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Dangerous Sports

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56662.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:30 am Reply with quote

Fighting over some daft cow, no doubt.

56666.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:59 am Reply with quote

Twenty-odd years ago, a friend and I - bored with the tediously show-offy antics of the Dangerous Sports Club ( ) - formed the Ridiculous Sports Club (website in development for twenty-odd years).

Mind you, one or two of our sports are fairly dangerous in themselves: Speed Nodding, for instance.

56668.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:19 am Reply with quote

Frederick The Monk wrote:
Is anything more dangerous than Russian Roulette?

This is a “Mythchaser” I wrote in my FT column some time ago:

<<MYTHCHASER: Is Russian Roulette a fraud? I'm told that the weight of the single bullet in the revolver means that the chamber with the round in it drops to the bottom, thus ensuring a happy outcome. I hope an FT-reading ballistics expert can give the lie to this distressing match-fixing scandal.>>

I received a reply from a woman in Tuscon (Arizona?), who had taken a course in “Medico-Legal Investigation of Death.” She said that the myth was indeed a myth because “revolvers aren’t in any way dependent on gravity.” More interestingly she said that a “surprising number” of people in the US die of RR: “In Tuscon alone we get 10 or 12 cases every year.” They are almost all male between the ages of 16 and 24, but with some as young as 12. Her instructor told her categorically “Females do not play Russian roulette,” but that the game is usually played in front of females, which I think is a fascinating little fact; and usually when drunk or stoned, which is less so.

Someone else contacted me to say that Russian Rouletters use one bullet and spin the chambers rapidly. “The weight of the bullet would usually mean that it ended up at the bottom, so the chamber under the hammer would be empty. So the chances of survival were 99 out of 100. Moreover, you could actually make the game safer by putting in two bullets in adjacent chambers: more weight, less chance that it would end up on top.”

I wonder if two different codes are being discussed here; Russian Roulette League, and Russian Roulette Union, as it were. Clearly, the American kids’ version is not safe (as my correspondent put it, “I’ve seen the slideshow to prove it.”). But perhaps “classic” RR is safe?

Can anybody stand this one up? Because if so, we could have a very nice forfeit to get us into the topic of dangerous sports:

Q: Name a dangerous sport.
F: Russian Roulette.
A: Cheerleading (see post 55722).

56675.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:59 am Reply with quote

This'll need checking, but my experience with revolvers would lead me to believe that the weight of the bullet would make hardly any difference at all to the final resting place of the cylinder. There are a couple of reasons for this:

1: The cylinder itself (which contains the 6/7 bullets) is very heavy, as is the rest of the gun (ever held one?). This is because it needs to be made of extremely strong steel so as not to explode when fired. So a very slight increase in mass on one side isn't going to make the difference between 1-in-6 and 1-in-100.

2: More importantly, the cylinder has high-friction sprung catches on it that ensure that it only comes to rest in a position that alignes one of the cylinder chambers - so it's ready to fire. This friction would stop a weight at one side making it work like, say, the valve on a really good cycle wheel coming to rest at the bottom. So the shell won't 'fall to the bottom'. It might make a fraction of a percent difference to the outcome, but not enough to make it 'safe'.

In case you're wondering, I fired an American Police .38 special at college for a couple of terms in the shooting club. Scary stuff.

56684.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:36 am Reply with quote

Thanks, Gray - doesn't sound very hopeful, then. I haven't found anything on google to support the idea; just the idea itself. Still, some interesting stuff about Russian Roulette generally at

Frederick The Monk
56724.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:54 am Reply with quote

Sounds like I should cancel the QI Russian Roulette evening.

56750.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:45 am Reply with quote

In any case it's only wowsers who spin the chamber before every turn. In tournament play you pass the revolver round a circle, and squeeze the trigger without spinning. This means that the sixth person gets a guaranteed result, if it gets round to him.

Frederick The Monk
56760.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:09 am Reply with quote

So it's always best to play first?

56764.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:13 am Reply with quote

Seventh, surely.

56765.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:14 am Reply with quote

Actually I was just trying to work out the optimal position. First is good, obviously, but so is sixth because it's likely that someone will already have scored an own-goal before it gets to you. I think you want to avoid the mid-section, probably.

58578.  Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:20 am Reply with quote

Extreme kite flying from Pakistan - anyone who causes injury or death with their kites this weekend may face prosecution under anti-terrorism laws.

Already it's banned for all but 15 days of the year but a provincial minister warned kite-flyers this week that any who cause injury or death with string made from metal or coated with glass could be tried under anti-terrorism laws.

Kite-flying in Pakistan and neighbouring India often involves aerial duels in which participants try to bring down each other's kites using string coated in a sticky paste of ground-up glass or metal.

