First impressions of 49ers Kentavius Street; Sherman sounds off on Seahawks

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceSANTA CLARA — Kentavius Street, a super-strong defensive lineman, is among the 49ers’ great personnel mysteries for their 2019 comeback tour.Thursday, the redshirt rookie put his right hand in the turf, lowered his hulking 6-foot-2 frame and slammed forward into the blocking sled while shuffling to his right. Then to his left. Then again to his right.Shuffling is the key right now. He is debuting in practice this …last_img

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Chad Hurley: YouTube Needs to Improve Search – More Live Programming Coming Soon

first_imgChad Hurley and Loic Le Meur just talked about the past and future of YouTube at LeWeb. According to Hurley, YouTube‘s users now upload over 24 hours of content per minute. Hurley refused to talk about YouTube’s revenue, though he did mention that revenue at YouTube is up, and the cost of operating the site are down. Hurley acknowledged that the mobile site is currently growing faster than the regular website. YouTube also plans to provide more live programming on the site with the help of its partners.The ratio between creators and viewers on YouTube is very heavily skewed towards viewers. The number of creators doesn’t make up more than just a few percent of all of YouTube’s users.Challenges: Better Search and Discoverability According to Hurley, one of the biggest challenges for YouTube is to make videos more discoverable. YouTube needs to develop a better search experience, but the team is also thinking about recommendation technologies and adding more social networking features. Currently YouTube leverages social services like Twitter and Facebook, but isn’t much of a social service itself. However, while Hurley hopes that YouTube will be the place where users consume videos, but he isn’t necessarily interested in turning YouTube into a full-blown social destination.Moderator Loic Le Meur asked Hurley how YouTube manages to filter content on the site, and how the team decides what to take down. Hurley mostly sidestepped this question, though he did mention YouTube’s technology for finding copyrighted material.Handful of Users Make more than $1 Million per YearHurley noted that a handful of users on the site make more than $1 million per year from their videos on YouTube. The company wants to create more opportunities for publishers on the service, though Hurley didn’t go into details.YouTube in the Living RoomAsked about YouTube on television and in the living room, Hurley said that his vision is basically a “box, an Internet connection and pizza.” He did note, though, that all television will move towards an on-demand model. Tags:#news#web frederic lardinois Image credit: @scobleizer and thanks to DutchCowGirlsfor letting us use the visualization of Hurley’s argument. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

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Crisis-Mapping Platform Ushahidi Announces Crowdmap:CI, “Check-ins With a Purpose”

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting “Location” was one of the buzzwords of 2010, but arguably some of the most interesting developments weren’t how people checked in via Foursquare and the like. Rather, they were the ways in which people used mobile phones and mapping to report other things. The most notable example of this is crisis-mapping platform Ushahidi, which enables people to contribute reports during crisis situations either via SMS or the Internet. This real-time data is used for mapping and visualizations in the service of humanitarian response efforts. And to that end, Ushahidi has been described as “check-ins with a purpose.” According to Ushahidi, “check-in” – the sort of action more readily associated with location-based networking apps – via its platform has really been “only a metaphor.” But that’s changing now that Ushahidi is launching a new tool, Crowdmap:CI, that will make noting your location (and making location notes) easier. Ushahidi launched Crowdmap in the middle of last year. Crowdmap is a easy-to-install, hosted version of Ushahidi – the equivalent of WordPress.com blogs for WordPress, perhaps.The new tool Crowdmap:CI (or Crowdmap Checkins) will function on both Ushahidi and Crowdmap and will allow users to create ad-hoc check-in communities, complete with mobile apps and web portals. Crowdmap:CI is designed to further simplify the creation of annotated location points. As Jon Gosier writes in the blog post announcing the new product, “Sometimes users just want to drop quick notes that represent data points allowing them to enter details later. For instance: the locations of wells while touring a rural village, or potholes around a metropolitan city, or simply dropping pins while on a vacation for the memories of where to return to. Crowdmap:CI is an attempt to make this data entry process quicker, allowing users to focus on location first, and everything else later.”Why use Ushahidi and not Foursquare or Gowalla to check in?Crowdmap:CI will allow you to keep your check-ins and notes private and give you control over who can see your data. You can deploy