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  • August 2017
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Super Bowl 48!!

Super_Bowl_XLVIII_logo

Since I am getting sick of winter and the polar vortex, I have decided to write about something that will make me happy-the upcoming Super Bowl.  This year’s matchup is a rarity in that it will be a meeting between the best offense in the league (the Denver Broncos) and the NFL’s best defense (Seattle Seahawks).  This is only the fifth time this has ever happened and so far the defenses have won 3 out of the first 4 times it has happened.

This will also be the first time the game will be played outdoors in a cold weather stadium and the weather could play a factor in the game.  If the conditions are bad it could hurt Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense as he has historically had some of his worst games in bad weather.  Another thing to watch is the Richard Sherman ‘controversy‘.  He caused an uproar after the NFC Championship game when he was mocking the 49ers Michael Crabtree.

If you don’t care about the game on the field, there is also the halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and there should be some awesome commercials.  Either way, it will help us forget about the cold!!

Steelers Training Camp

training-camp

I know that everyone is excited about the Pittsburgh Pirates and the amazing season they are having so far.  I was tempted to write about them, but I don’t want to take the risk that I might jinx things and cause another late season fade.  So, instead I will stick with the NFL and the Steelers!  I always love when the Steelers start training camp because I get to see highlights of Saint Vincent College in beautiful Latrobe, PA.  As a proud SVC grad it is cool to see my college on the news every night. 

Plus, Sports Illustrated writer Peter King called it his favorite training camp location.  The Steelers will be at Saint Vincent until Saturday, August 17th.  All the practices that are open to the public will be held from 3-5 in the afternoon.  There will be one night practice on Wednesday, August 14th from 5:30-7:30.  If you go to Latrobe I recommend the wings at Sharkey’s Cafe.  They are awesome, plus there is always a chance that you might see some of the Steelers there too!

As far as the actual NFL action looks, here are some my top thoughts and predictions about the upcoming season.  Sorry to all the Steelers fans out there, but I don’t see them making the Super Bowl this year.

AFC:

Playoff teams: Patriots, Steelers, Texans, Broncos, Colts (wild card), Bengals (wild card)

NFC:

Playoff Teams: Giants, Packers, Falcons, 49ers, Lions (wild card), Saints (wild card)

mattryan

Super Bowl: Falcons over Broncos

Super Bowl XLVII

logo

So what did you think of that Super Bowl?  It was definitely one of the most eventful Super Bowl games we ever had.  I know a lot of Pittsburgh fans were conflicted about the game since the Ravens are their bitter AFC North rivals and the Niners would have equaled their record of 6 Super Bowl titles.  But from the Ray Lewis controversies to the HarBowl to the 34 minute power outage, this was a game that had it all!  It looked like it would be a Ravens’ blowout before the Forty-Niners were able to rally after the power outage.  San Francisco rookie Colin Kaepernick led a furious comeback, but his team fell just short in the last few minutes.  The game also featured a halftime show by Beyonce.  All of this led to the game being the most watched tv show in history!

Not only was the game eventful, but I thought the commercials were awesome this year.  Of course, my favorite was the Oreo commercial with people fighting in a library and whispering the whole time.

But I also liked some of the other ones, including the Taco Bell one with the senior citizen party animals.

What was your favorite part of the game?  Were you happy that the Ravens won?  Did you have any favorite ads?

Jim-CLP Sheraden

Just for FUN! Websites and Blogs

The CLP Teen webpage has a whole section dedicated to FUN!  Who doesn’t like to have fun?

teen site

A few fun suggestions:

The Beat:  The News Blog of Comics Culture

Everything you need to know about comics.  Some recent headlines:

New director for beloved franchise chosen…and the world will never be the same

MAC and Archie cosmetics line products revealed

Snap Goes Wolverine’s Spine

Board Game Central

On this site you will find the rules for most board games, news about the board game industry, resources such as books about board games and links to the online versions of many games.  Check out this new board game:

Killer Bunnies and The Conquest Of The Magic Carrot

Gossip Teen

For the lastet teen celebrity news and gossip.  Some recent headlines:

Taylor Swift Ditched Harry Styles for WHAT!?!

Why is Jennifer Lawrence Dressed Up Like a Barbie Doll? – PHOTO

Justin Bieber’s New Acoustic Album LEAKED!!!

Huff Post Teen

The Huffington Post has a teen edition, including a page dedicated to fun stuff.  Check out the Top 15 Quotes from Catching Fire.

IPL2 (Internet Public Library) For Teens

IPL2 For Teens is an awesome resource for home work help and research papers, but today we are looking for fun things. IPL2 for teens has fun stuff too.  Learn more about the history of graphic novels.  Find links to thousands of webcomics.

MTV’s Hollywood Crush

Hollywood Crush covers the teen celebrity scene with an emphasis on movie and television news.  Pageturners takes a look at current books, especially those books being adapted for film and television. 

