Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Super Bowl Footballs Get The DNA Touch

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the don't-wash-them dept.

Biotech 194

theodp writes "All 120 Super Bowl XL footballs will be marked with a drop of synthetic DNA to thwart potential counterfeiters (free reg. required to read) who might be tempted to sell phony game-used Super Bowl footballs, which can be worth thousands of dollars. Exposed to a specific laser frequency, the DNA glows to a bright green. 'The chance of replicating this exact DNA sequence is one in 33 trillion,' said the president of PSA/DNA Authentication Services."

cancel ×

194 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

120? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640488)

they need 120 balls for one game?

Re:120? (5, Funny)

geofferensis (808339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640523)

Well you figure 2 teams, 30 players each. Yeah it comes out to 120. No wait, you need a football, so 121.

Re:120? (1)

demeteloaf (865003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640542)

Well, when you consider that they can auction / sell off every one of those balls as "offical game ball used in super bowl XL," They're going to want to stretch as much money out of that as possible.

I want to say a regular (non playoff) game will use less than half that number of balls.

Re:120? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640590)

Yeah, because when you're selling commercials for $2.5million per 30 seconds, the 120 fucking footballs are actually a consideration in the finances of the NFL.

Don't forget the millions of Steelers and Seahawks jersey's, hat's, scarves, seat cushions, beer mugs, key chains, mirrors, pool table lights, gloves, ballcaps, parka's, etc, etc, etc, etc that are being sold this week, all licensed NFL items, but yeah you might be right, they are so fucking worried about how much money they make on 120 footballs, that this is the reason to mark them.

Re:120? (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640682)

The do a similar thing with "Official" pace cars in racing. Basically there is a real pace car and then 25 other cars that does one lap before the race and then sell the cars as Official Indy cars or whatever.

Re:120? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640571)

they need 120 balls for one game?
Is it guaranteed that each multi-thousand $$$ football is even used in the game once? Does the average game even have 120 plays, and do they really switch them every single play?

Re:120? (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640604)

"Is it guaranteed that each multi-thousand $$$ football is even used in the game once? "

No. But the unused balls aren't sold as Superbowl-used balls.

"Does the average game even have 120 plays"

Nope. Roughly 60 plays + special plays (kickoffs, punts, etc). Likely fewer in this game, since both teams have potent running games.

do they really switch them every single play?

For the first half. Then they use only(!) 12 balls for the 2nd half. It's in the article.

Re:120? (1)

grapes (142628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640846)

"Does the average game even have 120 plays"

Nope. Roughly 60 plays + special plays (kickoffs, punts, etc). Likely fewer in this game, since both teams have potent running games.


Wrong. There are 60 minutes in a game. Even if the clock ran continuously through the game, they only get 40 seconds max between plays, plus the time the actual play takes, so maybe one play per 45 seconds. This means a minimum of 80 plays. In reality, teams don't take the full 40 seconds between plays all the time, plus the clock stops after an incomplete pass, whenever the ball carrier goes out of bounds, at the end of quarters/halves, after scores, and after every timeout - and it doesn't start again until the next snap.

Consider the extreme situation, the two-minute drill at the end of the game. Teams often run 6 or 7 plays during a single (game-clock) minute.

A much closer estimate would probably be a play every 30 game-clock seconds, or 120 plays per game.

do they really switch them every single play?

For the first half. Then they use only(!) 12 balls for the 2nd half. It's in the article.


Also note that this isn't standard practice for all NFL games, just something for the Super Bowl. Although even in regular season games, they still keep some ridiculous number of balls on hand. It's usually left up to the offensive team how often they switch the ball, so they could technically do it every play for the whole season.

It's not like the cost for this many balls, even with embedded DNA, is the least bit significant for the NFL, considering what they are making off this one game.

Hell, even in grade school football I remember each team running in a clean, dry ball at the beginning of each possession, and more often in bad weather.

Re:120? (1)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640614)

Well, the AFC championship game between the steelers and broncos had 118 plays, but I sincerely doubt they change the ball between every play. Never really paid enough attention to that.

