Re: NBC

1

Unfortunately for USians, NBC thinks it's doing just fine.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:41 AM
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Have you been watching the Olympics a lot, heebie?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:41 AM
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They had several broken links to videos they claimed were posted. Aren't there tools these dats to alert you when you have broken links?
I did learn today what an ippon is. It's like that fighting arcade game from the 80s where the voice says "full point!" when you kick your opponent's ass.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:42 AM
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NBC has been getting huge ratings, so our thoughts are irrelevant.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:43 AM
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The network has been criticized for the approach, which forced Americans to watch the opening ceremonies and key events well after they occurred.

I wonder why I was allowed to not watch the opening ceremonies.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:44 AM
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I haven't been paying much attention this year.

The worst Olympics coverage I can remember is the 2000 summer games. I forget who was broadcasting, but they chopped up everything into little 2 minute chunks. You couldn't tell the difference between the "coming up next" previews and the actual events.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:44 AM
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our thoughts are irrelevant

But, still precious!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:45 AM
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Oh, pwn'd by 1. Oh well.

Actually, I'm personally pretty happy with the coverage. The tape-delayed broadcast for suckers without 9000 channels of TV blows. But if, like me, you are an idiot with way too many channels, you can just set the DVR to record things during the day and watch as many weird sports as you want in the evening, and the announcers for the weird sports are good. Also Telemundo's coverage is pretty good if you're OK with a broadcast en Espanol.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:46 AM
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Thank goodness they have an exclusive license, otherwise they wouldn't have sufficient incentive to invest in high-quality value-added reporting!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:46 AM
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7: seems that way now, to me. I also noticed, heebie, about the scores (or lack thereof)--drives me mad.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:50 AM
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Off to visit an antique store personally recommended by CharleyCarp!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:50 AM
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Nothing makes me more ashamed of my country than NBC's Olympics coverage. This has been true for literally decades now.

Watched some NBC last night, was very struck by differences in coverage quality across sports. Swimming beats diving beats gymnastics beats beach volleyball. Will NBC murder the family of the beach volleyball announcer if he fails to say the first names of the American players at least 20 times in any 3-minute period?


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:51 AM
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Of course, it's the exclusive license fees (and very heavily the fees paid by the US broadcaster) that funds the entire Olympic movement. So, there's that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:51 AM
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SPOILER ALERT

Gabby Douglas -age 16, from Newport News, VA -just won the women's all-around in gymnastics. No reports as to whether she has a learners' permit, or what she thinks about algebra.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:52 AM
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What Olympics? Is curling on yet?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:57 AM
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What little I've seen of the Olympics this year, NBC has been atrociously bad. The sort of bad you do when you hate your job and really, really want somebody else to do it in the future. On the other hand, the Olympics rank somewhere between fishing shows and the Grammys in terms of holding my interest (Hundreds of people you've never heard of doing sports you've never cared about! At 3 am! Set your DVR!), so it isn't as if the announcers were going to save it for me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:57 AM
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I forget who was broadcasting,

NBC has broadcast every Olympics since 1996. They paid a huge amount of money to tie up the tv rights back in the mid-90s and not long ago paid an even huger amount to have the Olympics through 2020. Apparently, they overestimated how much they'd make in the long run and took a loss in Vancouver. They were supposedly expected to lose $100 million this time around, so they're trying to claw out every eyeball they can get. As Halford says, their ratings are good, which proves that monopoly power is alive and well we love them for showing us exactly what we want.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:02 AM
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Sometimes I feel obligated to consume more mainstream mass media and pop culture, so that I can be more aware of its failings and make non-participation in specific crappy parts a more meaningful gesture.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:02 AM
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Something like (I believe) 30% of the total worldwide revenue collected by the IOC comes directly from the NBC contract, which then gets shared with all the national Olympic committees throughout the world. But the contract is set up so that the USOC disproportionately benefits, and that broadcast money is also (I think) the USOC's main source of revenue. So in a sense it is the crappy NBC coverage that is itself funding the existence of the sports that Apo hates.*

*This symbiotic relationship between sport and broadcaster is true for all major sports, of course.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:04 AM
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I guess 18 is too much like "I don't even own a TV." Sorry. I'm not not kidding, though. To say something similar in a more positive way, all the complaining I listen to about bad stuff makes me wonder if I'm missing out on good stuff.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:04 AM
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Double-negative accidental. I got good English. I stop now.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:05 AM
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Eh, the Olympics are still great. Don't listen to the haters.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:05 AM
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Hundreds of people you've never heard of doing sports you've never cared about!

Yes! What is wrong with me that that I can't stop watching it?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:07 AM
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It's certainly seems true that if you are not an American and you want your event to be on NBC, you need to hope that 1) an American is among your opponents and 2) you are not in a sport televised in prime time unless a) you beat the Americans or b) there's a controversy over your placing.

Otherwise you're like the bronze medal gymnastics team that didn't have to file a protest or the bronze medal relay team whose finish was ignored in favor of showing the faces of people celebrating Michael Phelps because NBC didn't feel like showing all of the teams finish.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:08 AM
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one of the diving competitions
Like badminton?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:08 AM
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If you reward people who aren't Americans, you're just going to encourage more people to not be American.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:11 AM
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I was half-watching for a few minutes last night and they did a little feature on an Australian swimmer, which I thought was sort of odd. Then he swam in his event and was barely and surprisingly beaten by an American, which made the little puff piece about his hopes to win gold seem jingoistic and disgusting.

I'm not going to rant about the Gabby Douglas coverage, or not yet. It does matter to Mara and to Nia that there's a gymnast with brown skin like theirs doing amazing things, though. I love that they will grow up not knowing a time before a black girl could win gold like they won't know a time when there couldn't be a black president.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:13 AM
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Shorter:NBC is giving Americans what they want, which is chauvinism and indifference to the rest of the world and an actual antipathy to others beyond a lack of empathy. Always been so. We suck. Transcendentally, world-historically, we are bad people.

Germans tried to ignore Jesse Owens, back when they thought they could be America. There can be only one.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:13 AM
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the sports that Apo hates

Eh, none of them inspire hate. Just apathy. I do like seeing a bunch of young, fit people in skin-tight outfits, but lots of channels show me that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:14 AM
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To be contrarian-ly positive (and I agree that the team gymnastics coverage in the prime time tape delay was terrible), I will say that the fencing and weightlifting coverage (two weird sports that I like) has been pretty great; they finally seem to have figured out how to shoot and explain fencing in a way to make it exciting.

I also like the way they've figured out how to film swimming in the past few Olympics; I particularly like the moving world record bar.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:20 AM
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25: well done!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:25 AM
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30.1: bullet time?
30.2: agreed.
They should have all sports broadcast from 2nd person shooter perspective; this sideline stuff is less than informative.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:26 AM
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I was sitting with my father-in-law (who is really spiraling down the Alzheimer's drain quickly) this past weekend and the women's team handball competition was on. Every five minutes or so, he'd turn to me with a really confused look on his face:

"Is this... some kind of basketball?"
"Team handball."
"Team handball?"
"Team handball."
"I don't think I've ever seen it before."
"I don't think I have either."
"Is basketball on?"
"Not 'til later."
"Okay."

Five minutes later, exact same conversation. Repeat regularly until they switched to swimming.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:28 AM
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I would absolutely love to be watching the weightlifting (I'm not because IDEHATV and I go to sleep too early to have time to use that way). So I'm glad to hear it has been good. Maybe I'll get to watch some of the streaming. (Actually, Halford, if I emailed you separate, would you be willing to give me a log-in? I hear households get more than one. Don't if that's uncool by you.)

