Saturday, August 02, 2008

Jim DeChamp

Here's what the LATimes reported about Jim DeChamp's forward flip attempt at the X Games:

DeChamp suffered a fractured vertebra when he bailed out in mid-flight and landed flat on his back at the bottom of the landing ramp, [Travis] Pastrana said. DeChamp lay still for a few minutes before walking off under his own power. What television viewers and those in attendance didn't see was DeChamp collapsing afterward in the athlete area.

"He said, 'Look, I've got to get up, I'm going to walk out of here,' " said Pastrana, who was by his side. "Then, he's like, 'cameras off?' I said, 'Yep,' and he just fell down and said, 'Take me to the hospital.' "

DeChamp would have completed the maneuver if he had stayed with the motorcycle, Pastrana said. However, DeChamp's inexperience at the X Games may have played a part in his indecisiveness.

"He just said it felt like everything was in slow motion, and it felt like he was in the air for eight seconds," Pastrana said. That made DeChamp feel like he was closer to the ground than he actually was, Pastrana said, and DeChamp was fearful of being crushed under the weight of his motorcycle.

"It's amazing, adrenaline slows everything down," Pastrana said.

Some thought DeChamp bailed out because he appeared to have overshot the landing ramp. In actuality, that was part of the plan, Pastrana said.

"If he landed at the bottom, he had a better chance of getting the rotation. He was perfect, but he thought he wasn't," Pastrana said.

Pastrana had the same sensation during his double back flip, only he had time between rotations to spot his landing. The front flip doesn't offer riders a sneak peak. "That second rotation was the longest second of my entire life," Pastrana said. "I can remember the crowd, I can remember everything."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Moto X Best Trick 2008: Video of medal winners

The gold medalist doesn't do a backflip, but takes his own body through a simultaneous barrel roll and backflip. I'm more enthused about the silver and bronze medal tricks. Unfortunately, the clip doesn't show these in slow mo which is necessary to get the full effect.

ESPN makes this video available for embed, but didn't make available the video of the failed front flip by Jim DeChamp. I found it on YouTube, though. This video is shot by someone who was at the event:

[Update: Initial reports last night were that DeChamp suffered compression fractures in a few vertebrae. He did walk away.]

The wacky world of economics

Just another example that proves my theory that any so-called "expert economist" one sees on tv or sees quoted in print is just spewing theories that have NOTHING to do with the reality of the American model. And the American model is that the stock market controls everything, while it should control nothing.

On the front page of the DMN news today is the following headline...

"Exxon sets record but sees stock fall"

So EM once again announces a record profit, earning $11.68 billion in the 2Q. However, EM's stock dropped 5% yesterday. Now what sense does that make? What "economic theory" does this fall into? And the reason the stock fell - because EM didn't earn what market analysts estimated. So the value of EM stock fell not because of what the company DID (break an earnings record), but because it didn't do (break the earnings record by more $$) what some analysts THOUGHT it should do. This makes no sense to me at all. The value of stock, or a company, should be based on how well do they do what they do, do they make smart business decisions, do they make money, etc. Not do they meet some forecast or ideal of analysts. The message here, in simplistic terms, is that it's not good enough to make more profit in a quarter than any company has ever made. So who or what is controlling the stock market - companies or analysts? And who should?

Later on in the article, there is another example of the power that the stock market has, which in my opinion is too much and is based not on reality, but on theories or perceptions or who knows what. Here are the closing 2 paragraphs of the front page article:

"Investors drove UP (emphasis mine) the share price of Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp., a smaller company that also tries to do it all, after it announced that it MIGHT (emphasis mine) split its exploration and production business and its refining and marketing business into two independent companies.

"You're dealing with a company that's much smaller in terms of market cap," said Mr. Harper. "But nonetheless, I think Marathon's SAYING (emphasis mine) the type of things investors want to hear in respect to maximizing shareholder value for the longer term."

So, Marathon's stock goes up based on them saying they might do something, while EM's goes down based upon something they actually did, which is make record profits. Guess if EM wants their stock price to go up, and therefore maximize shareholder value, it should just start saying things rather than actually doing something. Yea, that makes lots of sense.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

MotoX Best Trick

is part of the X Games. It's on ESPN now. Looking forward to seeing where the riders have taken the sport to this year. Maybe a forward flip!

[Update: Make that "attempted" forward flip.]

[Update II: does it count if the bike lands upright on its wheels, though the rider landed a tad earlier in the dirt?]

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama as Con Law Prof

In researching Obama's time as a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, the NYTimes collected some of his teaching materials. Here's his 1996 exam and his answer memo. If you find any errors in his answer memo, I'm sure the NYT reporter would be happy to hear about it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"It's all downhill from here"

What does the phrase mean? Some folks use it to mean that everything hereafter will be easier, as in the hard part of climbing to the peak is past; now we can coast; everything is now better. Others use it to mean that nothing hereafter will be as great as it was at its peak; now everything will be worse.