Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pluto: To Catch an Icy King

Sly as a fox, it is. Mysterious and diminutive, it has eluded us for decades. Despite what we've learned about Pluto, constant debate continues to rage over its classification. From the moment it was discovered, astronomers have bickered over this icy body and its place in our solar system. Was it Planet X? Is it a planet at all? Did it really 'have it coming'? We've all longed to know more about this categorization-resistant body which has stirred up so much controversy in news and astronomy circles alike. How did we get so riled up about an icy rock so far distant? To understand that, we must start at the beginning.

Planet X

Before there was Pluto, there was Planet X.

Allow me to set the scene for you: It is the mid-1800s in Europe and North America. People are migrating to cities en masse, lured by the economics of the Industrial Revolution. As the number of mechanical monstrosities increase, so too does the pace of scientific discovery. Charles Darwin has just published The Origin of Species (original full title and certified mouthful: "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life") which inflames the science-vs-religion debate. The planet Neptune is discovered. This, coupled with Uranus' prior discovery in the late 1700s raises the possibility that more, undiscovered worlds exist in our solar system.

This article was written by Patrick Rhodes and published on June 4, 2015. Click here to read the rest of the article.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Can Bradley Wiggins Do It? Welcome to the Thunder-Drome!

Many have tried. Most have failed.
Bradley Wiggins knows this. He also knows the ordeal he faces, knows the pain he will endure and knows the scrutiny he will face. It's nothing he hasn't experienced before, having raced and won the world's most prestigious cycling event: the Tour de France. This is a different animal, however. The demands placed upon his body will be much different than any road race in which he has competed. He will exert max effort under controlled conditions for exactly one hour after which, the distance he's covered will be measured.

There will be no other riders to chase nor any to attack. There will be no feed stations nor assistance of any kind. He will pedal within himself, in his own head, or as he calls it: his "escape" zone.

Welcome to the Thunder "drome", Sir Bradley Wiggins. Welcome to the World Hour Record.

This article was written by Patrick Rhodes and published on June 4, 2015. Click here to read the rest of the article.

Friday, April 17, 2015

It's a Batsman's World (Cup)

The 2015 Cricket World Cup rewrote the record books in dramatic fashion. Amidst the usual insanity that surrounds this event, there were some amazingly good - and bad - performances. Batting-wise, some of the previous records were smashed into oblivion. There are several reasons for this, but recent rule changes seem to have tipped the scales in favor of those men who can wield the willow. As the pinnacle event for the world's (arguably) second-most popular sport comes to a close, let's take a look at some of the more outstanding feats.

Feat #1: Pakistan goes 1 for 4

Let's start with a record in futility first. In a group-stage match against the West Indies (ODI match #3608) in which Pakistan were favored to win, things couldn't have started worse for the Green Shirts. Choosing to bat last due to a bit of moisture still on the pitch, Pakistan hoped to make quick work of the West Indies' openers. In fact, this plan worked rather well as the first four batsman started sluggishly, only managing a run-rate of around 4. However, things picked up for the West Indies as they tallied 310 runs on the day.
This article was written by Patrick Rhodes and published on April 16, 2015. Click here to read the rest of the article.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Career NBA: The Road Least Traveled

The bell rings - time to go to practice. Jarnell Stokes heads over to the gym, changes, and starts warming up with his teammates. It's his Junior year in high school. The Memphis, Tennessee native has a lot on his mind; soon he'll have to make a choice - a choice which will affect his future. Sitting on his table back home are basketball scholarship offers [1] from the universities of Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis, Mississippi and Tennessee.

It's a long, lonely road to the NBA
It's quite rare for a high school athlete to receive a sports scholarship to even a single college, much less multiple schools. As we'll come to see, he's quite the statistical outlier in the world of basketball. Most do not play beyond high school. Those that do rarely possess the world-class talent to play in the NBA (National Basketball Association). That being said, what are Jarnell's chances that he could make a career playing in the NBA?

This article was written by Patrick Rhodes - the the author of "Graph of the Week" - for Statistics Views and published on February 27, 2015. Read the rest of this article there.
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