I’m back at Northeastern University today and things seem pretty normal, which is a bit weird. The investigation into yesterday’s bombing continues, but at this point little seems to be known about who did it. My guess is that speculation at this stage is pointless and likely to be wrong, so I’ll just wish for the best for all the injured and their families.
16 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
15 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
As you have probably heard, there were explosions at the end of the Boston Marathon. I have no real information, but wanted to link to news sources here, here, and here. Go here for information on runners.
19 Feb 2013 Leave a Comment
I’ve been very slow to get to this, but I really don’t understand why wrestling has been dropped from the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee has had problems with corruption in the past, so I love this statement:
The board voted after reviewing a report by the IOC program commission that analyzed 39 criteria, including TV ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.
“It was an extremely difficult decision to take,” added IOC Vice President Thomas Bach of Germany. “The motivation of every member is never based on a single reason. There are always several reasons. It was a secret vote. There will always be criticism, but I think the great majority will understand that we took a decision based on facts and for the modernization of the Olympic Games.”
One of the other sports considered for elimination was the modern pentathlon which had this recommendation:
Modern pentathlon, which has been on the Olympic program since the 1912 Stockholm Games, was created by French baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement.
It also benefited from the work of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., the son of the former IOC president who is a UIPM vice president and member of the IOC board.
“We were considered weak in some of the scores in the program commission report but strong in others,” Samaranch told the AP. “We played our cards to the best of our ability and stressed the positives.”
Hmmm. The report that was used is here (the list of criteria is here and a variation of the report is here). I notice that one thing missing from the report is the number of athletes that actually participate in the sports worldwide, on the other hand there are lots of criteria that basically checks to see how much money the sport raises. It used to be that the Olympics were about the non-commercial showcase of amateur athletes. There were many problems with only allowing amateur athletes (such as restricting the Olympics to those who could afford to be amateurs), but money should not be the main criteria for deciding which sports should be included. I also wonder why 28 is seen as some magical number and on the organization of the sports (rugby and golf will be added in 2016, so only 26 other sports are to be included):
The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today agreed on the 25 sports it will propose to the 125th IOC Session for approval as the core sports for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
The 25 sports are: athletics, rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, aquatics, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball.
The EB recommended that wrestling, governed by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), not be included on the list of core sports. Wrestling will now join the seven shortlisted sports – baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu – vying for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic programme as an additional sport.
Athletics is one sport, it includes all the track and field events, and is compared to tennis or handball. Aquatics is also one sport (that would be swimming, diving, water polo). That’s a very weird way of looking at things.
I also love this statement by the IOC:
Basically they’re saying ‘tradition be damned’. That’s pretty harsh, but consider that wrestling is depicted in cave paintings from 7000 BC and was included in the Olympiad since at least 704 BC. And yet, the IOC decided it was more important to drop wrestling than to change the number of ‘sports’ included:
“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling; it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”
But why is 28 sacrosanct?
03 Feb 2013 1 Comment
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the Ravens or 49ers will win the Super Bowl today and further it will be the team that scores more points. Ok, so I’m not much for predictions. On the other hand, I have a clear preference–I’ve liked the 49ers since the days of John Brodie, they are the first sports team I remember liking. And I have always liked the Cleveland Browns which means I don’t like the Baltimore Ravens for obvious reasons.
Update: so the 49ers lost. It would be interesting to see what percent of people watching thought a penalty should have been called on fourth down.
28 Jul 2012 1 Comment
A British MP doesn’t seem to have liked the opening ceremonies at the Olympics, tweeting:
The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?
Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!
Then he didn’t help himself much in his defense of his tweets:
However, despite attracting condemndation from many fellow twitter users, Mr Burley continued to criticise the ceremony. “Parts of it were overtly political, like showing CND signs,” the MP said in a television interview. “It was all rather clichéd about multiculturalism.”
He also said he wondered “why there was this huge, disproportionate focus on rap music when it is a small part of multiculturism”.
Oh, the person who did the tweeting was this guy:
Mr Burley lost his parliamentary private secretary post after he was photographed at a stag party in the Alps with a man wearing a Nazi costume.
