Football Mascot Uga VII Bites the Dust: Breeding to blame?


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Before I retired to bed last night, I caught word (via the AJC) that the University of Georgia’s esteemed mascot Uga VII had passed on into that great Varsity parking lot in the sky. As I’m not a fan of American football, my reaction was muted. I hadn’t prayed for the team’s victory against Kentucky this weekend (though how’s that for a good omen, Kentucky?*), and I didn’t lose any sleep. But it did get me thinking about the plight of purebred dogs.
Uga VII was, of course, an English bulldog, a breed that’s gained a reputation for looking like wrinkled little fat men. But this wasn’t always the case. Like most breeds, they were originally bred for a purpose: the brutal sport of bull baiting. The practice survived up into the 19th century, but the dogs have lived on, albeit in a slightly altered form.
According to CNN news, breeders (particularly show breeders) have bred generation after generation to encourage that signature physical look: large jowls, stubby legs and thick shoulders. This exaggerated the features, making it hard for many modern dogs to breathe, walk and mate. As a result, the 135-year-old American Kennel Club has revised its standards to encourage healthier animals, while keeping the breed’s signature look.
There’s even a movement in Britain to go a step further and breed back the dog’s original, leaner (and healthier) look. The Old English Bulldog may effectively be extinct, but the Olde English Bulldogge Kennel Club continues to try to bring the animal back to its former glory. Just without the resurgence of cruel, medieval blood spectacles.
At any rate, Uga VII (again, DEAD AT AGE 4) will likely join its six chubby predecessors in the Athens stadium’s canine mausoleum — which is a surprise to me. I had always heard they were buried on the actual playing field, and that every now and then a particularly brutal tackle would dredge up bones.
* Unless, of course, the dog were actually, say, burned inside a giant Wicker Dog to ensure Georgia’s dominance on the field this weekend? You tell me, football fans. Force Animals to Promote College Athletics at How American Football Works How Dogs Work How Dog Shows Work Football Quiz (can you match my mighty score of three?)
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Running Exercises for Basketball Athletes

Basketball is a game of precision, finesse and polished skill. An athlete must be in peak physical condition in order to excel in the sport. Cardiovascular fitness and speed training are crucial elements in the conditioning process. There are simple running and sprint workouts that can provide the speed and stamina you need to succeed.
The most commonly known basketball sprint workout is the suicide. Begin at the baseline and sprint to the free throw line closest to you. Return to the baseline. Immediately sprint to the half court line. Again, return to the baseline. Turn to sprint toward the free throw line farthest from you and sprint back to the baseline. Finally, run the full length of the court at full speed and return to the starting point on the baseline. In order to improve your speed, time yourself and work on beating your best suicide time.
Footwork is key in an all-around basketball game. Defensive slides will improve footwork, increase speed and help your defensive game. Begin in a defensive stance with feet shoulder width apart, knees bent to a 90 degree angle, chest up and back straight and arms extended to either side and facing ahead. Start in the middle of the court and slide as quickly as possible from sideline to sideline. For a faster variation, have a friend or coach point in either direction as you slide, switching directions without warning.
In order to improve stamina, try the “Sweet 16” workout. Begin on the basketball sideline and run to the opposite sideline. Turn and run back, counting one for each trip made. Complete this circuit 16 times, and time yourself to beat the clock. This drill improves both endurance and speed.
Ladders can be run as a full sprint workout or as an endurance building moderate run. Begin on the baseline and run to the opposite baseline just one time, then rest 10 seconds. Run baseline to baseline twice. Rest 10 seconds. Run baseline to baseline three times, then rest. Complete this cycle until you’ve reached five trips down and back, then decrease the number back down to one. In order to maximize this workout to improve your basketball skill, complete the entire ladder while dribbling a basketball, alternating hands.

Good Foods for Football Players to Eat Before the Game

Pregame football meals should be eaten at least three hours prior to the start of a game and should consist largely of foods rich in carbohydrates. Protein and fat should be kept to a minimum because these nutrients take longer to convert into energy, which is of the utmost importance for a football player to perform optimally on the gridiron.
Carbohydrates are converted to energy quickly and come in two forms: simple and complex. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as whole-grain pasta, potatoes and whole-grain breads and cereals, while simple carbohydrates come in foods such as fruits, sugar and honey. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and then stores it as glycogen in muscle tissue. As you begin exerting yourself during the game, your body converts the glycogen back into glucose and uses it as energy. You can further enhance the amount of energy available to you during a football game with a diet in which carbohydrates account for about 70 percent of your caloric intake for two to three days before game day.
While protein plays a vital role in providing your muscles with energy, it is broken down too slowly to be effective in a pregame meal. Fats fall into the same category and, like protein, should be consumed in small quantities as part of a pregame meal. Incorporate protein into your pregame meal in the form of lean meats, such as turkey and chicken, or nuts, such as cashews or almonds. The meal¡¯s limited amount of fat should come from mainly from the ¡°good¡± fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsatured. You should keep the ¡°bad¡± fats, which include saturated and trans fat, to a minimum.
A 6-inch turkey breast and Swiss sub sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers is a good carbohydrate-rich pregame meal that is easy to make and will satisfy. Throw in some raw baby carrots and a small apple, and you¡¯ll be properly nourished for game time. If you¡¯re more in the mood for pasta, eat a healthy portion of spaghetti in marinara sauce with ground turkey meatballs with a side of steamed broccoli and rice. Your beverage choice should include either water or low- or nonfat milk.
Because football is a game that can last up to three hours, you might need to replenish your energy levels by eating or drinking something at halftime or during the game. Simple carbohydrates, such as sports drinks or fruit, are ideal for these situations because of how quickly the body converts them into energy. Pregame meals are not a time to sample new foods. Stick with foods your body is familiar with and avoid foods that may not agree with your digestive system. Also avoid foods that cause gas, such as cooked beans and cabbage.

