Archive for 'Boys Will Be Boys'

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)

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”:

Happy words from painful insect stings [podcast 64]

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Justin Schmidt, an emotional fellow, took notes when he was notably stung by a different species of ant, bee, or wasp. Schmidt then turned those notes and emotions into little almost-poems, each just 15 or 20 words long. Those sting-pain notes and emotions, read aloud by QI elves, overflow this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free.

This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by James Harkin, Dan Schreiber, Anne Miller, Steve Colgan, and Alex Bell (elves from QI, the Museum of Curiosity, No Such Thing As a Fish, and No Such Thing As the News) — tells about:

  • Justin Schmidt‘s book, which includes the Schmidt Sting Pain Index with the poetical descriptions — The Sting of the Wild, by Justin O. Schmidt, Johns Hopkins Press, 2016. ISBN: 9781421419282.sting-wild-420pix
  • A short video, by his university, about Justin Schmidt:
  • A fan video, by the San Diego Natural History Museum, about Justin Schmidt and the Schmidt Sting Pain Index:

The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.

The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, on the CBS web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).

Further adventures in dung-beetle-navigation research

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Rachel Feltman chronicles, in the Washington Post, some further adventures of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning dung beetle navigation researchers:

The humble dung beetle has a fantastic way of navigating the world


If you’re a dung beetle, you spend a good portion of your life dancing around on top of a ball made of poop – a ball of poop that, with any luck, will eventually become dinner. But the researchers who’ve devoted their lives to studying these coprophagic critters say the insects have a surprising adaptation: According to a study published Thursday in Current Biology, dung beetles can take “snapshots” of their surroundings and use them to navigate.

First, a dung beetle factoid you might not know: Scientists believe that they navigate at night using the visible portion of the Milky Way – that gorgeous strip of stars and dust that appears in a sky sans light pollution. Unsurprisingly, the finding that dung beetles stare at the stars was honored with an Ig Nobel Award

The medical dilemma posed by a Mobile Phone in the Stomach

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

When a mobile telephone lodges in a person’s stomach, it can cease to be quite so mobile. A new medical paper offers proof of that:

An Ingested Mobile Phone in the Stomach May Not Be Amenable to Safe Endoscopic Removal Using Current Therapeutic Devices: A Case Report,” Obinna Obinwa, David Cooper, and James M. O’Riordan, International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, vol. 22, 2016, pp. 86–89. (Thanks to Tim Radford for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, report:

A 29-year old male prisoner was brought in by ambulance to the Emergency Department with a four-hour history of vomiting, having claimed to have swallowed a foreign object six hours earlier that day….

The failure of endoscopy to remove the mobile phone, in this case, highlights the limitations of this approach. The traditional sequence of conservative approach, endoscopy and surgery when endoscopy fails is challenged. This observation has raised a new question: should clinicians proceed directly to surgery when clinical observation fails in these cases or should endoscopy still be attempted?

Here’s further detail from the study:


BONUS: The video below, prepared by persons not connected with the medical case described above, tells “How to track your mobile phone anywhere in the world”: