Archive for May, 2007

Graffiti Tracking

Graffiti Tracker is a company that uses global positioning systems (GPS), digital photography and computer databases to help U.S. cities catch graffiti artists.

“Graffiti Tracker takes pictures of graffiti before it is painted over, using GPS cameras that record the date, time and exact location. The company analyzes the graffiti, for example checking whether it is gang-related, and stores the pictures in its database.”

“Police use the information to track or predict where a particular tagger will strike next. Once caught, they have evidence to prosecute for a string of offenses.”

“Clean-up crews in Los Angeles County — where graffiti ranges from gang scrawls on lamp posts to walls of bold color regarded by some as underground art — painted over more than 40 million square feet of graffiti last year, according to authorities. Pico Rivera — a city of 65,000 residents east of Los Angeles — has made 60 arrests since buying the system nine months ago to boost its $300,000 annual anti-graffiti program.”

Personally, I think that some Graffiti art is beautiful and it can add character to a public space. However, the problems with graffiti art are that much of it contains cryptic symbology (gang signs, etc.), often times it is created in unwanted areas, and it is expensive to clean up (a $1 can of spray paint can cause hundreds of dollars worth of damage).


Yesterday I received a comment about my post on the DeJarnette Center in Staunton, and I wanted to share my response with everyone. Additionally, I want to thank Alison for her thought-provoking comment.

Certainly, I do not condone the use of eugenics, and I do not want to offend those who have been affected by eugenics in the past. The practice of eugenics is sickening, and it has cast a black cloud over our nation’s past. After reading Alison’s comment I decided to do more research on the DeJarnette Center, and I came across the following links.

Dr. DeJarnette was the director of Western State Hospital from 1905 to 1943, and the DeJarnette Center was a child psychiatry hospital that was named for him. Did DeJarnette ever work there? Did people at the DeJarnette Center practice eugenics? I can’t find any information stating that DeJarnette worked at the child psychiatry hospital or that the facility implemented eugenics. Unless I am mistaken, the DeJarnette has acquired a negative stigma because it was named for a well-known eugenicist (which I will admit is very odd).

However, I do know that the DeJarnette Center existed as a legitimate child psychiatry hospital for many years after sterilization was outlawed by Virginia Legislation. The facility remained open until 1996, and when it closed it was known as the Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents.

In my research I also found some information about the use of eugenics in other places in Virginia. At UVA, the teaching of eugenics was very popular. According to historian Gregory M. Dorr, UVA became “an epicenter of eugenical thought” that was “closely linked with the national movement.”

In fact, Dr. Harvey E. Jordan, former Dean of the UVA School of Medicine, was one of UVA’s leading eugenicists. The hematology research laboratory at the UVA School of Medicine is named for Dr. Harvey E. Jordan.

Should we close UVA’s School of Medicine because one of its former deans was an advocate of eugenics? Should we demolish Monticello because it was built with the blood and sweat of slaves? Should we destroy the Capital of the Confederacy in Richmond because its builders were “traitors” and proponents of slavery?

These are tough questions to answer, but in the end we must remember that we are talking about buildings. The architecture used for some of these buildings is astonishing and unmatched by anything we build today. The memories associated with some these structures may be troubling, but the buildings themselves are historical landmarks. If we can use these buildings as educational tools or windows into the past, I’m all for it.

There has been much debate in Staunton concerning what to do with the dilapidated DeJarnette Center. The historic brick buildings are located near the Frontier Culture Museum, and they are one of the first things visitors see when they get off Interstate 81. The general consensus is that something needs to be done, but what?

Some believe that the buildings need to be preserved and renovated because of their beautiful and historic architecture. Others want to knock down the structure and build another strip mall to bring more retail sales and revenue tax to Staunton. Then there are those that want to destroy the DeJarnette Center’s because of its “dubious history.”

According to Wikipedia
“Joseph Spencer DeJarnette (September, 1866 – September 3, 1957) was the director of Western State Hospital (located in Staunton, Virginia) from 1905 to 1943. He was a vocal proponent of eugenics, specifically, the compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill. The DeJarnette Center in Staunton was named for him. The facility has since been renamed to the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents due to DeJarnette’s support of eugenics.”

