Rock, paper, scissors has enjoyed a surge in popularity in the past decade with some bars even holding special nights dedicated to this old schoolyard favorite. Usually a good time is had by all, but there always seems to be someone who takes things way too seriously.

Which bring us to this robot built in the Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Tokyo.

It never loses at rock, paper, scissors.

But as the folks at IEEE Spectrum magazine point out, the robot might be cheating: "It only takes a single millisecond for the robot to recognize what shape your hand is in, and just a few more for it to make the shape that beats you, but it all happens so fast that it's more or less impossible to tell that the robot is waiting until you commit yourself before it makes its move, allowing it to win 100% of the time."

Judge for yourself:

At least you won't have to buy the robot a drink for beating you.

But maybe this would be more interesting if these two were the engineers who programmed the rules into the robot:

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At a certain point, you've got to feel bad for Tim Tebow. All he wants to do is win, but the guy can't take a step without creating a media firestorm. There's no better example of the Uncontrollable Tebowmania than these past few days. In the middle of June, months away from the start of the football season, Tebow managed to find himself in the headlines several times over the past 48 hours:

Last week Tebow spoke at a function for University of Florida boosters. He mentioned that former teammate Brady Quinn liked to brag about his alma mater, Notre Dame, and that Quinn's comments peeved Tebow. Gator Zone published Tebow's comments Monday, and by Tuesday they were all over the internet.

Monday night, Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones was on The Tonight Show, where she suggested that she could ask Tebow on a date to church. Chaos.

Finally, as if Tebow didn't have enough pressure on him already, on Monday Shaquille O'Neal predicted (via Twitter) that Tebow and the Jets would win the Super Bowl this year. Granted, Shaq lost his prophetic powers quite some time ago, but when you mention "Tebow" and "Super Bowl" in the same sentence, you're essentially pulling the Twitter fire alarm.

Here's to a Tebow-free week. Unrealistic, maybe. But a kid can dream, right?

-- Follow Robbie Levin on Twitter @RobbieLevin.

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With Arizona holding South Carolina to just two runs in a two-game sweep at the College World Series, the most interesting battle in Omaha may have taken place in batting practice.

Two ESPN sideline reporters and former softball stars, Jenn Brown and Jessica Mendoza, took cracks with the squads on Saturday.

Brown, who played at Florida, practiced with the Gamecocks. While she made some solid contact from the left side of the plate, she struggled from the right side. Brown tries to replay her role as a slapper towards the end of the clip, but apparently that's a softball skill.

Mendoza, also a lefty, took some good cuts and looked more comfortable than Brown. After watching the clip below it should come as no surprise that Mendoza was a two-time Olympian and set numerous school records at Stanford.

-- Follow Robbie Levin on Twitter @RobbieLevin.

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Many words have been used to describe Oscar Taveras' swing: Powerful, unique, unorthodox, even ugly.

But Joe Kruzel, the Cardinals prospect's hitting coach at Single-A Quad Cities last year, is almost offended by the idea someone would call it ugly.

"It's like that movie, 'Shallow Hal,'" Kruzel said. "People thought that big girl was ugly, but Shallow Hal thought she was beautiful."

Apparently that makes Taveras Gwyneth Paltrow.

No matter the semantics, the 19-year-old outfielder's swing is generating results and has pushed him to a spot as one of the top position prospects in all of baseball.

His numbers at Double-A Springfield this year, a .322 average with 12 home runs, put him in the conversation for Texas League MVP as a teenager.

It was the same at Quad Cities in 2011, where he hit .386 with 8 home runs, and Johnson City in 2010, where he hit .322 with 8 home runs.

But the numbers alone don't tell the story with Taveras, who certainly gets his money's worth every time up.

Thanks to a unique stance and some noise at the end of his swing, he can appear wild at the plate. He still has a tendency to swing at pitches outside the zone.

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On June 22, 2003, Matt Moulson hit the lottery. The Penguins chose the forward in that year's NHL draft. It was a great feeling, a dream he'd worked hard for years to realize. There was a small problem -- 262 players had been selected before him and another 28 names would be picked after. Being drafted by an NHL team was an honor, but being taken so late hardly came with the promise of a roster spot.

"I was a little disappointed," Moulson says. "I knew I had a lot of work to do from there. In the three years that they held my rights, I don't think I spoke to Pittsburgh once."

