Monday, January 14, 2008

Some Updates

I saw a couple of stories in the last couple of days that I blogged about last year. Figured I'd pass along some updates.

First, back in July I blogged about Oscar Pistorius a South African sprinter who is also a double amputee. In the place of legs, he has a pair of ultra high-tech prosthetics. Those were the hurdle (so to speak) he faced in trying to qualify for the next Olympics. Well, the international governing body for track & field has determined that Pistorius is not eligible for Olympic competition:

Brueggemann’s biomechanical and physiological analysis found that from a mechanical standpoint, the Cheetahs were more efficient than a human ankle and could in fact return energy in maximum speed sprinting. Specifically, he established that 'the mechanical advantage of the blade in relation to the healthy ankle joint of an able-bodied athlete is higher than 30 percent.' This means, according to the statement, that Pistorius was able to run at the same speed as the able-bodied sprinters with about '25 percent less energy expenditure.'

In a telephone interview last week, however, Brueggemann noted that this did not necessarily translate to a general advantage. Still, it was enough for the I.A.A.F. to decide that the Cheetahs are in'“clear contravention' of the rules.
An appeal is expected.

Second, late last summer I blogged several times about Stephen Dunne, the Massachusetts would-be lawyer who refused to answer a question on the state bar exam because the factual scenario dealt with same sex marriage (which, you'll remember, is legal in Massachusetts). He sued the state bar, but eventually withdrew the suit. Apparently, he's had a complete change of heart:
Stephen Dunne said he was 'embarrassed' for being an 'instrument of bigotry and prejudice,' in a letter to the editor and interview in the Jan. 3 edition of Bay Windows, a Boston newspaper serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered readers.

'By filing a misguided federal lawsuit . . . in respect to the legitimacy of same-sex marriage, I have regrettably perpetuated intolerance and animosity towards my fellow Americans,' Dunne said in his letter. 'My religiously based discrimination of gay people was callous and diametrically opposed to America’s core principles of freedom and equality.'
Good for him. It's never to late to evolve your world view.