### The Turkey That Ate St. Louis

I received this email from a colleague on Thanksgiving eve, and I thought it'd be worth re-sharing this holiday season.

This seems to be an auspicious occasion on which to introduce the first years (and perhaps others) to one of the department's greatest artistic achievements-- Seth Shostak and Bob O'Connell's searing masterpiece The Turkey that Ate St. Louis''. (Unfortunately, only the trailer was completed.) The actors were mainly graduate students in radio astronomy [at Caltech]-- except for Jesse Greenstein who plays Walter Cronkite. The locations were OVRO, Lake Street, and the Caltech Campus. Seth was already obsessed by movies when he came to Caltech. However, his first major effort The Teenage Monster Blob from Outer Space, Which I Was'' (1967) was neither a critical or a commercial success. In fact after its first and only showing, O'Connell remarked Gee, Seth that sure was a Turkey''. It was this chance observation that inspired Shostak's greatest accomplishment in the world of film:

Caltech!

Karin said…
OMG, I love this!! Also, fun to recognize the buildings at OVRO.

### The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.