NFL.COM Superbowl XLVII

All you need to know about the big game.  Check out this awesome trivia game: 

2-Minute Trivia Super Bowl Edition.

Seventeen Quizzes, Games and Fun

Seventeen Magazine has always had the best Quizzes!  Check out the Beauty Quizzes, Celebrity Quizzes and Personality Tests. 

TeenNick

The TeenNick website covers the shows and offers other fun stuff too.  TeenNick Blog, TeenNick.com Games and Quizzes are all available on this site.   Try some of the quizzes like What style of dance are you?  I’m a Jazz dancer. 

Teen Reads

Teen Reads is part of the Book Reporter family.  Find tons of book lists and reviews on this site.  Check out their Valentine’s Day feature:  Books to Fall in Love With 2013. 

Enjoy! 

~Marian

CLP–Mt. Washington

It’s that time again-Football is almost here!

The Olympics are FINALLY over (thank God) and it is almost time for the NFL to start playing real games!  The season kicks off on Wednesday, Spetember 5th with a matchup between the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.  Of course the big game locally is the Steelers against the Denver Broncos.  That might be the most watched game of the first week since many people will be tuning in to watch Peyton Manning play his first regular season game for the Broncos.

There will be lots of interesting storylines this season, both with the Steelers and around the league.  Some of the questions with the Steelers include how the team will deal with the loss of veteran leaders like Hines Ward and James Farrior, how new offensive coordinator Todd Haley will mesh with Ben Roethlisberger, the inexperienced offensive line, and injuries to James Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall.  It should be an interesting season as the Steelers try to hold off some up and coming AFC teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills.

Around the league some of the most interesting stories will be the soap opera of the New York Jets and Tim Tebow, the rookie seasons of top draft picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and how the Bountygate scandal will affect the New Orleans Saints.  It should be an interesting year for football fans that is for sure.  I am excited for the year to begin and my predictions are that the Packers will defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVII, Aaron Rodgers will win the MVP Award, the Steelers will not win the division but be a wild card team, and the Bills will end their streak of non-playoff years with a wild card appearance.

21st century football, or ‘how physical is too physical?’

By Justin K. Aller, Getty Images

If you live in Western Pennsylvania, chances are you know a fair amount about football. This region is often referred to as the “Cradle of Football” because of all the great players who grew up around here. (And, of course, Pittsburgh is home to the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.)

In Pittsburgh, football is everywhere. Even if you aren’t a die-hard Steelers fan, you can probably still recognize Troy Polamalu’s flowing mane, Hines Ward’s smile, and Brett Keisel’s beard. In Western PA, Mondays after a Steelers’ loss are unbearable (everyone is in a bad mood!), and the excitement in the air before a playoff game is palpable. Why? I could speculate, but what it ultimately boils down to is this — football just matters here. 

We love the Steelers because they represent something tough and enduring and, despite some necessary strife and struggle, successful (attributes modest Pittsburghers may secretly identify with).

While the 2011 Steelers love to pass the ball (utilizing their impressive corps of talented young receivers) the franchise is traditionally associated with a tough up-the-gut running  game and crushing defense. The hard-hitting defense has been a mainstay since the vaunted “Steel Curtain” defense of the 70s, but recent rule changes have begun to shift the way the game is being played and, therefore, the way the Steelers are allowed to play. Hits and tackles once considered textbook are now drawing penalty flags, while the players responsible are fined and sometimes even suspended.

Just today, Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker and “repeat offender” James Harrison (the man responsible for THIS PLAY) was suspended for one game without pay after a helmet-to-helmet hit left scrambling Cleveland QB Colt McCoy with a concussion. (See the play at NFL.com HERE.) This is Harrison’s fifth illegal hit on a quarterback in the last three seasons.

To better understand this ruling we have to look at the 2010 NFL season when the league decided to crack down on tackles they considered to be dangerous. Take a look at an excerpt from this Associated Press story from last season:

Not only is the league worried about defenders turning themselves into human missiles, but also with them aiming for the head with the forearm, shoulder or any other body part.

”We’re certainly concerned,” said Anderson, a member of the league’s competition committee and one of its loudest voices on the need for enhanced player safety. ”The fundamentally old way of wrapping up and tackling seems to have faded away. A lot of the increase is from hits to blow guys up. That has become a more popular way of doing it.

”Yes, we are concerned they are getting away from the fundamentals of tackling, and maybe it has been coached that way. We’re going to have to look into talking to our coaches.” (AP, 2010)

The league not only talked to coaches, but also modified its rules (read the NFL – Rulebook here) in an attempt to cut down on these dangerous hits. The NFL Rulebook reads more like a phone book, but here’s the specifics of the roughing the passer penalty that James Harrison was flagged for last Thursday (and a bunch of other Sundays in recent memory):

A.R. 12.47 ROUGHING THE PASSER
Second-and-3 on A35. Quarterback A1 rolls out of the pocket, and while moving, throws a pass to A2
who is downed at the A40. Just after A1 released the ball, B1 tackles the quarterback making helmet-to-helmet
contact in the process.
Ruling: A’s ball, first-and 10 on B45. Roughing the passer because of the helmet-to-helmet hit. (12-2-12-3)

We can probably all agree that helmet-to-helmet hits are dangerous, but what if they’re unintentional? In that case, who’s to say whether a helmet-to-helmet hit was intentional or not? It’s a slippery slope, which is probably why the league has begun to penalize all helmet-to-helmet hits regardless of intention.

