August 16, 2008

Sprinters ...


Here's my favorite Olympic sprinting picture: Barcelona in 1992, the 4x100 meter relay, Carl Lewis followed by the Nigerian anchorman and the little Cuban anchorman who looked like Super Mario, all celebrating their medals after they crossed the finish line, not 30 meters before it as Jamaican Usain Bolt did tonight. With the race barely half over, Bolt dropped his arms to his sides like Muhammad Ali, thumped his chest to taunt his Jamaican rival Asafa Powell (and teammate in next Saturday's relay, but who's thinking ahead?), and mugged for the cameras, all before cantering across the finish line, still seven feet ahead of the field in a world record time of 9.69. (Here's the video.)

Sprinters ...

Here's my June post on Usain Bolt and the general topic of doping in Olympic sports, with some interesting comments on runners and swimmers (e.g., Dara Torres) by people who know a lot more than me.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

51 comments:

Mark said...

Barcelona was better in all sorts of ways. It's torch lighting ceremony, in all its simple beauty, easily outdid the $300 million Chinese high-tech extravanganza. (In case you're wondering about the archer, he was a paralympian whose legs were damaged by polio).

Lucius Vorenus said...

There's a word that I want to use to describe Usain Bolt, but obviously it would never pass censorship muster here at iSteve, so let's just say that Bolt is a boorish, troglodytic creep.

But folks, Bolt & his ilk represent the future of the planet - the good people aren't making enough babies, and the bad people are breeding like the cockroaches that they are.

[Will the word "cockroach" pass censorship muster, or is it too inflammatory?]

PS: Obviously Bolt is the most imposing physical specimen ever to set foot on a track or a field, but wow, what a jackass.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Mark: Barcelona was better in all sorts of ways.

Enjoy your precious memories of those games - buy a copy of Whit Stillman's masterpiece of the same name, and, if you absolutely have to, then see if you can figure out a way to watch Vicky Cristina for free [I hate to give that filthy pervert Woody Allen so much as a wooden nickel of my money, and I certainly don't want to give him the smug self-satisfaction of thinking that I actually watch his foul movies].

But anyway - enjoy what glimpses you can get of Barcelona, because the Spanish simply aren't making any babies, and in another ten or fifteen years, the nation of Spain will be effectively extinct:

List of countries and territories by fertility rate
en.wikipedia.org

Spain, CIA: 1.30 [up from 1.15]
Spain, UN: 1.41 [up from 1.29]

[That slight uptick in Spanish fertility is almost certainly due to Muslim immigrants.]

A Portrait of Europe's Aging Population
businessweek.com

...the decrease in numbers has been greatest in Spain, where the young population has diminished by 44% in the 1990 to 2005 period...

Anonymous said...

The question posed is, "Was Bolt's act maladaptive?" This is a much tougher question, as ultra-high fitness animals can signal this fact (to potential mates, etc) by such acts a lesser rival could not (e.g., burning a $100 bill.)

Obviously this man did the basic functionals (won the gold, set the record) and in addition gained massive *worldwide* media coverage. Just imagine how many additional Jamaican women he'll later bed, all of whom would be happy to jump in the sack with him, and the monster orgasms they'll have....

halfbreed said...

Carl Lewis was actually guilty of celebrating victories before the finish line on numerous occasions. I remember seeing him run the 200 once in 19.75, lifting his arms in victory a good 20 meters before the finish. At the time, the WR was 19.72, and I thought, why would he just throw away a world record like that? I've come to the conclusion, they just can't help it. It's instinctive. There's an expression in track, which would also not pass muster here, which refers to celebrating a victory ike that (I suspect it incorporates the same term Lucius Vorenus didn't use). Having said that, I actually found Bolt's behavior sort of amusing. Picture yourself in his situation: you're about to run the finals of the 100 meter dash at the Olympics, the title of world's fastest man is about to be awarded, billions of people are watching, millions of dollars in endorsements etc. hinge upon your performance, this is what you've been training for all your life, and this is obviously the apex of your career. Most of us -- myself included -- would be so nervous we'd practically be wetting ourselves. (I used to get so nervous before ordinary college dual meets in swimming that my heart rate would go above one hundred around four hours before my event and would stay there till after). So what is Bolt doing? He's clowining around in the blocks doing a cute little dance for his and everybody else's amusement. At a certain level this is admirable: one is tempted to think, wow, what courage, what nerves of steel, what a man. And all of that is true. But if you think just a little deeper about the implications, you also have to come to the conclusion that this is the behavior of someone who is completely uninhibited, someone with scant concern for the future, and someone with a narcissistic degree of self-confidence -- all, btw, traits associated with sociopathy. Bolt is what the media in its more honest moments refers to as a "man-child", MSM code for "typical black". And while Bolt's behavior is almost charming to observe at the Olympics, it's often indicative of the same personality type which lives entirely in the moment, i.e., which doesn't hesitate to commit violent crime, which doesn't save money for the future, which forces itself upon sexual victims. People can (and should) admire Bolt for his nerve and hyper-androgenized athletic ability, but they should also recognize the correlation of that mindset with the living conditions in places like Port au Prince or Lagos or much of Jamaica.

blunderbuss said...