Does breastfeeding make better babies?


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View Transcript here.
Topics in this Podcast: babies, child development, breastfeeding
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How Roller Derby Works

Imagine a hockey game, but replace the ice with a roller rink. Swap out the baggy jerseys for fishnet hose and tank tops, and abandon ordinary names in favor of pseudonyms like Tanya Hyde and Demi Gore. What you have is a reasonable facsimile of women’s roller derby. The scoring is completely different, but both sports are rowdy, raucous and sometimes punctuated with fights between the players.
Unlike professional hockey players, the vast majority of roller derby participants are unpaid. Most actually spend money on the sport — they purchase their own equipment and pay monthly dues to support their leagues. Teams usually practice several times a week, and injuries are common.
So why pay money to work, compete and possibly get hurt? Why take the time to re-learn to skate? What makes it fun??
We went behind the scenes with the Atlanta Rollergirls to find out.
Read on to learn about roller derby’s history, its rules and why it’s become so important to its players.

How Does Ionic Cleansing Work?

Ionic cleansing, or ionic foot bath, purports to remove toxins and other impurities in your body through the soles of your feet. Marketers of early ionic cleansing devices such as the Aqua Detox, an apparatus used in spas and sold to private consumers in the U.K. in the early 2000s, claimed the apparatus produced a frequency of positive and negative ions, which resonates through the body, stimulating your cells and rebalancing energy. Marketers of other ionic cleansing foot bath apparatuses, and practitioners that use them, claim that the devices remove pinworms, parasites, mucous, nicotine and even heavy metals. Purportedly, those who receive ionic cleansing experience better mental clarity and increased energy after treatments.
Ionic cleansing utilizes a foot bath apparatus that includes a bowl you fill with saltwater and electrodes contained inside that delivers a low-level electric current during treatment. You place your feet in the foot bath for around 30 minutes. The water in the bowl eventually turns the color of rust and develops a marked sludge on top. Those being treated believe that the water changes color because of the toxins being released through their feet.
Ben Goldacre, journalist for “The Guardian,” explained how ionic cleansing works in practice in his September 2004 “Bad Science” column. Goldacre placed metal electrodes in a bowl of salt water and attached them to a car battery with nails: the water in the bowl turned reddish-brown. Goldacre recruited a colleague to receive an ionic cleansing treatment using the Aqua Detox device. Samples from Goldacre’s experiment and from the spa treatment were sent to the Medical Toxicology Unit at New Cross for analysis. Results indicated that the change in color in both samples was the result of rusting that occurred as the metal electrodes corroded in the saltwater. No urea or creatinine — the small molecules of toxins that pass through the body through the sweat glands — was present in the water sample from the ionic cleansing treatment, Goldacre stated.
Dr. Stephen Barrett, co-founder of the National Council Against Health Fraud, describes ionic cleansing devices as medically useless, and reminds potential consumers that actual detoxification occurs in the liver, which modifies foreign substances so they can be processed by the kidneys. However, the concept of removing toxins through the feet may have one benefit. A similar expose of detox foot pads — adhesive devices that purported to remove toxins through the feet — by ABC’s “20/20” in April 2008 indicates that some people may feel better after treatments simply because they expected they would.

Why do we have leap years?

