A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

September 14, 2016 | No Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting

Why are European and South American soccer teams so much better than the USMNT and what are the most important elements of success lacking in the US Team?

The European and South American soccer teams are better than the USMNT for 3 reasons:

1. Diversity (or lack thereof): You can also call this fact the limiting pool of players available to the USMNT. Imagine you are a baby boy born in say, Argentina or the Netherlands and your parents are going to give you a gift. If it’s going to be a sporting gift, 99% of the time you are going to get a soccer ball. If you are a baby boy born in America chances are you are going to get a basketball, a football, a baseball or even a hockey stick and a puck before you get a soccer ball (these days you might even get whatever they use to play lacrosse before you get a soccer ball). The diversity in America makes it very difficult or almost impossible to recruit the best athletes for soccer. I’m sure America has tons of great athletes that, with proper instruction, could be equal or better than Drogba, Sterling, Ronaldo, Robben, etc. I’m equally sure there is an American kid right now that could be a big soccer start in Europe in 2105 , maybe not at the same level as Messi or Ronaldo but right below them but guess what? He has never touched a soccer ball in his life! He’s playing wide receiver in the NFL or is an outfielder in MLB or is a winger in the NHL. Not much you can do around this other that give it time: the soccer culture is starting to take hold in America and I can see it more and more when I travel. I’ve been here for 20 years as an expat and when I arrived in America I would be the only one in say, an airport with an Arsenal shirt or a Maradona shirt. These days I literally cannot go through an airport and not run into kids that are wearing Barca shirts, Messi shirts, Manchester United shirts, Brazil shirts and so on. It’s happening, you just need to give it time. As more kids play soccer the USMNT pool of players will get better. Right now it has to go outside its borders to find players as Klinsmann has done with so many German Americans (Jermaine Jones, John Brooks, etc.) and Mexican Americans (Ventura Alvarado, Michael Orozco, etc.)

2. Creativity: This one is totally an education issue or, in this case, over education and is totally in US Soccer hands to fix. If you are a boy growing up in South America, Europe or Mexico you just go play on the street or the park and there is where you can run wild, try to do crazy things with the ball and do it over and over. It is all unsupervised from the coaching point of view; it’s just kids playing soccer.  America takes the opposite approach: everything is scripted. Leagues like AYSO are great for introducing kids to soccer but they are so heavy on instructions and drills that the kids’ creativity has no place to develop. American soccer needs to get away from being so rigid on formal training. I can guarantee you Ronaldinho did not come up with his awesome tricks (a small sample below) during drills or conditioning. He came up with them just playing with his buddies on the street.  America should encourage that and it is not doing it enough of it. American soccer players will never be outrun (they have great conditioning, not a problem there) but they are not creative. The USMNT needs a maestro like Ronaldinho or Xavi who is creative. Michael Bradley is probably the best we have right now and, as good as he is, he’s not a maestro or an orchestrator; he’s a defensive midfielder trying to be one and Klinsmann knows this. If Jurgen had a choice he would not have deployed Bradley as a creator, he just does not have enough creative players to have an alternative.

3. Coaching: Most coaches in South America and Europe (not only at the pro level but pretty much every level below it) have spent their whole life either playing or coaching soccer. The elite ones have gone abroad to study and learn from the best soccer academies of the world. Tell me how many American coaches have had a similar life, not many. Who’s the best American coach right now? Most people would not disagree that Bruce Arena is the one or one of the top ones and he has never coached outside the United States. He and his brethren should have had experiences at Manchester United, Real Madrid, Ajax and so on. If you want to improve you have to learn from the best and it starts with the coaches. I don’t see it happening right now but I hope I’m wrong. The other alternative is you bring coaches from abroad which is why Jurgen Klinsmann is the national team coach. I highly doubt there is an American coach as qualified as him.

Icaro Vazquez



How do people make/steal money using credit card skimmers?

First and foremost, a credit card skimmer is just an easy way to collect a pool of credit card numbers. The pool will keep getting fresh new data as long as the skimmer is well placed/hidden (ie. a gas station pump). Also, the magnetic strip on your credit card contains a ton of information including but not limited to the name on the card, the credit card number, and expiration. The first 6 digits of the card even identify where the card came from (such as bank, issuer, etc.)

Let’s call the guy who made/placed the skimmer the “fraudster”. The fraudster collects the credit card data that the skimmer has read and can do multiple things with it.

1) As mentioned, he/she can sell large swaths of these CC numbers online in auctions (usually anonymously on TOR). Since they know the first 6 digits, they can even bucket them into high value cards. For example, Amex cards typically have higher credit limits than a regular debit card. They might organize the Amex cards into one list and earn more on that list than they would from say, Bank of America debit cards.

