Geocaching in Space – Q&A with Astronaut Rick Mastracchio

first_img SharePrint Related100 Days in Space – International Space Station Travel Bug Mission UpdateFebruary 10, 2014In “Community”Track a Travel Bug in SpaceOctober 20, 2013In “Community”Behind the Scenes: My Travel Bug®’s Mission to SpaceOctober 16, 2013In “Community” Students ask – Astronaut Rick Mastracchio answersOn his final trip to Space on November 2013, Astronaut Rick Mastracchio packed along a Geocaching Travel Bug to the International Space Station (ISS). The little Travel Bug connected with students all over the world to teach about space travel, science and geography.Since then many school kids have posted their questions on the Travel Bug details page, where Astronaut Rick Mastracchio (Geocaching name AstroRM) has answered them one by one.This is a collection of the question and answers that teachers can bring to their classroom and students can soak up. For the visual learner, have a look at the Pinterest board or check out the gallery on the trackable details page.Do you or your students have questions about space travel, that have not been answered yet? Post them on the Travel Bug details page! Let us know what school you are from, the grade, city, state and country!Russian teammates are working outside of Mastracchio’s window installing a telescope.At what speed does the International Space Station (ISS) travel?The ISS travels at a speed of 17,500 miles an hour.How far above the Earth is the ISS?The ISS is 220 miles above the Earth.What does NASA stand for?National Aeronautics and Space Administration.How many times a day does the International Space Station Orbit the a Earth?About 16 times a day.What a Expedition is Astronaut Rick Mastracchio going to the ISS on?Expedition 38What are the three countries the travel bug has gone to so far?United States, Germany and Russia.How far will the trackable travel during it’s 6 month on board of the ISS?Something between 70 and 82 million miles (112 and 133 million km).We learned that a long term effect of being in space is that our bodies begins to lose calcium and our muscles weaken. What do astronauts eat to help build calcium and muscle strength? Also, what types of physical exercise do you do when you are up there?It is true that our muscles get weak and ours bones get thinner and weaker when we are in a weightless environment, like the space station. It is similar to what happens to a person who is in bed 24 hours a day due to illness. We eat a very balanced diet that is determined by our dieticians and doctors. We also exercise every day. We run on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike and we also lift weights. The weight machine cannot use weights, since everything is weightless, so it uses large air pistons that allow us to control the resistance. It reminds me of a large bicycle pump.We learned that the body’s fluids shifts above your heart when in space. What does that feel like?On the earth your heart works hard to pump blood from your legs to your head. In space it does not have to work that hard to move the blood. When you first get into space your head gets puffy, and you feel like you have a headache. After a few days or week your body readjusts and you return to normal.How many people fit inside the of the Soyuz spaceship capsule?The Soyuz spacecraft holds a maximum of 3 people. My mission will include a Russian Cosmonaut, a Japanese Astronaut and me.How much training do you need to keep up with all of that technology?We train in many different areas. We train to operate the space station, operate the Soyuz vehicle, perform experiments, control robotic arms, perform space walks and many more things. For this mission alone I have been training for 2.5 years. I also had to learn to understand and speak the Russian language while doing all of this.How did you get those hitchikers that are attached to the travel bug?My daughter worked at a veterinary clinic and I was trying to come up with ideas for small items to fly in space and give to the schools. So the hitchhikers are literally small dog tags from my daughter.What does it feel like to be in space?When you first get to space you don’t always feel great. It takes time for your body to adapt. At first a lot of your blood goes to your head since there is no gravity to pull it down. This gives you a headache and a stuffy hose. Also, your stomach feels queasy, like you just rode on a rollercoaster 10 times. Eventually your body adjusts the blood in your head and your stomach gets used to being weightless. Then you feel great and it is like you are superman. You can fly and lift thousands of pounds.What does the Earth look like in space?The earth is beautiful from up here. So many colors of blue in the ocean. It is like looking at a globe or a map of the planet. I should have studied my geography a little more. It is sometimes hard to identify the countries but I am getting better. (See the pictures of Earth seen from space Rick has posted on the trackable’s details page here.)Can you see the weather from space?We can see clouds, hurricanes and even lightning storms. Lightning is my favorite thing to watch up here. I have seen huge storms cover almost all of Africa and the lightning strikes danced all over the place. It was incredible.Of course we can see snow covered places and If you know where to look we can see icebergs. They are difficult to tell from clouds but they have a slightly blue tint to them.What is your favorite thing to do in Space?I have many things that I enjoy doing here on the space station, Of course looking out the window at our Earth is fascinating. The many colors of the oceans and the snow capped mountains are beautiful. I especially like seeing lightning storms from space. It looks like the lightning is dancing all over the place.I also enjoy working on the research and experiments we have onboard the space station. We are very busy trying to develop new medicines and new technologies to help the people of the Earth.Can you see Utah/The Great Salt Lake from space?Yes we can easily see Utah and The Great Salt Lake from space. I will try to take a photo of them and send it to you if I can. Sometimes it takes many days to pass over a certain part of the world or sometimes we pass over it while we are sleeping.What Temperature do they have it set too inside the space station? Everyone seems to be in shorts.The temperature on the station is like your house. It is very comfortable. Some rooms which we call modules are warmer than others because they have so much equipment in them. We wear shorts sometimes for comfort