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World Cup off to colourful start

first_img12 June 2010More than 84 000 people witnessed the dawn of a new chapter in South Africa’s history when the 2010 Fifa World Cup kicked off in true African style at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium on Friday.From as early as 09h00, excited Mexican and South African football supporters started making their way to the “football calabash” just outside Soweto in anticipation of what was to come.Despite the early morning cold, fans were in a festive mood as the Mexican “Matraca” (a wooden accessory that makes noise when rotated) met the South African vuvuzela in a test of noise.It wasn’t long, however, before these supporters got to see Africa’s most magnificent stadium when gates opened at 10h30.And following a magnificent opening ceremony which showcased the music and culture of Africa, fans were treated to an exciting opening encounter which ended 1-1 at full time.The atmosphere in the stadium matched that which has been seen on the streets of South African cities in the build-up to 11 June.Speaking Danny Jordaan, CEO of the Local Organising Committee, thanked South Africans and visitors to the country for their unbelievable support after the match.“We couldn’t have asked for more,” Jordaan said. “A capacity stadium, a host nation with a will to win, an incredible atmosphere and spectacular football. It is just fantastic that the first goal of Africa’s first World Cup went to South Africa, we really couldn’t have written a better script.”Before the first game of the tournament got going, South African president Jacob Zuma addressed the 84 490 strong crowd, conveying a message from former president Nelson Mandela, who tragically lost his great-granddaughter in a car accident on Thursday night.“Let me convey a message from Madiba, our icon, who wanted to come and greet you before the start of the match, but unfortunately his family was hit by a tragedy. He said: ‘The game must start, you must enjoy the game.’“We as a country, we are humbled by this opportunity,” Zuma said. “Africa is indeed happy. This is the African World Cup. The time for Africa has come, it has arrived, Ke Nako.”Zuma then officially opened the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Jordaan was not the only one who was impressed with the atmosphere inside Soccer City.Julio Mendez, who hails from Mexico City, said he was impressed by the number of Bafana Bafana supporters who had come out to support their team. “The stadium is very impressive and the atmosphere is perfect; it’s more yellow than we expected it to be!”Adina Neumann, also from Mexico City, said the din in Soccer City was nothing new to Mexican football supporters. “Everything is great, the people are very friendly and the game was very entertaining. The vuvuzelas are fine. You think Mexicans aren’t use to the noise? We are noisier!”Despite the draw, Bafana Bafana supporters were still happy.Johannesburg resident Nlandie Nel said: “It was an excellent day. The stadium is superb, and Bafana’s performance was very impessive.”Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committeelast_img read more

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Sarbanes-Oxley: Oxley admits problems with legislation

first_imgMichael Oxley, famous as co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley bill and now a former Republican congressman from Ohio, was in Paris recently for a dinner attended by accountants.  Oxley was asked if he had a chance to do it all over again whether a from-scratch Sarbanes-Oxley bill would look different from the one he helped create in 2005.  “Absolutely”, said Oxley.  After five years of retrospection, there is no doubt that if the bill were rewritten today, it would be much different.Sarbanes-Oxley legislation was enacted during a period of investor uncertainty.  The debacle at Enron which broke in 2001 may have been overlooked if it had been an isolated event.  But soon after Enron there was a string of accounting scandals that included WorldCom, Adelphia, Tyco and Global Crossing.  In the context of these scandals, investors questioned the oversite of US companies.Prior to SOX, bills for strengthening corporate auditing had been considered for some time, but they went nowhere.  After Enron, people’s attitudes changed dramatically.  The will was suddenly there to make radical changes so something like those kind of scandals couldn’t happen again. Bush also wanted to show that he was addressing the problem of corporate corruption.  Democrats tried to implicate Bush and his former relationship to Enron’s CEO Kenneth Lay.  Oxley also attributes the sacking of Arthur Anderson to Bush’s need to show the public that his administration was doing something.After SOX was enacted companies became very conservative in their accouting and accountants were the drivers behind corporate governance.  The tide is changing.  Corporations are again retaking control of corporate governance.Oxley has joined the law offices of Baker Hoestetler in Washington DC.  In his new role, he’ll be helping companies create strategies for compliance.last_img read more

