Archive for July, 2012

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DFTBA Sports: Olympic Swimming

31/07/2012

Following Danny Boyle’s remarkable opening ceremony, much of the talk surrounding the London 2012 Olympics Games has been surrounding what occurs in the pool. Following Michael Phelps’ legendary performance at the ’08 Games, at which he collected eight gold medals. As a result of this feat and the emergence of fellow American Ryan Lochte as an elite competitor, the impending battle between the pair over the course of these Games was billed as one for the ages.

The first event pitting the two against one another was the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday. It turned out to be Lochte’s day, as he held a slender advantage for most of the race before pulling away on the final lap to win with ease. This wasn’t the shocker though, as he was a fine swimmer in his own right. The big surprise was the poor showing put in by Phelps, who finished a measly fourth, completely outside of the medal positions. In fact, Phelps had barely managed to even qualify, finishing only 0.07 seconds quicker than the swimmer who came ninth. Phelps had pulled out of a number of events so that he could focus on a smaller number of races, but it appeared as though his effort to conserve energy was futile. For all intents and purposes, his moment had passed, and now it was Lochte’s time to shine.

The next day, Lochte and Phelps teamed up for the 4×100 relay. A loaded Australian team featuring James “The Missile” Magnussen was heavily favoured in the run-up to the race, but the US team would have fancied their chances, despite Phelps apparent lack of form. The two teams were head-to-head at the front of the pack before Phelps’ leg, in which he opened a body’s length advantage for Lochte in the final 100. As he finished his first 50 meters, Australia had slipped away, leaving only France as his competition for gold. With only 25 meters to go, the win was all but in the bag, but Lochte inexplicably let up, allowing the French team to sneak in and grab the gold in the last few strokes. Phelps finished with the fastest leg of the team, leaving it all in the pool, but his teammate and rival couldn’t capitalise, leaving with only a silver medal. Perhaps Lochte’s 400-meter gold was a fluke.

On Monday it certainly started to look that way, as he missed the podium entirely in the final of the 200-meter freestyle, finishing a disappointing fourth. It had been presumed that Lochte would dominate in Phelps’ place when the latter fell out of form, but, so far, just the single gold seemed to be the height of it. With only three events left for Lochte, he certainly won’t match Phelps’ record of eight, but hoping for that was unreasonable. Mark Spitz’s record of seven medals in a single Games stood for 36 years, it’s entirely possible that Phelps’ could stand for that long, considering the immensity of the challenge facing anyone looking to tackle it. We took Phelps’ performance in Beijing to be the norm and expected it to be matched this year, when it was in fact utterly unprecedented, and probably won’t be matched for decades.

While there are a massive number of athletes participating in the Olympics, approximately 10,500 competing in 302 events in 26 different sports, there are only a handful of superstars. Those that seem to dwarf all those around them both physically and with their personalities. Athletes that transcend the Games, bringing a plethora of journalists around the wherever they go. Phelps and Lochte are among them, hence the focus on swimming by the media to this point. I know I personally haven’t seen too many field hockey players trending on Twitter or being the focal point of articles and news pieces across the world. But there is one man who is yet to feature at London 2012. One man who, like Phelps, broke onto the scene in 2008 and created a cult of personality around himself, but to a whole other level. One man who eats McNuggets before every race. It is, of course, Usain Bolt. The 100-meter dash is at 4:50 ET on the 5th. Be there, or be square.

~Liam

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DFTBA News – Ever Growing

30/07/2012

DFTBA News often tries to go in new directions. We try hard to work out what you, our readers, want, and because of this we often change or add content. All of this takes  work, but it is hugely rewarding, both for the satisfaction that you get for doing a good job and having hundreds of people seeing it, or plainly the experience that you gain from the work.  And as a constantly growing service we try to get as many people as possible on board. So if any of you are interested in joining us there are a number of ways you can get involved.

 YouTube:  We are currently looking at expanding our service to YouTube (as some of you have seen with this video from one of our brilliant contributors.) Anyone who would like to work with us in this respect (no need for prior video experience) please contact us (dftbanews@gmail.com) We are also looking for a manager for this, who will be one of the most senior members of the organisation. Whether you have worked with us in the past, or present, or have never before we would love you to get involved in providing a high quality news service to Nerdfighteria.

Writing: Quite Frankly we can never have enough writers, whether on a weekly, or even monthly basis we encourage you to get involved.

