Do Sports Build Character or Damage It?
Chris and Adrienne Scott
By Mark Edmundson
Do sports build character? For those of us who claim to be educators, it’s important to know. Physical-education teachers, coaches, boosters, most trustees, and the balance of alumni seem sure that they do. And so they push sports, sports, and more sports. As for professors, they often see sports as a diversion from the real business of education—empty, time-wasting, and claiming far too much of students’ attention. It often seems that neither the boosters nor the bashers want to go too far in examining their assumptions about sports.
But in fact, sports are a complex issue, and it’s clear that we as a culture don’t really know how to think about them. Public confusion about performance-enhancing drugs, the dangers of concussions in football and of fighting in hockey, and the recent molestation scandal at Penn State suggest that it might be good to pull back and consider the question of athletics and education—of sports and character-building—a bit more closely than we generally do.
The first year I played high-school football, the coaches were united in their belief that drinking water on the practice field was dangerous. It made you cramp up, they told us. It made you sick to your stomach, they said. So at practice, which went on for two and a half hours, twice a day, during a roaring New England summer, we got no water. Players cramped up anyway; players got sick to their stomachs regardless. Players fell on their knees and began making soft, plaintive noises; they were helped to their feet, escorted to the locker room, and seen no more.
On the first day of double practice sessions, there were about 120 players—tough Irish and Italian kids and a few blacks—and by the end of the 12-day ordeal, there were 60 left. Some of us began without proper equipment. I started without cleats. But that was not a problem: Soon someone who wore your shoe size would quit, and then you could have theirs.
Shop Goodwill “Shopgoodwill.com is the Goodwill’s online auction site offering a wide array of antiques, collectibles, books and much more – culled from Goodwill’s vast inventory of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous. Revenues from auction sales fund education, job training and job placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages.”
The busiest U.S. airport is Hartsfield-Jackson, in Atlanta, GA, which 89 million passengers traveled through in 2010. – Provided by The World Almanac 2012
KNOW ANY TEENS? THEN YOU KNOW WHAT A PAIN IN THE ASS THEY CAN BE. THINK THEY LIKE YOU? THINK AGAIN
Double Trouble: Twin Birth Rate Soars in US
The number of twins being born in the US has doubled in the last three decades. In 1980, 68,339 twins were born in the US. By 2009, this number had passed the 137,000 mark and one in every 30 babies was born a twin. The shift is largely due to fertility treatments, though about a third of the increase has been attributed to the fact that more women are having children later in life, when they are more likely to naturally conceive multiples. Some experts are concerned about the trend, as multiple births are more dangerous for both mothers and their babies. More …
The hot new sex toy set to transform the market… that was inspired by an electric toothbrush…
A new line of sex toys looks set to revolutionise the market after patenting technology inspired by a popular electric toothbrush.
Revel Body, has taken its lead from the revered Philips Sonicare toothbrush for its first line of sonic-motored sex toys.
The young Seattle-based start-up’s prototype, The Orb, is the first such device to run on the high-speed technology.
Sonic sex: The Orb is the first device from Revel Body to incorporate the newly developed high-speed motors that will enhance vibration power
Sexual revolution? The Orb is the first sex toy from Revel Body that will be powered by new high-speed motors inspired by the Phillips Sonicare toothbrush
The development promises to enhance the performance of vibrators and other sex devices, bidding farewell to the comparatively sluggish and noisy rotary-motors that still power most adult toys today.
In a press release, the company explained: ‘Our sonic vibration motors provide a significantly broader range of vibration and significantly more power; this translates into better control and satisfaction for users.’
Inspiration: The technology of the Phillips Sonicare toothbrush is behind the new sex toy
Inspiration: The technology that powers the Phillips Sonicare toothbrush is behind the new sex toy.
You have heard of the recent wreck of the cruise ship close top the coast of Italy. Think this unusual, an exception?
It’s a girl: The three deadliest words in the worldIt’s a girl, a film being released this year, documents the practice of killing unwanted baby girls in South Asia. The trailer’s most chilling scene is one with an Indian woman who, unable to contain her laughter, confesses to having killed eight infant daughters.
The statistics are sickening. The UN reports approximately 200 million girls in the world today are ‘missing’. India and China are said to eliminate more female infants than the number of girls born in the US each year. Lianyungang in China has the worst infant gender ratio on record with 163 boys born for every 100 girls. Taiwan, South Korea and Pakistan are also countries in which unwanted female babies are aborted, killed or abandoned.
Gendercide in South Asia takes many forms: baby girls are killed or abandoned if not aborted as foetuses. Girls that are not killed often suffer malnutrition and medical neglect as sons are favoured when shelter, medicine and food are scarce.
You’re in Afghanistan. You get word that a flatbed truck ferrying a weapons cache to insurgents is heading through a mountain pass your way. You want to trace the truck’s path — there might be a weapons pipeline that way — as well as its destination. But that means keeping watch over miles and miles of turf. It’ll require a gaggle of drones and spy planes to monitor such a wide area.
Or at least it did. The Army is sending a new drone helicopter into the Afghanistan war. Three of them, actually, each one equipped with one of the most powerful sensors the U.S. military has. By the spring, soldiers will remotely pilot Boeing’s A160 Hummingbird helo — parodied above by the Taiwanime geniuses at Next Media Animation — to see across vast swaths of Afghanistan, thanks to the ultra-powerful Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, or ARGUS.
