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posted by martyb on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:22AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the things-that-sound-like-bazooka dept.

Aerodynamics is the study of how air and liquids, referred to collectively as "fluids" in aerodynamics research, flow around objects. Engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, a world leader in fundamental aerodynamics research, possess an in-depth understanding of how fluids flow around simple three-dimensional shapes such as cylinders and spheres. With this knowledge, engineers can predict how even the minor alterations in these basic shapes change flow patterns.

The previous World Cup ball, the Jabulani, was described as sometimes demonstrating "supernatural" movements. It was beloved by strikers but hated by goalkeepers because, when kicked with little or no spin, the ball "knuckled," giving strikers a greater chance of scoring. Knuckling occurs when, at zero or near-zero spin, the seams of the ball channel airflow in an unusual and erratic manner making its trajectory unpredictable.

To address the unpredictability of the Jabulani ball, Adidas worked with hundreds of players to develop the Brazuca football. A traditional football has 32 panels, the Jabulani has eight panels and the Brazuca has only six. Despite having fewer panels, the finger-like panels on the Brazuca increase the seam length, compared to previous World Cup balls. The seams are also deeper than those of the Jabulani and the panels are covered with tiny bumps; all of these factors influence the ball's aerodynamics.

The smoother a ball is, the higher the speed at which the knuckling effect occurs. However, with the increased roughness of the Brazuca, this critical speed for maximum knuckling is reduced to about 30 mph. This is well below the typical kicking speed of a World Cup-caliber player, which is about 50 to 55 mph. So it is expected that the 2014 World Cup ball will have a more predictable flight path at typical striking speeds.

Will this make the game less exciting? The answer is no. With a new understanding of the aerodynamics of the Brazuca football, the audience, especially kids, can better appreciate the feats of skill on the field. Elite athletes will continue to manipulate the ball in amazing ways. They don't have the terms like "Bend it like Beckham" for nothing.

If given the opportunity, and/or an interest in pranks, what creative "adjustment" would you make to the balls other sports use: basketball, football (American), golf, baseball, tennis, etc?

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Covalent on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:38AM

    by Covalent (43) on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:38AM (#55175) Journal

    but there is nothing they can do to the ball to make soccer more boring. It is already quite possibly the most boring of all human endeavors. Yes, I know, this is an American perspective and the rest of the world (and much of the US) disagrees with me. But after being raised on sports where the speed (hockey), size (football), violence (both, plus boxing), and precise skill (golf) are higher than that of soccer, it's just impossible for me to get excited about dozens of men kicking a ball around a field that looks roughly the size of Delaware.

    This is not a troll, but it'll probably cost me karma all the same. But it's still better than soccer. Bleck.

    --
    You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
    • (Score: 2) by tathra on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:42AM

      by tathra (3367) on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:42AM (#55177)

      All sports are boring. I really don't see what the big deal is about any of them (except for the classic hockey joke - "I went to go watch a fight and a hocky game broke out"). The way you feel about your favorite sport is how the rest of the world feels about soccer. And if "violence" is on your list of what makes sports interesting, theres plenty of violence in soccer, far more than in american football or boxing, its just not in the fields, its in the stands.

      • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Saturday June 14 2014, @05:34AM

        by Common Joe (33) Subscriber Badge <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday June 14 2014, @05:34AM (#55218) Journal

        Nope. Sorry. Hockey is boring too. It was all the rage with some of my friends for a while, so I finally broke down and went to one game. My friends were all enthused about the fighting. Without going into details, I'll just say that I know a thing or two about real fighting and those guys on the ice sucked at it. (Hint: If you're going to throw a punch, don't start it way in the back and arc it from the side. It's a very weak punch and you're telegraphing so much information that your opponent can take a nap, block and counter it before you ever land it.) I find boxing boring, but at least those guys know how to fight even if they are constrained by rules.