Every year, Pakistani media report dozens of deaths and injuries caused by kite flying, mainly of children and motocyclists whose throats are sometimes cut by metal or glass-coated string.

58589.  Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:56 am Reply with quote

That sounds quite promising, don't you think?
Complete ban on Kite-flying Demanded in Punjab
Pakistan Times National News Desk

LAHORE: Kite-flying have resulted in the killing of 460 persons and injuring many thousands since 1995 after it was declared as a seasonal festival in the province.

This was observed by speakers while addressing a protest demonstration organized by Kite-flying Effeectees Committee against this deadly sports in front of Lahore Press Club on Sunday.

They demanded a complete ban on kite-flying to avoid further killings and injuries of innocent people.

Plea to Government

Chairman of the committee Haji Mian Rafi urged the Chief Minister Punjab Ch. Pervez Elahi to take personal initiative in this regard.

He said that life of citizens has become miserable due to frequent electricity tripping and cutting of throat incidents owing to kite-flying, specially on Sundays.

Vice Chairman Akram Ullah Khan Kakar, Sajid Majeed Mughal, Syed Imran Baghi, Sufi Mian Arshad Nadeem Qureshi and other office-bearers and members of the committee also spoke on the occasion.

They said that the government should fix responsibility of human and financial loss due to kite-flying and register cases against the persons involved in it so that they could face the law for this crime.

Demonstrators were carrying playcards and banners inscribed with slogans against kite-flying

58591.  Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:58 am Reply with quote

Up to nine people have been killed and dozens injured during an annual kite-flying festival called Basant in the Pakistani city of Lahore. Three people were electrocuted when banned metal wires they were using to fly kites - or catch stray ones - fell onto electric power lines.

A young girl's throat was slit by a stray metal kite string stretched across a road, witnesses said. At least two more people fell from roofs during the spring festival. Two men were also reportedly killed when they were hit by cars while trying to catch stray kites.

Despite a ban on firing guns, several people were injured by stray bullets.

Officials at a Lahore hospital said 42 children and 60 adults had been treated for kite-related injuries, the AFP news agency reported.

58595.  Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:09 am Reply with quote

From mid-January to mid-February the clear blue skies over Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat in India, and Lahore in Pakistan, come alive with the gaiety and colour of paper kites – in all hues, shapes and sizes. Kite flying in the Punjab is associated with Vasant Panchami – the onset of spring. It is also commonly known as Basant. The yellow of mustard flowers and the Amaltas trees is the first colour to be sighted after the severe winters of the north. Traditionally, on this day- 5th of the lunar month of Magh – children and women wear yellow – and men folk in Rajasthan wear yellow turbans. Spring heralds new beginnings and the colourful kites in the sky are a statement of this joyous awakening. Basant had its beginnings as a Hindu festival but as different religions came to India they participated in the joy of the occasion and Basant became a truly secular festival – the kites in the sky know no boundaries. Many a musical raga and raagini have been inspired by Magh (Spring). Poets have penned romantic verses, and artists, both of the past and contemporary, have painted the Basant skies.

In Punjab, kite flying is a rooftop sport. The rooftops of inner cities turn into virtual arenas of kite flying competitions on Basant. In Rajasthan and Gujarat kite flying gathers a frenzied momentum on January 13, also celebrated as Makar Sankrant – the day the sun changes direction and starts to move towards the northern hemisphere. In Lahore it is a 24-hour spectacle – it pioneered night kite flying – using strong beams and white kites. Little wonder that Lahore is the official kite flying capital of Pakistan. It is where Basant is celebrated with unmatched passion and zeal. There is no official Basant day here – there is an entire Basant season of kite flying accompanied my rooftop dinners, dances and fun. It is a sort of Octoberfest, a local Mardi Gras or the Rio Carnival minus the revealing dresses. The streets, parks and the roof tops especially are filled with cries and cheers of "Bo Kata" or Kite down, followed by drums rolls.


Only in 1998 did the team from Hong Kong defeat the Jodhpur "Fateh Sagar Kite Club" [score 4-2] In all the other years Indian teams have held the crown.

... which potentially links to the Indian Dribble hockey question, and the stuff about the paucity of Indian Olympic medals.

59620.  Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:08 am Reply with quote

Pakistani officials arrested more than 1000 people for flying kites in Lahore last weekend.

The kite-flying ban was largely ignored in Lahore despite a large police presence in the sprawling city to enforce it.

Police estimated about 500 people received minor injuries during the festival, some from sharp kite strings and others from stray bullets or pellets fired into the air to celebrate the festival.

There was one death -- of a young man shot dead by another in an altercation over a kite duel -- compared with 19 reported last year.


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