Sunday, March 14, 2010

Call for Papers

International Association for the Philosophy of Sport in conjunction with the APA Eastern Division Meeting December 27-30, 2010, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.

The International Association for the Philosophy of Sport invites the submission of papers to be considered for presentation at the 2010 APA Eastern Division Meeting. Papers are welcome on any area of philosophy of sport from any theoretical approach. Presenters must be members of both APA and IAPS and pay regular conference registration fees. For more information on IAPS, go to

Papers should be no more than 10 pages in length, 20 minutes reading time. Only 300-500 word abstracts are required for consideration. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is May 15, 2010. Abstracts should be submitted as attachments by e-mail [.doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf format] to Only those contributors who do not have access to e-mail should send a hard copy to Joan Grassbaugh Forry at the address below.
Submitting authors will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of their papers by May 30, 2010.

Dr. Joan Grassbaugh Forry
Vanderbilt University
111 Furman Hall
Nashville, TN 37240

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NASCAR encouraging crashes?

The following pieces on Sports about NASCAR's new "have at it" philosophy of allowing drivers more discretion for aggressive moves.

Danger very much alive in NASCAR after weak slap at Carl Edwards

NASCAR stands by greater driver leeway in Edwards-Keselowski crash

From the first article by Lars Anderson:

In the end, NASCAR got exactly what it wanted: The re-injection of danger -- and the specter of death -- into its sport.

Let's review. This past offseason, NASCAR announced it would no longer vigorously police the on-track behavior of drivers. If one had a beef with another, well, NASCAR said it would essentially turn a blind eye to whatever a driver did to achieve retribution. As Robin Pemberton, the vice president of competition, said this winter, "We will put it back in the hands of drivers, and we will say, 'Boys, have at it.'"

This brings us to Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Early in the event, Carl Edwards, a four-time winner in Atlanta, was bumped from behind by Brad Keselowski, which sent Edwards into the wall, wiping out any chance Edwards had of taking the checkers.

Here a governing body is adopting a stance that many fear will lead to increased injuries or death for drivers and even spectators, all in the name of heightening interest in the sport. The "have at it" philosophy appears to be achieving that goal.

The drivers themselves seem upset that NASCAR is seemingly encouraging risky driving. But I am wondering about a NASCAR fan at trackside who is injured or killed by a crash. Would that dead spectator have fulfilled the conditions of informed consent by choosing to sit in such a risky spot given the danger?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Technological Somnambulism

“For the interesting puzzle in our times is that we so willingly sleepwalk through the process of reconstituting the conditions of human existence.”

Langdon Winner’s statement makes a lot of sense, especially when one considers the impact of the LZR Racer. It seems quite clear that no one really understood just how much of an impact the suit would have. Some quick stats: 23 out of the 25 world records broken and 94% of all swimming races won in Beijing were achieved by swimmers competing in the LZR suit. As of 24 August 2009, 93 world records had been broken by swimmers wearing a LZR Racer. Hence FINA’s abrupt about turn in swimsuit regulations. Didn’t think that one through, did we?

So my challenge to readers of this blog: can anyone think of any other examples of technological somnambulism from the world of sport? Emily has quite rightly suggested the change in Javelin regulations - which have prevented much improvement in distances thrown - after athletes began endangering spectators and it became hard to see where in fact the javelin had connected with the ground... I wonder where else our willingness to plunge ahead with a new technology/idea/intuition has got us into trouble or affected a sport in a drastic way?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What's that metal worth?

Just for fun. From

How Much is a Gold Medal Really Worth?

The 2010 Winter Olympics are over, with the final United States medal count coming in at 9 Gold, 15 Silver, and 13 Bronze. That's a total of 37 medals making their way back here to the States in the hands of our worthy athletes, and although the sentimental value is truly immeasurable one can't help but wonder: just how much are those medals actually worth?

Here's how it breaks down: a gold medal is made of 550 grams of silver covered with 6 grams of gold, a silver medal is made of 41 grams of copper and 509 grams of silver, and a bronze medal is made of a mix of mostly copper with some tin and zinc. This means that in today's market a gold medal is worth approx $494, a silver medal $260, and a bronze medal just $3.

Interesting to know (I thought the gold medal would be worth more).

Filed under: Jewelry