Kind of hard to do while swimming, but just compare Phelp's behavior - a truly great, humble athelete - to Bolt...i believe physical structure plays a part in swimming - blacks have denser bones, and i believe inteligence plays a part- jews, japanese, both excel at swimming - it takes higher self discipline - and channeling natural ability - which is also why you see whites/chinese/others start to compete with blacks on the hurdles - as the skill level goes up natural black prowess is less of a factor

PatrickH said...

About whether Bolt is juiced: when you consider how much of the progression in the 100m dash world record since the untechnologized 9.96 of Bob Hayes has come about because of doping specifically, that Usain Bolt could improve an already drug-saturated WR by that much WITHOUT doping is very, very implausible. Pace Peter, I assume all WRs in the 100m are set by dopers. That event has long since passed the undoped limits of human performance. We're in science fiction land now. Bolt is almost certainly on something.

Oh, and some steroids give competitive advanatages without resulting in excess muscularity. Haloteston, for example, is used by endurance athletes to restore competitive drive depleted by exhausting training and a long competitive season. Haloteston increases strength, drive, pain resistance, aggression, but not with concomitant weight gain. Enduro athletes don't want slabs of muscle, and drugs like Halo give them the other benefits without the weight gain.

Other stuff works like that too. When you hear about athletes using "heavy weight training" to improve their performance, you need to ask yourself, "What improved their ability to do heavy weight training in the first place?" And, "If heavy weight training is so effective, why didn't you use it before?"

Bertie Booser said...

The split times for each 10 metres of Bolt's run show that the celebration cost him about 0.07/sec.

Perhaps his plan is to break the world record incrementally over the next couple of years in order to maxismise his income.

rosh said...

Phelps is a awkward bore who would turn few heads if he wasn't an exceptional athlete. Bolt, although not a compelling figure either, is theoritically what athletes should be at this level with all the corresponding media hype - entertaining.

If you suggest that intelligence is associated (in a causal sense) with swimming because jews and japanese do well, then you would be laughed out of stats 101. Most rowers come from elite schools; therefore, does intelligence play a part in rowing? I think the more obvious explanation is that these sports along with gymnastics, tennis, etc are fairly expensive, and they require a long and a very committed cultivation period beginning at a early age. This requires a certain economic profile, which makes it impractical for many blacks. Not to suggest that blacks don't have some physical disadvantages in water, but I doubt it reaches the level of the black-white gap in sprinting. As Steve has suggested, black kids tend to be uninterested in sports that blacks can't completely dominate. I think this hurts black representation in sports in which blacks could perhaps occasionally do well.

Christopher said...

On a possibly more Steve-ish note, check out Michael Johnson's commentary after the race. He, Mr. Johnson, an african-american, gets to at least partially allude to, by innuendo, without apparent fear of reprisal or challenge, the common knowledge about dominance in sprinting by West Africans. "This goes back to what I was saying before... that was the best in the world; there's nobody out there, there's no, you know what I mean? [unless?] there's somebody out there, you know [?] in the jungles or somewhere..." http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6pHs0-3bQ

albertosaurus said...

Steve,

I don't really understand why you and so many others are concerned about "doping" or other performance enhancing technologies.

Sports competitions are inherently artificial. They only have meaning within a rules context. If it weren't for the rules I myself could win any of the shooting contests. I would simply shoot the other competitors first. OK, that's a joke, but the point holds. The winner's status only has meaning if he/she conforms to the rules.

So why not allow athletes to to use as much testosterone and Growth Hormone as they wish? If the restictions on HGH and T were removed there would still be performance differences and there would still be races and race winners - maybe not the exact same individuals, but someone will win and the fans will cheer.

Currently athletes compete in genetic inheritance, training and doping detection technology. If all athletes were free to use whatever drugs they wished then the playing field would be potentially more level.