Other:  Part of growing is the constant search for new ideas, and if any of you are interested in bringing DFTBA News in a new direction we would welcome you with open hands.

And if you enjoy our content, thank you. We try hard to provide good quality content for our readers, that is why we do this, not for any other reason.  DFTBA

~Sean

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DFTBA Sports: Olympic Snafu

29/07/2012

I have always been of under the impression that the Olympics are supposed to express unity, peace, and healthy competition. A time for the world to set aside its differences and celebrate the fact that we are all human and we are all alive.  A lot of my co workers, at my regular job not DFBTA News, think that its just a ploy to get money and its over commercialized.

I didn’t really want to believe them until I read that NBC would not be airing the opening ceremony live; they would instead be putting it on a time delay to maximize ad revenue.  NBC suits gave the excuse that they were delaying it so that more families could watch.  While I understand their point and more people were able to watch it when it was aired they still should have had it available online for people to watch it live if they wanted to.

Continuing on with opening ceremony issues NBC also cut out a portion of the opening and instead choose to air a prerecorded interview of Micheal Phelps by Ryan Seacrest.  There is a bit of question about exactly what the roughly 6 minute portion was but most are in agreement that it was a memorial wall tribute to life and death with an emphasis on 52 British nationals who died on 7/7/2005 the day after London won the bid for the 2012 Olympics.

I also heard and ESPN host make mention that they were giving medal results before races were actually aired in the US.  Again, if you want to do a time delay then you need to have a time delay on your reporting too.  There are some people who are diehards and will watch the events online and know the information.  However, if you goal is to cater to those who will watch it on TV the you need to stick to that plan and not report whenever you feel like it about what ever you want.

This wouldn’t all be that horrible except that in the US NBC owns exclusive rights to the 2012 Olympics.  Which means that even though they are using YouTube for some of their streaming you cannot see the opening ceremony in its entirety and it appears the 7/7 memorial wall tribute has been taken down due to “copyright infringement”.

Look, I get it that NBC wanted to show the opening ceremony during prime time.  I even kinda understand if they didn’t want to show it on their website until after they had shown it on prime time.  It is not a decision I would have made had such a decision been mine to make but I can somewhat understand it.  But, please tell me why it is not available yet?  I cannot find it ANYWHERE online.  Granted, I am not some major internet sleuth who can find anything anywhere but I would think something this popular would be easy to access.

Going forward I think the Olympic committee needs to tell who ever gains the rights to the Olympics they are required to air the entire opening and closing ceremonies commercial free live!  If they want to do that on the internet then fine, even better if they would do it on television.

~Peeta

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YouTube Famous IS a Thing

26/07/2012

I cannot express how much it bugs me when people who have a dedicated following claim to not “Famous”. Look I get it, half of your appeal is that you are on YouTube and you want to seem like a normal person. Also, it is true that you are not as famous as say Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Amanda Seyfried or Jennifer Lawrence but you are still famous.

Famous: adj. – having a widespread reputation, usually of a favorable nature; renowned; celebrated: a famous writer or YouTuber

I know that people like Shay Carl don’t “feel” famous and they are just doing their jobs. However as YouTube shows become more and more accepted and, *gasp*, mainstream it is more and more likely that the boundaries that are there for YouTubers, that do not exist for TV or Film stars, will start to come down. This is something that will do those, who make a living out of YouTube, folks a world of good. The sooner they can get out in front of this the better its going to be.

The scary part is that with a thin, although false, veil of security by not believing they are famous YouTubers they are setting themselves up for a big fall.It is the false sense of security that causes people to become over confident and then make a mistake they will regret.Make no mistake; I am not saying that we should be waiting for indictments to be handed down to any YouTubers but sometimes it takes a very small indiscretion for something to be blown out of proportion.

Most people would agree that a situation is easier to handle when you get out in front of it and know what to expect.So the sooner YouTubers that make a living doing YouTube are accept that they are famous, even if it’s not a typical brand of famous, then they will be able to handle the situations that will arise better.

~Peeta

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The Nerd Fighter Directory Has Arrived

25/07/2012

Here at DFTBA News we like to keep you up to date with things that are going on in the world as well as things that are going on in the realm of Nerd Fighters.  We brought you information and interviews on the DFTBA Short Story Contest (which is still going on btw) and now we bring you the latest Nerd Fighter Project, the Nerd Fighter Directory.  I could explain to you about how this is going to do all kinds of neat things that might make you feel the feels, instead I just interviewed the creator.