On topic, an interesting application of tech, not sure that it is real newsworthy (in the slashdot sense)

Re:120? (1)

Caldeso (912961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640608)

Every kick and punt requires a football fresh out of the box (I believe these footballs are manufactured differently, as well, and can only be used for kicks/punts, not normal plays). That's kickoffs, field goals, and extra points. Figure 15-20 balls required just for that, every game, minimum (it can be much more in a defensive battle). I'm not sure if there are any other times fresh balls are required, though.

Re:120? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640727)

You're kidding right? (non-american here).

Sheesh.... what's the reasoning behind that? Because some sissy will complain that the ball was scuffed, and that's why they missed, or something?

Don't change ball = every person has to deal with the same ball = more fair, imho. Plus, you don't end up needing 120 balls for a football game...

smash.

Re:120? (1)

chicagotypewriter (933271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640828)

I'm not sure if there are any other times fresh balls are required, though.

I like to keep my balls fresh all the time, thank you very much.

Unless... (1, Redundant)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640492)

Someone pilfers the documents from PSA/DNA.

LOL GO SEAHAWKS LOL (-1, Troll)

LOL GO SEAHAWKS LOL (951920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640621)

LOL GO SEAHAWKS LOL

LOL 12TH MAN LOL (-1, Troll)

LOL 12TH MAN LOL (951921) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640628)

LOL 12TH MAN LOL

LOL SLOW DOWN COWBOY (LOL) (-1, Troll)

LOL SLOW DOWN COWBOY (951922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640637)

LOL SLOW DOWN COWBOY (LOL)

LOL LOL POSTS LOL (-1, Troll)

LOL LOL POSTS LOL (951923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640644)

LOL LOL POSTS LOL

(hahahaha my captcha for creating this account was 'banned' - no shit)

LOL NOT BANNED LOL (0, Offtopic)

LOL NOT BANNED LOL (951925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640651)

LOL NOT BANNED LOL

LOL ANOTHER ACCOUNT (0, Offtopic)

LOL ANOTHER ACCOUNT (951926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640660)

LOL ANOTHER ACCOUNT

Perhaps (3, Insightful)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640502)

33 trillion to 1? Yeah right. All a counterfeiter needs do is make it glow roughly the same green. No need to actually replicate the DNA sequence: no-one will actually check that anyway!

Re:Perhaps (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640547)

Hell, you just have to imply that it'll glow green and include a little photoshopped picture. Who's going to actually go find this magic light source to make it glow? Hell, you could use a blacklight and Woolite to fool most people.

---John Holmes...

Re:Perhaps (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640715)

Mmmmh... Woolite.

Re:Perhaps (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640617)

Depends on how much that football actually is worth. Say for example such a football sold for a hundred thousand dollars. In this case, it would be worth paying a few grand to have the DNA sequence tested and verified for authenticity.

Now if it's worth only a grand, chances are some sucker will plunk his cash down without actually going through all the trouble. In such cases, getting away with counterfeiting is much more likely.

Re:Perhaps (1)

sirnuke (866453) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640675)

I hope everyone is aware that this expensive, complex anti-counterfeiting setup is just begging to be broken by some sort of extremely simply method.

Re:Perhaps (2, Funny)

Plunky (929104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640721)

I hope everyone is aware that this expensive, complex anti-counterfeiting setup is just begging to be broken by some sort of extremely simply method.

Yeah, I bet those pesky Taiwanese have got a flourescent green pig breeding program set up already.

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/1 2/1656250 [slashdot.org]

Re:Perhaps (3, Insightful)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640748)

And who's going to have one of those very specifically-tuned lasers to check them with?

Full text (5, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640503)

