Olympics 2012: Fencing Controversy Costs South Korea Medal

The Olympic fencing tournament was thrown into an incredibly emotional, dramatic and elongated controversy when a semifinal bout of the women’s individual epee competition was won on a final touch with 1 second remaining and the losing fencer launched an appeal of the decision which eventually cost her a place on the podium.

With time running out in one of the two semifinal matches for the women’s individual epee competition, South Korea’s Shin A Lam led Germany’s Britta Heidermann by a single point. Officially, Heidermann had just one second to launch an attack and score a touch, which would advance her on to the gold medal match to face the Ukraine’s Yana Shemyakina, a lack of time which all but ensured that Shin would advance.

Instead, the timing mechanism on the piste became stuck, giving Heidermann extra time to complete her attack and win the bout, which earned her the spot in the gold medal bout. Officials, unsure what to do without a true, official protocol to follow, eventually decided to award the victory to Heidermann.


As one might expect, Shin and her coaches were enraged with the decision, and launched an immediate appeal. Yet the appeal itself proved to be incredibly lengthy and also contained a unique bylaw that required Shin to remain on the piste throughout its duration. At long last, after more than 30 minutes of a delay that included the Korean federation having to expedite a payment for the use in the official appeal, Shin’s attempt to overturn the result failed.

Clearly, Shin should have had a chance for the gold medal; if the timing mechanism didn’t get stuck, the clock would have run out and she would have advanced. Yet denying Heidermann a shot without some kind of a playoff-style bout might have been equally cruel. Either way, the fencing tournament somehow ended up with an unfortunate and completely unforeseen loser which will lead to plenty of gripes and arguments going forward from multiple national federations, to be sure.

What is your opinion about the controversial ruling on this fencing bout? Who was the real winner in that round — South Korea or Germany?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Zimbio

Why Do Songs Keep Replaying in My Head?

Music has a tendency to get stuck in our heads. You know the experience – a tune intrudes on your thoughts and plays, and replays, in a never-ending loop.

Dr Vicky Williamson, a music psychologist and memory expert at Goldsmith’s College in London, found that scientists use a range of terms to describe the subject – stuck-song syndrome, sticky music, and cognitive itch, or most commonly “earworm” -a word which some people misunderstand. She identified a set of triggers that had apparently caused these tunes to pop into people’s heads and stay there.

“The first one is music exposure, which means the person has heard the music recently,” she says. Another unsurprising finding was that if you hear a song repeatedly, you’re more likely to get stuck with it. But sometimes songs pop into our heads even when we haven’t heard them for a long time. In this case, something in our current environment may trigger the memory. Another trigger she identified was stress.


Daniel Levitin of McGill University in Montreal, an expert in the neuroscience of music, says the combination of rhythm, rhyme, and melody provides reinforcing cues that make songs easier to remember than words alone. He says the main question people ask him about earworms is: “How do we turn them off?”

Levitin offers a piece of advice: “Just think of another song and hope that’ll push out the first one.” Both Levitin and Williamson agree that getting an unwanted tune out of your head is a relief. But of course the song that cures you might just end up being the next one that gets stuck.

Source: BBC News

Image: TLC