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daily 06/29/2016

    • The puzzles in question repeated themes, answers, grids and clues from Times puzzles published years earlier
    • Hundreds more of the puzzles edited by Parker are nearly verbatim copies of previous puzzles that Parker also edited. Most of those have been republished under fake author names.
    • Since the publication of this article, Universal Uclick and USA Today have each said that Timothy Parker will be stepping back from his role creating puzzles for the two publishers while an investigation is conducted. You can read their full statements here.
    • “We don’t look at anybody else’s puzzles or really care about anyone else’s puzzles,” Parker said.
    • Parker has been the editor of the Universal Crossword for over 15 years and began editing the USA Today Crossword in 2003
    • In 2000, Parker earned a Guinness record for “most syndicated puzzle compiler.”
    • . Parker’s crossword ventures, according to a 2003 article in People, made him a “multimillionaire.”
    • The vast majority have a few main parts:
    • The theme
    • The theme answers are usually the longest answers in the grid and are tied together by some clever conceit.
    • The fill: The rest of the answers in the puzzle. Computers nowadays can aid in finding suitable fill
    • The clues: The things the solver reads, and ponders, before scribbling answers into the grid.
    • There’s no rule book or official code of ethics in the urbane world of crossword puzzle construction, but it’s generally understood that copying a puzzle’s theme — using the exact clues and exact answers as another puzzle — infringes upon the original work of a puzzle constructor.
    • Parker has used freelancers but told me that he has an in-house team of 60 at Universal that helps him create the puzzles
    • When I wondered aloud whether these contributors existed at all, Parker said that “even if they didn’t, that has nothing to do with the crosswords.”
    • Crossword themes can be replicated, or close to it, by chance. In 2009, Gaffney wrote about one such instance in which he nearly identically replicated a theme of another creator, without having any prior knowledge that the other puzzle existed
    • The engineer who created the database also wrote a computer program that identifies similar puzzles and assigns each pair of similar puzzles a similarity score, essentially the percentage of letters and black squares that are shared by two puzzles’ grids.
    • “No way. I’ll tell you why. The New York Times themes are difficult themes — they’re not the kind of themes I usually use.”
    • (In some of these cases, the clues are also replicated or similar, but in some, the clues are different.)
    • . In every such case I saw — roughly 100 cases — the theme answers were in identical locations within the grid, and in many cases, the later puzzle also replicated the earlier puzzle’s grid and some of its clues.
    • On Jan. 8, 2001, The New York Times published a puzzle with three long theme answers (“DRIVEUPTHEWALL,” “GETONONESNERVES” and “RUBTHEWRONGWAY”)
    • The other category of suspicious duplication — the “shoddy” — are puzzles that were published in USA Today or Universal and reappeared later — often with identical theme, grids and fill, or with extremely minor changes — in either USA Today or Universal.
    • Clues and themes are served up fresh daily in this classic puzzle.” But the themes are, in many cases, not fresh at all.
    • Parker wasn’t troubled by this replication of themes. “I would liken it to a sitcom when you hear a joke that might be similar to another sitcom,” he said. “Hey, if it’s a good joke, we did it a little bit differently
    • Tausig told me — and I confirmed with the database – that a puzzle he had authored for Universal in 2004 had been very slightly tweaked and rerun by Universal in 2008 — under the byline “Bruce Manders” — and then rerun again last year with Tausig’s byline back on it.
    • Parker’s duplication of 65 New York Times themes during his tenure “is a gross violation,”
    • Not only did the discovery reveal many examples of themes and theme answers being lifted wholesale, but the flow of these themes is nearly always from the Times to Universal or USA Today — almost never in the other direction
    • He’s an aspiring constructor and wanted to explore how grids and words and phrases tended to come together to form a puzzle using the languages in which he’s fluent — programming and data. But
    • The “shoddy” category of puzzles, those shared and re-published between Universal and USA Today and back again, are almost certainly legal, as Universal Uclick owns the copyrights to both
    • According to Wade, her agent Ray Flynn contacted USATF to inquire about her entry status on Monday. He was told Wade’s appeal would be denied because her qualifying mark of 9:52.62 was run at the American Track League (ATL) meet, where cones were used instead of a rail on the curve of the track. Without a rail, which is required under official IAAF Competition Rules, marks run at ATL could not be considered for Olympic Trials qualifying standards. 
    • Today, Flynn received confirmation that USATF officially accepted Wade into the steeplechase at the Trials. Flynn told FloTrack that Wade appealed three times. She got denied twice, and was approved on the third appeal. 
    • Most saliently, the Times’ sources said Brown is “being examined as part of a continuing investigation by USADA of the prominent Nike coach Alberto Salazar.” 
    • The Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Clark and Sara Germano run a story in which Houston-based endocrinologist Jeffrey Brown brags about his hypothyroidism treatments for athletes including Carl Lewis, Ryan Hall, Bob Kennedy, and Galen Rupp that led to “15 Olympic gold medals.”
    • There’s still time, of course. Spieth has the Bridgestone Invitational this week, and he has yet to win a World Golf Championship. He still has two majors remaining. He might have the Olympics. He has the Ryder Cup.


