Are you ready for your Fantasy Baseball draft?

Fantasy-Baseball

 

If you play fantasy baseball, you know the feeling.

It’s draft day, and you’re giddy. Yes, its spring, so you’re automatically happier. There is something special about this day.

Today you could be just like the KC Royals (the owner that makes all the wrong decisions) or have as much chance as the NY Yankees (the owner that doesn’t even need the money, but simply flaunts it). On this day, there is promise. You’ve done your homework, you have a pretty good idea how the first round is going to play out, and you’re going to kick some ass.

It’s your year!

I’ve been in a league now since 2002. The league is with the same guys (give or take a few new teams that come and go) and we have had the same format. It’s a 5×5 Rotisserie mixed league. I’ve won the league twice and have cashed a few times but it’s not about the prize money. Of course it helps keep you interested, but with us it’s mostly about bragging rights. Who has the best system for drafting?, who is the best manager throughout the season?, who makes the best trades?, who picks up the best players from the waiver wire? etc.

The best part of our league is the draft. We rent out a section of a bar in lower Manhattan and we all come with our laptops, iPads, Cheat Sheets, and highlighters prepared to draft our teams. We have some nice food prepared for us, we have the NCAA Tourney games on the big screens (as we usually do our draft purposely around March Madness because we can’t get enough sports….) and of course the open bar for 5 hours. We even get a draft board that we have set up on the wall to keep visual track of our draft.

The first couple of rounds of the draft go fairly smooth, then it becomes a little chaotic. The screaming and yelling if you take to long to make a pick, the mocking of course is also a big part of the fun. Everyone else’s picks are terrible in your eyes. The worst part of drafting is when you have your eye on a certain player and the guy that drafts before you in the order takes him on the round you wanted him. Wow does that hurt! And it seem to happen so often. The later rounds are critical and are usually the toughest to draft. This is where your homework pays off the most. If you know about that sleeper, or if you got the inside scoop on some last-minute news it could payoff big here.

In the end you look over your team and proudly brag about how good you drafted which starts some early chatter that turns into side bets with other team owners on who will have a better team this year.

Then we all look forward to opening day which not only starts the season off but usually coincides with nice weather, golf rounds, pools opening, and all other outdoor activities we’ve been patiently waiting for.

My draft is on March 22nd this year. Can’t wait!

 

 

Educating our children…don’t take away their creativity!

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I saw this guy live a few years ago at an IT conference and his talk still resonates in my mind. I’ve since watched it several times and have also seen his most recent talk on Ted as well. Equally impressive. His first talk on Ted is most watched TED talk worldwide.

His philosophy and thoughts on education have made me think twice about how to raise my daughter through her years of schooling that are yet to come. He makes valid points on how we, as a society somehow have managed to “educate our children out of creativity”.

He argues that we need to stop having reform or evolution in education, but rather we need to have a revolution in education.

I hope you spend a few minutes to watch these two TED talks. If you have children, I urge you to watch and listen. His presentation skills are great, he uses humor to break things up and makes watching him extremely entertaining and wanting to hear more.

Here are the links to the two TED Talks he’s had:
Schools Kill Creativity
Bring on the learning Revolution

Some of my favorite quotes from his talks:
“Creativity today is as important at literacy, and we should treat it with the same status”
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original”
“Creativity as I define it, is the process of having original ideas that have value”
“Human communities depend on a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability”

There was no way I was leaving this one out of my blog. He’s on the “A” list.

Millionaires, Billionaires…Trillions?

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Last night I heard this news:
Joe Flacco (QB Baltimore Ravens) signed his new contract Monday worth $120.6 million over six years. He will receive a $29 million signing bonus, $52 million in guaranteed money and $51 million over the first two years of the deal.

It got me thinking about how many millionaires there are and then how many billionaires there are in the world. I also learned the other day that Mark Zuckerberg lost about 3 Billion of his total net worth this year (according to Forbes). This “Loss” leaves him a mere 13.3 Billion this year. Crazy right?

So I did some research to see how many Billionaires there are in the world, let’s drop the millionaires out of the equation to make this a little simpler. There are currently 1426 Billionaires in the world that have a combined net worth of 5.4 Trillion Dollars.

How much is a Trillion Dollars? Well, it’s easy to say that but do you really know how much money that is? Let me try to explain that with some more research I did on the subject.

