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The Courts

Ortiz-Heymann: the Prior Generation 57

theodp writes "Two decades before the White House was petitioned to remove U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann from their jobs for the allegedly overzealous prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the Boston Globe reported on allegations of 'sometimes heavy-handed tactics and inaccuracies' of an NFL investigation into sexual harassment charges made by a sportswriter against the New England Patriots that was led by Watergate prosecutor Philip Heymann (Stephen's father) and included Ortiz. 'From the day Philip Heymann and his colleagues walked into Foxboro Stadium to investigate Lisa Olson's charges of sexual harassment,' the Globe reported, 'the New England Patriots were on the defensive, and apparently, they stayed there to the end. One day after conducting a preliminary six-hour interview with Olson, Heymann introduced each investigator to the Patriots and outlined their backgrounds at a meeting he later called benign. Yet he also said two weeks ago, "They were frightened from the beginning by the way I introduced people. I said that Jerry O'Sullivan had been US Attorney. I said Jim Ring had been FBI special agent in charge of organized crime."'

Regarding Ortiz, the Globe reported, 'Heymann investigator Carmen Ortiz wrote in a memo of her Oct. 18, 1990, interview with [Lisa Olson] that she took no notes and did not tape-record the conversation. Yet she used direct quotes when writing up her 15-page report on the session. When asked to explain, she referred the Globe to Heymann.' Aside from transcripts of two interviews (the tapes of which were destroyed), the Globe reported the NFL kept no notes on its interviews with 89 other people. '"It was contemplated that there would be a motion such as this [a lawsuit by Olson] and we did not want to create that type of document," an NFL attorney explained. According to the Globe, an attorney representing the Patriots said that 'one reason the tapes were destroyed may be that the NFL did not want anyone to hear raised voices or pounding of tables. He said some of those interviewed were not allowed to leave the room and had their livelihoods threatened if they did not cooperate.' Curiously, the elder Heymann featured prominently in a recently-upheld DOJ motion to keep the names of key people involved in the Aaron Swartz case secret — a postcard threat received by Philip Heymann was cited by Ortiz's office as evidence of why such secrecy was necessary."

How To Sneak Into the Super Bowl With Social Engineering 164

danielkennedy74 links to an instructive story captured on video introduced with these words: "Sneaking in near press/employee access points without going thru them, zigzagging through corridors, and once carrying a box so someone opens a door for them, two jokers from Savannah State University social engineer their way into Super Bowl XLVII for the most part simply by looking like they belong." USA Today has a slightly longer article.

NIH Neuroscientists: Junior Seau Had Brain Disease Caused By Hits To the Head 240

McGruber writes "ABC News/ESPN broke the story that a team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed the brain tissue of renowned NFL linebacker Junior Seau and have concluded that the football player suffered a debilitating brain disease likely caused by two decades worth of hits to the head. From the article: 'In May 2012, Seau, 43 — football's monster in the middle, a perennial all-star and defensive icon in the 1990s whose passionate hits made him a dominant figure in the NFL — shot himself in the chest at his home in Oceanside, Calif., leaving behind four children and many unanswered questions.' As Slashdot earlier reported, more than 30 NFL players have in recent years been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition once known as 'punch drunk' because it affected boxers who had taken multiple blows to the head."

The Physics of the Knuckleball 87

snoop.daub writes "R.A. Dickey, pitcher for the New York Mets, has been in the news this week after two dominant pitching performances in a row, holding opponents to one hit in each of the games for the first time since Dave Stieb did it in 1988. He has taken over as the league's only knuckleball pitcher after Tim Wakefield retired last season. But just what is it about the knuckleball that makes it hard to hit? Conventional wisdom has it that the lack of spin on the knuckleball causes it to move in completely unpredictable ways, even changing directions in mid-flight. In the last few years, there has been a lot of good science done to understand baseball pitch trajectories, and a few months ago Prof. Alan M. Nathan showed that knuckleballs aren't really so different from other pitches. It turns out that the same 9-parameter equation that can be used to describe other pitch trajectories applies just as well to the knuckleball. The difference appears to be that, like in a chaotic system, knuckleballs depend sensitively on the initial conditions, so that small changes can cause randomly different forces at the start of the pitch which determine the resultant trajectory. Much of this and similar work depends on the Pitchf/x tool, which has recorded the complete trajectory, spin angle and spin rate of every MLB pitch since 2007! Baseball really does have the best sports stats geeks."

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