Monday, October 1, 2012

The 2012 Election

As far as the election, I'm leaning towards Gary Johnson. Romney has zero chance of winning California anyways. I'm tired of expressing my desires through the lesser of two evils. You still end up with evil in the end. It might be irrational because of the stupidity that is our first-past-the-post voting system, but I prefer to be irrational than throw my vote away on someone I don't believe in.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible is Wrong

This post comes courtesy of the Skeptic's Annotated Bible. I was reading Ephesians 5 for Sunday School. In particular I was focused on verse 5 because if the Bible tells you that you can be sure that certain categories of people have no inheritance in God's kingdom then you should learn exactly what the Bible says about those categories. Doing so lead me to many commentaries, but also to the Skeptic's Annotated Bible section on Ephesians 5. I noticed that verse 3 was tagged with a not equals sign (≠) which apparently designates a contradiction. This "contradiction" is entitled "Is it OK to covet?". This supposed contradiction is because Exodus & Deuteronomy (repeated in Romans and mentioned here and in Colossians) prohibit coveting and this is said to contradict Paul's endorsement of coveting spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 1 Corinthians 14:39.

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible lists seven verses related to the contradiction. Five against coveting and two supposedly for coveting.

Against:
Exodus 20:17 & Deuteronomy 5:21- The word for covet here is ṯaḥ·mōḏ (תַחְמֹ֖ד). This word is used in Exodus twice, once each in Deuteronomy 5:21 & 7:25 and in Proverbs 6:25. The first three uses are in the Ten Commandments. In Deuteronomy 7, Moses is telling the people what they should do when they enter the Promised Land. That prohibition is related to the gold and silver on the pagan idols they will encounter. They are not to covet the metal or take it. Proverbs 6 warns against desiring an adultress. In the Septuagint the word is epithymēseis (ἐπιθυμήσεις) which is exactly the word Paul uses in...

Romans 13:9 - Paul is quoting the Ten Commandments using the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, the Septuagint. Epithymēseis is a form of epithumeó which occurs in various forms sixteen times in the New Testament. Some uses are positive, e.g. Matthew 13:17 and Luke 22:15 and some are negative, e.g. Matthew 5:28 and James 4:2. It's pretty easy to see the differences in the positive and negative uses from the context of their respective passages.

Ephesians 5:3 - The word here is pleonexia (πλεονεξία) which occurs in forms ten times in the Bible. Pleonektés, which is used in Ephesians 5:5 is the root word of pleonexia. All of these occurrences are negative in connotation.

Colossians 3:5 - The word for covetousness is a form of pleonexia as in Ephesians 5:3.

For:
1 Corinthians 12:31 - Here the word is zēloute (ζηλοῦτε) from which we get our words zealous and jealous. This is the exact word used in...

1 Corinthians 14:39 - Forms of zéloó (the root of zēloute) are used twelve times in the Bible. In Acts they are negative, in the letters to the Corinthians they are positive, in Galatians one is positive and one negative, James' use is negative, and John's use in Revelation is positive.

In all the cases above, it is clear from context what is being affirmed or prohibited. Desire after the things of God is good. Desire for earthly things or dissatisfaction with what you have, i.e. what God has given you, is bad.

So this "contradiction" boils down to the skeptic saying, "Look the same word was used in two different ways, let's forget context and chalk up another contradiction so the number of contradictions we've found is even bigger." 

The interesting thing to me is that, in ignoring context and only focusing on one translation (KJV), they missed the fact that the Tenth Commandment listed in Exodus uses the same Hebrew word for covet both times in the verse and when it is reiterated in Deuteronomy only the first use is the same word as in Exodus. The second is a different word (ṯiṯ·’aw·weh/תִתְאַוֶּ֜ה). That seems more like an actual contradiction than the grasping at straws type of "contradiction" they list. It also warrants more study to find out why the two verses differ when one would assume Deuteronomy should be an exact copy of Exodus.

Note: I am not a fan of Blogger's formatting of this post, but I barely had time to right this post much less typeset it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Referee Rating: Denmark v Germany

Carlos Velasco Carballo has this game. I guess he did the opening game and had some controversial decisions in it, but apparently the authorities didn't have any problem with him because they gave him a game on the crucial deciding match day for Group B.

16' Carballo really hasn't had much to do, but that was a standard foul. The game has been flowing well. I would say that's more down to the style of both teams than anything else. Neither team is really a dirty or overly physical team. Carballo does seem well positioned.

