Sunday, June 26, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
The Atlantic - "Why American Sports Are Socialist"
"For years, economists have wondered why America doesn’t share Europe’s socialist approach to government. But maybe it’s worth flipping the question: Why don’t European sports share U.S.-style socialism? Why do European soccer leagues punish the downtrodden, while American sports are so soft on losers?
As Alesina, Glaeser and Sacerdote observed, policies aren’t destiny, but rather the offspring of history. The modern history of American professional sports has been the story of single organizations monopolizing the best talent in each game. While there are thousands of teams in the English soccer universe, there is only one NFL, one MLB, one NBA, and one NHL. To ensure the widespread popularity of their entertainment monopolies, they made parity their cardinal virtue. To enforce parity, they embraced varieties of socialism that most American institutions have steadfastly rejected. Judging by their record profits, it would seem that sometimes being nice to losers is a winning strategy."
The Ringer - "Lil Yachty and ‘Super Mario’ Made Nostalgia Great Again in 2016"
"Technology has made it easier to satisfy our ravenous appetite for microwaved versions of the past. We’re never more than a few clicks from summoning a beloved childhood song on Spotify or a favorite movie on Netflix. And, thanks to social media, we can quickly find other people who also celebrate Mean Girls’ anniversary every year or believe Super Mario 64 is the greatest game of all time. Obsessions that might have made us feel ostracized as kids now feel validated when they’re trending on Twitter.
When the planet feels like it’s in shambles, we curl up in the coherent, artificial worlds of old movies, TV shows, and video games. “Part of it might be a natural kind of coping mechanism that people use in times when they feel less stable or less secure,” Routledge says. “Nostalgia seems to be a way to get some sense of certainty or control.”"
Monday, June 20, 2016
The thrill of victory.
The Ringer - "Did Wrestling Help the Cavaliers Win the Championship?"
Know Your Meme - "But That's None of My Business"
WSJ - "LeBron’s Block-for-the-Ages Didn’t Come From Nowhere"
Sunday, June 19, 2016
The Atlantic - "Yosemite, Through John Muir's Words"
"Of all the mountain ranges I have climbed, I like the Sierra Nevada the best. Though extremely rugged, with its main features on the grandest scale in height and depth, it is nevertheless easy of access and hospitable; and its marvelous beauty, displayed in striking and alluring forms, wooes the admiring wanderer on and on, higher and higher, charmed and enchanted. Benevolent, solemn, fateful, pervaded with divine light, every landscape glows like a countenance hallowed in eternal repose; and every one of its living creatures, clad in flesh and leaves, and every crystal of its rocks, whether on the surface shining in the sun or buries miles deep in what we call darkness, is throbbing and pulsing with the heartbeats of God. All the world lies warm in one heart, yet the Sierra seems to get more light than other mountains. The weather is mostly sunshine embellished with magnificent storms, and nearly everything shines from base to summit,—the rocks, streams, lakes, glaciers, irised falls, and the forests of silver fir and silver pine. And how bright is the shining after summer showers and dewy nights, and after frosty nights in spring and autumn, when the morning sunbeams are pouring through the crystals on the bushes and grass, and in winter through the snow-laden trees!...
Of this glorious range the Yosemite National Park is a central section, thirty-six miles in length and forty-eight miles in breadth. The famous Yosemite Valley lies in the heart of it, and it includes the head waters of the Tuolumne and Merced rivers, two of the most songful streams in the world; innumerable lakes and waterfalls and smooth silky lawns; the noblest forests, the loftiest granite domes, the deepest ice-sculptured canons, the brightest crystalline pavements, and snowy mountains soaring into the sky twelve and thirteen thousand feet, arrayed in open ranks and spiry pinnacled groups partially separated by tremendous cañons and amphitheatres; gardens on their sunny brows avalanches thundering down their long white slopes, cataracts roaring gray and foaming in the crooked rugged gorges. and glaciers in their shadowy recesses working in silence, slowly completing their sculpture; new-born lakes at their feet, blue and green, free or encumbered with drifting icebergs like miniature Arctic Oceans, shining, sparkling, calm as stars.