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Free Ai Weiwei: Chinese Web Users Call For His Return

first_imgRelated Posts Last year when I spoke to Chinese resident and Internet expert, Kaiser Kuo, he noted that the biggest difference between Weibo and Twitter is that the former is actively censored by the Chinese government. There is word filtering and Sina staff monitor the content.Which brings us back to the sad news of Ai Weiwei being detained by authorities in China. It isn’t just people in the West making noise about it, as Chinese authorities perhaps would have us believe. As noted above, users of Sina Weibo are finding creative ways around censorship to make their feelings known.Free Ai WeiweiI was honored to meet Ai Weiwei in New York City last March, at an event that included Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he came across as a very warm-hearted and curious person. He wanted to know all about what I do, even though he’s achieved much more than I have. Then during the discussion on stage, it became clear that he’s both very brave and always keen to challenge the status quo. He probes for the truth in whatever he says or does. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… There’s increasing concern in China and worldwide about the detention of leading Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. Reports first surfaced on Sunday U.S. that Weiwei had been detained by China authorities, while at the Beijing Airport on his way to Hong Kong. Weiwei is a prolific Twitter user, but his account hasn’t been updated since Sunday (it’s also translated into english). CNN reported today that China’s ruling Communist party “unleashed a blistering attack” on both Weiwei and the West for criticizing the apparent arrest. Many of China’s own citizens are voicing their concern on China’s leading Twitter-like service, Sina Weibo. To do this, users must creatively route around active censorship on Weibo.British newspaper The Guardian wrote today:On the Sina microblog, China’s domestic equivalent of Twitter, censors deleted many messages about Ai, and a search for his name produced a warning that results were not shown due to local regulations. But internet users fought back with typical ingenuity. Several used the words “ai weilai” or “love the future” – which looks and sounds similar to his name – to call for his return. One wrote: “I really don’t dare believe that in this society, even love for the future can disappear.”Western readers probably aren’t familiar with microblogging in China, so here’s some background about Weibo and the current state of the market. While Twitter is blocked in China, there are a number of popular microblogging services among Chinese Internet users. About a year ago I wrote here on ReadWriteWeb that Weibo, owned by the company Sina, was the most popular of these Twitter-like sites. We here at ReadWriteWeb join Sina Weibo users in wishing for the safe return of Ai Weiwei to his home. You can follow Weiwei’s Facebook Page to monitor news and express your own feelings about his detention. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#art#international#NYT#Real World#web 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout richard macmanus Asian tech analysis blog Penn Olson reported this week that Sina is in the process of spinning off Weibo as a separate entity, possibly leading to a future IPO. Sina Weibo has grown from 50 million users in October to nearly 100 million today. It has 56.5% of the market share in microblogging services, according to iResearch. That’s well ahead of the second most popular service, Tencent’s Fanfou. The difference between Sina and Tencent becomes much more pronounced when looking at browsing time: iResearch puts Sina at 86.6% share. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

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How Mind-Controlled Games Work – And Why It’s Way, Way Bigger Than That