but we always wear them for our exercise period. We have to exercise more than 2 hours every day so that we can walk again when we return to Earth.What is your favorite book? Why?I cannot say that I have one favorite book since there are so many good books that I have read. However, I will never forget reading The Swiss Family Robinson story. It was great. The reason I liked it was because the family landed on a deserted island with almost nothing and built everything they needed. They were very creative in finding ways to not only survive but make their life comfortable. Talking about it makes me want to read it again someday.Who is/was your inspiration? Why?I cannot say any individual or group inspired me but I did have many people affect my life and its course. My father was a hard worker and that really shaped me throughout my life. I had many teachers who encouraged me and helped me to get where I am today. My wife was always willing to follow me to new job assignments around the country.What are your favorite hobbies on the ISS and on Earth?At home I enjoy woodworking, building furniture, and working in my garden and yard. On the space station I enjoy looking out the window and taking pictures of interesting things I see. The photography is very difficult from up here so that in itself is a hobby. We are traveling 5 miles every second! So it is easy to miss a shot of an interesting place.We are also interested in how someone can email to and from space? How does the ISS connect to the internet?The space station has large bandwidth capability. That means it can transmit and receive a lot of data. This data can be simple commands to the space station, like turn on a device. The data can be audio, like a phone call or even video, like a television program. At any one time we can be transmitting or receiving multiple audio and video signals plus commands. This capability also allows us to send email just like you do except it is transmitted down to NASA first and then routed to the folks we send it to. We can also call our family on the phone from up here but they cannot call us. Sometimes on the weekend they transmit television up to us. It is only one channel but it is better than no channels.If I want to become an astronaut too, what is the most important thing you would advise?The most important thing is to go to college to study a subject you really enjoy. Then continue your education into graduate school and get a job working in the area you enjoy. Once you have established yourself you can try to get a job at a space agency if not in Egypt then perhaps in another country or Europe. I do not know anything about Egypt’s space program or if it has anything similar.How do you get fresh water and air on the ISS?Here on station we recycle our air and water. In the first picture you can see the travel bug visiting our toilet. This is where the water goes into the system. In the second picture the travel bug is visiting our water dispenser. This is where the water comes out of the system. So yes that means our urine is recycled into clean drinkable water. The water in the atmosphere from our sweat and wet towels and other sources is also captured, condensed into a liquid and recycled. We try not to waste any water on the ISS.It is interesting that the crew members release carbon dioxide (CO2) when we breath and of course urinate. The urine is used to make clean drinking water, then the water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen. We use the oxygen to breath but what should we do with the hydrogen? We combine the hydrogen with the carbon dioxide (CO2) to make water (H2O) and methane. The methane we throw out. Every system has its limitations. Even though the system is not perfect it saves NASA from having to launch oxygen and water to the ISS.I think I will go get a drink of water now.Travel Bug at the ISS toilet.How does the machine that recycles water clean it again if was dirty before?We recycle all of our water. The system uses filters and also distillation. Distillation is when the dirty water is turned into gas and then back into water. This removes a lot of the impurities in the water.Is the water and air that you recycle good for you?The water and air we recycle is very clean and that makes it very good for us.Travel Bug on the ISS at the area where water comes out of filtration systemWhat does your food taste like?We have all kinds of food here on the space station. Most of the food has all the air and water removed to make it smaller and lighter. Then when we want to eat it we add water to it and it returns to its original form and shape. It does not taste as good as the food you have at home but it is pretty good.How does the rocket break apart?The rocket has 3 stages or parts to it. Each stage is like its own rocket. It takes a lot of power to reach low earth orbit. The first stage pushes us above the lower atmosphere and then it burns out and disconnects from the remaining parts. After it falls off, the second stage engine turns on or ignites and it pushes us even higher. This continues until we reach orbit. So the tall rocket that started on the launch pad is a small vehicle by time it reaches the space station.Are the beds uncomfortable?We sleep in sleeping bags that hang on the wall. But there is no gravity so there is no up and down. I can hang upside down all day and it does not affect me at all. Sleeping is very comfortable. It is like floating on air. Which is what I am really doing.How does a rocket fly? How does it fly straight up?The rocket has very powerful engines, and very complicated computers to control it. It flies up but it also flies away from the launch pad on a very specific path or trajectory. It is like shooting a basketball into a hoop. You need to aim it very carefully to get the ball into the basket. A rocket is like a big basketball, the space station is the hoop, and the computers are controlling the shot.How does the food get fresh again when you put water in the bag?The dehydrated food is food without the water in it. So when we add the water back it returns to its original form. Think of it like frozen food. It is not as good as fresh food but still pretty good.The  questions above have been asked by students of Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School-Waterbury, CT; Washington Elementary School-Waterbury, CT; Walsh Elementary School-Waterbury, CT; Chase Elementary School-Waterbury, CT; West Clinton Elementary School – Clinton, UT; Fairfield Middle School-Langdon, KS and Tinker School-Waterbury, CT.Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

