ARCATA >> Every so often, Humboldt State left guard Josh Hanson will indulge his 600-plus Twitter followers with a short video that shows off his skills on the electric guitar.Call it a bit of a break from the norm, if you will. It’s not like he can continue to create running lanes for Ja’Quan Gardner or protect Robert Webber all the time.Guitar skills, run blocking skills or pass protection skills, Hanson, a second-team all-conference pick at left guard in 2015, has fully entrenched himself …
African soccer is unique Abedi Pele has said, talent is as important as juju when it comes to winning. (Image: Jake Brown). Sulaiman PhilipFootball is a game controlled by rules: 17 immutable laws that govern everything from the size of the goals to the equipment that can be used. Despite these edicts, the game remains one of exciting chaos barely contained within them.Some of this anarchy is down to the superstitions competitors bring to the game. Superstition, of course, is not restricted to European players who put on their shorts last; we Africans just do it better, with more colour, spirit and panache. Africa is different.The African Cup of Nations will be upon us soon; 16 nations will hold their breaths, pray to ancestors and pay their chosen marabout – or juju man – to bestow their strongest magic on their heroes. Charms, amulets, spells and even animals buried in the vicinity of a stadium have all been used by African teams to bring them success on the field.Rituals on show during the tournament, and in football leagues the breadth of Africa, are based in Africans’ deeply held religious beliefs. Reverend Emmanuel-Kenneth Goode, official chaplain of Ghanaian club Asante Kotoko, doesn’t believe in juju but he does accept that belief in something enhances a team’s luck. “Almost everything an African does he wants to believe in something. So they want to believe that some deity or power can help them to win matches,” he told journalist Kent Mensah of Goal.National teams visit men like Gbass of Dabu, a medicine man who helped Ivory Coast win their one and only continental title. A dispute over an unpaid bill for his services resulted in him putting a curse on the Elephants; they would never win another title until things were made right.Gbass had been hired by Michel Zoah, then the country’s minister of sport, who earnestly claimed the subsequent failures were down to one simple fact: the juju men that followed Gbass did not possess magic as strong. Performance enhancingMohammed, a Cameroonian diviner, claims that he has been consulted by players and team managers searching for an edge. He explained to the BBC: “European players take drugs to improve their performance. We Africans do not have access to drugs. We’ve got a third eye and traditional concoctions that scientific tests cannot detect.” “Almost everything an African does he wants to believe in something. So they want to believe that some deity or power can help them to win matches,” says Reverend Emmanuel-Kenneth Goode (Image: JBDodane).Manyanga – or palm oil – is the most common ingredient of most of these concoctions. They are rubbed into self-inflicted cuts; players may be given kola nuts to eat or made to jump over a bonfire before a game. They have been known to refuse to shake hands with opponents out of fear that their rivals will transfer their own black magic.Some teams have gone to even more extreme lengths to win the esteem of the spirits. A team from Zimbabwe, for example, lost a player after they were ordered to jump into a crocodile-infested river as part of a cleansing ritual.In an effort to harness the spirits of the departed, some club teams have been known to camp out in graveyards before a big game. They do so with the words of their juju ringing in their ears – any bump in the night is just the departed filling their boots with otherworldly power. Expertise takes a back seatGhanaian and African football legend Abedi Ayew Pele believes that to an extent, the practice of juju has held African football back. Pele told website Goal.com that juju permeated the beautiful game in Africa to such an extent that technical expertise, discipline and tactics had been subjugated.