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#CES 2013#games#science The Muse booth was never short on fascinated onlookers, and I was happy to get my chance. Once inside, I was rigged up with a Muse headband, which wrapped comfortably around my forehead and tucked behind my ears. It required a bit of fidgeting, the Muse didn’t like my hair getting in the way of its conductance or my freakishly small ears, but then we were off and running. Seated in a low-slung chair, I was handed an iPhone running the headset’s companion app and instructed to watch the TV screen in front of me.Moving The Heavens And The EarthIn the first exercise, a sun and a moon appeared on opposite sides of the screen. My job was to merge them. And with no controller to speak of, that meant getting my brain to cooperate – easier said than done. The faster I could concentrate and arrive at an attentive, beta wave-rich state, the faster the sun and moon would overlap. I tried a few quick tricks to rein in my thoughts with little luck, like repeating a line from a poem I’d just read in my head over and over. The sun and moon didn’t budge, so I started counting every time one of the animated wavy lines between the two orbs hit a precise spot on the screen. The heavens moved, literally – seconds later, the sun and moon had overlapped into a virtual eclipse. In another game, my brainwaves powered an auditory feedback system. When I was chilled out, the beat slowed to a pleasant, peaceful set of sounds. If I let my attention wander – to the cameraman pointing his lens at me from just outside the dome, for instance – a thudding drumbeat galloped into my ears. This exercise encouraged breath control, a major focus in the mindfulness and meditation practices that clearly influenced the Muse’s creators.Muse prototype on displayIt’s Not A Game – It’s Data VisualizationThese tasks are games, in a way, but more so they’re exercises. Rather than controlling the sun and moon or the drum beat with your thoughts, you’re actually controlling your thoughts themselves, which are in turn interpreted with the Muse’s sensory flourishes. The game is just a clever way to show you what your brain’s alpha and beta waves are up to, but it’s a fascinating representation of realtime bio-feedback – all streaming right out of your cortex over bluetooth. The most striking thing about wearing the Muse is watching as your subjective, internal mental experience – the kind of thing you just feel in the basement of your brain – as it’s interpreted and articulated visually. Having this kind of quantified feedback makes you truly feel like the master of your own mind – and that was just from my 20 minutes with the headset on.The Future Of The FutureSo what’s the point? Well, it isn’t just to move the sun and moon together. A device like the Muse is all about personal feedback and tracking. Attention, a traditionally hard-to-pin-down construct in the neuroscience community, is also infamously tough for most of us to wrestle into submission. Our minds stray and suddenly we’ve wasted 10 minutes, eyes glazed over, clicking Like on Facebook. The vast power of our own minds is leaking out through these kind of attentional holes that we can’t quite plug or quantify. And in the digital era, humans might be even worse at actually relaxing than we are at paying full attention to things – and we’re already pretty bad at that. Pathological multitaskers, we can hardly sit still and direct our mind toward the kind of cognitive breaks that research shows not only boost productivity, but increase crucial skills like memory retention.Consumer-oriented, EEG-powered monitors like the Muse aren’t just about gimmicky (but cool) tricks like flying helicopters with our thoughts. Think of the applications. Therapists and mental health practitioners can affordably measure their patients’ progress on quantifiable goals. Depression and anxiety, today’s most pervasive mental disorders, are scientifically proven to yield to treatment that focuses on breaking bad cognitive habits, so-called negative “automatic thoughts.”  And consumer devices have some distinct advantages, even for the medical community. “One thing is portability,” says Erica Dixon, member of American University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience lab. “Something that’s really cool about these things is that if you can get a laptop, a jump drive and a headband, you can take it anywhere. Think about Doctors Without Borders – if they can even do half of what a traditional medical device could do, that’s still really amazing.” In the workplace, imagine working in efficient bursts when you know your brain is focused rather than spreading your attention in a thin layer over a whole eight-hour shift. And that’s just the start. Later this year, when developers get their hands on the Muse’s open development kit and the little wonder headband becomes commercially available, we hope to see all sorts of cool apps and hacks spring up. Updating Your Brain’s FirmwareAccording to Apollo, the idea is that a device like the Muse will actually train us to make our brains more efficient when we’re not wearing the device – by literally reprogramming the brain. “We’re using the most scientifically validated brain training protocols. We’ve run in-house studies – in the last one, within eight weeks we had people’s brains change in structure and function. They’re seeing the world through different eyes.” When the brain is the limit, the possibilities are truly endless. Welcome to the data of you – this is your quantified self.Just put on your headband and look straight ahead. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market While major hardware makers are busy squabbling over “4K” vs “Ultra HD”, the future is quietly creeping in around the edges. A future with implications in the real world – big ones. Really big ones. Think using crowd-sourced mind control to change the color of Niagara Falls and the CN Tower big. Crowd-funded and completely hackable – by definition the exact opposite of gadgets that today’s bloated, out-of-touch companies crank out – projects like the Muse headband are about to crash into technology as we know it with meteoric force.Meet The Muse – And Your Brain WavesMost people laud the Muse, crafted by InteraXon, as a “mind-controlled” game. But that sells it short – and then some. The device is a stylish, sturdy headband that measures the patterns of electrical activity in the brain – electrical signals are divided into “bands” based on their frequency.  “This Muse headband has four clinical-grade EEG sensors,” says Michael Apollo, InteraXon’s Director of Applied Mind Science. “What they do is measure the electrical signal and the signature of your brain. With that we know that through interpreting those signals, we can determine certain states that you’re in. We can determine when you’re in a focused, attentive state – or when you’re not. Or when you’re in an actively engaged mind, for example analyzing or maybe overanalyzing… and also looking at it at your level of relaxation too.”Traditional EEG reading next to InteraXon’s data visualizationThe Muse measures two of the better-understood frequency tiers: alpha waves (8–12 Hz), associated with relaxation and restfulness, and beta waves (12–30 Hz), which correlate with alert or attentive mental states. “This sensor [monitors] the pre-frontal cortex and your occipital region,” says Apollo. According to InteraXon, “brains of people in relaxed states create gentle, slow-moving alpha waves, while those engaged in intense concentration generate quick, jagged beta waves.” The Muse and devices like it might seem like they’ve traveled here from the future, but EEG has actually been around as a scientific tool for studying brain activity in humans and animals for almost 100 years. Though simple, it remains clinically relevant for diagnosis of conditions like epilepsy and sleep disorders. But InteraXon wants to empower people to take the reins of these electrical peaks and troughs. In doing so, they can gently steer their brains through these quantifiable mental states, which for most are solely a subjective, qualitative experience – a feeling we have about ourselves.Mind-On With Mind ControlI happened across InteraXon’s booth when its inflated dome full of blissed-out looking show-goers caught my eye. A few minutes into chatting up Apollo, it was evident that the Muse is anything but pseudoscience. The Muse, available widely for consumers in mid-2013 for $175, is the marriage of electrical sensors in a wearable package with some clever data visualizations – the “game” – cooked up by InteraXon’s excitable interdisciplinary team. The games and exercises will be packaged into the Muse’s companion app, which was responsive and fun, in my time with the prototype. The app will track all of the data the Muse collects and beam it to the cloud, making these patterns trackable over time. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts taylor hatmaker Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

