Archive for August 23rd, 2008

That First Step is a Doozy

And they expect you to go head-first.

Panoramic view from the 10m divers’ platform

They’re There, and You’re Not

In a similar vein to finishing last in the Tour de France, there’s a website chronicling the last-place finishers in the Olympics. DFL

And if you’ve asked yourself, “Self, I wonder if I could compete in the Olympics?” The answer is almost certainly not.

During the 2006 Winter Games, I embarked on a study of the qualifying rules — how hard, I wanted to know, was it to qualify in each sport? As it turned out, very hard. Quotas on the total number of competitors per event. Minimum standards, including a certain number of points earned in international competition. And, even in the more open events, a basic requirement that you be a bona fide competitor with a record of participation. (I didn’t have time to check the summer events this time around, but I imagine the situation would be similar; apart from the wild card lottery, which is very limited in scope, it’s very very hard to get to the Olympics.)

These people are very talented, and train really long and hard. Even the ones who finish last.

What’s the Rolls Royce of Chemistry?

Disciplines of chemistry as retail chains. The IKEA of Chemistry

Total Synthesis- The Wal-Mart of Chemistry. Okay, before I alienate my tot. syn. friends with this one, let’s think about it. Typically, when modern reactions are developed, they are almost immediately put to task in syntheses of natural products, as proof of their usefulness. People go to natural products in a pinch, typically cause they have nowhere else to go. Much like Wal-Mart. Both Wal-Mart and total synthesis labs are open 24 hours. Also, both have gathered quite a bit of controversy in their exploitation of labor…

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