To win Olympic medals, a country needs lots of talent, the resources to train that talent, and the desire to spend those resources, as my colleague Matt O’Brien put it.
As host of the 2016 Olympics, Brazil has plenty of incentive to rake in as much Olympic gold as possible, and with almost 200 million people, it has quite the talent pool, too.
What’s more, the country has discovered that certain segments of its sizeable population come prepackaged with Olympic-worthy skills. Why train new Olympic archers, the thinking seems to be, when some Brazilians have already been shooting arrows since they were the size of a quiver?
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker]
If you want to understand the modern academy, it wouldn’t hurt to start at “impact factor.”
Every year, the company Thomson Reuters assigns every academic journal an “impact factor.” Impact factors measure, roughly, how often papers published in one journal are cited by other journals. It is an ecological measurement, in other words. You’d recognize the names of journals with the highest impact factors — Nature, Science, etc. — but the world of scholarly journals is enormous, and there’s crowding at the bottom.
Two stories today illustrate the problems with impact factors, and the difficulty of measuring knowledge through any metric.
Read more. [Image: Eduardo Coutinho/Flickr]
As the stroke of midnight rolled across the world’s time zones, people gathered in private and took to the streets to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, 2013. Fireworks erupted from Sydney to Moscow, and revelers gathered in London, Dakar, New York, Las Vegas, and thousands of other places, raising a glass, keeping warm, making resolutions, and wishing each other a “Happy New Year!”
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]
“I wanted to look my best for Rio,” wrote the famous Italian aviator Francesco de Pinedo in his travelogues, “There she lay, fragrant and colorful, voluptuously reclining beside the sea.” Le Corbusier echoed similar gendered reflections of the city when he likened Rio de Janiero’s “dancing” landscape of lush islands and sculpted peaks to the bodies of women. What prompted these “poetic” formulations was the bird’s eye spectacle newly afforded by the airplane, which offered privileged encounters with the city inaccessible to all but the brave and daring. Even with the introduction and integration of Google Maps into contemporary culture, these same encounters remain exclusive to experience of flight, in the sense that the airplane is the only medium in which one may truly inhabit the oblique.
Read more. [Video: Jarbas Agnelli]