10 months agoTarkowski pleased to captain Burnley to FA Cup win

first_imgTarkowski pleased to captain Burnley to FA Cup winby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBurnley defender James Tarkowski was pleased with their 1-0 FA Cup win over Barnsley.Tarkowski was delighted to lead Burnley to the victory and cap a near perfect week for the Clarets.“I played a bit out there when I was in the youth team at Oldham so I had a slight experience of it, but I enjoyed myself out there,” said Tarkowski, who was pressed into action with Phil Bardsley and Matt Lowton both out injured.“I thought Barnsley played some good football but in the main we were quite secure at the back, which is always important in games like this – not to give away too many chances.“And in the second half we had a couple of good chances and the penalty at the end, which gave us a great chance to win the game and which Woody put away.“He’s on a nice little streak now and hopefully he can keep that up.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has more First Nations than any other leader

first_imgKathleen MartensAPTN NewsGravel gives way to new blacktop here on the road leading into Pasqua First Nation.But that’s not something Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would know, says Chief Todd Peigan, because the incumbent MP has never visited the reserve.“What can I tell you about Andy?” Peigan says over the phone from New York City, where he’s attending a special climate conference at the United Nations.“He has never attended Pasqua First Nation, he has never attended any of the party debates when they’re held on reserve.”Pasqua is one of 12 reserves in Scheer’s sprawling riding of Regina-Qu’Appelle, here in southeastern Saskatchewan.(Pasqua First Nation is one of 12 reserves in the Regina-Qu’Appelle riding. (Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)Describing it as “diverse” is an understatement.The riding encompasses North Central (an inner-city neighbourhood voted most dangerous in Canada in 2005), the upcale bedroom communities of White City and Emerald Park on Regina’s eastern outskirts, and vast, rolling farmland that dots a picturesque valley.As an MP, Scheer represents the most First Nations of any party leader.Green Party’s Elizabeth May has four communities in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands in B.C., but the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, PPC leader Maxime Bernier and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet have none.When Scheer coasted to victory in 2015 with the help of urban and rural voters, none of the 10 First Nation polls supported him.(One of the farms in Regina-Qu’Appelle. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)Some of that anti-Scheer sentiment was captured in a controversial Facebook post on Sept. 16.Myke Agecoutay, a former vice chief of the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, accused Scheer of making offensive comments in “the sacred boardroom” on Treaty 4 territory after accepting an invitation to meet with First Nation leaders.But Agecoutay, who now lives in Regina, didn’t respond to numerous requests from APTN News to defend or offer proof of his accusation.The post, which has since disappeared, is not true, said a spokesperson for Scheer in an email to APTN,“These allegations are patently false. The post has been deleted by Facebook,” the spokesperson said.(Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer outside the House of Commons in February. APTN file).Without Agecoutay or others in the room confirming the allegation, it is now social media history.But it’s being credited with sparking an interest in the federal election campaign, says the riding’s Liberal candidate Jordan Ames-Sinclair, a Treaty 4 Indigenous youth leader from Sakimay First Nation.“I’m aware of it; people are aware of it,” he said in an interview in his campaign office.Ames-Sinclair believes it’s “mathematically possible” for him to unseat Scheer if he takes all the Indigenous votes in the riding of just under 80,000 people, which according to Statistics Canada, is growing.“Not everyone feels they’ve been well represented,” said the business student at the University of Regina, who was recently endorsed by Liberal veteran Sheila Copps.“A large majority haven’t been voting.”