When I think of the Olympics, I rarely consider that each event has both a mens and a womens division. I tend to focus more on the sport itself regardless of who is competing. After all, the Olympics is supposed to encourage the spirit of friendly competition, and not highlight major flaws, such as gender bias. Unfortunately this year's winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, is doing just that. Women ski jumpers have petitioned to join every Winter Olympics since Nagano in 1998, and each time they have been denied by the International Olympics Committee (IOC). So what's the deal? Well, the IOC is sidestepping the issue. They've issued a written statement that reads "Women's Ski Jumping does not reach the necessary technical criteria and as such does not yet warrant a place alongside other Olympic events." Yet female ski jumpers argue the point (read about it here). Lindsey Van, current world record holder for the longest jump, is quick to point out that they meet the necessary criteria. But it may be a long time before we see women flying off the end of a ski jump in front of Olympic judges. IOC member Dick Pound is quoted as saying "If in the meantime you're making all kinds of allegations about the IOC and how it's discriminating on the basis of gender," he warned, "the IOC may say, 'Oh yeah, I remember them. They're the ones that embarrassed us and caused us a lot of trouble in Vancouver, maybe they should wait another four years or eight years.'" Yes, you read that right. He is publicly threatening female ski jumpers to keep them out of the Olympics for years if they persist. So much for the spirit of friendly competition.
Earlier this year we heard of the national lottery that drew the same numbers two weeks running. Now meet the man who has just won a lottery jackpot for the second time!
The unnamed 34 year-old from the Limpopo province of South Africa beat 24 million to one odds to take the country's "PowerBall" draw for 30 million rand ($4 million), just seven years after winning 11 million rand ($1.5 million) from an earlier state lottery system with odds of 14 million to one. His feat is all the more remarkable given he claims to spend only 100 rand ($13) a month on tickets (Telegraph).
Having problems solving that Sudoku puzzle? Well, worry no more because someone had the idea to construct a robot to do that for you. Now you can sit back, relax and drink your morning coffee without having to worry about all those pesky little numbers. The robot is built from the ever versatile Lego Mindstorm kits. There's also one that solves a Rubik's cube. Head over to Tilted Twister to check it out.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.