I think my gym is going to project them on the way and watch as a crowd this weekend, which would be super fun.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:32 AM
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I haven't been watching the streaming, just DVRing NBCalternateuniverse83.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:33 AM
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What do you look for when you watch weightlifting? As a non-participant, the appeal is mysterious.
Kayla Harrison just won the first US gold in judo with a really impressive run.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:37 AM
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my favorite bit was just after the men's 400 freestyle relay, when the NBC interviewer congratulated the still-dripping-wet US team, which had just won silver, for taking part in Michael Phelps' historic achievement (all-time medal leader).


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:38 AM
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Weightlifting is pretty exciting because it is all or nothing in a dramatic way, none of this "deductions for wobbling" bullshit. Besides that, it is neato to know they're throwing heavy shit above them.

If you want to get technical, you could watch whether they throw the bar up just a little, then get super low under it and have to stand, or if they throw the bar up a lot, then get only medium low under it and have less far to stand.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:45 AM
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33: We're getting that kind of repeated questions from my mom, but not about the olympics. It's hard to remember to be patient when the kid is now into repeating every question sixteen times in an attempt to wear down all resistance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:46 AM
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I haven't seen it yet, but I want to watch at least a bit of the badminton games were everybody was so bad at sucking that they got disqualified.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:48 AM
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The hellish device in the elevator (which broadcasts something called, with amusing frankness, The Captivate Network) is now doing this thing where it says "Spoiler alert in 3...2...1..." and then reveals Olympic results. I guess it didn't occur to me that there were people who DVR'ed the whole thing and would freak out if they learned in advance who took bronze in rhythmic diving or wevs.

That's about all I have to say about the Olympics.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:49 AM
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What the hell was the point of 14?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:52 AM
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Anyhow, I've been watching a lot of the streaming, which is kind of wonderful since it's mostly announcerless. Trying to puzzle out the relegation rules in, say, women's team spring track cycling really adds to the engagement factor. I haven't tried to watch handball; that seems confusing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:52 AM
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Judging from the tone, go-to devices and repetitiveness of NBC's coverage (Olympian's surprisingly un-Olympian-looking mother in the stands, frowning, smiling, cheering, holding her breath, cheering again), and the commercials (moms! Coke! minivans! moms! McDonald's!), NBC thinks every viewer of the Olympics is Your Mom and believes that Your Mom has a great deal of money to spend on Coke, McDonald's and cars.

On the other hand, there's a paraglider in that BMW X1 commercial.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:53 AM
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"team sprint", not "team spring". Although that sounds promising as an event.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:55 AM
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42: Gymnastics doesn't really have a point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:55 AM
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42, 46: One of you is racist. Possibly both.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:57 AM
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34: You can stream stuff from the BBC feed by using something like tunlr.net or www.unblock-us.com. More details here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4306684


Posted by: sral | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:59 AM
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Pointlessly "FRIST!"-y spoilers are like racism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 11:59 AM
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Why are table tennis commentators talking about Clenbuterol? I should really be paying more attention here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:00 PM
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Clenbuterol was the best table tennis player ever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:01 PM
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Former Senator Bill Frist is playing table tennis?

For which country?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:03 PM
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"team sprint", not "team spring". Although that sounds promising as an event.

That could be a diving event, if we separated springboards from rigid, motionless diving boards.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:09 PM
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53: Track cycle-diving. A team of cyclists builds up speed around a velodrome before hitting the board and doing synchronized flips into the pool.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:12 PM
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54: I'm pretty sure I saw that in one of the Jackass movies.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:22 PM
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To compete with swimming, other events need to inflate their medal counts with strange variants. How awesome would it be to see graceful, world-class athletes in a 100 meter moonwalk?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:27 PM
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While sitting in the food court yesterday I saw part of the GB-Uruguay football match. On NBC! Live!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:32 PM
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How awesome would it be to see graceful, world-class athletes in a 100 meter moonwalk?

Actually held on the moon. Technology! Stimulus! Bob Costas shoved out an airlock by HAL to save the universe.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:35 PM
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I think I heard the NBC announcer say (maybe I just dreamed it -- I nap frequently while watching TV) about the winning U.S women's gymnastic team, "Like all champions, they will walk together forever." Do they get to sit down occassionaly?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:43 PM
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Why aren't the 3-legged race or the potato sack race in the Olympics?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:44 PM
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56: Here I keep thinking they need to prune some of these events. All the cycling ones, for example.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:46 PM
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I asssume 61 is talking about the cycling events in swimming. Because aside from MTB, which can go, cycling probably needs more events.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:48 PM
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Well, one new event (cyclocross). I could take or leave the road events, too. But the track events are great, as everybody knows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:48 PM
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I mean, everybody smart.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:49 PM
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I would like to see more events in a "death race" format where participants in the race could also shoot at each other. Doesn't have to be live ammo; paintball guns would be fine. That would definitely apply to cycling, but a swimming event involving spear guns would also be great.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:51 PM
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The streaming sucks right now. It keeps jumping back and forth, it showed the intro for some of the racers in the women's 100m final a few times then I ended up missing the race. I tried a different browser and it keeps looping out to the cable provider for validation over and over.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:51 PM
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What, you didn't DVR Modern Elimination Biathlon? Somebody needs more cable channels.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:52 PM
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I guess "Modern Elimination Biathlon" sounds a little too much like competitive pooping.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:53 PM
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Halford, just watch Japanese game shows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:54 PM
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competitive pooping


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:54 PM
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68: And peeing. Bi-athlon, my friend.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:56 PM
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68: Challenge accepted.


Posted by: OPINIONATED FLIPPANTER'S FRESHMAN YEAR ROOMMATE | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:56 PM
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I don't care about the Olympics at all, but I did see a small portion of the Opening Ceremonies that was playing at the rural roadside place where we ate dinner that day. (They advertise that they have the best hamburgers in Alaska; the burgers were indeed good, but I'm not sure if the claim really holds up.) My mom likes to see the parade of nations, so it was nice that she got to see some of it there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:58 PM
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71: I meant both kinds of pooping.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 12:58 PM
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I can't figure why they try to run the Olympics right during Steeler's training camp. They can't compete with training camp.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 1:00 PM
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The swimming streaming today was especially bad. I assume there was a big influx of viewers for the IM. Overall, I think the streaming feed has better coverage than NBC because you actually see the top 3 splits at the turns. For some reason NBC removes that info. The world record line is on the world feed too.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 2:15 PM
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And I agree with 22. It would just be nice for once to enjoy the Olympics with the TV coverage instead of in spite of it. They are definitely doing a better job outside of prime time.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 2:21 PM
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Megan, shoot me an email if you want to talk streaming log-ins.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 2:24 PM
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-r.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 2:24 PM
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I meant both kinds of pooping.

The two dirts.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 2:32 PM
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you could watch whether they throw the bar up just a little, then get super low under it and have to stand, or if they throw the bar up a lot, then get only medium low under it and have less far to stand.

I'm on the phone to Comcast right now.

FWIW, I agree that NBC's crappiness with posting scores is inexplicable unprofessionalism, and that I'm not exactly thrilled with the coverage, but, in general, I think that bitching about Olympics coverage is massively overblown. The idea that Russian TV will lead tonight with the heart-tugging story of Gabby Douglas winning gold instead of the Russocentric story of Svetlana Ivanagold is just comical. There may be better broadcasts out there than NBC's, but the platonic ideal of disinterested coverage is a chimera. In fact, from baseball experience, I can tell you that, when disinterested people cover your sport, you don't get more interesting coverage, you get more facile and incorrect coverage. These jackholes may not care about anyone but the American gymnasts and 2 or 3 international favorites, but at least they know something about the strengths and weaknesses of the American gymnasts and 2 or 3 international favorites. Someone with a mandate from NBC to cover everyone evenly/fairly would end up with inch-deep coverage of everyone.

