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 1196327.  Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:51 pm In athletics, the official length of a certified 400m track should be both 399.6m (rounded down) and 400.0m, depending on the event. If a typical calibrated bicycle was used to measure the distance of a marathon's road course, then an error margin of 0.1% is "recommended" by the IAAF. There are no exceptions, so the officially assumed length of a final, certified 400m lap of a marathon should be 399.6m. The distance isn't (42,195m - 400m * 1.001) + 400m. It's 42,195m * 1.001, despite of the fact that the known real length of the track is exactly 400m.

1196376.  Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:27 am

 14-11-2014 wrote: If a typical calibrated bicycle was used to measure the distance of a marathon's road course.

It's of no real importance, but this is the sort of thing I like!

Are marathon courses in fact measured by having someone ride them on a special bicycle?

Most of a marathon course is usually on roads. Barriers are erected along the sides of the roads, so does the definitive route run precisely midway between those barriers at every point?

Or is the definitive route the shortest possible route along the designated course? (After all, the 400 meters of a running track is measured on the inside. If you do a lap on the outside, you do more than 400 meters.)

Working out precisely what that shortest route is would be non-trivial, and it would also be non-trivial for the person on the bicycle to follow it exactly.

 1196850.  Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:43 pm The pink plastic flamingo is the official bird of Madison, Wisconsin.

 1196853.  Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:50 pm 14's post was not really an answer to suze's question, was it?

 1196860.  Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:55 am It is the obvious answer to Suze's question. Provided that you had smoked the right things before reading it. PDR

1196901.  Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:54 am

Well, it is true!

Measuring Marathons, Right Down to Last Inch

 Quote: The idea is to slowly ride a bike over the marathon course, measuring distances with a device, a Jones counter, which keeps track of each revolution of the bicycle’s wheel. It is a device invented by a 9-year-old boy more than three decades ago. ... “For all the research in the world and all the global positioning systems, this is still recognized as the best measurement system in the world,” he said. He remembers a time when there were no precise measurements of marathon courses. It was the mid 1980s and Cundy, a marathon runner himself, volunteered to help organize a marathon in his home city, Canberra. “I started to wonder how you should measure the course,” he said. That led him to discover the Jones system, which had never been used in Australia. Gradually, it came into worldwide use. And Cundy found himself one of a small fraternity of official measurers, working on 12 to 20 courses a year. It took decades, though, before it was routine to precisely measure marathon courses. For that reason, the International Association of Athletic Federations, which appoints course measurers, waited until 2004 to recognize world records in marathons. Until then, the federation would say a time was the world’s best, but not a world record.

Quite a few nuggets of interestingness there, IMO.

 1196915.  Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:52 am Going off at something of a tangent, how do drinks, chocolate bars, etc, become the "official" product of a sporting event? I assume it's by providing more sponsorship than any other product of its type, but really, how meaningful is it?

1196993.  Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:18 am

[quote="Zziggy"]Well, it is true!

Measuring Marathons, Right Down to Last Inch

 Quote: The idea is to slowly ride a bike over the marathon course, measuring distances with a device, a Jones counter, which keeps track of each revolution of the bicycle’s wheel. It is a device invented by a 9-year-old boy more than three decades ago.

Thanks Zziggy! So marathon courses really are measured by a person on a bicycle.

My life is somehow better for knowing this!

 1203369.  Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:10 am Q: What's the number of official languages in Germany? K: 1, 2, 3, 4. A: 5. The obvious official language of the Germs, and 4 official minority languages.

 1203386.  Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:13 am The term "official language" doesn't mean quite the same thing in every country, and the CIA World Factbook is guilty of some inconsistencies in its definitions, and also of projecting American biases. The German Constitution doesn't actually specify an official language, although the fact that its definitive text is in German is perhaps a bit of a clue. There is in any case a piece of subsidiary legislation called the Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz which declares the official language to be German (here). Then again, France, the UK, and the USA have no statute specifying an official language. Sure, "everyone" knows what the official language of each of these countries de facto is, but there is no statute to say so. The majority of countries of the world give some kind of recognition to minority languages of their country (France is a notable exception here), but to state that such languages have "official" status is in most cases a bit of a stretch. If Danish, Frisian, Romany, and Sorbian are to be regarded as official languages of Germany, then Spanish is undoubtedly an official language of the USA on account of its special status in New Mexico. But you'll note that the CIA does not choose to acknowledge that last bit.

1203410.  Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:38 am

 Spud McLaren wrote: Going off at something of a tangent, how do drinks, chocolate bars, etc, become the "official" product of a sporting event? I assume it's by providing more sponsorship than any other product of its type, but really, how meaningful is it?

The sponsor helps to fund the event. In return their product can be called an "official whatever" of the event and gets to use the event's trade mark. Usually the contract will stop any rival product from being advertised or sold at the venue. It is a good quid pro quo (well, several million quid) benefiting both sides.

Without a sponsorship deal, any company that claims an association with a commercial event will be breaching the event's trade mark and be jumped on.

However:

In 2012, Paddy Power (the betting shop, not the political movement) claimed to sponsor "the biggest sporting event in London this year", by paying for an egg and spoon race in a hamlet named London in Burgundy.

In 1999 Taunton Cider put up billboards claiming that Dry Blackthorn Cider was "official sponsor of the solar eclipse". Some people took it seriously, apparently.

 1205702.  Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:02 pm The official owners of Tsar Peter the Great's old house, near Amsterdam, are the Russian Royal Family (heirs of Tsar Nicolas II) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A more modern link is the Hermitage Amsterdam. A set of 2 paintings by Rembrandt, bought by 2 countries and displayed in the Louvre or the Rijksmuseum. The deal isn't a perfect 50-50, Holland's and Hollande's. The official owner of the painting of the pregnant woman is France, so a divorce is possible without having to damage the paintings. Each country owns one of the paintings. I guess that France will claim the baby too.

1205703.  Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:11 pm

 14-11-2014 wrote: [pic] A set of 2 paintings by Rembrandt, bought by 2 countries and displayed in the Louvre or the Rijksmuseum. The deal isn't a perfect 50-50, Holland's and Hollande's.
Credit where credit's due, that was a decent pun.

 1206601.  Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:44 pm Q: There's an Euroregio meeting, without interpreters. How will the German District Presidents and the King’s Commissioners from the Netherlands communicate? K: The choosen language is English, or German, or Dutch. A: By using LaRa. "Adopting English as a lingua franca is not a realistic option in this case, since the translation of official terminology would inevitably cause confusion". "LaRa is a mode of multilingual communication in which interactants employ a language and/or a language variety different from their partner’s and still understand each other without the help of any additional lingua franca.".

 1206615.  Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:39 am That is sadly unreadable, even when selected. Could you use a slightly bigger font?

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