So what do I think should be done with the DeJarnette Center? Even though the buildings aren’t located near Staunton’s historic downtown district, I think that we should preserve and rennovate these historic buildings. Developers are already working with the Western State Hospital, so why not do the same with the DeJarnette buildings? I realize that the buildings’ architecture does not match the beautiful facades of Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Sheetz, and Chili’s, but historic buildings should not destroyed if they can be saved/restored.

Would a mixed-use development work in that area? Probably not. I can’t see people wanting to live near the hustle-and-bustle of Wal-Mart. The best option would be to convert the buildings into a museum, hotel, or office space.

Earlier this month I read a letter-to-the-editor in the Daily Newsleader about Staunton passing up on the opportunity to bring in the the Museum of the Confederacy from Richmond. According to the letter “the Museum of the Confederacy pulls in 50,000 people a year and generates an estimated $500,000 in sales taxes annually.” Unfortunately, it looks as if the museum will relocate in New Market — which probably makes more sense because of the proximity of historic battlefields.

Nonetheless, the fact that Staunton was considering adopting the museum is a good sign. The City needs to carefully consider all of its options before constructing another strip mall.

The following is the manuscript from an April 11th interview Chad Johnson had with ESPN. In the interview Chad talked about how much he loved playing soccer as kid, the future of soccer in the US, and which current player he was stylistically reminiscent of.

ESPNsoccernet: What’s your connection to soccer and tell us why you have an affinity for the game?

CJ: Since I was little I loved it. Of course, as I was growing up in Florida, in Miami, you play as many sports as possible to develop the skills as a little kid. As you get older, you see, well really your parents see what you play or adjusted to the best. It was soccer and football that I stuck with as I went through junior high. Once I got to high school, it came to a point where I had to choose one which best fit me to make it to the next level. I went with football, but soccer was always my first love.

ESPNsoccernet: Was it hard for you to give up soccer?

CJ: Yeah it was, but I mean it was common sense, it wasn’t as big as it needed to be for me to get where I wanted to get. I probably would have had to move across the States or outside the country and I didn’t have the means to at the time.

ESPNsoccernet: What position did you play? And which current player were you stylistically reminiscent of?

CJ: Forward. And [Didier] Drogba.

ESPNsoccernet: Do you still watch a lot of soccer?

CJ: Yeah a little bit, whenever I have time. Whatever comes on the channels that I do have at home and when I’m able to watch it.

ESPNsoccernet: Which team do you follow?

CJ: Favorite team? Out of everybody? My favorite club team — probably Arsenal.

ESPNsoccernet: Do you have a favorite player?

CJ: Thierry Henry, [laughs] of course.

ESPNsoccernet: You went to London recently to visit Thierry Henry. Did you train with Arsenal?

CJ: Nah, I just watched a couple of games, one was a Champions League game so that was interesting. I hung out with Thierry and also Ashley [Cole] from Chelsea a little.

ESPNsoccernet: Those guys get treated like rock stars over there. Did anyone recognize you?

CJ: Yeah they did, at the Arsenal versus Reading game, the people in the box, they knew who I was.

ESPNsoccernet: What’s your relationship with Thierry Henry, how did the two of you meet?

CJ: We met last year, sometime in September. We’re both fellow people of Reebok and [the company] hooked us up. He supported me all throughout the season and I always promised him I would come out to London and watch him play when I got a chance, so I got the chance and went down to see him.

ESPNsoccernet: Does that mean we’ll be seeing Thierry at a Bengals game this year?

CJ: You know what? He said he is when he has time, he said he’s gonna get here.

ESPNsoccernet: Henry’s one of the fastest soccer players in the world — reputedly a world-class sprinter. Who would win a race between the two of you?

CJ: [Laughs] I’d win.

ESPNsoccernet: Were you surprised at the U.S.’ peformance in last year’s World Cup? Did you have higher expectations for the squad?

CJ: I did. Yeah I did. They played well, unfortunately they didn’t make it far, but they played well.

ESPNsoccernet: Which U.S. player stands out for you and impresses you on the field?

CJ: [Landon] Donovan, maybe.

ESPNsoccernet: Have you followed MLS much in the past?

