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Stephen Curry and the Spirit of History

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/06/2022 - 1:26am in

Tags 

Sports


Rather than height or leaping ability, Curry creates spatial advantages by simply shooting from farther away than ever before. To prevent taller defenders from closing the distance, he speeds up his shot and increases the arc without losing efficiency, simulating the play of someone much bigger and bouncier than himself. He has collected an arsenal of different shooting forms: going left or right, backward or forward, shooting over or underneath defenders, off one leg or two, spotting up or off the dribble. It only works because of the dexterity and control of his fingertips, providing airtight ball handling abilities and freakish accuracy.

The Shape of Basketball to Come?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/05/2022 - 1:02am in

Tags 

Sports


What happened this winter? Why, despite us all catching Covid twice, did the schools carry on in their pauperized way, half the world remain unvaccinated, the government purse stay tight-lipped, or spilled open only delinquently? And why, despite ten of the fifteen Chicago Bulls being too sick or exposed to play for a couple weeks […]

New Zealand’s Urban Forests Welcome a Birdlife Boom

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2022 - 2:43am in

Three great stories we found on the internet this week.

Urban sanctuary

You might think that once a species is gone from a region it’s gone forever. Think again.

Last year, a titipounamu nest was found in a patch of urban forest just a few kilometers from parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. The return of the species, which had been missing from the city for more than 100 years, is due in part to Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary established in 1999 just 10 minutes from the urban core. 

A titipounamuA titipounamu. Credit: Shutterstock.

Zealandia’s success backs up new research that shows restoring urban forests is a vital first step to restoring native bird communities in cities, even those that have been absent for generations. Today, Wellington teems with birds once rarely seen, from the melodious tūī to the charismatic ​​kākā. Since 2011, the number of native birds in the city has risen by 50 percent, and bird communities in the city’s parks are increasingly made up of mostly native species.

“We’re becoming disconnected from our natural environments and the native species that make up those environments,” said Elizabeth Elliot Noe, lead author of the new study. “There’s a lot of research that shows that … having daily experience of [nature] is good for our mental health, wellbeing and physical health.”

Read more at The Guardian

Score! 

Even in 2022, gender inequality in sport — as in so many walks of life — is still a big issue, not least when it comes to what athletes get paid. So it is that, in what’s being hailed a “truly historic moment,” U.S. Soccer has guaranteed it will pay players from its men’s and women’s national teams the same.

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The women’s team has long fought for parity with the men’s team, including a six-year legal battle over equal pay and working conditions. Yet until now, the teams were compensated differently, with the women’s team receiving less money from U.S. Soccer for everything from broadcast profits to performance payments. Perhaps nowhere was this unfairness more stark than in World Cup prize money: in 2014, the men’s U.S. Soccer team received $9 million from FIFA for reaching round 16 in the World Cup. Five years later, the women’s team received just $4 million for winning their World Cup. Going forward, all FIFA World Cup winnings will be pooled and divided equally among the teams.

“These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone, a former U.S. women’s national soccer team player.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

Ol’au Palau 

Palau relies heavily on tourism, making the last two years economically hard for the West Pacific archipelago of lush islands and wildlife-rich dive spots. Now, as the country opens back up to visitors, it wants to make sure they tread lightly on its precious terrain. 

PalauPalau archipelago. Credit: Palau Legacy Project.

Enter Ol’au Palau, a world-first initiative to gameify responsible tourism via a soon-to-launch app that awards points to users who treat the island chain with respect. Here’s how it works: Travelers who take steps to protect the ecosystem — for instance, by using reef-safe sunscreen or eating sustainably sourced food — can earn points that can be spent on experiences normally reserved for locals, such as swimming at a secret cave or sharing a meal with elders.

“Ol’au is an informal way for us to call out to someone we know such as a friend or family to grab their attention,” explained Jennifer Koskelin-Gibbons, one of the system’s developers. “We may use it to call you to join in on a barbecue, or if we’re on a beach and you are coming by on your boat, I can call out to invite you over to join in on our family fun.”

Read more at the BBC

The post New Zealand’s Urban Forests Welcome a Birdlife Boom appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Left Out in the Cold

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/02/2022 - 4:04am in


These big expectations and big falls are part of any Olympics. This is particularly true for the winter games, when the crowd, in spite of itself, is always watching for the next terrible crash. What was striking about this particular saga was how much of it happened hors piste, beyond the bounds of the run—whether on Twitter, where Shiffrin responded directly to an avalanche of insults and attacks, or literally off to the side of the slope at the Yanqing skiing center, where the camera stayed locked on her silent emotional breakdown.

