Offensive lineman John Urschel starting PhD at MIT – Business Insider

John Urschel

John Urschel

I am in absolute awe of this.

Continuing to show he is one of the more unusual (and impressive) players in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel announced via Twitter his plan to start his Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this year, ESPN reported.

Put another way, the 24-year-old, 305-pound lineman got into the No. 1 ranked graduate school for mathematics, all while having a full-time job in a field other than math.

Source: Offensive lineman John Urschel starting PhD at MIT – Business Insider

Ring Around Raleigh bike ride!

Ring Around Raleigh

Ring Around Raleigh

Tomorrow morning I’ll be leading a number of my friends and neighbors on a Ring Around Raleigh bike ride using bike-friendly streets and greenways. It’s the same route my family has been riding over the past few weekends. I was inspired by a friend who posted about his ride around Raleigh and thought I’d try to do it, too.

My experiment proved easier than I expected. The streets taken are quiet neighborhood streets with little traffic and the vast majority of riding is along Raleigh’s beautiful greenways. It seems so easy and fun I thought I would help get the word out to my cyclist friends so they could begin riding it, too.

If you’d like to join us, be at Lions Park (1600-ish Bennett Street) at 8 AM Sunday morning. We’ll leave the park promptly at 8:15 AM and spend the next three hours or so working our way clockwise around the city. The weather’s shaping up to be great, too: with a sunny, breezy day and a high of only 84 degrees.

Hope to see you tomorrow at Lions Park!

Our Route:
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Coca-cola ad causes some heads to explode

I didn’t watch the Superbowl yesterday because professional football kind of bores me. Last night’s blowout of Denver by Seattle makes my choice seem justified. Plus, what does it say when all anyone wants to talk about is the Super Bowl TV commercials?

Apparently Coca-cola struck a nerve in some when they had the audacity to air a commercial with brown-skinned people singing America the Beautiful. Yes, even this patriotic song by Katherine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward is causing some conservatives to flip out. Why? Who the hell knows?

I’ve been seeing responses on the Desert Storm Veterans Facebook page that just make me want to smack my head.

Here’s one pic from Facebook that’s been making the rounds:
"Hey Coke! No American Solider [sic] has ever served his Country so that we could hear America the Beautiful in another language during our Superbowl! Big Mistake.. big, big Mistake!"
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Former UNC-Chapel Hill professor indicted in academic scandal

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has charged former UNC professor Julius Nyang’oro with obtaining property by false pretense for accepting money for a class he didn’t teach.

Julius Nyang’oro, the former chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was indicted Monday by an Orange County grand jury on a charge related to an academic scandal at the school.

Nyang’oro could face up to 30 months in prison if he is convicted of obtaining property by false pretense, which is a felony. Investigators said he accepted $12,000 for teaching a class that never happened.

The university reclaimed the money through garnishment of his final paycheck.

While I am mad as anyone that UNC condoned cheating, I think the false-pretense charge is ridiculous. You would have a harder time convincing me that UNC didn’t know this was going on, that UNC wasn’t fully aware of what Nyang’oro was doing, than convincing me that Nyang’oro somehow hoodwinked the university. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. The professor has done this work many times before with no compensation. It was the university’s idea to pay him this particular time and by then it should have been “caveat emptor.”

Again, I can’t stand cheaters and I think the book should be thrown at UNC for their misdeeds. However, this charge won’t result in justice. It will result in quite an interesting trial, though, as Nyang’oro and his attorney summon some very uncomfortable witnesses to testify at his defense.

via Former UNC-Chapel Hill professor indicted in academic scandal ::

Raleigh’s special events office

The city recently created a special events office, coming in response to the Color Run fiasco, among others. I think this is a wonderful approach, as I think Raleigh should do its best to accommodate the growth of running in our city. Hopefully with staff dedicated to managing events, we can find a way to let runners run and showcase more of our city to the participants.

Can you edit better than a third grader?

I don’t know what it is with the N&O’s editing, or lack thereof. It seems particularly bad for the sports section. It may due to my bias for the N.C. State Wolfpack but it seems there’s a general lack of knowledge for State coverage. I don’t know because I usually only skim the Duke or UNC stories.

N.C. State’s basketball team beat Western Michigan yesterday in a game in Raleigh. Sports writer J.P. Giglio wrote a good story on the game, but because Giglio referenced last week’s game against St. Bonaventure, whomever supposedly edits the sports page listed St. Bonaveuture as yesterday’s opponent on the front of the sports page.

Giglio wrote:

Just like the previous game against St. Bonaventure, Richard Howell fouled out Saturday against Western Michigan.

… and this is what appeared on the front of the sports page:

The Pack played Western Michigan, not St. Bonaventure.

Fewer than two weeks ago, the sports page flubbed the name of N.C. State’s basketball coach in a photo caption on the front of the sports page, calling him Mike Gottfried instead of Mark Gottfried. This error didn’t get by my eagle-eyed 8-year-old son, Travis, so why in the world did it get by the paper’s editors?

The N&O has a chance to offer the best coverage of local sports, and generally the paper does. For many subscribers, sports coverage is very important. That’s why I’m mystified that the N&O has let its sports editing get so bad. It may be enough to drive people away from the newspaper.

Scrooge and Santa (On the Martin Report)

Writing in Indy Week, Thad Williamson sums up my thoughts on the Martin Report.

If the idea of the Martin Report—at least this version of it—was to close the book on the UNC academic scandal, clearly it has failed. Internal campus critics such as history professor Jay Smith as well as the News & Observer editorialists have been quick to point out that the report simply doesn’t investigate in any detail the question of whether athletes benefitted primarily or disproportionately from the suspect courses in the African and Afro-American Studies departments. Because this iteration of the report (a folllow-up is promised for next month) didn’t dig into all the hard questions, it’s hard to see why we should accept former Gov. Martin’s conclusion that this is simply an academic scandal.

via Scrooge and Santa (On the Martin Report) | Triangle Offense.

DeCock: Yow’s culture change continues

Debbie Yow fired N.C. State football coach Tom O’Brien today:

Still, despite [O’Brien’s] losing record in ACC play and the missed opportunities that kept piling up, O’Brien still got the Wolfpack to bowl games on a regular basis, beat North Carolina on a regular basis and kept the program clean. And N.C. State can look no farther than its rivals Chapel Hill for an object lesson on the perils of striving for football glory.

While some of TOB’s recent losses have proven baffling, I’m not pleased with Yow’s decision, particularly with the revelation of how deeply in debt Maryland’s athletics programs became under her leadership. My fears regarding Yow’s apparent focus on winning alone have me greatly concerned for the future of Wolfpack Athletics.

via DeCock: Yow's culture change continues – NC State –