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Ripples #46

Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck


Ripples art--smallU.S. Women’s Water Polo Team
Poses Naked to Gain Exposure Apparently, women’s water polo doesn’t receive much publicity, attention or funding as Olympic sports go — which is why the U.S. national team recently climbed out of their swimsuits to appear nude on the cover of ESPN The Magazine (“The Body Issue”).

One member of the team explained on bloomberg.com that the ladies are hoping the exposure will encourage Americans to donate money to support their pre-London training. Ripples is of the opinion that the magazine cover is in pretty good taste, considering the possibilities.

Video: To watch a report about the team nudity and see the ESPN cover photo, click here.


Female British Olympic Swimmer
Attacked Because of Her Looks

Thankfully, considerable attention has been paid recently to the issue of bullying — including the new scourge of our age, cyber-bullying. Thus, Ripples was greatly dismayed and incensed upon learning that British Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington has decided not to use Twitter during the upcoming London Games because, in the words of msn.foxsports.com, “she fears abusive comments about her appearance will affect her performance in the pool.”

Adlington is the current women’s 400m and 800m Olympic freestyle champion. She reportedly has received more than a few malicious e-mails ridiculing her appearance.

British newspaper The Guardian quotes Adlington as saying, "Most [negative] things that I read about myself are not swimming related. They are to do with how I look, which has nothing to do with my performance in the pool. I've never read something that has really criticized me in the pool over the past year. It's just nasty comments about things I can't control. I can't help the way I look or who I am."

First of all, Adlington happens to be a perfectly attractive young woman — but even if that were not the case and she looked like the love child of Quasimodo and Godzilla, what would give anyone the right to send her hurtful messages about her appearance? Second, this sad affair clearly demonstrates a double standard with regard to women. If Adlington were a male swimmer, it’s hard to imagine anyone disparaging him based on his looks. (The possible exception: companies searching for Olympians to represent them in TV commercials — and even there, Ripples has never considered Michael Phelps, for example, to be a world-class looker.)

No, if Rebecca Adlington were a man, everyone would focus on his athletic prowess and competitive achievements in the water.

In a truly brilliant move, Adlington “outed” her latest tormenter by re-tweeting his nasty comments to her tens of thousands of Twitter followers. Now the alleged offender denies he was the actual sender of the e-mail; he claims a friend of his did it under his Twitter account.

Ripples has no idea where the truth lies, but it’s obvious that if his explanation is correct, he ought to reconsider whom he counts as friends. And if his version of events is just a smokescreen to avoid taking responsibility for his ill-considered actions (he refuses to reveal the supposed friend’s name), he clearly displays the cowardice that underlies most bullies’ reprehensible behavior.

Either way, this guy — not Rebecca Adlington — is the real loser.

Photos: To view photographs of Rebecca Adlington, click here and scroll down. You can also learn more about her alleged tormentor, the message in question and the many supportive e-mails sent to her in response.


Is Swumanoid a Harbinger of
Our Future Robotic Masters?

The Japanese are widely thought to have a special affinity for technology and electronic gadgets — as evidenced yet again by a new swimming robot developed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Swumanoid (Ripples assumes the name rhymes with “Humanoid”) is designed to be used in experiments aimed at gaining a better understanding of the mechanics of swimming — for example, how water resistance affects human swimmers’ performance.

Notes the Web site engadged.com:

Created with 3D printed parts of a human swimmer at half scale, [the robot is] attached to a drive unit and confined to a circulating water tank; Swumanoid takes two minutes and thirty-six seconds to swim roughly 300 feet, so it'll be a while before he and his kin chase you down.

Not everyone who read the article and watched the video was all that impressed. Johnnydfred commented, “Maybe in time. But as a swimmer, I can say that this robot's arm strokes are an embarrassment. Not to mention the all-important kick, which is a nonexistent joke. Lotta work to do, lotta work.”

Others related their (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) nervousness about the whole project. Wrote Scott: “I can now look forward to serving my future robot overlords both on land and in the water.” Similarly, Adrian opined, “And I always thought I’d be able to escape our future robot overlords by hiding underwater. Guess not anymore.”

Looking on the bright side, Ripples believes he’ll be long gone by the time those mean robot overlords rule our planet.

Video: To see Swumanoid in action, click here and scroll down.


1960s Ferry Boat Gets New Life
As Floating ‘Leisure Platform’

In 2011, Ripples featured an item about the Bedeschiff, a large floating pool in Berlin; the installation — which actually opened in 2004 — is located on the city’s heavily polluted River Spee. According to technology e-newsletter Gizmag, the pool “has become a favorite of residents of the German capital. They're attracted not only by the pool's clean and safe water, but also by the facility's wooden boardwalks, open-air bar and beautiful urban views. The pool itself was fashioned out of the hull of a vessel.”

Now comes word that another major floating pool project is about to open in Europe, in the Belgian port of Antwerp — this one fashioned out of the Badboot Lido, a 394-foot-long ferry boat from the 1960s. Gizmag reports that the new installation was designed by Belgian architectural firm SCULP(IT) and is being characterized as "a full-fledged leisure platform."

The e-newsletter reports:

Though the main feature is clearly the 40-meter (131-foot) long pool itself (which, come winter, will be put to more seasonal use as an ice rink), the facility will include two events venues, a restaurant, cocktail bar (in the ferry's converted bridge), not to mention the various exterior decks and terraces. In total, the facility can accommodate 600 people and it's claimed this makes it one of the largest outdoor swimming centers in the world.

Since the installation is fashioned out of a ferry, Gizmag says, the whole thing can be moved from location to location. And the designers have attempted to make the facility environmentally sound by incorporating — among other things — LED lighting and a reed-bed water purification system.

The Badboot is slated to open this coming August.

Images: To learn more and view artist renderings, click here and here.


Teaching Junior How to Swim
— One Way or the Otter!

Human parents know that instructing the little ones on how to swim is not always an easy task, which is why professional swim instructors play such an important role in the world. One would think that otters — amazing swimmers — simply take to the water without any problem when they’re young. Indeed, Wikipedia says the very name otter is related to the word water.

But as the delightful video below shows, otter pups do need some aquatic instruction, and they’re not always enthusiastic about receiving the training. And since there don’t appear to be any pro swim instructors for otters, the teaching job stays in the otter parents’ loving but firm hands…er…webbed paws.

Video: To watch a reluctant otter pup’s swim lesson captured on video at Ohio’s Columbus Zoo, click here.


And with that adorable item, Ripples once again says…
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!

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