And, to be clear, this isn't about touching stories: it's about knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the relevant athletes. You learn those by spending a lot of time with them (not in a personal sense, but in a practice/minor competition sense), and there's opportunity costs there.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 4:37 PM
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Thank you, J.!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 4:41 PM
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I have been watching a lot of Olympics, both on NBC and streaming on an iPad. The NBC coverage really does blow, but the streaming app is pretty great. There's live video as well as replays, and you can watch a whole 2-hour weightlifting competition (which I have done for an embarrassing number of weight classes, because the Olympic competition format is pretty exciting) or you can watch a short video of a single gymnast's routines. Also, the replays didn't have any commercials as of Tuesday but that seems to have changed now.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 4:44 PM
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Now I'm jealous and might go to some trouble to be able to stream some weightlifting on an iPad.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 4:47 PM
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I've watched CTV coverage of the Olympics. It's better on the coverage-of-countries-outside-of-the-one-where-the-network-is-located measure, but of course there are fewer Canadians than Californians.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 4:48 PM
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The Australian (?) announcers on the NBC stream for swimming are more knowledgeable than the NBC announcers and they do shocking things like name the swimmers on all the relay teams while the relay is going on. At least, they're given the flexibility to show their knowledge. I think NBC's color commentators tend to know more than what's considered "good tv" allows them to say.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 4:52 PM
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I haven't read the thread, but Gabby Douglas (a young woman of color, as the PBS Newshour kept mentioning, because it's historic) won a gold medal. Yeah, the young lady, white, with terribly overplucked eyebrows has been overly covered. I didn't know what that was about -- thought it was because she was reported to be a better gymnast or something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 5:41 PM
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87: I'd like to hear Thorn's thoughts, for sure, especially because I don't follow gymnastics closely. The apparent justification for relatively greater focus on Jordyn, at least, seemed to be that Gabby has historically been inconsistent at important moments. No idea how accurate this is.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 5:53 PM
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the young lady, white, with terribly overplucked eyebrows

You mean Wieber? She was the 2011 world champion and everyone was surprised that Aly Raisman beat her out for the individual all-around. The story is getting a ton of play because NBC loves that trumped-up rivalry shit. Plus Wieber actually finished 4th overall so they've had people on TV clucking about how maybe it's not fair that each country is limited to 2 entries for the all-around. I don't know how you managed to expose yourself to enough coverage to decide it was overly covered and that you didn't like her eyebrows but not pick up the basic story.

I kept bracing myself for racist MIL to be racist at Gabby Douglas, but it did not happen. I don't know if racist MIL decided to keep her racist remarks to herself or if small cute Americans just get a pass.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 6:09 PM
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I didn't pick up the basic story, but I couldn't help but notice her eyebrows and the fact that she was getting a lot of screen time. As I said, I figured there was a good gymnastic reason for it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 6:19 PM
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What the hell was the point of 14?

To irritate the living fuck out of me because I was actually looking forward to watching it with Jammies' family this evening.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 7:29 PM
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Samuel L. Jackson's Twitter feed is pretty remarkably freewheeling. Apparently he's getting a pretty big kick out of the Olympics.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 7:48 PM
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I am as one with 91.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 7:49 PM
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I don't actually know anything about gymnastics beyond what the kids do at the Y, but I've followed the coverage of Gabby Douglas. The problems I've heard cited, not all of which I've seen myself, are that she has an animal nickname ("Flying Squirrel") when others don't. When Bela Karolyi talked about how the other gymnasts on the team are smart and talented, the narrative about Gabby was that she's friendly and non-threatening, basically, although she's the only one who had a guaranteed spot thanks to winning whatever the qualifying competition is.

A lot of the articles about the gold medal for the team didn't include Gabby in the photos, talked about it as "Jordyn's gold," didn't mention that Gabby garnered 1/3 of the total team points or that she was the top scorer in anything. I don't think she was mentioned at all in my local newspaper, or not more than once. Interviews with her have been much more superficial than with the other girls (and I guess Jordyn, Aly, and Kyla all trained together since childhood or something, so they have a built-in connection) and there are arguments that the story that she's nervous and insecure is self-fulfilling rather than descriptive. She's talked about as having brute strength rather than grace or whatever. Probably a lot of that has changed today, since she really rocked all of the events I saw and definitely earned her gold as far as I could tell.

There's also a whole sideways drama about black women getting mad at black women who are giving Gabby's hair the sideeye, but I'm hoping to have a chance to write about it tomorrow and don't really have the energy or insight tonight.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 7:51 PM
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||

Attn Halford: I'm signing up for a couple of training sessions with the owner of one of the local CrossFit affiliates. I'll report back after we've hunted and killed our first wild boar.
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 7:54 PM
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95: right on. Which one? The MobilityWOD.com guys are near the Presidio.

Also, there are no true wild boar in the US, sadly. But I someday long for a feral pig spear hunting Unfogged meet up.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:00 PM
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Allow me to be the first to suggest Fresh Sow.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:07 PM
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I've noticed that sportscasters call Gabby "adorable" and "cute" far more than other gymnastics girls in general. And she is adorable and cute, but plenty of gymnastics girls have been/are. I think it's this: "It's creepy if I call a white 15 year old 'cute' because it sounds pedophiliac, but obviously that's not a suspicion with a black girl."

Maybe that's stating it a little worse than it is, but I think they emphasize her cuteness in a way that would be considered improprietary for a white girl.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:09 PM
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Shawn Johnson was always called those things. Both she and Gabby have a more kid-like look than the gymnasts who for the dramatic black eyeliner etc.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:12 PM
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98: IMO they're talking much more respectfully about Gabby tonight. When the girls were competing for who would go on to the all-around, the sportscasters were totally dismissive of everything she did even when she was doing better on routines with higher difficulty scores. Both this and all the people I've seen on twitter saying that white people can't do black hair have left me just sad for the girls and what they'll face in a way that is maybe stupid but geniune. There should be lots of clips from this gymnastics competition where teachers can isolate microaggressions. I've been really impressed by how open Dominique Dawes (who also now has totally adorable natural hair) has been about calling it out.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:14 PM
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99: Stick "go in" in there somewhere.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:14 PM
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96: CF Oakland. I'll be interested to see what the trainer can do given my various restrictions; I don't know if my shoulders/neck will handle some of the standard exercises. But it's worth a shot.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:15 PM
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Dominique Dawes (who also now has totally adorable natural hair)

I was just saying how great she looked!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:16 PM
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What's unreal is how all the bars events (except parallel bars I guess) start with the premise: Get your body whipping around this bar like a fan blade. Once you've got that going, then you can start with the gymnastics tricks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:17 PM
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We just started watching gymnastics.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:17 PM
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99: They're courting the kid-like look, though. I mean, her family calls her "Gabrielle" but "Gabby" is more approachable. A black girl in black eyeliner with fierce McKayla dramatic antics would be getting racist comments about skankiness from poor L's boyfriend's mom and whatnot, whereas non-threatening is a semi-deliberate strategy. (I do think Gabby seems like she's genuinely an easy-going, relaxed, young 16, but she's also lived through plenty. I dunno.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:20 PM
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Was it George Costanza who wouldn't shut up about how adorable their little butts are? They really are kind of an eye-grabber of pertness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:20 PM
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Hmmm. I don't think I'm any closer to watching the Olympics, but I'm pretty sure I can program J. Robot's tv. Besides weightlifting, what does she want to watch?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:36 PM
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Tremors. And every possible iteration of Law & Order.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:41 PM
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107: Apropos. (Of both your comment and issues you've previously mentioned here.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 8:58 PM
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108, 109: Law & Order, yes :).

Seriously, though, go to the xfinitity site, mouse over TV/online listings, and choose "online."