Old lawn bowls

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 21/02/2022 - 8:00am in

Tags 

Sports, club, vintage

Old lawn bowls club honour boards. Off the wall and resting comfortably during community club renovations. Petersham.

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/02/2022 - 10:20am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

February 17, 2022 Toronto-based activist and organizer John Clarke on the politics and personnel behind the Ottawa convoy • Dave Zirin on racism in the NFL (and Brian Flores’s lawsuit over it) • Justine Medina on working at Amazon and trying to unionize it

The Tantalizing Dream of a “Regional” Olympics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 04/02/2022 - 4:22am in

Four years before Nagano, Japan was to host the 1998 Winter Olympics, journalist Ben Hills traveled to the site designated as the geographical center of the games. What he found there shocked him. 

“There is not a piece of machinery in sight, not a sign, not even a fence marking the spot,” he wrote. How could this be the place where hundreds of thousands would converge for one of the world’s biggest sporting events?

The short answer is, it wasn’t. The Nagano Olympics were, in reality, a regional Olympics, in which many events were held in other cities more than 90 minutes away. It wasn’t the first time the games had spread out over a vast area. The 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France took place across an area of about 650 square miles. Only two events, figure skating and speed skating, actually took place in Albertville, with the rest held at sites up to two hours away.

But these were unusual cases. Typically, the entire enterprise is crowded into one area, with perhaps a satellite location or two for events with topographical requirements, like skiing. This is the case with the 2022 Winter Olympics, which open this week in Beijing. The majority of events will be held in the city’s Chaoyang and Yanqing districts, with a few others (mostly skiing) in the bordering city of Zhangjiakou. It’s a massive undertaking for one city, albeit somewhat less so this year, with tight controls on spectators

olympicsPreparations for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Credit: Shutterstock

But the Games at Nagano and Albertville raise an intriguing question: Why not always make the Olympics a regional event? The Games have become such a cumbersome beast that many cities now dread their arrival, knowing they’ll result in huge debts and massive amounts of unneeded infrastructure. Why not disperse all that infrastructure — along with its imposing costs — across an array of co-hosting cities?

As it turns out, the idea has been floated before, most recently by former New York governor George Pataki, who wanted to bring the Winter Olympics back to Lake Placid in the early 2000s. Lake Placid has hosted the Games twice, most recently in 1980. But since then, the Olympics had been super-sized into a multi-billion-dollar spectacle — too heavy a lift for a small mountain village of 2,500 in upstate New York.

“The games have outgrown our tiny resort town in the last 34 years,” read a wistful editorial in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. “Our 1980 event has been heralded as the last small-town Olympics.”

But Pataki and the town’s local boosters had an idea: What if Lake Placid could co-host the Games with another medium-sized city like Albany, more than 100 miles away? Even Montreal was floated as a potential partner, raising the tantalizing prospect of a trans-national Olympics. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Canada was already focused on Vancouver’s upcoming 2010 Olympics, and New York City was busy shepherding a bid for the 2012 Games. Momentum sputtered, and the idea was abandoned. 

Even after it fizzled, however, Governor Pataki expressed hope that a regional Olympics would someday take shape. “It’s down the road,” he promised. “We’ll have an excellent chance of doing it again.”

olympicsThe Olympic Ski Jumping Center from the 1984 Sarajevo Games, now abandoned. Credit: Wikipedia

Taking the burden off a single city has obvious merits. Each subsequent Olympics grows bigger and more unwieldy than the last, leaving red ink, empty stadiums and exasperated locals in its wake. Three years after hosting the 2016 Games, Rio de Janeiro still owed $160 million to creditors, and efforts to repurpose the infrastructure had been met with mixed success. In Rio’s condo-converted Olympic Village, for instance, just 10 percent of the 3,600 units had found buyers, and a subway line constructed to connect sporting venues had been ridiculed as a train to nowhere

This type of post-Olympics infrastructure glut is an unfortunate paradox, given that most cities really do need the kinds of infrastructure upgrades the Olympics can provide. Spreading the wealth between two or more cities could diffuse some of the impact of the Games, while also bestowing each location with infrastructure of a more reasonable, sustainable scale. It could also open up the process to smaller cities that rarely get that level of investment, and generate the kind of inter-city transit connections that would otherwise be tough to get off the ground.

