Posts tagged ‘Competition’

March 18, 2013

World Sauna Championships

Darwin Awards

The World Sauna Championships were an annual endurance contest held in Heinola, Finland, from 1999 to 2010. They originated from unofficial sauna-sitting competitions that resulted in a ban from a swimming hall in Heinola. The Championships were first held in 1999 and grew to feature contestants from over 20 countries.

Sauna bathing at extreme conditions is a severe health risk: all competitors competed at their own risk, and had to sign a form agreeing not to take legal action against the organizers. Notably, the Finnish Sauna Society strongly opposed the event. After the death of one finalist and near-death of another during the 2010 championship, the organizers announced that they would not hold another event. This followed an announcement by prosecutors that the organizing committee would not be charged for negligence, as their investigation revealed that the contestant who died may have used painkillers and ointments that were forbidden by the organizers.

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March 8, 2013



Diplomacy is a strategic board game created by American mail carrier Allan B. Calhamer in 1954 and released commercially in 1959. Its main distinctions from most board wargames are its negotiation phases (players spend much of their time forming and betraying alliances with other players and forming beneficial strategies) and the absence of dice or other game elements that produce random effects.

Set in Europe just before the beginning of World War I, Diplomacy is played by two to seven players, each controlling the armed forces of a major European Power (or, with few players, multiple powers). Each player aims to move his or her few starting units—and defeat those of others—to win possession of a majority of strategic cities and provinces marked as ‘supply centers’ on the map; these supply centers allow players who control them to produce more units.

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March 7, 2013

The Style Invitational

style invitational by Bob Staake

The Style Invitational, or Invite, is a long-running humor contest that ran first in the Style section of the Sunday ‘Washington Post’ before moving to Saturday’s Style and later returning to the Sunday paper. Started in 1993, it has run weekly, except for a hiatus in late 1999. In that time, it has had two anonymous head judges who select winning entries: ‘The Czar’ abdicated in late 2003, leaving the contest in the hands of his former associate, ‘The Empress.’

The humor ranges from an intellectual vein to a less mature style, and frequently touches on sophisticated political or historical allusions. While the contest theme changes every week, some popular contests are periodically repeated. The S.I. has a loyal following of self-proclaimed ‘Losers,’ who refer to having a contest entry published as ‘getting ink.’

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January 10, 2013

Memory Sport

world memory championships

memory palace

Memory sport, sometimes referred to as competitive memory or the mind sport of memory, is a competition in which participants attempt to memorize the most information that they can then present back, under certain guidelines. The sport has been formally developed since 1991, and features regional and international championships.

One common type of competition involves memorizing the order of randomized cards in as little time as possible, after which the competitor is required to arrange new decks of cards in the same order. Mnemonic techniques are generally considered to be a necessary part of competition, and are improved through extensive practice. These can include the method of loci (referred to as the journey method, which uses visualization to aid recall), the use of mnemonic linking and chunking, or other techniques for storage and retrieval of information.

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November 19, 2012

Long Drive

long drivers

Long drive is a competitive sport where success is derived by hitting a golf ball the farthest by driving. A small but dedicated talent base of golfers populate the world of Long-Drive, with the top talent competing professionally in various events and exhibitions. Professional long drivers can average over 350 yards in competition, compared with 300 yard averages from the top PGA Tour drivers and 200 yards for an average amateur.

Some shots in competitions surpass 400 yards. The world record recognized by Guinness Records as the longest drive in a competition is 515 yards by 64 year old Mike Austin in 2002 at the US National Open Qualifier with a 43.5″ steel shafted persimmon wood driver. The current all-time record holder is Mike Dobbyn with 551 yards.

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November 7, 2012



Go is a board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules. According to chess master Edward Lasker: ‘The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go.’

The two players alternately place black and white playing pieces, called ‘stones,’ on the vacant intersections (called ‘points’) of a grid of 19×19 lines. The object of the game is to use one’s stones to surround a larger total area of the board than the opponent.

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October 29, 2012

Ig Nobel Prize

the stinker

The Ig Nobel Prizes are a satirical award given each year in early October for ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to ‘first make people laugh, and then make them think.’

Organized by the scientific humor magazine ‘Annals of Improbable Research’ (AIR), they are presented by a group that includes Nobel Laureates at a ceremony at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater, and they are followed by a set of public lectures by the winners at MIT. The name is a play on the words ‘ignoble’ (‘characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness’) and the Nobel Prize. The pronunciation used during the ceremony is [ig-noh-bel], not like the word ‘ignoble.’