the service within a crisis and/or particular group, so data you share doesn’t necessarily have to go to others. The points that the different users within a group make can be viewed individually or within one map. This will be useful, for example, if individuals have different mapping assignments. The beta version of the Crowdmap:CI app is available for Android, and an iPhone version is on the way. The service is free, but there are premium options for those organizations wanting their own rewards and badges or needing to have a large number of users checking in at once, options for creating your own rewards and badges.An open-source platform, Ushahidi was developed in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed presidential election in 2007. Ushahidi means “testimony” in Swahili, pointing to the projects roots in citizen journalism. Ushahidi was used as part of the response efforts to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile last year, as well as to numerous other crises and disasters. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Location#web center_img Related Posts audrey watters 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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La Salle fends off Adamson for 3rd straight win

first_imgAdamson was down by four, 69-65, midway through the fourth quarter, but a timely triple from Rob Manalang and two free throws from Jonathan Espeleta put the Soaring Falcons ahead 72-71 with 2:19 left in the game.That slim lead, however, would be the last of the Falcons’ reprieve as Andrei Caracut knocked down a clutch triple that gave the Green Archers a 74-72 lead with 1:48 left in the game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSanti Santillan then pushed the dagger through Adamson’s heart with a layup giving La Salle a 76-72 lead with 36 seconds remaining in the game. “This game was a test of our character, not just as individuals but as a team, and it really helped our team,” said Ricci Rivero in Filipino. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:34UAAP SEASON 80 PREVIEW: DLSU GREEN ARCHERS02:36Archers, Eagles favorites to win UAAP Season 8001:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netDefending champion De La Salle kept Adamson University at bay to come away with an 80-74 victory in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Green Archers chalked up their third straight win and improved to 8-2 to deny the Soaring Falcons (6-4), who missed a chance to gain a share of second place.ADVERTISEMENT Sol Mercado out for Game 5 of PBA Finals Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion La Salle trailed majority of the game up until the 4:10 mark of the third when center Ben Mbala scored back-to-back baskets that gave the Green Archers a 50-48 lead.Rivero paced La Salle with 17 points while Santillan finished with 16 points, 14 points in the second half, and 10 boards.Mbala struggled from the field, going 3-of-10, but made up for it from the line going 9-of-12 to put up 15 points to go along with 17 rebounds. Papi Sarr led Adamson with 17 points and 12 boards while Jerrick Ahanmisi also had 17 points. ADVERTISEMENT Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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Sri Lanka eye first ever Test win in India vs Virat Kohli’s near-flawless men

first_imgSri Lanka have never won a Test in India and with Virat Kohli’s men on a run of near-flawless home form the visitors are unlikely to break their duck in a three-match series starting in Kolkata on Thursday.In a bumper home season, which started in September 2016, India won 10 of 13 Test matches, with their solitary defeat coming against Steve Smith’s Australia.Even on home ground Sri Lanka have struggled against India, losing 9-0 across all three formats in July and August.Under Kohli, the world’s top-ranked Test side has won eight consecutive series dating back to 2015, and Sri Lanka look incapable of stopping them from winning a ninth to tie England and Australia for the record for most consecutive Test series wins.After being hammered at home by India, Sri Lanka then won a two-Test series against Pakistan 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates but subsequently lost all eight limited-overs matches against the same opponents.Their Test record in India inspires little confidence as they have failed to record a single victory in 17 matches, the last of which was played eight years ago.Former captain Angelo Mathews and spin spearhead Rangana Herath were the only two current squad members who played a part in that 2009 series and Sri Lanka will lean on them heavily once again.Reuters PhotoSri Lanka coach Nic Pothas hopes the players have learned from the recent home series whitewash but wants them to focus on their own strengths instead of the Indian threat.”The mistake you can make here is come and be infatuated with the Indian side and concentrate too much on them,” Pothas said on the team’s arrival in India.advertisement”We know they are a good side. We only played them a month ago. We have to concentrate on our strengths and jobs, and if we can execute them well it will be a challenging series.”The series