Let’s measure a Trillion in numbers
1,000 = one thousand
1,000,000 = one million
1,000,000,000 = one billion
1,000,000,000,000 = one trillion

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Time
If you count backward, then:
1 million seconds = 12 days ago
1 billion seconds = 31 years ago
1 trillion seconds = 30,000 B.C. (1 Trillion seconds is longer than ALL of recorded history)

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Height
If you stack a trillion-worth of $1000 bills together, then:
1 million dollars = 4 inches high
1 billion dollars = 364 feet high
1 trillion dollars = 63 miles high (give or take a foot or two)
Note that this is a STACK, not laid end-to-end.
Also, if you stack one trillion one-dollar bills it would reach 68,000 miles in space!

How Much Is A Trillion Dollars?
If you spent $1 million dollars a day from the day Jesus was born until now, you would only have spent about three-quarters of a trillion.

If you laid one trillion one-dollar bills end to end, it would make a chain from the earth to the moon 200 times. One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, four years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills.

If a person’s salary is $40,000 per year it would take:
25 years to earn $1 Million
25 Thousand years to earn $1 Billion,
25 Million years to earn $1 Trillion

The budget for the entire state of New York is $124 Billion. With just 1 Trillion dollars you could run 8 states the size of NY. The population of California is 34 Million. One Trillion people would equal 29,500 Californias.

One Trillion dollars today would allow you to buy Coca Cola, Apple, IBM, Bank of America, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Motorola, AT&T, as well as Exxon Mobil and still have enough left over to live comfortably on just the interest from the billions left over…not to mention the profits these companies generate.

With one Trillion dollars, you could buy 50 aircraft carriers such as the USS Ronald Reagan and outfit each of them with 45 of the newest fighter jets (the F-22 Raptor) and pay for the crews to run them.

One Trillion barrels of oil would fuel the ENTIRE WORLD for almost 35 years!

So, are you getting the idea now of how much money this is? So think about this concept now. If the 1426 Billionaires joined forces and literally used ALL their money minus say $1 Billion each to keep for themselves, they would be able to do so much good in the world and still have plenty of money left with that 1 billion to not only live comfortably but accommodate their families to live comfortably forever!

It’s probably not right for me to imply that these folks should share their wealth, especially with people who didn’t earn the right to have it. Let’s face it, most of these people earned their money by working for it somehow. I also don’t want to blemish the fact that most of these folks do give away a considerable amount of money to charities and good causes.

I’ll close today by saying that if I ever join the ranks of Billionaire status. I promise that I will launch a campaign with the other members of the elite billionaires club to try to pitch my idea.

Oh, and now we can say “Poor” Joe Flacco is not even a consideration with his measly 100 million dollar contract….

 

Would you want to live to be 114 years old?

Misao Okawa receives a certification from an official of Guinness World Records in Osaka, Japan

Misao Ookawa was born in 1898! She was recognized as the oldest woman alive! Can you even imagine that? – See Reuters article
I’d say it’s pretty hard to imagine, so I dug a bit to see what I could put together and give this some perspective. First, here’s a list of inventions that occurred during her lifetime. Most of these we take for granted everyday. She lived without them…patiently waiting for them to arrive as she lived.

Some added trivia before we go on – The oldest living man is 115 years old and he is also Japanese. In fact, Japan has the most living centurions on the planet. I think they’ve figured out the secret to longevity. We should eat more rice! 

