Monday, May 26, 2008

Six, seven, eight...

Alright mates...
I think I can't stash this... ;)




Won't you help my soul to grow?
To heal, its all that I know...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fourth estates: just close to a breath-taking sea view...




I am not a Sardinia resident, so I do not honestly know how Renato Soru is behaving as a Governor of that region, within a centre-left coalition. I personally think he's a very good manager, he's the owner of Tiscali group, one of the very few ICT international companies based in Italy. It looks like he's just bought l'Unità, the once communist-alleged newspaper in Italy. Owner of both a telecommunication company and a big newspaper, and governor of a region pretty much as big as e.g. Massachusetts... Have ever heard of the term "conflict of interest"? Or does it only rhyme with Mr. Unfit?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

45.55 s


Oscar, now it's your time to post that time!
Plus, we finally found a good reason why there's a ninth lane in the olympic stadium in Rome ;)


Study Revives Olympic Prospects For Amputee Sprinter

ScienceDaily (May 16, 2008) - Based on Rice and MIT findings, the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland, has ruled that Pistorius is eligible to participate in International Association of Athletics Federations sanctioned competitions. If he qualifies for the 2008 Beijing games, Pistorius would be the first disabled athlete ever to run against able-bodied athletes in an Olympic event.
A world-renowned team of experts in biomechanics and physiology from six universities, led by Professor Hugh Herr of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, refute scientific claims that the prostheses worn by Oscar Pistorius, a 21-year-old South African bilateral amputee track athlete, provide him with an unfair advantage in the 400-meter race. Their conclusions were based on data collected at the Rice University Locomotion Laboratory, under the direction of Professor Peter Weyand. Pistorius hopes to run in the 400-meter race at the Beijing Olympics this summer.
Based on the team's findings, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, has ruled that Pistorius is eligible to participate in International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) sanctioned competitions. If he qualifies for the 2008 Beijing games, Pistorius would be the first disabled athlete ever to run against able-bodied athletes in an Olympic event.
The team's findings were presented to the CAS April 29-30 by Herr and Professor Rodger Kram of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and provided the foundation for Pistorius' appeal to overturn the IAAF decision that previously banned him from running against able-bodied athletes in races that are governed by IAAF rules. The team's findings were presented at the CAS, where Pistorius was represented by the international law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf on a pro-bono basis.
In addition to Herr, Weyand and Kram, the panel of experts included Professor Matthew Bundle from the University of Wyoming, an expert in the energetics and mechanics of sprinting performance; Craig McGowan, from the University of Texas at Austin, a leading authority on muscle, tendon and joint mechanics;
Alena Grabowski, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an expert in human locomotor energetics and biomechanics; and Jean-Benoît Morin from the University of Saint-Etienne, an expert in the mechanics of human running performance.
None received compensation for their research or participation in the hearing. The authors plan to submit the study to a peer-reviewed journal now that the legal case has been settled.
The scientific team was asked to evaluate the IAAF's initial claim that the Cheetah Flex-Foot prostheses (J-shaped, high-performance prostheses used for running) worn by Pistorius give him an advantage over able-bodied runners. The team concluded that the scientific evidence put forth by the IAAF investigation to ban Pistorius was fundamentally flawed. "While an athlete's performance in sprints of very short duration is determined almost entirely by mechanical factors, in races of longer duration, such as the 400m, performance depends on both mechanical and metabolic factors," said Herr, a bilateral amputee who heads the MIT Media Lab's Biomechatronics research group.
Based on this performance link, the scientists refuted the IAAF findings on two major points: the speed-duration relationship and rates of metabolic energy expenditure.
Specifically, the scientists concluded that:
* Pistorius' ability to maintain speed over the course of longer sprints--his speed-duration relationship--is essentially identical to that of able-bodied runners, indicating that he fatigues in the same manner as able-bodied sprinters.
* Pistorius' rates of metabolic energy expenditure do not differ from elite non-amputee runners. In particular, he has nearly the same running economy, or rate of oxygen consumption at submaximal speeds, and a similar maximal rate of oxygen consumption as elite non-amputee runners.
"Based on the data collected at Rice, the blades do not confer an enhanced ability to hold speed over a 400m race," Weyand said. "Nor does our research support the IAAF's claims of how the blades provide some sort of mechanical advantage for sprinting."
"The study commissioned by the IAAF claimed that Pistorius has a 25 percent energetic advantage at 400m race speeds. That claim is specious because anaerobic energy supply cannot be quantified," Kram said.
In summary, the team of experts unanimously concluded that the IAAF allegations were not scientifically valid.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080516103833.htm

Thursday, May 15, 2008

English Lesson - disappointing...




