The Skinny


I am a news junkie. Fortunately, social media outlets like Twitter have made it much easier for me to cop my fix each day.  In my search for compelling news, I come across  a lot of interesting stuff.  So I’ve decided to share these stories with my readers (the one or two that are out there) each day (or at least till I find a job).  Enjoy!

NCAA: Should Student-Athletes be Compensated?

USA Today has published a story today that makes the ridiculous claim that the average men’s basketball scholarship is worth $120,000:

“But more than scholarships, players receive benefits including: elite coaching; academic counseling; strength and conditioning consulting; media relations assistance; medical insurance and treatment; free game tickets; and future earnings power that comes with some college education.”

While this may seem like a reasonable way to calculate a player’s education, one sports economist quickly points out the lunacy of such a claim:

“[A] typical big-time men’s basketball player’s compensation should be calculated simply: tuition multiplied by the men’s nationwide basketball graduation rate, which, according to NCAA data, is 66%. Then, add room and board value.”

While there are no easy answers — especially when you consider Title IX — the system is clearly broken and a solution is needed. If you don’t want to take my word for it, watch the most recent episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and you’ll see what I mean.

The Greatest Bassists of All Time

“Best of” lists always make me wanna barf.  Especially the ones that are music-themed. You’d think that a list put together by a company that makes musical instruments would have some credibility; think again. A few days ago, Gibson.com (Gibson makes guitars, basses, and other related musical equipment) put together their list of the “10 Best Bassists of All Time.” Immediately I ran to the bathroom. If you know anything about bass playing, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. I would expect something like this from Rolling Stone, since they threw out all credibility long ago as a serious music publication.  But Gibson? Really? Anyway, despite my contempt for Rolling Stone, I couldn’t help but notice that they put together their own list, but based upon a readers’ poll. While I might quibble with a few omissions (most notably Stanley Clarke), at least the readers got Victor Wooten right!

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: Smart Investments for the Future

Fast Company features an interesting piece on the electric vehicle industry.

“There are ways to get in on the EV infrastructure boom without building chargers. Instead, entrepreneurs might want to focus on the smart grid side of things. After all, the grid needs to be able to handle the rapid growth in EVs–and right now it can’t.”

Considering some of the less-than-glowing reviews on the new Chevy Volt, this article makes some interesting points.

What’s The Matter with Microsoft?

Fortune magazine talks about how Microsoft has lost it’s way. The article explores how the company has evolved over the years under the stewardship of CEO Steve Ballmer.

“These days, though, the company is known more for its misses, fumbles, and stumbles than its hits and big scores.  It should be a contender in the tablets and smart phone markets; it was working on an e-reader more than a decade ago but instead company executives have only one answer when critics bring up its flubs: Well, at least we didn’t also blow the Xbox.”

To a casual observer like myself, it has been interesting to see how Microsoft has evolved over the years; especially in the age of Google and Facebook.

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