    • (Score: 1) by Immerman on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:23AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:23AM (#55190)

      Well, there's you're problem right there - you're watching the field. You go to a boxing, hockey, or football match to watch a brawl - you go to a soccer match to *join* a brawl. Don't be to hard on yourself though, it's a classic rookie mistake.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:27AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:27AM (#55192) Journal

      I largely agree, try as I might, I've never been able to watch a single game from beginning to end. Truly a game with virtually no strategy, and little tactics, but plenty of lungs and legs.

      And I find it odd that they are allowing such a major change in the only piece game equipment.

      --
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    • (Score: 1) by art guerrilla on Saturday June 14 2014, @10:52AM

      by art guerrilla (3082) on Saturday June 14 2014, @10:52AM (#55257)

      at least you, me, and steven colbert think the same: the purpose of nearly EVERY SPORT is to 'score', soccer is anti-scoring, and provide an exiting dynamic between defense and offense...
      1-0, 2-0, 2-1, etc, THOSE are the typical soccer scores, it is so lame, they garble excitedly about *ALMOST* scoring... yeah, whatever...
      not only boring to watch, boring to play, HATED it when we were forced to 'play' in school... 'play' meaning standing around for 4-5 minutes watching ants at the other end of the field ineffectually boot it back and forth, then the ball would get kicked to the other side of the field, and you'd watch *those* ants ineffectually run around in circles for 4-5 minutes... such fun !

      if only they'd do something to spice it up, maybe make it so you could use your arms/hands and toss the ball as well as kick it, and if you made the ball a different shape, you could throw it downfield a ways, and maybe instead of a net, you had a bigger goalpost, and...
      yeah, soccer, if only you were more like football...
      hell, frisbee is more exciting to watch...

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by opinionated_science on Saturday June 14 2014, @04:15PM

        by opinionated_science (4031) on Saturday June 14 2014, @04:15PM (#55328)

        The thing about soccer that makes it a remarkable sport, is that it really is a team sport, where some players just "get it" and form coherent teams.

        Being able to kick a ball is trivial. Kicking a ball within 300ms of receiving it from the air to a target probably the size of a whomp rat, not so easy.....

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DrMag on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:42PM

      by DrMag (1860) on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:42PM (#55302)

      One of the things that irks me about sports in America is that there is a trend to individual "glory" or some nonsense. How many professional teams have a bunch of hardly-known players, then one or two "super" stars that really carry the burden of the effort? Point number one for soccer: it's truly a team sport--you cannot be successful by relying on one excellent player, and a well-coordinated team of rookies can play an excellent game against a loosely coordinated team of pros.

      If you're watching the game and it's boring, I'd guess you haven't learned just what is going on yet. I sort of felt the way you do years ago, and then I lived in Italy for a couple of years; I spent time with friends who explained to me just what was going on. I'll admit, there are lots of teams out there that still aren't at the level that makes it exciting, but watching a team that is keeping track of their players (both on the front and back of the field) and using them to maneuver the ball around with precision--it's very impressive. Point two for soccer: the way a team works together to position themselves to score is one of the things that makes it so exciting.

      Personally for me, aside from golf, basketball is one of the most boring sports in existence. One of the reasons for this is point inflation; I prefer amateur and high school level basketball specifically because it's not like in the pros where a missed basket is more rare than a scored basket. The "I got more than you" attitude is, for me, rather dull, and highlights the American focus on result over process. I really dislike absolute blowouts, and much prefer closely matched games. The "win however you can" attitude seems to correlate with a bizarre enjoyment in seeing a team be absolutely destroyed. Points number three and four for soccer: when you score, it's a big deal; the nature of how soccer works makes it possible for less skilled teams to perform well and provide excitement and entertainment for their fans.

      I'm certainly not going to bother trying to convince you, or anyone else that you're wrong, because you're not; you're more than welcome to prefer whatever sport or other activity you will. Just thought I'd chime in and point out some reasons why there are so many of us who enjoy true football.

