If Orange County was a nation it would have ranked among the top 10 in gold medals at each of the past two Summer Olympics. At the 2004 Games in Athens, Orange County athletes won as many golds (nine) as Great Britain, or one more than Brazil and Spain combined. Four years later, O.C. athletes brought home 19 medals, as many as Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and Argentina combined.
Athletes with O.C. ties also produced two of the most iconic moments of the 2008 Beijing Games. Irvine’s Jason Lezak kept Michael Phelps’ bid for a record eight gold medals alive in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with what has been called as the greatest anchor ever. Phelps later edged Serbia’s Milorad Cavic, a Tustin High grad, by a mere hundredth of a second to win the 100-meter butterfly to equal Mark Spitz’s then-Olympic record of seven golds.
In London, Orange County athletes could put up even bigger numbers.
A record 79 O.C. athletes will compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, more than double the 31 who participated in the Athens Games just eight years ago. And unlike some other Olympic hotbeds like Kenya’s Rift Valley or Australia’s Gold Coast, Orange County’s Olympic success is not limited to just one sport. In London, O.C. athletes could win gold medals in as many as nine sports.
What do Kelly Slater and Rick “Rockin’ Fig” Fignetti have in common?
Both surfers seem to be getting better with age.
Fig, as he’s known is the surf world, has been chasing after an NSSA Championship title for decades, and finally this week the 55-year-old was able to claim victory with not one, but two big National titles at the competition on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.
Fig is a well-known figure around the community and the voice of surfing, his unique and quirky voice recognizable from blaring through speakers at the U.S. Open or from his 20-year stint as the surf reporter on KROQ. He was inducted two years ago in the Surfing Walk of Fame as the “Local Hero,” and has one of the original surf shops in town.
But in the water, Fig is also a fierce competitor. He competed in the first NSSA National Championships in 1978, making the final 35 years ago. He got fourth, but that result gave him something to strive for.
See Spot surf at the Loews Dog Surfing Competition – the nation’s original surfing competition for man’s best friend. Dozens of dogs take to the waves in the small dog, large dog and tandem categories. The only event of its kind when first launched, it has grown incredibly with the 2011 contest drawing 65 competitors and thousands of spectators to Coronado’s Silver Strand State Beach.
This event is family-friendly and appeals to animal lovers of all kinds. It also draws expert surfers who participate in the tandem event and perform amazing tricks on the waves.
New this year, the winner of the Ultimate Champion Round will become the 2012 “poster dog” for Loews Hotels! The star treatment includes a professional photo shoot and lunch. The featured photos will be showcased on Loews Hotels’ official website as well as the 2013 Loews Surf Dog Competition website, t-shirts and fliers!
This popular competition is an extension of Loews Hotels’ award-winning Loews Loves Pets program and has become a hugely successful fundraiser for non-profit organizations. Loews Coronado Bay Resort, with the help of its surf dog heroes, has set a personal goal to raise $10,000 this year.
This event is free to attend and watch. To enter: $50 for Divisions One or Two, $55 for Division Three. Fees also include a competition medal and a great goody bag filled with treats. All proceeds benefit the resort’s non-profit partner.
At first I thought it was a joke – a graduate student with too much time on their hands. But there were TWO new copies for sale, each offered for well over a million dollars. And the two sellers seemed not only legit, but fairly big time (over 8,000 and 125,000 ratings in the last year respectively). The prices looked random – suggesting they were set by a computer. But how did they get so out of whack?
Amazingly, when I reloaded the page the next day, both priced had gone UP! Each was now nearly $2.8 million. And whereas previously the prices were $400,000 apart, they were now within $5,000 of each other. Now I was intrigued, and I started to follow the page incessantly. By the end of the day the higher priced copy had gone up again. This time to $3,536,675.57. I continued to watch carefully and the full pattern emerged.
Once a day profnath set their price to be 0.9983 times bordeebook’s price. The prices would remain close for several hours, until bordeebook “noticed” profnath’s change and elevated their price to 1.270589 times profnath’s higher price. The pattern continued perfectly for the next week.