CJ: No, not really. It’s a different kind of game watching MLS and European soccer.

ESPNsoccernet: Your impressions of David Beckham signing? How much of an impact do you think he’ll make?

CJ: It’s good for MLS, he’ll fill the seats up and bring a different type of excitement to the game.

ESPNsoccernet: Are you planning to watch Beckham play?

CJ: If I get the chance, if my schedule is free, I would like to see him.

ESPNsoccernet: You filmed a Super Bowl commercial with Beckham earlier this year, did you get a chance to speak with him much?

CJ: I never did get to meet him, they filmed us separately.

ESPNsoccernet: Who else on the Bengals is a fan of soccer?

CJ: I think I’m the biggest fan — the biggest fan of it — I mean I literally love it, watch it continuously seven days a week. But some of the coaches also follow it, their kids are into it a lot.

ESPNsoccernet: Rumor has it that you drove Coach Lewis crazy juggling a soccer ball during practice?

CJ: [Laughs] Yeah that’s the way I warm up, before games, during the season, in practice, in between drills, in between practice I use the ball, just juggling the ball all day.

ESPNsoccernet: Presumably you’re the best soccer player on the Bengals, who else has some skills?

CJ: T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] … he tries [laughs].

ESPNsoccernet: Have you come across any other pro athletes in other sports who follow soccer like you?

CJ: I heard Steve Nash [Phoenix Suns] plays, as far as football players, most of the kickers in the NFL are good.

ESPNsoccernet: You also recently visited Kenya to undertake some goodwill work. Can you tell us about that?

CJ: It was interesting. It was a very different experience out there man, they love soccer out there. I went to visit a school and they were playing soccer with a bunch of tape all rolled and bundled together. The following day we went back with some soccer balls and they went crazy. That was a nice feeling seeing the kids so happy about that.

ESPNsoccernet: The chieftain of the local village said he’d build you a mud hut if you went back there. Are you planning to visit again?

CJ: Yeah — I think I might try to do it sometime in July before we come back to training [camp]. It’d be a different experience to try living their way, no electricity, no cell phone, no nothing, so I might try to do that.

ESPNsoccernet: Can you envision a future where the U.S. wins the World Cup one day?

CJ: Yeah, I think so.

ESPNsoccernet: What do you think it’s going to take for soccer to get more mainstream here and considered one of the “big sports” in the U.S.?

CJ: I think it’s going to need more of the bigger players from Europe to come and play here. I think it would get more interesting and also have some of the teams from out there come and play here more often.

Yesterday, my NBA Mock Draft was cited in a web blog for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The blogger, Dave Heller, was interested in my thoughts about former Wisconsin Badger, Alando Tucker. I think that Tucker would be a good fit for the Miami Heat at pick #20 because he’s experienced and a natural scorer. Even though the Heat need a big man to eventually replace Shaq and Alonzo Mourning, they should use this to add another scorer to help out Dwyane Wade. I don’t think that any of the good big men (Greg Oden, Yi Jianlian, Spencer Hawes, and Marc Gasol) will be available at pick #20, and Shaq might have a year or two left in him. Alando Tucker is their man.

New York City mayor Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said that every yellow cab in New York will be a fuel-efficient hybrid by 2012. 375 of the 13,000 taxis in NYC are hybrid vehicles, and Bloomberg plans to increase the number of hybrid taxis by 20% each year until 2012.

The standard yellow-cab, the Ford Crown Victoria, gets 14 mpg; in contrast, hybrid Ford Escape taxis get 36 mpg. Generally, hybrid vehicles are more expensive, but the New York officials have said that the increase in fuel efficiency will save taxi drivers more than $10,000 a year.

Bloomberg also announced that stricter emissions and gas-mileage standards for taxis will be implemented in 2008.

Yesterday, the Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental watchdog group, filed intent-to-sue letters to Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation. These two poultry plants are located in Rockingham County, and they face lawsuits over allegations that they repeatedly pollute the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.