There's been a little bit of discussion on how to deal with violence surrounding football matches in Italy: both the government and the sports officers have been been more than criticized both internally and in UK, mainly for being too soft and ultimately unable to implement a model that is claimed to be working in UK. In a nutshell Italy hasn't learned the English Lesson yet. I'm not so sure, though, that this model is as effective as it is perceived: if nothing happens within the stadia, the violence could pretty much exacerbate just in their surroundings, as it actually did last night in Manchester. I'm under the impression that the sole difference is that the "show" can go on, no matter what happens less than a mile away behind the scenes... I think this has something to deal with media perception, and does not really solve the problem.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Just a 2% chance...


It won't happen, but if it did... ;)
This is in Italian, and it's definitely what I've thought of on Sunday.
Sette giorni.
Lunedì, oggi, due giri del raccordo anulare, palinsesto delle radio alla mano per sentire tutte le trasmissioni possibili, sorrisi soli in macchina al semaforo, cantate inni della Roma se lo dice un conduttore qualunque, suonate di clacson in mezzo al deserto. Domenica è ancora così lontana e così vicina. La sera appuntamento su Teleroma56 per "Lazialità in tv", trovare teneri i gol di Rocchi e Pandev e pensare che per loro Genova non è niente. Ma poi ascetismo, solitudine, soliloqui, domande escatologiche tipo: "Totti recupererà per domenica?". Oppure altre minori, tipo: che sta succedendo nel resto del mondo?
A mezzanotte sai che è Martedì: un giorno in meno, un pensiero in più. Quel pensiero stupendo. Comprati tutti i quotidiani. Sulla Gazzetta, Zenga: "Inter, te lo faccio vincere io". Sul Corsport, Cuper: "Inter, te lo faccio perdere io". Su Tuttosport scambio De Rossi e soldi per Legrottaglie. Su Liberola notizia che gli interisti in ritiro sono a tavola in 13; in settimana sarà svelato anche il codice da Vinci: il 4-2-3-1 di Luciano Spalletti. Sui diarietti delle elementari: "Lotta con il cuore vinci il tricolore".
Il grande Mercoledì è arrivato: sarà “un giorno lungo senza parole, sarà un giorno incerto di nuvole e sole”. Arriverà soltanto una risposta, la notizia che Totti sarà a Catania con la squadra. Ma in campo.
Giovedì gnocchi, un omaggio alla Barilla. Obrigado Parma? Quel jingle che faceva do-re-mi-fasol-la-sol... e il ragazzino con la sciarpetta della Roma che entra allo stadio e vede quella cosa. Riscoprire di essere ancora tu. Tornare all’improvviso buoni, fioretti a iosa: dire “ti voglio bene” a chi non l’avete mai detto, ma avreste voluto dirlo; fate gli auguri di compleanno che vi vergognate di fare perché quella persona è veramente speciale, scrivete lettere d’amore, sentite Il testamento di Tito di De Andrè ché porta gli atei in Paradiso prima di una visita alla Mecca per Kharja (cantava una volta il punk: "Allah è grande e Houssine è il suo profeta").
Venerdì cena con gli amici veri, cioè quelli che vedi sempre o quelli che vedi per certe occasioni per sempre: queste. Ricordi di trasferte passate, visione rigorosamente in vhs di Roma-Dundee. Un sospiro di sollievo quando Milne sbaglia sullo 0-0. Pruzzo-Pruzzo-Di Bartolomei. Agostino.
Sabato a casa da solo. Al massimo un giro in macchina, sempre sul raccordo anulare, solo per vedere quant’è bella Roma. Rispolverare vecchi album delle figurine con quelli della Lazio scarabocchiati o appiccicati all’ingiù; il primo abbonamento, l’ultimo biglietto, se ce la fate la visione di Febbre a 90, un bacio all’amore, a letto con la sciarpa addosso anche se è estate, giù in cantina o dietro l’armadio della camera da letto a riprendere la bandiera cucita dalla nonna nel 1983, o da mamma o papà e pensare a chi non c’è più ed è stato lì con te. Un pensiero a chi è stato romanista, che ha sentito questa passione, che ha vissuto questa settimana senza mai sapere cosa l’aspettasse la domenica.
Domenica, dimmi cos’è.