## December 5, 2013 12:30 pm

### Seattle Seahawks Fans Caused an Earthquake This Week

Football announcers love describing players as “forces of nature,” but it might actually be the fans who exert the most force. This past Monday, when the Seattle Seahawks faced off against the New Orleans Saints, Seahawks fans actually caused a minor earthquake.

Seahawks fans jumping up and down during Monday night’s 22-yard Michael Bennett fumble return for a touchdown registered about a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake.

They call the crowd at CentiryLink Field the “12th Man,” but this is the first time that man has caused an earthquake that anybody knows of. People aren’t generally sensitive enough to feel earthquakes that small; seismographs are. (For comparison, a 2.6 magnitude quake in Ireland this week rattled some doors.)

What people are sensitive to, though, is noise. Seattle has long been proud of their stadium and fans ability to be loud. And not only did Seattle fans make the earth shake, they also made each other deaf. Fans apparently set a noise record of 137.6 decibels, according to KIRO-TV.

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## December 2, 2013 1:06 pm

### What’s the Best Way to Swing a Playground Swing?

There is physics everywhere, including on the playground. At the College Mathematics Journal, physicists have tackled the age old question: what’s the best way to swing a playground swing?

The physicists in question consider two kinds of swinging: standing and seated. A standing rider pumps the swing by crouching down at the high point of the swing, and standing up at the low point. A sitting rider swings their legs out at the high point, and draws them in as it swings down. So which is better?

Our main conclusion is that seated pumping is the better strategy at low amplitudes, but above certain amplitude standing is more effective. This will come as no surprise to experienced swing riders, but the argument provides a nice example of how modeling and quantitative analysis with differential equations can lead to a deeper understand of a familiar system.

In other words, seating swinging is the way to go, unless you want to go really high.

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## November 29, 2013 1:50 pm

### The Hunger Games Is Getting More People Interested in Archery

Catching Fire, the newest movie in the Hunger Games series, made over \$150 million on opening weekend. The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, an incredibly talented archer. So talented, in fact, that she has been able to inspire hoards of young girls to pick up the bow as well.

Grace Hood at NPR talked to one newly minted archer, 7-year-old Y’Jazzmin Christopher, whose mother Alicia just purchased a recurved bow like the one Catniss uses in the movie.

Alicia recently purchased a recurve bow for Y’Jazzmin. It cost about \$130. And while that may sound pricey, archery store owner Boyd Wild says the high demand for recurve bows — the type Katniss uses in The Hunger Games — makes it hard to keep some models in stock.

“It’s taking about five months to get traditional bows right now,” Wild says. “I mean, it’s just going nuts all over the United States.”

It’s not like the Hunger Games is the first movie to feature incredible archery, either. But according to Denise Parker, the CEO of USA Archery, this is the first time they’ve really seen a jump in interest from people. “We didn’t see that coming,” she told Hood. “We’ve had archery in other movies, but never kind of that whole momentum at one time.” And, as Ethan Gach at Forbes points out, just because a weapon is featured in a big blockbuster doesn’t necessarily mean good PR for those who use it:

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, for all its success, didn’t exactly inspire the masses to learn Keysi, the mixed martial arts form utilized in the films. Nor have the majority of recent action blockbusters, ranging from The Bourne Legacy to Skyfall, awakened a new found passion for gunmanship across the country.

But for Hunger Games fans, there’s something about Katniss’s character that drove them to the archery range. For Parker, it’s all about Katniss as a character. She told the Journal Times:

“But what is so amazing with “Hunger Games” is that you have this character, Katniss, who is confident and beautiful, and the way she uses the bow is an extension of that. That is what really resonates and makes people want to try this.”

Whatever it is, archery ranges are suddenly struggling to keep up with demand.

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## November 29, 2013 10:03 am

Earlier this week, ten retired N.H.L. players sued the league for fraud and negligence, arguing that for years the league ignored the dangers of head injuries and failed to curb the culture of violence. The players taking action include famous players like Rick Vaive, Darren Banks and Gary Leeman, who began their careers back in the ’70s and ’80s.

In seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, the players said in their complaint that the N.H.L. “knew or should have been aware” of the effects of head hits but “took no remedial action to prevent its players from unnecessary harm” until 1997, when the league created a program to research and study brain injuries. Even then, the suit said, “the N.H.L. took no action to reduce the number and severity of concussions among its players during that period and Plaintiffs relied on the N.H.L.’s silence to their detriment.”

The suit comes just a few months after the National Football League paid \$765 million to former players for similar concussion related side effects. The players argue that not only did the NHL know about the risks of head injury, the league actually tried to conceal just how much it knew.

The NHL, of course, claims no wrong doing. “While the subject matter is very serious, we are completely satisfied with the responsible manner in which the league and the Players’ Assn. have managed player safety over time, including with respect to head injuries and concussions,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We intend to defend the case vigorously and have no further comment at this time.”

Football often gets the majority of the press about head injuries, but other full contact sports like boxing and hockey are seeing players with long term side effects as well. It’s been 16 years since the NHL began studying concussions, but it wasn’t until 2011 that they issued new concussion protocols. And for players feeling the impact, that’s far too long.

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## November 26, 2013 12:56 pm

### Playing Sports Is Getting Too Expensive for Many Kids’ Families

Image: Douglas

If you’ve ever seen a kids sports movie, you know that there’s nothing more uplifting than seeing the underdog kids win the big title—proving that heart and talent can trump facilities and rich parents any day. But that plot line is becoming more and more fictional each day. Organized sports are expensive, and informal practice grounds are disappearing.

Bruce Kelly and Carl Carchia at ESPN Magazine took a look at some data from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, and found that while lots of kids are playing sports, it’s pretty easy to tell which kids:

But we also see starkly what drives the very earliest action: money. The biggest indicator of whether kids start young, Sabo found, is whether their parents have a household income of \$100,000 or more.

When you look at demographic data from cities, you see the same thing. “Living in poor corners of cities culls even more kids from sports. Nationwide, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, only a quarter of eighth- to 12th-graders enrolled in the poorest schools played school sports,” they write.

John Greenya at Pacific Standard spoke with Darryl Hill, the first African American to play football in the Atlantic Coast Conference when he joined the University of Maryland team in 1963. “Free play has disappeared,” he said. “There are no more sandlot sports.” Hill is trying to fix that. He founded Kids Play USA Foundation, an organization that tries to remove the financial barriers that might keep kids from playing sports. Their website explains the challenges they face:

Today playing organized youth sports has a price tag. Expenses such as team enrollment fees, equipment and uniform costs, travel and other expenses are often substantial and are beyond the already stretched budget of many families. Consequently, their children are not able to play on organized youth teams resulting in a significant portion of America’s children not being engaged in sports and recreation. They are often idle and alone and their number is growing. Kids Play USA is committed to changing this.

The price tag of sports isn’t news to parents. Between joining fees, equipment, uniforms and travel many sports cost parents thousands of dollars a year. Not quite the backyard football, or alleyway basketball that the movies depict.

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