Don’t run (and don’t laugh): The little-known history of racewalking

By John Affleck

While it was a huge sporting event in the United States in the years after the Civil War and was an early Olympic event, racewalking has been regarded for decades as something of a joke – at least in America. An episode of the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle” was devoted to poking fun at it. The NCAA doesn’t hold a racewalking championship. Sports broadcaster Bob Costas once compared it to a contest to see who could whisper the loudest.

Still, racewalking is an Olympic event, with three medal events held at every Summer Games – and each of the golds counting just as much as the ones that adorn the neck of Michael Phelps.

Today, the races contested at the Olympics are 20 kilometers for both men and women and a 50-kilometer race just for men. The 20-kilometer men’s race was won on August 12 by China’s Wang Zhen with a time of 1 hour, 19 minutes, 14 seconds – a 6:20 mile pace that would win a fair number of 5-kilometer running races in the United States. The other two events take place August 19.

It may look odd, but racewalking has an interesting past and a controversial present, along with quirky rules that make it unique among track and field events.

Continue reading Don’t run (and don’t laugh): The little-known history of racewalking

So what if some female Olympians have high testosterone?

By Jaime Schultz

On August 12, Dutee Chand became just the second female sprinter to represent India at the Olympic Games. Her road to Rio has been anything but easy.

In 2014, the International Association of Athletic Federations banned her from competition on the grounds that her body naturally produced too much testosterone, a condition called hyperandrogenism. It wasn’t her fault, the organization explained. But her condition gave her an unfair edge over other female athletes, according to the IAAF policy.

Chand appealed the ruling, and in July 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport determined that the IAAF:

“was unable to conclude that hyperandrogenic female athletes may benefit from such a significant performance advantage that it is necessary to exclude them from competing in the female category.”

Continue reading So what if some female Olympians have high testosterone?

The neuroscience of getting “in the zone”

By Jordan Gaines Lewis

Social media exploded earlier this week with a bevy of tweets and memes featuring a rather unimpressed Olympian – and this time, it wasn’t McKayla Maroney.

On Monday night, cameras captured a hooded Michael Phelps appearing to brood and snarl in the direction of South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who was shadowboxing in preparation for the 200-meter butterfly semifinal.

 JeffAuriemma via Imgur
#PhelpsFace gif by JeffAuriemma via Imgur

Thus, #PhelpsFace was born.

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Talking back to terrorists

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To view a larger version of this graphic, please click on the graphic or here.

Countering terrorist recruitment messages requires systematic analysis of the message using communication theory as a guide.

In the example above, Kurt Braddock, lecturer in communication arts and sciences at Penn State, and John Horgan, professor of psychology at the Global Studies Institute, Georgia State University, examine the recruitment narrative of Andre Poulin.

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Focus on research: Emotional abuse can affect growing children, like Harry Potter

By Jordan Gaines Lewis

Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared on The Conversation. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was released on July 31, 2016.

Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age … [he] had a thin face, knobbly knees … and wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose.

And so we are introduced to our protagonist, The Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One: Harry Potter. The seven books about the young wizard and his time at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have been translated into 73 different languages and sold over 450m copies worldwide. And readers wouldn’t guess, after author J K Rowling’s introduction of Harry, that the orphaned boy would be the one to defeat the powerful and devastating Dark Lord Voldemort.

Harry’s home life wasn’t as exciting as his rising wizardry: he was snubbed by his only remaining family, bullied by his cousin and classmates, and resided in that dark cupboard under the stairs. His uncle Vernon, aunt Petunia, and cousin Dudley Dursley — to whom he was passed as an infant after the death of his parents — ensure that he’s properly malnourished at all times. After spending a day cleaning the Dursleys’ entire house and working outside in the blazing July heat (on his 12th birthday, no less), Aunt Petunia prepares for Harry “two slices of bread and a lump of cheese” before sending him off to hide during their dinner party with the Masons. It’s no wonder he was so small for his age.

Continue reading Focus on research: Emotional abuse can affect growing children, like Harry Potter

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