Case in point: the bullet train that today carries 10 million yearly passengers from Tokyo to Nagano in 80 minutes was built for the 1998 Games. Albertville’s sprawling Olympics also resulted in a new train line connecting the host city to Paris. And little Pyeongchang, South Korea (population: 43,000) got a world-class high-speed rail connection to Seoul out of its 2018 Winter Games. 

olympicsA Shinkansen bullet train in Nagano station, a link to Tokyo that was built for the 1998 Olympic Games. Credit: Steve Boland / Flickr

The more you think about it, the less outlandish the idea seems. Why not a Columbus-Cincinnati-Indianapolis Summer Games? Or a Winter Olympics co-hosted by Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava? What could better reflect the hands-across-the-world comity inherent to the Olympic brand than a joint effort designed to mutually benefit everyone involved?

In reality, the concept faces major hurdles. Nagano prepared diligently for the logistical challenge of hosting a major event spread out over hundreds of miles. Some 900 buses shuttled 60,000 athletes, officials and journalists from venue to venue, and even then, the low-speed, two-lane roads created significant traffic problems. In Albertville, some critics felt that the multi-city dynamic took away from the spirit of the games. Britain’s Daily Telegraph wrote that the sense of global conviviality “was lost on the wind. Competitors, from Switzerland to Senegal, complained about the lack of atmosphere.”

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It’s also against the rules. As stipulated by the International Olympic Committee, a single city must be declared the host, even if the events themselves occur over a larger area. But at Albertville in 1992, Juan Antonio Samaranch, then-president of the IOC, told the Christian Science Monitor that he thought a truly regional Olympics would materialize someday. “We are envisioning the possibility of holding future games in several regions or even in more than one country,” he said, “but with one city given overall responsibility for the project.”

The Games beginning this week in Beijing will display some of this potential. As the sole host city, the Chinese capital is coordinating the entire event. But because Beijing proper doesn’t have room for all the large venues required, two neighboring areas are sharing the burden: Zhangjiakou, a city on Beijing’s southeastern flank that will host events like the biathlon, snowboarding and nordic skiing; and Yanqing district in northwestern Beijing that will host the bobsled, skeleton, luge and alpine skiing about 50 miles outside the city center.

It’s easy to imagine how a future Olympics could stretch even further — our world today is far more technologically linked than it was when Nagano hosted. Now, it’s perfectly normal for a Londoner to telecommute full-time to Mumbai, or for a college student in Lagos to attend classes remotely at a school in Tel Aviv. The Tokyo Games last year saw an explosion in digital spectatorship: some 28 billion video views, a 139 percent increase over the Rio Games just four years prior. As a sports reporter for the Times of London imagined it in Albertville, a regional Olympics is the next logical step, “a simultaneous but separate gathering of world championships, linked only by television.”

A version of this article originally appeared in Next City.

The post The Tantalizing Dream of a “Regional” Olympics appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Novak Djokovic, Extraordinary Tennis Player, Ordinary Orthodox Anti-Vaxxer

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/01/2022 - 9:26am in

Tags 

Archive, Sports, Tennis

The Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic has become a perfectly likely hero in the international...

Whiffing, Fast and Slow

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/11/2021 - 2:56am in

Tags 

Sports


Something rekindled; baseball seemed all of a sudden a dramatic sport, filled with intellectual intrigue: the chess-like plots of the pitcher-batter duels, the way individual specializations harmonized with collective effort. I became the wearer of a White Sox hat, the austere black and white a sort of neighborhood camouflage, and then also an Astros hat, a commemoration of my years lived in Houston, the US’s most interesting and comfortless city. There was no better way to close out my day than by traveling to the Reddit thread with all the baseball streams. Or so it seemed until I watched Craig Kimbrel pitch and grew worried that what everyone else thought might in fact be true.

It’s Triller Night, Marv!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 19/09/2021 - 12:45am in

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Sports


Triller’s Ryan Kavanaugh takes the mic and congratulates Belfort on showing the world that MMA and boxing can be equal. 40 and 50 are the new 20 and 30, “That’s the way this world works,” which, sure, we live in a gerontocracy. Fittingly, then, Trump ends things, mic in hand, finally addressing the crowd. The queeny carnival barker is back, somewhat, spinning less shit-colored shit out of shit.

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