2) Another thing they can do is transfer the stolen card info onto a new card (someone mentioned this) BUT it is actually not as common to do this onto an existing card with the fraudster’s name on it. Instead, these fraudsters usually buy blank hotel keys in bulk (very easy to purchase, common item for hotels/motels). They now have 500 physical cards that they can transfer the stolen credit card info onto. Now these cards are just blank white plastic cards, so going to a store and using them is pointless and too risky. Instead, they sign up to get their own credit card machine. Some are pretty cheap or even free (such as PayPal Here or Square). They can pretend to be some store using fake information and then start physically swiping the cards with the stolen data. The advantage of physically swiping them is the transaction will appear to the processing company and bank/card issuer as done “in-person” since the card was swiped. These are seen as lower risk transactions since most fraud is committed via just “keyed-in transactions” (such as online purchases, over the phone purchases, etc.). The machine that reads the cards only reads the magnetic strip, so it doesn’t recognize that these are just generic hotel keys or crappy plastic cards someone bought online. So to the machine/reader, and to the credit card company and the credit card processor, it is just a normal physically swiped transaction.

There are more nuances and ways this can get more lucrative but that’s the basics of it. Luckily most cardholders are protected from this kind of fraud by their bank/card issuer. If you recognize bad transactions they will cancel the card, refund your money, and send you a new one. The bummer is the people who get hosed are the businesses that might unknowingly accept your stolen card information and sell something. When you get a refund from your bank after “disputing” a transaction – that money typically comes from the business it was used at, not the bank. So if a business is tricked into selling a $2,000 painting over the phone to a guy who gave them a stolen credit card number – that business is going to lose the painting and the money and there’s nothing they can do about it since the responsibility to investigate was theirs (according to most processors).

– CleanAxe 



What exactly is a surveyor doing when he’s looking through that thing on a tripod? What does he do with the information afterwards?

There are a few different things that may be on that tripod, but traditional surveying is “rod and level surveying”. He is looking through whatt is essentially a magnified scope which is made to be level with the ground. When he looks at what the other guy is holding, the rod, it has heights marked on it. So the guy with the rod puts it on top of a benchmark, or a spot with a known elevation, and once the surveyer reads the marking on the rod he can add it to what he knows that points elevation is to find out the exact elevation of his level.

Once he knows the elevation of his level, the rod guy can go pretty much anywhere within sight distance of the level, and do the same thing again. Only this time, the level man subtracts the reading on the rod from the elevation of his level. By doing this, he can find the elevation of any point around, and create a ground profile, find the high and low spots and where water will want to flow.

Typically this information is used to determine placement of any structure or the layout of projects

– PFCommentation 



What is the Wells Fargo Scam all about?

Bankers get a commission (extra money,) for certain actions. These usually invoice opening accounts. The more accounts you open, the more money you get. Commission is a bonus. It’s not a requirement for your base salary. Many banks create a quota of sales that they expect their bankers to hit. When accounts are opened with certain products(direct deposit, online banking, etc) is profitable for the bank.

Wells Fargo had an environment, where if your bankers were not making enough commission, they were reprimanded. Every location has a limited amount of customers. The quotas at Wells Fargo were much higher than achievable. This is a tactic for any sales force to raise the bar higher to get your team to perform harder. Unfortunately the quotas were so high, and the pressure on the employees was equally high, many resorts to illegal actions to achieve those goals.

Bankers opened accounts without the owners permission. Credit cards, checking, savings, online banking, bill pay. They would transfer money around to these accounts, simulate the activity that would get them paid, and transfer it back. The banker hits their numbers, three bank looks profitable, no one thinks about it. This goes on for years, and customers are asking about credit cards/accounts they never applied for.

Keep in mind, when we say bankers, we mean regular employees who make 25k-35k a year before commission.

This type of stuff isn’t uncommon, but such a drastic beach across the board showes that when you create a highly pressured incentive based system, and punish those who perform poorly, you’ll create a corrupt system. There was no one looking to see if these dates were legitimate, they only cared that numbers were met.

– Mixairian 



How can an airline justify me not being able to update a plane ticket to someone else’s name? It’s paid for, who cares who uses it as long as they’re notified?

“Updating” a ticket to someone else’s name is not really “updating” — you are trying to transfer your ticket to someone else. Some tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. Others can be transferred to another person, if you pay a fee. Changing the name due to a spelling error or even a name change is usually allowed, as long as it’s the same person.

Why do they sell non-transferable tickets, and why are they so picky about charging fees for transferable tickets? For one thing it helps them control reselling of tickets. If it was as easy as you’d like it to be, you could potentially scalp airline tickets the same way people scalp concert tickets.

Also the airline makes more money if they force you to buy a new ticket for someone else if your original ticket is non-transferable.



Why don’t college football offenses work in the NFL?

