Archive for August, 2011

11 Things You Didn’t Know About College Grading

Aug 26th, 2011

Getting good grades means everything to college students, but few actually know how grading works at their university. It’s not a secret, but colleges and professors aren’t making this information public either. The more students learn about the college grading process, the more they can help themselves and improve their grades. Here are 11 things you didn’t know about college grading:

  1. Grading is often outsourced overseas

    An increase in student enrollment and class sizes often calls for additional help with grading. Most professors use TAs to assist with grading, but many have also started turning to online grading services, such as Virtual-TA, which helps professors grade assignments from overseas. This virtual system of grading gives professors a chance to focus more closely on students’ needs and class lessons, while allowing TAs to focus on their own schoolwork.

  2. Graders spend an average of 10 minutes grading each assignment

    Regardless of how long it takes students to write an essay or finish a test, graders spend an average of 10 minutes grading each assignment. Professors and/or graders skim through assignments looking for the right answers or explanations that fully answer the essay prompt. With such little time to grade, it’s crucial that you make your point right away and answer the question being asked.

  3. Graders are looking for the answer before anything else

    Now that you know most graders only spend about 10 minutes grading each paper, it’s all the more important to answer the question right away. Graders are not only looking for the right answer, but they’re also making sure that you’ve answered the question asked.

  4. Disputed grades rarely get changed

    When it comes to disputing a grade, don’t expect for your B to suddenly become an A just because you argued for a better grade. Even though most colleges have grade appeal policies in place, disputed grades rarely get changed. In most cases, a professor has to make a major error or irregularity in order for the grade to be adjusted. If you cannot prove that the professor miscalculated, failed to read a page of the answer, broke a college rule or another related issue, then it’s probable better to avoid the dispute altogether.

  5. ‘A’s are few and far between

    Grade inflation may be a problem at some universities, but As are not as common as you might think. The almighty A is not given to just any student. On average, professors give 10 to 25% As in introductory classes and about 30 to 50% in advanced classes.

  6. Effort isn’t calculated into the final grade

    Professors may see your hard work in action, but it won’t make a lick of difference if your final product does not meet all of the requirements needed for a good grade. Effort alone is not a valid indication of mastering a subject. Effort is needed to complete a project, finish a test and give a presentation, but the results are what make or break your grade.

  7. There aren’t always do-overs and extra credit

    The only sure-fire way to make good grades is to do it right the first time around. Relying on do-overs and extra credit can be a hopeless venture and rarely make a drastic difference to one’s grades. Extra credit opportunities and do-overs vary from class to class, but by no means are professors required to give students these second chances to improve their grades.

  8. Conclusions matter

    Conclusions serve a bigger purpose than simply wrapping up an essay – they help drive home a point and leave a lasting impression on the reader and, in this case, the grader. Many students neglect their conclusions and just slap something together to finish, forgetting that the conclusion is the last thing the grader reads. Taking the time to draft a strong, thought-provoking conclusion will set your work apart from the others and certainly help your grade.

  9. More than half of the grade comes from end of the year assignments

    Most college courses measure comprehension at the end of the semester by back-loading assignments. The bulk of a student’s grade comes from these last assignments, including a third test, a research paper and the cumulative final. The whole semester is dedicated to teaching students the material and the last month is testing their knowledge of the material. Students have a tendency to run out of steam at the end of the semester, but they have to stay engaged and apply themselves to finish strong.

  10. Grading isn’t completely subjective

    Grading is both objective and subjective to some degree. Essays are a prime example of this because even though there might not be a definite right or wrong answer, there is a significant difference between the students that can back up their point with valid proof and those that have no clue what they’re talking about and make it obvious.

  11. Grading on a curve is rare

    Grading on a curve is rare, but still occurs in some undergraduate classes and in graduate school. When grading is curved, the student’s work is not being measured on its absolute value, but where it stands when compared to others in the class.

10 Moments That Defined the Civil Rights Movement

Aug 25th, 2011

The 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s "I Have a Dream" speech will be celebrated on Aug. 28 with the much-deserved dedication of his memorial in Washington DC. Our nation’s foremost civil rights leader now joins the ranks of other great Americans — such as Lincoln and Jefferson — who’ve been commemorated and immortalized with majestic monuments. Only the fourth non-president to receive such an honor, King’s contributions to our society surpass those of a vast majority of our elected officials, and his lessons will forever remain applicable, especially as our racial composition continues to change. The following defining moments of the civil rights movement, many of which wouldn’t have been possible without King, served as stepping stones toward dismantling racial discrimination and achieving equality for African Americans and all of our nation’s citizens.

 

  1. Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

    After years of accepting the poor conditions, overcrowding and generally substandard education in their public schools, African Americans in Virginia forcefully voiced their displeasure with the unfairness of school segregation. With the assistance of the NAACP, five cases were established, including Brown v. Board of Education. Ultimately, the court found that "segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children," thus declaring that establishing separate public schools for African American and white children was unconstitutional, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson. The decision marked the beginning of the civil rights movement.

