WIRED: I hadn’t seen cars run at the Speedway before yesterday. One thing that struck me about this place was how much of the magic and the weird old speed temple vibe you don’t get over television. Does it work the same way for drivers?
Rick Mears: It does. A lot of guys don’t respect it until they’re here and they figure it out. It looks like just four long corners. And people watch it and think, “Oh, well, what do you do? You just drive around there all day.”
There’s a lot more happening out there than anybody realizes. In qualifying, in four laps, you never run one corner the same way twice. It’s constantly changing, as a tire goes off, as the wind goes down, as the fuel load changes. And the guys that can adapt to that and deal with it, and learn how to make the corrections needed the next time through that corner—instead of doing the same thing, expecting a different result. It doesn’t work. You’ve gotta change something, and I’m talking this (mimes twitching steering wheel with his hands), not talking this (waves hands around). That’s the last two or three percent. That’s what you don’t know until you run here.
We were invited to Qatar by the prime minister’s office to see new flagship accommodation for low-paid migrant workers in early May - but while gathering additional material for our report, we ended up being thrown into prison for doing our jobs.
Our arrest was dramatic.
We were on a quiet stretch of road in the capital, Doha, on our way to film a group of workers from Nepal.
The working and housing conditions of migrant workers constructing new buildings in Qatar ahead of the World Cup have been heavily criticised and we wanted to see them for ourselves.
If you’ve always thought the problem with baseball was that it didn’t have enough statistics, then here’s some good news: Major League Baseball has installed arrays of HD-video cameras and 3-D Doppler radar devices in every park in the league to track not only the ball, but also the movements of every player on the field. In Tuesday night’s relatively meaningless early-season game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, Major League Baseball’s new Statcast system made its TV debut.
Baseball has a long standing love affair with statistics—before more esoteric sabermetrics like WAR were developed (that would be “wins above replacement” for the uninitiated), avid fans tracked their favorite players’ batting averages, RBIs, and ERAs. But certain aspects of the game like defense, positioning, and baserunning, seemed resistant to quantification.
To measure the previously unmeasureable, data from TrackMan radar units are combined with stereoscopic images from two camera arrays, spaced 15 m apart. The radar measurements are useful for keeping track of the ball dynamics (including its spin), while video is useful for tracking player movements. Unlike the SportVU player tracking system used in the NBA, which has a top-down view on the action, Statcast’s camera location requires it to intelligently resolve player occlusions.
Behind a strong team of nine champion Alaska huskies, 28-year-old Dallas Seavey from Willow rolled under the burled arch on Front Street in this fabled gold mining town in the wee hours of Wednesday to seal the deal on a victory in the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and put the Seavey stamp solidly on the current era of Alaska dog mushing.
With the northern lights flickering overhead, a morning crowd still recovering, or yet to recover, from St. Patrick’s Day celebrations the day before gave him a warm welcome as he notched Iditarod win number three.
As late-night partiers flooded onto Front Street, Seavey’s arrival in Nome was foreshadowed by a helicopter flying overhead. He was led down the historic main drag by a police officer, his wispy blonde goatee coated in frost by the 10-degree temperatures.
Gary Mashburn is 64 years old and skis on a pair of artificial knees. And nobody can keep up with him.
“My goal is to be the baddest, oldest skier on the hill,” Mashburn said earlier this week after hopping off Chair 6 at the top of Alyeska Resort. “I’m close now.”
Mashburn has ample evidence to back up his claim. For the fourth straight season, he has skied more vertical feet — about 3 million so far — than anyone else at Alyeska according to the resort, which issued a press release recently lauding Mashburn’s ironman dedication to the sport.
“We are extremely excited to have these die-hard skiers here in Girdwood and at Alyeska Resort,” resort general manager Di Whitney said in a press release. “These guys are an inspiration to us all to get out and get after it as well as a reminder that good skiing conditions can be found.”
Video of beautifully scenic skiing at Link:
Three French athletes were among the 10 people who died as two helicopters filming a reality show crashed in a remote part of Argentina on Monday:
Here’s a brief look at their careers:
Camille Muffat won the gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games, setting an Olympic record. She added a silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle and a bronze in the 4x200 freestyle relay to become only the third Frenchwomen — including swimmer Laure Manaudou — to win three medals in the same games. Muffat, who was 25 and grew up in the southern French city of Nice, was also a four-time world bronze medalist. She retired from swimming last year to focus on her personal life.
NASCAR is sure doing a better job dealing with domestic violence complaints than the NFL. Busch claims his ex is a trained assassin. Then why is he still alive after damn near killing her?
NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch, the organization announced Friday, just days before the Daytona 500 race.
For the last three years it’s been my privilege to help coach a dedicated group of young women who have founded the first Women’s Flat-Track Roller Derby league in Israel. They’ve learned, trained, fought, and worked unbelievably hard to bring Derby to Medinat Yisrael. We held our first bout ever last year, and now we’re ready to take it to the next level.
Derby in Israel faces some unique challenges. Roller rinks aren’t a thing here so practice space is hard to come by - for three years we’ve been practicing on a crappy outdoor surface. It’s more injury prone and we have to cancel frequently due to weather or The Situation (a/k/a someone might try to drop a missle on our asses). Equipment all has to be shipped from abroad because no one sells quad skates and derby-safe equipment here.
We’ve started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for an indoor practice space, equipment, and professional coaching. If you can afford to kick in a few bucks, awesome. If not, please help us out with a signal boost, and especially if you have any derby girls in your own circles please pass on word.
Video of our first bout:
A cute kitty sleeping under a kiln: