Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, February 21, 2021

The lure of the fairway seems to be losing its appeal, as fewer and fewer people are playing golf these days:

The total number of people who play has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

More troubling to golf boosters, the number of people who play 25 times a year or more fell to 4.6 million in 2005 from 6.9 million in 2000, a loss of about a third.

The industry now counts its core players as those who golf eight or more times a year. That number, too, has fallen, but more slowly: to 15 million in 2006 from 17.7 million in 2000, according to the National Golf Foundation.

The suspected problem is the time commitment: Four hours to get in 18 holes, which is a lot to squeeze out of a weekend these days. I admit, a big reason why I never showed much interest in the game was because I could think of better ways to waste my leisure time; a couple of golf-obsessed friends back in the day certainly seemed to practically live on the course on Saturdays and Sundays.

I have an innovative solution to draw the crowds: Screenings of Caddyshack at the 18th hole! That’s major motivation for plowing through a full course, I’d say.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/21/2008 11:10 PM
Category: Movies, Other Sports
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Macroeconomics doesn’t get much hairier than when stagflation, that old invisible-hand smacker from the 70s, makes a comeback.

“[The Federal Reserve is] cutting rates with a bill to be paid later,” said John Ryding, chief United States economist at Bear Stearns. “The question is not, will we get inflation, but how much will it cost to stuff the genie back in the bottle. This has the feel of 1970s stagflation.”

Over the last 12 months, consumer prices are up 4.3 percent on average, according to the Labor Department. The core index of consumer price inflation, which excludes food and oil, was 2.5 percent higher in January than a year earlier, significantly above the Fed’s unofficial comfort zone of a 1 to 2 percent underlying inflation rate. That’s a far cry from the double-digit inflation rates that battered the economy at times in the 1970s, but still worrisome.

What’s next? A re-experiencing of “malaise forever”?

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/21/2008 10:43 PM
Category: Business, Comedy, Politics, Society
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Black is not a color so much as it’s the negation of color: A shade that absorbs 99 percent or more of the entire light spectrum directed at it, thereby reflecting back the minimal amount to make it visible. (White is the same condition, only reversed to absorb most of the spectrum.)

But there’s black, and then there’s superblack: Researchers have cooked up a thin material that absorbs 99.955 percent of the light that hits it, making it by far the darkest substance ever made — about 30 times as dark as the government’s current standard for blackest of blacks.

Sort of a visual black hole that sucks up illumination. Applications abound:

Solar panels coated with it would be much more efficient than those coated with conventional black paint, which reflects 5 percent or more of incoming light. Telescopes lined with it would sop up random flecks of incidental light, providing a blacker background to detect faint stars.

And a wide array of heat detectors and energy-measuring devices, including climate-tracking equipment on satellites, would become far more accurate than they are today if they were coated with energy-grabbing superblack.

And the light-refracting nature of this phenomenon opens up the possibilities for invisibility cloaking. Although you wouldn’t be able to see anything from behind that donned cloak, since all the light is being absorbed more or less absolutely.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/21/2008 08:54 AM
Category: Creative, Science
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