1900: the Zeppelin is designed, an airship
1901: Radiotelegraph service is instituted for the first time in Hawaii
1902: neon lights invented, AC and refrigeration
1903: the Wright Brothers first flight in a heavier-than-air craft
1905: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity published
1906: Will Kellogg introduces corn flakes
1907: the Lumiere brothers invent color photography
1908: gyrocompass invented by Sperry
1909: instant coffee invented
1910: Edison shows the 1st talking motion picture
1911:  Kettering invents the 1st automotive ignition system
1912:  LifeSavers candy introduced
1913:  the modern brassiere and crossword puzzle are invented
1914:  gas mask invented in time for WWI
1915: Pyrex invented
1916: Model T Ford prices fall to $360 — half the 1911 price
1917: stainless steel invented
1918:  modern zipper invented
1919:  short-wave radio invented
1920: Band-Aid invented
1921: 1st robot designed
1922: insulin invented
1923: Garrett Morgan granted patent for the traffic signal
1923: Clarence Birdseye introduces frozen food
1924: spiral-bound notebooks first appear
1925: Baird’s mechanical TV demonstrated
1926: Robert Goddard’s first liquid fueled rockets tested in Auburn, MA
1927: Farnsworth’s electronic TV demonstrated
1928: Fleming discovers penicillin; Schick patents the electric shaver
1929: Zenith Radio starts year as lowest priced stock on NYSE — ends year as highest priced stock due to demand for its radios; Paul Galvin (later president of Motorola) invents the car radio
1930: Scotch tape invented at 3M; first jet engine designs
1931: electron microscope invented
1932: good year for photography: Land invents the Polaroid process; zoom lens and light meter are also invented
1933: stereo records developed
1934: first magnetic tape recorders for broadcasting
1935: Dupont invents nylon; radar first developed; beer is canned the first time
1936:  Colt’s revolver patented
1937:  photocopier invented
1938:  ballpoint pen and Teflon invented
1939:  Sikorsky’s first helicopter flown
1940: Jeep designed
1941: aerosol spray cans developed
1942: turboprop engines designed
1943: synthetic rubber invented, along with the Slinky and Silly Putty; Cousteau co-develops the Aqualung
1944: synthetic cortisone developed
1945: atomic bomb developed and used
1946: microwave oven invented by Percy Spencer
1947: Schockley-Brattain-Bardeen invent the transistor
1948: Velcro and the jukebox invented
1949: prepared cake mixes introduced
1950: Diner’s Club introduces first credit card
1951: Super Glue invented; so is first video tape recorder
1952:  first bar code patent issued; first diet soft drink developed
1953:  transistor radio invented at Texas Instruments (TI); radial tire developed
1954:  oral contraceptives invented; Ray Kroc starts franchising McDonald’s
1955:  tetracycline & optical fiber invented
1956:  first use of computer hard disk
1957:  Fortran developed
1958: Noyce (at Fairchild Semiconductor) and Kilby (at TI) both submit patents for integrated circuits
1959: important to generations of girls — the Barbie Doll is introduced
1960: halogen lamp invented
1961: Valium invented
1962: audio cassettes developed
1963: pop-top cans
1964: BASIC computer language; permanent-press materials
1965: Astroturf; Kevlar; soft contact lenses
1966: electronic fuel injection developed for cars
1967: first handheld calculator
1968: Douglas Englebert invents the computer mouse
1969: ATM invented; bar code scanners developed
1970: Alan Shugart (chairman of Seagate) invents the floppy disk
1971: Intel’s 4004 is first microprocessor design; dot-matrix printer, VCR and LCD displays also invented
1972: first video game — Pong — invented
1973:  gene splicing invented; Ethernet networking invented at Xerox; BIC develops disposable lighter
1974: Post-it Notes and liposuction invented
1975: laser printer developed
1976: ink jet printing invented
1977: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) invented
1978: Visicalc spreadsheet introduced for PCs; first PC models appear
from Heathkit, Apple, Radio Shack
1979: Walkman invented by Sony; roller blades developed; Seymour Cray
designs the supercomputer
1980: vaccine for hepatitis-B invented
1981: IBM introduces the PC and MS-DOS appears for the first time
1982: human growth hormones genetically engineered
1983: soft bifocal contact lenses introduced
1984:  Apple Macintosh popularized the graphical interface; CD-ROMs invented
1985: Microsoft brings out Windows 1.0
1986: Microsoft’s initial public offering (IPO); first disposable camera introduced
1987: disposable contact lenses invented
1988: Doppler radar invented; first patent issued for genetically engineered animal issued
1989: first HDTV broadcasts in Japan
1990: Tim Berners-Lee develops protocol for both World-wide web (WWW)
and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
1991: first digital answering machine
1992: smart pill invented
1993: Intel introduces Pentium family of 32-bit microprocessors
1994: first Internet audio broadcast from Interop, Bluetooth
1995: DVD invented; Java language launched by Sun Microsystems;
RealAudio broadcasting introduced
1996: WebTV introduced
1997: gas-powered fuel cells developed
1998: Viagra developed
1999: Google.com is formed and the search engine goes into beta test publicly
2000: mapping of human DNA completed
2001 – AbioCor Artificial Heart, Wikipedia
2002 – Wireless Headset
2004 – Facebook
2005 – GPS commercialized
2006 – YouTube
2007 – iPhone
2008 – The Retail DNA Test
2009 – Retinal Implants for the Blind
2010 – The iPad is released
2011 – The Stark Hand – Bionics
2012 – Google Glass

Ok, next. Check out this 10 minute video of events that occurred over the last 100 years that she lived. It’s seriously incredible to try to wrap your head around how long this lady has been around: Click Here

And finally, I want to list just 5 Achievements that I would love to see occur for the next 100 years or sooner.
1. The end of all Wars. A peaceful coexistence between all races and religions and having no International boundaries.
2. Elimination of all hunger, Poverty and Unemployment.
3. Funding to be no problem for all worthwhile sciences
4. The ability to control or somehow alter weather to benefit agriculture and to prevent disasters.
5. The Solar System to be “occupied” by Humans throughout with numerous scientific bases on Moon, Mars, and moon’s in Saturnian system. The beginning of  humanity living and venturing out to the Stars.

