Archive for ‘Games’

October 15, 2016

Skitching

skitchin

Skitching (‘ski-hitching’ or ‘skate-hitching’) is the act of hitching a ride by holding onto a motor vehicle while riding on a skateboard, roller skates or bicycle. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘bumper hitching,’ ‘bumpershining,’ or ‘poggying.’ When done on icy or snowy streets it’s often called ‘bizzing,’ ‘bumper jumping,’ or ‘hooky bobbing. When a snowboard is used it is called ‘snitching.’ The term ‘skitching’ can refer to a number of related activities. The unifying concept is that the ‘skitcher’ holds onto a motorized vehicle while it is in motion, using the vehicle to propel themselves along.

Skateboard skitching is the most referenced type of skitching in news sources and popular culture, but not the most practiced in reality. It has appeared in films and video games, and is confirmed to be the cause of death for a number of skateboarders. Some drivers are willing participants in skateboard skitching, which can open them up to legal action in the event of an accident. Because skitching is often done in traffic, on inadequate equipment for the speeds traveled, and sometimes without the knowledge of the driver of the vehicle, there is significant potential for injury or death. Skateboarding celebrity Tony Hawk has advocated against the practice of skitching due to the related deaths and injuries.

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October 10, 2016

Presta Valve

valve stems

Bicycle wheels are comprised of a tough outer tire, a soft inner tube, and a rim (the stiff outermost-edge which is often supported by spokes). The inner tube is inflated means of a valve stem that opens to let air in and then automatically closes and is kept sealed by the pressure in the chamber. The Presta valve (also called the ‘Sclaverand’ or ‘French’ valve) is a valve commonly found in high pressure (100 psi) road style inner tubes. It is comprised of an outer valve stem and an inner valve body. A lock nut to secure the stem at the wheel rim and a valve cap may also be present.

 The outer valve stem is manufactured in various lengths for different applications, and has a narrower diameter at the base (6 mm) than the more common Schrader or American valve (8 mm) and is also used on most automobile tires. Japan, India, Russia, Germany, Britain, and several other countries use a third type of valve for their bicycles, the Dunlop (also called a ‘Woods’ or ‘English’ valve) which also has a wider base than a Presta valve. It is similar enough in size to a Schrader valve to use identically drilled valve holes in rims, but it can be inflated with a Presta valve adapter.

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August 14, 2016

Rock Paper Scissors

rps

spock lizard by JDPD

Rock-paper-scissors (sometimes called ‘roshambo’) is a zero-sum hand game usually played between two people, in which each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand. These shapes are ‘rock’ (fist), ‘paper’ (flat palm), and ‘scissors’ (a fist with the index and middle fingers together forming a V). Each beats one of the other two, and loses to the other (i.e. ‘paper covers rock, but ‘scissors cut paper,’ and ‘rock crushes scissors’).

The players usually count aloud to three, or speak the name of the game (e.g. ‘Rock Paper Scissors!’ or ‘Ro Sham Bo!’), each time either raising one hand in a fist and swinging it down on the count or holding it behind. They then ‘throw’ by extending it towards their opponent. If both players choose the same shape, the game is tied and is usually immediately replayed. The game is often used as a choosing method in a way similar to coin flipping, drawing straws, or throwing dice. Unlike truly random selection methods, however, rock-paper-scissors can be played with a degree of skill by exploiting non-random behavior in opponents.

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July 31, 2016

Mascot

Phanatic by Mike Jackson

A mascot is any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck, or anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name. Mascots are also used as fictional, representative spokespeople for consumer products, such as the rabbit used in advertising and marketing for the General Mills brand of breakfast cereal, Trix. Costumed mascots are commonplace, and are regularly used as goodwill ambassadors in the community for their team, company, or organization such as the U.S. Forest Service’s ‘Smokey Bear.’

In the world of sports, mascots are also used for merchandising. Team mascots are often confused with team nicknames. While the two can be interchangeable, they are not always the same. For example, the athletic teams of the University of Alabama are nicknamed the ‘Crimson Tide,’ while their mascot is an elephant named ‘Big Al.’ Team mascots may take the form of a logo, person, live animal, inanimate object, or a costumed character, and often appear at team matches and other related events, sports mascots are often used as marketing tools for their teams to children.

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July 24, 2016

Hideo Kojima

kojima

Hideo Kojima (b. 1963) is a Japanese video game designer, screenwriter, director, and producer. He is the director of Kojima Productions, which he originally founded in 2005, and a former vice president of Konami Digital Entertainment. He is often regarded as an ‘auteur’ video game director.

He is the creator, director and writer of a number of widely praised video games, including the ‘Metal Gear’ series of stealth games, and the adventure games ‘Snatcher’ and ‘Policenauts,’ and he also directed or produced games in other series, including ‘Zone of the Enders,’ ‘Boktai,’ and ‘Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.’

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June 29, 2016

Mechanical Doping

doped bike

Mechanical doping is a recent term describing the use of secret motors in competitive cycling events. As a form of ‘technological fraud’ it is banned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the international governing body of cycling. One of the first allegations of motor doping dates to the 2010 Tour of Flanders when Fabian Cancellara climbed a steep part of Kapelmuur while unusually seated, leading to allegations that there was an powered device hidden in his bike.

