Race walking? Why Not Texting?

It’s no wonder that race walking is the butt of many jokes during the Olympics.   If it sounds like a joke, and looks like a joke…well then. People race walking look either like they must get to the bathroom quickly or they are runway models who have had too much caffeine.

I know, I know…it is harder than it looks, and it requires a tremendous amount of ability and training just like all the other sports.  But still.



I think that if the Olympics wants to improve its dismal ratings, and earn some younger fans, it has to introduce a new sport different than golf in 2020.  Why not texting?

As most people know, texting quickly and accurately requires a tremendous amount of manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.  It’s definitely a summer sport.  When it is 20 degrees outside people aren’t too keen to hold a piece of metal and peck at a glass screen.

I think whoever decides these things needs to consider making texting an Olympic Sport.  Have a list of random words pop up and the person who can text them correctly in the allotted time wins.

It’s a good idea.  I’m not joking. If race walking can be an Olympic sport, so can texting.

Soccer Success and Web Success: Are They Related?

The World Wide Web Foundation is an organization dedicated to, in their words, “seek[ing] to establish the open Web as a global public good and a basic right, ensuring that everyone can access and use it freely”.  One of the projects of the World Wide Web Foundation is the “Web Index“, a measure of how well countries have developed the Internet and used it for  human empowerment.

The Web Index comes from a survey of 86 questions.  These questions are then condensed into a single score. I like to think of it as a measure of the health of a country’s digital environment.  I’m currently  playing with the data from the 2012 survey.

Over the past few weeks I found myself caught up in the World Cup, and the American soccer team.  I watched almost every minute of the match between US and Belgium, rooting for the team generally and admiring the play of Tim Howard specifically.

I thought to myself:  “What if I compare Web Index ranks for the 61 countries measured in 2012, with the rankings calculated by FIFA?”

Putting the Web Index rankings and FIFA rankings into a scatterplot produces:

Table of Web Index by FIFA Score

It’s a nice visual.  As Web Index goes up so does a country’s FIFA ranking.  Spain is the highest ranked country by FIFA, with a score of 1485.  They also score relatively high on the web index with a score of 42.  The US is not bad, with a FIFA score of 13th, and their web index ranking is around 58.

For those statistically inclined, there is a correlation between these two measures of about 0.44 – which is considered moderate.