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daily 07/30/2014

    • Forget the rule of thirds; shoot for depth. Frame from below, because it makes everything look more dramatic. And most of all, stop half-pressing the damn shutter and expecting something to happen. Focusing doesn’t matter anymore.
    • Photos that start to answer Lytro’s fundamental question: what becomes possible when we don’t have to print pictures anymore?
    • There are more complicated and nuanced ways to describe it, but at its core light-field photography is just a more powerful and detailed way of capturing light. Instead of capturing it on a single plane, freezing an image in time and space, a light-field camera also captures the direction in which light was moving. Its processor then essentially renders a 3D scene, complete with the knowledge of distance between objects. A light-field photo represents not only everything in the scene, but a spatial understanding of the things in it.
    • But “there’s not necessarily something magical about running, per se,” Dr. Church said. Instead, it’s likely that exercise intensity is the key to improving longevity, he said, adding, “Running just happens to be the most convenient way for most people to exercise intensely.”
      • low red blood cells = anemiawhat should i be doing to combat anemia?
      • what is my red blood cell count?
    • As any anemic can tell you, without sufficient red blood cells we become exhausted, unhealthy and depressed. Those who couldn’t make natural EPO, like dialysis patients and people without functioning kidneys, had to rely on blood transfusions to get it.
    • Hailed as a wonder drug, EPO looked innocuous — 3,000 units of clear liquid swirling in a glass vial. To athletes, those tinkling vials also represented a way to “goose” the oxygen-carrying component of blood, increasing stamina. And really, what red-blooded American doesn’t crave more energy? Our literature is rife with fictional drugs that bestow superhuman abilities — like the “spice” found in Frank Herbert’s “Dune” — and so is our history; leaders from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy used cocaine, “pep pills” or amphetamines.
    • But it wasn’t until 1994 that the marketing of these drugs burst into the mainstream. Amgen and Johnson & Johnson began trying to expand the uses of their energy-boosting drugs to include treatment for fatigue, depression and quality-of-life issues. Commercials depicted old, slow-moving people who, after a shot of Procrit, displayed a zest for life, and a young cancer patient, who after an EPO injection happily returned to work.
    • ncreasingly, scientists were discovering that EPO doping doesn’t work so well — in fact it can be lethal. Yes, it multiplies your red blood cells. But too many red blood cells turn your blood to sludge and make the heart work overtime.
    • In the 1994 Rome world swimming championships, Chinese women swimmers accepted 12 gold medals at ceremonies while onlookers protested by waving syringes. Twenty seven Chinese women have flunked drug tests since 1990, more than the total from all other nations.
    • EPO is a genetically-engineered version of a natural hormone made by the kidney that stimulates bone marrow to make red blood cells. synthetic EPO is sold as a rescue medicine for treating anemia in end-stage kidney disease, when production of EPO declines.
    • Because red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, and because bikers need a huge amount of oxygen during their arduous sport, raising the number of red blood cells can — theoretically — improve performance. Here’s a description of the origin of synthetic EPO.
  • “Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains.”

  • @kbohls Every time people click on BevoBeat, there’s audio of you asking about their dogs.