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 9:28 PM
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107: This 1977 Nat Lamp bit (pretty sure the male announcer is Bryan Doyle-Murray) captured that aspect of gymnastics pretty well.

"Boy, I'd like to fuck her!"
"Well Todd, I'm no lezzie, but ..."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 2-12 10:26 PM
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Why do Douglas and Wieber get to Gabby and Jordyn even on a site like this, when nobody would think of casually referring to Phelps as Mike or Wiggins as Brad? What do they have to do to get some respect? Be five years older or grow cocks?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 1:40 AM
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113 is probably my fault, because I thought about it and wasn't sure if people would know the last names. (I recognize that Douglas's name had already been mentioned, but it was in a context where Wieber was being recognized by looks rather than name.) I didn't mean it as a sign of overt disrespect, though I do think they're branded by the media with first names more prominently than in other sports. And I legitimately couldn't remember McKayla Moroney(?)'s last name and switched all the names in that comment to firsts so I wouldn't lose what I was typing on the iPad if I went away to search for what her name was. I don't really follow sports and probably would have been as likely to call Wiggins Brad if I'd known that was his first name, which I didn't. So that's my why, but I realize it's not unproblematic.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 3:52 AM
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Yeah, sorry to be snippy, but I've just had it with the incessant patronising attitude in the media to any athlete who's young and female. I don't really care if people on unfogged refer to them as Ms Douglas, Wozzername or Sugartits. It's just a level of double standard in the mainstream coverage that's so instinctive they don't even notice they're doing it and it drives me mad, because there's so much of it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 4:19 AM
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It's a totally legitimate complaint, chris, and one I've had before and felt guilty about last night when I was participating. And yet I know the first names and not the last names of a lot of the women athletes and almost none of the men and I don't know if that's a personal failing or if I'm just learning what I'm being fed. I know the gymnasts I watched last night were Deng Linlin, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Viktoria [Kumova?], Aliya [Mustafena] and that the other Americans are Jordyn Weiber, Kyla [Harris?], and McKayla [Moroney?]. The new judo champion is Kayla [Harrison?].

Are there non-black male athletes who get the LeBron/Kobe/Tiger first-name-as-full-name thing? I have no idea. ("Rafa" for Nadal doesn't seem as widespread but is the only one I can think of right now. But again, I know way too close to nothing.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:22 AM
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Am I right to think that among English speakers, there's still a lot more variety of first names for women than for men? I'm thinking of athletes where I know a man's first name (okay, I don't know a lot of athletes' names at all) and I'm thinking that no one calls Michael Phelps "Michael", because even a tiny bit out of context it would be ambiguous. "Gabby" isn't an uncommon name, but it's not as immediately generic as a lot of male names.

A lot of it is about sexism and disrespect, but I think there's a functional issue too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:28 AM
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Am I right to think that among English speakers, there's still a lot more variety of first names for women than for men?

Probably truer for the US than the rest of the Anglosphere. You guys seem to reckon that any random sequence of syllables is a potential girl's name. Elsewhere I think people are slightly more conservative.

Are there non-black male athletes who get the LeBron/Kobe/Tiger first-name-as-full-name thing?

Brazilian football (soccer) players seem to do this a lot. Many or most of them are black, but I think you'd likely be Fabio or whatever if you were blond and blue eyed.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:37 AM
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118.1: Since I'm raising a child with a name that has zero google hits (either as her mom spelled it or as it would more usually be spelled in the names it's based on), um, yeah. I can't imagine either Mara or Nia being commonly known by their last names rather than their first because their first are unique or unique enough and their lasts are long and hyphenated (Mara) or incredibly common (Nia).

118.2 Yeah, Ronaldinho and whatnot certainly are known by their first names. I definitely think you're right that it's cultural or linguistic rather than racial there.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:45 AM
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so instinctive they don't even notice they're doing it

I disagree; there's no way NBC is doing this "instinctively" rather than deliberately. For example, the beach volleyball announcer clearly thinks his job is to repeat the names Misty and Kerri as many times as possible (but when Costas is on to summarize the action in between events he's always using their full or last names). NBC is trying to build "engagement" with these sports and the cutesy first-name stuff must actually be pretty effective. It's like they're our little sisters!


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:46 AM
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Major male stars in the big US pro sports often get affectionately called by their first names, if they're famous enough and the name is unusual enough. Vin Scully will call Clayton Kershaw "Clayton" or Andre Ethier "Andre" at least 30-40% of the time and if Vin Scully isn't good enough for you then [omitted].

Women's beach volleyball, AFAICT, has basically consisted of Treanor and Walsh and a rotating cast of Washington Generals, so it's not surprising that the announcers use first names at this point.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:05 AM
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I was just saying how great [Dominique Dawes] looked!

Google Images informs me that she grew up to be smoking hot. Holy moly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:09 AM
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Treanor and Walsh and a rotating cast of Washington Generals

Ward? Putnam? Gates? Lafayette? I'd be pretty careful about being over-familiar with some of those guys.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:22 AM
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The uniqueness of the name is a red herring. I mean, if the announcers decided to take about "Michael" during the swimming events, would it really be that hard to figure out who they were referring to?

You can watch an NBA game and see references to Melo, Amare, LeBron, Kobe. I get that. Nothing intrinsically objectionable about first names.

If you think the constant references to Gabby/Jordyn/Misty/Kerri are just because these people are famous and have unusual names, I just don't know what to say. Does Vin Scully spend a few innings of every game exploring the fascinating personal stories that brought the Dodgers to where they are today?


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:24 AM
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124-- I don't know what point I'm arguing against. I thought I was refuting the idea that using first names is inherently disrespectful to female athletes because it is rare and doesn't get used for men; that's a misreading of US broadcasting norms. Obviously NBC spends a lot of time personalizing the athletes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:32 AM
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agreed


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:35 AM
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All the hammer throwers have cute nicknames.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:37 AM
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"Throwie", "Sir Toss-a-lot", that kind of thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:38 AM
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Chuck


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:44 AM
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I actually thought about the significance of using first names before I did it, and went ahead based on the stupid fact that I could spell the firsts correctly without having to look them up but was unsure re: their last names. This was an odd choice, in retrospect, because I believe that in conversation, at least, I almost always use everyone's full name.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:51 AM
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Fun with athlete names: local example.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:00 AM
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131. No relation to the great salsa musician?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:05 AM
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I assumed he's a direct male-line heir of Columbus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:07 AM
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What about Dan and Dave? They were like our best friends that year (until the one dude failed to qualify).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:24 AM
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Are there non-black male athletes who get the LeBron/Kobe/Tiger first-name-as-full-name thing? I have no idea. ("Rafa" for Nadal doesn't seem as widespread but is the only one I can think of right now. But again, I know way too close to nothing.)

In Spanish-language broadcasts, almost everyone is referred to by their first name or some nickname, often nicknames that no one else but the broadcaster uses (I know one who calls Gerard Pique, a Barcelona player who's dating Shakira, "Shakiro").


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:19 AM
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Good grief. The US Govt (or this part of it) is blocking the Guardian's website!?

"Malicious activity"?!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:23 AM
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OT: when did people start using "obtuse" for something like "abstruse"? Heard it twice this week, and it's driving me crazy.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:28 AM
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In Spanish-language broadcasts, almost everyone is referred to by their first name or some nickname

This reminds me of the ridiculous outrage in some quarters when Javier Hernández signed for Man U and decided he wanted "Chicharito" on his jersey instead of Hernández. Lots of chest-puffery about how it was vain and ridiculous by people who probably wouldn't recognize the name Edson Arantes do Nascimento.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:44 AM
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He should have asked for Eightfive.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:19 AM
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I've been watching streaming, which means I get my coverage in the form of "Team GB" jingoism delivered with a delightful Scottish brogue.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 3:26 PM
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in general, I think that bitching about Olympics coverage is massively overblown. The idea that Russian TV will lead tonight with the heart-tugging story of Gabby Douglas winning gold instead of the Russocentric story of Svetlana Ivanagold is just comical.