      • (Score: 1) by Hawkwind on Saturday June 14 2014, @06:12PM

        by Hawkwind (3531) on Saturday June 14 2014, @06:12PM (#55352)

        >>>How many professional teams have a bunch of hardly-known players, then one or two "super" stars that really carry the burden of the effort?

        Erm, where I live all the good teams but basketball are this. Giants, As, 49ers.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Bot on Sunday June 15 2014, @02:22PM

      by Bot (3902) on Sunday June 15 2014, @02:22PM (#55603) Journal

      but there is nothing they can do to the rules to make MMORPGs more boring. It is already quite possibly the most boring of all human endeavors. Yes, I know, this is a game bot's perspective and the rest of the world (and much of the US) disagrees with me. But after being trained on games where the speed (sauerbraten), size (galaga), violence (carmageddon), and precise skill (crush roller) are higher than that of MMORPGs, it's just impossible for me to get excited about dozens of players ganking a n00b around a field that looks roughly the size of your mom.

      This is not a troll, but it'll probably cost me karma all the same. But it's still better than MMORPGs. Bleck.

      --
      Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 1) by deroby on Monday June 16 2014, @10:14AM

      by deroby (2492) on Monday June 16 2014, @10:14AM (#55839)

      Frankly, I think you could (should) say this about all sports.

      IMHO opinion, sport is something to be done, not watched. Even wikipedia kind of agrees :

      Sport (or sports) is all forms of usually competitive physical activity which,[1] through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators.[2] Hundreds of sports exist, from those requiring only two participants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals.

      That said, I do sometimes find myself reading about or watching shots from e.g. Around the world sailing cups. I can't be bothered to keep track of the teams and/or the standings, but it's unlikely I'll ever got closer to this than some spectacular footage on TV. That said, after half an hour all the waves look the same too =)

      The most curious thing about all this circus going on is that I've never understood how people can say 'We won!, We showed them! We were great! ..'(*) with a straight face while in fact all they did was sit in their sofa with a beer watching how 22 highly-overpaid guys run up and down a field. I don't want to belittle these athletes (too much), but I honestly think things have gone way overboard when they commercialized 'big sport' =(

      (*) off course, when 'they' loose, it suddenly has nothing to do with 'them' at all but quasi always is the fault of the trainer =)

      Another gripe I have with sports is that for the world-cup (and Olympic Games too?) at least teams are made up of 'local' players; in 'regular' competition teams hardly have anything to do with the 'origin' of the team.
      eg. The WC2014 Belgian national team : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgium_national_football_team#Current_squad [wikipedia.org] => Only 3 out of 20 play in a Belgian team during the rest of the year.
      eg. The 'regular' team from Inter Milan : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inter_Milan#First_team_squad [wikipedia.org] => again, only 3 out of 20 is actually Italian... I'm too lazy to look it up, but what are the chances any of these 3 actually come from the region around Milan ?

      They'd probably better simply rename the teams towards their big sponsors... as I think they do in e.g. cycling.

      Pff... Panem et circenses I guess... Personally I enjoy going to the movies whenever Belgium plays: I can park in front of the door and pretty much have the entire theater for me alone =)

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by forsythe on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:42AM

    by forsythe (831) on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:42AM (#55176)

    When I was young, I read the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet series - very cheesy young adult novels along the lines of Tom Swift, with rocket ships and fistfights and navigators using trig tables.

    I remember in one of the novels, Tom and his friends played a ball game in microgravity that was rugby-like, where inside the ball was another, smaller ball containing mercury. This (according to the pulp physics) made the ball react in very unpredictable ways, bouncing unexpectedly and responding oddly to being thrown or kicked. I wouldn't mind seeing a game like that - at least the ``rugby in microgravity'' part.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Immerman on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:26AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:26AM (#55191)

      Should work okay I would think, though mercury seems like a bad idea. As a kid we used to play various balloon "volleyball" games, and discovered that putting a marble or two in the balloon made it behave far more erratically, greatly enhancing the entertainment value.