    • Sidd Finch was a fictional baseball player, the subject of the notorious article and April Fools’ Day hoax “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch” written by George Plimpton and first published in the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated. According to Plimpton, Finch was raised in an English orphanage, learned yoga in Tibet, and could throw a fastball as fast as 168 miles per hour (270 km/h).
    • “I wish him fair winds and a following sea,” Fisher said in a statement distributed just minutes after the announcement. He has made no public comment on his plans after the Fed.
    • Michael Kirban, who with a buddy founded Vita Coco, and Mark Rampolla, who founded its archrival Zico, happened to start selling nearly identical brands, in the same neighborhoods of New York City, at almost the same time — a week or two apart, in late 2004.
    • This is the juice of a green coconut, and the taste is a mix of faintly sweet and a tad salty. Some have compared it to socks, sweat and soap. And that group includes people crucial to coconut water’s success.
    • A decade ago, companies like Goya sold coconut water in stores catering to immigrants, and in quantities that hardly registered in market research. Today, more than 200 brands around the world sell “nature’s own sports drink,” as fans call it, and sales are rising by double-digit figures.
    • Two weeks ago, Vita Coco agreed to sell a 25 percent stake of itself to Red Bull China, giving it a head start in the world’s most populous country and valuing the company at about $665 million.
    • “Two days before it’s supposed to arrive, the F.D.A. calls,” Mr. Kirban explains, referring to the Food and Drug Administration. “They say: ‘You have no registration numbers. This can’t land in the U.S.’ I thought you just ship in containers, it shows up and then you sell it.”
    • He diverted the product to the Bahamas and sold half of it, door to door, to bars in Nassau. It wasn’t until August that the first cases of Vita Coco landed in New York. With cartons strapped to his back, Mr. Kirban skated to 40 bodegas a day.
    • “I’d usually go at night,” he says, “because the owners were there, counting the money.”
    • “There’s an old adage,” says Chris Michaels, a former Zico salesman. “If there is no price tag on it, it’s not for sale. The Vita Coco guys would throw away our price tags. Or they would toss all our product in a cart and leave it in the stockroom.”
    • Bodega owners were often the toughest audience. To make inroads faster, Vita Coco hired a ringer, a former Vitaminwater salesman named Michael Goldstein, identified on his business card and known to almost everyone as Goldy. One name. Like Prince.
    • “You’ve got to be a little bit of a psychopath,” says Goldy of life as a beverage salesman in Manhattan. “You’ve got to love pain, love being yelled at.”
    • Vita Coco contains about 5.5 calories a fluid ounce, a bit less than Gatorade, but still plenty.
    • “Don’t use it as a thirst quencher,” says Lilian Cheung of the Harvard School of Public Health. “People who get their calories from liquid tend not to cut back on solid food. So it would be a disaster to drink a lot of calories.”
    • Both Vita Coco and Zico began with bantam companies, and in 2005 both wanted to sign with Big Geyser, the Queens-based distributor that had helped in the introduction of Vitaminwater. Mr. Hershkowitz, the Big Geyser president, was able to choose. He went with Zico.
    • Unlike Big Geyser, Exclusive didn’t have a lot of other brands, so Vita Coco became a star offering. By July 2009, Vita Coco was selling 30,000 cases a month in the tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, with additional sales in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles.
    • But the real breakthrough came in June that year, with an event that only insiders would have noted: Vita Coco signed with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the nation’s third-largest beverage distributor.
    • When your rival has teamed up with the No. 1 distributor, signing with No. 3 sounds like the booby prize. But it wasn’t. Because Dr Pepper Snapple is smaller, Vita Coco was a sizable part of its portfolio, says Mr. Kirban, which made the brand a priority. Just as important, Vita Coco retained the right to sign additional deals with 45 independent distributors around the country. Today, more than half of Vita Coco is sold through those indies.
    • This is shelf-by-shelf work, and it requires diplomacy, energy and charm, as Goldy demonstrated during a recent trip to Minneapolis-St. Paul. In four frenetic hours, he persuaded a manager at a Target store to give Vita Coco prime real estate near a cash register and convinced a manager at a Walgreens to display a Vita Coco floor stand.
    • He also made an impromptu stop at G&H, a convenience store in St. Paul near some homeless shelters. The store didn’t carry any coconut water. Goldy put a couple of Vita Coco cartons on the front counter and pitched the owner.
    • Goldy kept talking, and five minutes later, after offering a buy-three-cases-get-one-free deal, they shook hands. Goldy got back into the car, invigorated.
    • “It’s like being in a football game,” he said. “You’re not playing until that first hit.”
    • Asking Coke to manage a brand as small as Zico, in Mr. Kirban’s telling, is like asking the Hulk to do needlepoint — it’s too brawny for the task. Mr. Rampolla, who is still technically a consultant, but not active in the business, used a slightly different metaphor.
    • It is because it breaks their model. They can shake down a little guy, with small revenue that can’t afford to mount even a token defense and extract a small fee, or they can go after a big guy like NBC who can afford a defense, but if they win they get a huge settlement. Someone who doesn’t have much to win but has a lot of money for defense is the worst case imaginable. It ruins their racket and therefore is unfair and wrong.
    • Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Gordon landed in Stage III of the program last year as part of a negotiated two-game suspension for the use of cough syrup that contained codeine. Once in Stage III, a player never leaves. And he must pass up to 10 drug tests per month. 

        According to the source, Gordon has passed at least 70 drug tests.  

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