  1. NFL players are better – less than 10% of Div I players every play a down in the pros
  2. College talent is thinner – there are 32 NFL teams, but over 200 Div I-A and Div I-AA college teams, so the average talent level on each team is lower
  3. NFL players are more experienced – a typically college player might get 1 or 2 seasons as a starter, compared to a 10 year pro in the NFL
  4. NFL players are bigger – a typical male does not stop growing until his early twenties…NFL players aren’t getting used to changing bodies
  5. NFL players are pros – they don’t have to worry about passing grades or how their parents are going to make rent…they can dedicate themselves completely to learning a complex playbook
  6. NFL teams have tighter competition – a top college program is designed to beat up on creampuffs and maybe have 2 or 3 competitive games each year…most games are competitive in the NFL
  7. College is a different game – it has different rules and is officiated in a different manor…different games need different strategies

Take the QB position. The worst starting QB in the NFL is around the 32nd best QB in the league…he might be worse the a few backups, but probably at least mid 30’s. The same is true with other positions, every NFL team can assume that worse case, they’ll have at least the 30th some odd worst player in the league.

In college, there are 119 Div I-A football teams last time I counted. That means the worst QB is at best in the 100’s, and because top teams horde prospects, possibly in the 200 or 300’s. And the same is true with other positions. Plus there is a lot more uncertainty with athletes coming out of high school. So even a top team might have the best QB, but only the 70th best receiver. You have to design an offense that works for a broader range of skill levels, and that means dumbing things down.

Why don’t we see this in soccer? Well, soccer, especially in Europe, is not tied to universities. In England alone, there are 140 leagues with nearly 500 divisions, arranged in 24 levels of amateurs, semi-pros, youth, B-team, regionals, all the way up to 5 levels of premiere leagues. This ensure that players are well stratified based on ability level. Compare this to the American football, which basically has 4 or 5 levels, most of which are artificially attached to colleges.



How do modern infantry soldiers get “good” at war?

Yes a bullet from an amateur kills just the same as a Spec Ops would but war isn’t about killing. War is, and always has been, about morale. Morale is and always has been the key component of winning battles. It’s why our Ancient brethren bunched up in phalanxes to mutually support each other. It’s why early muskets, despite all their issues, were still used en masse and were wildly successful; they go boom really loudly and scare the piss out of the other group of people. It’s why line tactics were used and it’s why, to this day, some armies are inherently more professional and well performing than others.

I mean just look at your assertion and compare it to the real world. If you were correct then two groups of roughly equal (materially) groups of men would perform equally as well no matter the situation. This flat out isn’t true; look at the ISIS conflict for the perfect example. The Peshmerga and other professionalized forces, using almost precisely the same equipment as their counterparts, absolutely dump on the rabble that is ISIS. It’s why the Iraqi army, with all their tanks and jets and modern weaponry got manhandled; they had no morale and just did not stand up to a fight. This has to do, mostly, with training. It’s why countries recruit mercenaries with years, if not decades, of fighting experience instead of just picking up Joe Schmoe on the side of the road.

Training is nothing more than rote memorization and mindless repitition over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Doing something so many times and getting so familiar with it you do not have to think to do it. You shouldn’t have to consciously think about pulling a magazine out of your pouch and reloading your gun. You shouldn’t have to consciously think to keep your hand steady when being racked with gunfire and think about dropping that grenade on accident. It’s so that when you’re thrown into real deep shit and you’re freaking out, whether visibly or not, your combat efficacy is not affected. You can still follow orders, you can still provide covering fire and clear a jam, you can still stay aware of what your unit is doing even if your entire being is shaking from fear. This extends, even further, with combat experience. It’s why veterans are preferred over “green” conscripts; the veterans have “trained” in combat so to say and are used to it. They know how to act in it. Being able to function under threat of death, more than anything else, is the admirable quality in every single war in every single period of history.

That is what truly separates soldiers which are “good” at war and those who are not. It’s why irregulars near-universally get routed by professional soldiers; the former are not a cohesive unit while the latter are. The latter are groups of men who have, in general, spent months and usually years training together. They have been in stress together and know how eachother function. They are a unit who has spent months/years running through scenarios hundreds of times so that when it actually happens they just…do it. They don’t freeze like a deer in the headlights because they always got themselves under control. They don’t panic. They do their job and hold the line.

It’s a common (and true) historical fact that, in the age before armored warfare (technically 1916 onward but, truly, the 1930’s onward) the most men died when one side routed. That is when the two phalanxes met or the two lines of musketeers met the poking of spears, swords, and musket fire did not kill all that many actually. The actual battle itself was surprisingly non-lethal. Why? Because as a unit you are strong and have mutual protection. However when that unit is shattered and turn and run that is when the cavalry and everyone else swarms in and cuts everyone down as individuals. That is what training prevents; it prevents units from breaking down into a bunch of self-serving individuals.

War today is in the same vein and wants the same goals. Except instead of lines of men in a grouped spear formation or lines of muskets meeting with cavalry support we got a lot more firepower packing and a lot more distance between us; fights happen at 600m not at 3 feet. In this day in age this truism only gets truer; modern war on the infantry level, at its core, is not about killing the other people. It is about suppressing them to allow your side to maneuver around them and continue to suppress with. As you gain superior firing position you put even more fire on them as they can put less fire on all of your men (either from just lack of firing position and just being overwhelmed) and are forced to withdraw. Being able to do that better than the other guys is not luck but a unit being able to act as a cohesive unit under pressure and to not freak the fuck out more than anything else.

– elos_