“The letters state that the poultry plants have overwhelmed a failing wastewater treatment plant in Timberville,VA resulting in illegal overflows of ammonia, fecal coliform, phosphorus and nitrogen — as well as industrial contaminants — into the North Fork.” The Cargill facility is operated by Shaeffer International, and “records from the DEQ indicate that in 2005, Shaeffer exceeded legal limits for the discharge of phosphorus and nitrogen by 740 percent and 35 percent.”

Pilgrim’s Pride and Cargill have said that Shaeffer International is responsible for violating the DEQ’s legal limits, and Shaeffer should be held responsible.

Brad Guzan – Chivas USA
Tim Howard – Everton
Kasey Keller – Monchengladbach

Carlos Bocanegra – Fulham
Jonathan Bornstein – Chivas USA
Jay DeMerit – Watford
Frankie Hejduk – Columbus
Oguchi Onyewu – Standard Liege
Michael Parkhurst – New England
Frank Simek – Sheffield Wednesday
Jonathan Spector – West Ham

DaMarcus Beasley – PSV
Michael Bradley – Heerenveen
Ricardo Clark – Houston
Clint Dempsey – Fulham
Benny Feilhaber – Hamburg
Justin Mapp – Chicago
Pablo Mastroeni – Colorado
Steve Ralston – New England

Brian Ching – Houston
Landon Donovan – Los Angeles
Eddie Johnson – Kansas City
Taylor Twellman – New England

1. Portland Trailblazers – Greg Oden, C, Ohio State
2. Seattle Supersonics – Kevin Durant, F, Texas
3. Atlanta Hawks – Yi Jianlian, C, China
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Brandan Wright, F, UNC
5. Boston Celtics – Al Horford, F, Florida
6. Milwaukee Bucks – Mike Conley, PG, Ohio State
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jeff Green, F, Georgetown
8. Charlotte Bobcats – Corey Brewer, F, Florida
9. Chicago Bulls – Joakim Noah, F, Florida
10. Sacramento Kings – Julian Wright, F, Kansas
11. Atlanta Hawks – Al Thornton, F, Florida State
12. Philadelphia 76ers – Spencer Hawes, C, Washington
13. New Orleans Hornets – Thaddeus Young, F, Georgia Tech
14. LA Clippers – Nick Young, G, USC
15. Detroit Pistons – Acie Law, G, Texas AM
16. Washington Wizards – Marc Gasol, C, Spain
17. New Jersey Nets – Josh McRoberts, F, Duke
18. Golden State Warriors – Derrick Byars, G, Vanderbilt
19. LA Lakers – Tiago Splitter, F Brazil
20. Miami Heat – Alando Tucker, G, Wisconsin
21. Philadelphia 76ers – Arron Afflalo, G, UCLA
22. Charlotte Bobcats – Rudy Fernandex, G, Spain
23. New York Knicks – Aaron Gray, C, Pittsburgh
24. Phoenix Suns – Marco Belinello, G, Italy
25. Utah Jazz – Jason Smith, C, Colorado State
26. Houston Rockets – Marcus Williams, G, Arizona
27. Detroit Pistons – Brandon Rush, G, Kansas
28. San Antonio – Kyle Visser, C, Wake Forest
29. Phoenix Suns – Rodney Stuckey, G, Eastern Washington
30. Philadelphia 76ers – Sean Williams, F, Boston College

So far this season I have been really impressed with MLS’ newest expansion team, Toronto FC. TFC hasn’t experienced a lot of success in the early part of the season (2W, 5L, 0T), but the team’s lack of success hasn’t affected the fans. In each of the team’s four home games the 20,000 seat BMO field has been sold out, and the fans have come out in full force to support their Canadian squad. The fans sing, chant, wave flags, throw streamers, and display their scarves during the games, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of European matches. I love the way the stadium is set up, and the team has done a great job of filling the seats and creating an intimidating atmosphere. Additionally, BMO field has a great view of Toronto’s beautiful skyline.

Unfortunately the fans haven’t had much to cheer about because TFC hadn’t scored a goal or won a game until their May 12th match against the Chicago Fire ( a 3-1 Win). Dan Dichio scored Toronto’s first goal against the Fire on “seat cushion day,” and after the goal you can see the crowd launch the seat cushions onto the field. Although MLS was “disappointed” with the behavior of the fans, I thought that it was a beautiful sight and a good sign for the league.