Well, obviously any given country will lead with their athletes stories, but the focus in any country but the US is much more evenly divided. I can watch German, Italian, Dutch, Belgian, English or Spanish coverage and see on average half and half coverage of the big Olympics and regional stories, with what's being shown determined as much by the status of an olympic sport as by whether or not a local person takes part. The US (or rather, NBC) really is much worse at this than your average national broadcaster.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 3:29 PM
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when did people start using "obtuse" for something like "abstruse"?

An abstruse angle? Never heard of it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 3:31 PM
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Angles of unusual size? I don't believe they exist.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 4:59 PM
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I'm still curious about those dimensionless radians.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:01 PM
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144: in physics, if you are using radians, the units of the system at issue are irrelevant. Feet, meters, kilometers, furlongs: whatever. Same number of radians.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:03 PM
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I'm curious about your curiosity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:04 PM
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Yes, but none of those things measure angle. One degree is a fixed amount of an angle. One radian is a different fixed amount of an angle. You can convert between them. How are they dimensionless?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:09 PM
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I'M WAAAAAAAAIT-IIIIIIING.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:23 PM
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Your waiting time will be measured in dimensionless seconds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:26 PM
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Back to gymnastics and race, this is awesome:

"Us gymnasts are usually so composed," Dawes said, choking back tears in an interview with FOX Sports. "I am so thrilled for Gabby ... I'm so thrilled to change my website and take down the fact that I was the only African American with a gold medal."

Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:31 PM
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Although the radian is a unit of measure, it is a dimensionless quantity. This can be seen from the definition given: the angle subtended at the centre of a circle, measured in radians, is equal to the ratio of the length of the enclosed arc to the length of the circle's radius. Since the units of measurement cancel, this ratio is dimensionless.
Although polar and spherical coordinates use radians to describe coordinates in two and three dimensions, the unit is derived from the radius coordinate, so the angle measure is still dimensionless.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:46 PM
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In dimensional analysis, a dimensionless quantity or quantity of dimension one is a quantity without an associated physical dimension. It is thus a "pure" number. Dimensionless quantities are widely used in mathematics, physics, engineering, economics, and in everyday life (such as in counting). Numerous well-known quantities, such as π, e, and φ, are dimensionless. By contrast, non-dimensionless quantities are measured in units of length, area, time, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:48 PM
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Bow before my brain, math people.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:48 PM
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Not many people know this but originally Wikipedia was just transcribed Judas Priest lyrics.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:49 PM
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151 doesn't make sense to me. But I would add that any argument for why radians are dimensionless has to apply to angles measured in degrees, because radians and degrees measure exactly the same thing. A radian is, exactly, 180/Π degrees.

But I do appreciate the attempt in 151.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:50 PM
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155- Angles are indeed dimensionless; the reason is that an angle is measured as the ratio of arc length to radius (meters per meter, say), which cancels out any units. Other angle measurements, such as
degrees, are also dimensionless, though they are defined by different ratios, such as the ratio of the arc length to 1/360 of a circle.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 5:52 PM
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Give me my fucking math degree, bitches.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:04 PM
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I don't get this at all. It seems like math sophistry (maphistry). Why couldn't "inches" be dimensionless for anybody without a ruler?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:22 PM
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This Jimmy Fallon impersonation of Jim Morrison is amazing.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:27 PM
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This can be seen from the definition given: the angle subtended at the centre of a circle, measured in radians, is equal to the ratio of the length of the enclosed arc to the length of the circle's radius. Since the units of measurement cancel, this ratio is dimensionless.

What the fuck are you talking about.

(Actually, I know perfectly well what you're trying to say. You're trying to say that radian angle is independent of the radius of the circle, because the units measuring the length of the radius cancels with the units measuring the length of the arclength.

What that means is that radians are well-defined.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:27 PM
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Radians are not dimensionless whatsoever. First of all, you all are tossing around the word dimension very carelessly - degrees, or angles are a 1-dimensional.

I think what you all are actually asserting is that radians are unitless, which is also wrong. A radian is a very fixed amount. It's slightly less than 1/6 of a full circle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:30 PM
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Numerous well-known quantities, such as π, e, and φ, are dimensionless.

Also, what? There are not enough insulting markers of emphasis for me to characterize that "what".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:31 PM
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The circle of life.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:31 PM
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OH! I think that Halford thinks that a radian is a π, and so when you say a circle is 2π radians, you're saying it's 2 units, each called a π, which is a number.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:32 PM
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Give me my fucking math degree, bitches.

Please keep this man far away from degrees, given this ignorance of radians.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:33 PM
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Heebert is gonna mess physics up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:37 PM
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Also, Nick is exactly right in 155.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:41 PM
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Heebie you nearly successfully trolled me. But that's just me! No chance you will successfully troll a real physicist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:46 PM
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That is some masterful-ninja reverse-trollery right there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:47 PM
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It is you who are under a bridge demanding tribute, not I.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:49 PM
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Do you think there is a market for felted cat fur? Because I brushed my cat and now I'm balling up the fur in my fist and I think it could make a cool button or something.


Posted by: ursyne | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:50 PM
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Do I have to go look up what a radian is to see which one of you is fucking with me?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:50 PM
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172: As long as you're duly contrite afterwards for not believing me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:52 PM
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I'm happy to explain more.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:52 PM
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Wikipedia say Sifu is trolling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:56 PM
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171: essear is rolling in the dough; sell him a physics... item. Of... fur.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:56 PM
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Anyway, I thought I knew what a radian was and it turns out I do. I don't understand what "dimensionless" means, but I've learned enough that I know it doesn't matter in real life.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:57 PM
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Guyssss I am so not the right person to explain what dimensionless means in equations describing the physical world. Don't make me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:58 PM
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171: I've definitely seen items knitted from sled dog fur for sale, but not cat.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 6:59 PM
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First, angles and lengths are two entirely different things. To be well-defined, an angle ought not change size just because the radius of the circle grows or shrinks. Radians are neat because they are defined in a way which is intrinsic to a circle, but their size does not change if the circle grows or shrinks. In contrast, degrees are defined arbitrarily, because 360 is a number that's easy to do a lot of arithmetic with.

Since radians reflect the actual geometry of a circle, there must be something clever going on that keeps them from being specific to a specific circle. That is what everybody is remembering here. If you have a circle of radius 5, then it has perimeter 10π. The number of radians in one circle is found by taking 10π/5. If you have another circle with radius 2, perimeter 4π, it still has 4π/2 total radians of angle. So the total number of radians in a circle is always a little over 6, regardless of the size of the circle. Good! They're well-defined!

So what is one radian? Take a piece of string and construct a circle using the string as the radius. Then take that string and lay it along the edge of the circle. The angle corresponding to that arclength is one radian. There are 3.14 of them in a half circle, ie if you take three of those strings and lay them end-to-end along the circle, you'll be just shy of a half-circle. So Π is not the unit, it's just the number that emerges when you try to figure out how many lengths of string you need to mark off a half circle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:01 PM
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I'm not going downstairs to get string.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:05 PM
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What's a dimension? It's easier to think of it this way: anything that seems like an isolated item - ie a single number like 5, or one point in space, etc, is zero dimensional. Anything that resembles a line if you zoom close enough is one-dimensional. Anything that resembles a surface if you zoom in close enough is 2-dimensional.