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October 18, 2012


nomic game

Calvinball is a game played by Calvin and Hobbes as a rebellion against organized team sports; according to Hobbes, ‘No sport is less organized than Calvinball!’ The game was first introduced to the readers at the end of a 1990 storyline involving Calvin reluctantly joining recess baseball. It quickly became a staple of the comic afterwards.

The only hint at the true creation of the sport ironically comes from the last Calvinball strip, in which a game of football quickly devolves into a game of Calvinball. Calvin remarks that ‘sooner or later, all our games turn into Calvinball,’ Calvin and Hobbes usually play by themselves, although in one storyline Rosalyn (Calvin’s babysitter) plays in return for Calvin doing his homework, and plays very well once she realizes that the rules are made up on the spot.

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October 18, 2012


Nomic is a game created in 1982 by philosopher Peter Suber in which the rules of the game include mechanisms for the players to change those rules, usually beginning through a system of democratic voting. According to Suber, the primary activity of Nomic is proposing changes in the rules, debating the wisdom of changing them in that way, voting on the changes, deciding what can and cannot be done afterwards, and doing it. Even this core of the game, of course, can be changed.’

The term ‘nomic’ actually refers to a large number of games based on the initial ruleset laid out by Suber in his book ‘The Paradox of Self-Amendment. The game is in some ways modeled on modern government systems. It demonstrates that in any system where rule changes are possible, a situation may arise in which the resulting laws are contradictory or insufficient to determine what is in fact legal. Because the game models (and exposes conceptual questions about) a legal system and the problems of legal interpretation, it is named after ‘nomos,’ the Greek word for ‘law.’

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October 10, 2012

The Dozens

your mom

The Dozens is a game of spoken words between two contestants, common in Hip-hop/Urban communities, where participants insult each other until one gives up or violence erupts. It is customary for the Dozens to be played in front of an audience of bystanders, who encourage the participants to reply with more egregious insults to heighten the tension and consequently, to be more interesting to watch. It is also known as ‘sounding,’ ‘joning,’ ‘woofing,’ ‘sigging,’ or ‘signifying,’ while the insults themselves are known as ‘snaps.’

The origin of the game is unclear, but it has roots in Africa: similar contests are held in Nigeria among the Igbo people, and in Ghana. Comments in the game focus on the opposite player’s intelligence, appearance, competency, social status, financial situation, and disparaging remarks about the other player’s family members—mothers in particular (‘yo′ mama…’)—are common. Commentary is often related to sexual issues, where the game is then referred to as the ‘Dirty Dozens.’

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September 11, 2012

Cards Against Humanity

Apples to Apples

Cards Against Humanity is a multiplayer party game currently available as a free download or a published hardcopy. The game is available under a Creative Commons license. Its title references the phrase ‘crimes against humanity,’ reflecting its politically incorrect content.

Cards Against Humanity was created by a group of alumni of Highland Park High School as a party game for a New Year’s Eve celebration. The project was financed through the website Kickstarter. Co-creator Ben Hantoot stated in an interview that the game was developed by ‘8 of us who are the core writer-creators, 5 or 6 additional ‘part time’ developers’ and ‘dozens of friends and acquaintances who have played the game.’

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August 22, 2012

Redneck Games

East Dublin, Georgia

The Redneck Games are held in East Dublin, Georgia annually. The games were started by the general manager of WQZY, Mac Davis, in response to a comment made by the media; that when the 1996 Olympic Games went to Atlanta, it would be held by a group of rednecks. Taking offense to this, Davis and some locals set up the annual Redneck Games to reinforce the stereotype the media held. In 2001, Drew Scott of Wild Country 96.5 ‘borrowed’ the games to set up a fundraising event for the Franklin County NY Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Some events that are held during the Redneck Games include: The cigarette flip; Bobbing for pig’s trotters; Seed spitting; Toilet seat throwing; Mud pit belly flop; Big-hair contest; Wet T-shirt contest; Armpit serenade; Bug zapping by spitball; Dumpster diving; and Hubcap hurling. For each of the events, a trophy is awarded: a half crushed, empty mounted beer can. The Minto Canadian Redneck Games in Minto, Ontario started in 2006. Events include: Mud Pit Slip & Slide; Bobbin’ for Pig’s Feet; Mud Pit Tug-of-War; Mud Pit Belly Flop Contest; Redneck Horseshoes; Hubcap Hurl; and Mud Pit Volleyball.