Tag: sports

Too Big To Sail: Cup Race Canceled Again

The America’s Cup sailboat race’s first round has once again been canceled due to the fickleness of winter weather crossing the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean.  On Monday, it was a lack of wind off the coast of Valencia, Spain, today, it was too much wind, over 15 knots, which was causing waves 4 to 6 feet high, or up to nearly 2 meters.  The winds Wednesday were gusting up to 25 knots. ( A knot is 1.15 miles per hour, aka .514 meters per second.  per wikipedia, 1 meter per second = 2 knots is a fast way to make the conversion from European meters per second, when they use it to describe windspeed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K…  )

Since these fancy, triple hulled sailboats used to compete in the Cup can attain top racing speeds of up to 3 times the wind’s, the race is not allowed to proceed with the insurance company’s blessings unless the wind is under 15 knots, to keep the boats at 45 mph or under, and the wave chop needs to be 3 feet or less.  The America’s Cup race goes 40 miles at a time, 20 miles out, turn, and 20 miles back, for 3 races to determine the winner.  The Swiss are the current defenders of the Cup, with their boat the “Alinghi” and an international team formed by Ernesto Bertarelli.  (Alinghi is an invented name and does not translate into something cute from Italian.)

A photo of the United State’s entry, the Oracle trimaran, at dock can be seen here. Note the size of the outrigger to the right side, and the thickness of the center sail mast rising out of the middle:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/spo…

Another photo of the Oracle, under sail and airborn except for one outrigger touching the water (why one does not want big waves to be smacking the thing under speed) can be seen here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…

An excellent story on the effect of even tiny variation in wind speed on these 2 huge, swift, but delicate racing machines can be found here:   http://www.timesonline.co.uk/t…  

If the boats can’t withstand the weather-  the mast can snap at the base, and the sails can literally fall off.

Under normal sailing conditions, the load at the base of the mast on Alinghi V is 100 tonnes, equivalent to a fully laden Boeing 757 sitting on the top of the mast that is supported on a metal ball barely bigger than the tow hitch on a family car. Even a modest gust of wind or a small wave can see this load rise dramatically.


For Alinghi’s opponents aboard USA-17, BMW Oracle Racing’s radical trimaran, the issue is more about the complexity of the 230ft wingmast that towers above the boat. Arguably more suited to stronger winds, its Achilles’ heel lies in the number and complexity of components that are required to control the wing. A small failure could quickly lead to a chain reaction and a catastrophic failure.

The race will again be attempted to start on Friday.


http://www.sacbee.com/830/stor… (subscription required, merely linked for attribution)

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Mad Hatters and Tea Parties

Crossposted at Daily Kos


This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

Steve Sack

Steve Sack, Comics.com

Monday Morning Meta Madness

hitchhikingYou see, my goal for DocuDharma is to make it a cool place to hang out.  A no pressure zone where you can let it slip on occasion that you’re part of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party without having people get all in your face like you’re a Yankee fan.  A virtual Cheers where everyone knows your name Norm! and you can ignore blowhards like Cliff.

Liveblogging is hard, but no harder than on many other platforms.  You just have to remember to hit the ‘Refresh’ button on your browser instead of admiring your last bon mot for an hour or two.

On the other hand (appointment blogging) it sucks when you get no feedback from your audience.

Now I don’t seem to have a problem with that so much in part because I don’t care what people think, and also I’m perfectly comfortable expressing my interior dialog (and they called me mad at the institute).  I talk to myself all day every day and twice as much on Sundays.

And I watch TV.  All the time.  I can’t remember the last time I turned it off.

Coming up in GroundHog Month are some major sports events that I think we can enjoy together-

Puppy Bowl, Curling, America’s Cup.

While I’m content to try and provide content myself, I think the Olympics is a little more than I can handle even on steroids and I’d like some volunteers.

Oh you betcha.

An Apology from an Unapologetic Sports Fan

I rarely write about sports because to me they are a fun distraction from more pressing matters, one ultimately of far less importance to the grand scheme of things.  To be sure, I’ve always been aware of the base inequalities lurking underneath the surface, whether it be the pro players who make obscene amounts of money to play a game or the college kids who are treated as prized endowment cash cows for their individual universities, colleges, or conferences.  Though I watch the games, once they have drawn to a conclusion, I turn off my television or internet feed and go on about the rest of my life.  What has always troubled me the most is the extent to which some will pursue the minutia and exacting analysis of fandom, which if applied with even half the effort and half the obsession to a cause that would make strides to say, educate the illiterate or aim to reform a societal malady of choice, would produce impressive results.

