Sometimes you get sick and you're all, "Whoa! Where'd that come from?" That's how I felt two weeks ago when I came down with some weird stomach virus. Fortunately, the whole thing was over within 48 hours.

Other times you start to sniffle, ache and sneeze and you're all, "Yep. I pretty much knew that was coming." In fact, on some of these occasions you can remember the exact moment in space-time when the disease was transmitted to you. Those times most frequently involve kids.

I love my children with a white-hot intensity equal to that of the Sun's core. However, dammit if they aren't the most effective disease vectors known to man. Ticks? Psht. Mosquitoes. Please.

Take tonight, for instance. I can feel the early stages of the flu coming on. My eyes burn, I'm coughing and I'm getting more and more weary every passing hour. I know how this happened. I was sitting in the living room Friday when Owen, who had been sneezing all day, started to tell me something while sitting next to me on the couch. He said, "Daddy?" and I turned to look at his cute little face. And before he could get the next words out, he sneezed. In my face. Just full-on: yep, that's where those fluids go. In your facial region, Dad.

First it was Marcus, then Owen, then Erin (poor thing is still down for the count). Now it's my turn.
So I imagine I'll be down for a while (I sure hope I'm wrong!). Fortunately for you, dear reader, I have a full slate of blog posts queued up and ready to auto-publish throughout the week.

Ugh.

### 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.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…

### 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…