He spent those three years playing at Cornell University. Without any interest from the team that drafted him, Moulson needed to find the right fit. Like many of the nearly 300 players drafted annually into the NHL -- this year's event is Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh -- Moulson faced long odds if he was going to play in the show.

After Moulson finished school, the Kings gambled and signed him in September 2006. Moulson showed promise during his time with the organization and even scored a goal in his first NHL game, but played mostly in the AHL. After three years and just 29 NHL appearances (10 points), the Kings didn't re-sign him for the 2009-10 season.

"I wish I could have proven to them that I was they player they wanted, but sometimes you need a change of scenery," Moulson says.

Moulson signed with the Islanders in July 2009 and was immediately paired with John Tavares, that year's first overall draft choice. Moulson scored his first hat trick before New Year's and finished the season with 30 goals and 48 points. They've yet to sail the Islanders into the postseason, but the duo have created a powerful tandem. Moulsen wound up a 2012 Lady Byng award finalist.

"(Tavares) has grown into one of the best players in the world," Moulson says. "He had a tremendous season and that’s obviously going to lead to better stats for everyone down the line."

Last season, Moulson played in all 82 games, scored 30-plus goals and led the Islanders in goals for the third consecutive season. Moulson career highs in goals (36), assists (33) and points (69). Tavares earned assists on 24 of Moulson's goals last season and has been on-ice for 60 consecutive goals scored by Moulson, earning 40 assists dating back to Nov. 17, 2010 against Tampa. He didn’t win the Lady Byng award this year, but Moulson has proven himself to be a true wildcard among late-round NHL draft picks.

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"We're seeing a lot of late bloomers that take longer to figure their whole game out," Moulson says. "A lot of late picks are drafted because of their potential."

In fact, several other later picks in 2003 (and many other years) have made a considerable impact on the league. Sleepers from the 2003 draft include Stanley Cup champion Dustin Byfuglien (245), Jennings Trophy co-winner Jaroslav Halak (271) and U.S. Olympian Joe Pavelski (205, pictured below). Others made the NHL briefly. Still, all of those players were initially sent to the minors, where the odds are daunting and a career can go in many directions.

"It's a big jump to go from junior hockey to men's hockey and for some players drafted later there is less pressure," says Peter Wallen, the agent of last year's second overall pick, Gabriel Landeskog. "Each player develops differently and more important than where you go is if you go to the right team."

A more typical example of the career of a late-rounder is that of New York City Police officer, Jason Sessa.

A Long Island native, Sessa grew up cheering for the same Islanders that Moulson now plays for. He had visions of skating as a pro in the their home rink -- the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

By his draft year, he'd grown into a promising forward playing for Lake Superior State University. Sessa earned a silver medal with Team USA at the 1997 World Junior Championships in Geneva, Switzerland.

On draft day in 1996, Sessa was in St. Louis with his family and their attorney. The Rangers had a late third-round pick and the Islanders had an early fourth-round choice that Sessa hoped either team might use on a local kid. The Rangers chose Russian forward Dmitry Subbotin (76th), the Islanders chose goaltender Tyrone Garner (83rd) and Sessa went to the Toronto Maple Leafs with the 86th overall pick in the fourth round.

"Once the Isles and Rangers passed on me, I told my parents I as going to Toronto," Sessa remembers. "They'd contacted me a lot."

He returned to college for two more years and turned pro after junior year. At first, Sessa played in the Maple Leafs system and attended the team's training camp with Curtis Joseph, Mats Sundin and Tie Domi. But after three years, Sessa felt lost in their organization and Toronto did not re-sign him.

"I think from maybe the fourth round on there is a buffer and they give you time to develop and if it doesn't work, it’s not a big disappointment,” says Sessa. “It’s a numbers game sometimes."

Over the next seven years, Sessa played mostly at the "AA" level in places like North Charleston, S.C., and Elmira, N.Y. He endured 25-hour bus rides from Mississippi to Colorado, often played four games in six days and hid painful injuries for fear of being released. The job had its perks, though, Sessa won the ECHL's Kelly Cup with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2001 and was also an ECHL and UHL All-Star in his time. Sessa never made it to the NHL, but he did get to realize a dream.

"I got called up to the Islanders AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and they play one game at Nassau Coliseum every year," Sessa says. "I got to play in the one at the Coliseum because it was during my call-up."