Radians and angular measure require more precision in "zoom in close enough". What we want to say is that it resembles a line, but that's not obviously true. What we can say is that the angles of a circle are in one-to-one correspondence with the points on the perimeter of the circle (and if two angles are close, then the corresponding points on the perimeter of the circle are close.) And if you zoom in on a circle, then it looks like a line. Therefore we argue that angular measure is a one-dimensional space.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:06 PM
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That's what I don't get. You need three points to define and angle. The middle of the circle and two points on the outside.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:08 PM
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179: I had some sled dog fur too but I threw it away. And in fact the sled dog tried to eat my cat fur but I rescued it.

Yup, cat fur felted buttons! Come one come all! Get 'em while they're buttony!


Posted by: ursyne | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:08 PM
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Here you go.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:08 PM
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Both radians and degrees are dimensionless measures of angles. Degrees are radians multiplied by 360/π, a dimensionless constant, because our ancestors thought it was a nice, easily divisible approximation of the number of days in a year.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:09 PM
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You need three points to define and angle.

Actually, you need a set of axes, a convention defining "positive angle" according to the angle from the positive x-axis in the counter-clockwise direction, and one vector.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:10 PM
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I have a hatchet and a brush saw.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:11 PM
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360/(2π), I mean. I really should've given up commenting today.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:11 PM
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187: That still seems like two dimensions to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:12 PM
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There's probably not a big market for hyperallergenic clothing, but go for it. Misanthropes are your target demographic.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:14 PM
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Well, it's being drawn in a 2D plane, the same way a line is usually drawn in a plane.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:14 PM
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But you don't need two coordinates to specify an angle. You need one number - 3π/5 or whatever the number of radians is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:16 PM
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I've been reading and apparently ordinary numbers, like 6 or 44, are dimensionless unless you say something like 6 inches or 44 grams. And that a radian is the same kind of thing. Which I guess I understand, but I don't get why it matters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:18 PM
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Or masochists, I suppose.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:18 PM
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5 is unitless until you know if it's degrees, radians, or minutes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:20 PM
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Hang on, I've changed my mind. Radians are dimensionless, degrees are not. I can't explain why, though.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:21 PM
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193: O.K., but you don't know where you are in the coordinate space unless you know (and I'd think assuming by convention counts for this) the line at which the angle starts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:21 PM
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Which I guess I understand, but I don't get why it matters.

It doesn't matter until lawyers start spouting misinformation on the topic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:21 PM
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197 isn't helping me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:22 PM
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199: Come to Thanksgiving with my people and you have all kinds of lawyers spouting misinformation. Especially if my brother shows up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:23 PM
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198: If you've got a line in a plane, each point has two coordinates. But if you've got a convention that we're declaring THIS POINT to be the temporary origin, then you only need one number (and units) to describe any other point on the line. Clearly lines are one-dimensional.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:23 PM
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Sorry, that should've been "I can't explain to Moby why, though.". I'm just full of mistakes today.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:24 PM
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202: They aren't really one-dimensional. They're two dimensional with one dimension turned into a constant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:26 PM
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(Actually, I know perfectly well what you're trying to say. You're trying to say that radian angle is independent of the radius of the circle, because the units measuring the length of the radius cancels with the units measuring the length of the arclength.

What that means is that radians are well-defined.)

I'm going with Heebie on this one -- and I appreciate her wading in.

[Side note: I recall that the one time I argued math she ended up comparing it to arguing with a two year-old. That still seems slightly unfair but, honestly, we were just talking past each other. Anyway, I'm happy to not be really involved in this argument.]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:27 PM
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I realize it's a high bar around here, but this may well have become the most confusing thread ever.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:28 PM
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I may be an overly concrete thinker on some things. Whenever I need to remember which way the time zones go, I picture a little globe and the sun rising over it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:30 PM
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If you've got a line in a plane, each point has two coordinates. But if you've got a convention that we're declaring THIS POINT to be the temporary origin, then you only need one number (and units) to describe any other point on the line. Clearly lines are one-dimensional.

They aren't really one-dimensional. They're two dimensional with one dimension turned into a constant.

Both of these comments are helpful, but I'm going with Heebie again. A one-dimensional construct doesn't become two-dimensional just because it's on a two-dimensional plane. So there has to be some way to define what it means for something to be one-dimensional in n-dimensional space.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:30 PM
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To be slightly less flippant, there are two definitions of dimension being used here. A more mathy one, and a physicsy one.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:32 PM
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Technically speaking.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:32 PM
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I recall that the one time I argued math she ended up comparing it to arguing with a two year-old.

Heh. Sorry about that. Unless you were being infantile. In which case I'm half-sorry, half-entertained.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:32 PM
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there are two definitions of dimension being used here. A more mathy one, and a physicsy one.

I seriously doubt this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:33 PM
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209 getsit exactly right using the definition of "exactly" which I use in this comment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:34 PM
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202: They aren't really one-dimensional. They're two dimensional with one dimension turned into a constant.

A line in a plane isn't really one-dimensional?!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:34 PM
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Specifically, this one and this one.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:35 PM
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Who has had more gins and tonic, me or Sifu???


Posted by: ursyne | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:36 PM
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I only drink exactly beer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:36 PM
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214: Sorry. I'm getting confused. A line is of course one dimensional. I was reading that an nondimensional for some reason.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:37 PM
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I'm drinking Evan Williams and feeling cheap because it has a plastic cap instead of the metal cap you get on marginally more expensive bourbon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:38 PM
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215: okay, fair enough. I never use it that way but sure, that sounds physic-y. Nevertheless, under that "dimensional analysis" meaning, radians have a dimension. They do not have a length, because they aren't a lengthy-thing, nor do they have a time, nor a speed, because they aren't those things either, but they have a dimension. One radian is a fixed-size angle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:40 PM
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219: pretty good, though, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:41 PM
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221: It's not quite Jim Beam, but I haven't decided if is it $4 worse or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:43 PM
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People should stop slandering physicists. I'm sure they think lines are 1-dimensional.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: pause endlessly, then go in (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:44 PM
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Thank god, back-up finally arrived. Tell 'em, Utpetgi! Tell 'em!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:46 PM
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What am I, chopped liver? I think 208 slightly pwns 214 in fact.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:49 PM
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223.2 is necessary but not sufficient to prove 223.1.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:51 PM
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The real question is how many chopped liver is NickS.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:51 PM
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214 had more consternation. 208 was more thoughtful. I contributed the appropriate judgmental tone required.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:52 PM
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208 was too long for me to read. 214 hit home. I was thinking of points needed to define the line, not dimensions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 7:53 PM
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Jesus christ these sprinters are fast.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:01 PM
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They better be fast. They have to run six radians a second.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:05 PM
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I'm sure everyone's mind will be blown to consider that you can have angular velocity, measured in things like radians/minute, or degrees/second, or whatever, just like you can have linear velocity measured in meters/second.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:10 PM
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NMM to Sir John Keegan.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:18 PM
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232: Sure and the dimensions of the one are s-1 and the other is ms-1.

Are we seriously having this conversation? So let's think; what might possibly be different in physics about radians/second contrasted with meters/second? See also the very related "cycle" as in cycles/sec.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:37 PM
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One cycle is a fixed angle. It can be converted to degrees or radians or minutes or whatever else.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:41 PM
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Are we seriously having this conversation?

But you got this part right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:42 PM
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Tell it to NIST.

4.2.1(b) The radian and steradian are special names for the number one that may be used to convey information about the quantity concerned. In practice the symbols rad and sr are used where appropriate, but the symbol for the derived unit one is generally omitted in specifying the values of dimensionless quantities.