against India was a huge learner for us. I also mentioned that if we didn’t learn from a very good team then that would have been the biggest error.”DUAL SPIN THREATWhile Sri Lanka’s bowling attack must find a way to stop the likes of Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara from scoring heavily, their batsmen will have to contend with India’s dual spin threat of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.Most sides have found off-spinner Ashwin and left-armer Jadeja too hot to handle but Sri Lanka might be in for an even rougher ride with the pair likely keen to prove a point after being overlooked by selectors for India’s limited-overs sides.Reuters PhotoWhile good news is in short supply for Sri Lanka they will at least be thankful for not having to face 24-year-old all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is being rested having played non-stop from the Champions Trophy in June.Pandya made his Test debut in the series in Sri Lanka and made a big impact, hitting a maiden fifty and hundred while taking four wickets with his medium pace bowling.Many have touted the series against Sri Lanka as a chance to prepare for a tough tour to South Africa at the end of the year but India wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha said the hosts were focused on only one team.”It’s not like the Sri Lanka series is to prepare for South Africa,” Saha told reporters. “It’s a standalone series.”Every Test is a challenge, and we will take it match by match, as a team and as individuals.”Once this gets over, we will worry about South Africa and the challenge it brings.”After Eden Gardens hosts the first Test, the two sides will travel to Nagpur and Delhi for the second and third match.last_img read more

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Wisconsin Releases “We’re Back” Hype Video Ahead Of 2015 Campaign

first_imgWisconsin football.Wisconsin hype videoThe Wisconsin Badgers won 11 games in 2014, but given the way that the Big Ten title game against Ohio State played out, Badgers fans are hungry for vengeance in 2015. The program, now led by new head coach Paul Chryst after the untimely departure of Gary Andersen, will have a chance to make a statement in its first game this year – Wisconsin gets SEC champion Alabama to kick off its season.Sunday night, Wisconsin released a three-minute hype video titled “We’re Back” to tease the season. Enjoy, Badgers fans:We’re back. http://t.co/pieC4FfuBB— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) August 10, 2015last_img

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Did Your Team Blow It At The Trade Deadline

The Blue Jays bought, the Tigers sold and the Mets couldn’t make up their mind. Baseball’s trade deadline, which passed last Friday afternoon, is all about balancing the present against the future. Whether they’re buyers or sellers (or just renters), all deadline-dealers have to evaluate both their World Series chances for the current season and where they will be in the “success cycle” going forward. Blunders in either type of assessment can haunt a franchise for years.It’s a lot to deal with, and not every team manages the process perfectly. To help model these deadline decisions, we developed a metric we’ve nicknamed the “Doyle Number.” It’s named after the infamous 1987 trade in which the Detroit Tigers sent future Hall of Famer John Smoltz, then a 20-year-old prospect, to the Atlanta Braves for 36-year-old Doyle Alexander.In principle, the definition of the Doyle Number is simple. It represents the rate at which, at the trade deadline, teams should be willing to trade talent in the future for talent in the current season in order to maximize the total number of World Series that it wins. For instance, if a team has a Doyle Number of 2, that means buying a win’s worth of talent in the current season1Note our phrasing here: By a “win’s worth of talent,” we mean a win per 162 games. This won’t be worth a full win in the standings as of the trade deadline because there are only 60 or so games left to play. As we’ll describe later, however, much of the benefit of acquiring players at the trade deadline comes from improving the roster for the postseason rather than during the balance of the regular season. at the trade deadline is worth giving up two wins in the future. By contrast, a team with a Doyle Number of 0.25 should only be willing to give up one-quarter of a future win for a win now. Not only should such a team not buy wins at that price — it should probably sell veteran talent at the deadline instead, in exchange for prospects.The Doyle Number is calculated based on a team’s estimated “true talent,” a concept that’s equivalent to its projected winning percentage for the rest of the year, as of the trade deadline.2This can be measured by any number of gauges; in this case, we used the most predictive cocktail of preseason statistical forecasts and betting over/unders, updated in-season with pythagorean records. The Doyle also includes the team’s odds of making the divisional playoff round.3In other words, we’re essentially ignoring the wild card “play-in” game. In practice, the calculation gets slightly involved, so we’ve reserved