Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Worst-designed Sport Of All 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. Considering that most bobsled competitions are already two runs, it wouldnt bastardize the sport to make this move. Of course, having fewer runs would decrease the chance that the best team wins. But that would at least inject a little bit of life into one of the dullest sports ever concocted by man.
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

edward Monkton Gifts And Greetings Cards: Cute Characters With Funny Philosophies

Edward Monkton is a persona created by British poet Giles Andreae, whose Purple Ronnie cartoon character – a stick-man figure who recites daft limericks – has for many years entertained the UK with his cheeky greetings cards. Purple Ronnie, whose poems often featured mild taboo subjects and language, also famously appeared in a TV advertisement for a well known soft drink.

Andreae's Edward Monkton series features a range of characters with unusual and amusing personality traits, philosophies and stories, and these characters share their wisdom from a wide range of greetings cards, gifts and collectables.

The greetings cards in the Edward Monkton series are illustrated in a minimalist and almost childlike style, usually in black ink on a white background, and provide a witty and insightful commentary on life, love, happiness and the things in life that bring joy (for example chocolate, shoes and frocks). Many of the greetings cards are left blank inside, so they can be used for a variety of occasions.

Several Edward Monkton characters also feature in full colour as gifts and collectables, including a range of striking little lapel pins, cute cuddly toys and shaped, scented soaps.

Edward Monkton characters are utterly charming, rather mischievous, and sometimes make little sense (see, for example, the Madness Hamster – the very idea!) – and it is these qualities that make them so endearing and popular with consumers of all ages and backgrounds.

Some of our favourite Edward Monkton characters:

The Penguin of Death

Don't be deceived by the Penguin of Death's cute looks… he's really quite deadly!

There are two things you should know about the Penguin of Death: Firstly, he is strangely attractive because of his enigmatic smile, and secondly he can kill you in any one of 412 different ways. The Penguin of Death is not to be messed with!

The Penguin of Death is available as a cuddly toy in his own printed paper bag; a scented soap in a gift bag; a 7cm x 6cm cuddly keyring, and a 2.5cm x 1.9cm metal lapel pin.

The Sheep of Destiny

The permanently cheerful and oh-so-talented Sheep of Destiny wears a broad smile because he sees your future – and oh, how HAPPY shall that future be!

The Sheep of Destiny is available as a soft and squeezable 10cm x 6cm cuddly keyring, a 2.5cm x 2.3cm lapel pin, and an all-purpose greetings card which is left blank inside, ready for your message.

The Pig of Happiness

The Pig of Happiness wears a cheeky grin which stretches from ear to ear, and his motto is: "May his joyful smile remind us how much there is to be HAPPY about" – a message we could all do with remembering, from time to time!

The Pig of Happiness is available as a 9cm x 6cm cute and cuddly keyring; a shaped and scented bar of soap; a 2.4cm x 1.7cm lapel pin, and greetings card which is blank inside and suitable for most occasions.

Rock Pig

Rock Pig wears a black leather jacket and shades, and he doesn't like disco, dance, ambient, trance, R&B or soul – he's only interested in heavy duty rock 'n' roll!

Rock Pig is available as a 2.5cm x 2cm lapel pin, and a soft and squidgy cuddly toy which comes in a printed paper bag with Rock Pig's poem about his favourite type of music.

Madness Hamster

This is the slightly silly story of the Madness Hamster:

"Every night they visit you,
Every night they come,
And bit by bit,
They steal your brain,
And feed it to their Mum."

The Madness Hamster is available as a very cute 8cm x 5cm soft and squeezable keyring; a 2.4cm x 1.6cm lapel pin badge, and a greetings card which has been left blank on the inside so you can use it for most occasions.

The Cat of Glory

The Cat of Glory is a wondrous sight – prepare to be amazed! For it has been written: "And there shall come amongst them a Cat of such GREAT GLORY that all who see it will be sore amazed and marvel at its splendour."

The Cat of Glory is available as a lapel pin measuring 2.5cm x 1.9cm, which makes a perfect gift for cat lovers.