#ScheerHomophobia @AndrewScheer worst nightmare. @JordanQuAppelle Dynamic young Métis two-spirit gay leader is the Liberal candidate against him. 13,000 indigenous people in the riding. That’s why Scheer is in hiding. Go Jordan!— Hon. Sheila Copps (@Sheila_Copps) August 29, 2019Jessica Gordon, one of the councillors for about 2,000 band members in Pasqua, knows something about fanning the flames of First Nation’s discontentment.She’s co-founder of the national Indigenous movement Idle No More.“There has been push back over the years that we shouldn’t vote (in the colonial system) – that it’s not our way,” she says, while driving to yet another meeting.“But we need to be engaged. We’re going to help people register and get to the polls.”(Jordan Ames-Sinclair is an Indigenous candidate opposing Scheer. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)Sources at File Hills and Touchwood tribal councils in the riding, who aren’t authorized to speak for the organizations, confirmed their bosses are discussing a voting drive.Peigan, who identified Agecoutay as his nephew, was the only chief to respond to repeated requests for comment for this story.“We cannot just advise people to vote,” he says of plans to bus people to cast ballots and ensure there are polls on each First Nation for the Oct. 21 vote.“We have to advise them to vote Liberal.”Yes, despite high-profile party scandals involving the country’s first Indigenous attorney general and justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and mocking people of colour via black-brownface, Peigan continues to support Trudeau.“Think of the alternative,” he said of Scheer. “(Here in the riding) he never went to bat for us.”(Jessica Gordon is a Pasqua First Nation band councillor and co-founder of Idle No More. Photo: courtesy: Facebook)Scheer wasn’t in Saskatchewan when APTN visited his riding earlier this week, and his spokesperson said he wasn’t available for an interview.But his face was plastered on billboards throughout the Saskatchewan capital and national pollsters claimed, at that point in time, his party was leading the Liberals.Toppling Trudeau would be a huge accomplishment for the man known here as ‘Andy’ who became Conservative party leader in 2017.Scheer is originally from Ottawa and moved to his wife’s hometown of Regina after meeting her at university.The father of five finished his degree in Saskatchewan and worked at an insurance agency and as a constituency assistant before making his own run for politics in 2005.He has won the riding twice and is hoping to take it – and the country – this third time.(Pedestrians cross a main street in downtown Regina, Sask. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)By comparison, his Liberal opponent was born, raised and still lives in Regina-Qu’Appelle.Ray Aldinger is running for the NDP, Dale Dewar for the Green Party, Tracey Sparrowhawk for the PPC and James Plummer for the Libertarian party.Ames-Sinclair says he has been active in both the colonial and First Nations political systems since he was 13.“In my years living in the riding, I felt no representation from (Scheer).”National Chief Perry Bellegarde also hails from Scheer’s riding but admits he didn’t vote in Canadian elections before 2015.“I was taught as a young boy that we don’t have to vote because we have treaty and it’s not our government,” he told a news conference Sept. 9 while releasing the Assembly of First Nations’ 2019 federal election priorities.“We have to use all the tools in our toolbox or use all the arrows in our quiver to bring out policy and legislative change, and voting is one of them.”Bellegarde’s office turned down an interview request from APTN about Agecoutay’s Facebook post.For more on the federal election click on: #vote2019Meanwhile, the Conservatives have yet to release an Indigenous platform but Scheer has made some of this thoughts clear on certain issues.He suggested during the Maclean’s magazine debate he would not follow a human rights tribunal order to pay victims of the child welfare system $40,000 in compensation – rather, he says, he would put the money to better use.Scheer also did not participate in any of the country’s climate strikes on Sept. 27.APTN has repeatedly invited Scheer to be interviewed about the campaign and forming government.His team has not responded.kmartens@aptn.ca@katmartelast_img read more

