The start of the football data boom TheJournal.ie
IT’S A DAY off, and you might want a quiet spot and a comfy chair.
We have selected for you the best readings of the week.
1. How the football data boom started
In the mid-1980s, English top club Watford began sending VHS tapes of matches around the world to Fiji for their matches to be analyzed over the course of a year.
(BBC Sport, 5 minutes playing time)
Checking his locker on his way to his office, he found a padded envelope among the usual correspondence. It had an airmail sticker and postmark from Watford, England.
Inside were a VHS tape and a letter. The tape contained recordings of Watford’s matches against Chelsea in the Premier League and Crewe Alexandra in the Milk Cup. The letter was from Watford manager Graham Taylor, who politely requested that the tape be returned to England “with timely analysis”.
This is how match analysis was carried out by a top English club in the 1980s – entrusting the only tape recording of a match to long-distance airmail, having the analysis done by hand then returned more than 12 months later.
2. The book that burned in the Blitz and sank in the Titanic
An incredibly lavish book, the Rubáiyát by Omar Khayyám, had an unfortunate history with excessive bad luck after it sank aboard the Titanic. The replacement, which was completed in the late 1930s, was later burned in attacks by German bombers during the Blitz.
(BBC, 12 minutes playing time)
Measuring 16 inches by 13 inches (40 cm by 35 cm), the book was encrusted with 1,050 jewels, including specially cut rubies, topazes and emeralds. About 100 square feet (9 square meters) of gold leaf and some 5,000 pieces of leather were used in its creation.
Sangorski agonized over every detail, at one point borrowing a human skull so he could accurately represent it in his artistic vision. He even bribed a London Zoo keeper to feed a live rat a snake so he could capture the gruesome image from first-hand experience.
The Daily Mirror considered the finished work to be “the most remarkable specimen of binding ever produced”. Others have simply described it as the “Wonderful Book”.
He was given a huge prize.
3. Latest phonebox users
In the UK, more than five million chargeable telephone calls are still made each year. The Guardian examines who is still making these calls.
(The Guardian, 15 minutes reading time)
Walk through a city, a town, a village and you see them. The latest phone booths. Once you start seeing them, you see them everywhere. For a while, I was preoccupied by their contradictory presence, often standing proudly on a street corner, completely ignored. At their peak in the mid-1990s, Britain’s phone box population was around 100,000. Now there are just over 20,000 working boxes left, which still seems like a lot, given how hard it is to imagine someone using one. And yet they do. According to Ofcom, 5 million calls are still made each year from payphones. Five million! It seems impossible. A number so surprisingly large that it made me think there must be a lonely guy in a box somewhere obsessively making one-minute calls all day to random numbers.
4. The scammer at the end of the world
Inside the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and how one man tried to get into the business of supplying PPE on an industrial scale from his home.
(The Verge, 24 minutes playing time)
Kaplan had a home-based dog training business that, like many businesses, was impossible to sustain in quarantine. And now ? The stock market had collapsed. No one knew what was going on, who to trust, what to believe. The morgues were full. Ventilators were rationed. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was scarce. Everything seemed possible.
5. Escape to Zoom Island
How Madeira became home to thousands of digital nomads who work from the sunny island in the middle of the ocean.
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(GQ, 18 minute reading time)
No place makes it work quite like Madeira. As countries from Aruba to Georgia try to attract nomads to boost their pandemic-ravaged economies, this tiny island off the coast of northwest Africa is leading the way. Barrett and the other visitors here are part of Digital Nomads Madeira, a unique program catering to their needs: helping them find rental accommodation, equipping them with a state-of-the-art coworking space in the city center and organizing social events. , like today’s yoga session, via a private Slack channel.
6. The Off Switch: Authoritarian States and Dissent
An in-depth examination by Rest of World of how authoritarian states are suppressing dissent, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Rest of the world, 25 minute reading time)
On February 27, days after Russia invaded Ukraine, radio journalist Valerii Nechay returned to St. Petersburg from a trip to the North Caucasus to find three men in his apartment. Wearing masks to conceal their features, they told him that if he didn’t want his mother to be harmed, he had to leave the country. They don’t need to worry about it. Nechay had already booked a one-way ticket to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. “It actually helped me pack my bags a lot faster,” he said.. From Armenia he traveled to Georgia, then again. Rest of the world has agreed not to disclose his current location, out of concern for his safety.
…AND ONE OF THE ARCHIVES…
Great writer Andrew O’Hagan’s series about what happened inside Grenfell Tower on the night of the tragic fire.
(London Review of Books, approximately 298 minutes reading time)
In the 15th century, “tower” was another way of naming the sky. But Rania always thought Grenfell Tower was too tall. They were at the top and you could see Hammersmith and City trains coming in and out of Latimer Road station. From some apartments you could see the cars, like ants, crawling down the Westway, and from others you were looking at the financial district, all these new towers in the distance with the Shard in the middle.