It's true that it's hard to compare Barry Bonds to Babe Ruth when Bonds has been so juiced up. But that was also true before anyone ever heard of anabolic steroids. Ruth benefitted from the very favorable Yankee Stadium architecture. He also benefitted from being the essentially the first player to seriously pursue the home run.

For example, when Ruth first hit 58home runs in a year the former record by "Home Run Baker" had been 12. In the year he hit 60 no other American League team had scored that many homers. These changes to the game were incredible to baseball fans at the time. For Bonds or McGuire to have had a similar impact they would have needed to have hit at least two or three hundred homers in a single year.

The truth is that baseball fans are used to making statistical adjustments. They honor Yastremski's 1968 batting championship even though it was quite low by historical standards. They realize that no one ever hit a home run to center field at the Polo Grounds.

A testosterone enhanced Bolt might run the 100 in 9.5 or 9.4. So what?

It is often argued that Testosterone is bad for the health of the athlete - perhaps so, but again so what? Auto and motorcycle racing predictably yield flaming death. Riding the big surf I'm told has a lot of fatalities. Many sports like sky diving are mainly appealing because they involve danger. Sometimes when I watch football I think it was invented by greedy orthopedic surgeons.

The health consequences of track stars juicing themselves up seems slight to me.

However I would encourage medicine to understand hormone doping better so that there are fewer unfavorable consequents. Just as I encourage racers to wear seat belts and football players to wear helmets.

Civilians now use seat belts in their cars - a technology orginally developed for the race track. Neighborhood kids on bicycles wear helmets originally designed for the football field.
I myself wear a seat belt in my car and a motorcycle helmet on my bike.

I would like to take testosterone and Human Growth Hormone too but first I want a generation of athletes to field test them.

Anonymous said...

Bolt is a good name for a sprinter!

Usain I assume is a version of Hussein...

Bunny said...

Bolt was so relaxed and indifferent that he even had one of his shoelaces undone..
http://www.foxsports.com.au/beijing_olympics/story/0,27313,24194652-5014104,00.html

beowulf said...

Bolt won the gold and set a new world record-- if he had time to spare to stop and eat breakfast before crossing the finish line (as the high wire acrobat Blondin once did while crossing above Niagara Falls), then I say eat up, big boy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blondin

He's not a freakin' heart surgeon or infantry officer, he's a professional athlete who competes for our entertainment. And that was certainly entertaining.

dearieme said...

Ah, the hurdles: in the same week at school, they taught us to hurdle 3 foot 6 and to high jump, by Straddle and Western Roll, at 3 foot.

Concerned said...

1. Carl Lewis doesn't have any kids - to my knowledge.

2. Carol Lewis doesn't either. She's also gotten very fat.

3. My favorite Olympics - Sydney.

4. The NBC coverage has been Chinese culture Chinese culture 24/7. Was the Sydney Olympics an orgy of Australian culture? Was the Barcelona Olympics an orgy of Spanish culture? Please someone explain what is going on here. In all the propaganda about traditional Chinese culture, including Chinese medicine, no one mentioned hunting endangered species for body parts. No one has mentioned the barbarity of footbinding was stamped out only 60 years ago.

5. I am tired of Debbie Phelps. Where is Michael Phelps's father?

Concerned said...

Oh by the way - didn't you enjoy the Trinidadian silver medalist last night? He rolled on the floor in jubilation, as if winning the silver medal were an accomplishment to be proud of (which it is), rather than the petulant shamefacedness of so many silver medalists. Bravo!

Mark said...

So why not allow athletes to to use as much testosterone and Growth Hormone as they wish? If the restictions on HGH and T were removed there would still be performance differences and there would still be races and race winners

Why not? Because the natural dangers of sporting competitions should not be augmented with artificial ones. Doping has health consequences, which are sometimes huge. Take away testing and they would become even greater. Even an imperfect testing regime has positive consequences for athletes' health and for the sport, by keeping doping below detection levels.

For more detailed data on this, see here.

The NBC coverage has been Chinese culture Chinese culture 24/7. Was the Sydney Olympics an orgy of Australian culture? Was the Barcelona Olympics an orgy of Spanish culture?

The Atlanta coverage constantly talked about the "redemption" of Atlanta from the sins of slavery and Jim Crow. The Syndey coverage obsessed about Australia's "redemption" from its treatment of aborigines. Barcelona's a bit far back, but I'm sure they talked on end about the "redemption" of Spain from those evil fascists. I'm sure they recalled the expulsion of the Moors and (especially) the Jews.