BC premier receives lukewarm reception at Chamber of Commerce luncheon

first_imgVICTORIA – Premier John Horgan told a group of business leaders in Victoria that he can feel their pain, but his government won’t back away from ending the medical fees charged to B.C. residents.Speaking to a crowd of about 400 at a Victoria Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Horgan said they’re committed to ending the medical services premium, placing the fee on businesses.Horgan said he has been hearing from businesses with concerns the 1.95 per cent employers health tax on firms will increase costs and the government has formed a small business task force to look for ways to reduce that burden.Horgan’s speech also touched on climate change, Indigenous rights issues, and his government’s speculation tax on vacant properties to provide more affordable housing and rental homes.He says the government is continuing to consult with businesses about the employer health tax, but that will be the direction the government is taking.The premier said he realizes there are challenges and the government wants to address them with business, but he was making no promises.“This is what the rest of the country is doing,” Horgan says. “This is not an anomaly. We are catching up.”Allan Cahoon, president and vice-chancellor at Royal Roads University, says the employer tax is a challenge.“What it means is we’re going to have to recalculate our ability to generate revenue and accommodate it,” he said. “It was a surprise to get it. I think we can figure out how to do it.”last_img read more

Tesla delivers record number of vehicles cuts prices 2000

first_imgDETROIT — Tesla says it delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined.The company also says it’s cutting prices of its three vehicles by $2,000 to help customers handle the gradual phase-out of federal electric vehicle tax credits. On Jan. 1 the federal credit for Tesla buyers dropped from $7,500 to $3,750. It will gradually be phased out this year.The company’s sales included almost 146,000 Model 3 lower-priced cars and another 99,000 of the more expensive Model S sedan and Model X SUV. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 but still can’t be purchased for under $45,000.The company says it made nearly 87,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, 8 per cent above its previous quarterly record set in the third quarter.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Snowfall warning issued for the South Peace and Pine Pass

first_imgIn the North Peace, we could see the same thing as late afternoon rain turns to snow.  Fort St. John could see only 5 to 10 cm of snow.  A special weather statement also remains in place for the North Peace, Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake and the Alberta Peace.  The weather statement says those regions could see 5 to 10 cm of snow.Below is the full warning for the South Peace.Warnings4:57 AM PDT Tuesday 11 September 2018Snowfall warning in effect for:B.C. South Peace RiverSnowfall with total amounts of about 10 cm is expected.A cold front will drop southward out of the Northwest Territories today bringing unseasonably cold temperatures to northeastern BC. Rain will develop this afternoon over the BC South Peace as the front approaches and quickly change over to snow this evening as the front passes.Snowfall accumulations of about 10 centimetres are expected tonight across the BC South Peace and along Highway 97 between Pine Pass and Chetwynd. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the B.C. South Peace.The forecast calls for up to 10 cm of snow as a cold front moves through the region Tuesday afternoon.  As the front moves into the area, rain will develop Tuesday afternoon and turn to snow by Tuesday night.Environment Canada says the South Peace and Pine Pass could see up to 10 cm of snow by Wednesday. Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations.Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.last_img read more

