Breaking Madden

January 31st, 2014

The Super Bowl, in which the machine bleeds to death:

Over the course of the season, I've discovered lots of different ways to hack Madden NFL 25 into a thing that no longer resembles football as we know it. I've played around with rules, injury settings, all manner of player ratings, player dimensions, and anything else the game's developers have made available to us.

This time is special, though, because I'm pulling out every single one of the stops at the same time. No other scenario I've built in Madden has been so abjectly cruel or unfair; no other scenario has even been close. […]

The GIFs, the GIFs…


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The Body Olympic

August 5th, 2012

Anthony Lane has been getting into the spirit of London 2012:

[On how "home interest" isn't as important as you'd think for spectators once they're sat down in a stadium watching fit, dedicated athletes who've spent four years or more preparing themselves to do incredibly difficult things extremely well.] I felt this keenly last weekend, at the water polo – another insane, compelling pastime that finds its ideal home at the Olympics. As with weightlifting, the imperatives and tactics could not be clearer; the same cannot always be said of the competitors, who famously reserve their most heinous acts for a murky world below the waterline. On the surface, strapping young men and women try to pass the ball and hurl it into the net. Underneath, however, there is a flagrant suspension of the laws that govern not only this particular sport but the entirety of human civilization. London has installed cameras on the bottom of the pool, and occasionally – less often than I would have liked, but probably as often as the organizers dared – we would be granted cutaway shots, screened at the ends of the pool, of what was going on down there. The only thing I can compare it with is the tuna-fishing sequence from Rossellini's "Stromboli," when a hundred enraged fish churn, thresh, and wriggle for their lives. If you order the special in one of London's fish restaurants, over the next fortnight, and find yourself chewing on what appears to be a shred of bathing cap, maybe in the colors of Australia, don't say a word. Just swallow and carry on.

[Via The Browser]

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August 5th, 2012

I do like the self-deprecating tagline used on Twitter by one of Britain's other heptathletes, Katarina Johnson-Thompson:

Chronically indecisive so I've adopted two surnames & the heptathlon.

[Via The Observer]

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The Black Jersey

June 24th, 2012

At Blood & Treasure, the story of the battle for the black jersey:

Shortly after World War Two, the Italian cycling authorities introduced the Black Jersey, awarded, along with a cash prize, to the entrant who came last in each stage of the Giro d'Italia. This was partly to encourage the fans to identify with cyclists nearer their own level of skill and partly to encourage the crowds to hang around after the leaders had whizzed past. […]

It worked rather better than the organisers expected. […] Coming last was a serious matter. […]

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We Vs. The Night

June 16th, 2012

We Vs. The Night:

Three longboarders flex down a winding mountain face in the cold of the night, equipped with nothing but a couple headlamps to tear through the darkness.

It's a lovely short film, but to my mind it'd work a lot better without the music on the soundtrack. I don't think it needed any music at all, just the sound of their longboards' wheels on the road as they trundled down the hill in the dead of night.

Still worth a look, though.

[Via MetaFilter]


Going for gold

April 6th, 2012

Fact of the day:

The gold medals that will be awarded in London this year will be the biggest and heaviest handed out at any summer Olympics. At 400 grams (14 ounces), the equivalent of having a large tin of baked beans hanging round your neck, they will be more than twice as heavy as the average of the previous five games, and almost 17 times heavier than at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.

[Via The Morning News]

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'All you're riding is Formica'

February 19th, 2012

One more sport I'm perfectly happy never to have tried: volcano-boarding

British journalist John Kay, chief reporter at The Sun, once summarized his personal M.O. as "If you don't go, you don't know." It's stuck with me ever since and is precisely what's brought me to Cerro Negro – the only place in the world you can do volcano-boarding, our guide said. The sport was created in 2005 by an Australian sand-boarder named Darryn Webb, who first tried mattresses, boogie boards and a mini-bar fridge before settling on the makeshift toboggan. Trips now run daily from the hostel Darryn also founded, called Bigfoot, where just $28 buys you a seat in the back of a flatbed truck, the use of a homemade board, and on this day the upbeat guidance of a man named Anthony, who is squat and muscly and so agile he can pop out of a hatch in our truck's cab, swing his body around as we jounce along some seriously unpaved roads, and land casually in the truck's rollicking bed. He looks like the sort of person who can handle tobogganing down an active volcano, while the 20 of us who will actually undertake the challenge look hot and tired and more like Janes than Tarzans.

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January 21st, 2012

A geek plays darts:

Where is the best place for a player to aim, knowing the inaccuracies of throwing?

What is the optimal strategy? Where should a player aim in order to obtain the highest expected outcome over many throws?

Should they aim for the triple 20, with a big payout on a success, but a low score from a miss? Or, should they aim for the bullseye?

Alternatively, is there some other optimal location on the board they can aim for that, whilst not the highest scoring region, has a large exapnse of middle of the road point values. Would aiming for this region, even with an inaccurate shot, get a reasonable number of points such that, on average, the expected score is the highest that can be achieved?

The true answer to this riddle, as we will see, is that "it depends…"

[Via Flowing Data]

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Cricket mad

July 6th, 2011

Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara remembers being in the Sri Lankan team bus when it came under fire during the team's 2009 tour of Pakistan:

Tharanga Paranvithana, on his debut tour, is […] next to me. He stands up, bullets flying all around him, shouting "I have been hit" as he holds his blood-soaked chest. He collapsed onto his seat, apparently unconscious.

I see him and I think: "Oh my God, you were out first ball, run out the next innings and now you have been shot. What a terrible first tour."

[Via MetaFilter]

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The Pre-Show

May 19th, 2011

You can't embarrass an honest man.

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