What Hath God Wrought?

1844: Samuel Morse launches the first telegraph in the 40 miles between Baltimore and Washington.

To Vail, his partner, he first messages from Numbers 23:23 — "What hath God wrought?"

In the days to come, one of the first applications of Morse's telegraph would be chess games played at a distance.

Ministry of Truth, Revisited

Now THAT's Amateur has a great piece this morning on world records that have not been ratified by the IAAF, the world governing body for the sport of athletics, because of a failure to properly document the conditions of the competition site and athletic body under which the record was achieved. Specifically,

the IAAF has refused to ratify at least three world record performances in 2006 because the testing laboratory failed to test an athlete's urine for EPO. You heard that right; not for a failed test, but for a failure to perform the test properly. … The most recent record to be rejected was for the men's 25 km road race, where Ethiopia's legendary Haile Gebreselassie recorded a time of 1:11.37 in the Netherlands earlier this year. That accomplishment will not stand as a world record, thanks to bureaucratic incompetence.

If such bureaucratic incompetence exists in the relatively brief window of time during which a world record is ratified, particularly given the immense stakes involved, then what potential is there for incompetence over an eight-year period of time, when only gold medals are at stake?

The Genesis of Baseball Simulations

Baseball recreation

Radio broadcasters recreate a baseball game from a telegraph transmission (courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library).

NFL Preseason Thoughts

preseason football: watching the interview process from home

thoughts from last night's game:

nike: "football is everything" … has the hyperbole finally reached its apex? sadly, I think not

sergeant stripesfox: perhaps I am reading too much into the football-war relationship, but didn't the virtual down-and-yardage markers look like sergeant's stripes painted in each team's colours?

directv: new package allows you to monitor 8 games at once … a spectacular implementation of surveillance efficiencies



[Aside] I'm in deep shit. I forgot sportsBabel's 5th birthday, which happened almost a month ago. I had a good reason, though, honest!

I was told twice this year by good friends that I am ADHD with my academia, which I chose to take as the highest of compliments.

However, it doesn't help for shit when it comes to the "production" of publishable texts.

Nonetheless, this has easily been my most productive year at sportsBabel and, like an athlete disciplining his body for sporting peformance, I can feel myself improving every day. Still a long ways to go, but I plan to be around for a while.

That said, here is a recap of my top ten favourite posts from the year:

  1. Hybrids, Mutants and Replicants
  2. Digital Umbilical
  3. The Photo Finish
  4. The New Temporality of Olympic Triumph
  5. Blood
  6. Golf Production vs. The Libidinal Drive(r)
  7. Lost Touch
  8. The Chess Queen
  9. Urine as Noise
  10. Juice

And how about a sexy cheesecake shot since it's your special day?

A hearty high five to you on your birthday, sportsBabel. Can't wait for the next period of reflection one year eleven months from now!




[Aside] Linds and I just recently returned a short trip to Nova Scotia, where I had a few adventures worth posting:

I had the pleasure of meeting Amateur from Now THAT's Amateur while on vacation. It was fun to talk about his experiences as a high performance paddler and pick his brain about Halifax 2014 and other subjects over lunch. No, he doesn't address himself in person with the one-word nickname, a la Cher or Madonna. But I'm not giving up the secret and revealing his true identity!

Also sat down with my former boss Gary Ness at Acadia. Good to catch up with him and the program there. After hearing about where my blog travels have taken me, he pointed me in the direction of Thoreau, who also had the habit of posting eclectic thoughts to his journals. Neat!

Best of all, I had my annual round of golf with best pal Seabs. I hadn't seen him, nor lifted a club for that matter, since we were introduced to robot golf butlers last summer. And while the layoff didn't do wonders for my golf game, the friendship is still as tight as ever.