  2. Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56)

    The name Rosa Parks became synonymous with the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus for a white passenger. Following her arrest and conviction for disorderly conduct, Montgomery’s African American community organized a large-scale bus boycott, which lasted 381 days. Their strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience prompted the desegregation of the buses, and served as model for future protests in the movement.

  3. Little Rock Nine (1957)

    Accomplished academic careers and promising futures didn’t lessen the resistance encountered by the Little Rock 9. Selected to attend all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957 after the Brown decision, they were met with immediate harassment from white protestors and a blockade from the National Guard ordered by governor Orval Faubus, who acted under political pressure from the state’s Democratic Party. His orders were eventually reversed by President Eisenhower, who deployed part of the 101st Airborne to protect the students. Even still, all nine of them were incessantly mistreated the entire year, and only one graduated before Arkansas shut down its public school system as a response to desegregation.

  4. Greensboro Sit-ins (1960)

    Taking a cue from Rosa Parks, four students from all-black North Carolina Agricultural & Technical College conducted a modest protest of a Woolworth’s store segregation policy by sitting at its all-white lunch counter and politely asking to be served. They were refused, but they steadfastly remained in the store until it closed. More people gathered to help the next day, and by day four, more than 300 people participated, making headlines and encouraging other sit-ins across the South. Months later, the entire Woolworth chain was desegregated.

  5. Freedom Rides (1961)

    Nonexistent enforcement of Boynton v. Virginia, which outlawed segregation in waiting rooms and restaurants in bus terminals, set forth freedom rides across the South designed to challenge the status quo. During the journey, they endured attacks from Ku Klux Klan members, mob violence, a firebombing, arrests, and jail time with incredibly hostile treatment. But the publicity they garnered led to a desegregation order from President Kennedy, integrating the terminals and the buses.

  6. Integration of Ole Miss (1962)

    The integration of Southern colleges was a gradual process that occurred over time. Although a few African Americans had already been admitted to some colleges in the South, it was James Meredith, a student at all-black Jackson State College, who brought the issue into the national consciousness. His repeated failed attempts to gain admission to Ole Miss were followed by a lawsuit he filed along with the NAACP resulting in a ruling in his favor. Mississippi governor Ross Barnett, with the backing of a vast majority of white Mississippians, defied the federal government and blocked Meredith’s arrival. The ensuing chaos ended with two deaths and 160 injuries, prompting President Kennedy to send federal marshals to control the area. A year later, Meredith graduated, becoming Ole Miss’s first African American success story.

  7. March on Washington (1963)

    Never before had the power and unity of African Americans been demonstrated in such a manner. Officially called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the event was organized by civil rights, religious and labor leaders striving to bring attention to civil rights laws, voting rights, and fair employment, housing and education. Between 200,000 and 300,000 people were in attendance — 20 percent of which were people from other races who wanted to show their support — and it received massive television coverage. The most memorable moment, of course, occurred when King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

  8. Birmingham Campaign (1963-64)

    Alabama governor George Wallace’s cries of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" were challenged by Wyatt Tee Walker, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with the mission of desegregating Birmingham’s downtown merchants. Participating in sit-ins and marches, they drew the ire of Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor, a staunch segregationist who recently lost the election for mayor. His decision to use high-pressure fire hoses and police dogs to deter demonstrators only angered Americans who viewed the brutal images on television. Thousands of protestors were jailed, including King, who in turn wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Thirty-eight days after the confrontation began, with the urging of the Kennedy administration, Birm ingham business leaders struck a deal with the SCLC, desegregating lunch counters and other accommodations and ending discriminatory hiring practices.

  9. Civil Rights Act (1964)

    Following the Birmingham campaign, President Kennedy delivered a civil rights speech advocating legislation that would end segregation in public establishments. Passage of such a bill seemed unlikely in November 1963, but the assassination of President Kennedy provided his successor, Lyndon Johnson, with a more unified political climate, enabling him to oversee its passage — King was present for John’s signing of the bill, and his expression of satisfaction was captured for posterity in a famous photograph.

  10. Voting Rights Act (1965)

    From reconstruction to the early portion of the 1900s, African Americans in the South were disenfranchised by violence, intimidation, poll taxes and literacy tests. And even though many of those measures were ruled unconstitutional, Southern states developed new ways to maintain the status quo. Securing voting rights was an essential part of the civil rights movement, and leaders pressed for strong legislation. President Johnson responded by composing a bill that eliminated tactics of disenfranchisement and established federal oversight of elections. Since 1965, the bill has been renewed and amended four times.

