Friday, March 25, 2005

The Stations of the Cross

Tin Canners:

Ever heard of the Stations of the Cross? Hat tip to HH.

It is part of the Catholic tradition but I think anyone who is a follower of Jesus would benefit from using it as an aid to meditation during this Easter Weekend.

The format is a series of readings and meditations on scenes of Jesus' journey to the Cross.

There are 14 stations and each brings out a different aspect of the Passion of the Christ.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Road to the final four

Dear Tin Canners:

Week 2 of the NCAA has some exciting match-ups. Of my final four picks, three are still around. We shall see if after this weekend they are still playing!

I'll stick with Arizona coming out of Chicago but they have the toughest path. If they can beat Ok State they will probably face Illinois (don't see Wisconsin-Milwaukee beating them!).

North Carolina's path looks the easiest since the defending champ Huskies got knocked out in round two. Just don't see Villanova beating UNC nor the winner of Wisconsin vs. NC State (I'll go with Wisconsin in this toss-up game)

I'm still sticking with Duke winning out in Austin but I caught part of the Mississippi State game and they looked vulnerable. Usually, they just dominate people and they looked like they were pushed to the edge. Getting past MSU will be tough but I think Coach K will come up with a plan. If they survive that then they face winner of Utah vs. Kentucky (I'll stick with Kentucky).

Lastly, with Wake Forrest out, I'll be the Pac-10 apologist and back Washington. The Louisville game is the tough hurdle for them as I don't see TTech or UWV being a threat to Washington's high speed game. I think the Red Raider vs. Mountaineer game should be a close one. However, giving Bobby Knight a week to prepare his team you got to like their chances.

And now for some shameless cross-promoting: to see my NIT final four picks go here.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

LA Fuel costs and Libertarian Energy Policy Opinion

Dear Tin Canners:

How much is automotive fuel costing you where you are reading this blog?

For me, in Los Angeles, I filled my tank on Friday night for nearly $30. Please note, I have an economy compact car so the tank is around 12 gallons.

My political views have some libertarian flavor so I generally believe that market forces should be allowed to act in most cases.

In the realm of energy, the libertarian argument if I understand correctly is this: when gasoline prices rise high enough then there will be sufficient market forces to drive development and deployment of non-fossil fuel energy technology. Prior to this, in their opinion, for the government to subsidize such efforts is a waste of time and money.

I don't know enough about the energy industry to know if this makes sense. We are always hearing stories about how eventually the world will run out of oil. Thus, the question is this: will the non-fossil fuel technologies be ready for when that day comes?

Would love to hear people's opinions on this whatever your political stripe.


P.S. I have emailed to ask them how this blog has been classified in their political section.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Thursday Games I'll Be Keeping An Eye On

Dear Kari and Tin Canners:

Pacific vs. Pittsburgh is an 8/9 game. Pacific rampaged through the Big West but lost in the finals of the post-season tournament to Utah State. It will be a good test for a strong mid-major to fight it out against a middle-of-the-road power conference team. Speaking of Utah State, they will face Arizona in a 3/14 game. Utah State runs a disciplined offense and will try to slow down the high speed Wildcats. If you see a half-time score in the high 20s or low 30s, Arizona could be in trouble.

Another 8/9 game of interest is Texas vs. Nevada. Again, a match up of a mid-major versus a mid-level power conference team. I'm calling for the upset here!

Boston College has struggled of late and I'm wondering if the Ivy League will have its 15 minutes of fame when the Penn Quakers pull off a shocker. Not expecting it but would sure be thrilled to see one of the powerhouses go down!

And of course, I'm going to be planted in front of a TV for TTech vs. UCLA. To be honest, I thought UCLA at best was going to be a .500 team. Thus, in this regard, they have exceeded expectations.

Can they win tomorrow?

Yes, but probably not.

They have a bad habit of panicking and settling for the jump shot and before you know it they are down double digits and trying to play catch up the rest of the game. The first 5 minutes or so will be critical. If Farmar is running the team smartly, the Bruins are in business. But if he is wild and turning over the ball, they will be done. The key shooter to watch is Dijon Thompson. He is very streaky. If he starts slow, he struggles to even score 10 points in the whole game. If he hits a few early, he can score 20+ for the whole game. Look for Bobby Knight to put his best defender on Thompson.

Another thing to watch for is whether UCLA can get some production out of Michael Fey and Ryan Hollins, their two 7-footers. If they actually do something on offense then things open up for the perimeter guys and at that point I think UCLA may even win easily.

