A regular spot to share some ideas about what’s good and what’s not on the interwebthingy. But, you know, it’s your life, so feel free to agree, disagree or ignore what follows.
What caught my attention last week
Spotting Sports Corruption
Corruption in sport involves New Zealanders, and not just when they’re overseas. Jockey David Walker has been banned for seven years.
Where ever there is sports gambling there is the potential for corruption of the participants. The risks increase hugely, I think, with ‘spot betting’: that is, wagers on particular events within the game, rather than simply the outcome of the game.
Walker, for example, bet on head-to-head events: that is, that the horse he was riding would finish behind another particular horse. First, that’s a ridiculous and pointless wager. And so is “first try scorer” and all the other nonsense. Second, detecting fixes of those intra-game events is much harder than seeing an overall fix which would involve many more people.
Banning spot bets would be a good start to squashing the opportunity for corruption.
This would be hilarious if it wasn’t murderously dangerous: Gambia has passed a law against “aggravated homosexuality”.
Meanwhile, the New York Times has an interview with Li Yinhe about her work on historical and contemporary Chinese attitudes towards sex.
Chinese people’s view of sex is different than foreigners’. Chinese view it as purely a physical desire. Who your partner is—male or female—or how you express it doesn’t matter.
Whip It Good
Now that Scottish independence is off the table (for awhile), attention turns to exactly what “devo-max” might actually mean. No, not a tribute band to 1970s techno-pop, but maximised political autonomy within the United Kingdom.
Peter Edge at HistoryToday highlights that the United Kingdom already contains a diversity of constitutional models, including the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man is equidistant between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Following a turbulent period, switching from the Scots to the English and back again as a spoil of war, the Isle of Man passed into the dominions of the English Crown at the end of the 14th century. It did not thereby become part of England. Instead it was a feudatory kingdom, where a powerful English noble held it, initially as ‘King’, but from 1504 as the more politic ‘Lord’. The Lords of Man were the monarchs of the island, with obligations to their feudal overlord, the English, later British, Crown.
The Archaeology of A Genocide
Sobibor was a Nazi extermination camp in Poland opened in March 1942. After an inmates’ uprising on 14 October 1943, the camp was closed and the Nazis tried to obliterate the fact that it had ever existed. Archaeologists have been working at the site for eight years, and they have now dug down to the gas chambers themselves.
This won’t convince the Holocaust Deniers – evidence never will – but for the rest of us, it’s critically important to honour the victims and remember the crime.
What I’m Trying To Ignore Next Week
U2 – Note to Apple: if you’re going to give me some freebie music, make sure it’s stonkingly hot, not some warmed-up left overs . Or you could give the money to people who need it for some actual food.