It doesn’t get any closer than this

The winner of the New York Marathon last Sunday was Paul Tergat of Kenya. He ran a time of 2:09:30. The second place finisher, Hendrik Ramaala of South Africa finished 1 second behind in a time of 2:09:31. Over 26 miles and they were one stride apart.

But that is not even the most amazing fact to me. It turns out that Hendrk Ramaala, the guy who finished second this year, won it the year before in a time of 2:09:28. He got exactly three seconds slower from one year to the next and it cost him the race.

If he can put up a time next year that is in between his times the last two years, we will give him a free Freakonomics t-shirt.


www.acsh.org

Note that it was MUCH warmer in this year's marathon- so you'd have to attribute that to a runner's time this year.

While Ramaala did finish three seconds slower this year, his performance was arguably more impressive, despite the second place finish.

Jeff Stier
www.acsh.org

3612

The fact that so many of the runners come from outside the US leads to an interesting phenomenon when they go across the 59th Street Bridge:Mile 15

Tired. We're on the 59th street bridge, crossing into Mahnattan. Unlike the Verrazano Narrows bridge, this part of the course is on the lower level, so the impression is of an infinitely long, metal-ribbed tunnel going uphill. It's an agonizing climb, up and up, everyone around me is staggering. A group of runners comes up from behind me, singing:
Slow down, you move too fast
You've got to make the morning last
Just kickin' down the cobblestones ...

And then everyone joins in:
Looking for fun and feeling Groovy.

The European runners in front of me exchange a worried, trapped look. They are stuck on a bridge with hundreds of natives who have obviously just gone loco.

--- from an account of the 2003 NYC Marathon, by Maciej Ceglowski on his site "IdleWords". Cegloski's storytelling chops are right up there with those of Gladwell, Levitt, Dubner.

Read more...

ATXSuperstar

What an incentive!

username

I am new to this blog (or any blog).I have reviewed this and many other messages.My conclusion is that Professor Levitt`s messages are the waste of time of a truly fine mind.Why the instinct for the capillary? Why doesn`t he post high-impact ideas, perhaps on a separate blog? He has had only three seminal creations and none in economics.For example he might Google: "DOES MONEY BUY HAPPINESS" and review the the results and make his policy reccommendations based on this. e.g. "Robin Hood was right.

Paul Ma

Excuse me sir, but how many fundamental ideas have you contributed?

username

One and a half (so far).

penxv

In a capitalist society, "high impact ideas" are very profitable. If he had any, he wouldn't give them to you.

username

I think that Professor Levitt is more idealistic than your comment implies.

penxv

I sure hope not, I would lose respect for him.

3612

Ideas are idealistic in any society: give em away for free on a blog, on a soapbox, where ever. An idea is like a song, a high impact idea is one sung simultaneously by strangers who find themselves feeling groovy in the right place at the right time. Conventional wisdom would never predict that marathon runners would gleefully enjoin each other to "slow down, you move too fast" when they hit the 159th St. Bridge.

www.acsh.org

Note that it was MUCH warmer in this year's marathon- so you'd have to attribute that to a runner's time this year.

While Ramaala did finish three seconds slower this year, his performance was arguably more impressive, despite the second place finish.

Jeff Stier
www.acsh.org

3612

The fact that so many of the runners come from outside the US leads to an interesting phenomenon when they go across the 59th Street Bridge:Mile 15

Tired. We're on the 59th street bridge, crossing into Mahnattan. Unlike the Verrazano Narrows bridge, this part of the course is on the lower level, so the impression is of an infinitely long, metal-ribbed tunnel going uphill. It's an agonizing climb, up and up, everyone around me is staggering. A group of runners comes up from behind me, singing:
Slow down, you move too fast
You've got to make the morning last
Just kickin' down the cobblestones ...

And then everyone joins in:
Looking for fun and feeling Groovy.

The European runners in front of me exchange a worried, trapped look. They are stuck on a bridge with hundreds of natives who have obviously just gone loco.

--- from an account of the 2003 NYC Marathon, by Maciej Ceglowski on his site "IdleWords". Cegloski's storytelling chops are right up there with those of Gladwell, Levitt, Dubner.

Read more...

ATXSuperstar

What an incentive!

username

I am new to this blog (or any blog).I have reviewed this and many other messages.My conclusion is that Professor Levitt`s messages are the waste of time of a truly fine mind.Why the instinct for the capillary? Why doesn`t he post high-impact ideas, perhaps on a separate blog? He has had only three seminal creations and none in economics.For example he might Google: "DOES MONEY BUY HAPPINESS" and review the the results and make his policy reccommendations based on this. e.g. "Robin Hood was right.

Paul Ma

Excuse me sir, but how many fundamental ideas have you contributed?

username

One and a half (so far).

penxv

In a capitalist society, "high impact ideas" are very profitable. If he had any, he wouldn't give them to you.

username

I think that Professor Levitt is more idealistic than your comment implies.

penxv

I sure hope not, I would lose respect for him.

3612

Ideas are idealistic in any society: give em away for free on a blog, on a soapbox, where ever. An idea is like a song, a high impact idea is one sung simultaneously by strangers who find themselves feeling groovy in the right place at the right time. Conventional wisdom would never predict that marathon runners would gleefully enjoin each other to "slow down, you move too fast" when they hit the 159th St. Bridge.