Here's the text of the article for easy read:
DETROIT -- Super Bowl XL comes with a guarantee: Every football -- all 120 of them -- will be dropped.
That is, each will be marked with a drop of synthetic DNA to thwart potential counterfeiters who might be tempted to sell phony "game-used" Super Bowl footballs, which can be worth thousands of dollars. Exposed to a specific laser frequency, the DNA glows to a bright green.
"The ball can change hands a thousand-plus times, but it will never lose that DNA," said Joe Orlando, president of PSA/DNA Authentication Services, a division of Santa Ana-based Collector's Universe Inc., which for the sixth consecutive year marked the Super Bowl footballs. "The chance of replicating this exact DNA sequence is one in 33 trillion, so it's virtually impossible."
The NFL has prepared 10 dozen Wilson footballs for Sunday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks and plans to use a new one on every play of the first half, before going to a 12-ball rotation after halftime. It's something the league has done for several Super Bowls, donating some to charity auctions, setting aside others for selected players, coaches and officials, and sending the one used on the opening kickoff to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"You have to guard that one like your life depends on it," said Mike Pereira, supervisor of NFL officials.
Some players said they would be holding on a little extra tight too.
Steeler receiver Antwaan Randle El was caught off guard when informed about the continuous shuttle of new pigskin.
"Every play? I didn't know that," he said Wednesday. "That's not good.
"It's slick, it's slippery. Even when you go to tuck it, the ball's prone to come out a little more often than normal."
Added quarterback Charlie Batch, backup for Steeler starter Ben Roethlisberger: "If they're not broken in, that could present a problem. But it shouldn't be a problem for Ben because he wears a glove. I don't think that necessarily would affect him, but that could affect anybody [else] who has to touch the ball. It's a little more slick and the laces aren't broken in."
And the grip is a concern even for those who don't catch or carry the ball.
"You get those new balls that are right out of the bag, that's an issue," said Greg Warren, Pittsburgh's long snapper, whose job it is to accurately hike the ball back on field-goal attempts, conversion kicks and punts. "You just have to make sure you stay focused. Because if that ball slips just a little bit, it makes a big difference.
"For me, if the ball slips out too soon, I'm going to get a real low snap. So I have to be aware of that. But I don't want to grip it too hard, because if you grip it too long it's going to go high."
Said Carolina receiver Steve Smith, who played in the Super Bowl two years ago: "It's no big deal. You can't even tell. We play with new balls all the time."
But New England tight end Christian Fauria, who played in the last two Super Bowls, says of the balls: "Quarterbacks and kickers definitely know the difference between a good one and a bad one.... It's like handing a pitcher a brand-new baseball after every pitch. They like to scuff it up."
To break in the footballs, the NFL uses a machine similar to an electric golf-shoe buffer. It's quicker and more effective than rubbing each by hand.
"They really take the rain protectant off of them, which kind of acts like Vaseline at times," Seattle kicker Josh Brown said. "But as much as we play in bad weather and the rain up there in Seattle, it shouldn't be a problem."
New footballs, old footballs, Seahawk receiver Darrell Jackson said he doesn't have a preference.
"My job is to catch it," he said. "Doesn't matter if it's slick, or if it's wet, or if it doesn't have enough grip on it. Whatever ball's out there, I'll just hold on tight."
Teammate Robbie Tobeck, a center, doesn't seem worried either: "We use new balls every game. I haven't had a problem with it at all."
NFL kickers and punters always have new footballs to deal with. In 1999, in order to encourage returns by making it more difficult for a kicker to reach the end zone, the league began using "K-Balls" -- kicking footballs -- that went largely untreated. From the start, they were unpopular with those required to use them, kickers and punters who previously had the ability to knead, scuff, even microwave footballs before using them in games.
Now the K-Balls are handed to them right before the play, leading to those almost comical moments when kickers animatedly squash, punch and push on them just before they are set on a tee.
"The leather isn't cracked," Brown said of a K-Ball. "It's very sharp, the edges are sharp. Sometimes it doesn't feel as if it's aired-up enough. You get a quarterback ball, and that ball's hitting hands, it's popping, it's cracking. The ball expands during the game, so the leather becomes more pliable to your hands. There's a big difference."
The footballs used in Super Bowl XL might all be called $1K balls, because any of them might go for at least that much at auction. Each is initialed by the referee working the game.
A football from this game "might be worth $1,000 to $1,500 once the hype dies down, unless it becomes an all-time classic game," said Simeon Lipman, director of pop culture memorabilia for RM Auctions. "If the ball has significance, if it's a game-winning ball, a touchdown ball, certainly the price might rise."
The NFL will document and keep track of which ball is used for which play.
No doubt the players will too -- especially those eyeing a keepsake from the game of their lives.
"We don't even see them until the game starts," Seattle punter Tom Rouen said. "But I'm going to definitely try to get my hands on one."