A GLOBAL FORUM Ijad Madisch, 31, a virologist and computer scientist, founded ResearchGate, a Berlin-based social networking platform for scientists that has more than 1.3 million members.
The New England Journal of Medicine marks its 200th anniversary this year with a timeline celebrating the scientific advances first described in its pages: the stethoscope (1816), the use of ether for anesthesia (1846), and disinfecting hands and instruments before surgery (1867), among others.
For centuries, this is how science has operated — through research done in private, then submitted to science and medical journals to be reviewed by peers and published for the benefit of other researchers and the public at large. But to many scientists, the longevity of that process is nothing to celebrate.
The system is hidebound, expensive and elitist, they say. Peer review can take months, journal subscriptions can be prohibitively costly, and a handful of gatekeepers limit the flow of information. It is an ideal system for sharing knowledge, said the quantum physicist Michael Nielsen, only “if you’re stuck with 17th-century technology.”
Thanks to its ubiquity in eggnog and other holiday concoctions, nutmeg is one of the spices most commonly associated with drinking. But even now that the last ladleful of the season has been poured, nutmeg refuses to leave the party. In fact, the spice is enjoying something of a revival in the craft-cocktail world, with small nutmeg graters now fairly common in better bars. More and more drinks—especially vintage punches and their offshoots—call for a dusting of nutmeg the way others call for a lemon twist.
This is welcome news, and not only because nutmeg brings a pleasant intricacy to many drinks (in particular, it lends an earthiness to frivolous citrus). The rediscovery of nutmeg also brings a touch of history with it, including one rather unexpected detour.
Peruse accounts of European drinking in the 18th and 19th centuries, and before long you’ll envision barkeeps standing with nutmeg graters at hand, eager to enliven some potion. The tale of how nutmeg got from the East Indies to Europe has been told well and often: the wars for the Spice Islands, the domination of the nutmeg trade by the Dutch, and later, the rise of a competing industry in the West Indies.
But in doing some research recently, I learned something new: nutmeg will fuck you up.
As it turns out, nutmeg contains a psychoactive element called myristicin, whose chemical structure shares similarities with mescaline, amphetamine, and ecstasy. A Dictionary of Hallucinations—let us pause for a moment to give thanks that we live in a world where such a reference exists—notes that nutmeg has been “reported to mediate visual, auditory, tactile, and kinaesthetic hallucinations (notably the sensation of floating).” This is not breaking news: the Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen noted the mind-altering effects of nutmeg all the way back in the 12th century.
The greatest mystery of the Inca Empire was its strange economy
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Incan Empire was the largest South America had ever known. Centered in Peru, it stretched across the Andes’ mountain tops and down to the shoreline, incorporating lands from today’s Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Equador, Argentina and Peru – all connected by a vast highway system whose complexity rivaled any in the Old World. Rich in foodstuffs, textiles, gold, and coco, the Incans were masters of city building but nevertheless had no money. In fact, they had no marketplaces at all.
The Inca Empire may be the only advanced civilization in history to have no class of traders, and no commerce of any kind within its boundaries. How did they do it?
Many aspects of Incan life remain mysterious, in part because our accounts of Incan life come from the Spanish invaders who effectively wiped them out. Famously, the conquistador Francisco Pizzaro led just a few men in an incredible defeat of the vast Incan army in Peru in 1532. But the real blow came roughly a decade before that, when European invaders unwittingly unleashed a smallpox epidemic that some epidemiologists believe may have killed as many as 90 percent of the Incan people. Our knowledge of these events, and our understanding of Incan culture of that era, come from just a few observers – mostly Spanish missionaries, and one mestizo priest and Inca historian named Blas Valera, who was born in Peru two decades after the fall of the Inca Empire.
Evolution is written all over your face
(Jan. 11, 2012) — Why are the faces of primates so dramatically different from one another?
UCLA biologists working as “evolutionary detectives” studied the faces of 129 adult male primates from Central and South America, and they offer some answers in research published Jan. 11, in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The faces they studied evolved over at least 24 million years, they report.
“If you look at New World primates, you’re immediately struck by the rich diversity of faces,” said Michael Alfaro, a UCLA associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the senior author of the study. “You see bright red faces, moustaches, hair tufts and much more. There are unanswered questions about how faces evolve and what factors explain the evolution of facial features. We’re very visually oriented, and we get a lot of information from the face.”
Web Gang Operating in the Open
Five men believed to be responsible for spreading a notorious computer worm on Facebook and other social networks — and pocketing several million dollars from online schemes — are hiding in plain sight in St. Petersburg, Russia, according to investigators at Facebook and several independent computer security researchers.
A member of the Koobface gang posted to Foursquare, showing an office, complete with coordinates, in St. Petersburg.
The men live comfortable lives in St. Petersburg — and have frolicked on luxury vacations in places like Monte Carlo, Bali and, earlier this month, Turkey, according to photographs posted on social network sites — even though their identities have been known for years to Facebook, computer security investigators and law enforcement officials.
One member of the group, which is popularly known as the Koobface gang, has regularly broadcast the coordinates of its offices by checking in on Foursquare, a location-based social network, and posting the news to Twitter. Photographs on Foursquare also show other suspected members of the group working on Macs in a loftlike room that looks like offices used by tech start-ups in cities around the world.