most of the methodological discussion for the footnotes.4First, our model projects a team’s odds of reaching the divisional playoffs in the current season as a function of its estimated true talent and its “coin flip mode” playoff odds (its odds of making the playoffs if every remaining game were 50/50) as of July 31. This allows us to estimate how a team’s playoff odds change if it adds or subtracts talent at the deadline.To calculate a team’s chance of winning the World Series, conditional upon reaching the playoffs, we use a binomial distribution to estimate its chance of winning a five-game divisional series, a seven-game league championship series, and a seven-game World Series against opponents with 90-win true talent, which is the historical average for teams that reached the divisional playoffs.Through a similar process, our model also calculates a team’s chances of winning the World Series in each of the six subsequent seasons. The model accounts for the fact that a team’s true talent level regresses fairly heavily toward the mean of an 81-81 record, but that the margin of error increases the more years you project a team’s record into the future.The model assumes that for each win a team adds at the trade deadline, it subtracts one-sixth of a win in each of the next six seasons. For example, a team that adds six wins of true talent at the 2015 trade deadline will have one win of true talent subtracted from its projection in each year from 2016 through 2021.The Doyle Number acts as a multiplier on a team’s future win projection. For instance, at a Doyle Number of 2, the aforementioned team would lose two wins of talent from its projection in future seasons instead of one. The Doyle Number is set such that by adding an epsilon of talent, the net change in the number of World Series a team projects to win over current and future seasons is zero — in other words, the point at which the near-term benefit from making the trade exactly offsets the long-term cost.But it’s important to pay attention to that two-word phrase we used above: “World Series.” In Doyle, it’s all about the rings! A lot of previous analyses, including some that we’ve published ourselves, have focused on a team’s chance of making the playoffs. If that’s your main goal, you’ll eventually encounter diminishing returns: A team with 100-win talent as of the trade deadline is all but certain to make the playoffs, for instance, so adding more talent won’t accomplish very much.Winning a championship is another matter, however. It’s hard for any team to win the World Series, but it’s much harder for a team, like the 2005 San Diego Padres, that sneaks into the playoffs with a league-average roster. Just as in the NCAA basketball tournament, relatively modest talent differentials can compound over several playoff rounds. A team with 80-win talent has only about a 5 percent chance of winning the World Series, conditional on making the divisional playoffs; a team with 90-win talent has a 12 percent chance. A team with 100-win talent has a 24 percent chance.One of the biggest lessons of Doyle, in fact, is that adding the talent to win once you’re in the playoffs is probably more important than picking up enough talent to merely get there. The point at which adding an extra win of talent stops accelerating a playoff team’s World Series odds upward is about 118 wins — a level of true talent reserved for the best All-Star teams ever. Realistically, you can never add too much talent if you’re gearing up to win a World Series.But let’s see how this plays out in practice. Below, we’ve listed the Doyle Number for the 30 major league teams as of the trade deadline last week.The highest Doyle Number (2.07) belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals, who are probably the best team in baseball, with more than 96 wins of talent and a 21 percent likelihood of winning the World Series. Even though St. Louis already had a completely stacked roster and a very high likelihood of making the division series without any trades, the increase in championship probability upon entering the MLB postseason would have made even a lopsided long-term trade worth it. The Cardinals should have been prepared to give away as many as two wins of future talent to get one win at the trade deadline.5In reality, St. Louis made a series of small moves, acquiring Brandon Moss, Steve Cishek and Jonathan Broxton.That the Cardinals (and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals) top the Doyle rankings runs a bit counter to the conventional wisdom, which says that less-talented teams have the most to gain from a big splash at the trade deadline. However, as long as a team’s Doyle Number is above 1, they’d be better off buying than selling. That’s why Doyle also would have recommended a classic buyer’s mentality for the Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and Houston Astros — three teams that have found themselves in the midst of far better seasons than would be expected from their talent. This suggests the Royals were right to go for broke in the short term; for them, each marginal win of talent added in 2015 is worth forsaking about 1.5 wins of future talent.Of course, while we’ve