The first confirmed use of mechanical doping in the sport was discovered at the 2016 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships when one of the bikes of Belgian cyclist Femke Van den Driessche was found to have a secret motor inside.

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June 5, 2016

I Cut, You Choose

Envy-free cake-cutting

Divide and choose (or ‘I cut, you choose‘) is a procedure for envy-free cake-cutting between two partners. It involves a heterogeneous good or resource (‘the cake’) and two partners which have different preferences over parts of the cake. The protocol proceeds as follows: one person cuts the cake into two pieces, and the other person chooses his piece first.

Divide-and-choose is mentioned in the Bible. In Genesis, when Abraham and Lot come to the land of Canaan, Abraham suggests that they divide it among them. Then Abraham, coming from the south, divides the land to a ‘left’ (western) part and a ‘right’ (eastern) part, and lets Lot choose. Lot chooses the eastern part which contains Sodom and Gomorrah.

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May 1, 2016

Hack-a-Shaq

Shaq

Hack-a-Shaq is a basketball strategy initially instituted in NBA by the Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson to hinder the scoring ability of the opposing team by continuously committing fouls against opposing players with weak free throw percentages.

Nelson initially devised the strategy for use against the Chicago Bulls, specifically power forward Dennis Rodman, who was a poor free throw shooter. However, it ultimately became better-known for its implementation against center Shaquille O’Neal. The name of the strategy is sometimes altered to reflect the player being fouled, for example ‘Hack-a-Howard’ for Dwight Howard.

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April 11, 2016

Athleisure

lululemon

yoga pants

Athleisure is a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for athletic workouts (sometimes termed ‘activewear) is worn outside of the gym to go to the office or shopping or other social occasions. Athleisure outfits are ‘yoga pants, tights and leggings’ that ‘look like athletic wear’ characterized as ‘fashionable, dressed up sweats and exercise clothing.’ The idea is that ‘gym clothes are making their way out of the gym and becoming a larger part of people’s everyday wardrobes.’

One account suggests that the trend came about because people could wear them for multiple occasions without having to change, which meant greater convenience, since people did not have to carry an extra gym outfit on the way to the office, for example. Reports in the Wall Street Journal describe the athleisure market as growing, displacing typical workwear styles, and cutting into sales of jeans. While the trend was started by women, men are increasingly turning to athleisure wear as well. For men’s fashion, athleisure wear began with luxury sweatpants (‘joggers’) and then moved to the upper torso region with ‘dressy/sporty versions of men’s blazers, varsity jackets, pea coats and sweaters.’

April 10, 2016

Telegraphing

telegraph by David Taylor

In sporting terminology, to telegraph is to unintentionally alert an opponent to one’s immediate situation or intentions. The sporting use of the term telegraph draws a direct comparison with the communication device of the same name. ‘Telegraphing’ always refers to a reflexive physical action rather than a protracted or intellectual give-away. For example, a boxer rotating his shoulders to throw a hook would be telegraphing. A rugby team betraying its line-out plays by using an easily decoded line-out code is not.

While telegraphing is a hazard for any sporting event, it is particularly risky at upper levels of competition where talented players are better able to anticipate and react to telegraphed actions. The ability to suppress telegraphing is often the hallmark of elite athletes.

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April 4, 2016

Beep Baseball

nbba

The National Beep Baseball Association NBBA was organized in 1976 for visually impaired adults to play baseball. Each year it coordinates local, state, and regional tournaments. The World Series was held in Taiwan in 2000. The game is played on a grass field with six fielders (generally a first-baseman, third-baseman, shortstop, left fielder, right fielder, and center fielder) and one or two ‘spotters’ (sighted individuals that call out a number to signify which part of the field a ball is travelling towards), as well as a sighted pitcher and catcher. Fielders and batter are blindfolded.

There is also a DH and DF (designated hitter and fielder). They must also be legally blind in most cases. However, the NBBA has a rule that, if a team cannot field the minimum six batters required to fill its lineup card, it may opt to allow up to two sighted volunteers to blindfold themselves and play as the visually impaired players do. The ball beeps and is a modified, and oversized, softball. The bases are blue, nearly 5 ft tall, and have mostly foam interior with the electronics that cause it to buzz steadily when a switch is thrown. They are each placed 100 ft from homeplate and are in the equivalent positions to first and third bases in regular baseball.

March 11, 2016

Liar’s Poker

Gutfreund

Liar’s Poker is a non-fiction, semi-autobiographical book by Michael Lewis describing the author’s experiences as a bond salesman on Wall Street during the late 1980s. Two important figures in that history feature prominently in the text, the head of Salomon Brothers’ mortgage department Lewis Ranieri and the firm’s CEO John Gutfreund. The book’s name is taken from a high-stakes gambling game popular with bond traders.

First published in 1989, it is considered one of the books that defined Wall Street in that era, along with Bryan Burrough and John Helyar’s ‘Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco,’ and the fictional ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe.’ The book captures an important period in the history of New York’s financial markets.

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