“I think we must acknowledge that juju is part of the African tradition, and we shouldn’t forget our tradition. I don’t think any such thing like juju works in football, because it has been proved worldwide that we Africans have more juju than any other people, but we cannot win the World Cup,” he said.Whether out of habit or routine, football is rife with superstitions players believe will give them the upper hand every time. World Cup-winning French captain Laurent Blanc believed his country’s 1998 success was down to the kiss he planted on the bald head of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez before the start of every game. Rituals – from not cutting you hair until you score to wearing the same underpants for an entire winning season – have been adopted by players in Europe.Argentinean goalkeeping legend, and male model, Sergio Goycochea earned fame as a master penalty stopper. His secret was his discreet habit of emptying his bladder before facing the dead ball. He told his biographer: “It was my lucky charm and I went before every shoot out. I was very subtle; nobody complained.”Barry Fry, one time coach of English club Birmingham City, believed the club’s lack of on-field success had something to do with the evil spirits inhabiting the club’s St Andrews home. To ward off the evil he urinated at all four corners of the ground. But his juju was not strong enough to fight the curse, apparently, and he lost his job. Stress relieverIn elite competition the margin between victory and defeat is so slim that every avenue to build confidence and self-belief matters. So if juju or rituals build that confidence, that is all that matters, or so Western sports psychologists will tell you. Studies by European universities have shown the positive effect of superstition on performance, especially in high-pressure events. Those studies have found that magical rituals or repetitive behaviour help to focus the mind and relieve the stress of competition.Sports psychologists – ask some people and they will tell you that psychology is voodoo science – warn, though, that reliance on magic or ritual is fleetingly shimmery. Psychologists like Brad Busch, who works with footballers in the English Premier League, counsel their clients to concentrate on the proven. “The brain craves control and if it does not have a sense of certainty then superstitions might help to introduce a better sense of control. This is invariably a placebo effect but the feeling can be a powerful one.”In the end, no matter the magic drizzled over their performance, one nation will praise their juju man and 15 others will be throwing out their concoctions come 8 February.
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How You Make MoneyOf course what everyone wants to know is: how do you make money on Spiffbox? Basically, all that you need to do to start earning is participate. To earn points, users should create a profile, communicate with other members, respond to messages, and optionally complete surveys or take merchant offers. With each action, more points are earned and when you reach a certain threshold (min. 2,000 points/$20), Spiffbox puts a check in the mail. You may be surprised to learn that reaching that payout number is not as hard as it may sound. Accepting a chat invite earns you 28 points, accepting a friend request is 10 points, and so on. After spending some time really engaging on the site, you could easily start earning cash. While we have to give Spiffbox credit for thinking outside the box on this one, the idea of paying you to socialize has us feeling a little sour. After all, remember how you used to rack up the “friends” on MySpace only to be left with a large network of random people you didn’t know (or care to)? There wasn’t actually any value in that. And besides, if everyone on the site is only participating to make money, socializing becomes more like a job than a fun activity. Can’t you just see the chats now? Them: Hi! Want to chat? I’m trying to earn points. You: OK, me too. Them: So how long do we have to do this to get credit? You: I don’t know, I think this is good. Them: Great, thanks. Let’s chat again later for more points! You: Sounds good! Cya!Oh, the horror. Frankly, most of us have better things to do with our time than trying to earn points for small payouts of cash. What Spiffbox needs to remember is that all the popular social networks caught on – without bribes, mind you – because they were offering something unique and interesting. Creating yet another social network without any truly new concepts behind it (except for the payola) isn’t going to be enough in the long run to keep people involved. However, that’s just our opinion. Others feel differently. For example, CNET says that “once the site irons some of its kinks out and becomes a little more user friendly, then we could start to see some real widespread adoption” and “there could be a real future in this space.” What do you think? Does Spiffbox have a shot at becoming the next big thing? Or is bribery a bad choice? Let us know in the comments. Update: We were informed by the company that the example chat in this post isn’t exactly how Spiffbox works. It makes it look like both parties are earning money when really only one party would. The initiator of a message pays points and the receiver gets points, but only if they respond. Spiffbox itself doesn’t pay you, members pay each other. However, we stand by our opinion that using financial incentives is not going to be a successful model for growing a social network, regardless of where the money originates. Related Posts Tags:#Product