Nowhere will you see the majestic operations of nature more clearly revealed beside the frailest, most gentle and peaceful things. Nearly all the park is a profound solitude. Yet it is full of charming company, full of God’s thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and eager enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons on life, mountain-building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stones, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful of humanity. During the last glacial period, just past, the former features of the range were rubbed off as a chalk sketch from a blackboard, and a new beginning was made. Hence the wonderful clearness and freshness of the rocky pages."
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
New Yorker - "E-Mail from Bill"
"At the moment, the best way to communicate with another person on the information highway is to exchange electronic mail: to write a message on a computer and send it through the telephone lines into someone else’s computer. In the future, people will send each other sound and pictures as well as text, and do it in real time, and improved technology will make it possible to have rich, human electronic exchanges, but at present E-mail is the closest thing we have to that. Even now, E-mail allows you to meet and communicate with people in a way that would be impossible on the phone, through the regular mail, or face to face, as I discovered while I was working on this story. Sitting at my computer one day, I realized that I could try to communicate with Bill Gates, the chairman and co-founder of the software giant Microsoft, on the information highway."
Friday, June 3, 2016
The Ringer - "The New Euro Stars"
"Since soccer produces so few definitive events per game, goalscorers — and to a lesser extent, goal creators — carry an outsize importance. It’s obvious, sure, but so is the idea that three is worth more than two, and the NBA took decades to figure that out. As clubs have begun valuing efficient chance creation — in the Premier League, the rate of goals per shot has gone up by 7 percent since 2009 — it’s fitting that the dominant players of this era are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two converted wingers who stopped crossing the ball and combined to score 572 combined goals in 585 La Liga appearances.
What comes next? Will the next class of superstars be another group of less-dominant goal monsters? Or could the defining players of the next generation be a pair of 23-year-olds who influence the game without the gaudy scoring numbers?
Paul Pogba and David Alaba come at that question from different angles. The former is the flashy gamebreaker, and the latter is the guy you can’t help but notice because he seems to be everywhere at all times. In the Age of Ronaldo and Messi, as positions have become more specialized in service of efficiency, the gap between goalscorer and everyone else seemed to grow. With Pogba and Alaba that could change: They don’t score much; they just do everything else. Their “positions” are just springboards; they exist up, down, and across the field. While all narratives ultimately get formed by the club game — it’s where players make most of their money and spend most of their time — this summer’s European Championship promises to push both France’s Pogba and Austria’s Alaba into a brighter spotlight."
Thursday, June 2, 2016
WorldSoccerTalk - "ESPN unveils Euro 2016 posters"
SI - "Summer of Soccer on TV: Viewer's guide to Euro 2016, Copa America"
2014: Countdown to the Copa del Mundo - ESPN World Cup Posters
2010: World Cup Nation Murals
Quartz - "The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still the richest families in Florence"
"The richest families in Florence, Italy have had it good for a while—600 years to be precise.
While it comes as little surprise that families pass on their wealth to their children, it’s still somewhat remarkable that these families were able to maintain their wealth through various sieges of Florence, Napoleon’s campaign in Italy, Benito Mussolini’s dictatorship, and two world wars.
The study adds further evidence on how the rich remain rich. In England, researchers have previously demonstrated how a family’s status in England can persist for more than eight centuries, or more than 28 whole generations. It’s a trait shared by elite families in China, whose high status has persisted since the Mao years."
WSJ - "Is ‘American Ninja Warrior’ the Future of Sports?"
"Which brings me back to “American Ninja Warrior,” launched in late 2009 and based on a Japanese obstacle-course show called “Sasuke.” I want to be very clear: Baseball, basketball, hockey and football are in no imminent danger of being eclipsed by ninjas on an obstacle course. The show’s television ratings are solid but still modest—NFL owners would shriek in horror if one of their games drew six million viewers, as last season’s ANW finale did on NBC. But those ratings have been growing, and it’s obvious that the show is connecting with a younger generation of viewers (and their parents, and even their grandparents)."