Sunday, April 24, 2005

Science for the Confused - an occasional series

No.3: Sport


My enjoyment of Snooker on the BBC is impaired by the noises coming from the match taking place on the other side of the screen, at the Crucible. If that statement means nothing to you, congratulations - you're probably not a couch potato. I am, however. I propose an electronic sound filtering system, using separate microphones for each game (of course, as they must already.) Now we identify sound patterns arriving at both microphones and only select those which are louder at the microphone we want to listen to, filtering out the others. This should give us only the sound relating to our present snooker match.


Can any putt be holed? In other words, is it possible by applying the correct force and direction to the golf ball to attain the hole on any regulation green? Often a golfer will miss, and having putted with too much force, end up too far past, maybe even farther away than where he started. So what we need is a formula to derive probability of holing, relative to topology between ball and hole, or even better a computer model illustrating the best line to aim for and the optimum force to apply. If this could be installed in a device capable of scanning a green, then we would have a product that would be of interest initially to TV companies. A miniaturised camera and processor in the head of a putter with a guidance display on top indicating when the angle and swing were perfect, would be a boon for golfers, if permitted, or at least for training purposes. I give it to you entrepeneurs, go for it.*

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Professor Kronk

*The Willesden Herald names this device a kronk, in honour of the Professor, and offers a prize of two weeks plenary indulgences to whoever produces the first working prototype. (Courtesy of Mrs Haverty Enterprises International, in association with Father Aquino p.p.)

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