I think I would love to live in a world like that, but I don’t think I want to live 114 years!

 

Turning 40

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This week I had a few friends turn 40 so I figured I’d share some of my thoughts about my experience with turning 40 and what I’ve learned throughout my 40’s now that I am also nearing my next milestone birthday.

I wholeheartedly believe that life truly begins at 40. I am living proof. My girlfriend (now wife) Ilyssa threw me a surprise 40th birthday bash. We soon followed that up by getting married a few years later and wasted no time in having our daughter in 2006. So, you can see how my life truly did begin at 40.

In my 40’s, I discovered that huge debacles in life don’t actually kill you. It’s OK to fall down. It’s OK to make mistakes, It’s OK to take risks. You will live another day and you will be fine. Your 40’s are when you will begin to see glimmers of what will become your wisdom. In your 30’s you’re having a variety of experiences. You’re scrambling. You’re putting pieces of your life in place. In your 40’s, those pieces start to form into a finished puzzle of knowledge about who you are and how life works. I had multiple experiences in my 40’s that ranged from getting married, having a child, living abroad, taking huge risks, and dealing with many problems. They all somehow mold together to make you wiser and mold you into the person you will be as you enter into the second half of your life. Being 40 makes you feel “Seasoned”.

So my friends that are turning 40 this year….don’t sweat it. Embrace it!

I’ll end with a few 40 jokes to hopefully make you smile today:
At 40, you get two invitations to go out on the same night, and you pick the one that gets you home the earliest.
At 40, every time you suck in your gut, your ankles swell.
At 40, I realize that I was built for comfort, not speed.
At 40, your idea of weight lifting is standing up.
At 40, it takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.
At 40, conversations with people your own age often become a duel of ailments.

And finally, feel free to use this line….
“I’m not 40, I’m 18 with 22 years experience!”

Happy 40th Birthday my friends!

Does it “Pay” to be homeless?

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I ran across an interesting article today (Click here) “Donations Pour In For Homeless Man Who Returned Ring He Got By Mistake”. It’s a warm story of a woman who threw a homeless guy some change and accidentally dropped her engagement ring in along with her change. The homeless guy apparently didn’t notice it until hours later but instead of pawning it decided to keep it. The woman noticed the next day and traced her steps back to him. When he was approached by her he gave the ring back. Sweet story right?

Well, the next day the husband apparently reported this event to a local news station that created some good publicity which then prompted the husband to create a “Pay it Forward” donations page for “Billy Ray Harris” that to date has generated over $168,000. Yes, you heard me. ONE HUNDRED and SIXTY-EIGHT THOUSAND dollars.

Now don’t get me wrong here,  I am all for the nice story and the pay it forward thing. But have we become the type of society that by giving back something of value to its rightful owner has become such a HUGE deal? To me, I think that this should be second nature to everyone. Yes, he should be praised for not pawning the ring and giving it back. But this is a bit much in this readers opinion.

I hope that Billy Ray enjoys his new-found fortune and cleans himself up. But I also hope that he values what happened here for what it is and not for what it has become. Go out and continue paying it forward Billy!

I’ll leave all of you with this….Acts of Kindness should not be rewarded, they should be admired and copied. I would rather have seen the reports of this event spark 168,000 single acts of kindness than $168,000 dollars of payment for one nice deed. But that’s just me.

What do you think?

When Ideas Have Sex

Matt Ridley on stage at Pink13 - photo by Hugo
Matt Ridley on stage at Pink13 – photo by Hugo

One of the keynote speakers at the Pink13 ITSM Conference this year was Matt Ridley. His keynote was great! I totally enjoyed it. I looked him up on TED and found that his talk (or at least a very similar version of it) is available – Ted Talk. The talk is all about interesting facts of how human progress can be attributed to the meeting and “Mating” of ideas to make new ideas. He argues that it’s not that important how smart one person is but what really matters is how smart we are collectively.

I tend to agree with him and really never looked at things quite the way he does. I’m sure you’ll find it quite entertaining.

Enjoy!

The “Magic T”

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Why is it that when it comes to sporting events, concerts and entertainment we always tend to want the best seats in the house, but when it comes to learning and training we shy away and want to sit in the back? There are cases where you walk into a training room and the first 2-3 rows are practically empty. The class can be  packed and people will actually stand in the back or sides of the room to avoid having to sit in the front.