Let’s talk Football

With two games left to play, the playoff picture is heating up.

So, I’m taking a break from politics to talk football.

My team, the Indianapolis Colt’s, have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoff’s.

Here’s how the playoff’s are shaping up…

A Public Confession

adopted from The Dream Antilles

I have a confession to make.  I know it’s not vogue to discuss our personal finances here, or brag about our personal wealth, but I have to out myself anyway.  I want to confess.  I’ve been keeping a secret from you.  And I owe you an explanation. You didn’t know it, but I am a proud owner of a professional sports franchise.

No, I didn’t get $100 billion dollars in dot com bubble and buy a part of Manchester United.  But I do own a part of an English football (gringos, that means soccer) team, Ebbsfleet United.

As today’s New York Times reported:

[Will] Brooks, a 37-year-old former advertising copywriter, set up a Web site in 2007 called MyFootballClub.co.uk that asked a simple question: how many people would be interested in pooling their money to buy a soccer club, so that ordinary fans could vote on every decision, from uniform design to player selection? More than $400,000 was raised on the first day of public registration.

The Web fantasy became reality when members voted in February to take over Ebbsfleet United, a tiny, unsuccessful club in southeast England, for slightly less than $1 million.

MyFootballClub has about 31,000 members/owners from all over the world (including the author of this article [and the author of this essay]), all of whom pay an annual subscription of about $60 to be a member of the nonprofit trust that owns “the Fleet.”

The club is run on the principle of one person, one vote for every decision, major or minor. Ebbsfleet recently made headlines in the British press when members voted to sell John Akinde, a talented young striker, for about $250,000, the first vote of its kind.

Why would somebody do this, you might ask? Why would somebody spend the princely sum of $60 +/- per year to own a share of a professional sports team, especially an English football team that is four five divisions below the Premier League? And why would somebody proudly wear an owner/manager t-shirt for Ebbsfleet?  And why would I care about, let alone agonize about a team that has lost its last 4 games?

This is the kind of thing that, if you don’t get it instantly, it’s very hard to explain. It might even be impossible to explain if it doesn’t light you up on hearing it.

I love the game. I love the game in its disorganized, pick up form, and in its most star filled, regimented, corporate package. I love the game when the ball is made of rags and duct tape. I love the game when it’s played before 50,000 screaming fans. And I love the game at all the spots in between. I’d rather watch re-runs of Boca Juniors playing River Plate (El Club mas poderoso de Argentina) in the rain in a scoreless tie than most professional US football (pigskin) games.  I’d rather get all muddy, sweaty, and tired playing this game than most other activities.

So the chance to play a new role in the game, as if I were a small scale Sir Alex or George Steinbrenner or Roman Abramovich, is just delicious. It’s fantastically exciting! Let’s face it, I can make some room in the upper arcana of teams I like to follow for Ebbsfleet United, of which I am a proud owner.

And to top it off, I’m delighted to bring this kind of inexpensive, democratic ownership to sport.  To show its promise. After all is said and done, Ebbsfleet United is a great experiment and I want to see it succeed. It’s something great that the Internet has made possible. Its success will inspire other groups of people to own other clubs. We will slowly take ownership of professional sports back from the undeserving, spoiled, greedy billionaires, spread it around, and make it a widespread, public, affordable phenomenon.

Can you imagine what it would be like if people across the world, hundreds of thousands of them, owned the Boston Red Sox or the New York Mets?  Can you imagine how much more intense the games would become?  Can you imagine how it would be if the ownership instead of being imperious were democratic?  If betting increases interest in the games, can you imagine what ownership of the team does?

Further, can you imagine what it must be like for the Ebbsfleet players, playing 5 leagues down from the Premier League?  They go from complete and utter anonymity to having 31,000 people across the globe watching them, following the games, criticizing their form, making suggestions.  The stadium for Ebbsfleet, Stone Bridge Road in Gravesend, Kent, only holds a total of about 5,000 fans (the Rose Bowl, on the other hand, holds about 92,000 people). Can you imagine both the pressure and the joy as a player of having 31,000 owners watch you play?

This is popular, democractic (with a small “d”) professional sports.  It’s new.  It’s brilliant.  It’s an experiment with tremendous possibilities.  I’m completely revved up about it.  Just ponder the possibilities.  Just imagine how this applies to other endeavors.

For more, click this.

Lets Re-Visit the Flyers Puck Drop {Video not seen? and Pics}

No wonder the hockey puck, whoops, hockey mom dressed her youngest daughter in a Flyers Shirt and led her onto the ice, using her, as she even said, as a Political Tool to try and silence the crowd!