Re:Full text (5, Funny)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640747)

In a related story, Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is reported to have been hospitalized follow the game this Sunday for strange growths on his hands and forearms.

Re:Full text (0, Offtopic)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640758)

I thought as a community we were really hot on copyright? How could reposting the whole article ever be considered fair use? I understand why it was done but if we want people to respect the copyright of our work we should respect theirs. The fact that they force you to register to read the article is not an excuse to reprint it - it is the cost of reading the article.

DNA on footballs? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640504)

Eww... doesn't anyone wash their hands anymore?

Ewwwwww (5, Funny)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640506)

Who would want to buy a football stained with semen, not to mention pummeled and pounced up on by almost two dozen sweaty heavy guys for two hours non-stop?

Re:Ewwwwww (1)

hmccabe (465882) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640540)

Who would want to buy a football stained with semen, not to mention pummeled and pounced up on by almost two dozen sweaty heavy guys for two hours non-stop?

Call to get your drapes redone, ask him.

Re:Ewwwwww (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640581)

Christina Aguilera?

Billions, so what? (4, Interesting)

leob (154345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640508)

Who cares about the probability of replicating the exact sequence? What is the probability that an arbitrary sequence DNA will glow under that light?

Re:Billions, so what? (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640518)

The DNA they are using glows at a very specific light frequency. I imagine they don't share and tell exactly what that frequency is, though.

They'd better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640541)

I imagine they don't share and tell exactly what that frequency is, though

If they don't then I'll just break out my blacklight and a bottle of Woolite(TM)

;-)

Really though, it's just something else to sell to the suckers buying the balls. As if selling 120 footballs wasn't making them buckets of cash, guess who's going to sell you the laser to verify authenticity. So now, counterfeiters can make double the money too. They just need to counterfeit a ball and laser too.

Re:Billions, so what? (2, Insightful)

TheGuano (851573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640570)

If they don't tell anyone, I guess they're willing to go around testing all 10,000 footballs everyone is thinking about bidding for on ebay.

Re:Billions, so what? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640794)

Who cares about the probability of replicating the exact sequence?

If you can get hold of the DNA replicating it becomes rather easier.
This kind of tagging was originally designed for detecting stolen items.

Nice Odds.. (-1)

neoform (551705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640521)

"The chance of replicating this exact DNA sequence is one in 33 trillion"

I like those odds! *starts making a fake ball*

Re:Nice Odds.. (4, Funny)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640726)

So you're saying I have a chance.

Re:Nice Odds.. (1)

BlackErtai (788592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640769)

Let me guess, you're one of those guys trying to get linux running on a cardboard box and a box of Kleenex, aren't you?

odds (4, Funny)

shr3k (451065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640525)

The chance of replicating this exact DNA sequence is one in 33 trillion

Never tell me the odds!

Whow... (-1, Flamebait)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640529)

At least the we know where the United States' priorities are. War? Famine? Fuck that, let's support a sport so they can put synthetic DNA on a football.

Sorry, but sports are valued entirely too fucking much imo.

Re:Whow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640559)

So are computer IMO.

Not a zero sum game..... (1, Interesting)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640562)

"At least the we know where the United States' priorities are. War? Famine? Fuck that, let's support a sport so they can put synthetic DNA on a football. Sorry, but sports are valued entirely too fucking much imo."

Why do people always have to view things in zero-sum terms. Just because research is going into something entertaining like sports doesn't mean it won't translate into other usages. We have spent millions and millions of dollars into figuring out how to make athletes perform better and fix them when they are hurt. This has translated into practical, useful things such as Gatorade and much better procedures for knee and shoulder injuries. The NFL anti-counterfiting measures may turn out to be useful in the future for things such as legal documents.

I think people have a bias against science and research that is not done for "the love of knowledge" itself. The truth is that most of our progress comes from necessity, and many times this necessity is a manufactured necessity rather than a real one. Sometimes it is war research, sometimes sports, sometimes other entertainment such as video games. These things merely provide opportunities for challenges to overcome.

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640578)

"The truth is that most of our progress comes from necessity, and many times this necessity is a manufactured necessity rather than a real one. Sometimes it is war research, sometimes sports, sometimes other entertainment such as video games. These things merely provide opportunities for challenges to overcome." (emphasis mine)

I am in total agreement with you. I'd much rather have research funds going to how to tag pigskins than how to kill more efficiently.