Sessa worked in construction in the off-season to help pay the bills. He took the NYPD exam around 2003, but deferred the academy several times to continue playing. Early in the 2007-08 season, Sessa hung up his skates and joined the force at 31.

When he's not fighting crime from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sessa skates for the NYPD ice hockey team. Each year, New York's police and fire departments play a charity game at the Nassau Coliseum.

Although being selected toward the top of the NHL draft is the most direct way into the league, it isn't the only way. Many players who aren't drafted at all find an alternate path to the NHL. Past and present stars like Curtis Joseph, Ed Belfour and Martin St. Louis are among those to shine in the NHL without being drafted into it.

Former Philadelphia Flyer Tim Kerr thought he'd be taken in the 1979 NHL draft, in which the entry age was lowered from 19 to 18. He wasn't.

Kerr hooked on with the Flyers and eventually played in a total of 655 NHL games, scoring 370 goals and appearing in three-time All-Star games (1984, 85, 86). He set the single-season record for power-play goals in a season with 34 in 1985–86 season and won the Masterton Trophy in 1989. Players like Kerr somehow fall out of the draft but don't drift too far from the scout's radar.

"I was disappointed because I thought I'd be picked, but it didn't deter me from wanting to get there,” Kerr remembers. "I guess I was just overlooked.”

These days, Kerr helps free agent prospects advance their careers as the owner of the Pensacola Ice Flyers, a Single A club in the Southern Professional Hockey League. While SPHL players usually don’t move on to the NHL, their careers are rich in experience.

"It's very hard to tell what kind of a player someone will be based off their junior career," says Kerr. "You tell the kids to keep having that dream and to keep working hard."

For Kerr, advancing to the NHL was about making the best of the hand he was dealt.

-- Matt Caputo is a writer from Queens, N.Y. He's written for the New York Times, Maxim, SLAM, Men's Fitness and New York Daily News. Visit his website or follow him on Twitter: @mattcaputo.

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Over time, R.A. Dickey has become one with his knuckleball -- an elusive, baffling jewel that has cast its master into the national spotlight despite being an endangered baseball species.

Mastering the pitch has become so much of a lost art that Dickey contemplates whether the craft of making a living off it has knuckleball disciples teetering on extinction.

So when Stephen Orso, a 18-year-old Long Island native, sought out Dickey this spring -- the same way the 37-year-old New York Mets ace had with Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough and Tim Wakefield in 2005 when he started throwing the knuckleball -- the initial reaction was to be grateful.

But that's when the reality of the request sunk in.

If a kid believed to be the only high schooler in the country consistently throwing a knuckleball was seeking Dickey for guidance on a pitch no one has completely perfected, there had to be a reason.

"It probably means that you're one of the last ones left -- if not the last one left," Dickey says in a phone interview with ThePostGame.com, a day after becoming the first major leaguer since 1944 to throw back-to-back one hitters. "That's who I am.

"So (for someone to seek him out) is nice, but it also means you're lonely. You're by yourself to some degree."

Orso, for one, hopes to change that one knuckleball at a time.

Orso will begin his college baseball career in the fall at University of Maryland -- a competitive plateau the New York teenager says he would have never reached without a knuckleball.

Pre-knuckleball, Orso was, by his own admission, a "very average" run-of-the-mill high school pitcher whose fastball topped out at 84 mph.

He had an ordinary arsenal -- fastball, slider, change-up and an occasional curveball -- a skill set that by itself would likely keep Orso's arm from reaching anywhere beyond high school.

The knuckleball had been something Orso, like every pitcher on the planet, had messed around with from time to time.

He often experimented with Wakefield's version of the pitch in leisurely video game sessions, using the controller and his imagination to virtually bewilder one big leaguer after another.

But not only throwing a knuckleball himself, but mastering the pitch enough to get him noticed by professional scouts would be a completely different proposition.

Knuckleballers have always been an oddity in baseball, making those who threw it -- and threw it well -- the Niekros, the Hoyt Wilhelms, the Wakefields and the Dickeys -- a unique breed.

Even more rare was a pitcher who discovered the pitch on a full-time basis in high school, choosing to lock in on a pitch that Phil Niekro recently told The New York Times he was still trying to figure out when his career ended.