Which makes me wonder about China. Have they mentioned the evils of Mao, Tiananmen, or forced abortions? The male cyclists road right through the Square on opening day and the commentators didn't mention it once. I've watched quite a bit of coverage, and haven't seen any mention of "redemption" for past sins.

Then again, you can't really talk of redemption if they've made no attempt to apologize.

And re: black athletic behavior. Yes, it's often appalling. But then we can use more objective data (crime rates, dropout rates) to prove that.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

albertosaurus - yes all sports are inherently artificial. They are set-aside symbolic spectacles that cultures use to act out their important values. We love the archetypal wily old pro holding off the talented wave of newcomers; we love the naturals and the obsessive workers for different reasons; we pay close attention to teamwork even when it is irrelevant to a sport; we have strong opinions about how winners should act. Such enactments are the only reason sports entertain us much (which is why we "root for laundry" a la Seinfeld).

We can therefore choose to make doping a problem or not, as we wish. The strong national sentiment seems to be officially in favor of non-steroidal athletes as the value we wish to express. That many of us don't really believe that and just want more superhero athletes regardless of how they happen illustrates the tension between the two values. We can't have both - which do we really want? I believe that over time we will choose the doping, though I hope I am wrong.

master_of_americans said...

Albertosaurus, doesn't your question answer itself? There is a rule against athletes using steroids, HGH, etc., and so athletes who use them are cheating. They are not competing at the same game everybody else is. Generally, the goal of the rules of a spectator sport is to make the competition more enjoyable for the spectator. I think this falls int that category: a competition to see who has the best genes is inherently interesting ... a competition to see who takes the most drugs, not so much.

Anonymous said...

albertosaurus is right.

Think about graphics cards. The enormous investment in graphics technology (and concomitant scientific benefits) happened because of video and PC games. Now we have vector processors on all kinds of computers, and general purpose GPU computation is just getting started.

Without the entertainment, that capital spend would never have happened.

Similarly, the focus on doping is misplaced. Athletes should be censured if they use drugs with seriously *harmful* side effects. Drugs which *do not* have bad side effects, which increase strength and fitness, are a *good thing* and should be sought out and encouraged and covered in the popular press, just like the latest Speedo suits or Nike shoes or Pistorius' prosthetics.

Just as with PC games, seemingly trivial athletics will drive serious technology improvements that will benefit all mankind. Those guys will be willing guinea pigs for all humans, trying out the latest juice. Sure, some of them might not work, but what new medical treatment happened without mistakes? You think open heart transplants happened without some deaths along the way? No guts, no glory...no risk, no reward. It's a symbol of our feminized culture that even sports heros have to be "safe" lest they give a bad impression to youth.

Think about it -- the TV broadcasts gangsta rap and encourages all kinds of risk taking with *negative* consequences for the greater society, but any suggestion that people should take risks with *positive* consequences for the greater society is met with pearl clutching about "the children".


I saw recently that Tierney had an article making some of the same points above, but it bears repeating. Athletics can drive innovation in life enhancing drugs just as PC games drove innovation in computation & graphics.

halfbreed said...

patrickh and rosh --
Regarding the black-white difference in swimming ability, that's an interesting question. Yes, there is an economic hurdle for poor people to get over -- swimming is traditionally a minimally lower middle class sport -- but ignoring that for the moment, the basic physical differences are a mixed blessing for blacks in the pool. (The differences I refer to apply to New World blacks, i.e., those of West African descent.) The advantages are, they tend to have wider shoulders and narrower hips, longer reach, are more muscular, and have smaller heads. Wide shoulders help because you have to swivel your shuolders less to allow them to clear the water to go into the recovery phase of the stroke. Narrow hips are more hydrodynamic. Longer reach means each stroke is longer. More muscularity means more power in each stroke and faster turnover. And a small head is an advantage because the head is nothing but dead weight, i.e., provides no propulsion. Their disadvantages are as follows: they have smaller lungs for their size, they have heavier bone density, and they have relatively long legs and short torsos. (Think of all the blacks you've seen who seem to have their elbows at the same height as their hips, illustrating both their longer arms and shorter torsos.) You may have heard Phelps described this past week as being tailor-made for swimming partly because of his long torso and short legs; this is true. A longer torso is a more flexible torso lengthwise, and can perform dolphin-like movements more efficiently, and short legs can more easily generate a powerful kick (if attached to flexible ankles). Their heavier bone density (along with their smaller lungs) means they float less well, an obvious disadvantage. Bottom line is that with their greater muscularity and greater reach and generaly hydrodynamic shape and preponderance of fast twitch muscle fibers, they can make excellent sprinters, but you generally won't see them excel at the longer (i.e. 200 meters and up) events. And sure enough, those blacks who have done well at the international level have generally been sprinters: Cullen Jones, who was at this Olympics, has excelled at the 50 and 100 free. Anthony Ervin (who looked, btw, as if he had around 75% white ancestry), won the 50 meter free in '00, and was world champion in both the 50 and 100 free in '01. Anthony Nesty from Surinam won the 100 fly in '88. And Maritza Correia set American records in the 50 and 100 ytard frees in 2003.