Top 10 Sports Documentaries of All Time

Aug 21st, 2011

There’s always a market for sports documentaries, from season-ender puff pieces to stories about the seedy side of sports. But every now and then a film comes along that rises above the genre and uses sports to examine the real human condition in all its complexity, and it’s that devotion to grander themes that sets these sports documentaries apart. They cover major athletes and forgotten heroes, popular sports and niche pursuits, but they’ve all got one thing in common: They totally redefine their subjects in the eyes of the viewer.

  1. Hoop Dreams

    For every wide-eyed athlete who makes it to the pros, there are hundreds — thousands — who never get that far. Steve James’ riveting 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams is all about the divide between those groups. Shot over the course of five years, the film follows Arthur Agee and William Gates, two gifted young black basketball players who attend an all-white school with a killer program in hopes of finding professional glory. What makes the film work so well is its ability to use the boys’ story as a springboard for examinations of race, class, and modern society. It’s a bittersweet, perfectly rendered piece of Americana.

  2. When We Were Kings

    Winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, 1996′s When We Were Kings revolves around 1974′s Rumble in the Jungle, the heavyweight championship bout between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali that saw Ali defeat Foreman in the eighth round. Leon Gast’s film digs into the lives of Ali and Foreman as well as that of promoter Don King, who outsourced the fight to Zaire in order to drum up the payroll he’d promised his boxers. The film succeeds because it’s about one of the biggest and most colorful brawls in boxing history, and it’s also a look at a time when boxing was much bigger than it is today. The sport hasn’t produced stars like Ali and Foreman in a long time.

  3. Baseball

    No one does documentaries quite like Ken Burns, whose The Civil War redefined the style and scope of made-for-TV projects. Four years later, he released Baseball, a staggering series that spanned more than 18 hours and covered the history of the sport and its role in American culture and commerce. Adhering to a rigid structure — each chapter was titled an "inning" that then delved deeper into a particular era — the sprawling film mixes biography with commentary to examine the flaws and joys of the American pastime. It’s definitely a test of will to finish the whole thing (spread it out over a few nights, or weeks), but for sheer breadth, there’s no better resource for the sport’s fans than this. Burns followed up the documentary years later with Baseball: The Tenth Inning, covering the sports turbulent steroid problems throughout the 1990s.

  4. Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

    Dare to Dream was produced and distributed by HBO Sports, which makes it a little slicker than other game documentaries, but it’s no less captivating for being so. Released in 2005 to piggyback on the women’s soccer team’s gold medal success at the 2004 Olympics, the film follows the team’s development and guidance under marquee names like Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm. It also highlights the pop culture significance the team earned in 1999 when they defeated China in the World Cup in a penalties shootout, with Chastain bringing home the victory and promptly celebrating by ripping off her jersey in an image that made the cover of Sports Illustrated.

  5. Murderball

    Murderball‘s great for many reasons — it’s a tight story full of great characters that proves just how much movie you can get for a shoestring budget — but the biggest is the way it breaks down the walls of misunderstanding people have about quadriplegic citizens and athletes. The film follows a group of men who play wheelchair rugby for the U.S. in the Paralympic Games, alternating between personal stories about their accidents and lives and the work they put in as they train to beat their rival Canada. Marc Zupan becomes a breakout character whose antics and energy carry the film, but it’s really about the team and the ways they bond through tragedy. A great look at a sport most people don’t know about.

  6. Beyond the Mat

    Turns out Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler was a lot more realistic than you might have imagined. The 1999 doc Beyond the Mat is a jaw-dropping look at what actually goes on in the lives of pro wrestlers, from the constant injuries and money problems to the threat of obsolescence, poverty, and drug addiction. Branded as "the movie Vince McMahon didn’t want you to see" (McMahon had granted filmmaker Barry Blaustein access to WWF wrestlers but went understandably bananas when the movie turned into a brutal look at the dark side of the life), the documentary is a warts-and-all approach to the business of pro wrestling. The sport is undeniably fake, but that doesn’t mean people don’t get hurt. Even in a scripted performance, things can go very wrong. Recommended viewing for anyone who grew up in the 1980s.

  7. The Endless Summer

    When it comes to surf movies, there’s The Endless Summer and then there’s everything else. The 1966 documentary changed the format by loosening up the formal rules of the genre — it’s basically a point-and-shoot adventure — but it also came at a time when surf music and culture were at a peak. The film charts the escapades of Robert August and Mike Hynson, a pair of California surfers who travel the world looking for the best waves and experiences. It’s a perfect snapshot of a time and place, rooted in the wishful thinking that it just might be possible to keep traveling and chase a summer that never stops. Bonus: catchy soundtrack.

  8. Dogtown and Z-Boys

    In the 1970s, a group of boys with a love for surfing expanded that passion into skateboarding. The Z-Boys — the Zephyr Competition Team, named for their surf shop in Santa Monica — skated as a hobby but soon began to push the limits of what people thought was possible with skateboards, inventing aerial tricks that blended the skill and spectacle of surfing with the still unexplored regions of extreme land sports. Dogtown and Z-Boys was directed by Stacy Peralta, who started riding with the Z-Boys at age 15 and is able to speak with authority about the life. It’s an intriguing film because it traces the origins of something everyone knows about — skateboarding — to places they never expected, and it offers a fun mix of vintage footage and new interviews. It also inspired a feature film version of the story, 2005′s Lords of Dogtown.

  9. Senna

    Ayrton Senna’s story is a powerful but tragic one: The Formula One racer was only 34 when he died in a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, but by then he’d rocked the sporting world and affected racing forever thanks to his skill and personality. The 2010 documentary Senna is easily one of the best racing stories ever told, relying on copious amounts of real footage to put viewers back in the action as director Asif Kapadia works his way through Senna’s victories and defeats. It’s an eye-opening look at a sporting culture many Americans don’t know much about (the U.S. loves NASCAR a lot more than Formula One), but it’s made with such skill that it appeals to non-fans, as well.

  10. Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

    Ken Burns makes the list twice (he’s good at what he does, after all) with Unforgivable Blackness, a gorgeous documentary about the legendary boxer who became the first black man to hold the title of world heavyweight champ, and who did so at a time when the U.S. was still choking its citizens with Jim Crow laws. Born in 1878, Johnson was boxing before the turn of the century, and in 1910 he won the "fight of the century" against retired but undefeated heavyweight champ James Jeffries, playing to a crowd of 20,000 in Reno and winning $65,000. His fame became a template for the way celebrity athletes would be revered and feared at the same time. Burns’ film is a wonderful and often harrowing document of a time that feels foreign to modern Americans but that’s a whole lot closer than we’d care to remember.

10 Reality Show Moments Destined to Live in Infamy

Aug 18th, 2011

Reality shows have changed the way we watch TV and connect to the outside world. These shows have made us laugh, cry and even question humanity at times, but one thing’s for sure – they keep us entertained. As big name shows like Kate Plus 8 come to an end, we reflect on the good and not-so-good moments captured on reality TV. Here are 10 reality show moments destined to live in infamy:

  1. Jon and Kate Gosselin announce their separation

    It didn’t take a psychic to predict that Jon and Kate Gosselin’s marriage would eventually go downhill, but instead of dropping the show to work on their relationship, they just dropped each other. While filming Jon & Kate Plus 8, the couple announced their somewhat shocking decision to separate for the sake of the kids, as well as our own sanity. There’d be no more petty arguments or couple interviews on the couch; it’d just be Kate and her plus eight, which we now know wasn’t enough to keep the show afloat.

  2. Snooki gets punched

    It was the punch heard ’round the world. Jersey Shore‘s Snooki got punched in the face by a random man at the group’s Seaside Heights hangout. As the story goes, Snooki’s random attacker Brad Ferro, a high school gym teacher, was intoxicated and tried to steal Snooki’s cocktail. When she confronted him and started yelling in his face, Ferro swung and the pint-sized party girl fell to the floor crying. Although MTV ultimately decided to pull the footage from the show, we still have the teaser clips to remind us of this infamous moment on the Jersey Shore.

  3. NJ Housewife Teresa Giudice flips a table

    The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice made headlines when she infamously flipped out and flipped a table on cast member Danielle Staub. The two women were arguing about the facts in Danielle’s ex-husband’s book, but it wasn’t all the yelling that got Teresa stirred up, it was being told to pay attention by Danielle. As expected, all hell broke loose and Teresa began attacking Danielle, famously calling her a "prostitution whore" before flipping the table like a wannabe Mafioso.

  4. Jason Mesnick dumps The Bachelor winner for the runner-up

    Like most Bachelor finales, season 13 bachelor Jason Mesnick proposed to the girl he "said" he wanted to marry, but ended up pulling a stunt so huge that even the biggest love cynic didn’t see it coming. On the After the Final Rose episode, Mesnick shocked viewers when he dumped his fiancée Melissa Rycroft because he said he was still in love with the runner-up, Molly Malaney. The entire embarrassing breakup was caught on camera, and we can’t help but wonder if these people will ever learn.

  5. The Real World: Seattle goodbye slap

    Real World: Seattle took a turn for the unexpected when Stephen infamously slapped his housemate Irene after she told him he was gay. Stephen didn’t like Irene’s claim, so he threw her stuffed animal into the water, ran up to her moving car and slapped her in the face and ran off. The slap became one of the most infamous moments in Real World history, but the best part was finding out years later that Irene was right about Stephen all along.

