sport

Four abreast, goose stepping, tramp fast past in noisy marching

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Stretching before exercise is a sacred ritual, but researchers have been finding that it actually slows you down. Florida State researchers recently showed that stretching before a run makes you about 5 percent less efficient, meaning you have to burn more energy to run at the same pace. This year, Italian researchers studying cyclists discovered why stretching is counterproductive. They found evidence that toe-touching stretches change the force-transmission properties of muscle fibers and alter the brain signals to muscle, reducing exercise efficiency by about 4 percent. Furthermore, there’s insufficient scientific evidence that pre-exercise stretching reduces injury risk.

{ Popular Mechanics | Continue reading }

photo { Geof Kern }

Most of the medals might as well say ‘Congratulations on wasting your life perfecting a worthless skill.’

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Research conducted during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens showed that competitors in taekwondo, boxing and wrestling who wore red clothing or body protection had a higher chance of winning. The effect wasn’t large, but when the statistics were combined across all these sports it was undeniable – wearing red seemed to give a slightly better chance of winning gold. The effect has since been shown for other sports, such as football. […]

The researchers had a straightforward explanation for why wearing red makes a difference. Across the animal kingdom, red coloration is associated with male dominance, signaling aggression and danger to others. […] The researchers claimed that humans too are subject to this “red = dominance” effect, and so, for combat sports, the athlete wearing red had a psychological advantage. […]

Another research group analysed data from a different sport at the Athens Olympics, Judo, but they found that contestants who wore either white or blue had an advantage.

{ Mind Hacks | Continue reading }

A duel between titans. My golden gun against your Walther PPK.

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The electronic “pistol” of this summer’s Games was designed to overcome an astonishing problem: The speed of sound is too slow for Olympic athletes. That is to say, athletes far away from the starting pistol were delayed by the time it took for the sound to travel to them, and differences so tiny can matter in races in which the margins are so small.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

related { Statisticians Predict The Number Of Olympic Records That Will Fall at London 2012 }

The occasional acid flashback

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Most people think perfection in bowling is a 300 game, but it isn’t. Any reasonably good recreational bowler can get lucky one night and roll 12 consecutive strikes. If you count all the bowling alleys all over America, somebody somewhere bowls a 300 every night. But only a human robot can roll three 300s in a row—36 straight strikes—for what’s called a “perfect series.” More than 95 million Americans go bowling, but, according to the United States Bowling Congress, there have been only 21 certified 900s since anyone started keeping track. […]

There’s almost never a time when every decision you make is correct and every step is in the right direction. Life, like bowling, is full of complicating factors, unpredictable variables, plenty of times when there is no right answer. But Bill Fong had some experience with near-perfection prior to the night.

{ D | Continue reading }

If you want to last longer than a week, you give me a blow-job. First I get you used to the money, then I make you swallow.

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Members of the Olympic Family must also have at their disposal at least 500 air-conditioned limousines with chauffeurs wearing uniforms and caps. London must set aside, and pay for, 40,000 hotel rooms, including 1,800 four- and five-star rooms for the I.O.C. and its associates, for the entire period of the Games. London must cede to the I.O.C. the rights to all intellectual property relating to the Games, including the international trademark on the phrase “London 2012.” Although mail service and the issuance of currency are among any nation’s sovereign rights, the contract requires the British government to obtain the I.O.C.’s “prior written approval” for virtually any symbolic commemoration of the Games, including Olympic-themed postage stamps, coins, and banknotes. […]

Near the end of the application process, an I.O.C. evaluation committee was permitted to visit London. Bid-committee officials knew that London’s transportation system was a weak spot on the city’s application. “Our nightmare was it would take forever to get to the venues,” Mills recalled. A bid-committee team planned the routes that I.O.C. members would travel around the city, and G.P.S. transmitters were planted in all of the I.O.C. members’ vehicles so they could be tracked. From the London Traffic Control Center, near Victoria Station, where hundreds of monitors display live feeds from London’s comprehensive CCTV surveillance system, each vehicle was followed, from camera to camera, “and when they came up to traffic lights,” Mills said, “we turned them green.”

{ Vanity Fair | Continue reading }

I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.

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Exercise, done right, has been found to reduce the risk of dying from any cause by at least one third with a 9% reduction for every one hour of vigorous exercise performed per week. To be fair, studies which calculate such risks are inherently flawed. They assess exercise through questionnaires, which makes it difficult to reliably judge the amount and intensity of exercise, and whether people stick with a given exercise level and for how long. That’s why I like to look at the exercise-health correlation using fitness as the marker. Because fitness is a direct consequence of exercise, and it is something we can objectively measure in the lab.

A fit 45 years old man has only one quarter the lifetime risk of dying from cardiovascular causes compared to his unfit peer. And 20 years later, at the age of 65, being fit means having only half the risk of an unfit 65-year old. (…)

The association of fitness with cancer is not as well researched as with cardiovascular disease. But the available data clearly point to a substantial effect. In a study performed in 1300 Finnish men who were followed for 11 years, the physically fit ones, when compared to their least fit peers, had a 60% reduced risk of dying from non-cardiovascular causes, which means mostly cancer.

{ Chronic Health | Continue reading }

photo { Jason Florio }

I may not know karate, but I know how to use a baseball bat

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People often compare education to exercise. If exercise builds physical muscles, then education builds “mental muscles.” If you take the analogy seriously, however, then you’d expect education to share both the virtues and the limitations of exercise. Most obviously: The benefits of exercise are fleeting. If you stop exercising, the payoff quickly evaporates. (…) Exercise physiologists call this detraining. As usual, there’s a big academic literature on it.

{ EconLib | Continue reading }

A black crack of noise in the street here, alack, bawled, back

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The idea of the ‘hot hand’, where a player who makes several successful shots has a higher chance of making some more, is popular with sports fans and team coaches, but has long been considered a classic example of a cognitive fallacy – an illusion of a ‘streak’ caused by our misinterpretation of naturally varying scoring patterns.

But a new study has hard data to show the hot hand really exists and may turn one of the most widely cited ‘cognitive illusions’ on its head.

{ Mind Hacks | Continue reading }

related { Why do some athletes choke under pressure? }

The resulting ‘reality bomb’ has the potential to destroy all matter in every universe; reality itself would be destroyed.

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The human cannonball is a performance in which a person (the “cannonball”) is ejected from a specially designed cannon. The impetus is provided not by gunpowder, but by either a spring or jet of compressed air. In a circus performance, gunpowder may be used to provide visual and auditory effects, but this is unrelated to the launching mechanism.

The first human cannonball, in 1877 at the Royal Aquarium in London, was a 14 year-old girl called Zazel.

Historian A.H. Coxe says of 50 human cannonballs more than 30 have been killed, mostly by falling outside the net.

{ Wikipedia | The Straight Dope }

photo { Tereza Vlčková }

Destroy what destroys you

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{ The Fierce Intimacy of Tennis Rivalries | NY Times }

‘We favor the simple expression of the complex thought.’ –Rothko

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{ Eric Elms }

‘By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.’ –Kafka

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craigslist > des moines
Jogging Partner
Date: 2011-05-26, 9:09PM

I am looking for a person of athletic build to help me get in shape.

I hate exercising with passion so the plan of action is this: I ingest Rohypnol [you supply the roofies as I don’t know where to purchase them] and you strap my body to yours [limbs to limbs using velcro] and take me along on a jog. Three nights a week. If you’re capable and interested, E-mail me so that we can discuss the fee.

Location: Des Moines, IA

{ Craigslist | Continue reading }

photo { Jacques-Henri Lartigue }