Not only that, but sports produce trade. Just one more diversification in an economy.

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640815)

"I'd much rather have research funds going to how to tag pigskins than how to kill more efficiently."

Because we all know that those are the only two things that you can possibly do with millions of dollars.... Paying some uneducated idiot millions of dollars to toss around a football is a damn travesty. You know something is drastically wrong when doctors and teachers barely have enough money to raise a family comfortably while these retards are riding around in Bentley's throwing millions of dollars around like it's nothing. Our priorities are so fucked up it's truly disgusting.

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (3, Insightful)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640584)

I didn't mean to imply the technology was useless. It may very well have good applications. Putting synthetic DNA on a football is not a good application. I was actually ready to burn some karma on that comment as I'm very against sports where a guy gets paid millions to toss a ball or anything along those lines. Priorities are absolutely terrible in 1st world countries. I mean I know leisure activities are important but I don't think they're as important as we make them out to be. I would much rather go play a game of football than watch one.

I'd like to note that if a certain technology is needed it will be developed, manufactured need or not.

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (1)

trumpetboy8282 (871271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640603)

Welcome to capitalism.

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (3, Informative)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640680)

I agree with your sentiment about organized sports, therefore, I almost hate to bring about this little counterpoint of logic.

Your argument against the amount paid to a top sports player is basically a Short Term/Long Term fallacy, a subset of "Excluded Middle".

The reason a guy gets paid millions to toss a ball, or something similar is because millions of fans watch. They pay for viewing, they watch ads, hell, they have tailgate parties prior to games, and you can bet they buy a good deal of merchandise for those parties alone. Organized sports is big business, and having popular players (those who can throw the ball well) brings in added revenue for the teams that can win. Just take a look at the prices of the footballs in the article!

It boils down to money. The team owners/franchises want to make more money, the fans want to see more/better games, and are happy to spend their money to do so.

Ironically, when I was in Africa in 1990 building a medical clinic, all the locals loved playing soccer, and whenever a newspaper was around, everyone gawked over the world soccer scores. It was near religion to them. They also had a better knowledge of North American boxing than I ever have had. And yet, many of these people owned only one set of clothes, and most did not have electricity, and certanly not any clean water.

And so, these very people I was trying to help were caught up in organized sports, where, as you say the funds from the massive North American endevours could be used to help the people in Africa. You are right of course, but it seems that people everywhere, on the average are sports nuts. This does not make people bad, it just makes them human.

We, the slashdot geeks are a different breed.

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640754)

Have you not noticed the connection between large scale sporting events (the Superbowl, Olympics, etc) and much needed boosts in the economy surrounding said events? Entire cities clean up and gear up in anticipation of these events, and when they do eventually come around local businesses score with all the additional city traffic. It's economics, man.

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640610)

This has translated into practical, useful things such as Gatorade. . .

Otherwise known as "Florescent Sugar Water."

With a pinch of salt.

Took nearly minutes of research to whip that up.

KFG

Re:Not a zero sum game..... (1)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640622)

Took minutes to develop Gatorade, but I'm spending my lifetime appreciating that little stroke of genius. And Bobby Boucher's coach was actually right, Gatorade is better than water.

Hypocrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640580)

Why are you whining on Slashdot when you could be helping miserable children in Ethiopa who are starving?

What are YOUR priorities?

Re:Hypocrite (-1, Offtopic)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640592)

Getting through college. Sorry but I'm not exactly in a position to help starving children in Ethiopia when I'm in debt from student loans. Maybe after when I can afford to live on my own?

Re:Hypocrite (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640676)

Selfishly getting educated to make money instead of heading off to a place where you're needed and putting in the labor necessary to get something done? For shame, hypocrite. Your priorities are borne from the comfort of college, and everyone knows how easy it is to look down from that ivory tower. For shame.

Re:Whow... (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640599)

I agree with you that sports are valued too much, but you're pretty silly to assert that the United States had anything much to do with this ridiculous invention. It was a private company looking to take advantage of peoples' rapacious, irrational interest in "authenticity".

If the Franklin Mint can create authenticity, it must not be that valuable.

Re:Whow... (0, Flamebait)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640607)

When I said the United States I meant it's citizenship.

Re:Whow... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640634)

I'm a citizen, and I think this is really stupid. I suspect there are several other people like me. Therefore, you're painting with an overbroad brush.

If you'd said "sports fanatics", I'd have no argument with you. But you went for the "Gosh, aren't Americans dumb?" angle, which never fails to annoy me.

Re:Whow... (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640830)

I agree with you that sports are valued too much, but you're pretty silly to assert that the United States had anything much to do with this ridiculous invention.

Dosn't look quite that way if you read this article http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/ 20060131/SPORTS0106/601310310/1126/SPORTS0101 [detnews.com]

Re:Whow... (1)

barfooz (936184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640601)

Yes, I know it is essential that everyone in this country devote every single second of their lives to curing famine and realizing world peace. It's called entertainment, and people appreciate it.

Completely Unnecessary (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640816)

Yeah, who needs entertainment? I'm going to get off of this stupid, pointless forum and do some real, important work. Thank you for pointing out the folly of my foolish ways, from now on I resolve to do nothing but work.

What about DNA replicating chemicals? (3, Funny)

xtal (49134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640533)

IANA molecular biologist, but isn't there a pretty common process for taking trace DNA, then duplicating it en masse for crime scene investigation?

Re:What about DNA replicating chemicals? (1)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640567)

IANA molecular biologist, but isn't there a pretty common process for taking trace DNA, then duplicating it en masse for crime scene investigation?

Neither am I, but I believe this may be what you're referring to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymerase_chain_reac tion [wikipedia.org]

Business plan (5, Insightful)

pgfuller (797997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640546)

1) Purchase legitimate game ball for 'thousands' 2) Extract DNA sequence and replicate using PCR or actually sequence it and then create more 3) ... 4) Profit !

Re:Business plan (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640558)

Just use Woolite and a black light and you'll fool most people. You'll be able to skip to the "4)Profit!" stage quicker!

---John Holmes...

Re:Business plan (1)

pgfuller (797997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640574)

Nah. When you are inevitably accused of forgery, you get the NFL or PSA / DNA Authentication Services to verify that the balls (all thousands of them) are legitimate. Thus avoiding 5) Go to gaol.

PSA / DNA Authentication Services Methodology (5, Funny)

faceword (635817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640548)

1) Slaughter a pig.
2) Slice the hide into 120 footballs.
3) Serve the leftovers as bacon during the pre-game tailgate.

All the footballs have the same DNA.

The glow is related to the discount the company received by purchasing from Chernobyl pig farmers.

Re:PSA / DNA Authentication Services Methodology (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640593)

Oh, man....
I can't believe you left out:
4.?????
5. Profit

I can tell by your #635817 that I can't accuse you of being new here (compared to my own #812749), but duuuude! Come on man, where is your /. spirit?

p.s. having done the pig butchering scene as a youngster, don't forget the pork rinds!

Re:PSA / DNA Authentication Services Methodology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640784)

Maybe they realised that the Tech Bubble burst back in 2001 and trying to keep an ancient gag satirising it limping along five years just isn't worth the time.

(Then again, Slashdot is just about the only place where the "In Soviet Russia..." joke still gets an outing and moderated up. There may still be a decade's worth of tired, unfunny recycled "??? Profit" renditions still to left go... Heaven help us.)

Re:PSA / DNA Authentication Services Methodology (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640796)

No need to go to chernobyl, what do you think why those green glowing pigs were invented last month?

...damn, they're foolish. (2, Informative)

rincebrain (776480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640553)

What the hell is stopping a counterfitting group from sequencing the DNA and replicating it?

I mean, they're willing to go the distance to make the balls looks authentic, it can be done.

Not only that... (1)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640641)

my bet is that the odds stated in the article are for guessing the sequence. The tech is cool, but the retards deciding on using the tech could use some work.

Re:...damn, they're foolish. (3, Informative)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640739)

Screw sequencing it. All you need to do is get a sample, mix it in with polychromase, and add a little heat to PCR the heck out of it. Its a laboratory procedure that high school science students can complete -- I should know, because I did it in AP biology. Congratulations, you know have a big container of paste that glows green under a specific frequency of light, for less than $100 in easily available ingridients (Popular Science magazine probably sells do-it-yourself-DNA-experiment-kits in the back). Add in one football and you're done.