CM to blame for plight of sanitation workers Tiwari

first_imgNew Delhi: Following a video on social media showing sanitation workers entering sewers without safety equipment, Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari on Friday launched a fresh attack on the AAP-led Delhi government, accusing it of not taking care of them. In a statement, Tiwari blamed the Delhi government for the recent deaths of sanitation workers dying due to lack of appropriate protective gear. He said that despite promising to provide safety equipment for sanitation workers and mechanical sweepers in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal has failed to fulfill them in the last four years.”Kejriwal is responsible for this plight of the sanitation workers. There is no other department of Delhi government except DJB under the Chief Minister but he is not looking after the sanitation workers who are dying due to lack of facilities,” he said. Accusing the Delhi Chief Minister of having double standards, the MP from North-East Delhi accused the AAP of indulging in appeasement politics, while seemingly not caring for the poor sanitation workers who face dangers of toxic inhalation to earn a living. Tiwari claimed that he has been demanding for salary hikes and safety equipment for sanitation workers, but to no avail. “BJP is committed to the security of sanitation workers and for the betterment of their conditions,” he said. Promising a change in working conditions of Delhi’s sanitation workers, Tiwari said that such change can be affected only if the saffron party comes back to power at the Centre.last_img read more

Why Gretzky Had It Easy

One of the most interesting statistical nuggets I ran into while researching a piece about NHL goalies was the improvement in leaguewide goaltending over the past 30 years. It hasn’t just been a small improvement — the league’s save-percentage leaders during the 1980s and early 1990s put up statistics that would rate below-average in recent seasons.Here’s the league’s average save percentage since the 1983-84 season, when the NHL began tracking shots against:Save percentage rapidly increased during the so-called dead-puck era of the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s no coincidence that over that period, the NHL’s rate of scoring also dropped sharply. A lot of fans blame strategies such as the neutral-zone trap and left-wing lock for triggering the dead-puck era, but more of the blame belongs to better goalies.As for why goalies are so much better now, well, that’s a subject of much debate in hockey circles. One of the most popular explanations is that the sheer size of goaltending equipment has exploded since the 1980s. That’s hard to argue when you look at how pads have grown over time. But since pad size first became a talking point in the mid-to-late 1990s, the league has gone to some lengths (no pun intended) to police the dimensions of puck-stopping technology — and it’s had scarcely any effect on save percentages.Instead, I think a bigger reason save percentages improved so sharply in the 1990s was a dramatic change in the goaltending techniques being employed.During the 1980s, the prevailing style was still the so-called stand-up method, in which a goalie largely remains upright on his skates while making saves, using his stick and skates to stop low shots. In the middle of the decade, though, goaltending phenom Patrick Roy made his NHL debut. Emboldened by recent advances in arm and chest protectors, Roy used a different technique — the “butterfly” — wherein the goaltender drops to his knees to make saves, effectively sealing off most shooting targets along the bottom third of the net.Using the butterfly, Roy was sensational — he backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup as a 20-year-old in 1986 — and it wasn’t long before the butterfly style spread throughout the league. The effect was profound. Stand-up goalies who were the mainstays of the mid-1980s were almost completely phased out of the game within a decade, replaced by a younger generation who used the butterfly or at least a hybrid technique featuring butterfly elements.In retrospect, this seems like an obvious tactic — it’s a goaltending truism that the majority of goals are scored on shots at or near ice level — but older equipment made dropping low a dangerous proposition. Once falling to the ice became safer, goalies no longer had to rely purely on reflexes, instead being able to stop a greater percentage of low shots on technique alone. It’s no surprise that save percentages skyrocketed when one of the most common subsets of shots suddenly became much tougher.One final note: Watch the Wayne Gretzky highlight reel below and pay particular attention to the goalies in the early portion of the video, when the Great One was with the Edmonton Oilers.Compared with today’s game, you can really see the difference in goaltending technique (notice how many of the goalies tried to stop Gretzky’s shots without dropping to the ice). Modern goalies are more athletic and mobile, and, yes, their pads are plainly bigger. But they’re also using a style much more grounded in the probabilities of where pucks are shot. read more