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IPL 2011: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Deccan Chargers- KKR win by 9 runs

first_imgJacques Kallis score a fine 53 and took four catches as Kolkata beat Hyderabad by nine runs during their Indian Premier League match at the Eden Gardens on Monday. Score | PhotosThe target (164) proved to be a daunting one for the visitors as Kolkata bowlers got on with the act of counting heads early. It was young Iqbal Abdulla, who drew first blood in the form of Ishank Jaggi’s wicket. The 21-year old left arm spinner’s turner uprooted his his off stump on 10/1.The other opener Shikhar Dhawan too did not stay at the crease for long and got run out in the 4th over off a direct hit from Eoin Morgan.Captain Sangakkara and Bharat Chipili then tried to bring Hyderabad back on track after early setback. But their effort came a cropper when Rajat Bhatia got the better of Sangakkara on the last ball of the 9th over to reduce Hyderabad to 53/3.New man JP Duminy too did not stay in the middle for long and was hurried back into the dug out by Abdulla with Jacques Kallis performing the final honours at deep mid-wikcet. And the visitors were down to 81/4 in 12.2 overs.Then Bhatia came around to remove Bharat Chipili on 48 to reduce Hyderabad to 88/5 in 14 overs. Aussie Daniel Christian fell trying to up the run rate in the 17th over. He hit Abdulla for a six and then went for another one but this time failed to clear Ryan ten Doeschate in the deep. He fell for 25 and Hyderabad fell to 124/6.advertisementThe fist ball of the next over saw D Ravi Teja walk back and the scoreboard read 127/7. Here on it was easy for the Kolkata bowlers who went for the kill even as the visitors tried hard to eke out runs at death. But, they fell short of the target by 10 runs and ended up with 154/8 on board.Kolkata inningsEarlier, Kolkata opener Jacques Kallis scored a fine 53 as Kolkata posted 163/4 in 20 overs against Hyderabad.Kallis and Manvinder Bisla got off to a flyer scoring in boundaires after their skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and decided to bat. The duo batted on till the 8th over putting on 51 on board before the first ball of the ninth over saw leggi Amit Mishra trap Bisla leg before on 19.Then in the 13th over Jacques Kallis fell to his South African team-mate JP Duminy on 53. A short ball off Duminy saw Kallis attempt a pull that failed to clear the boundary and instead was pouched by Shikhar Dhawan just ahead of the ropes. Kolkata were 90/2 at the stage.Soon captain Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary went on charge keeping the opposition fielder on an alert. Tiwary was more brutal dealing in boundaries. And he picked Duminy for his assault hitting two massive sixes off him in the 15th over.Hyderabad were trying hard to break Gambhir and Tiwary’s stand. And it was Mishra, who got the desired result when Gambhir trying to go for a big hit, missed the ball and it crashed into his stumps. He fell on 29 and Kolkata were 133/3 in 16.5 overs. Finally Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan 30 runs for the fourth wicket helping their team to a commanding 163/4 in 20 overs. Yusuf Pathan fell on the last ball of the innings to Dale Steyn.last_img read more

