Archive for 'Arts and science'

A round-up of American hole-in-one jurisprudence

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Of all the curious things one can get insurance cover for – the golfing fraternity’s ‘hole-in-one-insurance’ is surely one of the curiouser. Why would one want insurance against a hole-in-one? The answer lies in the substantial cash bonus prizes which (some) golf clubs offer to those players who manage to get one. From the club’s point of view, it can be costly, and that’s something that they want to insure against. Details are provided in a 2004 paper for the Journal of Sports Law & Contemporary Problems (10/01/2004) entitled : A GOOD PIECE OF PAPER SPOILED:1 AN EIGHTEEN-HOLE ROUND-UP OF AMERICAN HOLE-IN-ONE JURISPRUDENCE by Parker B. Potter Jr.. The author puts the odds of holes-in-one [or should that be hole-in-ones?] at 1:40,000, and goes into substantial detail regarding the perplexing legal aspects. Citing, as an example, a legal case from 1992.

“Crawford Chevrolet, Inc. (hereinafter ‘Crawford’) had ‘agreed to provide a new vehicle to any participant who scored a hole-in-one on a certain hole during the tournament.’ The specified hole was number nine. After Don Zamora ‘scored a hole-in-one on physical hole #9, but on his second time around the course,’ he claimed the prize, which Crawford delivered. Crawford, in turn, made a claim on its hole-in-one insurance carrier, the now-familiar National Hole-in-One Association (‘Hole-in-One’), the potential victim on hole number five and the defendant on hole number six.”

The author also offers advice for insurers :

“When advising clients who offer hole-in-one insurance, tell them to write policies that contemplate every conceivable possibility, or get ready to write a check. In a world where the term ‘shots’ can be considered ambiguous, as in Crawford Chevrolet, Inc. v. National Hole-in-One Ass’n, only the most precise and detailed policy language will protect an insurer from paying when a golfer has scored a hole-in-one in a covered event.”

If you’d like to take out hole-in-one insurance, there are a number of firms worldwide who will cover you – e.g. United States, Australia, United Kingdom.

Note 1: The paper’s title pays tribute to Mark Twain, who some say is said to have said : “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

Also see (Insurance related) Calculations: Insurance for clowns
Also see (golf related) 2012 Yearly Golfball Patents: A look back

Breaking(ish) News: ‘Golf is no longer a crime, decrees China’s Communist party’ The Guardian, (14th April)

A sunny look at the Cloud Appreciation Society and its founder

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Jon Mooallem, writing in the New York Times, appreciates the Cloud Appreciation Society and its founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney. (Gavin was one of the stars of the Ig Nobel show this past March at Brunel University, part of the Ig Nobel EuroTour.) Here’s a little chunk of that profile:

Who were they all? Why were they there? They were a collection of ordinary people with an interest in clouds. Behind all those user names on the Cloud Society website were schoolteachers, sky divers, meteorologists, retired astronomy teachers, office workers and artists. Many people had come alone, but conversations sparked easily. (“I’ve just seen the best cloud dress I’ve seen in my life,” a woman said on the stairway. A second woman turned and said, “Well, yours is quite lovely, too.”) The atmosphere was comfortable and convivial and amplified by a kind of feedback loop of escalating relief, whereby people who arrived at a cloud conference not knowing what to expect recognized how normal and friendly everyone was and enjoyed themselves even more.

The program Pretor-Pinney had pulled together was a little highbrow but fun….


(Thanks to Gus Rancatore for bringing this to our attention.)

Here’s a TED Talk by Gavin Pretor-Pinney:

Here is a song favored, frequently, by many members of the Cloud Appreciation Society, composed and performed about a half century ago, in seeming anticipation of the creation of the Cloud Appreciation Society, by Joni Mitchell:

BONUS: Here’s video from a Cloud Appreciation Society event held, a while back, in Erbil City, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan:

Finding yet another snake with Pablo

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Here’s another episode in the dramatic, true series “Finding Snakes with Pablo” (a subset of the series “The Brain Scoop“, from the Field Museum in Chicago). This episode: Fer-de-lance:

The further future adventures of Troy Hurtubise and a grizzly bear

Friday, May 20th, 2016

proxyTroy Hurtubise, who was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 1998 in the field of safety engineering — for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears — is again hard at work pursuing a better way to pursue a better meeting with a grizzly bear.

The Hamilton Spectator reports:

Troy Hurtubise wants Project Grizzly to roar one more time with better armour and a new movie

Quixotic inventor Troy Hurtubise is rebooting his Project Grizzly, a curious crusade to build a RoboCop-looking protective suit to stand up to an angry bear.

The 52-year-old former Hamiltonian wants to take one more try at his lifetime goal, to go mano a grizzo in self-designed armour, and live to talk about it. He’s been working away in his North Bay workshop on an eighth version of a suit and he is also in discussions with a filmmaker to produce a sequel to the 1996 National Film Board cult classic “Project Grizzly.” …

Troy is crowdfunding this project, seeking $700,000. This promotional video explains:

And as Troy follows his calling, you can follow Troy’s tweeting, on Twitter.

LITERARY BONUS: In this video, Troy reads from his new book, Shards of Time:

TACTICAL BONUS: Here’s video of Troy with one of his recent inventions, which he calls the “Apache Long Arm”, which he optimizes for SWAT teams:

ELECTROMAGNETICAL BONUS: Here’s video of Troy and another of his recent inventions, which he calls the “EMR pod”:

An illuminated removable nipple cover (new patent)

Friday, May 20th, 2016

“There exists a need for an illuminated device that is removably attached to a body.

There also exists the need to for a body attachment with a light for users to wear over nipples.

There also exists a need for an illuminated removable nipple cover to have a batter [sic] powered LED light that is attached in the center.

There also exists a need for a removable illuminated nipple cover having a dome shape design allows room for the light and provides a better fit over the breasts.”


All these needs are met, according to a new US patent (May 17th 2016) describing an invention by Kelly Taylor of Key West, Florida. See: Illuminated Nipple Cover. US 9,339,063 B2

The patent document doesn’t provide drawings or photos of how a wearer might look with the new invention, but the inventor’s website does (batteries are included).

Note: Pasties (pron. “paste – eez”) should not be confused with Pasties (pron. “past – eez”)