This Bruin can hope, eh?

How are Kansas fans feeling about their chances?

Be well,

NCAA March Madness Contest

Tin Canners:

Well, it is that time of year and so how about a contest for the contributors and readers of this blog?

I've opened up a group, TTC-contest, in Yahoo! Sports. The winner gets a prize from Rene's prize drawer!

To sign up, go here, and enter the following information:
Group ID# (85800) and the Password (twotincans).

My group name is Pac-10 apologist. I know the Pac-10 isn't getting a lot of love from the East-Coast media machine so I'm picking them to do "better than expected." My guess is that Arizona is the most talented of the Pac10 teams but sometimes they just don't get it together. I have them going to the final four but to be honest if they get bounced in round two, I wouldn't be shocked. Washington got a 1 seed which really surprised me. I think they may well be over seeded. Stanford got off to a slow start but finished pretty strong. I think they are good for one win and a competitive second game. As for UCLA, I went there so I'm not objective. I wouldn't be surprised if they lost to Texas Tech. The Bruins are a young team and when they get frustrated by good defense they get into trouble and if there is one thing Knight will do is get the team playing solid defense and a patient offense. But nonetheless, I had to pick the Bruins to pull off TWO upsets. Fans will note in my my set that I have three ACC teams in the Final Four. In the end, though I'm a Pac-10 fan, I have to acknowledge that this year it looks like the ACC has the strongest teams in the top tier.

Anyway, there you go. Feel free to leave comments in the comments section to speak well of your favorite teams.


Friday, March 11, 2005

Heartbreak Hotel: Where Bruin Fans Might Be On Sunday?

Tin Canners:

What can I say?

I'm not even going to link to the dreadful story of the game. As I was driving to teach class in the afternoon, they were down by 18. By the time I parked, the were only down by 4. Eventually, I heard my beloved Bruins lost. I wasn't surprised. Pleased that they made a furious rally, I worried that when trying to come back from that far down you run out of gas and eventually lose.

At 18-10, they sit on the dreaded "bubble" when the NCAA tournament bids get handed out on Sunday. Since Stanford advanced in the Pac-10 Tournament, the selection committee could argue that they only need to take the top-three teams from the Pac-10 leaving UCLA with an almost certain NIT bid.

Meanwhile, down the highway, my Anteaters got mauled by the Matadors. Suffice to say just as there was no joy in Westwood for Bruin fans, there was no joy in Middle Earth for Eater fans.

Will the selection committee recall the freshman laden UCLA team led by first year coach Larry Brown (that team went on a miracle run all the way to the Finals only to lose to Louisville) which was probably the last team into the NCAA that year? Or will they recall the 18-win team of second year coach Walt Hazzard that didn't get an NCAA bid and then went on to win the NIT at MSG?


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Rip 'em Eaters!

Tin Canners:

Please forgive the cheerleading for a team that has no national following but that is the thing about blogs... we follow our bliss.

Well, its a final. The Anteaters defeat Idaho 80-67. They face Cal State Northridge tomorrow.

To track the goings on in the Big West Tournament go here.

Rene (UCI '93)

P.S. I'll be keeping an eye on UCLA tomorrow as well at the Pac-10 tournament.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Next blog>>

Tin Canners:

Blogspot users and readers know of the "next blog" feature. It is the little tab at the top of a blog.

Sometimes I take a look at the blog just before ours. So tracking back tonight, I came across Claudia Kincaid where the format is simply photos of people and places in the life and times of the blogger.

Check it out as there are some excellent photos.

Here is an example ...

image source:

It was posted February 14, 2005 at 8:36pm.


How would you vote in the Los Angeles Mayor's Race?

Hey Tin Canners:

I confess, I've been bad. I haven't been paying much attention to the LA Mayor's race. So this morning when I went to vote, I put the black dot via the Ink-a-vote device on the basis of the one interview I heard on the radio.

Of course, I've seen the TV ads as the last few weeks you couldn't turn on a TV without seeing them.

If I picked based on TV ads, I would have voted for Bob Hertzberg. Check out his ads as they are pretty good.

If I picked based on who left messages on my answering machine, I would vote for Hertzberg. Although, I probably got as many phone messages saying, don't vote for Hertzberg. Of course, those messages didn't say who paid for the calls nor suggested who I should vote for!