Reviews#social networks#Social Web#web Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… sarah perez The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos When building a new Web 2.0 site, especially a new social network, there’s always one hurdle that needs to be overcome – establishing a large enough userbase to make it both attractive to newcomers and worth using once you arrive. A new site launching today, Spiffbox, thinks they have figured out how to workaround this issue – they’re paying users to participate. Yes, when Spiffbox says they’re the new social network where “it pays to be social,” they’re not kidding. Every action you take on the site including responding to emails, chats, friend invites and sharing photos, will earn you points which can then be redeemed for cold, hard cash. A Social Network to Complement the OthersInstead of trying to establish a new userbase from scratch, Spiffbox integrates with the social networks Facebook and Twitter. They even have their own Facebook application so you can interact with other Spiffbox members while logged into Facebook. However, unlike those two popular social networks, which are designed to connect you with people you know or admire, Spiffbox wants to connect you with others who fall outside your social graph. That is, the site wants to help you make new friends. Spiffbox is also different in the fact that it’s not entirely meant to be just for socializing – it wants to help you promote your career as well as ask for and receive advice from other users. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit
You might call Ty Newell the reluctant engineer. At the University of Michigan in the early 1970s, he would rather have studied natural resources or liberal arts, but those programs were full. So he went into engineering, figuring he’d switch to one of his first choices in a semester or so.Except that it never happened. His grade point average wasn’t high enough to get him into natural resources, and the prospect of being drafted for duty in Vietnam kept him from dropping out of school. So engineering it was going to be.Out of school in 1974, Newell worked for a couple of years in an Ohio plastics plant as a project engineer, and then something weird happened. “Of all the unexpected things,” Newell says, “I found I thoroughly enjoyed engineering and I found that it would give me the tools and background to work in the alternative energy field in a manner I would enjoy.”Newell decided he needed more than an undergraduate degree, so he took courses at Ohio State University, where he ran into Michael Moran, a professor who taught a dreaded course in thermodynamics. He once received a zero on a test in Moran’s class, but he discovered that he not only had an instinctive understanding of the material, he also liked it.That realization helped propel him into solar energy engineering, first at the University of Utah, where he landed a teaching assistant’s job as he pursued a master’s degree, and eventually to the engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Newell builds a superinsulated passive solar homeNewell tells this story as part of his blog called Equinox House, his account of building a superinsulated, solar home for himself and his wife in Urbana, Illinois.The blog is a step-by-step tale of how the house was built, starting with the insulated concrete form (ICF) foundation and solar panel installation in the fall of 2009 to a successful Thanksgiving gathering in the new house in 2010.Construction entries are light on the verbiage, relying instead on hundreds of photographs and caption-like comments on each stage of construction. I started at the beginning and about given up on finding any running commentary on the whys and wherefores of the project or much about its author when I stumbled across an entry from January 29, 2010 in which Newell lays out the groundwork for the project in a “preface” to the Equinox project.Bingo.While the construction blog is in itself excellent in its detail, the site also features valuable information on a variety of related topics, such as the economics of a 100% solar home, components (such as windows and walls), rainwater collection, and actual energy performance. Although construction is over, data collection and evaluation goes on. It’s an exceptionally well-documented project. The self-effacing storytelling in Newell’s preface helps pull it all together. He’s a much more engaging writer than he gives himself credit for.For anyone planning on going the solar, net-zero route, or just learning what it’s all about, the blog will prove a goldmine.Here are some excerpts. On the rebirth of interest in solar“Various student groups have always invited me to talk about solar energy, but from 1985 to 2000, my audience ranged between 1 to 4 people. As small as these audiences might be, and some really were only 1 or 2 people, if they are the right 1 or 2 people, they might be the ones who accomplish significant things.