Daily dose: Dancing prohibition lifted, Life expectancy disparities, Physics of a curveball, Frerichs-Quinn

Daily dose: Dancing prohibition lifted, Life expectancy disparities, Physics of a curveball, Frerichs-Quinn

Local history

In 1912, the 17th annual Twin City Chautauqua will open this evening at the fairgrounds and continue until Sunday, Aug. 18. The first series of chautauqua were held at Crystal Lake Park. When the park commission purchased the park, the event was moved to the Busey land just west of the park. Last year, the Exhibit Hall at the fairgrounds was leased. Last year, the management cleared just $10 and everything looked dark for a chautauqua this year until a number of businessmen guaranteed that 1,100 season tickets would be sold.

In 1962, the Champaign City Council voted to permit dancing in local hotels and motels holding class A liquor licenses, at an additional fee of $500 per year. Only three firms will qualify: Hotel Inman, Hotel Tilden Hall and the Holiday Inn. At the same time, council members refused to allow dancing at any restaurants serving liquor. Councilwoman Gladys Snyder voted against the proposal, saying she was in favor of restricting dancing to private parties.

Life expectancy disparities

Despite recent medical advances, the life expectancy of poor and less-educated Americans has increased only slightly over the past several decades, researchers say.

In some cases, life expectancy for people who don't finish high school is actually getting shorter, the new study found. Meanwhile, Americans with higher levels of education and more socioeconomic benefits are living much longer than they were in the 1950s and 1960s.

"There are essentially two Americas," the study's lead author, Jay Olshansky, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, said in a university news release. "The most highly educated white men live about 14 years longer than the least-educated black men. The least-educated black women live about 10 years less than the most-educated white women," Olshansky explained.

"We must find a way to bring these subgroups of the population back into the present," he added.


The physics of a curveball, according to UI physicist

From The New York Times ...

On April 29, 2011, in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees right-hander Freddy Garcia threw a low split-finger fastball to Juan Rivera that struck him out swinging.
It was a clear, cool night at Yankee Stadium. The catcher, Russell Martin, was set up on the inside corner of the plate against the right-handed Rivera, anticipating the typical splitter action: a sharp downward break, with perhaps a little tail toward the hitter.
But this pitch, video replays confirm, forced Martin to move his glove about a foot to his right, away from the batter, at the last possible moment.
The game continued without any mention of the pitch. But Mike Fast, then a writer for Baseball Prospectus who happened to be watching on television, noticed the bizarre movement and reached out to a friend, Alan Nathan, a physics professor at the University of Illinois.
Nathan had published numerous papers on the physics of baseball and pitching. But he, too, had never seen anything like what Garcia had done. This was not simply the Magnus effect — the principle responsible for the curve in a curveball.



Frerichs and Quinn

From today's N-G column ...

Gov. Pat Quinn, whose relationship with many state legislators is something south of good, did nothing to improve his connection with state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, on Tuesday.
The governor held a series of news conferences, flying around the state to announce his decision to sign SB 3616, which extends the state’s enterprise zone program. The 30-year-old program, which provides tax incentives to businesses, was scheduled to end in 2013. Frerichs was the chief Senate sponsor of the legislation to extend the program’s lifespan by 25 years.
Oddly, the governor stopped in six Illinois communities for news conferences, but neither Champaign-Urbana nor Danville was among them. Those communities are in Frerichs’ Senate district.
And Quinn’s staff didn’t invite Frerichs to accompany the governor on the fly-around until late Monday afternoon.
“My schedule couldn’t be rearranged at the last minute,” said Frerichs, who responded “no comment” when asked if he was angry that he wasn’t invited until virtually the last minute.
“I think if the governor’s office had prepared a little better and notified me, I could have rearranged child-care duties today,” Frerichs added.
After he received a message from the governor’s office, Frerichs said he called back but “I never spoke with anyone. And I can say that they’ve known they were going to do this for probably a week.”
A press release from Frerichs’ office let loose on Quinn, tying in the governor’s apparently doomed efforts to rewrite the state’s pension laws.
“The enterprise zone program extension law was the result of bringing together business leaders, mayors and other officials, and every other interest group that had a stake in this issue,” Frerichs said in the press release. “I truly believe that the best way to achieve results is by quietly working together with everyone involved, not with flashy press tours or shutting people out of meetings.
“Given that the governor seems pleased with the results of our work to extend enterprise zones, maybe he should start applying some of these lessons to his pension-reform effort.”

More in today's News-Gazette


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