Anonymous said...

In all the propaganda about traditional Chinese culture...No one has mentioned the barbarity...

The media is trashing China left and right for "human rights" violations and "Tibet". The goal is to soften them up so that Western media can start telling them what to think.

Here's the thing: China is in the process of moving from leftist pawn and talking point (and hence illegitimate target of criticism) to leftist target. As the media hasn't completely abandoned the old program, they will still be loath to give airplay to "racist" criticisms of China (e.g. mentioning footbinding). Instead they are attacking a new power for not kowtowing and kissing the ring of the international media.

It's the difference between the stick of attacking them for being too rightist/nationalist vs. the carrot of attacking them for not being leftist/internationalist enough. Attacking footbinding is dredging up their past and will only inflame nationalist sentiment rather than prompt self reflection. But attacking China's lack of "democracy" when the regime just wants a seal of approval is hitting them where it hurts.

Eventually, the usual suspects want to write "modern China's" Constitution for them...just as they were a majority in the convention on Taiwan's new constitution. From old Isteve post...

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/07/israeli-pm-jews-threatened-by-russian.html

http://newcenturyinstitute.us/pages/198.asp

2005 New Century Institute International Conference
on a New Constitution for Taiwan

Conference Agenda

Participants' Biographies

Thomas S. Axworthy
Richard A. Matasar
Michel Rosenfeld
Jiunn-rong Yeh
András Sajo
Wen-Chen Chang
James F. Simon
Lung-chu Chen
Tom Ginsburg
Jordan J. Paust
W. Michael Reisman
Nadine Strossen
Richard C. Bush
Jerome A. Cohen
Andrew J. Nathan
John J. Tkacik Jr.
Ing-Wen Tsai

------

So: Matasar, Rosenfeld, Simon, Ginsburg, Reisman, Strossen, Cohen, Nathan, based on Googling surnames. Possibly also Sajo.

Pretty impressive that they're more heavily represented than the Asian names -- especially when you consider this is a conference on the **Constitution** of Taiwan. Wouldn't it be kind of interesting if there were 8 Australian Aborigines on the advisory committee to draft the Constutition of Taiwan?

Anonymous said...

rather than the petulant shamefacedness of so many silver medalists.

Winning is and should be everything. Encouraging people to feel happy about silver medals is the "all must have prizes" mentality, the special-ed mentality.

Our society needs more competitiveness, not less.

Anonymous said...

I'd say "sports heroes" itself is an even more telling symbol of our culture.

Anonymous said...

Albertosaurus - Why test athletes for drugs? Not because of the harm they do to themselves. They're too small a number to worry about. The real problem is that we don't want to encourage kids to use drugs when pursuing athletics. Most of them can dope til the cows come home and they'll never be good enough to excell in any sport because of their genetics, let alone make money out of sport. They can, however, still ruin their health. Normally I wouldn't care about this except that I'll have to pay for their stupidity through my health insurance premiums and Obamacare. This could potentially get very costly if doping is widespread at the high school and college level.
-Philly Guy

Anonymous said...

Bolt might have ran a 9.60 if he'd kept his form for the last 25 yards, and have set a record that might not be broken (unless it was by himself) for at least a decade.


Bolt's ability is an unusually large leap compared to others who have sprinted in the past.


At six-foot five, Bolt should be garnering some intense interest from pro-football teams. If he can catch, he's a bigger, faster, Randy Moss.

James Kabala said...

Anonymous: Actually, it's pretty clear if one actually follows the link that the conference in question is an academic conference held in New York City (and therefore unsurprisingly including many American academics), not a Taiwanese constitutional convention or the "advisory committee" to one.

Furthermore, the idea of even having a new Taiwanese constitution seems to be supported by only one political party on the island, and is quite controversial. Here is a representative article on a proposed (but unsuccessful) new constitution, which predates your conference by a year and seems to be on all-Taiwanese affair: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2004/11/09/2003210270

"China is in the process of moving from leftist pawn and talking point (and hence illegitimate target of criticism) to leftist target."