If I picked based on the mailers I got, it would be a close choice between James Hahn and Bernard Parks as both candidates got a couple of full color big post-card type things to me.

Oddly enough, the candidate who is leading in the polls, Antonio Villaraigosa didn't auto call my answering machine or send me a post-card.

In the effort, to be "fair and balanced" the fifth candidate believed by the mainstream media to be a "viable" candidate is Richard Alarcon.

One blogger covering the race is LA Observed.

Last night as I was drifiting off to sleep, KABC-7 TV claimed Villaraigosa had a big lead. However, LA Observed thinks that poll might be flawed. The LA Times poll cited by LAO has it as a three-way race.

We shall see. I'll blog back more as events warrent. We return you now to your regularly scheduled life...


P.S. I opted for a protest vote and didn't ink-a-vote a top-five candidate.

UPDATE: Its about 9 pm here in LA, KCAL-9 TV reports that some of the absentee ballots have been counted with Hahn getting 30% and Hertzberg with 26%. The reporter said these two campaigns ran agressive absentee ballot efforts while Villaraigosa didn't.

UPDATE: KCAL-9 says Villaraigosa did get 23% of the absentee ballots.

UPDATE: It is 11pm and in typical LA city inefficiency, ballot counting has been "slow" and so it appears to be a long night ahead. KABC-7 is reporting 29-25-25 with Hahn ahead of Villaraigosa and Hertzberg. I'm calling it a night.

UPDATE: Its Wednesday morning and the news reports say that Villaraigosa took first place with 33%, Hahn with 24% and Hertzberg at 22%. They estimate about 24,000 remain to be counted. It is theoretically possible that Hertzberg could overcome Hahn's slight edge and thus advance to the general election; however, it is unlikely. It appears a rematch of the 2001 Hahn-Villaraigosa race is ahead.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

UCLA 73 Oregon 61

Howdy Tin Canners:

Below was my attempt at a play-by-play call of the final possession before halftime.

this is an audio post - click to play

Unfortunately, I think it was too loud in Pauley Pavillion for you to really hear what I was saying. In brief, Aaron Affalo took the ball upcourt and ran the clock down and took the final shot but missed leaving the score 38-28.

For a game recap go here.

Will the Bruins return to the NCAA's? Excerpt from the Yahoo! sports recap: The Bruins (18-9, 11-7 Pac-10) haven't played in the NCAA tournament since 2002. Sixty of the last 61 Pac-10 teams to finish the season with at least 11 wins against league opponents were selected.

However, it should be noted that a UCLA team in 1985 won 18 games and wound up in the NIT.

With the new RPI formula, UCLA should be able to get in. But if the selection committee decides to let in a few more mid-majors then UCLA remains on the bubble.

One win in the Pac-10 tournament will help. Two wins should make them a lock and obviously three wins earns them the automatic bid.



UPDATE: My Anteaters won easily over the Mustangs. They finish fifth in the Big West. The Pacific Tigers are a top 20 ranked team and will go to the NCAA no matter what happens in the post-season tournament. For the Eaters to make it to the NCAA (something they have never done and to be honest aren't likely to this year either) they will have to beat the #8 seed (Idaho) on Wednesday night; the #4 seed (Cal State Northridge) on Thursday night; the #1 seed (Pacific) though there is a scenario where they would play the #2 seed (Utah State) on Friday night; and then win the championship game on Saturday. Zot! Go Eaters!

UPDATE: ESPN Bubblewatch as of Sunday, March 6, claims UCLA should be in. Just hope they are right!

UPDATE: ESPN Bracketologist, Joe Lunardi thinks UCLA is in!

Kari: as a Kansas U partisan, you are just wondering what seeding they will get! Go Jayhawks!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Communication and Education Theory and Our Outpost in the Blogsphere

Dear Kari and Tin Canners:

Back in November of 2004, I was contacted by Andrew Morrison who is a professor at the University of Oslo. He was preparing an academic paper on the coverage of the Saturn space mission by new media. He asked for permission to use a screen capture of our blog as a figure in his paper.

Well, guess what?

His paper "Inside the rings of Saturn" has been published in the journal, Computers and Composition 22:87-100 (2005).

The article is an academic discussion on the impact of new media on communication and learning theory.

The abstract of the article say this:
Kress’ multimodality and design approaches are applied in a rhetorical play on the online mediation of the recent space mission to Saturn. Activity theory provides an educational framing for Kress’ multimodal semiosis. Links are made to mythical texts on Saturn and to blogs. Social network software is now seen as central to performative, multilogical web discourse.
Gunther Kress is apparently a noted figure in the relationship of new media to communication and education theory. A search of with his name yields a number of books.