“Around 2002, as I went to give a talk on solar to a student group, I entered the room and saw an overflowing crowd of people. I was sure it was the wrong room location. But it wasn’t, and since that time, the audiences have been consistently full as our youth recognize the failure of older generations to address the problems that they will be facing. Will we rise to the challenge this time, or will we fade as before as the most recent energy price shocks become a distant memory?” On the beauty of the design“Equinox House is one of the most technologically advanced homes ever built. But if you visit Equinox House, you will not see the complexity nor be aware of it. You will experience a simple house that exists to serve its occupants and keep them comfortable. The complexity of its engineering design and Equinox House’s embedded technology, paradoxically makes it a very simple home to live in.“Today’s automobiles are similar with their highly sophisticated technologies. And yet, today’s cars are simpler and safer to drive, with repairs and maintenance less frequent than ever before. Equinox House has incorporated sensing and control technologies that simplify living in the house. Even with a failure of the local utility, its robust design ensures that water pipes will never freeze, and that it will be a comfortable shelter in either summer or winter. And, because it is a true, net zero home that is 100% powered by solar energy, future increases in utility rates will not be a concern.” On why he built Equinox House“We must return to living on our daily allowance of solar energy. Without significant efforts taken now to develop a sustainable way of life, our future generations will be faced with more war, famine and pestilence in order to make adjustments to survive in a world with diminished resources, overpopulation, and massive pollution. Leaving our children, their children, and beyond with to cope such hardships is something I find hard to live with.“So, the above is a bit gloomy, and I’m not by nature a gloomy, pessimistic person. If I were, I wouldn’t put in the effort to work toward the changes we need to achieve sustainable lifestyles. So here’s the optimistic side of things. I know that we can do more with less now. That is, I see the world as one that has plenty of resources for improving the quality of life for all people. Improving one’s life does not have to be at the expense of others.”“When I began working in alternative energy in the 1970s, we were still developing the required technologies. Today, because of the hard work of a lot of stubborn people like many of my faculty colleagues and industry friends, enabling technologies are available now at a cost that is affordable.” On his blog’s point of view“I plan to target these writings to the general public, but that doesn’t mean things will be interesting, clearly organized, or grammatically correct. Remember, I am an engineer. My lectures as a professor have been known to lower the metabolism of my students to dangerously low levels (which at least conserves energy), and I’m sure my written stuff is just as dull. I wish I could write with the scientific clarity of Edward Thorndike, the logic of Amory Lovins, and the conviction of Aldo Leopold, but unfortunately those are not skills I’m endowed with (see…I even ended my sentence with a preposition, something my English major/Librarian spouse, Deb, will be quite upset at…..she doesn’t like sentences that end in ‘at,’ either).” On the paradox of windows“Equinox House is a modestly windowed home. At the same time, the windows have been designed to brightly light the interior throughout the year, and efficiently provide solar heating in the winter. The house is named after its novel ‘equinox overhang’ that protects the clerestory windows from the summer sun while acting as a solar radiation reflector during the winter.“Windows are generally misunderstood and poorly incorporated into building design. Very few people are able to provide quantitative information on the cost and value of a window. Sales personnel are unable to supply answers, and are most interested in selling you as many windows as possible.“In almost all cases, windows do not save money. They are the most expensive part of the house exterior and require the most maintenance. The most ‘economical’ house would be a Styrofoam igloo. So why do we want windows? We like to ‘see’ outside, and we like natural light. With the cost of flat screen televisions dropping to that of a window ($40 to $80 per square foot), perhaps we will replace windows with a series of televisions and exterior cameras that transmit the outside view in a more energy and cost efficient manner than a window? And, with the added benefit of being able to change the view to that of any location in the world if the outside view isn’t to your liking.”
