Tag Archives | Sports

The World Cup Of Robot Soccer

In addition to the World Cup, this summer featured RoboCup — an international tournament in which teams of soccer-playing robots square off. The level of play is low, and the game is often unsettling to watch, as when a fallen robot player struggles fruitlessly to right itself, limbs flailing. The hope, however, is that by 2050, a robot team skilled enough to compete against humans will be developed.

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Was California’s Bobblehead Election Rigged?

BobbleheadsMoeZilla writes:

Fans waited in line for two hours to claim a California baseball stadium’s 1,250 bobblehead dolls representing the two candidates vying to replace Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. But “when the wacky give-away was concluded, the stadium announced its even wackier results — and reading the comments at a Sacramento newspaper site, you’d have to conclude that the election was rigged.”

After many snafus, candidate Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, won the “bobblehead election” at a California baseball stadium. But ironically, some of her dolls are now being sold on eBay! “The last time California elected a new governor was in 2004, after a very wild recall election,” notes this article. “Movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger defeated 150 other candidates, including Gary Coleman and porn star Mary Carey.

“Let’s hope this November’s election goes more smoothly than the battle of the bobbleheads.”… Read the rest

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Are North Korea’s “World Cup Fans” Hired Chinese Actors?

korea-fans415Many of the strangest aspects of this year’s World Cup relate to team North Korea. The latest intrigue: were the throngs of “North Korean soccer fans” filling stands in the match against Brazil actually Chinese actors? The London Evening Standard writes:

Perhaps it was their identical red outfits or how their applause was directed by a “conductor” that suggested the North Koreans in the Ellis Park stadium in South Africa were no ordinary fans. FIFA officials and millions of television viewers were surprised when rows of red-clad “North Koreans” took their seats, believing the harsh regime had allowed its citizens freedom to travel.

Although they sang their national anthem loudly, the group tended only to cheer when directed by a man who stood before them like an orchestra’s conductor.

Meanwhile, another party of fans confirmed rumors they were Chinese, having obtained tickets through a Chinese sports PR agency, authorized to sell part of the North Korean allocation of 1,400 seats.

Read the rest

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Why the Far Right Hates Soccer

US_Soccer_logoI already love soccer, but the mere fact that the likes of Glenn Beck feel threatened by its mainstream popularity in the United States makes me want to love the beautiful game even more! Dave Zirin writes for The Nation/NPR:

Every World Cup, it arrives like clockwork. As sure as the ultimate soccer spectacle brings guaranteed adrenaline and agony to fans across the United States, it also drives the right-wing noise machine utterly insane.

“It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us,” yipped the Prom King of new right, Glenn Beck. “It doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run, we don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.”

Beck’s wingnut godfather, G. Gordon Liddy also said on his radio program,

‘Whatever happened to American exceptionalism?

Read the rest

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Michael Jordan’s Hitler ‘Stache Raising A Fuhrer (Video)

Jordan 'StacheDavid Griner writes on AdFreak:

That new Michael Jordan campaign for Hanes, really does have people buzzing, though it’s not Jordan’s “lie-flat collar” that they’re fixated on. Viewers instead seem to be stupefied by his attempt to bring back the “Hitler mustache,” which has pretty soundly been out of fashion since, you know, Hitler.

Technically called a “toothbrush mustache,” this facial styling was actually quite popular in the 1920s, and still makes the occasional appearance on the faces of foul-tempered tyrants like Robert Mugabe and J. Jonah Jameson. Maybe Jordan feels he simply transcends the clear cultural need to avoid looking like history’s most vile psychopath. Maybe he’s on a quest to reclaim a symbolic styling of the industrial working class, and a mediocre underwear ad seemed like the right forum.

Or maybe the copywriters simply loved the irony of mocking some poor guy’s “bacon neck” while the star of the ad blatantly sports a damn Hitler ‘stache.

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World Cup Soccer In Africa: Who Really Wins?

In June 2010 the world’s most popular sporting event – soccer’s FIFA World Cup – will come to Africa for the first time. With less than two weeks remaining before the first match of the month-long tournament, one can practically hear the soon to be famous vuvuzelas – ubiquitous and deafening plastic horns that South Africans love to blow during the games – all the way around the world, such is the gathering media hype.

There is no doubting the overwhelming sense of excitement at large in South Africa. However, if one digs a little deeper, there are also those who question the vast sums being spent by the government of what is still a nation with millions of its citizens living in poverty.

With that in mind, in 2008 I began making the documentary film World Cup Soccer In Africa: Who Really Wins? to investigate what South Africans, across the social spectrum, believed the staging of the FIFA World Cup would mean for them personally, and for the country as a whole. The objective was to assemble a record of hopes and expectations, at that time in the country’s history – something to look back upon after the tournament was over, and in the context of actual experience (as explored in interviews to be conducted subsequently in late 2010).

There was, without exception, interest in the project expressed by everyone who was approached for an interview. The ultimate list of interviewees was essentially determined by logistics – whether they were present in a particular city on the same day that I was. For example, as luck had it, Archbishop Tutu…

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Can Massive Crowd-Sourcing Predict The Future?

The crowdsourcing process in eight steps. Image: Daren C. Brabham (CC)

The crowdsourcing process in eight steps. Image: Daren C. Brabham (CC)

Alex Lightman was the CTO for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization. Now he compares the NASA Mission Control room to Caesars Palace Race and Sports Book, and asks whether we can harness the multi-billion dollar sports betting community to predict elections, markets, wars and weather?

A new company is trying to tap millions of users for a massive “crowd-sourced” prediction site inspired by both open source software and sports gambling. “If predictive entertainment ends up with the same ‘S-curve’ growth as the Internet itself, humanity could develop a sort of social superorganism superpower of precognition…” Using complexity to solve complexity, the site allows recorded, ranked predictions to be made millions of times an hour. “The open source model allows for parallel input of multiple approaches, agendas, knowledge banks, and priorities with far more flexibility and speed than traditionally closed or centralized models…”

But the implications are far-reaching.… Read the rest

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Do Tasers Hurt?

Seems like a stupid question right? But remember the old saying, ‘there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers…’ From Discovery News:

Since the advent of our nation’s pastime, there has been a longstanding tradition of the fan who thinks it will be just HILARIOUS to jump onto a baseball diamond and get his or her 15 minutes of fame before getting tackled by security guards.

On Monday, 17-year-old Steve Consalvi decided to do just that during a Philadelphia Phillies game.

Except this time, the overzealous fan who told his dad he was looking for a “once in a lifetime experience” got a little more than he bargained for: he got Tasered. It’s the first time a Taser has been used to stop a spectator who’s running on the field.

The kid’s OK, and now the Phillies and Philadelphia police are investigating whether the officer’s use of the Taser was appropriate…

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