Sporting Week in Pictures, August 22-30

Dan Evans became the most talked about British tennis player for a few hours at least as he defeated Japanese number 11 seed Kei Nishikori in the first round of the US Open.  For a man who in April admitted “I am obviously pretty bad at my job” after struggling to keep to the regimented schedule of professional tennis it wasn’t a bad few hours work.

Jamie Forrest scores a 92nd minute winner for Celtic against Shakhter Karagandy to secure Neil Lennon’s side a place in the Champions league group stages having started the game with a 0-2 deficit after the first leg. If only Karagandy had been able to sacrifice a lamb before the match as they usually do maybe the result would have been different?

All Celtic’s hard work means glamour ties against Barcelona, AC Milan, and Ajax rather than the masterfully dull and money-sapping Europa League. All in all Man Utd and Chelsea have the easier of the draw while Arsenal will have to work hard to qualify from a group containing last years runners up Dortmund. Bayern v City also looks interesting.

Umpires Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena assess the light meter

These guys make it too easy…

The finale of the ashes came around in typically exhilarating fashion on Sunday as, with England needing just 21 runs with just 24 balls remaining, those in charge saw fit to end the days play, and thus the series, due to bad light. I’m not sure if you can make them out through the darkness but the picture shows the umpires and Michael Clarke either searching for mobile phone signal or using one of the many technological advances offered in cricket, “light checker-out-erer” I think its called.

Final results: England 3, Australia 0, Weather 2

Wigan win

Sam Tomkins secures the 2013 Challenge cup for Wigan Warriors with a last minute try to seal a 16-0 victory. A record 19th final victory took place in near torrential rain (take note cricket) at Wembley and was the first time since Wigan beat St Helens in 1989  that a team had managed to achieve a clean sheet.


The sporting week in pictures

A look back at the sporting week as caught by the camera….

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In another impressive Red Bull stunt Colombian high diver Orlando Duque leaps from a helicopter 75ft above the Hudson river with the Statue of Liberty looking on. This time-lapse image shows some pretty decent teckers too ( when I say teckers I mean it looks cool I have no clue what makes a good 75ft dive).

Mo Farah wins the 5,000m final at World Championships to claim only the second 'double double' in history

Mo Farah crosses the finish line to claim gold in the 5,000m at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow and complete a truly remarkable 12 months in the process. This, his 5th major championship gold medal in a row, was the closest fought and there was no time for the “Mo bot” over the final few metres.

David Villa–VIDEO.html

David Villa celebrates scoring for Atletico Madrid against his old team Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish super cup – and what a goal it was by the way ( Still not quite sure how Madrid managed to buy him for only 5 million euros (approx. 17 Bale’s in today’s money) with the likes of Arsenal supposedly after him… ah ok now it makes sense.

David Moyes celebrates his first victory as Man Utd manager. A 4-1 away win at Swansea is a pretty impressive result especially with everyone convinced that now Fergie has gone Man Utd players will suddenly forgot how to kick a ball. Still third favourites for the title they are worth a cheeky tenner.

cricket: 5th ashes test day two

The second day of the final ashes test gets of to a flyer. People keep trying to tell me that Cricket is interesting and the Ashes is an amazing spectacle but any sport where rain can get you more wins than one of the “athletes” ( I use this term loosely) taking part immediately forfeits its credibility. And don’t even get me started on players signing autographs during play or having sandwiches half way through.

On This Day – August 6th

On this day in 1890 the electric chair was used for the first time as a method for execution in the United States as William Kemmler, having been found guilty on the charge of murder, was put to death in Buffalo, New York. Now whilst the death of an individual is always harrowing it is the story behind the chair which is the focus here.

Electricity itself was still in the process of being understood, and harnessed, at this time and the execution marked a significant development in the battle between two pioneers of the energy source. On the one side Thomas Edison and his patented DC flow, on the other George Westinghouse and the AC system. Both men had been battling for supremacy for years and it seems that in their battle to achieve dominance in the electricity market, no area was off limits. As propaganda and publicity campaigns continued relentlessly others were beginning to recognise potential uses for this powerful energy source. In 1888 New York State had implemented legislation decreeing the electric chair was to be the standard process for future executions, replacing the long standing method of hanging, and both an AC and a DC powered prototype emerged.

After years of wrangling, claims, and counter-claims on everything from safety and efficiency, to the value for money provided by the two options the debate over which energy source should power the electric chair was unique.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Edison, a fervent anti-capital punishment man, is actually directly linked to the production of the first ever electric chair, designed and built by a man named Harold Brown. With Brown under the employment of Edison during this project it would suggest the great inventor had put aside any moral issues in favour of expanding the DC format. Why then, when New York State administered the fatal volts to Kemmler, did they do so via a machine powered by Westinghouse’s AC current?

Championed by some as a technological advancement and a potentially lucrative business opportunity (lets face it the US has never been exactly shy when it comes to the death sentence) it seems both Edison and Westinghouse did not see it this way.

In reality neither individual wanted the infamous title of the man supplying the lethal force required to kill; it was bad for business.

Edison therefore implemented perhaps the most lethal smear campaign in modern business as he actively sought to ensure that his rivals AC current would be used on August the 6th. Browns employment by Edison was based largely on his known distain for the AC system and having already conducted a number of stunts in which animals were killed by Westinghouse’s alternate current, they both hoped this most blatant association with danger and death would be enough to sway the population in favour of the direct current option. If people could see AC current killing a man, he believed the public would look on it with scepticism.

Westinghouse himself was aware of the damaging impact this could have for his business and the appeals lodged on behalf of Kemmler during the process were actually funded by Westinghouse’s corporation on the grounds that death by electrocution was a cruel and unusual punishment. The appeals failed however in part due to the testaments of Edison and Brown who claimed the electric chair would provide a quick and painless death.

So it came to pass that on the morning of Wednesday August 6th 1890 William Kemmler was executed by an electric chair powered by AC. The debut run itself did not go smoothly as the prison technician failed to administer the required voltage at first leaving Kemmler severely injured but still alive. With the botched execution lasting eight minutes and leaving the prisoners body bleeding and omitting an odorous smell, newspapers were quick to report sensationalist headlines.

Talk of Kemmler having been set on fire and of his blood vessels bursting is sure to have damaged the reputation of AC but ultimately, despite Edison’s attempts to discredit the system, AC had become the standard output of electricity by the early twentieth century. The competition for supremacy had however set in motion a method which still stands today as people continue to be “Westinghoused” as a form of execution in numerous countries 123 years after William Kemmler.Image