Having been at the recieving end of a 4-0 thrashing by England last year, it will be payback time when India take on the visiting English side in the four-Test series starting at Ahmedabad next month, middle-order batsman Suresh Raina said.”I was there in England and I feel the pain of losing that series 0-4. I want to give some of that pain back,” said the Uttar Pradesh batsman, who will lead India ‘A’ in a three-day warm-up game at the Cricket Club of India starting here from Tuesday.Raina also said that the SG balls to be used in the forthcoming series will help Indian bowlers.”There is a big difference in the SG Test and Duke balls. We have bowlers who know how to get the SG Test ball to reverse swing like Zak (Zaheer Khan) and Umesh Yadav. It’ll be important how to handle it in humid cities like Kolkata and Mumbai.”We also have (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Pragyan) Ojha who have been amazing. The England team has good seamers like (Steve) Finn, (Stuart) Broad, (James) Anderson and it depends on how they can handle the SG Test ball,” Raina said.While the retirement of captain Andrew Strauss will be a blow to England, the return of Kevin Pietersen would be a big boost to the tourists’ hopes, Raina said.”Yes, that (Strauss’s retirement) is a loss, but they have a huge positive in KP’s return. He wasn’t there earlier, but now he’s back and that’s a big positive for them.”advertisementThe 25-year-old left-hander, fighting for a middle-order spot in the Test side with his Yuvraj Singh, said it was up to the selectors to fill the No. 6 slot, adding that the three-day match against the visitors will be a good opportunity for the likes of Yuvraj and Ashok Dinda to prepare themselves for the season ahead.Yuvraj Singh during India A’s practice. Yuvraj is a contender for a middle-order spot in the Test side.Click here to Enlarge “It’s a long season. We have Tests and then the one-dayers. Its (India ‘A’ game) a good opportunity for guys like myself, Yuvraj and Dinda. I want to enjoy myself and look to score big runs,” he said.Besides the England series, India are set to play four Tests against Australia and ODIs against Pakistan.Raina, averaging just under 30 from 17 Tests, also dismissed any suggestions of his inability to play the longest form of the game. “It’s just the mental aspect. I’ve given all that I have had to Test cricket. A lot of people say and write a lot of things but I know where I stand as far as Test cricket is concerned.”Batting at No. 6 is not easy, very often you get stuck with the tail and have to bat around them. I scored fifties in the West Indies and England and batted well against Australia in 2010. I’ve played 16 or 17 Tests, but as I play more, I will understand better.I’ve already played 150 ODIs for India and have played six years of IPL. I know what the coach and selectors expect from me and what they need me to do at no 6. I love to play my natural game and I love to hit the ball,” Raina said.Often found struggling against short-pitched deliveries in the longer format of the game, Raina siad he got tips from former Test batsman Pravin Amre on how to deal with England off-spinner Graeme Swann.”I asked him about Swann. He troubled me a lot in England and got me out four or five times. He (Amre) told me to keep my shoulder over the ball and my eyes in line with the ball,” Raina said when asked about the specifics.On the absence of front-line spinners in the India A side for the warm-up game, Raina said there were part-timers who can bowl spin. “I, Yuvraj and Manoj Tiwary can bowl spin. I’ll manage the over-rate,” he said.He said the track would offer some assistance to bowlers in the initial hours. “It’s a good wicket. I’ve played here for Air India in the Times Shield, in under-19 games and in the IPL. It offers good bounce to the bowlers. The first two hours are going to be crucial and that is where the openers come into play,” Raina said.
Datsun has been plannning to launch its Go Cross after the latest crossover was showcased as a concept at the Auto Expo 2016. Now Datsun has made an announcement by teasing the Go Cross concept as a production model, which will be making its global debut in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 18.Moreover, Datsun has renamed the Go Cross as just ‘Cross’ and will lead a new segment of Datsun in Indonesia. While Datsun will unveil and launch the Cross in Indonesia first, the company will soon be bringing it in India as well, which is most likely by March-April, 2018. Both Datsun and Nissan will not be participating at the Auto Expo 2018 next month.The Datsun Cross is based on the Go Plus but sports a distinct front end with a hexagonal radiator grille, sweptback LED head-lamps, LED fog lamps and plastic cladding. Moreover, the Cross being a Crossover, should feature a skid-plate. On the inside, the Datsun Cross will come with a 5-seater configuration. Moreover, it will be also getting a new dashboard which will provide the Cross with a more premium feel.Under the bonnet, the Cross will feature both petrol and diesel trims. The 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol will be sourced from the Go Plus, the diesel will be sourced from the Nissan Micra.