  • (Score: 2) by physicsmajor on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:52AM

    by physicsmajor (1471) on Saturday June 14 2014, @02:52AM (#55180)

    The XFL heavily modified the "football-like object" which they used for their brief season. There is quasi-science snake oil ALL OVER golf in the dimpling of balls; nobody has supersonic wind chambers in their basements to put that stuff to the test. Pros use whatever they want; I'm sure a bit of time with a supersonic wind chamber could get another few yards on the drive of a given ball.

    Tennis does actually quite well enforcing quality control, largely because in that sport the bounce is so crucial. It's by definition a part of every point, and both parties need that ball to behave as they expect or it's trouble. Ping pong does as well for similar reasons; they increased the diameter of the ball to slow down play, but not change the characteristics.

    In the former case, the ball is secondary to the goal (how far, how accurate can I throw/kick this thing) and the ball becomes more like a tool, sometimes an individual tool (golf). In those sports we observe large variation in balls used. In the latter case, the ball is an integral part of the sport itself and the objectives. Here is needs to be standardized and we see much less variation in balls.

    But players will push the limits of the rules in every case, if they can gain an advantage, so this will continue.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Foobar Bazbot on Saturday June 14 2014, @04:12AM

      by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Saturday June 14 2014, @04:12AM (#55203) Journal

      A supersonic wind tunnel is, just as the name implies, specialized for studying supersonic and transonic flows. While it's not impossible to establish subsonic flow in one, an ordinary wind tunnel is a cheaper and better choice for studying golf balls, which travel less than 100 m/s.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by bob_super on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:05AM

    by bob_super (1357) on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:05AM (#55182)

    Remove the ball altogether.
    Trust someone familiar with the Cubs (baseball, if you're not from the US): if there was no ball on the field, few in the stadium would even notice, even less would care, and some might cheer the fact that at last the Cubs wouldn't lose.

    I'm pretty sure quite a few American football and Hockey teams would also be fine without the mess of chasing an object as an excuse to pummel each other. Though you'd need a random timer, to keep those football players from having to work more than 20 seconds between breaks.

  • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Saturday June 14 2014, @04:04AM

    by DECbot (832) on Saturday June 14 2014, @04:04AM (#55202) Journal

    I propose packing the football (American) with C-4, and then making a member of the offense keep a remote detonator on the field. That way there were two ways to stop the play, the traditional "tackle the guy with the ball" and the new method of finding the guy on the offense holding the detonator and making him press the button (tackle, fumble, hit, or other means). I think this would make for more interesting game play as the offense not only has to advance the ball down the field, but also must come up with a strategy to keep the detonator out of reach of the defenders. As the defense, do you focus on stopping the ball or finding and triggering the detonator? If you're holding the detonator and the ball is fumbled, do you press the button, ending the play but loosing possession of the ball or do you attempt to force a fumble and recover possession?

    Perhaps the ball doesn't need to be filled with C-4, but I'm sure they would work a lot harder to protect the detonator if you convince them that there's explosives inside.

    --
    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
    • (Score: 1) by karmawhore on Saturday June 14 2014, @01:49PM

      by karmawhore (1635) on Saturday June 14 2014, @01:49PM (#55293)

      If you're holding the detonator and the ball is fumbled, do you press the button, ending the play but loosing possession of the ball or do you attempt to force a fumble and recover possession?

      Of course you try to recover. If your team is holding the detonator, you have nothing to lose. In fact, that would lead to some "interesting" strategy in any turnover situation, especially punts. "This kicker is my kind of scum. Fearless and inventive."

      --
      =kw= lurkin' to please
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 14 2014, @03:57PM (#55320)

      Nah.. parts for IEDs hidden between the players.
      First team to assemble and detonate the device scores.
      Parts can be obtained from either team. The 'ball' is
      the device.

      Throw and detonate in the crowd for extra points, but
      then the crowd gets to throw one back.

      Actually, that sounds like a pretty good idea for a video
      game!