Take a look at the reception received on arriving at the rink outside.

The following pics and the video link to the FOX 29 News Report, which I moved to a couple of video saver sites, was posted at the VFP group board site by brother ‘Nam Vet Bill Perry, Service Officer Disabled American Veteran CSO, who sigs with this:

Make ANY ERROR in the VA Claims maze, & you’ll be forced into a 2 year Appeal process Get Expert Advice, Evaluations, & Treatment

“Who can say I’ll even be alive in 2012?”

I was disgusted and disheartened to hear the IOC had banned the Iraq Olympic team for irregularities. It seems back in May the Iraqi government dissolved their 11 member committee, charging they did not have a legal quorum to conduct business and perhaps concern over the fact several of the members were hold overs from Saddam. Never mind the IOC allowing Udai’s teams compete even tho torture was part of his training regimen. In 2008, dozens of Iraqi athletes were expected to compete, their spots have now been given to other countries.  Follow me below the fold for a glimpse the gut wrenching ramifications of the heartless hypocritcal decision by the IOC.  

in winning, are we losing?

I’ve been thinking about this for days now. Ever since my nephew told me he thought that winning was the reason one plays baseball.

And I thought::: has our obsession with winning turned us into losers? Our family routines, our learning curves, and just plain old having fun all seem to take a beating from the prevailing ends justify the means American mindset.

Is winning market share or baseball games or presidential races more important than how one plays the game, the quality/efficacy of products one puts on the market, or the policies/integrity of candidates?

Winning is only an outcome, isn’t it? What happens to all the stuff that needs to happen to get to the winning? Isn’t all the in-between stuff, those small moments, where we get our life lessons?


Congratulations to Undercovercalico!

WARNING — The following essay contains information about sports, which apparently does not have much of a following at Docudharma, so I’ll keep it brief.

All hail the winner of the DDMMTTPP (Docudharma March Madness Tournament Time Private Pool):  Undercovercalico!!!

Even with the championship game still to be played Monday night, Undercovercalico has already clinched victory by having correctly picked all of the Final Four teams (Memphis, UCLA, North Carolina, and Kansas) and correctly picking Memphis and Kansas to advance to the championship game.

The Memphis Tigers defeated UCLA 78-63 in the first semifinal game Saturday.  This was the 38th win of the season for Memphis, which sets a new NCAA record for most wins in a single season.  Their only loss of the season was by 4 points to Tennessee.  In the other semifinal game, Kansas beat North Carolina 84-66.  North Carolina coach Roy Williams had previously coached for 15 years at Kansas before leaving to coach North Carolina.  Kansas fans have been cranky ever since, so beating Williams’ team was sweet revenge.  The winners of Saturday’s semifinal games play for the championship on Monday.

Who will win Monday night’s championship game between Memphis and Kansas?  UCC picked Memphis to win it all, and only an idiot would disagree with her record of success thus far.

I predict Kansas will win.  

Tears On Opening Day In Condado del Diablo

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


The beautiful game

This isn’t about America’s so-called pastime, major league baseball, which begins tonight with the Braves playing the Nats and Commander Codpiece McFlyboy throwing out the ceremonial first ball. No. This is about something smaller, more intimate, and in many ways, much more a game of the People.  It’s about futbol, soccer, and how anti-immigrant local legislation in Northern Virginia has destroyed the local leagues.

It’s an infuriating story.  I’m angered not just because I love to play this game, but because of the important role it plays in the community.  I doubt you’ve heard about this before.

Please join me in the goal box.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: The Perfect Bikeway

Over on the European Tribune, where I crossposted a couple of these bike blogs, asdf asked:

If bikes are the most efficient way to get around–at least for distances up to a few km–then why do we not have proper bikeways? Smooth pavement, gradual hills, and COVERS to keep the snow/wind/rain off? Imagine a countryside with little bike tunnels going here and there, with cozy, dry riders efficiently making their daily trips…

This is a lovely image. Indeed, a system of bikeways of this could even qualify as a dream.

However, if we start to dream it, we have to be careful that we do not fall into the familiar bad habits of the fading age of Auto Uber Alles … which is to use bikeways as a mechanism to get those pesky cyclists off the road.

If a system of bikeways is done right, then it will create far more bikes on the road of most cities, towns and suburbs of American than we have ever seen … indeed, than most of use have ever imagined. Which means, directly, that any system of bikeways intended to get those pesky bikes off the roads will be bikeways done wrong.

See you over the fold … and remember, as always, this is also a general cycling open thread.

Load more