Australian and New Zealand flags
Do you know which is which?

Yes, I agree: I can never remember which one is the Australian flag, and which is the New Zealand flag.

Apparently, heads of state for both countries have been seated or presented in front of the other country’s times more than a few times.

To presumably improve brand recognition of his country, as well as do away with the Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner, Kiwi prime minister, John Key has put it to the people in a referendum whether to keep the current flag, or go with a new version, seen below.proposed new zealand flagProposed in place of the Union Jack is the fern leaf, certainly a more popular symbol of the nation, most commonly seen internationally on the dark jerseys of the intimidating national rugby team, The All Blacks. Unfortunately, according to this article, New Zealanders regard the proposed design with ambivalence, at best. Many want change for the same reasons as the prime minister, but not to the one that is often called, not so affectionately, a beach towel. In fact, according to a recent poll, times may be a-changin’, but perhaps not for the Kiwi flag.

…it doesn’t appear that replacing the country’s flag is actually all that popular with New Zealanders. In a poll conducted in February, 70 percent of the population said they were against the change, though 16 percent of those voters specifically only oppose the new silver fern design.

So which flag will New Zealand Olympians see when they win gold in Rio for the 2016 Summer Games? We’ll find out on March 24, the final day that New Zealanders can vote in this referendum.

UPDATE- March 24, 2016: The people voted status quo. The Union Jack is Happy Jack.

New Zeanad Flag choices
Four choices for the public in December, 2015.
Japan rugby union team in gloucester brave blossoms
The Japan National Rugby Team wins three times at the World Rugby Championships in Gloucester, Scotland in October.

The surging love for rugby in Japan has been driven by the success of the Japan team, aka “The Brave Blossoms”, in the recent Rugby World Cup Championships in Gloucester, Scotland last month. The team’s three victories at the tournament drew attention to the fact that the next Rugby World Cup Championships will be held in Japan in 2019, a year before the 2020 Olympics, when rugby will continue as a participating sport after its Olympic debut in Rio in 2016.

But the rugby we watched at the Rugby World Cup Championships is significantly different from the rugby we will see at the Olympics. Rugby Union is the name of the sport that is challenged at the Rugby World Championships, and it requires 15 people aside. Rugby Sevens, which people will see at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, place seven people aside, even though the size of the field for both sports are the same: 100 meters long by 70 meters wide.

Thus, Rugby Sevens is faster. On the same size pitch, you can imagine that it is easier to defend with 15 people on the field as opposed to 7, which is what Rugby Sevens, appropriately named, requires. So instead of getting pushed, pulled, banged, tripped and generally hit every meter of the way in a Rugby Union match, you have open spaces, breakaways and sprints in a Rugby Sevens match. Instead of the bulky, squarish hulks you tend to see in a Rugby Union match, you’ll see muscular but lither athletes who can run world-class sprinting times.

Rugby Sevens is also shorter in duration. Rugby Union plays its matches in 40-minute halves, closer to the duration of soccer and NFL football games, while Rugby Sevens’ games are made up of 7-minute halves, or 10-minute halves for championships rounds. In other words, Rugby Seven matches finish in the amount of time it takes to play half a Rugby Union match. And fans and casual fans alike have taken occasional jabs at the seemingly slow pace of scrums in Rugby Union matches, where a large number of heavy athletes wrap arms in a pile that seem to do little but kill time.

Because of the above differences, the scoring in Rugby Sevens are perceived to come fast and furiously. Just watch this video compilation of scores made by the Rugby Seven speedster, Carlin Isles.

Now if you want me to further confuse, I could attempt to explain the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League (and their 13 aside rules)…but I will not attempt a try.

There will be 2 new additions to the list of sports showcased in next years 2016 Summer Olympics. The 2 sports are rugby sevens, and golf. Rugby and golf actually aren’t new to the Olympics. The 2016 Summer Olympics will mark their return to the event. Fifteen-man rugby had previously been an Olympic sport, debuting […]

Yokohama Stadium, new home of the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Yokohama Stadium, new home of the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Yokohama Stadium, which staged the 2002 soccer World Cup final, will replace Japan’s new National Stadium as the venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup final,

Source: Yokohama to host 2019 Rugby World Cup final | The Japan Times

 Japan react to their suprise victory over South Africa in their opening game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Japan react to their suprise victory over South Africa in their opening game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

All I know is that rugby will be an Olympic sport in Rio for the first time. But they’re calling Japan’s last-minute upset of South Africa at the Rugby World Cup in England as the greatest Rugby World Cup shocker ever. Here is how The Guardian saw it.

Wearable Devices_GPSports

In Major League Baseball today, entire stadiums are decked out with sensors so that the movement and speed of the baseball can be tracked real time the moment it leaves the pitcher’s hand, and the moment it comes into contact with the bat, to the moment it lands in a fielder’s glove or in the stands. (Click on link below for examples.)

Measuring health indicators are becoming the routine for health conscious people who wear consumer devices like Fitbit or UP. When I first wore my Microsoft Band, I appreciated learning about my heart rate while exercising but was surprised to learn how many calories I used while sleeping. (Around 350 to 400!)

At the organizational sports level, teams are using companies like GPSports, Catapult and Adidas to track the movements of their soccer, ice hockey or rugby players, primarily with an aim to understand the correlation of movement and injury. According to this New York Times article, the wearable devices for athletes, which is commonly a tracking device placed at the top of the back held in place by a compression shirt, provide data on the exact movements and conditions of a player. Presumably that data can be correlated to moments of injury, which is explained in greater depth in this Sports Illustrated article on how this data is used in ice hockey.

In the Age of Enlightenment, Europeans learned to better control their environment, and got a better picture of how much Man, not God, controlled one’s destiny. Of course, the scientific mind can get carried away with measurement. Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, developed machinery that could measure the degree to which a meeting was boring by counting the number of times a person fidgeted (perhaps an idea before its time!)

Frederick Winslow Taylor, credited with developing Scientific Management over 100 years Frederick-Winslow-Taylorago, would divide female party-goers into two sets (attractive and unattractive), and use his stopwatch to make sure he spent equal time with both.

Based on such dweebish behavior, it’s understandable people are ambiguous when faced with number-crunchers, particularly those calculating what might be considered incalculable – like a person’s morale, one’s decision-making ability, quality of service, or the return on investment of a training program.

But if truth be told,

street rugby

When the new National Stadium opens for business, the first event won’t be the Olympics. Instead, the 2019 Rugby World Cup will christen the new stadium.

And in 2016, at Rio, rugby will return to the Olympics after a 92-year absence. To promote rugby in Japan, the Nihonbashi Neighborhood Association and Chuo Rugby Football Union held its inaugural Nihonbashi Street Rugby event on Sunday, July 5, in the heart of Ginza. Also partnering were the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

It was cool and damp, but spirits were high in this very high-paced and energetic version of rugby. Take a look at this video!