Actually, the American left has been anti-China for at least twenty years now, mainly over Tibet. There still are wearers of Mao T-shirts, but either they're a minority or they don't put two and two together.

Anonymous said...

not a Taiwanese constitutional convention or the "advisory committee" to one.

Move along. Nothing to see here! Just your lying eyes.


http://www.newcenturyinstitute.us/pages/209.asp

Conference Agenda

Date: Friday, January 14, 2005

Place: The Yale Club of New York City
50 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017

9:00am-9:30am Registration

9:30am-10:15am Welcome Remarks and Keynote Speech

Welcome Remarks
Lung-chu Chen, President, New Century Institute; Professor of Law, New York Law School

Richard A. Matasar, Dean and President, New York Law School

Keynote Speaker
Constitutional Reform in Canada: Lessons for Taiwan
Thomas Axworthy, Chairman, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; Former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

10:15 – 10:30 am Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:30 pm

Plenary Session I: The Necessity and Processes for a New Constitution for Taiwan

Moderator
Richard A. Matasar, Dean and President, New York
Law School

Comparative Perspectives on the Making of a New Constitution
Michel Rosenfeld, Justice Sydney L. Robins Professor of Human Rights, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

The Imperative Need of Making a New Taiwanese Constitution
Hon. Jiunn-rong Yeh, Minister, Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, Executive Yuan, Taiwan

Comparative Perspectives on the Processes in Constitution Making
Andrãs Sajo, Chair, Comparative Constitutional Law Programs, Legal Studies Department, Central European University, Budapest

The Role of Direct Democracy in the Process of Constitution Making: A Taiwanese Perspective
Wen-Chen Chang, Assistant Professor of Law, College of Law, National Taiwan University

12:30 – 1:45 pm Lunch

2:00 – 4:00 pm

Plenary Session II: The Contents of a New Taiwanese Constitution

Moderator
James F. Simon, Martin Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, New York Law School

Proposed Contents for a New Taiwanese Constitution
Lung-chu Chen President, New Century Institute; Professor of Law, New York Law School

Trends in Constitutional Design and Implications for Taiwan
Tom Ginsburg, Associate Professor of Law and Political Science and Director, Program in Asian Law, Politics and Society, University of Illinois College of Law

Incorporation of Fundamental Human Rights in a Taiwanese Constitution
Jordan Paust, Foundation Professor of Law and Director, International Law Institute, University of Houston Law Center

Toward the Establishment and Development of a New Constitutional Culture in Taiwan
W. Michael Reisman, Myres S. McDougal Professor of International Law, Yale Law School

4:00 – 4:15 pm Break

4:15 – 6:15 pm

Plenary Session III: The International Implications of Having a New Constitution in Taiwan

Moderator
Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law, New York Law School; President, American Civil Liberties Union

Taiwan's Constitutional Change: PRC and American Views
Richard C. Bush, Director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies,
The Michael H. Armacost Chair, The Brookings Institution

Legal, Political, and Ethical Perspectives
Jerome A. Cohen, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

Implications for the U.S.-China-Taiwan Triangle
Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science and Chair, Political Science Department, Columbia University

Crafting a Meaningful Taiwanese Constitution in the Current International Context
John J. Tkacik Jr., Senior Fellow in Asian Studies, The Heritage Foundation

6:30 – 9:30 pm Dinner

Dinner

Dinner Speaker
The Political Implications of a New Constitution Initiative in Taiwan
Hon. Ing-wen Tsai, National Policy Advisor to the President; Former Chairperson, Mainland Affairs Council; Legislator-elect, Taiwan


-------------

Clearly this is an academic conference which is of no relevance to the new Taiwanese constitution. Only a paranoiac would think so!

Martin said...

I saw Usain Bolt's victory in the 100 m sprint. I agree with the general tenor of the board that his chest-thumping triumphalism and capering was a graceless display of bad sportsmanship. It made me wish that the other Jamaican fellow had won it - he seemed like a classier guy.

As to his phoning it in for the last 18m, I don't fault him for that - his goal was to win a gold, not break a world record. He's also running the 200 m, and he probably doesn't want to push himself too much (also, there is the psychological effect it might have on the other runners in the 200).

Both of the Jamaicans had arabic given names. I guess that shows the waning of british influence on that isle.

Best comment was that of the bronze medalist (an American): when asked for an opinion about Bolt, he said "That guy can run". True enough.

Doped or not, it was a truly impressive spectacle. I had never watched the foot races before. Those guys were flying - their arms were just blurs. It's always interesting to watch someone do something that you can't.

