From the little of the World Cup that I watched this year, one thing really stood out: the hilarious arm-folding. None of my friends really watch football, and yet this topic keeps being brought up. FIFA should seriously leave creativity to creative people, even if they don’t watch football. This arm folding thing is a disaster.
Disasters are funny though, and Slate has the funniest article I read in ages.
It turns out that’s surprisingly hard to ace on your first (and, presumably, only) try. Hundreds upon hundreds of millions of television viewers have watched players from all 32 teams botch this seemingly simple technique in the lineup presentations before each World Cup match. Nailing that turn and arm-fold is crucial, though: It’s the difference between looking like an ordinary, nice dude (like Japan’s Atsuto Uchida) and an unlucky guy caught posing for his mug shot (like the United States’ Kyle Beckerman).
So what can we learn from these athletes’ struggles to fold their arms and look to the left in a convincingly human manner? The primary issue is where your hands should go. Should they go on the outside of your biceps, like those of the Netherlands’ Daryl Janmaat? Or would you prefer, as does Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, to tuck them inside, thumbs up?
Would you like to adopt the pose of a hip-hop dancer, like Greece’s Ioannis Maniatis, or that of a perfectly upright Cossack dancer, like the Ivory Coast’s Salomon Kalou?
But whatever you do, don’t stuff your hands into your armpits like Colombian players Carlos Sánchez, Abel Aguilar, and Juan Cuadrado. Gross, guys!
But best of all is Cameroon’s Benoît Assou-Ekotto. Graceful, funny, relaxed, Ekotto’s arm-folding is a joyous invitation to come to his place and watch some Adventure Time. Assou-Ekotto wins the World Cup of Arm-Folding.
Read the whole hilarious article on Slate.
It turns out I have another amazing reason other than Woodstock to travel back to 1969… to see Niagra Falls without any water.
Seriously. Imagine that in 1969, some engineers turned off Niagara Falls. They did it to clean up the area and to check for structural integrity, basically tuning this:
Environmental design blog Mammoth explains the context:
For six months in the winter and fall of 1969, Niagara’s American Falls were “de-watered”, as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls’ rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion. During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale was drip-irrigated, like some mineral garden in a tender establishment period, by long pipes stretched across the gap, to maintain a sufficient and stabilizing level of moisture. For a portion of that period, while workers cleaned the former river-bottom of unwanted mosses and drilled test-cores in search of instabilities, a temporary walkway was installed a mere twenty feet from the edge of the dry falls, and tourists were able to explore this otherwise inaccessible and hostile landscape.
Read all story on io9
Isaac Asimov was born in Russia to an Orthodox Jewish family in 1920.
In his autobiography, he says: “When Israel was founded in 1948 and all my Jewish friends were jubilant, I was the skeleton at the feast. I said, “We are building ourselves a ghetto. We will be surrounded by tens of millions of Muslims who will never forgive, never forget and never go away. I was laughed at, but I was right. I can’t help but feel that the Jews didn’t really have the right to appropriate a territory only because 2000 years ago, people they consider their ancestors, were living there. History moves on and you can’t really turn it back. … But don’t Jews deserve a homeland? Actually, I feel that no human group deserves a “homeland” in the usual sense of the word…. I am not a Zionist, then, because I don’t believe in nations, and Zionism merely sets up one more nation to trouble the world.”
Asimov, Isaac (1994). I, Asimov: A Memoir. New York: Doubleday. p. 380.
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.
Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.
But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many–perhaps most–of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven–or hell.
How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.
Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; ‘Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?’
― Qyote from Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
By someone called Ana Locking, whoever she is.