from the shrunken-balls dept.
While the New England Patriots have absorbed a beating in the press, with many scientists concluding that only the surreptitious hiss of air being released from their footballs could explain the loss of pressure making them easier to handle, James Glanz reports at the NYT that the first detailed, experimental data has concluded that most or all of the deflation could be explained by environmental effects.
[The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs during their victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday's rain-soaked AFC Championship Game.]
“This analysis looks solid to me,” says Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who reviewed the paper. “To me, their measurements mean that there’s no evidence of foul play.” Some academic and research physicists now concede that they made a crucial error in their initial calculations, using an equation called the ideal gas law. But applying the equation to real situations can be surprisingly deceptive. When a gauge indicates that the ball contains 12.5 p.s.i. — the minimum allowed by the N.F.L. — the actual pressure is more than twice that amount because the surrounding pressure of the atmosphere must be considered. This roughly doubles how much a dip in temperature can lower the pressure. “I stand corrected,” says Tegman, “It’s pretty funny that the ideal gas law is making headlines."
Thomas Healy measured the pressure drop in 12 footballs when they were moved from a room at 75 degrees to one at 50 degrees (the approximate temperature on the field in the Colts game). In the experiment, the deflation of the footballs was close to the larger, correctly calculated value. When Healy moistened the balls to mimic the effects of the rainy weather that day, the pressure dropped even further, close to the deflation of 2 pounds per square inch that the N.F.L. is believed to have found. Healy, who is from the Boston area, conceded that he would be rooting for the Patriots — whether he gets tickets or not — but says engineers who were not Patriots fans had helped with the experiments. Healy says his interest was just in the science. “It’s bringing science to a really public light, especially when everybody is getting interested in the Super Bowl."
Non-USA readers may wish to refer to our earlier story about the Super Bowl which explains some of the terminology and background on the game.
Go to nearly any major site on the web and you are bombarded with advertisements. Like many other people I know, I use browser plugins like AdBlock to try and remove them from my browsing experience.
But, for one time each year, there is an event in the USA where I actually tune in as much to see the advertisements as to see the event itself. I'm talking about the Super Bowl where we find out who wins the National Football League (NFL) championship. This year's game, Super Bowl XLIX, pits the New England Patriots versus the Seattle Seahawks and is scheduled for Sunday, February 1 at 6:30 PM EST.
With such a large viewing audience and such large sums spent to acquire a spot during the game, advertisers go out of their way to try and make ads that are actually interesting and memorable. Some have strained the limits of technology to pull them off.
If I were to mention nothing but net, you'd probably know I was referring to a series of ads pitting Larry Bird against Michael Jordan going one-on-one on increasingly challenging and then outlandish basketball shots, the winner to get a McDonald's Big Mac.
So, with the big game soon to be upon us, I ask: What are your most memorable Super Bowl ads? What's the biggest flop? Some advertisers have "leaked" copies of commercials on-line before the big show. Where did you find them? What's your favorite so far?