19' A well worked team goal.

21' Gomez just ran Zimling down from behind.

24' Germany beaten in the air twice. Good goal. Poor defending.

30' Blatant push. Easy call.

31' Agger just doesn't let Müller get up after their slide tackles cancel each other out.

33' It looked like Gomez was watching the ball the whole way, he just mishit it.

34' I think Özil is right. It looked like the defender got the last touch, but he whines about everything so I'm sure his pleas just get lost in the shuffle.

36' At least someone is calling the blocking fouls this tournament. Carballo is right about the position of the foul as well. Kjær was just outside the line when he stopped and checked Müller. Carballo was very well positioned to see the foul and its position outside the box.

Tying one-handed now that baby girl has woken up and joined me.

43' Nothing wrong with Gomez challenging there, but he did catch Andersen.

44' Easy call. Bendtner didn't even try to hide his holding.

First half rating: Good-very good.

47' Good spot on a somewhat hidden deliberate hand ball by Müller. Good positioning by Carballo.

54' Interesting double foul there.

57' I guess that bump by Khedira was considered fair contact. Carballo was right there and saw it. I think the far side assistant got that call wrong. Poulson looked like he was onside but it was close.

58' There wasn't any reason for Carballo to wave "get up" to Müller. He wasn't looking for a call. He slipped a bit and never looked for the call. I didn't see any other German players calling for a foul either.

64' Good spot. Schweinsteiger won the ball; Bendtner missed it and caught Schweinsteiger instead.

65' Müller was somewhat impeded by Kjær, but he'd already misplayed the ball which was almost to the keeper. Not enough for me to be a foul.

67' What a great through ball. Good shot by the substitute Schürrle and a great save by Andersen.

75' Easy call for the foul on Agger.

76' It looked like Badstuber did grab a bit of Bendtner's jersey. I'm not entirely certain that's the reason he missed the shot. The initial delay just getting in the way a bit by Badstuber seemed like it did more than the very short grab and wasn't worthy of a foul in my opinion. Regular contact that has been let play all game. Even the jersey pull is iffy for me. I don't know if it really did anything. Seeing the replay now, I'm not sure but it did look like it delayed Bendtner enough to put him off.

78' Khedira is correct. He should have had a corner. Carballo missed that. I don't know that it was bad positioning though. It was just some bad luck and Khedira's reaction I think. He acted like he had mishit the ball. Either way the goal line referee should have been able to see that.

80' Bender's goal is a good example of why you should always hustle and follow up balls in the box. He wasn't the target of the cross, but he got it because of his hard work.

82' It looked like Gomez did take an elbow on that play, but Carballo had already turned his head to watch the ball. I don't think it was intentional but I'm sure it still hurt.

88' Neuer is playing with fire.

89' Bendtner did control that with his arm deliberately. He had more than enough time to move it.

90'+1 Good advantage play for the foul on Klose.

90'+2 Fairly easy offside call on Klose.

90'+3 Another easy offside call. This time on Schürrle. Agger was about 5 yards offside: easy call.

Match rating: Very good. 7.5/10. Carballo really didn't have a lot to do, but he was well positioned for most plays. His assistants did well. The one really close decision didn't go the attacker's way, but it was pretty close. He missed a few minor calls and one potentially major call in the shirt grab by Badstuber on Bendtner at 76'. I had to see several replays to figure it out so I can't fault Carballo too much. Badstuber really hid his foul well and the play went quickly away from Carballo. For me that foul is a good case for replay and not a reason to castigate Carballo.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quick Referee Rating: Republic of Ireland v Croatia

I watched this game on fast forward looking for the offside incident so I only saw the first half and really only watched significant fouls or replays. Overall I thought Björn Kuipers did a great job at man and game management. He did not allow uninvolved players to approach him about calls and made the offenders actually come over to him and wait while he addressed the problem(s). I especially liked his handling of Ćorluka. Ćorluka put some elbows and shoulders in and Kuipers made sure he knew that wouldn't be allowed. I also thought he handled Ćorluka's slide tackle in the 25th minute well. Yes Ćorluka won the ball, but he dove in from a long way off and was airborne with no way of controlling his tackle. It was clearly a careless act (and therefore worthy of a foul) and may have even been reckless (and therefore worthy of a yellow card). He got lucky that he won the ball both for his sake (if he'd missed and caught the man more it could easily have been a red card, but it would've been at least a yellow) and for the sake of the opposing player who could have been seriously injured.