  6. Jessica Simpson’s Chicken of the Sea moment

    MTV’s Newlyweds was more than just another reality series. It was a window into the "real" side of Jessica Simpson and it wasn’t always pretty. Simpson became known for her signature blonde moments that ranged from mispronouncing Massachusetts and platypus to questioning what kind of meat is in Buffalo wings. But Simpson’s most infamous moment happened when she was eating a can of tuna fish and asked her now ex-husband Nick Lachey if she was eating chicken or fish because the brand name, Chicken of the Sea, confused her.

  7. Tyra Banks goes berserk on a model

    America’s Next Top Model has built its popularity on the premise of looks and drama, so it’s no surprise that the show’s host, Tyra Banks, is one of the biggest divas in television history. There have been many infamous moments on America’s Next Top Model, but none quite like Tyra’s screaming match with season four model Tiffany. Banks is upset that Tiffany doesn’t show any emotion about being disqualified, but when the model tries to defend herself Banks yells like a mad woman.

  8. The Hills‘ Hollywood ending

    Millions of teenagers’ hearts broke when MTV’s The Hills came to an end. It wasn’t just the end of an era that made them upset, they wanted an explanation for the surprising twist that ended with Brody looking at Kristin’s car drive off as the Hollywood backdrop is pulled away and the set is exposed. Even though we could admit that The Hills was scripted and exaggerated for TV, no one expected this kind of Hollywood ending.

  9. Drunken Verne Troyer pees in the corner

    The Surreal Life has seen its fair share of bizarre celebrity behavior, but few moments are as infamous and hilarious as Verne Troyer’s naked and drunken scooter ride that involved running into walls, mooning the camera and urinating in the corner of the house. To make matters worse, Troyer, who’s best known for his role as Mini-Me in Austin Powers, passed out in his bed making an odd, loud moaning sound that woke up the whole household.

  10. Sue Hawk’s snakes and rats speech on Survivor

    The first season of Survivor kept audiences on their toes, but no one expected the stunt that outspoken castmate Sue Hawk pulled in the finale. Hawk’s ridiculous snakes and rats speech goes down as one of the most remembered moments in Survivor and reality TV history. Hawk’s bitter speech took another surprising turn when she gave her vote to Richard Hatch and not her former friend Kelly Wiglesworth.

10 Pro Athletes Who Couldn’t Stop Gambling

Aug 17th, 2011

Alex Rodriguez, who’s arguably the greatest player of his generation, has done a poor job of maintaining a clean reputation. After admitting to steroid use, receiving the nickname "A-Fraud" from his teammates, cheating on his wife, and enduring the perception that he’s "unclutch," he’s made things even worse by participating in illegal high-stakes poker games. Of course, plenty of athletes have tarnished their reputations and careers due to their penchants for gambling. Conspiracy theorists, for example, like to claim that Michael Jordan’s first retirement was "forced" by David Stern because MJ allowed things to spiral out of control. The sometimes shady activities of these ultra-competitive, testosterone-laden jocks can produce fascinating stories. Here are 10 guys who serve as proof.

  1. Pete Rose

    From 1989 forward, all major sports gambling scandals have evoked and will evoke the name of Pete Rose, who remains banned from baseball and the only living person ineligible for the Hall of Fame. His activities as the manager of the Reds compromised the integrity of the game, even though the infamous Dowd Report indicated there was no evidence that he bet against the Reds — years later, investigator John Dowd stated that he thought Rose may have bet against his team. To date, Rose’s biggest admission is that he bet on the Reds "every night."

  2. Denny McClain

    Rose’s coauthor of the 1969 instructional booklet How to Play Better Baseball shared a similar interest, one that contributed to his downfall just as he was reaching the prime of his career. After winning the Cy Young Award in 1968 and ’69, his interest in betting on horses eventually prompted him to invest in a bookmaking operation with members of the Syrian mob. According to an article in Sports Illustrated, a foot injury suffered by McClain in 1967 was caused by mobster Tony Giacolone, who bet on the Twins and Red Sox to win the pennant and the Angels in McClain’s last start of the season. McClain, certainly no golden boy, was suspended from baseball on three occasions and has lived a turbulent life since he left the game.

  3. Alex Rodriguez

    Major League Baseball’s biggest concerns with A-Rod’s involvement in the poker games is the presence of cocaine, the amount of debt he may have incurred and whether or not his activities have led him to betting on baseball. The Pete Rose ordeal has encouraged MLB to nip such issues in the bud — suspicions of Rose’s gambling problems arose in 1970, but, prior to the late ’80s, few could have imagined him being so reckless. A suspension may not be in the cards for A-Rod, but at the very least, he’ll have to suffer through a stern scolding from the commissioner.

  4. Michael Jordan

    As with your typical type A personality, Jordan always has to be in the middle of the action. In 1993, an eventful year for MJ, he was spotted gambling in Atlantic City the night before a game against the Knicks, he admitted to losing $165,000 due to the vice, and Richard Esquinas, a San Diego businessman, claimed MJ owed him $1.25 million after a game of golf. Now retired for almost a decade, it’s not uncommon to find him participating in high-stakes games or going 18 holes with another celebrity, adding to the veritable library of MJ gambling stories that have been collected through the years.

