I got sick of constantly having my yo-yo videos taken off of Instagram, Youtube, or Facebook because of DMCA takedowns, so I decided to just start making the sounds myself. You can hear what I’m talking about in my 3 most recent yo-yo videos.
I’ve been obsessed lately with the idea of high level athletes being forced to NOT give their best when playing a sport. I’ve found a few stories and videos of athletes underachieving for a greater good, so I thought I’d share them here.
Bicycle Track Racing
It’s counterintuitive, but the beginning few laps of a bicycle sprint might actually consist of two riders intentionally trying to pedal so slow that the person behind them is forced to take the lead. In the embedded video below, the two racers spend the first 5 minutes riding as slow as possible (sometimes even moving backwards!), then suddenly bursting into high speed on the very last lap. It’s five minutes and thirty seconds of painfully slow riding, then an insane 15 second burst at the end. 95% of the entire race was about fighting for last place.
The reason track cyclist might adopt this strategy is because the rider in the back may try to draft off the front rider, thus saving energy in the final lap. It may also be easier at the last minute to try to surprise the lead cyclist and pass them right before the finish line.
Olympic Badminton Scandal of 2012
As an odd result of a round robin Olympic tournament, all four of the finalist teams were incentivized to lose the quarter finals. From Wikipedia:
“China’s only hope of gold and silver medals was for the other China team to lose in their final round-robin game, pushing themselves to the opposite side of the bracket. The South Korean opponents decided it was also in their best interest to lose, as a defeat would give them an easier bracket match-up.”
The resulting matches were a mix of players intentionally serving the shuttlecock into the net or trying not to return a serve. As a result of the “scandal”, all four teams were later disqualified for “Not using one’s best efforts to win a match”.
Freakonomics crunched some data and in a paper titled “Winning Isn’t Everything: Corruption In Sumo Wrestling” where they showed that there appears to be wide spread match-throwing. Rather than throwing matches to profit bookies and gamblers, sumo wrestlers are believed to be taking advantage of the sumo rules to help other players gain rank.
“The key institutional feature of sumo wrestling that makes it ripe for corruption is the
existence of a sharp nonlinearity in the payoff function for competitors. A sumo tournament (basho) involves 66 wrestlers (rikishi) participating in 15 bouts each. A wrestler who achieves a winning record (eight wins or more, known as kachi-koshi) is guaranteed to rise up the of? cial ranking (banzuke); a wrestler with a losing record (make-koshi) falls in the rankings. A wrestler’s rank is a source of prestige, the basis for salary determination, and also in uences the perks that he enjoys.”
In other words, a kachi-koshi player has little to lose if they help out a make-koshi player in a thrown-match. As a result, the trainer of the lower player might return the favor by having one of their kachi-koshi players lose a match in return.
Will information ever be 100% secure online? As good as our systems might someday become, they will probably still have countless flaws, especially if they were designed by humans. With it’s Internet-of-Things-attacks and political email leaks, 2016 may be our first taste of what it’s like living in a post-cybersecurity world. Which makes me think a lot about Star Wars.
Part of Star Wars’s big charm was how it seemed futuristic and retro at the same time. I used to imagine it was a place where different technologies caught on sooner than others, but these days I like to think of it is a world where no digital information is ever considered safe. In a post-cybersecurity landscape, it would actually make more sense to physically send critical Death Star plans through space via an out-of-date automaton than to send them wirelessly. This same mistrust in cybersecurity could also explain the overly complex central computer in Rogue One.
In Battlestar Galactica, the humans learned the hard way what happens when they get too reliant on inter-connected computers to run their ships. It was Commander Adama’s insistence that the ship restrict itself to more low-tech and manual resources that the ship was able to survive the great Cylon attack. Earlier today, president-elect Trump said “It’s very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way” adding “no computer is safe”. The man knows a thing or two about how hackers can throw an election.
So the next time you watch Star Wars and chuckle at the fact that they’ve mastered light speed technology, but still save data on magnetic tape, wonder if that design is remnant of 1970s sci-fi or a well thought precaution in a post-cybersecurity landscape.
I’m really happy with this quick sweater “hack” I made with an old crewneck sweater and child’s Darth Vader costume that I found at the thrift store. These costumes are really easy to find used, or you can buy one online.
I didn’t do anything fancy, I just cut off the silkscreened chest piece from the costume and sewed it onto the front of the sweater. It looks great and was super easy to make.
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