Did you ever wonder why the kids that sit in the front row of the classroom are usually the best students? Not saying that you can’t be an “A” student sitting in the back of the class. I was, but I had to try twice as hard as those in the front of the class to get my “A”. The kids in the front of the room don’t have as many distractions as you do in the back. They don’t have to see through iPhones and Blackberry’s, iPads, and that tall person that decides to sit in front of you.

What do you gain by sitting in the front you may ask? Well, besides fewer distractions, don’t you think you’ll learn something from the people around you? Those that are in the front already “Get it”, therefore they are a positive influence for you. They get to class early, they come prepared, they are sitting at attention anxiously waiting to learn. They say that if you hang around someone long enough that you start to act and be like them. Why not be like the “A” students then?

So the “Magic T” if you haven’t figured it out yet is the front row and center isles.

Where will you sit from now on?

If you decide to take this advice, be a leader and do this with conviction. Don’t just do it once, set the example for your kids if you are a parent, and don’t limit this to school. Sit in the front at your church or place of worship, sit in the front at meetings or seminars.

I credit this post to Kirk Weisler  – I’ve seen Kirk speak several times now and he is truly one of the most inspirational people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I heard him speak about this topic at a recent event and could not wait to share it. I’ve been sitting in the “Magic T” since!

Thanks Captain “Sully”

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One of the most impressive keynote presentations I’ve ever seen! WOW!

Captain “Sully” Sullenberger is the man! He talked about his life and the preparations he had leading up to that day (the Miracle in the Hudson). He described the 208 seconds that changed his life and the effects it had on everyone around him. His demeanor is of a man full of integrity, honesty, excellence, and pure leadership. If you want anyone to be piloting a plane for you, he would be it. We listened to the flight recorder and the conversations that went on during the flight and listened intently to him describe every thought and every manoeuver he made that day. It was incredible.

He later talked about process, innovation and other things that helped educate him throughout his career. Some pretty cool things were said. Some of his quotes during the presentation:

“I never knew on which 208 seconds my entire career would be judged.”

“I practiced calmness so that when I needed it I was able to force it into this extraordinary event.”

“Our reputations are built one action at a time”

“Real Innovation to me is, changing before you are forced to.”

Extraordinary person all around (to say the least). Thanks Captain “Sully” for the 5 minute chat after the presentation and for the book signing. I will truly treasure it.

Here are some videos of the flight recorder and the CCTV footage of the landing.
Flight Recorder
CCTV Landing

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Picture taken by me at Pink13 Conference - Feb13
Picture taken by me at Pink13 Conference – Feb13

I was at an IT Conference last week in Las Vegas and was fortunate to see, hear and meet some really cool people talk. Amongst those I met was Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is the Astrophysicist that led the effort in downgrading “Pluto” from planet status to dwarf planet. I was very much into Math and Science when I was a kid and grew up dreaming of a future very similar to the one we now live in and then some. I always wanted to live long enough to see us all in flying cars, or to live in a house that you simply talk to in order to get things done. Well, these things are reality today, maybe not mainstream but I have lived to see it.

We were quite fortunate to have met him during this conference because as luck would have it only a few days prior the earth experienced two major astrological events. One was the near miss asteroid (2012 DA14) that missed us by a mere 17000 miles and the other was the Chelyabinsk asteroid that exploded over Russia with a force equal to 500 kilotons of energy that injured over 1000 people and blow out windows in buildings, etc. Neil discussed these in detail for us and explained the repercussions that we would suffer if these were direct hits on earth. Fascinating and very scary data.

He followed his presentation by emphasizing how the USA is falling behind in the space program by comparison to the rest of the world. Quite sad if you ask me, being that we were once the leaders. Today countries like Japan, China, and Brazil are the leaders in this research. The fact is that after the cold war ended, the USA had no political reasons for continuing so strongly with the space program. This is really sad that things like this are affected by politics and money. Neil explained how scientists and engineers have many options for us to save our planet from these type of events (and I’m not talking Bruce Willis type options either) that cost relatively very little if the government would fund it. Thankfully, Neil told us that we should not fear because if we don’t do it, at least someone else will. The other countries that are working on these type of space programs will hopefully save us all one day.

The talk was extremely interesting and enlightening. I had the pleasure of meeting him and having him sign his book for me. He’s obviously a brilliant human being who unfortunately is having a tough time getting through to the right people these days. Politics suck!

Here are some videos of Neil and some of his talks that hopefully will enlighten you more rather than me babbling about it!

Courtesy of Bigthink.com – Neil Degrasse Tyson