Best sporting nation?

by Chris Bertram on September 2, 2008

Obviously, this shouldn’t be taken too, indeed at all, seriously, but I did a little playing around to try to discover which nation did best at the Olympics. I’m told (or at least, I read in the _Times_ the other day) that some US commentators favour an assessment based on total medals won divided by population. Well they would, wouldn’t they? But obviously, some medals are worth more than others and you want to take some account of relative economic development. So here’s what I did: I assigned 7 points for gold, 3 for silver and 1 for bronze and then divided by Gross National Income in $billion (PPP adjusted) as given by the Nationmaster site. GNI is going to vary positively by population and by economic developement, thereby capturing both relevant facts. The GNI figures are probably not completely accurate, and I had to plug in a figure for Cuba. I also discarded all nations that scored less than 50 points (there’s a pretty big an convenient gap below that score). The result is in the table below. So well done Jamaica, and, among the OECD countries, Australia.

Fonts and Faces

by John Holbo on September 2, 2008

On the strength of my mighty “Back to the Futura” post, I got an offer from the Prospect Magazine to review Font. The Sourcebook [amazon]. And so I have. Alas, it is not available to non-subscribers, but you could always run to your local news vendor and clamor for it. Or subscribe. Writing the piece was an amusing sort of pin-the-tail challenge because I wasn’t quite sure what the editor wanted. So I just did my usual la-de-da look-at-me Holbo-style thing. Which, of course, was very sensibly stripped away. No, really. It was for the best. (When you write brief journalism about language in that style, you end up sounding like William Safir.)

The review got entitled “Building A Better Futura”, so I’m maxed-out on Futura-future puns for the rest of the month. I concluded the review by squeezing in a quick note on my ongoing would-Obama’s-poster-have-been-illegal researches. (Executive summary: the Nazis were crazy.) Now I’ll just sweep together a few other bits and scraps that ended up on the cutting room floor. [click to continue…]