In the article, Morrison uses the new media coverage of the Saturn space mission to illustrate some of the ideas described by Kress.

Ever heard of the word semiosis? I haven't. A search of Merriam-Webster online tells me this:
a process in which something functions as a sign to an organism.
For an academic discussion (found via google) on semiosis see here.

As I skimmed through Morrison's article, I saw the different ways the story of Saturn was being covered and discussed in the new media. He showed examples from traditional media with web based editions, official NASA and European Space Association web pages and by bloggers.

Here is the excerpt from the paragraph where he cites our blog:
I now refer to a second blog entitled Two Tin Cans (Figure 9) [ed. note - fig. 9 is a screen capture of our blog post] Wells (1999), along with other activity theory researchers into learning and technology, stressed that our engagement with media and modes of representation needs to be stretched to include an explicitly dialogical dimension to communication. Concise academic presentations such as Wells’ may be supported by activity-driven examples of such dialogue that students may access and may be asked to identify as part of their own articulation of how web media works. In Two Tin Cans, two continentally remote persons communicate in the same blogspace. The entry for Saturn, as in many blogs, is an example of what is newsworthy, motivating, topical and of common interest (e.g., Miller & Shepherd, 2004); it generates overlapping activity systems. I argue that we need to place greater attention not simply on pedagogies sensitive to the changing character and media of electronic literacies and their necessary contradictions in Engeström's terms. We also need to examine the ways in which learners construct, exchange and transform discursive artifacts through tools that are increasingly wireless, mobile and responsive.
The citations in the text are to the following items:

Miller and Shepherd, 2004 Miller, Carolyn, & Shepherd, Dawn. (2004). Blogging as social action: A genre analysis of the weblog. In Laura Gurak, Smiljana Antonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, & Jessica, Reyman, (Eds.), Into the blogosphere: Rhetoric, community and culture of weblogs. Retrieved on September 19, 2004 from .

Wells, 1999 Gordon Wells, Dialogic inquiry: Toward a sociocultural practice and theory of education, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK (1999).

Pretty neat and kind of wild, eh?


P.S. Since I'm in a toot our own horn mode, be sure to check out the citations of us by our blog-parents 2Blowhards on these three occasion, here when they cited this and here referencing this and here linking this.

UPDATE: Speaking of Saturn, I dropped by my rocket scientist friend's blog and he links to the Cassini Imaging home page where you can see this ...

Image source:

Thursday, March 03, 2005

NYC's HIV Superstrain?

Dear Tin Canners:

There has been some recent news about a new HIV strain that is drug resistant and can cause rapid progression to AIDS.

In the late 80s and early 90s, I was a molecular biologist with a benchtop view of the research. Since then, I've gone onto other areas of reasearch but I still have some contact with investigators researching that area.

The other day, I got an email to go check out Retrovirology where two commentaries have been posted about the issue. This one is from a European investigator and here is one from an American researcher.

Both believe the media has over stated the danger of the case report.

If I'm reading what they say correctly, here are some considerations to think about when you hear stories about a "super" HIV-strain: (1) There is a rather wide range of time between infection and when a patient will exhibit the hallmark symptoms of the AIDS diagnosis. (2) The range could be due to the strain of the virus. (3) But more likely it is due to the genetic susceptibility factors of the patient.

They urge caution in over-hyping HIV/AIDS stories. Nonetheless, they counsel the need for more testing to slow the spread of the disease. Excerpt:
Given the availability of free, rapid testing for HIV in New Jersey, we are strongly encouraging any one with current or previous high-risk behavior to get tested and determine his/her HIV status. The best way to fight this disease is with knowledge: knowledge on one’s infection status, knowledge on how to avoid becoming infected, and knowledge on how not to infect some one else. HIV is not the common cold. It is transmitted through well-described behaviors, predominantly sex, especially receptive anal intercourse, and intravenous drug use with shared needles. These behaviors can be modified to reduce or eliminate the risk of contracting HIV. Two recent studies conclude that universal testing for HIV is a cost effective way to combat this infection in the USA. Outreach prevention education and widespread testing are probably more effective public health strategies than sensational press releases.
Stay tuned as researchers do more tests on that patient and as the medical community monitors whether more cases show up.