Tag Archives | Sports

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...
Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading

Extreme Fans Would Give Up A Body Part For Their Team To Win The World Cup

world_cup_2010_logoA survey reveals that some soccer fans are so eager to see their national team win at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa that they’d give up a body part to make it happen. I really want England to win, but I’m not sure I’d go that far … would you? Reported by Reuters:

Fifty-one percent of respondents to the tongue-in-cheek survey of 20,000 people, who live in North America but hail from countries with teams in the June 11-July 11 World Cup, said they would starve themselves for a week if that would bring victory to their national squad.

More than 40 percent offered to give up dating for a year, while seven percent said they would gladly give up their job to see their country win the title.

A further four percent were willing to give away a body part.

The survey was conducted by U.S.-based international calling firm VIP Communications Inc (www.JoinVIP.com) ahead of the South African extravaganza featuring 32 nations.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Did Corruption Bring The World Cup To Africa?

FIFA, the soccer world's governing body, has been accused of various corrupt practices, as has its controversial president, Sepp Blatter, who engineered the selection of South Africa for the 2010 edition of the event, which takes place every four years, like the Olympics. Rumors of bribery amongst African nations swirled at the time of Blatter's election as FIFA president. The upcoming disinformation® documentary World Cup Soccer in Africa: Who Really Wins? also questions FIFA's motives and whether the event will really benefit Africa. Now William Watts asks some tough questions of FIFA, at Marketwatch:
It may carry a lower profile than the International Olympic Committee, another controversial, Swiss-based international sports body. And to many Americans, Fifa, which stands for Federation Internationale de Football Association, means nothing alongside the likes of the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. But the overseer of international soccer captained by Joseph "Sepp" Blatter has repeatedly shaken off allegations of corruption and regional in-fighting as well as a global recession to become arguably the most powerful sports organization on the planet. It's all down to the World Cup -- the quadrennial extravaganza that crowns the world's soccer champion and is rivaled only by the Olympics as the most watched sporting event around the globe. Blatter last month was able to brag that Fifa's annual 2009 revenues passed the $1 billion level for the first time in its history, leaving the organization with a $196 million surplus...
Continue Reading

South Africa Imports 42 Million Condoms For World Cup Soccer

world_cup_2010_logoPerhaps taking a cue from the emergency shipment of condoms sent to Vancouver after the Olympic village exhausted supplies, soccer’s World Cup in South Africa, coming up in June, is making sure that the AIDS-ravaged nation has ample supplies, as reported in the Guardian:

Britain is to give 42m condoms to South Africa in response to a request for an extra billion as part of an HIV prevention drive before the World Cup, the government will announce today.

The request for British help in stockpiling sufficient condoms for the expected influx of thousands of football supporters in three months’ time was made during President Jacob Zuma’s recent visit to the UK to meet the Queen.

“Obviously there’s a big focus on the World Cup coming up and a huge increase in the number of people coming into South Africa,” said the international development minister, Gareth Thomas, who will announce the £1m funding today at an emergency summit in London on HIV prevention and treatment.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Perfect Humans – Is It Really Wrong To Enhance Athletes?

Mark_mcgwire

Mark McGwire, St. Louis, 2001. Photo: Rick Dikeman (CC)

Now that the Olympics are over, science writer Quinn Norton asks if there’s contradictory rules when athletes technologically enhance their bodies. “A new injectable hormone will quickly become anathema, but seeking multiple LASIK eye surgeries to get better than 20/20 vision is a professional responsibility… Another instructive example is Tommy John surgery, an operation that replaces the ligament in the elbow that tends to suffer most in baseball pitchers. This surgery lets them pitch harder for longer, and despite being a major surgical modification, it isn’t viewed negatively.”

And here’s an even better example. “Injections of synthetic Erythropoietin to boost performance are a major no-no in sports. It’s considered blood doping. But athletes can produce EPO another way: by sleeping in a hypobaric chamber. This reduces oxygen and air pressure to what it would be somewhere 10,000-15,000 feet above sea level. The body responds by producing its own EPO — and lots of it — to get as much oxygen to the sleeping muscles as it can in the deprived environment.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Brains, Brawn and Spectacle – Superbowl Boycott

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe:
Though we definitely can act it, most Americans aren't stupid, even football proves that. It takes a decent amount of brainpower to remember statistics, history, game strategy and betting strategy. Unfortunately, it's so much misappropriated focus. We'll spend countless hours, dollars and energy on this one game, then we'll spend the same on March Madness, the World Series, the Stanley Cup and varried playoffs. In between, we'll throw an equal amount of time and talent into Hallmark holidays and celebrity awards shows.
Continue Reading

Super Bowl To Feature Pro-Life Ads

AFP reports that the Super Bowl on Sunday will include commercials from venomous conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family. The spots star Heisman Trophy-winning college quarterback Tim Tebow discussing the amorality of abortion. CBS is supposed to have a ban on advocacy commercials during the Super Bowl. The below ad, produced by the United Church of Christ, was previously rejected for its message of tolerance of gays...but in tough economic times, you take all the ad money you can get.
Continue Reading