He, of course, apologised:
In a statement on Thursday, Mr Burley said: “Being involved in a stag party where an SS uniform was worn was wrong and offensive.
“It was the wrong decision on my part; crass and insensitive.
“I am deeply sorry, and want to take this opportunity to offer the people of Cannock Chase an unreserved, wholehearted and full apology for the terrible offence this incident has undoubtedly caused.
He also made plans to visit Auschwitz.
Things went downhill from there:
However, his explanation started to unravel after The Mail on Sunday was told that Mr Burley had been the ‘driving force’ behind the SS officer’s outfit and paid for its hire.
Mr Burley faced intense criticism from Labour MPs and groups including the Board of Deputies of British Jews after film of the event showed him raising a glass moments before offensive toasts were made.
One friend was heard describing Mr Burley as ‘the candidate for Berlin East’ while Mr Fournier paraded around in his uniform. In France, it is a crime to wear or exhibit in public anything reminiscent of the Nazi era, except in the context of a film, play or historical exhibition.
And that trip to Auschwitz?
Aidan Burley was said to have been “texting and dozing” during a talk by a Holocaust survivor at the concentration camp earlier this week.
Obviously, this is not the smartest person on the planet. I wonder if he’s figured out that he should just shut up?
19 Feb 2012 Leave a Comment
Via Malden’s government site, there’s a post about Louise Fraser who was from Malden and was one of the two first African-American women to go to the Olympics. I’m guessing the story will not stay on the front page for too long, so here’s another site that talks about her:
At the 1932 Olympic Trials in Evanston, Illinois, Louise’s third-place finish in the 100 meters won her a spot on the women’s 400-meter relay team for the Los Angeles Olympic Games, along with Tidye Pickett. Photos of the 1932 Olympic Track team include a determined-looking Stokes in the lineup along with Pickett, but coach George Vreeland selected only white women for the final relay team. Historian A. D. Emerson suggests that “the exclusion of Tidye Pickett and Louise Stokes from the 1932 Olympics remains a pivotal point in Olympic history where politics and racial tensions threatened any future possibilities for black female athletes to compete on a world stage in representing the United States in the Olympic games” (Emerson, 9). The exclusion of Stokes was a questionable call, as she had beaten Mary Carew, who was selected, in a majority of races, and they had tied for fourth in the Olympic Trials. Furthermore, when the Olympic team stopped in Denver on the way to Los Angeles, Stokes and Pickett were given a room separate from the rest of the team near a service area on an upper floor, and were served dinner in their rooms rather than at the banquet for the team.
Stokes continued to compete after the 1932 Olympics, winning sprints at distances from 25 to 200 meters, as well as the high jump and broad jump. At the U.S. trials for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, she placed fifth in the 100 meters but once again made the team as a member of the 400-meter relay. In what must have been devastating to Stokes, history repeated itself when at the Berlin games, Stokes found she had been replaced by a white runner.
She not only had to deal with racism, there was also rampant sexism:
In a move that set back the efforts of American sportswomen, the United States Olympic Committee voted in 1914 to formally oppose women’s athletic participation in the Olympic Games.
Despite disparities in Olympic competition caused by World War I and the U.S. ban on female participation, women’s events were added to the 1920 Olympics, and American women gained full status.
The women’s 800-meter run at the 1928 Olympics, after which two untrained women lay down on the field in understandable exhaustion after their run, was the basis for a movement by the International Olympic Committee in 1929 to remove women’s track and field from the 1932 Olympics.
It’s always good to remember the people who helped bring about change and Louise Stokes was one of them. She isn’t known, because she wasn’t allowed to compete but it was a start.
12 Feb 2012 Leave a Comment
Tim Thomas, the goalie for the Boston Bruins, has been in the news lately because he didn’t go to the White House with the rest of the Bruins. He posted this as the reason:
I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.
This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.
Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.
This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT
I’m a bit mixed about this. On the one hand, this whole practice of teams going to meet the President seems silly to me–the only point is self-promotion–and so I would have had no problem with him not going. But his reason is so over the top, so crazy. Still, not a big deal–he’s paid to play hockey and he does that very well.