focused exclusively on trade-deadline buyers thus far, other teams had to decide whether they’d be better off selling current assets for future wins. The Philadelphia Phillies, to take an extreme example, have literally no use for extra talent in 2015 because they’re all but eliminated from the playoffs. Therefore, their Doyle Number was 0.00.The Detroit Tigers had a Doyle Number of just 0.14, which would heavily recommend selling. In fact, the Tigers dealt stars David Price and Yoenis Cespedes at the deadline; it didn’t make manager Brad Ausmus happy, but Doyle was pleased.Indeed, selling is almost always right for teams on the outer fringes of playoff contention (before the deadline, the Tigers had only about a 7 percent chance of reaching the divisional playoffs). The average team begins the regular season with a 27 percent chance of making the divisional playoffs. If a team’s playoff odds are lower than that as of the trade deadline, it should usually sell.The in-between cases can be tricky, however. Despite having a talented roster, the Toronto Blue Jays entered the trade deadline with only about a 26 percent chance of making the playoffs. But they probably added the most talent at the deadline of any team in baseball in the form of Price and Troy Tulowitzki, sending numerous prospects packing.Their Doyle Number of 0.77 is slightly below 1, which might initially suggest that they made the wrong move. In fact, however — and we’ve avoided introducing this complication until now — a team’s Doyle Number varies based on how many wins of talent it might add or subtract. Teams like the Blue Jays actually enter the trade deadline with a ‘U’-shaped curve like the one you see below.We know this is getting abstract, but it has a really important baseball implication. It means that for a team like Toronto, the worst strategy is standing pat. In terms of maximizing its total number of World Series championships, it should either add talent at the deadline or punt on the season and play for future years. By Doyle’s logic, in fact, teams should be going “all-in,” moving as aggressively as possible in one or the other direction at the deadline. Adding two stars, like the Jays did with Tulo and Price, is better than one.6This is a consequence of the finding we described above: The marginal gain in World Series probability tends to increase, not diminish, with additional talent added. This also applies to the Mets, who, after getting cold feet on Carlos Gomez, eventually did deal for Cespedes. Doyle’s complaint might be that the Mets weren’t aggressive enough: They could have added a Cespedes for the rest of us and a star second baseman too!The Doyle system admittedly represents a vast simplification compared with all the considerations that could be included in such a model. Future iterations might take into account factors like a team’s financial situation and the quality of its minor-league system, among other things.7In addition, it can be hard in practice to add talent to an already stacked roster. But it at least offers a broad set of guidelines upon which to judge a front office’s decision-making process.While Doyle doesn’t vindicate every dubious decision — the Tigers had a 34 percent chance of making the playoffs on the date they traded for Alexander in 1987, which would have made for a close call — it suggests that teams should often be quite aggressive at the deadline. A team needs to be honest with itself about whether its World Series chances are legitimate, but if they are, it might never get a better chance at a championship. read more

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Can Science Help Runners Break The Marathons 2Hour Barrier

When Kenyan Dennis Kimetto set the world record at the Berlin Marathon in 2014, his time, 2:02:57, made him the first runner to complete a marathon in less than two hours, three minutes. His time was 26 seconds faster than the previous record, set by fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang at the previous year’s Berlin Marathon. Such has the marathon world record progressed over the past 20 years: in increments measured in tens of seconds.But now three teams — one sponsored by Adidas, another backed by Nike, and one called SUB2 that’s being led by a team of academic researchers — are aiming to push the record nearly three minutes faster. Their audacious goal: to break the two-hour marathon mark.When Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954, he did so as an amateur athlete, often training during his lunch breaks while attending medical school. By contrast, these two-hour marathon attempts are being made by professional runners handpicked by teams of researchers and bankrolled, in two cases, by corporations eager to show that their products can turn good runners into makers of history.We gathered a few of our favorite running science geeks to discuss the two-hour record, the current attempts to break it and whether these projects are good for the sport. The transcript has been lightly edited.Our participants:Christie Aschwanden is lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight.Wouter Hoogkamer studies the biomechanics, energetics and neurophysiology of running