As for the offside decision. I understand that FIFA have defined what "Gaining an advantage" means, but I disagree with the wording and I think my interpretation is more in the spirit of the law. The relevant section of FIFA's interpretation of Law 11 is that a player gains an advantage if he "[plays] a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position". Jelavić is in an offside position and, by a normal reading of the phrase, clearly gains an advantage by being there when Ward's clearance goes awry. No one bothered defending Jelavić because everyone knew he was offside. Plus the hectic ping pong ball that hits Ward doesn't really give anyone time to think "Oh Ward's controlled it so it's another 'phase of play' so I better mark him now even though just half a second ago he would've been considered offside if he'd played it then". The decision is correct in law and so Kuipers and his team should be commended for their correct application of FIFA's interpretations. However, the interpretations need to change. I understand FIFA want the laws to be applied consistently, but I don't think even Croatian fans could argue that Jelavić didn't "gain an advantage" by a normal reading of that phrase. I mean he scored a goal. If that's not an advantage I don't know what is.

Overall impression rating of the first half: Very good. Great man management. Great foul recognition. I wish I'd watched this game more around when it actually aired because I was feeling quite down about the quality of refereeing at that point. My only real complaints are with FIFA and their interpretations. Kuipers and his team applied the laws very well as per their instructions.

Referee Rating: Netherlands v. Germany

I'm going to try and return to my World Cup 2010 style of ratings by doing a minute-by-minute. Again, it's not live and I might be interrupted, but I think my ratings will be better since I'll have specific instances to point to when coming up with my ratings.

Jonas Eriksson takes control of this Group B match. He didn't referee in the 2012 World Cup and I don't think I've seen him referee so I'm hopeful for a good game.

1' Good non-call on the possible offside by the near-side referee. Van Persie timed that run well, but his first touch was odd going back away from goal.

2' Good non-call on the slip/trip on van Persie. There was contact, but it looked like it was initiated by van Persie as he turned to run. The stab at the ball by Schweinsteiger happened after the contact.

3' Good to see an official not letting players take that extra 5 yards on a throw-in

4' Easy call for the foul by de Jong

6' Challenge on Özil looked fair enough. Good non-call.

13'  Özil  went down very easily there. Mathijsen did block him off, but that's maybe an indirect kick elsewhere. In this case I thought the no-call was pretty easy as  Özil just went looking for something after his poor touch to try and round Mathijsen.

16' Good call on the somewhat late foul by Schweinsteiger to let the players know he's watching off the ball too. van Persie was slightly offside for me there, but it was very close and the near-side assistant is pretty well positioned. The benefit is supposed to go to the attacker as well so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. van Persie did deliberately handle the ball to trap that pass, but Eriksson was blocked from a clear view by Boateng's body and the near-side assistant was too far away to make that call even if he had a good view (which I doubt he did). Not much you can do about that. Both officials were positioned well initially, the play just switched very quickly.

21' I'm not sure why Eriksson didn't call the holding & grabbing done to Khedira. He was right there. Good non-call on the flop by the Dutch striker.

23' Easy call as Heitinga throws his mark out of the way to get that ball.

24' Great goal by Gomez! Despite Mathijsen's hand in the air, Gomez was played on-side by a full yard by van der Weil.

26' Not sure how that wasn't a foul on Gomez.

27' Easy call on the offside by Robben. Not sure what Özil is complaining about. You can't just back into a player like that when he's jumping. He didn't even try to play the ball.

28' Close offside call on Gomez. Replay shows that was very close. I think the only part of him that was behind the last defender was his arm and since you can't score with your arm it can't cause you to be offside. The far side assistant got that wrong which is surprising since the calls so far have followed the advisement to give the benefit to the attacker.

32' Good non-call on the shield by Müller. If anything he was fouled.

33' Van Bommel went down very easily there. I can see why that wasn't given as a foul. It was minimal to moderate contact and he just collapsed looking for a call. That offside was a very easy call.

34' Özil just needs to get on with the game.

36' Fair enough to just call for the foul there. No need for a card. There was clearly no malice or tactical thought, Willems just got a little close while trying to cut back to the inside of the attacker.

38' What a beautiful goal. Stekelenburg hasn't looked good at all this tournament.

45' Good advantage call. Too bad the Dutch wasted it. On replay, it wouldn't have been harsh to give Müller a yellow there. It may have even been deserved. Willems just knocked Özil over. Özil's still going over a little easy for me, but that was clearly a foul.

45'+1 Podolski is making his case to Eriksson for a card for van Bommel and I think he has a very good case at that.