America Loves Curling — Until It Forgets About It For Four Years

It’s tough to say for sure, but I’m concerned that our boss, FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver, may have developed a curling addiction these past few weeks: Luge38.750.50+38.25 Curling85.254.57+80.68 Figure skating79.504.97+74.53 Freestyle skiing3.750.45+3.30 Curling’s spike is even sharper in worldwide searches. Across the entire globe, curling-related search-traffic index goes up by 84 points in Olympic months, compared with non-Olympic ones. (By comparison, figure skating is only up 71 points during Olympic months worldwide.) Although gaining a passionate following during the Olympics has been a victory in itself for curling, these kinds of disparities have the sport’s leaders looking for a way to stay on people’s minds after the games end.“The Olympics have definitely driven growth and exposure, but the key for us is not to disappear between Olympics,” Patzke told ESPN. “You can get really popular for 17 days and then go away, you know?”Perhaps the next step will be for curling fanatics like Nate to keep tweeting during bonspiels that aren’t festooned with five interlocking rings everywhere you look. Alpine skiing9.502.28+7.22 (Check the timestamps on those tweets, by the way.)He’s not alone, though. Every four years, there’s a fresh volley of articles about how curling captures the attention of people around the globe — particularly Americans who tune in to the alien sport for the first time during the Olympics and get hooked. By now, writing with surprise about curling’s charms has become one of journalists’ favorite Olympic pastimes. The Cinderella run by the U.S. men’s team to Saturday’s gold-medal game has only intensified the enthusiasm.1The women’s team hasn’t quite had its medal breakthrough yet, finishing eighth in the standings at Pyeongchang.The hard numbers also support the notion of curling as America’s favorite quadrennial sports fling. If you look at nationwide Google Trends search data, you can see a massive spike in traffic related to the sport each February of a Winter Olympic year. Indeed, aside from figure skating — and occasionally other sports when they experience tragedy — curling consistently spikes highest in web searches among the Winter Olympic sports we don’t tend to think about over the rest of the calendar.2Admittedly, this is kind of an arbitrary list, but I included curling alongside sports that don’t draw much attention in the U.S. during non-Olympic years (so figure skating is in, but hockey is out) or ones that tend to rank low on subjective lists of Winter Olympic sports (cough, biathlon). Here are four examples: SportOlympic monthsOther monthsOlympic Spike Bobsled24.251.02+23.23 Ski jumping8.250.56+7.69 Skeleton8.000.05+7.95 Google’s data doesn’t go back further than 2004, but in an interview with ESPN’s Dotun Akintoye, USA Curling CEO Rick Patzke said America’s curling obsession can be traced to the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. “Salt Lake was our coming-out party in America,” he said. “NBC broadcast about 50 hours of curling. In Nagano in ’98, it was like 30 minutes.” Add in the U.S. men’s surprising bronze medal in 2006, and curling was off to the cult-sport races. Who can even say what kind of uptick in popularity the run by the U.S. men this year will bring?But for an Olympic darling like the “roaring game,” the flip side of big popularity during the games is waning interest, or generally no interest, in the 206 weeks in between Olympic sessions. According to the same Google Trends data as above, none of the sports we looked at had a bigger drop-off in its average search traffic index between months with the Winter Olympics and those without them. Biathlon8.250.17+8.08 Nordic combined1.750.00+1.75 Curling has the biggest spike in Olympic popularityDifference in average Google Trends search-traffic index between Olympic and non-Olympic months for selected Winter Olympic sports, 2004-18 Cross-country skiing9.502.38+7.12 Speedskating21.750.93+20.82 Google Trends search-traffic indices measure activity on a 0-100 scale, where the most active single month by any sport we examined is represented by a 100.Source: Google Trends Avg. Google Trends Index during … read more