I'm not sure what I think about the profusion of events. Beach Volleyball? What's next? Hackey-sack? Frolf? An Olympic wet T-shirt contest?

Concerned said...

None of the commentators wants to say that the reason the Chinese divers displace so little water is because they have less muscle than whites. (Blacks don't compete in the diving competitions.)

I rarely read Andrew Sullivan but I happened to read his site today. He's gotten pozitively dense. Could it be the testosterone?

Mark said...

Pretty impressive that they're more heavily represented than the Asian names -- especially when you consider this is a conference on the **Constitution** of Taiwan.

What's more interesting is that the Conference was held in New York. Can you imagine a bunch of lawyers and academics gathering in Taiwan to discuss ideas for a new American Constitution?

I can't, and I can imagine the Taiwanese hating us and blaming usfor what a bunch of mostly leftist/Jewish group of academics gathered together to do. Thing is, they'll be blaming conservative, "American cowboys," and not the parties truly repsonsible.

testing99 said...

There will be no new Taiwan Constitution because it would be too provocative in Beijing. This is reality.

It's as much a fantasy as Dems having fantasy "impeachment" hearings on Bush.

Can Bolt ... actually catch balls in traffic, knowing he'll get hit? Can he cut? I wouldn't take any bets on him right now, playing in the NFL.

k said...

The reason Chinese divers displace little water is that they don't have a lot of body fat. Laura Wilkinson has a easier time ripping her dives than say the more chunkier divers like Loukas and Hartley. Pakalinha is pretty muscular but the ability to rip can be learned regardless of your body type, see Greg Louganis.

The men's springboard tends have very muscular and cut divers as opposed to the platform divers who are a little more leaner. The divers are very muscular but the successful ones have like 4% body fat (see Troy Dumais).

headache said...

"Just imagine how many additional Jamaican women he'll later bed, all of whom would be happy to jump in the sack with him, and the monster orgasms they'll have...."

Yea, but his kids won’t be able to build an atomic bomb, a satellite or a 5th generation fighter. So even if the Americans and Europeans kill themselves off through self-induced liberalism, Bolt and his kids are going to be facing down the barrels of T90 and Chinese tanks. That's how the world is ruled, not through sexual organs.

tonk said...

"this is the behavior of someone who is completely uninhibited, someone with scant concern for the future, and someone with a narcissistic degree of self-confidence"

I almost thought you were talking about Africans.

headache said...

blunderbuss,
Phelps was probably drugged. Bolt probably as well. My gym trainer says that drug checks can only be properly conducted when the Olympic Committee of a country cooperates out of its own will. Otherwise its impossible to check for sure. Very few European countries have decided on their own to send clean teams. Those teams, which often only reach middle field, are the true achievers.

The best solution would be hold the games with categories where athletes who have proven to be clean (under a strict checking regime which most non-European countries don't have the infrastructure for anyway) can compete, and the rest (like Phelps, Bolt and the Chinese/Russians) can show us how glorious drugs are.

headache said...

Bunny said...

" Bolt was so relaxed and indifferent that he even had one of his shoelaces undone.."


Fox trying to hype him more than is necessary. Maybe there's a more simple explanation: The laces came untied during the running. Unless the guy was truly on drugs, I assume he would have managed his laces. I know shoes are another one of those pesky European colonial technologies which need to be Africanised (JJ: Western culture gotta go), but from my experience in South Africa most blacks did manage their laces.

James Kabala said...

Look, I know in a country as powerful as the U.S. currently is there will always be a thin line between the two, but I continue, perhaps naively, to resist the idea that the desire to study, discuss, and analyze a foreign country is the same as the desire to control it. Your mileage may vary.

I also continue, perhaps naively, to resist the idea that every thread here will sooner or later be hijacked by Jew-baiting. (And despite my name, I'm not Jewish myself.)

James Kabala said...

FWIW, through Google I found records of conferences on the U.S. Constitution held in Argentina and South Africa and a conference on the Canadian Constitution held in Mexico. And these constitutions actually exist!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't suspicious until the Jamaican ladies swept all three medals in the women's 100.

Jamaica has about 2.6 million inhabitants and is about 50 miles wide and 140 miles long. What do they put in the drinking water?

albertosaurus said...

A final word on HGH and T. I'm sure there will come a day that someone very like myself will ask his doctor about the advisability of taking some form of HGH and/or T.

His doctor will say something like,"I advise against it but since the doping bans were lifted a few years ago, we have learned how to get all the benefits and few or none of the associated helth problems. If you insist on using these hormones, follow this regimen".

