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Category: Sports

Improve the safety of high-altitude mountaineering with this new permitting mechanism—never fear overcrowding on Everest again!

Background:

Certain mountains require that climbers obtain a permit before embarking.

Sometimes these can be expensive, but rarely is any mountaineering competency required. Everest permits, which are issued by the government of Nepal, cost approximately $10,000 (Wikipedia link).

The issue:

If too many people are crowded onto a narrow high-altitude route, disaster can result from increased amount of time that climbers spend in the inhospitable low-temperature and low-oxygen environment.

Proposal:

Instead of just giving out Everest permits to anyone who can pay the fee, why not make a climber show their dedication by first requiring that they summit a less deadly mountain?

Specifically, the climber must obtain a physical “summit eligibility token” from the summit of an easier peak, as shown in Figure 1.

This token—plus the standard entry fee—would then be required for climbing a more difficult mountain.

 

2-mountains

Fig. 1: Left: the leftmost mountain is not too difficult, and can be climbed without a permit. On the top of that mountain is a token that will permit the climber to attempt the mountain shown in the middle of the diagram, and so on.

In order to make things slightly more interesting, the token is not just a simple card or coin, but is an extremely heavy metal ingot (Figure 2).

The climber would have to show their mountaineering prowess by somehow lugging this heavy ingot all the way back down the mountain.

1-tokens

Fig. 2: The more advanced tokens are also heavier; in this case, the “Everest eligibility” token is a 20 kilogram (44 lb.) copper ingot. Restocking these ingots would be easy: they could simply be airdropped from a plane or helicopter, since the exact placement of the ingots is not crucial, as long as they are in the general vicinity of the peak.

Conclusion:

The Everest gatekeepers should adopt this idea, and should immediately start designing some interesting eligibility ingots (and figuring out which mountains they should go on).

PROS: Sets a lower bound on the amount of unqualified-ness of a prospective mountain climber, which may reduce the number of mountaineering fatalities.

CONS: May also reduce overall revenue obtained from permit issuance.

Add a new level of excitement to baseball by taking the lack of outfield standardization into the infield. Revealed herein: THE ULTIMATE SPECTATOR SPORT.

Background:

Baseball is one of the few [1] sports where the playing field is not standardized:

  1. The outfield can vary substantially in size and shape from ballpark to ballpark.
  2. The presence / absence of fences can change the possibility of an out-of-the-park home run.

This adds up to the strange situation where a home run in one stadium might have been an easy out in another.

[1] Cricket fields also vary in size and shape. And in golf, the non-standard courses are a crucial feature, not a problem.

Proposal:

Although the outfield can vary substantially, the infield does not exhibit the same level of variation.

But it certainly could!

Figures 1 through 5 (below) show several possible ways of reconfiguring the standard baseball diamond.

baseball-options-0-rearranged

Fig. 1: Left: a traditional baseball diamond. Bases are numbered 1–3, with home plate marked with an “H.” The pitcher’s mound is in orange. Right: in this custom base configuration, the distance between bases 1–3 is dramatically reduced, but the trek from 3rd to home plate is extremely far. This would have significant scoring implications.

baseball-options-pentagon

Fig. 2: It would also be possible for certain ballparks to add more bases; perhaps a fourth base, as shown in this pentagonal arrangement.

 

 

baseball-options-2-circle

Fig. 3: There’s really no reason why the number of bases couldn’t increase to an extreme degree, as shown in this circular setup.

baseball-options-two-way

Fig. 4: Some fields could allow runners to chart their own course through a complex network of bases. There’s no reason why the course between all bases must necessarily be a one-way path through all bases; perhaps there would be strategic reasons for a runner to skip bases entirely, or to escape backwards to an earlier base.

baseball-options-3

Fig. 5: Left: some fields could be deliberately annoying, perhaps to entertain an especially cruel and capricious audience. Right: taking an inspiration from golf, this field has water hazards (as well as multiple routes to the bases). Note the non-centered pitcher’s mounds, which may make the left/right-handedness distinction even more crucial.

PROS: Bizarre stadium arrangements could entertain the fans and increase the chance that an “out of date” stadium would be torn down (and a new one constructed), thus increasing the amount of money that can be siphoned away from taxpayers in the city funding the stadium.