  5. Charles Barkley

    Long-time friends with Jordan, Barkley has been just as dedicated as a gambler. In 2006, he told ESPN that he lost $10 million due to the habit — including $2.5 million in six hours while playing blackjack and $700,000 during a Super Bowl weekend — stating that "It is a problem for me," though he said he would continue gambling. Two years later, The Wynn in Las Vegas sued him for $400,000 for unpaid gambling markers, causing him to publically declare "I’m not going to gamble anymore" on TNT’s NBA playoff pregame show. Not exactly known for his willpower, it’s doubtful that Barkley has stayed the course.

  6. Paul Hornung

    During the early ’60s, gambling was a major problem in the NFL , as evidenced by the suspensions of its biggest star, Hornung, and All-Pro tackle Alex Karras, both of whom missed the 1963 season for betting on NFL games and associating with gamblers. Hornung bet up to $500 on games, but never bet on the Packers, according to Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Hornung, the league leader in scoring from 1959 to 1961, led the Packers to the 1961 and 1962 NFL championships — the team wouldn’t win another until 1965, a year after he was reinstated. His forthrightness about his gambling ensured the punishment wasn’t too severe and his reputation remained intact.

  7. Art Schlichter

    A year before the Colts drafted Elway and subsequently traded him away, they made the mistake of drafting Schlichter, whose questionable associations in college foretold the problems that would plague him for much of his life. His signing bonus was gone by midway through his rookie season, and by the end of the 1982 strike, he was $700,000 in debt. Eventually he became the first NFL player suspended for gambling since Hornung and Karras. With his NFL career over, he was arrested in 1987 for his involvement in a multimillion-dollar sports betting operation. Having committed more than 20 felonies during his lifetime, Schlichter has essentially resorted to fraud and forgery for his livelihood.

  8. Wayne Rooney

    Just 25 years old, it’s difficult to imagine that Rooney has been an international soccer star for several years. It’s even more difficult to imagine that he’s gambled away almost £1 million. As a 20-year-old, he accumulated £700,000 in debt while betting on football (also known as soccer), horses and dogs with a business associate of teammate Michael Owen, a dispute that was eventually settled. Two years later, it was reported that he lost £65,000 in just two hours in a Manchester casino. Rooney has pledged to control his gambling, but with weekly earnings surpassing UK’s gross annual median salary, it’s clear that he has the resources to maintain the habit.

  9. Rick Tocchet

    Since the versatile Tocchet hung up the skates in 2002, he has pursued careers as a coach, television analyst and bookmaker, the latter of which resulted in two years probation and leave of absence from the NHL. According to a criminal complaint, he was one of the primary funders of a nationwide sports gambling ring out of New Jersey used by several current NHL players. Also operated by ex-New Jersey State Trooper James Harney and a man named James Ulmer, it averaged more than five bets per day worth a total of more than $5,000. Overall, more than $1 million circulated through the ring.

  10. John Daly

    Barkley’s surprising admission that he lost $10 million to gambling was spurred by Daly’s even more astounding revelation that he lost between $50 million and $60 million during a 12-year period, an estimate that Barkley thought was exaggerated — after all, Daly had an autobiography to sell. With Daly’s unique personality and many vices, stories of his extracurricular activities are abundant. For example, after narrowly losing a match at a World Golf Championship, he lost $1.65 million in just five hours while playing the $5,000 slots. Fortunately for Daly, he can maintain a steady stream of income because of his legendary off-the-course status.

10 Greatest PGA Winners of All Time

Aug 12th, 2011

A healthy Tiger, hungry Rory and confident Scott have teed off at the Atlanta Athletic Club, each vying for the coveted Wanamaker Trophy amid challenging conditions. Just 10 years ago, David Toms posted an impressive 15-under total on the same course, edging out Phil Michelson by a single stroke. But a redesign that began in 2006 has produced surprisingly fast greens due to the incorporation of Diamond Zoysia and Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda grasses designed to withstand the sweltering summer heat. With a daunting final hole that has been a major topic of discussion among the players, this weekend’s action promises to be captivating from start of finish, evoking memories of past great PGA Championships and their winners. The triumphs of the following golfers were particularly memorable, as they provided those extra storylines that have made the tournament unique.

  1. Gene Sarazen, Oakmont, 1922

    The absence of defending PGA champion and golf legend Walter Hagen gave the 20-year-old Sarazen the golden opportunity to become the youngest winner in the tournament’s history, a record that still stands almost 90 years later. Competing in match-play rounds in a 64-player field, he impressively rallied to eliminate former champion Jock Hutchison Sr. in the quarterfinals, eventually knocking off Emmett French in the finals. The victory, along with his U.S. Open victory two months earlier, established Sarazen as the hot young name in golf, setting up a classic duel a year later.