Hot air (2, Informative)

duinsel (935058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640564)

There are probably nuggets of truth in the claim, but first of all DNA does not glow green. Perhaps they used fancy synthetic nucleotide analogs with a fluorescent label? Otherwise, they just spiked cheap marker dye into the mix, separate from the DNA. Furthermore, though a laser of the proper frequency (color) can definately make a fluorescent dye glow green, this is hardly something only a laser can do. Any source of (probably blue-ish) light will do. But of course 'blue flashlight' sounds not nearly as cool as 'laser of a specific frequency'.

Re:Hot air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640694)

It depends exactly how they did it; while expensive, there are now quantum dot labeling techniques that allow you to create a fluorescent label that will give a characteristic fluorescence at only one single frequency. If you used simple GFP, then a wider range of light would probably work, but there are certainly technologies available now that allow very specific labeling.

The point of needing a laser is more that if you tune it to a specific frequency, it's likely that shining a flashlight at it will give such a diverse spectrum that the single frequency signal will be washed away.

$5.00 PayPal Donation... (4, Funny)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640566)

To the first person who sends me a photograph of a wealthy net-savvy Nigerian businessman smiling and holding up a genuine fake Super Bowl XXL Football.

The U.S. has a huge trade deficit. Why aren't we exporting this junk?

Re:$5.00 PayPal Donation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640818)

Because no-one else wants it.

I'll take those odds (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640572)

"The chance of replicating this exact DNA sequence is one in 33 trillion, so it's virtually impossible."

I'm not saying that the chances of replicating the exact sequence are good, but you figure people involved in sport would know better than to assign odds that long.

Working from known sequences that fluoresce under laser stimulation, I bet they could narrow the odds down, to say, oh, a billion to one. Not that it matters, since what they'll be testing is not the base sequence, but instead whether laser + pig bladder = fluorescence.

So beating their test just means guessing the frequency of the laser.

I'll bet $100 on 100,000 different reproducable frequencies ($10M in bets) and I figure one of them will hit... even if they take a 5% vig, I'm still making out with 3.135 QUADRILLION dollars.

Take that, Dr. Evil.

odds for random or deliberate attempt?? (0)

daveb (4522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640573)

leaving aside that all you need for a curde fake is to make something that glows - ideally (but not necessarily for some greedy suckers) under the right light - yes LEAVING that ...

Is that 33 trillion to one the odds of a random sequence duplicating it - or is it the odds of someone who knows what they are doing, and with intent, being able to duplicate the sequence?

It sounds like someone was pulling random, or irrelevent, numbers out of his RC

but then IANADNAS :)

Re:odds for random or deliberate attempt?? (2, Insightful)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640665)

It just occurred to me: There are only 4 nucleotide bases in DNA, so they give the ballpark figure of how long the strand of DNA is. That was awful helpful of them. They just pulled back on the trigger of their 9mm and shot themselves in the foot. And I bet someone on the inside just sells the "recipe" to the highest bidder.

Re:odds for random or deliberate attempt?? (4, Informative)

John Newman (444192) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640722)

Your intuition is right on. It must be about a 22-23 nucleotide oligomer. 4^22 = 18 trillion or so. Like someone else said, DNA doesn't glow green, so they either used tagged nucleotides or just spiked their DNA-containing ink with a green fluorescent dye. The dye, I suspect, is just so they know where they put the DNA without having to actually discolor the ball.

You'd be amazed if you knew what their profit margin must be. Oligos like that cost about 10 bucks for enough to probably detectably tag all 120 footballs, and you can synthesize any sequence you want. A couple of bucks for that fluoresence dye, some ink, and I bet it costs them about a quarter a ball altogether. You could even do this sort of thing yourself for not much more. Most DNA synthesis companies will happily do business with private citizens. The only substantial cost would be verifiying an object that someone brings in, but even that just requires a half-decent molecular biology tech and some not-too-expensive equipment. You don't need to actually sequence the thing to verify that it matches a reference sample - you can just cheaply and quickly test binding affinity. I'll bet they charge for verification, anyway. So this whole scheme is probably the next-best thing to printing money.