and other sports at the University of Colorado.Alex Hutchinson covers the science of endurance sport for Runner’s World and other publications.Steve Magness is coach to professional and collegiate runners and co-author of the book “Peak Performance.” christie: I want to start by asking (on behalf of our readers who aren’t marathoners): What is the magnitude of the goal here? Is breaking two hours a gargantuan feat? Or is this a technicality that will happen soon regardless?alex: Under “normal” circumstances, it’s very big. A few years ago, I predicted it would happen in 2075, which gives a sense of where my thinking was at that point.wouter: Without targeting some external factors to make it easier, it will be a long time before it happens.steve: Agreed. It’s a huge task. We’re looking at a several-decades jump in performance, at the minimum.christie: Is there some equivalent or analogy here that might help nonrunners understand the scope? How much faster is this record-breaker going to have to run?wouter: 2.5 percent faster.alex: For comparison, Usain Bolt has improved the 100-meter record by 1.6 percent, if I recall correctly.christie: Wow, that makes this look like a pipe dream.alex: And Paula Radcliffe improved the women’s marathon record by about 2.5 percent.wouter: In two increments, though, Alex.1Radcliffe broke Catherine Ndereba’s record of 2:18:47 with a time of 2:17:18, then broke that with the current record of 2:15:25.steve: I think the important thing is it’s a long, long way from our current reality.christie: So what makes the folks behind these three projects think they can do it?alex: People have been aware for a few years that there’s some “low-hanging fruit,” like optimizing the course and pacing, that would bring the goal much closer. It’s been a question of when someone would believe it’s close enough to invest money to make those things happen.wouter: Exactly.steve: Personally, I think it’s scientific arrogance and naivete that makes them think they can get it done within months/years. Can they drop the world record? Of course. But to get sub two hours is another question.alex: In rough terms, I always figured the “easy” stuff could get us halfway there. For Nike, I suspect it was their development of a new shoe that made them believe they could bridge the other half. Not sure about the other two.christie: Does science have a track record for facilitating faster running times? How much of the previous records are attributable to scientific advances?steve: As a coach and exercise scientist, I’d say the advancements due to science are minimal, at best. That seems like sacrilege, but if we look at the drops in time, they aren’t athletes training utilizing scientific gadgets. They are East Africans training with coaches doing standard training. The one advancement that has contributed in the marathon is refining of fuel intake.alex: I think running improvements are less influenced by science than almost any other sport. But there are still effects: equipment, track surfaces, etc.steve: When we look at running, science only adds the very small finishing touches. We’re talking fractions of a percent here and there.wouter: Outside running, there are multiple examples of where technology improvements have substantially improved sports performance: pole vault pole, clapskates for speed skating. Kimetto’s world marathon record was set with a shoe with a midsole material that has been shown to save 1 percent of energy.steve: But does 1 percent energy saving result in 1 percent improvement? I’d highly doubt so. Yet that’s what people immediately jump to. They think, “Oh, I’m 1 percent more efficient, so I’m 1 percent faster.” But it doesn’t work like that.alex: I think Wouter might disagree that changes in efficiency don’t translate to changes in race speed!wouter: Correct. We showed that adding 100 grams to shoes costs about 0.8 percent more energy and makes you run about 0.8 percent slower.alex: Of course, whether that holds true over 26.2 miles is a very big question!wouter: The relationship might not be perfectly linear at high speeds due to the effect of air resistance.steve: The marathon is a different ball game. In the shorter events, the physiology is mainly the limiting factor. When we get to the marathon, the causes of fatigue multiply.christie: So what are the limiting factors in the marathon?steve: Factors that all could be the weak link in the chain depend on the athlete and the race, things like fuel utilization, muscle damage or cramping, mental fatigue or psychological coping, and on and on.Basically, in the marathon, there are a lot more pipes that can burst than, say, in a mile or a 5K.alex: It’s important to note that Nike’s project, at least, isn’t really trying to change any of these traditional limiting factors. (I should add that Nike would probably disagree with that characterization, but it’s my take.) They’re instead trying to optimize some of the well-understood limiting factors like air resistance, as well as course details like the number of hills and turns.christie: Alex, you’ve reported on the different projects. What distinguishes them?alex: I know basically nothing about the Adidas project other than that they have a pair of shoes. The Nike and SUB2 projects are somewhat similar in the tactics they’re trying, with the difference that Nike has a lot more money and is staging its own event instead of using an existing race.wouter: I think that is the most important part of their approach.alex: Even more important than the shoes? 