  2. Gene Sarazen, Pelham, 1923

    Much like Tiger’s return to the PGA Championship this year, Hagen’s return in 1923 excited golf observers, adding hype to the already much-anticipated tournament. His rally from a three-hole deficit with nine to play forced the first extra-hole finale in the tournament’s history. On the second hole of sudden death, Sarazen’s tee shot found heavy rough, but it didn’t shake his confidence. After announcing "I’ll put this one so close to the hole it’ll break Walter’s heart," he placed the ball within two feet, enabling him to sink the birdie and win his second PGA Championship.

  3. Paul Runyan, Shawnee, 1938

    Everyone enjoys a good duel, but sheer domination can be entertaining too. Runyan was playing the best golf of his career at Shawnee, turning the event into the biggest title match blowout of the match play era. Utilizing his exceptional short game, he defeated Sam Snead 8 and 7, finishing 24-under for the weekend. One of golf’s famous little men, Runyan towered over his contemporaries.

  4. Jack Nicklaus, Dallas Athletic Club, 1963

    Bursting onto the golf scene in 1962 and ’63, Nicklaus won his first three major championships in dramatic fashion. Faced with 100-degree heat and a three-stroke deficit in the final round at DAC, the 23-year-old came through in the clutch, shooting a 68 to move atop the leaderboard from fifth place. Bruce Crampton’s slide on the final holes caused him to finish the day with a 74, thus giving Nicklaus room to wiggle. Of course, Nicklaus would go on to win four more PGA Championships.

  5. Julius Boros, Pecan Valley, 1968

    Golf’s version of a late bloomer, Boros turned pro at the age of 29 after working several years as an accountant. He went on to win three majors, the latter of which came at Pecan Valley when he was 48 years old. His primary competition was the 39-year-old Arnold Palmer, who was slightly past his prime but hungry for his first-ever PGA Championship victory. Palmer finished the day tied for the lead with Bob Charles, with Boros still out on the course. Reaching 18 with a one-stroke lead, Boros made par, becoming the oldest winner of any major championship. Unfortunately, a PGA Championship win would forever elude Palmer, one of the game’s best.

  6. Bob Tway, Inverness, 1986

    Tway etched his name in PGA Championship lore with one of the most amazing shots in golf history, now remembered as the "shot heard ’round the world." Overcoming Greg Norman’s four-stroke lead with eight holes remaining, he entered 18 tied for first place. His approach landed in the bunker as Norman’s rested on the edge of the green. Attempting to make up ground, Tway hit the ball over the bunker lip, and to the astonishment of Tway and the gallery, it somehow found the cup. The dramatic shot secured Tway’s only major victory.

  7. John Daly, Crooked Stick, 1991

    It’s difficult to imagine, even 20 years later, that a ninth alternate could win a major tournament. Daly, in his first year on the PGA Tour, accomplished that feat after Nick Price dropped out because his wife was giving birth. Equipped with Price’s caddy, Daly scored rounds of 69-67-69-71 — without the luxury of a practice round — winning the tournament by three shots. The mulleted everyman immediately became one of the most popular players on the Tour as he went on to earn PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors.

  8. Tiger Woods, Medinah, 1999

    Two years removed from his monumental Masters victory, Tiger had yet to capture his second major, though he was still considered golf’s rising phenom. A new kid on the block, however, sought to snatch that title at Medinah. Lingering around the top of the leaderboard on all four days, 19-year-old Sergio Garcia mounted a comeback on the back nine best remembered for his incredible shot on 16 in which he blindly connected with the green from the base of a tree trunk. Ultimately, he finished a stroke short of Tiger, and what appeared to be a budding long-term rivalry quickly wilted. Tiger has since won 12 majors, and Sergio is still seeking his first.

  9. Rich Beem, Hazeltine, 2002

    Beem, a relative unknown on the tour at the time despite boasting a victory at the 1999 Kemper Open, managed to do the impossible — tame Tiger when he was at his best. The underdog staved off a ferocious comeback in which Tiger birdied his last four holes to post a final-round 67. But a couple of clutch shots, including a 35-foot birdie putt on 16, provided Beem with enough of a cushion to secure the win.

  10. Shaun Micheel, Oak Hill, 2003

    Ranked 169th in the world, Micheel was winless in 163 career PGA events and on nobody’s radar heading into Oak Hill. By the end of the tournament, he was the fourth first-time major winner of the year, and everyone knew his name thanks, in part, to his near-impossible shot on 18. Carrying a one-stroke lead, he hit a 162-yard 7-iron to within two inches of the hole, setting up the birdie. Eight years later, it remains Micheel’s only PGA win.