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World T20 Ind vs Eng: Harbhajan spins a win on return

first_imgPerhaps after leading India to one of their most comprehensive T20 wins ever, MS Dhoni will shelve his four-bowler theory for good. As it was, his experimental five-man attack produced the goods to steamroll England by a whopping 90 runs in the final Group A encounter at the R Premadasa Stadium here.For Harbhajan Singh, representing Indian after 13 months in the wilderness, it was a dream comeback. He made use of his favourite weapon – bounce – to get the clueless English batsmen into all sorts of tangles and finish with astounding figures of four for 12. The other returning spinner, Piyush Chawla, also got the ball to spit off the surface and ended up with two for 13 as the batsmen opted for premeditated shots. Irfan Pathan, too, bowled brilliantly with the new ball to scalp two as England were shot out for 80 – their lowestever T20 score – in reply to India’s 170 for four. Only Craig Kieswetter (35) made an impression with some clean hitting against the pace of Lakshmipathy Balaji and Ashoke Dinda, cracking four boundaries and two sixes.Earlier, a sterling unbeaten half-century from Rohit Sharma (55) and important contributions from Gautam Gambhir (45) and Virat Kohli (40) had powered India to what looked like a competitive total. England skipper Stuart Broad elected to bowl and Dhoni kept his word on experimenting with the line-up. Injured Virender Sehwag, the out-of-sorts Zaheer Khan and the in-form Ravichandran Ashwin, were replaced by Dinda, Harbhajan and Chawla. The India skipper then sent Pathan to open with Gambhir, but the Baroda left-hander fell early to Steven Finn for eight. Virat Kohli continued his golden run at No.3 with a couple of delectable shots square of the wicket off Finn and Broad, before dancing down the track to pacer Tim Bresnan and slapping it over extra cover for four.But the shot of the day was Kohli’s wristy on-drive off Broad in the eighth over, which sped to the long-on boundary quite like the signature stroke of a certain SR Tendulkar. Another one was an imperious front-foot pull off Bresnan that helped take India to 80 for one in 10 overs. Kohli and Gambhir’s 57-run stand was brought to an end by the excellent Graeme Swann, the only English bowler to concede less than eight an over. He foxed Kohli in flight, and the right-hander could only chip it down deep mid-wicket’s throat.That gave way to a period of quiet rebuilding by Gambhir and Rohit, before the left-hander became Finn’s second victim in an attempt to accelerate the scoring. But Rohit ensured that the platform wasn’t wasted.After pacing his innings well early on, the Mumbai batsman got India’s finishing kick going by taking on a steepling Stuart Broad bouncer and guiding it over the ‘keeper to the boundary. He pulled the very next ball for another boundary. It’s not often that Dhoni scores just nine in a partnership of 47, but Rohit, who took a bulk of the strike, helped India score 51 in the last four overs.advertisementlast_img read more

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