(IAAMB - molecular biologist)

Re:odds for random or deliberate attempt?? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640822)

Like someone else said, DNA doesn't glow green, so they either used tagged nucleotides or just spiked their DNA-containing ink with a green fluorescent dye. The dye, I suspect, is just so they know where they put the DNA without having to actually discolor the ball.

Or they simply went and bought a marking kit from somewhere like Smart Water http://www.smartwater.com/ [smartwater.com]

From the you-oughtta-know-me-by-now Dept (4, Funny)

LouisZepher (643097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640577)

1 in 33 trillion is still only a finite improbability, and now that I know the figures, I just need a cup of really hot tea and I'll have myself a goldmine of counterfeit footballs...

Oh, goody. (0, Troll)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640583)

Good thing we got that stupid cancer thing all cured, and we can move on to the important stuff!

Any moron who's willing to spend $zillions on a football deserves to get rooked.

Re:Oh, goody. (1)

mrpeebles (853978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640685)

Now if only we had a seedless watermelon...

yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640591)

Just another weapon in the war on terror...

And for the rest of us? (3, Funny)

Indy Media Watch (823624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640612)

Exposed to a specific laser frequency, the DNA glows to a bright green. 'The chance of replicating this exact DNA sequence is one in 33 trillion,' said the president

And the chances of a potential purchaser having the specific laser to verify their purchase? About one in 35 trillion...

But... (1)

marcosc (801468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640638)

"All 120 Super Bowl XL footballs will be marked with a drop of synthetic DNA to thwart potential counterfeiters who might be tempted to sell phony game-used Super Bowl footballs, which can be worth thousands of dollars. Exposed to a specific laser frequency, the DNA glows to a bright green."

I wonder what it will cost to get it exposed to that specific laser frequency... a few extra hundred dollars, perhaps? This may defeat the actual point of using the synthetic DNA in the first place: it's hidden cost.

Little Green Footballs (0, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640645)

Little Green Footballs [littlegreenfootballs.com] .

Now only if I can look at them in peace. Those Islamo-Fascists are going to ruin my Superbowl Sunday.

Go Natural (4, Funny)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640659)

Am I missing something here? Why not just make the pig skins from green pigs [bbc.co.uk] in the first place. Try replicating that in your backyard.

Not a Challenge (1, Interesting)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640662)

OJ Duped a jury using identical odds

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

mh101 (620659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640677)

If someone's stupid enough to pay thousands of dollars to buy a football just because it was supposedly used in a Superbowl game, then they deserve it if they get conned.

Similarly, I don't get all these auctions where an article of clothing sells for huge sums of money simply because a celebrity wore it once. Why's it suddenly worth so much more than getting the exact same thing from a store?

Re:Who cares? (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640708)

It shouldn't be "who cares" but more "Why does the NFL care?"

Seriously, I could go into how they should be focused on making sure all the Refs are ready and that the Instant Replay is ready, but put that aside and question why the NFL is making sure that game balls are authentic.

I mean, why do they care? Do they make money off eBay? Do they make money off of the ball 30 years from now when it sells for tens-of-thousands at Sotheby's? Why is the NFL putting money into this, just to say that thier balls can't be faked?

I'm OK with this as long as they don't (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640733)

try and patent it... the Devil has prior art... he get's people to sign the contract with their own blood

Re:I'm OK with this as long as they don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14640762)

My keyboard has prior art too.

Re:I'm OK with this as long as they don't (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640773)

I can concur with that sentiment... time to swap out the dirty with the clean...

I wish we had article moderation (-1, Troll)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640760)

I, personally, don't give a damn about DNA on footballs. I want to see DNA being used in living things. I want to read about Microsoft, or Linux, or the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design holy war (if it isn't a holy war, why do Slashdotters eagerly bitch and argue over it every time it comes up?).

Or maybe I just want to read about politics or something.

Point is, somebody please let me vote this article down. After all, it's not like I had plans to counterfeit a Super Bowl football.

Auctions (1, Funny)

inferno10 (889897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14640809)

You know, I think I saw a blue dress that has been marked with authentic presidential DNA for sale on eBay recently.

It glows white when exposed to a forensics flashlight.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>