13 Freaky Facts About Roller Coasters

Aug 1st, 2011

Whether it’s the mind-jarring twists and turns or the gut-wrenching vertical drops, roller coasters have a way of making us feel so alive and so close to death at the exact same time. These exhilarating scream machines are expertly designed and constructed with riders’ comfort and safety in mind, but this year’s growing number of roller coaster fatalities has led many to think otherwise. So, before you jump on the next loop-the-loop, test your knowledge with these 13 freaky facts about roller coasters:

  1. Approximately 4.4 amusement-ride fatalities occurred each year from 1987 to 2002

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that from 1987 to 2002 there were about 4.4 deaths per year from mobile and fixed-site amusement rides. The Commission calculated this yearly average based on reports that there was an estimated annual average of 4.3 amusement ride fatalities each year from 1987 to 1998, as well as three deaths in 2001 and two in 2002.

  2. Six U.S. states do not have amusement ride safety laws

    Each state is responsible for creating its own safety regulations for amusement rides. Although most have safety laws and ride inspectors, there are currently six states (Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming) that do not have any ride safety laws enforced by the government. Therefore, manufacturers, ride operators and insurance carriers handle safety issues on their own, without oversee by a government agency.

  3. Approximately 1,181 ride-related injuries occurred in 2009

    According to the National Safety Council, there were approximately 1,181 amusement ride-related injuries in 2009. Even though 2009 had a significantly lower estimated annual attendance and annual ridership, there was still a high estimated number of ride-related injuries.

  4. The Kingda Ka roller coaster is 456 feet tall and goes 128 mph in 3.5 seconds

    It’s a freaky fact that Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, has the tallest roller coaster in the world and the fastest in the nation. The 456-foot-tall Kingda Ka coaster reaches a record-breaking speed of 128 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

  5. The first lap bar was installed in 1907

    Before 1907, roller coaster riders were restrained only by a simple chain or strap that kept them in their seat. It wasn’t until Christian Feuchs, creator of the first high-speed, modern roller coaster called Drop the Dip, decided to add the first-ever lap bar to a coaster. This life-saving invention has forever changed the safety and engineering of roller coasters.

  6. The Takabisha roller coaster is 141 feet tall and has a 121-degree freefall

    Japan’s Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park is now home to the world’s steepest roller coaster. The newly-built Takabisha roller coaster takes riders up 141 feet and sends them plummeting on a 121-degree vertical drop.

  7. Some states do not have an age requirement for amusement ride operators

    Depending on where you live, 16- or 17-year-olds may be in charge of operating the amusement rides you’re on. Although many states have implemented a minimum age for ride operators, others have no age requirement and will hire inexperienced teenagers to do the job. In addition to the age concerns, many amusement ride operators do not undergo any safety training because it’s not required by federal law.

  8. Japan has the only pedal-powered roller coasters in the world

    Okayama, Japan, is home to the only pedal-powered roller coaster in the world. The Skycycle ride lets pairs pedal the carts along a winding track that overlooks the very scenic Washuzan Highland Park.

  9. Steel Dragon 2000 is 8,133 feet long

    The Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land Amusement Park in Mie prefecture, Japan, is the longest of its kind. Coming in at an impressive 8,133 feet long, the record-breaking roller coaster takes three minutes, 12 seconds to ride.

  10. Inertia would keep riders in their seats, even without restraints

    A freaky fact of physics and roller coasters is that inertia alone has the power to keep you in your seat during a loop-the-loop roller coaster ride. As a coaster car moves along a loop, the force of your acceleration and your inertia are strong enough to keep you in the car. Safety harnesses and lap bars are used for security purposes, but inertia is the natural and most powerful force protecting you on rides.

  11. Richard Rodriguez holds the world record for riding a roller coaster for 17 straight days

    For most people, it takes a lot of courage to get on a roller coaster, let alone ride it more than once! But that’s not the case for Richard Rodriguez, who holds the world record for riding a roller coaster for 17 days. In 2007, this thrill seeker completed a grueling 17-day stint of riding the Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the UK. Rodriguez only took five-minute breaks each hour to change clothes, shower or eat a hot meal.

  12. Roller coasters are dangerous for some riders

    Even though the amusement park industry ensures roller coasters are safe for the majority of the population and enforce health warning signs when it may not be, there are several riders who are at risk for serious and even life-threatening injuries. Some of these at-risk riders are aware of their preexisting health condition and others are not. Although rare, brain injuries, heart failures and arrhythmias have occurred in roller coaster riders who took that potential health risk knowingly or not.

  13. Cannon Coaster was created to leap over a gap in the tracks

    Coney Island’s 1902 roller coaster creation was supposed to set new records for its daring and never-before-seen design. The Cannon Coaster was originally designed to jump over a gap in the tracks and land on the other side, but the plan proved to be impossible when the test rounds kept ending in crashes. Even though the test rides only carried sandbags, not humans, and the gap was eventually filled, it still gives people the willies to think about riding a coaster that jumps unprotected gaps.