On the eve of the 21st century, some partied like it was 1999, while others doggedly worried about the world’s computers. The Y2K mess-that-wasn’t spurred its share of anxiety and bottled-water buying.
But there was another issue: The year 2000 was also a leap year. Would computer systems jettison their calendars, thinking the added last day in February was March 1, too?
We now know that things turned out OK on both fronts, but leap years are trickier than you might think. Why was 2000 a leap year, while 1900 wasn’t? It all depends on how long it takes the planet we call home to complete one orbit around the sun.
It turns out the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun is a little more than 365 days. Leap years, or those with the extra day of Feb. 29, compensate for our underestimating of the Earth’s orbit.
But how did we come to realize that leap years are necessary?
The short answer is that humans prefer round, neat units — like seconds, minutes, hours and days. Over time, however, our ability to measure the Earth’s rotation and orbit has become more refined and precise, forcing us to adjust how we track time over the centuries, whether it’s with paper-thin Dilbert calendars or glossy, hi-tech smartphones.
Here’s how it works: The Earth orbits the sun in a little less than 365.25 days. One common way to predict leap years is to see if the year can be evenly divided by four. It makes sense if you think about it: Those six extra hours each year add up to 24 hours (one whole day) over the course of four years. It’s like sucking down that free coffee after getting your frequent buyers card stamped four times.
Alas, there’s an exception to the “divisible by 4” rule (you knew there would be). For a while we’ve known of a more precise estimate of the Earth’s orbit. That number is about 365.2422 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds — a tad bit under the 365.25 days we just talked about. By comparing the numbers, you’ll see we’re now overestimating, even if it’s by a fraction. To make up for this, a rule states there can only be 97 leap years over the span of 400 years, not 100 as you might think [source: U.S. Navy]. One way to remember the rule is that years occurring at the turn of centuries — 1900 and 2000, for example — must be evenly divisible by 400. This is why 1900 wasn’t a leap year but 2000 was.

What Is a Pancake Block in Football?

No matter how talented your are as a running back in football, you won’t be able to help your team much if the offensive line doesn’t open holes along the line of scrimmage for you to exploit. When blocking for the running game, offensive linemen have to be very aggressive to knock defensive linemen and linebackers backwards or flat on their back.
The pancake block is a term that is used by offensive line coach and offensive linemen in football to describe a block that leaves a defensive player flat on his back as the running back goes through the hole. It represents a dominating victory by the offensive lineman over the defensive lineman or linebacker in order to open a sizable hole for the running back to exploit.
A pancake block is not an official statistic in high school, college or professional football. The term was first used by the Pittsburgh Panthers to describe All-America offensive tackle Bill Fralic’s blocking prowess in 1983 and ’84. As Fralic’s propensity for knocking opponents onto their back became known throughout the college football world, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff counted the number of times Fralic registered these type of blocks in a given game. The Pittsburgh media relations department labeled these blocks as “pancakes” and the term stuck. Nebraska started to use the term in association with its offensive line. When Ohio State offensive lineman Orlando Pace became the dominant blocker in the Big Ten, the team’s media relations department sent out magnetic pancakes to remind college football award voters of Pace’s remarkable talent.
Football is often statistically driven. Quarterbacks are lionized by their yardage totals and touchdown passes. Running backs are known for how much yardage they run and the average yards gained per attempt. Receivers are revered for their reception total. Offensive linemen have no official stats. As a result, publicizing the number of pancake blocks an offensive lineman records gives those underpublicized players a chance for some recognition.
The pancake block is always achieved on running plays. Offensive linemen with power, speed, agility and aggressiveness have a chance to put their opponent flat on their back. At the snap of the ball, the offensive lineman must fire out of his stance and hit the defensive lineman with a hard two-hand punch to the upper body. This must knock the defensive lineman off balance so that the offensive lineman can drive with his legs and put his opponent on the ground.

Weight Room Workouts for Pitchers

Getting the right weight room regimen can significantly improve a game on the mound. Pitching is one of the most physically taxing positions in all of sports. The high velocity movements and full body repetitive motions required by the position, make it critical to get the right weight routine for the pre-season and season.
Pre-season routines should include weightlifting three times per week and should start several months prior to the first practice to allow enough time for muscle development. Karl Kuhn, pitching coach for the number one ranked University of Virginia baseball team, points out that starters should lift within 48 hours of a start, and get a second, light lift, in on day four after a start. Kuhn’s relievers hit the weights two to three times per week, but never on or before a throwing day.
Coach Kuhn has his staff, which has garnered the top ERA in the country over the last six years, perform three sets of moderate weight at 15 repetitions during the season–designed to be in line with the projected number of pitches per inning.
Many pitchers, to their surprise, actually have much weaker shoulders on their throwing side. Pitchers must include a moderate intensity shoulder routine as many as five times per week. Perform two sets of 12 repetitions of exercises including shrugs, lateral shoulder raise, front shoulder raise, suprispinatus shoulder raises, overhead dumbbell press, and internal and external rotator cuff exercises. Never use heavy weight and focus on form and moving the weight in a controlled motion at all times.
Jeff Kamrath, former professional right-handed pitcher and current pitching instructor, often sees younger pitchers with poor abdominal strength, which is a limiting factor in performance. The Virginia Cavaliers’ pitching staff integrates connective tissue chords along with core body work five times a week throughout the season according to Coach Kuhn.
Include a full body stretching routine twice a week. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or longer. It is critical to stretch properly, with the correct force and time, to increase plastic elongation of soft tissue. The American Council on Exercise suggests using a static stretch of low force, and holding that stretch for an extended period of time (greater than 30 seconds).

The SMNTY Index: Football

Women’s Most-Watched Event
51 million: Number of women who watched the 2012 Super Bowl – a larger female audience than the Oscars, Grammys and Emmy Awards combined. (source: espnW)

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