

The Watches Of James Bond

And what of James Bond’s watches? From a few clues in Fleming’s novels, we learn that 007 wears a “heavy Rolex Oyster” of some sort, with a luminous dial and expanding metal bracelet. It was possibly an Explorer, the watch of the author himself, who no doubt wore it on his spearfishing excursions from his Jamaican beach villa. This was the 1950s, when steel Rolex sports watches were in their infancy and Bond treats his like the tool it was, not the luxury accessory or status symbol it would become. In the novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he brandishes it as a “knuckle duster”, wrapping it across his fist to render a henchman unconscious in the ski room of a mountaintop hideout. Upon later reflection, Bond decides he can get his shattered watch replaced with a stipend from MI-6, and will probably get another Rolex, which Bond feels no particular affection for, but likes because they’re heavy and easy to read. No more, no less.

Just a Bit Outside

How does MLB check the accuracy of pitch tracking at ballparks?

The ground truth method relies on the frame-synchronized filming of a ball passing over the plate by two high-speed cameras. WSU uses Phantom cameras which operate at 2500 frames per second (fps). These 1920×1200 cameras are focused down to a field of view (FOV) of 5 x 3 ft on the space surrounding the strike zone as in Figure 2. This yields a spatial resolution of about 0.03 inches/pixel within the camera’s field depth. Exposure times of 50 µs allow still images from video with a motion blur of less than 80 thousandths of an inch (< 0.080”) as shown in Figure 3.

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Thanks for reading. Have a great month,


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A bit about me: I can be interested in anything, for better or worse. I love photography, travel, golf, and baseball. My latest pursuit is learning the guitar. I write a rad newsletter that I publish monthly.

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