    • Pitchers are hard to come by in a game that lasts 15 innings, and so Maddon did something that a guy whose team is lousy with great hitters can do: he sacrificed a bat for another pitcher. In the bottom of the 13th inning, Maddon replaced pitcher Trevor Cahill with Joel Peralta, and simultaneously put pitcher Travis Wood in left field in place of Chris Coghlan.
    • Wood came up in the top of the 14th and returned to left field in the bottom half of the inning. Peralta was replaced by right-handed reliever Spencer Patton, who retired righty Brandon Phillips for the first out of the inning. Maddon then swapped Patton and Wood to get a lefty-on-lefty matchup with Jay Bruce. After getting Bruce to ground out, Wood went back to left field, and Patton returned to the mound to retire the right-handed Adam Duvall.
    • But in addition to deciding his new destination, he also has a decision to make about the type of maximum contract he signs. That decision should not be taken lightly because it will have a tremendous effect on his long-term earning potential.
    • Furthermore, 2016-17 will be Durant’s 10th year in the league, making him eligible for a max contract worth roughly 35 percent of the cap in 2017. Since he just finished his ninth season, he’s currently only eligible for one worth 30 percent of the cap. Add it all up, and Durant stands to make a lot more money if he signs the “1+1.”


    • Some folks have tried to talk to things like HR accuracy, but many of their tests are flawed or silly-easy to pass.  Walking on a treadmill doesn’t count.
    • Now that we’ve got it unboxed, let’s start by talking about the daily activity tracking.  This is one area that the Apple Watch does a suburb job at,
    • What isn’t commodity however is the quality of the sensor, which varies heavily from unit to unit.  But more on that in a moment.
    • However, the Apple Watch also has a secondary method for capturing HR, which is using infrared. 
    • That’s an area where the other companies just leverage LED sensors 24×7 instead (i.e. Fitbit).
    • Some companies will add in secondary LED colors to add more breadth to their optical HR measurements.
    • What is FAR more important than skin tone, is really just how you wear it: Snug, and away from the wrist bone.  If you do that, you’re rather likely to at least have a starting point for good results.
    • So how about optical HR accuracy? 
    • The goal of the tests should be to validate optical HR accuracy over numerous workout types
    • An example of a slowly-shifting workout is a long run, or just an easy run. 
    • Whereas shifting intensities quickly is an interval workout (or fartleks), where you’re dramatically changing your HR quickly.  Aft
    • Ensure data is captured at the highest rate as possible – ideally once per second.  Apple does that, and then I use 3rd party tools to export those to compare.
    • This is much like most other watches have been doing for years now.  Accuracy will vary quite a bit, but I’ll cover that in a moment.


    • Now if you want the short story here, it’s this: The Apple Watch ranges between good tracking and downright horrible tracking.
    • 3. Trend in sales pipeline ‘As-At’ the 1st of each month

    • Top performing SaaS companies rely on cohort analysis in order to understand customer churn. This post describes a standard approach to cohort analysis that is available in our SaaS metrics solution.  For more information on our SaaS metrics solution, please click here.

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