Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Worst-designed Sport Of All Time

In this time period, for all four-man, two-man, and two-woman bobsled competitions, the team ahead after the third run has won 100 percent of the time. The fourth run of an international bobsled competition, then, is the most meaningless event in all of sportsor at least tied for first in the meaninglessness rankings with every preseason NFL game. The team thats leading after two runs has gone on to win 85 percent of the time, and even after one run the leading team wins 70 percent of competitions. That means the Russian two-man team of Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda, which sits in first place after the first two runs in Sochi , should feel very, very good about its chances. While we would expect the first-round leaders to have an advantage, this is a bit much. There are 30 competitors in the two-man bobsled competition in Sochi, and they each have a very small slice of the 30 percent chance of stealing the gold medal from the first-run leaders. (As you could have predicted, the Russians also led after the first run.) If youre not in the lead after one run, you should probably give up on the gold. And if youre in fourth place or worse, your chances of getting any kind of medal are slim. In more than 70 percent of all races, every position on the podium is locked in once three runs are complete. A well-designed sport has enough variability to create suspense. Imagine if after three quarters of a football game the winner could be predicted 100 percent of the time. (Ad time in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl would be much cheaper, at least.) Golf, similar to bobsled in that it features an open field competing on the same course four times, is vastly different in terms of predictability. Over the past 10 years of golf majors, the eventual winner was in the lead 15 percent of the time after the first day. After days two and three, the percentage increased to 35 percent and 45 percent respectively. (Even when you account for the fact that there are a lot more competitors in a golf tournament than in a bobsled event, these numbers are still stark45 percent is a whole lot less than 100 percent.) Is it inherently bad to have a sport thats so predictable? It is at least in the case of bobsled, considering that it features four anonymous helmets poking out of identical sleds, with no particular strategy discernible to the naked eye. Given those parameters, youd think suspense would be the only reason to watch. Since theres absolutely no suspense to be had, youd be better off switching to Animal Planet whenever you see a bobsled charging across your television screen. Can this terrible sport be fixed? While the Olympics and the world championships feature four runs per team, all other competitions governed by the IBSF mandate only two runs. Bringing that format to the Olympics would increase variability and make the final result more dramatic.
For the original version visit http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/fivering_circus/2014/02/sochi_olympics_bobsled_why_it_s_the_worst_designed_sport_of_all_time.html

Monday, February 17, 2014

blinds Between The Glass And Children

If you have children, four legged or two, you will understand that it is impossible to keep anything clean. The walls are all muddled up with hand prints, the toilet lids all close funny because they are slammed not gently placed, and each and every blind or window treatment has been tugged at, chewed on, or used as a napkin. This is why I am convinced that they came out with windows where the actual window treatment, blinds, are incased between the glass. No more replacements needed from chewed cords or broken blinds. They are sealed up nice and tight and nothing is getting to them. Not moisture, not dust, not bugs, not pets or children can ruin these. Fool proof is what I think they are.

So many bad blind stories so little time. First one that starts with my children and ends with my spouse burning a hole in the carpet. My kids think they need to know what is going everywhere we are. So one day when we were outside raking leaves my daughter pulls the blinds up, hard, and peeks outside to see what we are up to. She then tries to release the shade with no luck. They are a little tricky those min-blinds. It was stuck in the mechanism at the very top. So she does what any great kid would do and climbs a chair to fix it. In the process of bringing down the min-blinds, literally, she broke one. My spouse, being the OCD one decides we can not have blinds with a broken blind so she gets the box of replacements and sets out to replace the broken blind. Of course it happens to be one in the middle so we take the blinds apart, string them back together, and try to replace the bottom portion. Well the cord had started to fray so my spouse decided to take a match and melt the cord so that it would slide in easier. Now you see why I have a burn mark in the carpet. What a debacle this experience was. So this is why I whole heartedly believe blinds between the glass were invented.

Also, those pesky little four legged creatures have a way of destroying blinds. I haven't met a cat or dog yet that sees something dangle that they don't think is a toy for them to play with. Once they attack the ball they are for sure going to chew on it and pull it. I have come home many a times and found the little wooden ball off our roman shades and a sweet kitty face telling me she did it. The other problem is the shade is then destroyed and needing some reshaping because her paw has caught the cord and of course the cord one leaving her pulling her paw and nail till finally the shade gives in and lets go. I am sure that is how the blinds end up in the middle of the window.

That is why I am replacing the windows and blinds in our home with windows that come with the blinds sealed right in them. I know I will make the extra cost up in sanity, and carpet, saved. The look will stay sleek, not chewed and broken. When we have people visit I will not have to dust blinds, I will not have to wash curtain. All I will do is lift the blinds between the pains of glass and let the company in.