It’s confusing and frustrating, but you could make a strong argument that these rule changes are a step in the right direction. Believe me, I know it’s frustrating that the Steelers won’t be dressing #92 against the Forty-Niners on Monday Night Football next week, but at least they’re being proactive about preventing injuries (even if they’re spouting off mixed messages to their fan base about big hits).

For years the NFL turned a blind eye to player injuries resulting from repeated head trauma. That is until 2002 when Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist here in Pittsburgh, discovered a new disease — Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). That year, Dr. Omalu found CTE in the brains of Mike Webster, Terry Long, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk and Tom McHale.

What is CTE? It’s a degenerative brain disease found in those who have suffered repeated head trauma. People with CTE may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression. What’s worse is that these symptoms may appear within months of the trauma or not until many years later. (Read more about CTE HERE.)

The first deceased athlete examined by the CSTE researchers was John Grimsley, former Linebacker for the Houston Oilers and Miami Dolphins, who died in February 2008 at the age of 43 from an accidental gun shot wound. Examination of Mr. Grimsley’s brain confirmed extensive CTE. In both sets of photographs, below, the brain tissue has been immunostained for tau protein, which appears as a dark brown color. (2011, CSTE)

And CTE doesn’t just affect football players–the disease is prevalent in hockey and professional wrestling, too. In May of this year, New York Rangers brawler Derek Boogaard died of an accidental overdose. When doctors performed the autopsy they found his brain was riddled with the disease.

How do you solve this problem? In football, some have suggested removing face masks, having lineman begin each play standing (rather than in the 3-point stance that results in repeated blows to the head), or even getting rid of helmets all-together (so players theoretically hold back on the big hits). So far, other than the new rules, nothing has changed.

So, yes, I’m upset that James Harrison won’t dress next week, but knowing what we know about CTE, maybe these rule changes are for the best.

What do you think? Take our poll and let us know.

– Corey, Digital Learning Librarian

Madden, Skrillex, Cupstacking, and reCAPTCHA: A (Surprisingly) Literary Journey

On August 30th, like a lot of people, I walked down to my local video game store over my lunch break and forked over some change for the next iteration of EA Sport’s Madden NFL, which we now have available at the Main library for any of our gaming programs!

I turned it on, ready to whoop some serious Raven tailfeathers, when I was greeted with a very interesting musical collaboration: Korn and Skrillex.

The song between 90s nu-metal angst-rockers Korn and the polarizing newly-christened wunderkid of electro/dubstep Skrillex “Get Up” debuted at Spin.com and reminded me to revisit his most recent EP Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (coming soon to your TEEN library music collection).

While listening to the song, you might notice a very enthusiastic “OH MY GOD!” sample and be wondering where it comes from. According to Skrillex in an interview with the Nashville Nights blog:

This girl on youtube who does this cup stacking thing. She filmed herself breaking her record and freaking out saying “OMG OMG OMG” a thousand times. One of the best videos on youtube for sure! It was the perfect sample before the drop. Her voice really pumps you up! Here’s the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j54yGxuk0yo

So then I was left wondering what in the world she was doing, which led me to the world of sport stacking and the website http://www.speedstacks.com/. Speed stacking is the process of arranging a set of cups (with holes cut in the bottom to decrease air resistance) as fast as possible; according to Speed Stacks:

Sport stacking originated in the early 1980’s in southern California and received national attention in 1990 on a segment of the “Tonight Show”, with Johnny Carson. That was where it first captured the imagination of Bob Fox, who was then an elementary classroom teacher in Colorado.

It even has its own Association, the World Sport Stacking Association, where you can find all the official rules.

When I searched for and tried to download the song, I was greeted with an image that should be familiar to you all:

This gateway to Internet fun is, as you probably know, called reCAPTCHA. But did you know that by filling these out, you’re actually helping in a massive book digitization project? Thousands of books written before the internet are now in the public domain and being digitized by Google through a process called “optical character recognition” (OCR for short) in which after books are scanned, they are analyzed and automatically converted into a word processing document.

However, there are cases in which the machine can’t analyze a word properly. And that’s where you come in:

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

But if a computer can’t read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here’s how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

Little did you know that just by surfing the web and signing onto websites, you are helping to make information more accessible to the world! Little did I know that by firing up Madden to throw TD passes to Mike Wallace I would end up learning all this stuff!

~Joseph
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main – Teen

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