Beer Wednesday: An Ode to the Duchesse

I can't believe that in all our beer reviews on FIWK I have never done one dedicated to one my all-time favorites, Duchesse de Bourgogne by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium. The closest I've come is mentioning it in my review of Ichtegem's Grand Cru, which is also of the "Flemish red ale" style. I absolutely love this beer.

FIWK the NBA: It's raining young guards

In reviewing the FIWK draft primer at the halfway point of the season, I always find it helpful to look at who has achieved expectations and who has underperformed so far. Without question, the standout performers have been mostly young guards. In fact, the overall recommendation to ‘draft young’ has been a winner. Among those listed, here are the young players outperforming draft position:

Ty Lawson (especially before injury); DeMarcus Cousins (still insane though); Mike Conley; Greg Monroe; James Harden; Marcus Thornton; DeAndre Jordan; Jeff Teague; Paul George; Kyle Lowry; Marcin Gortat; Roy Hibbert; Jarrett Jack

And in the interest of fairness, here are the duds from my list:

Tyreke Evans (started slow, playing better now); Serge Ibaka (same as Evans); JaVale McGee (not terrible, but not a big jump); Toney Douglas; JJ Barea; Ty Thomas; Landry Fields … and that’s about it. Seriously, most of the young dudes have been balling.

Tech Thursday: Scorpion Armor and Exploding Bullets

The title of this week's Tech Thursday sounds like science fiction - the topics are unrelated, by the way - but actually they are just two really cool examples of applied science which come to us via The Economist. The first story is that by studying the exoskeleton of scorpions, researchers in China have discovered that a slightly irregular surface partially deflects particles blown at high speed. This helps keep scorpions alive in desert sandstorms, and could potentially reduce the wear on plane engines and helicopter blades. Also, the term 'biomimetics' is really cool.

The second article is about an advancement in military technology which utilizes exploding shrapnel rounds fired from a rifle - given the catchy name XM25 - to explode behind enemy cover. It sounds like a miniature grenade launcher, but actually the shells function more like tiny artillery. First the rifleman uses a laser sight to gauge the distance to an object behind the target's cover, then subtracts a small distance to get to the target's actual range. This programs the exploding shell with a digital 'fuse' basically. When the shell is fired just over (or next to) the target's cover, it flies just past and then the shell's internal computer tells it to explode, blasting the target with shrapnel. Apparently it "is lethal within a radius of several meters", which means it isn't exactly a tiny explosion.

The implications of this are pretty interesting - it seems like it would push opposing ground troops away from engaging in rifle exchanges within the 500m effective range of this gun, as there would be no way to hide unless the opposing gunmen had fully enclosed cover. That range "is nearly double the range of the AK-47", a cheap rifle used by many groups around the world, giving a distinct tactical advantage to technologically advanced ground troops carrying the XM25. Pretty interesting shift in ground combat that this could bring about.

Music Tuesdays - What the Water Gave Me by Florence and the Machine

What the F*WK? "Work/Life Balance"

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I find the reality of work often making it difficult to find a work/life balance. More often than not, the first thing I do when I wake up is check my email. The last thing I do before going to sleep? Yup - check my email. And it's not as if I'm always reading things I need to read; it's just habit. I bring this up because I came across this interesting article from Fast Company - it's about manager's setting expectations for off-hours work/communication. Have any of you had a conversation with your manager's about after-hours work expectations?

Image via Fast Company.

Music Tuesdays - Wildfire by SBTRKT

I am going to say that you pronounce this band 'subtract', but I don't know for sure. What do you think?

FIWK the NFL: Super Bowl

You know what? That picture feels about right. It could be two or three decades old and still perfectly illustrates all the amazing ridiculousness that accompanies the championship game of the NFL. No other championship game gets even close. Everything else feels like an extension of the regular season and playoffs. Even the conference championships feel more like normal games than the Super Bowl. I think it's because of the neutral field and I know it's because of the extra week before the game. Two weeks ago I was looking forward to watching football at home. Now, I'm looking forward to a party that happens to have a football game on at the same time. It's fun and exciting and the commercials are great. It will be good times with friends and squares. I know at one point during the game I will think to myself, "I want this team to settle for a field goal and then the next team to score a touchdown. Then in the next quarter I want them to score 0 or 10 points each." This is a different feeling that does not exist for any other game in any other sport. The Super Bowl is much, much bigger than the championship game of the NFL and yes, that is a very important distinction. I mean, look at the size of that football! And there's a guy with a jet pack!