We’re moving

So, five years after osirra.com was created as the home of Tangential Ramblings, it has moved house.  Only round the corner though.  Please read on if you’d like to continue subscribing to the blog.

Tangential Ramblings has moved to http://blog.osirra.com.  The plan is to use the main http://www.osirra.com domain for an altogether more professional presence, advertising my company’s offerings and being the home of my less bizarre side; and there won’t be much in the way of cross-linking from the sublime to the ridiculous.  For the next few days, it will continue to point to Tangential Ramblings, to allow you a few days to accommodate the change.

The new sub-domain (http://blog.osirra.com) is already working, so please change your bookmarks and subscription details so that you’re not caught looking for the old blog come the big switch.  All being well, the new http://www.osirra.com site will be going live on Monday, the fifth anniversary of the domain.

Please comment if you have any questions.  And welcome to the new home—grab yourself a glass, and cheese and pineapple on a stick.

Newcastle relegated, I think

For whatever reason, BBC Sport chose the last day of the Premier League season to re-arrange its live updates page.  Its main new feature is that instead of appearing at the top of the main content area, the latest scores appear in the right-hand column.

While it looks fine and dandy on the web, the page has a fundamental flaw when viewed on a mobile: the right-hand modules, including these live scores, are nowhere to be seen.  So you have to follow each and every textual update in an attempt to figure out what the latest scores are.

Thankfully, the fact that Newcastle lost meant that I only had one score to concentrate on.

Please sort it out for next season, BBC.

My marathon running order

I’m not sure I’m cut out to do a marathon.  Which is a bit of a bitch given that I’ve entered into the ballot for LDN 2010.

I decided to get off my lazy arse last Sunday lunchtime while my daughter slept (which I just mis-typed spelt), and ran 6.32km in 32m 55s.  It was my first outing in twelve months, and I ran too far, too fast.

I spent the afternoon hacking and went downhill from there.  A visit to the doctor on Thursday morning equipped me with steroids and antibiotics, and fingers crossed they’re doing the trick, along with the ibuprofen, Lemsip and Strepsils.  Today is the first day I’ve felt good since.  Not great, but good.  But don’t speak to me.  My face is still hiding a wealth of ghastly goo that makes me sound like Monica in The One With Rachel’s Sister.  I’m fine-d!

Anyway, I was thinking.  If I am one of the “lucky” ones who gets selected in the ballot, I’ll run it (mentally) in the following order:

It would be very painful to do it in the reverse order, finishing four stints of 10km only then to have to do a further 2km, only to find you’ve still got 194m to run.

It’ll be tough to think of it that way, particularly with the big milestone banners throughout the route of the course.  But they’re probably all in miles, so maybe easier to ignore if I work in kilometres.

Snickers. Or is it a marathon?

I entered myself into the ballot for the London marathon yesterday.  I would have done it Monday had the site been able to deal with my traffic.  But it couldn’t; so I didn’t.

If I were successful in securing a place, it would be my first marathon, unless I decide to go for New York in November.  (That ain’t happening.)  I’ve done a few 10km runs in my time, peaking at 42m 30s a good few years back, my most recent such outing taking 45m 40s a year ago in the driving, driving rain.  And 15 years ago I did a half-marathon for fun on my own, catching the Metro to Tyneside with a couple of quid and my house keys in hand, and running back home to west Newcastle, an informal 13 miles or so.

Anyway, my name is in the tombola and come September/October, I’ll find out if I’ve got a place.  Fingers crossed, I think.

Three thousandths of a second

Last weekend in the Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying, practice or some such, two drivers completed the circuit in times three thousandths of a second apart.  I have no idea which drivers, but apparently it was significant, and led to Eddie Jordan (I think) suggesting that it was the equivalent of the width of a matchstick.

Based on Jenson Button’s pole position time of 1m 35.181s and the circuit length of 5.543km, he covered an average of 17.5cm every 0.003 seconds.  Matches are generally 50mm long by 2mm square.  So that equates to a match 4.36m in length.

Maybe Eddie meant one of those huge, ornamental matches that you can hang on the wall.

Lewis Hamilton is not a liar

The good ol’ I’m not a liar line from Lewis Hamilton. The statement sits perfectly whether he’s a liar or whether he’s not. If he’s not a liar, then the statement is correct; if he is, then it’s merely another lie.

The new F1 advertising model?

To bring Formula 1 sponsorship to the masses, why don’t they adopt a lottery-style approach?

They invite small companies to buy £100 "lottery" tickets,each with the chance of winning the rights to their logo appearing downthe side of the Brawn GP car when it whizzes around the Malaysian trackthis weekend.

5,000 tickets later and we have £500,000 in revenueand a lucky winner whose logo will be blazened upon TV screens theworld over.

Maybe that’s the advertising model for the cash-strapped sport that it has become.

Just a thought.

Contradictory headlines

BBC News’ headline "Adams ‘poised for administration’" is at odds with BBC Sport’s Arsene Wenger quote: Adams will be a success.

Which is it to be?

Premier League predictions

If at the start of the season you were to predict the finishing positions of the 20 Premier League teams and then compare your predictions with their actual finishing positions, if you had no previous knowledge of teams’ performance, what would be your expected margin of error? The measure here is the sum of the absolute differences between teams’ predicted and actual positions. So if every team was out by one (either over- or under-predicted), then it would be 20.

I’m not sure whether it’s easy to create a formula for n teams, but a random Excel trial of 26,126 such prediction sets yielded a minimum difference of 56 (an average discrepancy of 2.8 positions per team), a maximum of 192 (9.6 positions per team) and an average of 131 (6.6).

My brother’s performance in his work competition based on the teams’ current positions is 80, 0.4% of my random trials bettering this. Is 80 good? And where will he be in May?

Pace by distance

I read an article today on the Freakonomics blog about the relative paces of world record-holding athletes over different distances. Its specific focus was on who was indeed the fastest person in the world, and whether the 100m or the 200m world record holder was, on average, faster. (The point is somewhat moot now that Usain Bolt holds both records.) Anyway, I did some analysis.

Below is a chart I put together showing the average speed of different distances’ world record holders over 100m.

World record paces

Right-click and View Image for a closer look at the chart in FireFox; there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent in IE7. I’ve given cuts of the data every ten years, working back from 2008. For each series, data starts where records begin. The half-marathon has the steepest gradient in recent history, probably down to the event being taken more seriously in more recent years. (For completeness, the 1908 marathon record equated to 24.93 seconds per 100 metres, but its inclusion squashed the scale unnecessarily.) The 60m record is 9.9% slower in pace than the 100m record, but the 100m and 200m paces have pretty much kept in line with one another, the extra distance and the impact of the bend in the 200m being counterbalanced by the impact the acceleration has on the time of the 100m. Below is a closer look at these two.

World record paces: 100m and 200m

No conclusions; merely food for thought. Maybe.

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