🙂wouter: Current races are not optimized to run as fast as possible, coursewise.christie: So what makes for fast conditions?steve: Flat course, perfect racing temperature (45 degrees or so), fewer turns. If you want to truly optimize, you’d have a slightly downhill finish.alex: Wouter’s dream course, outlined in his recent paper, was a flat, sheltered loop for the first half, followed by a gradual downhill (just within the 1 meter-in-1,000 rules for record-eligible courses) for the second half. I pretty much agree, except I might save the downhill portion for the last six miles, when things really get tough.christie: Track and field’s governing body, IAAF, has rules for what makes a legal course: a maximum overall drop in elevation of no more than 42 meters and a start and finish that are no more than 13.1 miles apart, as the crow flies, to prevent aid from a tailwind.wouter: We say you need to look for a course that drops exactly 42 meters. Same for the wind, if we can go 13.1 miles in one way, let’s do it and make sure you have a tailwind there and limit the negative effects of wind during the first half.christie: You also mention drafting.wouter: Yes, that’s the final strategy. The problem is you would need four guys who run a 2:03 marathon all running the same race and collaborating, and that won’t happen without serious monetary incentives.christie: How many runners are currently capable of that kind of time?steve: If they are all on their best at the same time (which never happens), four.wouter: Right, it’s not very likely. But if you could bring two of them together, and apply the downhill, tailwind and shoe technology, they’d have a fair shot.christie: Why is it so hard to run a perfect marathon?steve: There’s a reason that at most major marathons, with all the best guys trying to run fast, you are normally left with one, maybe two survivors — despite almost a dozen of them on the starting line who are able to run in the 2:04 range. We forget that these are humans, not machines. The training it takes to even get in 2:03-04 fitness is crazy. Marathoners live near the edge. They do as much as possible without falling over the cliff of overtraining or injury.alex: Steve’s point is important. If you compare the start list to the finish results at major marathons, it’s like, “What happened to all those fast guys?”That’s one reason I was pretty surprised that Nike went with a team of just three runners. Even getting to the start line of a marathon is a low-odds game. On these points, it comes down to “will it happen on any given day?” rather than “can it happen in theory?”christie: So the proposed approaches include a fast course, drafting and fast shoes. The SUB2 team also has a newfangled sports drink. How likely are any of these to make the difference?alex: I’d say a fast course, drafting and shoes are the big ones. There are lots of other things people are doing, but they’re not make or break. Nike’s not doing much new with sports drinks — just trying to make sure the athletes execute best practices, which not everyone does even at the elite level. The SUB2 project has an interesting new drink that makes some bold claims but hasn’t published any data to back it up yet.steve: And we haven’t even touched on the biggest limiting factor: the psychology of it all …christie: How does psychology play in, Steve?steve: You’re almost three minutes from the record. These guys are going through the half-marathon at near their half personal record. People think that “elites” are invincible mentally. But they freak out, they panic if they are too fast or slow, even if they don’t show it. The way fatigue works is a comparison to our prior experience and our current context. If your prior experience is nowhere near what you are trying to do, your body’s default setting is to freak out.alex: There’s that famous Herb Elliott quote about how, to set a world record, you have to have the arrogance to believe that you can be better than anyone else in history and then the humility to actually do it. Everyone who does it starts with an arrogance that is basically irrational, and most people will never do something that justifies that arrogance — but without it, you don’t even come close. Anyway, Nike (and SUB2, etc.) clearly have the arrogance, but the jury is still out about the humility.christie: I want to switch gears for a moment. Last week, we learned that the women’s gold medalist in the Olympic marathon in Rio, Jemima Sumgong from Kenya, has tested positive for the blood booster EPO. At this year’s Sloan Sports Analytics conference, Peter Weyand, a researcher on the SUB2 team, argued that their project could show athletes that there’s a way to excel with science that doesn’t send the sport down what he called the “pharmaceutical gene-doping freak show.” What do you all think? Could he be right, or is this just naive optimism?steve: I think