DFTBA: Can you tell us your name?

Kate: My name is Kate Appleby, and on Tumblr my primary account is captain-kate

DFTBA: How did you find the Nerd Fighter Community?

Kate: A few years ago, a friend of mine discovered the Vlogbrothers and introduced me to their YouTube Channel.  I didn’t get into it until a year or so after that because I didn’t really understand what it was all about, but I eventually came to love it thanks to the humor, intelligence, and passion of Hank and John

DFTBA: Does that make you a Nerd Fighter? and what makes you a Nerd Fighter?

Kate: Absolutely! As Hank and John have said, the only qualification to being a Nerdfighter is wanting to be one, but I do think it’s also a bit more than that. I think Nerdfighters tend to be innately good people who are enthusiastic, kind, and helpful.

DFTBA: For those that don’t know yet what is the Nerd Fighter Directory?

Kate: The Nerdfighter Directory is a project I created to help Nerdfighters connect with one another. It is a location-based directory of Nerdfighters who request to be included. I ask that each person who wants to be in the Directory include at least one place where they can be contacted, whether that be Tumblr, Twitter, a personal website, or anything else. That way, you don’t have to create a new account on any site to be included. You don’t even have to have a Tumblr to request to join.

DFTBA: What caused you to decide to set up the NFD?

Kate: After speaking with John on Twitter about the growing Nerdfighter community and its needs, I decided that there needed to be a better way for Nerdfighters to find each other. The community has grown so big and vibrant lately with the release of The Fault in Our Stars as well as the new Crash Course and SciShow channels, and it can be hard to find people with whom to connect. Sure, you can sift through YouTube comments or use a tracked tag on Tumblr, but that doesn’t facilitate interaction as well as knowing ways that actual Nerdfighters want to be contacted. I chose to make it location-based for two reasons. For one, just knowing someone nearby means you can expand your conversation to more things than just Nerdfighteria. You might share a common native language with someone, or it might be someone you met an event and never got the chance to introduce yourself to. It gives people a chance to have some common ground. Secondly, meeting up with fellow Nerdfighters in person is very fun. People in this community share a lot of interests, and so it’s easy to find things to do with other members. I do however advise that anyone who is considering meeting other people from the internet look into some safety tips (I’ve posted some on TNFD’s homepage) and to exercise caution.

DFTBA: Do you have an end goal or is it something more organic?

Kate: I would say the end goal is simply to have a functional and substantial directory that Nerdfighters can use to connect with one another. Of course, if it becomes more than that, that would be great too! I think Nerdfighters uniting behind something is a formidable force, so if the Directory could be used to decrease world suck, that would be awesome.

DFTBA: Do you have any other projects you have thought about working on with in the Nerd Fighter Community?

Kate: Not really, but if the NFD becomes successful it could give way to other projects, which I would love. I think Nerdfighteria makes a great community, so being involved in any way is really incredible. With so many aspects of the community, I think there is a lot of room for more projects to be created, and I encourage anyone who has an idea for a project to try it out.

That is Kate and the NFD.  As Kate mentioned, sharing your information online is at your own risk.  When we first checked the NFD for content a lot of folks seemed to share just their name and state with the Tumblr information as a form of contact.  Remember you only have to give the information that you want and then you can get to know people as you see fit and meet them in your own time.

~Peeta

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DFTBA Sports: Penn State

25/07/2012

July 23rd, 2012: the day that the past, present, and future of Penn State football was irrevocably changed. In the wake of the child abuse scandal, involving assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, that rocked both the university and, indeed, the entire United States, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced a wholly unprecedented list of punishments for the university. Although nothing could be done to reverse the actions of Sandusky, the NCAA, as the national governing body for collegiate athletics, felt that it was necessary for measures to be taken to ensure that the molestation of children, as well as the inaction of figures such as head coach Joe Paterno, did not go unpunished, and that nothing of the sort would ever happen again.  Emmert was quoted saying, “Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing, and protecting young people

Firstly, Penn State University was fined $60 million, the equivalent of the profit that would’ve resulted from the school’s football program in a given year. The money will now go towards charities dedicated to the fight against child abuse. It was important that the NCAA punish not just the football program, but also the university itself. This helps reinforce the fact that there was a seriously harmful culture present in the school; that football is the priority, over all else. Hopefully this money can go some way towards helping victims recover, or stop any incidents happening in the first place. It would be prudent for Penn State to donate more than the required amount, putting some of the funds into raising awareness. They have an opportunity here to become one of the major players in the fight against child abuse; simply complying and paying up what is required is not enough.

