Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Link roundup

1. From the beginning of an article on Hulk Hogan being the WWE's "biggest heel":
It's January 23, 1984. Madison Square Garden. It's the night when Hulk Hogan would first be crowned WWF champion, defeating the despicable Iranian nationalist the Iron Sheik. Your announcers are Gorilla Monsoon and Pat Patterson.1 The action starts — illegally — before the bell even rings:

Gorilla Monsoon: He's on top of Hogan, pounding away! And Hogan still has his robe on! [ … ] Hogan, down in the center of the ring, still got his ring gear on! The Sheik now has Hogan's robe — and he clotheslined him with it! Down to the canvas!

Pat Patterson: The Sheik — he's an animal! [ … ]

Gorilla Monsoon: Finally referee Dick Loetz2 manages to get that robe away from him. And Sheik is saying, "Get on your feet, boy. I want a piece of you." The Sheik with a big right hand!3 And another! Hulk going for the ride, into the ropes. Sheik up, and a vicious clothesline sends him down, and a knee to the neck area!

[The Sheik gouges Hogan's eyes.]

Gorilla Monsoon: The Sheik will use any means and any way in his power to win this match. Deliberate choke now by the Iron Sheik as referee Dick Loetz steps in and gives him the count! [ … ]

Pat Patterson: Oh! He is actually spitting on Hogan!

That's a verbatim transcript of the announcers that night, with one admitted change: I switched the names of Hogan and the Iron Sheik throughout. Because, weirdly, it makes way more sense that way. You can watch that match, get caught up in the excitement of Hogan winning, and totally miss one of the most significant aspects: Despite the fact that the Sheik was the anti-American terror and Hogan was the golden-boy hero, Hogan was wrestling as a heel.
2. A suggestion:
I think the Olympics should give out a platinum medal any time a gold medalist also breaks an existing world record. A world record for a first place finish gives someone a platty, while "just" being first gives you a gold. It would help explain how dominant a victory was and place that performance in a historical context. For example, Michael Phelps won 13 golds but broke 10 world records for those 13 golds. So he'd have 10 platinums and three golds, compared to Ian Thorpe's three platinums and two golds. Does this make TOO much sense? It conveys far more information without upsetting the status quo.
3. Cutthroat AI's battling on the stock market:
The latest case involves Knight Capital Group (KCG), a securities-trading company laid low by one of its inadequately tested computer-trading programs. In less than an hour on Aug. 1, the program entered incorrect bids for about 150 stocks into the interconnected electronic marketplace. Computer programs at other firms sniffed out the errors and traded against Knight. By the end of the day, the company was out $440 million, forcing it to seek outside financing to survive.