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On a Saturday morning last October at a small, strip mall fitness club in Sonoma, Calif., former NBA center Clifford Ray sits on a metal bleacher watching a hodgepodge of mostly over-the-hill baby boomers labor up and down a basketball court. The group of males has shelled out a couple thousand bucks of disposable income each to take a weekend's worth of instruction at Hall of Famer Rick Barry's annual fantasy camp in Northern California wine country.

An NBA assistant coach several times over, the 62-year-old Ray is considered one of the foremost authorities on developing young big men. Just a few of the elite players he has worked with closely include Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins. In past years, he also ran a big man camp with Hall of Fame center Robert Parish. Since being let go by the Boston Celtics before the start of the 2010 season, Ray has had plenty of time to instruct at camps and clinics around the country, where the play isn't exactly professional.

"Give it to the big fella'," rumbles Ray's deep voice from the bench as his team goes on the offensive. "Work it!"

Like most of the men who played the center position before him, as well as all of those who have played it since, Ray is big. When seated, his physique appears folded up onto itself, always protruding. When he stands, his size 20 adidas propel him as he performs a Transformer-like conversion into a 6-foot-9 giant. And then, of course, there's the dolphin story. Once during Ray's playing days, the owner of nearby Marine World summoned him on an emergency call. He requested Ray reach his arm down a show dolphin's throat to pull a bolt from its stomach.

Ray's long face, covered by a thick beard, is pointed toward the action on the court, and the dusting of white atop the short curly black hair on his head clashes with his rich, dark skin. The lone diamond in his gold 1975 world championship ring shimmers in the court's artificial light.

The ball ends up in the hands of the center on Ray's side, one of the older participants in the outfit of 18, a gray, goggle-adorned heap of height and sweatbands. The man suddenly takes to the air and, to the surprise of most in attendance, sinks a jump shot from a spot on the court known as the elbow.

"Way to go, big daddy!" bellows Ray, followed by, "We gotta get that pick-and-roll going."

For much of the NBA's history, dating back to its formation in 1946, the league has been dominated by players at the center position. Legendary big men like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- the latter two Ray's peers and the former his idol -- were nearly unstoppable: players with the height and reach to block shots, capture rebounds and score nearly at will.

Since then, contemporary names like Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming have taken their place. Lately though, these impact centers have all but vanished. Duncan is at the tail end of a distinguished career, while O'Neal and Yao retired last year. Today, only two players -- Dwight Howard of the Magic and Andrew Bynum of the Lakers -- are widely viewed as conventional bigs among the league's 30 teams. And the numbers are not improving.

Still, many, including Ray, have said a team cannot win it all without this pivotal piece to the championship puzzle. With the LeBron James and Dwyane Wade-led Miami Heat in the midst of their second attempt at winning the Finals, they will try to prove these crusaders of the center wrong.

In a game fundamentally built on height, it seems the tallest player is effectively being phased out. So where have all the centers gone?

***

Basketball has always been a game played from the inside out -- from the hoop outwards. A regulation NBA court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide, but it is within the narrow painted lane where games are won or lost. It is the space where centers traditionally dominate, as scorers on one end of the court and protectors on the other.

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Looking ahead to the NBA offseason, Gary (The Numbers Guy) Grinberg sees one move that could be detrimental for all parties involved: Deron Williams signing with the Dallas Mavericks.

"That would be the worst decision of the Mavericks and Deron Williams' careers," Grinberg says. "[Williams] is born in 1984 and Dirk Nowitzki's born in 1978. Rats and horses do not like each other. Rats and horses do not play well together."

In other words, 1984 is a rat year and 1978 is a horse year. The rat and horse combination is one of the most negative combinations in the Chinese zodiac. On paper, numerology says Williams and Nowitzki should be kept as far away from each other as possible.

Grinberg can back up his argument by using the example of the last time Williams needed to work with a Horse, Jerry Sloan, who was born in 1942.

"Think back to how Sloan and Williams were together," he says. "That would be the same thing if Dallas signs Williams."

The Numbers Guy also noted Tyson Chandler is a dog in the Chinese Zodiac. Dogs and horses display good chemistry together. Grinberg believes this allowed Nowitzki and Chandler to have good enough chemistry together in the Dallas frontcourt to help win the 2011 title.

Maybe the Mavericks should look to sign a talented Dog like Chandler over Williams if they want to make another run at a championship.