7.10 ... On the other hand, certain quantities of dimension one have units with special names and symbols which can be used or not depending on the circumstances. Plane angle and solid angle, for which the SI units are the radian (rad) and steradian (sr), respectively, are examples of such quantities (see Sec. 4.2.1).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:50 PM
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We should first start with a consensus statement. It seems obvious that we all agree that:

1. A line is one dimensional but defined by two points
2. A plane is two dimensional and defined by three points.
3. A radian is pretty much the same fucking thing as a degree because what the fuck you can turn one to the other by multiplying by a constant.
4. Clothing fashion hasn't changed noticeably since 1995 if you go by what I wear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:51 PM
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OK, brace yourselves.

I went and googled "radians are dimensionless" and there are a billion results. This is clearly taught and preached by physicists.

Tons of hits for college first year students like:

Radians are kind of a funny unit from the dimensional analysis perspective: radians are dimensionless. That means that rad/s and 1/s are equivalent from the point of view of dimensional analysis.
One way to think about this is that angular measures in radians are really just ratios of like quantities: θ in radians is, by definition, the ratio of the length of a circular arc subtending θ to the radius of the circle. So a radian is really a meter per meter.

Essear, what the fuck? A radian is a concrete thing that you can draw. It's intrinsic to a circle, sure, because it's a ratio, but it's as concrete as an inch or an hour. A degree is also concrete. Do they claim that degrees are dimensionless?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:52 PM
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When I tell you the speed of light is dimensionless you'll totally flip out, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:55 PM
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OK, brace yourselves.

I have a belt on already.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:55 PM
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What it sounds like is that "dimensional analysis" is something you're taught to do to make sure your answer makes sense - are you cancelling all your units properly? Etc. You can safely ignore radians in your dimensional analysis, because the first thing you would need to do is to convert it to M/M or inches/inches - because the problem is asking about something linear, and so you're converting from something angular to something linear. (I'm guessing here.) And somehow pedagogy switched up "you can ignore them in figuring out units" to "they're slippery and magical, like souls!"

They have a tangible size and dimension. They really do.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:57 PM
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When I tell you the speed of light is dimensionless you'll totally flip out, right?

Well, no. I know that gets into relativity and whose perspective you're dealing with.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:58 PM
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I'm aghast that precalculus teachers are spending their time having students understand how big one radian is, and then physicists are screwing everything up with a shortcut on steroids.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 8:59 PM
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So you would agree that the length of an arc of a circle measuring an angle theta is L = pi*r*theta, right? And "L" measures the arc length in some units (say meters) and "r" measures the circle's radius in the same units. So "theta" is a pure number, not a dimensionful quantity.

This is all a little arbitrary; you could choose to measure arc length in a unit called heebie-meters and measure radius in a unit called meters. And then the angle would have units of heebie. Units are always, to some extent, social conventions about what we take ratios with respect to. But radians are about as close to a pure dimensionless thing as you can reasonably get; you don't need any difficult agreement to see that it's natural to measure radial length and arc length in the same units.

(Contrast with, for instance, measuring energy in inverse seconds, which is a perfectly legitimate thing to do, but requires some kind of social agreement about what the units mean and why it's sensible to view energy*time as a dimensionless quantity. It's clear once we have quantum mechanics, but it would have been a hard sell for people in the 19th century.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:03 PM
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Frex:

In practice, when doing dimensional analysis in physics, this means that you can slip radians into and out of your units with wild abandon. For instance, if a circle of radius r is rotating at angular speed ω, then the speed of a point on the rim is v=rω.
The right side of this expression has units of m rad/s, and the left side has units of m/s. But the units balance, because a radian (or a m/m if you prefer) is dimensionless.

They're "dimensionless" because you don't need to worry about keeping track of their units. But if you weren't converting to something linear - if your entire problem were in angular velocity - then your answer would have radians. How is your angular velocity changing? You should have units of radians/s^2, or whatever. If you're working in an angular context, you're going to have radians.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:04 PM
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Full disclosure: I haven't read the thread except a few of the most recent comments, and probably won't.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:04 PM
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245: So are degrees dimensionless?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:05 PM
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Yes, "1 degree" amounts to the unitless number "pi/180".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:06 PM
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But that's in a similar way to how "1 second/meter" amounts to the unitless number 3 * 10^8, or "1 GeV*femtometer" amounts to the unitless number 5.08. It's not as if the units aren't occasionally useful things to introduce. But they track distinctions that aren't always useful or meaningful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:07 PM
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I'm conceding this point, for the record, but I'm retching over the word "dimensionless" to describe something that can be physically, concretely drawn to a student.

I guess I just missed that word. I should say, I remember hearing that trig functions are dimensionless, or unit-less, or whatever, which always made plenty of sense to me. So who knows. I didn't know that's how "dimensionless" was used.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:09 PM
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It's so stupid though - you don't need to have a circle to talk about an angle!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:11 PM
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If "dimensionless" means "unitless", this whole thing is stupid* and people should look-up "dimension" before using the word "dimensionless".

*If dimensionless doesn't mean unitless, it does not show that this whole thing is not stupid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:12 PM
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252: Right. At least 35% of the polygons have an angle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:12 PM
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I'm retching over the word "dimensionless" to describe something that can be physically, concretely drawn to a student.

"Dimensionless" doesn't mean "without physical extent"; it has nothing to do with the sense of dimensions as in "tell me the dimensions of this room". Nothing to do with "size". It's "dimension" in the sense of "dimensional analysis", which is more about scaling properties, e.g. if I rescale all lengths by the same factor X, something with units of square meters changes by X^2. But something with units of radians doesn't change at all.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:14 PM
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You've got a one-dimensional space which you can easily describe using a vector from the origin, sweeping around like a clock. There need not be any circles or ratios involved. You've got a concrete unit, with which you can describe your motion. You can measure, concretely, 4 radians in the negative direction. It's well-defined under choice of radius, because it's a ratio. But I'm missing why it's dimensionless when you're not converting to a linear context.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:15 PM
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253: "Dimensionless" means "unitless".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:18 PM
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It's "dimension" in the sense of "dimensional analysis", which is more about scaling properties, e.g. if I rescale all lengths by the same factor X, something with units of square meters changes by X^2. But something with units of radians doesn't change at all.

I mean, I'm repeating myself here - but right, angles are invariant under scale. Because they're well-defined under choice of radius. So if you're interested in something linear, then they don't affect anything. But if you're working in an angular context, they're as legitimate as inches or anything else.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:20 PM
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Science blows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:20 PM
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No offense, but this conversation bores me and I'm going to stop.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:21 PM
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253: "Dimensionless" means "unitless".

What does a unit mean, besides "you have to specify which fixed length you mean so that your number has context"? Why doesn't that apply to distinguishing "radians/minute" and "cycles/minute"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:23 PM
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I'm going to become a creationist so I can not care about this and have chicken sandwiches.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:24 PM
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260: I didn't realize that was an option.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:26 PM
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You can have certain types of chicken sandwiches without becoming a creationist.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:26 PM
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As an extra bonus, you can even call them dinosaur sandwiches.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:27 PM
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Physicists took a shortcut in explaining conversion to linear units to undergrads and now it's spun out into a nonsensical gospel. That is my current understanding.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:28 PM
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251: I guess you have to give Halford that math degree after all.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:28 PM
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He can have a physics degree.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:30 PM
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Surely someone has written a Dimensional Analysis for Dummies Mathematicians book.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:33 PM
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Now that essear has given the physicists' side (thanks, essear!) I think I more or less understand the nature of the dispute. I still don't care about it at all, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:34 PM
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Does physics use the word "dimension" differently because things get shorter/slower/massier as a function of their velocity relative to the speed of life or should I go back to reading Einstein only for practical stuff, like looking for tips on seducing my hot cousins?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:35 PM
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a function of their velocity relative to the speed of life

No, it's because they're always crashing in the same car.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:36 PM
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I haven't crashed a car since 2005 if that's what you're getting at. And that wasn't my fault, except legally.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:38 PM
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Relevant.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:38 PM
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||

I just got home from playing a gig for a bunch of high school girls' softball teams. "Call Me Maybe" went over quite well. We also passed a Chik-fil-A and considered going in to make out with each other, but we were running late.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:39 PM
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Has anyone else noticed that this thread is number 12345? And it eventually turned into arguing about math? Like, whoa.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:41 PM
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266: It's a little bit weird, but as essear says, it's a social convention. The perimeter of a circle is in meters, and the diameter is in meters, so the ratio of the two has to be dimensionless. Since the definition of radians involves an arbitrary human choice, just like the definition of meter, you could imagine a more-careful definition where radian is a unit.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:42 PM
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He can have a physics degree.
Nice. That's about 0.02 math radians, right?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:43 PM
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269: I get it. I just think it's stupid.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:44 PM
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if that's what you're getting at

Don't you wonder sometimes 'bout sound and vision?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:45 PM
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Also I'm really curious how well students convert between cycles/second and radians/minute, when two of those are dimensionless in linear units which are irrelevant here but everyone has had that point hammered home.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:46 PM
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and now it's spun out into a nonsensical gospel.