Secondly, all of the football team’s wins from 1998 to 2011 were nullified. This was done due to the part that head coach Joe Paterno played in covering up the transgressions of Sandusky. This sanction by the NCAA seems futile, not being immediately obvious how it aids the victims. However, it was crucial that they not allow Paterno to remain the football icon that he was prior to all this. He was the all-time win leader, with 409, but the vacating of fourteen years of wins lowered him to twelfth place on the list. This is the NCAA’s way of showing that although Paterno was seemingly above the law at Penn State, his heroic status, both on-campus and nationwide, should count for naught when such allegations are presented.

Thirdly, the portion of the punishments focused on the future of the football program. Penn State received a four-year postseason ban, meaning that regardless of their win-loss record, they may not participate in any bowl games, including the National Championship game. While many would argue that this is unjustly fair on current players, who had nothing to do what the incidents for which they’re being punished, I would argue that it is fair. It is more of a punishment for the university, as they will receive neither the monetary profits nor the boost to their university’s reputation such games would provide. Meanwhile, any players that have the talent to play in the NFL will not lose out on that opportunity due to the inability to play in the postseason. The final sanction may affect that opportunity though: the football team will lose twenty scholarships for each of the next four years. This means that instead of being able to attract the very best players coming out of high school with the promise of a free ride in university, the team will instead have to rely more or walk-on players, regular students who pay for their education but regularly must go through try-outs to have a chance of making the team. As a result, Penn State will be losing almost the equivalent of an entire roster of quality players. This is potentially even more crippling a punishment than that given to MSU, whose team was banned for a year, which eventually resulted in them failing to register a winning record for twenty years.

In the end, the penalties imposed by the NCAA on Penn State are harsh, but just. While some of them do not affect child abuse victims directly, they show that the attitude shown by those at the university, that football comes first, is absolutely intolerable. I believe that these sanctions will result in child abuse and any other egregious crimes being dealt with more fervently and directly, and if all that costs is the performance of a football team, then all the better.

~Liam

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The Olympics

23/07/2012

Sport is an interesting thing. It is something so seemingly pointless, yet at the same time it is one of the greatest inventions of all of mankind. I think that no one would disagree with anyone who pointed out that sport doesn’t feed the hungry in Africa, or save lives in Syria. However sport fulfils something more, something that has ached within the collective consciousness of humanity since the day that those cavemen, upon discovering fire staggered out of their cave, looked out into the world, and said “yes, this is my domain, what shall I do with it?”

Humanity has long been the master of Earth, we may do as we please. But when those athletes stride forth on Friday, lead by the ever-shining beacon of hope that is that fire, that symbol of human achievement, of the collective achievement of all of us, that is when humanity is seen. Sure the Olympics will not save lives, they will not build baby incubators, and wars will not be stopped. However as a species, we are more than the individual, we are the collective, we are those who hunger and thirst for the sweetest of fruits, that of progress and brilliance.

I think no story of the Olympics sums it all up better than this. There is a man who is running in the 400m track and 4x400m relay who is a double amputee. He cannot walk like the rest of us, he has every reason to think he could never get anywhere near the heights sport. But here he is, running in the Olympics. Oscar Pistorius is the man who is the Olympics. He shows that undying spirit of humanity, that hope that Hazel finds in The Fault in Our Stars, that feeling that yes, as we go through life there are times where we can stand high. There are times that we can rise above the hostilities of our world, or the faults in our stars, because they can be overcome, they can be surpassed.

Sometimes I doubt, I doubt that I can achieve anything, I wonder whether I am the Patrick, eking out that meagre life while the sword of Damocles sways above my head. Humanity struggles with self doubt but for every moment of doubt somebody has, there is a man like Oscar, who had so much to doubt, so much to feel sorry for himself for, who will be running alongside champions who have been honed from birth, who have everything.

I really hope he wins, but he is better than any torch no matter what.

~Sean