First half rating: Good. 7.5/10. Eriksson has controlled the game well. I disagreed with a few decisions not to give cards, but really if you don't have to give the card, then why do it? One of the guidelines of refereeing is to use the least intrusive means of maintaining control/safety. So while I think a few non-cards were slightly inconsistent, they were an example of good game management. Eriksson's far side assistant was slightly eager on the flag for one call, but it was very tight and he and the near side assistant got all the other offside decisions, even some very tight ones, correct.

52' The Dutch defense looks terrible.

53' Easy call. Müller's hands were all over the defender even if he didn't exert much force it hindered the defender enough even if he didn't go to ground.

54' I disagree with Steve McManaman. I think the Germans have given us quite a few examples of great individual skill and teamwork on both ends of the pitch. Some of it may be down to the inept Dutch defense, but you still have to string the passes together and put the ball on target. As far as the "ineptitude" of the Dutch, I'm not sure how much is down to their skill or lack thereof and how much is down to the skill of the Germans.

56' That was an easy offside decision.

63' Good non-call. There was no foul on Gomez there.

64' Maybe if Müller doesn't want to have his shins hurt he should wear shin guards that are appropriate for his height. The ones he's wearing are clearly not made for a man of his size/height.

67' Easy call for the foul by Snejider. He was just fooled by Khedira and caught him instead of the ball.

71' Boateng really gave up his body there. Good positioning by Eriksson to see that it did hit him in the ribs and not the arm.

73' Players need to understand that the referee adds time when a goal is scored and there's no need for them to try and collect the ball from the goalkeeper. It just creates problems. Great shot by van Persie, but poor defending by the Germans. Someone should have close him down earlier.

76' Great tackle by de Jong. Good positioning by Eriksson. Awful dive by Özil. He needs to stop looking for a call and just play football. It's getting ridiculous

77' Great defensive play by Schweinsteiger.

78' van Persie is just looking for a penalty to even the score. On replay, maybe it was a foul, but van Persie was really looking for it and it showed. You can't blame Eriksson for ignoring such blatant pandering even if there was contact. it looked 50/50 to me. Hummels and van Persie both hit the ball at the same time. On about my 15th replay viewing, I'm not certain that Hummels did get the ball. I can't really blame Eriksson for not giving the call though. You've got to be 100% certain of the foul for a crucial call like that and the way van Persie went down, his body language, it was clear he was looking for the call. It's one of those situations where you wonder if the player was just honest in his play and let the contact and his reaction be natural whether another call would have resulted. When you look like you're trying to sell the call to the ref or deceive him or just make more of it than there really was, the ref will many times think you're trying to deceive him and take a more skeptical view of the situation than maybe it calls for. If a player is honest in their reactions and doesn't go looking for the call then with this type of referee, you're more likely to get a fair shake.

80' De Jong just seems frustrated. Easy yellow. I like that Eriksson made de Jong come over to him and acknowledge him, but I wish he would have addressed the disrespect de Jong showed with his "hurry up, get on with it" type of motion. Players need to understand that the clock is essentially stopped for that time. There will be time added for cards and injuries. There's no reason to rush or show disrespect like that.

82' Huntelaar is lucky Eriksson looked away to follow the ball on that play. He should be retroactively banned for an act like that. FIFA and UEFA need to kick that sort of blatant violence out with a strong stand and use of retroactive punishment. The same should be done for Meireles' punch on Badstuber. It's clearly against the laws and spirit of the game and is designed to try and get a reaction out of the wronged player to get him sent off. Based on the display in the World Cup 2010 final I'm not surprised to see that sort of thing out of the Dutch. It's sad too because they are a very skilled team that doesn't need to resort to that sort of disgusting cheating.

88' De Jong is clearly just trying to get in Müller's head.

89' De Jong just flopped over. He shouldn't have gotten that call. Müller didn't do anything to him.

90' Willems is just frustrated and the Dutch have devolved into trying to take their frustrations out on the Germans. I like that Eriksson made him come over some, but wish he'd make a better example of talking to the player and making him actually listen for a bit. FIFA's "Respect" campaign is useless unless the top referees are supported in having the players show respect and if players are punished either in game or retroactively for shows of disrespect. More rugby-style respect and less lip service.

After the whistle: I'm not sure why Snejider is mouthing off to Eriksson, but I hope he puts it in his match report. It's certainly not Eriksson's fault that the Dutch lost. Germany were clearly the superior team and made more of their chances.