But two questions remained. Why were they doing this, and how long would it go on before they noticed? As I amusedly watched the price rise every day, I learned that Amazon retailers are increasingly using algorithmic pricing (something Amazon itself does on a large scale), with a number of companies offering pricing algorithms/services to retailers. Both profnath and bordeebook were clearly using automatic pricing – employing algorithms that didn’t have a built-in sanity check on the prices they produced.
A group of students in gray shirts file out of a cramped classroom onto the road. Shining flashlights to see through the darkness, they huddle around the frame of a short, black car.
One yanks on the pull start.
The engine roars to life, and the car takes off down the road, ready for competition.
The vehicle will race this week at the Baja Society of Automotive Engineers regional competition in Oregon. The competition challenges collegiate teams to design, build and race an off-road vehicle, testing the cars in categories such as maneuverability, acceleration and endurance.
Each car in the competition must be built using the same type of engine, but the design of other parts such as the gear box and transmissions are up to each team, said Dylan Aramburu, a second-year mechanical engineering student on the UCLA Team. This gives teams the opportunity to fabricate their own customized parts.
A lot of teams buy gearboxes to put in their cars, but UCLA’s Baja team makes its own from scratch, said Anthony Tyson, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and one of the project leaders for the team.
Ok, this is a pure advertisement for Google+, but I do love the social network.
Partially because competition is always good (Facebook needs a kick in the teeth sometimes) and because I’ve never like the blue boxes of Facebook. The design and flow of Google+ works better for me…it feels like a real social network, not all gimmicky like Facebook.
Of the top 20 here are my five favorites:
#3 – Better mobile app (loads fast and better designed)
#11 – Better search (duh it’s Google)
#12 – Elegant notifications (great for multitaskers)
#13 – No more friend request fatigue (Circles are awesome)
#19 – Single post muting (mute posts in your stream)
Are you on Google+, or have you never gone back since it launched?
The Space Lab competition from YouTube invited young scientists to submit an experiment for the chance to have it performed by NASA aboard the International Space Station.
From among thousands of entrants, six regional winners have been chosen. In North America, Emerald Bresnahan of Plainville, Massachusetts, was chosen for her Snowflakes in Space experiment.
Emerald suggests that galaxies might form in a similar way to snowflakes. She wants to test how snowflakes form in the absence of gravity to better understand the link between them and other complex shapes like galaxies. Will these tiny structures give us the answers to some of our biggest questions about the Universe?
Selling consumer electronics isn’t as easy as it used to be for Best Buy. The big-box retailer is closing 50 stores and compensating employees based on customer service after its fiscal fourth-quarter sales fell short of expectations.
The company today reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion, on revenue of $16.63 billion, up 3 percent from a year ago.
Best Buy’s problem: Amazon. Best Buy has been trying to grow its e-commerce business to compete better, but the big-box approach to selling consumer electronics isn’t what it used to be. That reality has Best Buy thinking small.
The company outlined the following moves:
It will cut $800 million in costs by fiscal 2015.
Close 50 big-box stores this fiscal year.
Open 100 Best Buy Mobile and small stores this year.
Boost online revenue by 15 percent.
And Best Buy will change its employee compensation model to revolve around customer service and business goals.
“The company is gradually becoming a physical showroom for online retailers,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.
In October 2011, Google finally revealed pricing for Google Maps services. Lightweight usage was still free…significant load volumes would begin to incur charges: basically, services and applications that generated more 25,000 map loads per day would be charged $10-$40 for every additional 1,000 map loads.
For businesses put off by the new costs of Google Maps, the main alternative seems to be OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap is a UK-based, volunteer-driven non-profit dedicated to creating and offering free geographic data to anyone who wants it.
OpenStreetMap (or OSM) boasts more than 400,000 registered volunteers who supply mapping data and updates to the project. It’s an oversimplification, but think of OSM as a loose equivalent to Wikipedia for mapping data: anyone can contribute, and the content is available to anyone.
A short skit about friends playing ping-pong. With any competitive sport, winning is part of the satisfaction. As the game becomes more about who can smash harder, things start to get interesting with subtle VFX and anime style exaggeration.