Tiger Woods Is Back
Wow! This will make the sponsors happy -- and it probably really boosted ratings today. I was flipping back and forth between the NASCAR race today and the PGA tournament. Tiger almost pulled it off -- but not to be. But it was exciting.
Later: CBSSports saw the same thing I saw. Exciting tournament.
The Katie Ledecky Page
Pan Pacs championship. Link here. And here.
1500 meter freestyle: as expected, Katie won easily. She clocked in at just under 15 minutes, 39 seconds. Second place clocked in twenty-one second later.
400 meter freestyle: as expected, Katie won, but it was slightly closer, winning by 1.16 second.
The Washington Post had a long feature story on Katie Ledecky (same link as above):
Katie Ledecky breezed to victory in her final race of the Pan Pacific championships, an event that was to serve as a preview of sorts not just for next year’s world championships but also the 2020 Olympics. And it was an eye-opener in more ways than one, as Ledecky reminded the world of her aqua supremacy, and the world showed her that some capable challengers just might be coming of age.
Ledecky’s blowout win in the 1,500-meter race Sunday meant she finished the year’s biggest meet with three individual gold medals (400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle races) and a bronze (200), plus a silver with the United States’ 4×200 relay team.
But perhaps most noteworthy, the Pan Pacs event in Tokyo featured some of the stiffest competition – and closest races – that Ledecky has seen on an international stage.
On Saturday, Ledecky won the 400 with a blistering time of 3:58.50, the sixth fastest in history. It was also the closest 400 she’s ever raced internationally, as Ariarne Titmus, a 17-year-old Australian, touched the wall just 1.16 seconds later.
For the sake of comparison, when Ledecky first broke the 400 world record four years ago at the Pan Pacs, her margin of victory was 6.18 seconds, and two years ago at the Rio Olympics she won by 4.77 seconds. Titmus became just the third female swimmer to break the vaunted four-minute barrier.
Two days earlier, Ledecky, 21, suffered her first third-place finish on an international stage, trailing a pair of 18-year-old swimmers to the wall in the 200-meter freestyle race. Canada’s Taylor Ruck set a meet record, finishing in 1:54.44, which was 0.41 seconds ahead of Japan’s Rikako Ikee and 0.71 better than Ledecky.
It was the nightcap on a grueling 800-200 double on the meet’s opening day, and Ledecky fared better in the 4×200 relay the next night. Even though the Americans settled for silver, Ledecky almost reeled in Australia’s Maddie Groves, posting a 1:53.84 split on her anchor leg.
A new generation of swimmers might be trying to announce themselves, but in Tokyo Ledecky showed that at the longer distances she is as dominant as ever. She posted a 8:09.13 finish in her 800 win – the fifth fastest ever and 7.94 seconds better than anyone else in the Pan Pacs pool. And in Sunday’s 1,500, she won with a time of 15:38.97, more than 21 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Kiah Melverton of Australia. It was well short of the world record Ledecky set in May (15:20.48) but still stands as the 10th-best time ever posted in the event.
The Book Page
The book for this week: Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America, Craig Childs, c. 2018.
Introduction starts with the Pleistocene epoch, not so long ago.
First little bit of trivia. I had just finished a book on Darwin's fossils. That book led off with the giant mammals in southern South American (Argentina). They were true giants. I never gave them much thought except to occasionally wonder why there were so huge and why they are not with us any more. In Craig Childs' book, p. xii:
Gigantism among mammals is associated with the cold. This is known as Bermann's Rule, after the 19th-century German biologist Carl Bergmann, who noticed that the larger examples of most species tend to occupy colder climates, wile the smaller tend to be found in warmer places. Warmth produces smaller bodies that expel heat, while cold encourages extra layers of big bones, muscle, fat, and fur, resulting in bodies with a smaller ratio of surface area to volume and a greater ability to hold in heat.Thinks cetaceans and which species spend the most time in the coldest water. We don't see many dolphins in the Arctic, do we?
Glacial periods -- long cold spells that often lasted one hundred thousand years at a time -- were frequent in the Pleistocene, when the earth on average dropped 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit below temperatures we experience today. This gave rise to animals with large bodies and Ice Age megafauna weighing a a ton or more. The largest American mammoths came in at around ten tens, three tons more than the largest African elephants.