Final ratings: Excellent. 9/10. Eriksson had very good control of the game. He scaled his responses in relation to the level of aggression in the game. I would have liked to see a card or two for some of the more cynical/aggressive challenges in the first half, but I'd still rather see less involvement from the referee over more if the players can still be kept safe. His assistants gave him good support. The only marginal decision was one that was very close and probably should have gone in favor of the attacker, but really, it was quite a close call.

Finally a referee that gives me hope for the tournament.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Referee Ratings: Netherlands v Denmark, Germany v Portugal, England v France, Spain v Italy

I haven't gotten to watch any of the games live. I've watched all of them via DVR. So far I haven't been impressed with the refereeing.

Damir Skomina (Slovenia) had Netherlands-Denmark. Coming several days after I watched the game I can't remember all of my exact complaints, but I do remember being less than impressed. I didn't feel he was up to the level of the game. He called some pretty innocuous challenges fouls. He did it fairly consistently, but I felt he interposed himself more than he needed to and the game didn't flow very well because of it. One incident I do remember was a challenge by a Dutch striker on the Danish keeper. The keeper did not have control of the ball and it wasn't even close to his body. The striker made a fair challenge for the ball, got it, and was called for a foul. It was quite ridiculous. I'm all for protecting goalkeepers, but the challenge was fair and measured. It wasn't even close to being a foul. He did do well and was well positioned for all the hand-ball appeals. None of them should have been penalties and Skomina got them all correct. He was well placed and that gave his denials credibility even though they were all pretty clearly not penalties. His assistants were good.
Rating: Average-to-above-average. 6.5/10.

Stéphane Lannoy (France) did Germany-Portugal and I thought he was just okay. His assistants were pretty good. Again a referee who inserted himself too much into the match. For portions of the match I couldn't tell what would be a foul and what wouldn't and it seemed like the players didn't know either. He got in the way a few times, but seemed to be fairly well positioned most of the time. He missed Meireles' punch on Badstuber, but I think that was more good positioning by Meireles to hide his cheating than poor positioning by Lannoy or his assistant.
Rating: Average. 5/10.

After lack-luster refereeing performances I was hopeful when I saw an Italian, Nicola Rizzoli, was assigned the England-France game. I was disappointed. Rizzoli did okay, but he wasn't the breath of fresh air I was hoping for. Again it was hard to figure out what would be allowed as fair contact and what would be a foul. He did better than his colleagues with it, but that's not saying much. He did keep the game under control without going to his pocket too much, but then I thought a couple French players should have been booked in addition to the English players who were. Specifically Ribery hacked down a few English players and at least one "tackle" wasn't even called a foul. The most baffling decision for me was Rizzoli's wave-off of the foul on Gerrard at the top of the French penalty area. It looked like a clear foul on first viewing and replays just confirmed my initial reaction. Overall I thought Rizzoli did well in managing the game and letting it flow. However I thought he got some moderate (not major) decisions wrong. The Gerrard and Ribery non-calls being the chief examples.
Rating: Above average. 7/10.

Viktor Kassai of Hungary did Spain-Italy. Looking back I wasn't terribly impressed with him during the 2012 World Cup and this game didn't change my opinion. The first half Kassai just let everything go. I know I railed about referees getting too involved, but Kassai let a lot go and it showed. Tackles were flying in and players were taking revenge, but if anything happened it was just a foul called. No cards even for some pretty cynical fouls from behind. On top of that, his foul recognition was hard to read (anyone else see a pattern?). The second half was a little better. I still don't understand why Torres was booked when there were 4-5 tackles that could've been cards to that point in the half. His arm was up but it looked like a normal position with nothing premeditated. This is especially weird when Bonucci only received a yellow for his horrendous tackle on Iniesta when Kassai seemed well placed to see exactly what happened. Rating: Average. 6/10.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brother HL-2270DW on Ubuntu

I just installed the Brother HL-2270DW on Ubuntu 10.04. I tried the official driver and forced the i386 deb package to install with:

sudo dpkg --force-architecture -i hl2270dwlpr-2.1.0-1.i386.deb

That didn't appear to do anything, but I figured I'd mention it in case it actually did help.

Since I'm using CUPS (I think it's the default for Ubuntu), I followed Step 5Bb of Brother's official instructions. But under "Model/Driver Selection" I selected the HL-2170W since the HL-2270DW wasn't listed. It was a shot-in-the-dark, but it worked. I printed the first page of the Brother instructions just fine.