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On Feb. 29, numerologist Gary Grinberg, also known as "Gary the Numbers Guy" gave ThePostGame a few bold predictions. One of them was his NBA Finals forecast.

"It's going to be the Thunder and the Heat," Grinberg said. "Mark it down."

Now, this was not exactly the boldest of bold predictions. Were the Thunder and Heat two of the popular favorites at the time? Yes. Were Kevin Durant and LeBron James playing like arguably the two most talented players in the NBA? Probably. Were many NBA experts taking the Heat and Thunder to reach the finals? Sure.

Either way, while Stephen A. Smith, Magic Johnson, Tim Legler and other NBA analysts have flip-flopped their predictions throughout a wild 2012 playoffs, Grinberg has stood by his.

As evidence, moments after the Western Conference final matchup between Oklahoma City and San Antonio was set, Grinberg tweeted "Thunder will win best of 7."

To Grinberg, predicting a Heat-Thunder finals matchup early in the season was simple. Of all the contenders in each conference, Miami and Oklahoma City had the most positive energy surrounding them in 2012, based on numerology.

In February, Grinberg noticed 2012 would be a special year for the Thunder's team chemistry. On the Chinese lunar calendar, the year 2012 matches up with the Year of the Dragon. Likewise, Durant and Russell Westbrook, both born in 1988, were born in a Dragon year.

"The Year of the Dragon is beneficial to people born in the Year of the Dragon," Grinberg says. "On the Thunder, Durant and Westbrook -- they're Dragons, so this would be a big year for them."

In a numerology sense, the Year of the Dragon is not only beneficial to individuals with a Dragon zodiac symbol. It can also help friends of the Dragon.

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Ozzie Guillen managed his last game for the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 26, 2011. Now, when he's not serving suspensions for ill-conceived statements about Fidel Castro and his longevity, he mans the top step of the dugout in Little Havana as manager of the new-look Miami Marlins. As was the case in Chicago, Miami will never be the same once it has been "Ozzified." Rick Morrissey, an award-winning sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, reveals the strategy and psychology that underpin the fiery manager's antics in Ozzie's School Of Management: Lessons from the Dugout, the Clubhouse, and the Doghouse This excerpt is from the chapter titled "Protect Your Employees From The Barbarians."

Ozzie Guillen's modus operandi is as obvious as Day-Glo: Take all the negative attention off a struggling player or a struggling team and put it on himself. Let him rise up to all of his five-foot-eleven frame and absorb the blame. Please let him. He lives for it. There is something at once generous and comical about the way he jumps on grenade after grenade for his players. The man collects shrapnel like some kids collect baseball cards. He wouldn't trade it for the world.

"Give me the pressure," he said. "I'll take the pressure. I take the heat. Let the guys play. Let my players play. Anything that's negative, I take it. I want to take all the heat. I want to take all the pressure myself, and hopefully I can handle it."

Ozzie Guillen, human shield.

After losing a game to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008, his team's sixth straight loss, Mount Guillen erupted in front of the media. It was a calculated explosion, meant to take the pressure off his players and to inform them that when God divvied up the sides, He decided it would be the White Sox against the world.

Amid all the sarcasm in his outburst, Guillen somehow managed to weave in his distaste for the Cubs' hold on the city of Chicago. That's called "multitasking," class.

"We won [the World Series] a couple years ago, and we're --------," he told reporters. "The Cubs haven't won in 120 years, and they're the -------- best. ---- it, we're good. ---- everybody. We're --------, and we're going to be --------- the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win. We are the bitch of Chicago. We're the Chicago bitch. We have the worst owner -- the guy's got seven -------- rings, and he's the -------- --------- owner."

The White Sox went on to win twelve of their next seventeen games.

"There's a method to his madness," said White Sox pitcher John Danks. "Whenever we need the attention taken off us or if he needs to do something to loosen us up, I think Ozzie knows what he's doing. Ozzie's a character, no doubt, but there have been times when he's said things or done things where it's almost planned."

Are his efforts meant to protect the players or to bring attention to the manager? It's the debate about Guillen that won't go away. What's not up for debate is whether he likes it or not. Managers forever have tried to take pressure off their teams by deflecting criticism that might otherwise barrel into their players. Few have enjoyed doing it as much as Guillen has.

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