Friday, August 24, 2012

Lance, Issac, and Joe: Lessons of Hubris?


I've updated one of my all time most read posts with information on how Lance Armstrong has been stripped of all of his titles, including his seven tours since 1998 (just as Joe Paterno and Penn State were stripped of their wins since 1998 for the Sandusky scandal) with commentary on how mentions of the Tyler Hamilton interview changed since last year.  At least he gets to keep his three Thrift Drug Classic titles he won in the 1990's in Pittsburgh (see above video).  Would he still have been an inspiration to cancer patients if he hadn't doped?


Likewise Joe Paterno and Penn State still have their two national championships and wins before 1998 but Paterno still felt himself a failure when he was fired.  A new biography of Paterno claims that he despised Sandusky after 1998 but why did he still let him use Penn State facilities as late as 2008?  If he had retired in 1998 when some were grumbling that he should (he had a 9-3 record that year) no one would think less of him now and his statue would still be up.  The drive to win can override anyone's logic and set even the best of us up for a big fall.

Finally next week Republicans will converge on Tampa, Florida to anoint the Romney-Ryan '12 ticket for President.  At the same time hurricane Issac is moving through the Caribbean with a potential hit on Tampa on Monday (projected path is at right).  The party says that they will still hold the convention.  Climate change activists say that this is one of the things driving the frequency of hurricanes which many Republicans deny.  In my post using Barry Sanders career stats as a model for global warming I and other scientists caution not to use any one weather event as either proof or disproof of climate change.  It is better to look at the trend over many years as evidence.  The warmer gulf water can make these storms more intense and more likely to form.  It would make for quite a television spectacle if Isaac strikes the convention hall much as the Louisiana Superdome was.  Forcasting the path of these storms is still not a perfect science given the wide projected path.

Any one of the above stories could make good topics for a movie.  Just as Captain Ahab vainly pursued that white whale across the oceans in Moby Dick.  I think Joe Pesci would be great to play Joe Paterno and Christopher Walken as Jerry Sandusky.   Jake Gyllenhaal was talked about before the current cloud of suspicion to play Lance.  If this GOP convention turns out to be a weather fiasco (it might turn out to be as dull as Mitt Romney hopes) then Kyle Maclachlan should play Romney.


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