And then there’s this post:
I Stand with the Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom.
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
– by Martin Niemöller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, best known as the author of the poem First they came….
This is very much a conservative statement and state of mind.
First, note the hyperbole then note the playing of the victimization card. When the Nazis ‘came for’ someone, that meant they were killed or put in concentration camps. No one is coming for the Catholics in the US, really.
Second, notice the use of a quotation that they really don’t believe in. Do you really think conservatives, including probably Tim Thomas, would raise any outcry if someone came for the communists? They certainly didn’t when McCarthy was doing his thing.
08 Oct 2011 Leave a Comment
Despite the fact that I’m a Red Sox fan, I have to admit that I like that the teams with the highest payrolls are all gone. Here are the top 5:
New York Yankees $ 202,689,028
Philadelphia Phillies $ 172,976,379
Boston Red Sox $ 161,762,475
Los Angeles Angels $ 138,543,166
Chicago White Sox $ 127,789,000
The teams that are left are ranked 10, 11, 13, and 17 (Detroit, St. Louis, Texas, and Milwaukee). The other playoff teams were ranked: 1, 2, 25 and 29. I would have liked if the Rays (they were ranked 29, which is still a mean salary of $1.58 million) had gone further, but I guess Milwaukee will do.
28 Jun 2011 Leave a Comment
Did you know that the Women’s World Cup has started, that the US is one of the favorites (having won it in 1991 and 1999 and having won the Olympics in 2004 and 2008), and that they won their first game (over North Korea, 2-0)? I guess you do now.
16 Jun 2011 Leave a Comment
I’m a little slow, but it seems the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last night. You can excuse me, it’s been 39 years since the last one and it’ll take a while to get used to it. I’m not sure if I’m going to the parade on Saturday. I’ve been to a few and they are fun, but they’re also a bit of a pain.
In any case, congratulations to the Bruins. At times through the playoffs they looked a bit iffy and at others they looked great. Luckily there were more of the latter and they brought home the cup. Weehaa.
27 May 2011 Leave a Comment
Well then, for the first time since 1990 the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup and hoping to win it for the first time since 1972 when they had Orr, Esposito, Bucyk, Cheevers, Johnston, Sanderson, Hodge, Cashman, …
19 Apr 2011 Leave a Comment
Well now, that was quite a marathon. The top two men, Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop, finished under the world’s best time (though not a world record since the course goes downhill too much and the wind was too strong) and still had to pull away at the finish and won by only 4 seconds, the top US men’s finisher, Ryan Hall, had the best US time ever, Caroline Kilel only won by 2 seconds (and the third place finisher was only another 4 seconds back) , and two US women finished in the top 5 with Desiree Davila getting the second fastest US time ever. The winning pace is about a 4:42 mile–even when I was in my best shape, that’s about the fastest I could go for one mile. Pretty amazing.
31 Mar 2011 Leave a Comment
It’s officially spring as baseball season starts today (with the Tigers against the Yankees and Braves-Nationals). The fact that parts of New England might get a foot of snow tonight into tomorrow doesn’t matter (and it’s supposed to be all rain in the Boston area).
I’m pretty bad at predictions, so let me keep it simple: I predict all the teams will win between 40 and 120 games.
06 Oct 2010 Leave a Comment
Now that’s impressive:
Roy Halladay has thrown the second no-hitter in postseason history, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in Game 1 of the NL division series on Wednesday.
Halladay finally makes it to the playoffs and this is what he does. Wow. Of course, it’s also a little annoying since I like the Reds.
31 Aug 2010 2 Comments
So the Cincinnati Reds have called up Aroldis Chapman. Who can throw 105 mph. Yowza and go Reds.
Update: He pitched a scoreless inning tonight with one strikeout, but only threw 102. What a letdown
24 Jun 2010 1 Comment
John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut today (well, Tuesday through today) :
6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68.
