Monday, April 8, 2013

Shock the World

The old man is in Atlanta with friends for the NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball Tournament.

The old man was rooting for the Wichita State University Shockers. The Shockers played the Louisville Cardinals in the first round of the tournament with the winner to then play either Michigan or Syracuse. The Shockers outplayed the Cardinals for 35 minutes of their game, but, as so often happens in any game between fierce and even competitors, fell a little short, losing at the end by 2 points. A made shot here, a missed shot there, a call one way or the other often makes the difference. So close, but no cigar.

The question the old man gets from other fans is, "What is a Shocker?"

It is an old term and refers to the time when wheat and other grains were cut by hand or machine and left in the field to dry. The wheat stalk was cut by the reaper, the stalks tied together in a shock or bundle. This allowed the wheat to dry and be carried easily to the threshing floor. Wichita State University explains its choice of the wheat shock as mascot as follows:
Legend has it that the name "Shockers" first appeared in 1904 on a poster advertising a football game between Wichita State-then Fairmount College-and the Chilocco Indians. The team's manager chose the name because many of the players earned money during the off season harvesting (or "shocking") wheat in the surrounding fields.
Wushock himself, the official mascot, was born in 1948, the project of the Kappa Pi art fraternity to symbolize the spirit of the school. In 1954 Wushock came to life in the form of a costume worn by cheerleader Dave Johnson. Tall and handsome with his bushy shock of yellow wheat protruding from the top of his head, Wushock inspires fierce devotion in his fans and fear in the opponents. History of Wushock.

Go Shox!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


"Less is more," the old man says way too much.

In this post modern world of instantaneous everything, there is not time enough to process it all. Consider, Google is processing 100 billion searches per month, and that number is only going up as more goes online. As necessity is the mother of invention, Summly is born. Consider, I google search this newest iphone ap "Summly" and get almost 4 million hits.

Wow, an iPhone app that uses an algorithm to extract key sentences and concepts, creating bullet points for you to read instead of the entire article! It is a kind of Cliff Notes for the computer age. The brilliant creator of this ap is Nick D'Aloisio, a 16-year-old who observes:
There's so much stuff on the web. Search engines are fine, but I wanted to make an intermediate layer between them and the final reading. So, you can see if you want the page first. That's useful for smartphones -- you can wait ages for a page to load and then not want it.
Nicely said Nick, but a little wordy. Still, the ap must be good, for Yahoo just paid Nick 30 million dollars for the ap. 

So, the old man wonders how Summily would work on this article:

1. Less is more.
2. Nick D cuts to the chase with Summly.
3. Ap math gets to the point.
4. Yahoo pays Nick 30 mil.
5. Nick doesn't need to go to school anymore.

Maybe, the old man can take a lesson, and summly all his posts.