CONS: The extreme variation in fields would make it even more difficult to compare player statistics across ballparks. A player who only plays on the “has exactly one base” field (Figure 5, left side) will probably have an extremely disappointing number of total home runs.

These 7 weird tricks to playing tennis with a ukulele will lead you wondering what happens next. . . probably severe elbow and wrist injury?

Background:

Sometimes, when playing tennis, one of the participants may wish to play a jaunty tune to raise the spirits of their partner (in a doubles match), or perhaps they may wish to play a mocking tune to demoralize their opponent.

However, currently this is not possible, as holding a tennis racquet precludes the playing of almost all instruments.

ukulele

Fig 1: A ukulele, which is the smallest widely-available member of the guitar family.

racquet

Fig 2: A tennis racquet. Typically larger than a ukulele but less thick.

The proposal:

By combining the tennis racquet and ukulele, we can create a tool that can be used both in racquet sports and for impromptu string music. The active “mode” of the “racq-u-lele” can be changed simply by flipping it over.

combine

Fig 3: The ukulele and tennis racquet overlap perfectly, although at 180° relative to each other. But this will probably not be an issue for the serious tennis / ukulele aficionado.

diagram

Fig 4: Technical diagram: side view of the racq-u-lele. The large gray rectangle at the top is the main body of the ukulele. Details: A) “Head” of the ukulele. B) Strings. C: Ukulele sound hole, in gray. D) Tennis racquet head. E) Tennis racquet strings. F) Tennis racquet grip / ukulele neck.

diagram2

Fig 5: Artist’s conception of the final product. A) Racquet strings. B) Ukulele body. C) Tennis racquet handle, which also serves as the neck of the ukulele.

Conclusion:

Finally, tennis and stringed instrument playing can be combined into a hybrid hobby for truly cultured individuals.

PROS: Increases the skill ceiling of tennis by requiring mastery of a musical discipline to rise to the highest levels. Allows players to have something to do in the boring period of time during a tennis match when the ball is in flight to the opponent.

CONS: May make rage-induced racquet smashing substantially more expensive. May also affect the ergonomics of the racquet, particularly with regard to backhand strokes.

Amazing billiards tip for that will astound your friends and vex your foes. Don’t use it when playing for money, or you may get stabbed!

Background:

Relatively few games have equipment choice as an element. For example, in tennis, there is no such thing as a “lob racquet” versus a “serving racquet.”

Presumably this is because of the difficulty in quickly switching out equipment in a time-sensitive sports.

But in a game like golf, where there is plenty of time between shots, golfers carry around a dozen or so clubs for use in various circumstances.

The issue:

This proposal is to apply the same golf-club-selection principle to pool / billiards / snooker.

1674_illustration-The_Billiard_Table

Fig 1: Billiards in 1674. Apparently played with croquet wickets and tiny pyramids for some reason.

But instead of selecting different cues, players will actually replace the cue ball instead. This will allow for new shot opportunities (Fig 2).

pool-regular-cueball-too-big

Fig 2: In this case, the player wants to shoot the cue ball between the 8 and the 3 balls, but this is impossible due to insufficient space.

pool-small-cueball-ok

Fig 3: By selecting a tiny squash-ball-sized cue ball, the shot is now possible.

Various sizes of cue ball would be offered, for use in different situations (Fig 4). Selecting the right size for the current board configuration would be just one of the many decisions required for the game.

pool-cueball-sizes

Fig 4: Various sizes of cue ball would be used by an experienced player. 8 ball shown for scale.

pool-giant-cueball

Fig 5: In some scenarios, it might be advantageous to select a huge grapefruit-sized cue ball. It would be difficult to keep this one from rolling off the table, which would also increase the skill ceiling of the game.

Conclusion:

Strangely, this “change the cue ball size” rule has never been implemented at any official tournament. Perhaps there were issues in the past with making a perfectly spherical cue ball beyond a certain size. Fortunately, modern technology has solved this problem!

PROS: Adds new and amazing elements to the game, causing a renaissance in billiards techniques.

CONS: It might be difficult to accurately place a different-sized ball on exactly the same spot as the original without some sort of technical aid.