Umm, yeah that’s a long fifth set … the match took 11 hours and 5 minutes (the previous long was about 6 and a half hours). I love the running dialogue here, a sample:
6pm: The score stands at 34-34. In order to stay upright and keep their strength, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have now started eating members of the audience. They trudge back to the baseline, gnawing on thigh-bones and sucking intestines. They have decided that they will stay on Court 18 until every spectator is eaten. Only then, they say, will they consider ending their contest.
It’s very funny. In the cruel way the world works, Isner was scheduled for a double’s match this afternoon (rescheduled from yesterday). I wonder if it’ll happen. In any case, an amazing match.
Since I won’t be around tomorrow, here’s a poem:
A little ink
A little snow
Blue covers white
03 Jun 2010 Leave a Comment
Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game for the Tigers last night, but, for now, it doesn’t count as one because the umpire blew the call at first base. There’s no argument on whether he did blow the call, it’s obvious in the replay and here’s the umpire:
“I just cost that kid a perfect game. I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw – until I saw the replay,” a deeply regretful Jim Joyce told reporters last night in Detroit, where he simply whiffed on a call that deprived Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga of a once-in-10 lifetimes achievement, a perfect game.
Added the self-flagellating umpire: “I don’t blame them a bit or anything that was said. I would’ve said it myself if I had been Galarraga. I would’ve been the first person in my face, and he never said a word to me.”
What I find interesting is that this article is using this mistake to talk about the general state of umpiring and refereeing. Given that Joyce is known as a good umpire and given that he apologized and was obviously very sorry about it, what exactly does he have to do with bad umpiring in general. he was in the right place to make the call, he just missed it. It happens.
26 May 2010 Leave a Comment
Well then, the Superbowl will be in New Jersey. It’s not a likely scenario, but we could get a game with snow (and it should be cold) which I would love. I’ve always thought that having the Superbowl in warm climates punishes the cold weather teams a bit and so it’s nice that at least one game might be in the cold.
28 Feb 2010 1 Comment
So, the 2010 winter olympics are now over except for the closing ceremony. Both the US and Canada had very good games and the ending hockey game was great.
Today I’ll throw up a bunch of ways of looking at the medal counts.
First the basic count which I don’t find all that useful (if all you care about are golds, you can figure that out for yourself):
then the per capita take (with medals per million people):
where an * means the country won 5 or more medals, ** means 10 or more, *** means 20 or more and 4 means 30 or more.
I’ll put a couple more below the fold. As you look at these, remember that the Olympics is for the athletes and these medal totals should be a small side issue. Also, if we do want to compare the countries in a reasonable way, we should also take a lot more variables into consideration: GDP, amount spent by a country on a specific event, where the Olympics is held, how many people tried out for each of the sports, how many athletes each country sent, … and even then it wouldn’t be perfect since the Olympics weren’t designed with country counts in mind (should team medals count more for example). Anyways, if you care there are a couple more tables below the fold.
23 Feb 2010 Leave a Comment
I’ve been watching and following the Olympics and always cringe a bit when I see the total medals count (like here). There are two reasons for this:
1. The ideal of the Olympics is all about athletics, it’s a time when politics and country disputes are set aside and we focus on the sport. I know that the ideal has never been realized, but it would be nice if all the media didn’t make the country medal count a focus (is this true in other countries or just the US).
2. This is bad statistics. The US has 25 total medals and Norway has 14, so the US is doing better? Umm, it might be relevant that the population of the US is (as estimated by the Census Bureau) 310,23,2863 while Norway’s is 4,676,305. If we’re going to compare medal counts we should at least look at the rates to control for a country’s population. So here it is (the numbers represent the number of medals per million people in the country; I leave off countries that have not yet won a medal–26 of the 86 teams listed have won at least one medal):
Where * means more than 5 medals, ** more than 10, *** more than 20, 4 more than 30.
This still isn’t perfect (all of Norway has a real winter, while that’s not true for the US, for example), but it’s certainly better than a basic medal count (I’ve done this type of thing before). I’ll update the numbers as the Olympics continues.
Update: the table now includes all medals through 2/26/2010.
Note on the total: I should say that it does seem weird to rank this by total medals, since a gold should count more than a silver and bronze. What do you think are appropriate weights?
I put the final numbers in a separate post here.