Yeah, but heebie, it's obviously satire.

...ducking...

I don't know that I've ever had an actual conversation with an actual creationist, btw. I mean, I guess I must have, somewhere along the line? but nothing, or nobody, comes to mind. Do these people even exist?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:47 PM
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272 & 280 are great.

personally, I'm enjoying this thread, sorry heebie for not being more help.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:50 PM
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Come visit me sometime, MC.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:51 PM
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Heebie the creationist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:52 PM
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True story: At my high school, the biology teacher taught us creationism (very briefly) and the religion teacher taught us about evolution.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:55 PM
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Also, I think about angles quite a lot, and barely any of the contexts even have an associated circle whose radius and arclength units are canceling. Radians and degrees show up in calculus, and they have to put units in their answers, and sometimes they have to write down radians, rad/min, rad/min^2, and so on. It's almost spooky how unit-like it is.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:55 PM
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The perimeter of a circle is in meters, and the diameter is in meters, so the ratio of the two has to be dimensionless.

But a radian isn't the ratio between a radius and perimeter, that's 2pi. A radian is just 1/2pi of a cycle.

But, sure, I belove that there's a consistent usage within physics for which it makes sense to say that radians are dimensionless.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:56 PM
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283: oh, it's ok. Fundamentally, I'm wrong, in that people really are taught this in phys 101, and there's a meaningful concept behind it. It just doesnt seem like a useful catchphrase outside of those specific linear units-chasing problems, especially when you're working in angular space.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 9:59 PM
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I should stop reading. But this really has nothing to do with physics. There has been no physics in this discussion.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:02 PM
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It seems to have a shit-ton to do with online physics forums for struggling undergraduates.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:05 PM
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Okay, let me try this for an argument (I'm not completely sure it will work).

We call a plane two-dimensional because any location on the plane can be specified by giving its position relative to two dimensions (e.g. X and y). But you could define a location equally well using polar coordinates, giving a distance and an angle. So how is an angle any less legitimate as a dimension than a distance?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:13 PM
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Come Monday, I'm going to want to see a physicist make a half-assed point that somehow makes everybody fuck with the lawyers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:14 PM
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292: that is an entirely legitimate argument to a mathematician.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:20 PM
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Come visit me sometime, MC.

Oh, I'd love to see your house with its new addition. The photos you posted were so fabulous! Would I have to talk to people who say, "We are blessed"? I have met such in Florida; for some reason, that phrase really irks the hell out of me.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 10:30 PM
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292: It's not illegitimate. It's just not what physicists mean by "dimension". I really like essear's "social convention" formulation, since it always really bothered me in the exact same way that it bothers heebie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:11 PM
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||
In the flickr pool: a picture of a bike sent to me from a lurker, for the lurkers. Setting it to "friends only" allows folks in the group to see it, right?
|>


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:26 PM
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297: Yeah, I can see it. Cool bike, lurker. You should comment, yo. I have bike questions.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:34 PM
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Because if there's one thing we don't have enough of around here, it's informed opinions about bikes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:46 PM
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I don't believe it was the lurker's own bike, although this possibility cannot be conclusively ruled out by text of the missive.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:47 PM
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+the. Goddamnit.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:47 PM
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He or she could argue with Halford when Sifu's busy. That's always fun.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:48 PM
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Plus, it's important to be welcoming and hospitable to lurkers. One of them might be the next urple. Think of that: someone else just as fascinating as urple, sitting out there not commenting. It's tragic.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:51 PM
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Hey, I'm all in favor of adding lurkers to the commentariat. I'm just not sure the bike angle is the best way to make that happen.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 3-12 11:56 PM
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Well, the only other information we have to go on is that he or she likes taking photos, so we can pair him or her up for a chat with ttaM. But in no time it'll be all Leica this and Moskva that, which is just as bad as this radians-and-dimensions nonsense. So I guess no lurker, guys. Sorry.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:03 AM
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If said lurker is sufficiently dedicated, he or she is presumably reading this conversation and can chime in at any point to clarify his or her interests and potential contribution to the blog.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:14 AM
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After reading TFA, of course.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:37 AM
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A truly dedicated lurker would have already read TFA. Also, why the hell are you still up?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:49 AM
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(Assuming you haven't gone to bed in the past 12 minutes.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:50 AM
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Huh. I guess he did.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 1:01 AM
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So you would agree that the length of an arc of a circle measuring an angle theta is L = pi*r*theta, right?

Um, ignoring the "pi", that is. Oops.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 4:36 AM
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311: You were just using a new unit* for measuring angles, we'll call it the searad--most convenient for blog discussions.

*Because I'm with you on everything except "Dimensionless" means "unitless".--I don't think the social conventions support you in NIST manuals on this one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 6:14 AM
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Although I suspect I am reading it differently than you intended, the radian is conventionally referred to as a unit, and is classed as a "derived unit" in SI. I guess you mean there is n underlying unit.

The one I have trouble getting my head around is the "mole" as an SI base unit. Let a hundred cocking the mole jokes bloom.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 6:40 AM
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Molé.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:24 AM
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Also, why the hell are you still up?

I had a late-arriving house guest, up for whom I was waiting. But then he showed up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:58 AM
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There's nothing all that weird about this sort of dimensional analysis. As essear says, you're just asking how your quantity changes under rescaling the system. Angles (measured in whatever units you want) don't change under rescaling.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: pause endlessly, then go in (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 8:49 AM
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The thing that kept confusing me (and kept me out of the discussion outside the obvious point I'd made) was that there's nothing special about *radians*.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: pause endlessly, then go in (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 8:51 AM
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Exactly. It's totally awkward to define cycles or degrees as a ratio, although apparently people do it. They're invariant under scale, which is a nice property. They're still a unit. They're not invariant under, say, scaling your angle by a factor of 2.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 9:20 AM
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Somebody made the point in 317 first, and that person was me. Feel the science knowledge, fools. Now I'm off to see if I can build my death ray laboratory using nothing but under one minute of looking at Wikipedia.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 9:21 AM
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Last night I was thinking that one often uses radians in various nonlinear calculations (like as an exponent) whereas one never sees unscaled degrees, and this distinction seemed relevant. But I don't think I can back that last point up.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 9:23 AM
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Last night I was thinking that one often uses radians in various nonlinear calculations (like as an exponent) whereas one never sees unscaled degrees, and this distinction seemed relevant

Last night I was thinking that Latitude and Longitude were an example of people working with angle measurements, and they are measured in degrees. Obviously not the same thing, but I was trying to think of cases where people actually use polar coordinates and that and astronomy were my two ideas.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 10:05 AM
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