it’s naive optimism, and Peter was my adviser during undergrad, so I can say that! The money and fame in running sub two are enormous. We still use Roger Bannister as an example of a barrier breaker nearly 70 years later! With that much to gain, athletes, coaches, agents, even sponsors will take risks. Athletes are already taking risks for much lower payoffs. If the payoff is that large, you bet it will bring doping into it.wouter: I don’t think the sub-two-hour quest will encourage doping more than gold medals and “regular” prize money.alex: I’ve been totally baffled by that message from the SUB2 team. Everyone wants to run fast and beat people, so it’s not clear to me why one sub-two project would encourage more doping and the other would encourage less!steve: We’re talking about all these measures that may improve a half percent here or there. EPO can improve performance by up to 6 percent, according to some research!christie: This leads me to another question: How important is it, really, to reach this arbitrary number? The marathon distance is an artificial construct, and the two-hour mark is just a function of our love of round numbers, right? I don’t recall anyone getting excited about breaking the 2:03 mark.alex: Well, I was pretty excited.christie: Ha!steve: Ha, so was I. But it’s a round number, like a four-minute mile or a 10-second 100 meter. So, yes, it will capture our imagination.christie: If it were the women’s record that stood this close to the two-hour mark, would there be as much interest?alex: You know the answer to that, unfortunately, Christie.christie: 😞alex: That said, that’s one area where this sport isn’t too bad. Think of the biggest marathon stars in the American firmament — Deena Kastor, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, etc. There’s definitely respect for female accomplishments.christie: Most of the major marathons have equity in prize money, right?alex: Yes, as far as I know.steve: Exactly. Compared to most other sports, running is much more progressive. As someone who coaches mostly professional women marathoners, I wish it was more even in popularity. But you are seeing more split coverage and starting times so that the women’s race gets equal coverage. Which is huge.wouter: There are also scientific papers on the women’s equivalent of the two-hour marathon.christie: That research says the women’s equivalent of the two-hour marathon “has already been achieved.” 🏆steve: That’s because Radcliffe’s 2:15 is such a large outlier.christie: Right. It has stood for 14 years!alex: Put those worms back in that can!steve: I didn’t say why! I just said it was far better than anything else we’ve seen!christie: I want to finish by asking: Is the pursuit of the sub-two-hour marathon good for the sport?steve: I think it’s bad for the sport. We’re getting further and further away from what makes sport interesting: competition. Our obsessive drive for faster has hurt track and field as it is. We set ourselves up for failure by hyping up world records and then being disappointed when they do not occur. If we ever want to have this sport gain popularity, we need to take it back to its roots. Draw a line on the street and race to the next light pole. That’s the essence of running. These gimmicky approaches using artificial environments just push us further away from competition. Yeah, it’s great to see where limits lie, but I think this will push us more toward doping and a focus on times.alex: I should start by saying that I recognize many of the concerns that people have. I, too, love good, old-fashioned competition for the sake of head-to-head racing, instead of commercialized mega-events. But even with those caveats, my general sense is that it’s a net positive. I can’t overstate the number of people I’ve heard from whose messages start with some version of “I don’t usually follow running, but I saw your article on the sub-two thing and wanted to ask. …”wouter: Well, I think it’s definitely good for science. Everything we learn from what’s limiting human (sports) performance will have the potential to be used somewhere down the road in making walking easier for specific patient populations, which has many known benefits.alex: Ultimately, the sport is driven by what people want to see. Many people within the sport say “the focus on times is bad.” And many others watch the Olympics (where, e.g., the men’s 1,500 was the slowest time since 1932) and say “the focus on competition rather than time is bad.” To me, those are both interesting aspects of the sport, at opposite poles. I don’t want all one or the other, but neither do I want to get rid of one aspect entirely.christie: Yeah, although I lean toward Steve’s point of view here, the fact that it’s garnering more attention for the sport seems like a good thing.Wouter, you’re running the Boston Marathon on Monday. Do you have a time goal?wouter: I aim for sub-2:40.alex: Good luck, Wouter. Hope you’ve got some cooperative drafting lined up!wouter: Using the downhill and cooperative drafting. Regular shoes, though.christie: Best of luck! Only 40 more minutes to shave off … 😜Thanks for being here, everyone. read more

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