By reading the comments on this blog I discovered Haloteston. I googled it and read a lot of free medical advice - from total idiots.

It seems clear that HGH and T can be good for you but they are also at least a little dangerous. We have a population of competitive young men and women who will be supplementing their natural hormone levels no matter what the authorities say. I would like to capture their medical histories for the benefit of all of us. Keeping hormone supplementation illegal just delays progress by concealing results.

People who are outraged by hormone doping are not going to be prepared for the really big performance improvements that will shortly be here when rat muscle fiber technology gets better. Expect the rat muscle enhanced 100 meter champion to run under 9 seconds flat.

When that happens in the next few years this blog will have comments about how this new technological miracle is an affront to the memory of that great natural runner - Usain Bolt.

Edward said...

Two to compare -

Courtney Walsh (1998) was a fast bowler for West Indies cricket team in 1980s/1990s. His stamina, pace and accuracy of delivery was legendary. Born in Kingston, Jamaica. Height 6'6".

Image 1

Usain Bolt (2008), sprinter. Born in Trelawny, Jamaica. Height 6'5".

Image 2

Hard to make direct comparison between their physiques, not just because Walsh's got on a long-sleeved shirt. Fast bowling is much about timing the delivery as speed, more practice balls, so less gym work. Still, for a tall man Bolt's arm muscles are massively pumped.

Newsflash: Bolt's father believes it's all in the Trelawny yams.

Anonymous said...

Doping is a fairly safe bet with Lance Armstrong/Barry Bonds type performances. At the same, Bolt's length of stride and graceful economy of movement make it possible he's not doping and is just an elegant freak of nature. He seems to have that "extra pop" to an explosive step forward, such as Baron Davis of the NBA, which may result from having, I don't know, an extra long, overdeveloped, or entirely different muscle to squeeze. I'm not sure if this comes into play when he lands on a foot (is the first or initial part of the contraction) or at the end but it gives him more of a bounding stride than his competitors have.

Tyn said...

I found Bolt obnoxious, but thought Shelly-Ann Fraser's elated reaction to her win was really fun to watch. She's very charming.

Anonymous said...

Kabala, there is an obvious difference between analyzing an existing constitution versus advising the drafting of a new one!

Why can't you just admit that they have a disproportionate impact on world politics?

Scott said...

This Usain Bolt guy is just in another league altogether. Like the British of old have stated: "They are children of passion and instinct."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

anonymous "Why can't you just admit that they have a disproportionate impact on world politics?"

Oh, I don't know - the nasty elasticity of those words meaning whatever you want but allowing deniability later?

If you know so much, predict the future instead of the past. What are They going to do next?

whatabout said...

Why can't you just admit that they have a disproportionate impact on world politics?

I'll admit that they do.

But while we're on the subject of disproportionality, let's talk about the dominance of wealth and power by WASP males, prevalence of men amongst math and science professors, and prevalence of whites amongst NFL quarterbacks and head coaches. Your contention, while most likely true, has a commensurate tone with many annoying liberal complaints (which ignore human biodiversity) about representation and diversity.

headache said...

Last night I spoke to my trainer in the gym about Bolt. The trainer studies sport at a top German uni and the gym is really a rehab for serious orthopaedic patients. I go there because the trainers are very professional. They know quite a bit about doping because they also coach sports teams.

He said that Jamaica does not belong to the commonwealth. So it is not under NADA obligations. He also said that even commonwealth countries under NADA do not properly operate according to NADA. In addition its obvious Jamaica does not have the lab and technical expertise to conduct proper doping tests anyway. He said that if the Olympic committee of a country did not explicitly decide to send a clean team, you can be sure most are doped. Apparently, in addition, there are 25 substances which cannot be detected using modern lab techniques. He said that only a hand full of professionals; usually Professors at prestigious universities here in German or people from one of the government research institutions are able to properly analyze doping data.

So it seems there are only a handful of clean teams in the Olympics. Another interesting thing is that increasingly people are running for obscure countries like Jamaica, whereas before they would try and run for say the US. It’s probably the same effect as shipping operators flying the Liberian flag because there is little tax there. So running for Jamaica means you don't have to worry about anti-doping tests.

Anonymous said...

If you look at Bolt's and a few of the other Jamaican's competition history since they were juniors, I would tend to say that they aren't juiced. Bolt demolished the junior world records when he was a teen so given years to perfect his technique and stride, it would be no surprise that they would do the same at the senior ranks. They didn't come out of nowhere which doesn't really make it all that suspicious. If they had been juiced since the age of 15, then the effects would be obvious by now.