March 11, 2014
Aaron Hunt, football, honesty, penalty, soccer, winning
Werder Bremen captain Aaron Hunt denied his own team a penalty against German rivals Nuremberg – by admitting to the referee that he had not been fouled.
Hunt tumbled under a challenge from home defender Javier Pinola as Werder led 2-0 in Saturday’s Bundesliga clash.
Referee Manuel Graefe pointed to the spot before the midfielder asked him to reverse the 75th-minute decision.
“Out of instinct, I wanted to provoke the penalty, but that was wrong,” Hunt, 27, told German media afterwards.
Graefe awarded a drop-ball instead before 11th-placed Werder, who are now eight points above the relegation zone, saw out the 2-0 win.
“I struggled with myself a bit (to say something), but we don’t want to win any games like that, even if we are in a relegation battle,” added Germany international Hunt, who has an English mother.
His actions also drew praise from Argentine left-back Pinola. “I take my hat off to him,” he said.
March 8, 2014
Grand Master, Knights Templar, Mary Magdalene, Pope, religion, Rotary, secrets
Pssst. Wanna know a secret?
The Vatican’s recent decision to release documents on the persecution of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century has piqued interest in the mysterious order. But what are the latter-day Templars up to?
This is a story. In the Middle Ages there was a secretive organisation called the Knights Templar. They were disbanded with many killed on the orders of the Pope because they knew the secret that Jesus had had a child with Mary Magdalene. Despite the killing of the order’s members, societies carry on its legacy of hidden knowledge today.
There’s a problem with this version of events, part-inspired by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and other earlier authors.
There are lots of organisations today that bear the Templar name, but for the most part they are in the business of charitable works inspired by the original order. Secret documents about Mary Magdalene are not the order of the day.
The original Templars were founded in the 12th Century to guard pilgrims on their way along the dangerous roads that led to Jerusalem. Its members were effectively armed monk-like knights who were granted certain legal privileges and whose status was backed by the church. They were reputed to be the possessors of great wealth and power.
1099: Jerusalem captured by Crusaders
1118: Order formed
1129: Endorsed by church
1307: Members arrested in France
1312: Pope dissolves order
1314: Last Grand Master burned at stake
But the latter-day Templars are rather like a version of the Rotary Club, with a vague religious tinge, author and broadcaster on religious history Martin Palmer says.
“It’s a sort of version of the Rotarians with long cloaks and swords.” The overall effect is “clubby with a slight mystical element”.
Rather disappointing, really. I like Dan Brown’s version better…
March 7, 2014
equations, lasso, math, Physics, rope spinning, trick roping
“Cowboy Craig” Ingram’s tricks in super-slow motion (Video courtesy of PT Brun)
A maths equation for a spinning lasso stunt performed by cowboys and cowgirls has been unravelled.
By studying trick roping as a science, a French physicist has taught himself to lasso like a rodeo veteran.
Anyone can teach themselves the famous “flat loop” by following some basic formulae, says Dr Pierre-Thomas Brun, of EPFL in Switzerland.
He showed off his “cowboy physics” skills at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver
Flamboyant moves include the Merry-Go-Round, the Wedding Ring, and the Texas Skip – considered the most difficult.
But while these loops spellbind our imagination, they also harbour useful mathematical secrets.
“Elastic threads are everywhere in our daily lives – from hair and textile yarns to DNA and undersea broadband cables. Even the honey you pour on your toast,” said Dr Brun who worked on the research with his colleagues, Dr Basile Audoly and Dr Neil Ribe.
“All of these threads twist and coil according to the same equations as the cowboy’s lasso.”
Studying fancy tricks like “spoke-jumping” and the “Kansas Tornado” could actually help us unravel coiling problems which plague industries like yarn spinning.
Trick roping has evolved from a straightforward cattle-catching tool into a performance art form, seen in western movies and at Mexican charreadas – competitions featuring traditional horsemen (charros).
It was made famous by vaudeville cowboy Will Rogers in the 1920s and 1930s.
March 6, 2014
de-extinction, extinct animals, mammoths
Woolley Mammoth became extinct about 4,000 years ago. Credit Stephen Wilkes for The New York Times; Woolly Mammoth, Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia
Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.
Read about de-extinction
March 3, 2014
Australia, crocodiles, python
Tiffany Corlis: “The snake certainly knew what it was doing”
A snake has won a lengthy battle with a crocodile in northern Queensland, wrestling it, constricting it and then finally eating it.
The incident at Lake Moondarra, near Mount Isa, was captured on camera by local residents on Sunday.
The 10-ft snake, thought to be a python, coiled itself around the crocodile and the two struggled in the water.
The snake later brought the dead crocodile onto land and ate it.
Read & see more