Friday, July 30, 2010

1000 Awesome Things

A website listing the small things that make us smile on a bad day has become a worldwide hit:

Snowy days, having a whole row to yourself on a plane, popping bubble-wrap, finally untanging a really big knot, hitting a row of green traffic lights... these are apparently the little things in life that make us smile.
How do we know? Because a website called 1000 Awesome Things (which is dedicated to small pleasures such as these) has struck an unexpected chord with millinons of people round the world. Indeed, many are finding it provides an instant antidote to those days when everything seems to go wrong.
It happens to all of us and it is this kind of identification with its readers' lives that has made 1000 Awesome Things such a big hit.
The blog is the brainchild of Neil Pasricha, a 30-year-old Canadian who describes himself as a " boring guy who works in an office and eats frozen microwave suppers". He was having a bad year when he came up with the idea for his blog.
"I had lots of personal problems," he said. "My marriage was heading the in the wrong direction, my best friend was in a bad state of depression and the papers were full of heavy stuff: polar ice caps melting, pirates storming the seas, the economy on the verge of collapse."
One chilly night in June 2008, to help him find a way out of the gloom, he decided to start a blog that would target "one simple awesame thing every single day".
Unfortunately, his year then got even worse: "My wife came home from work and said, 'I don't love you any more', and so we sold our house and I ended up in a tiny apartment. Also, my friend committed suicide."
Pasricha decided he had two choices: "wallo in gloom and doom, or grieve and get on". So, despite everything, he continued to blog. Every night, when he got home from work, he forced himself to think of just one happy event.
To start with no one noticed, apart from his mum and dad. But soon his simple yet clever idea was drawing in fans. A growing number of people round the globe, it seemed, were eager to read about the joy of switching from a queue in the supermarket to a freshly opened checkout lane; of finding that the socks from the dryer all matched up; of seeing one's luggage again after a long flight
Within a year the website had won the Webby award for best blog of the year. It has now had more than 17 million hits, attracts 50,000 visitors a day and has spawned a bestselling book in the United States, not to mention translations in countries as diverse as France and South Korea.
In the process of brightening up other people's lives, Pasricha has also changed his own. A television company has asked him to write a series based on his blog; las week he gave the  keynote speech in Washington for a conference on the next generation of government leaders and he is in great demand as a motivational speaker.
The secret of the blog's appeal, he believes, is that it embraces small events as if they are being experienced for the first time. "I'm not special," he insists, "I just write about the sweet things in life."
Such as? "I love three-year-olds," he muses. "The way they stare at caterpillars, go slack-jawed at baseball games or pick a handful of dandelions for a vase."
You may not identify with all of his "awesome" moments, of course. His whimsical catalgoue takes the form of a countdown that started at 1,000. After he embarked on it, a friend said: "Do you realise you're only going to be done on April 20th, 2010?" He has yet to miss a day. By his desk (he works as a human reosurces manager), he keeps scrap paper so he can jot down ideas as they come to him.
When he's stuck, he goes out to "grab chicken wings and beer with my friends" and asks them what's made them laugh that day. "It's not too hard," he says.
"When I'm lying on a couch and someone throws a blanket on me, I smile and think, that's awesome! When I put on warm underwear straight out of the dryer, I smile and think, that's awesome!
"We all have these moments: you don't really need us to point them out."
Writer: Christina Lamb (International Culture, The Sunday Times)

Hi everybody,
My name is Neil and I’m a no-name 30-year-old guy who  started 1000 Awesome Things back in June, 2008 with the goal of writing about one awesome thing every weekday.
I did this as my life was falling apart. My best friend took his own life and my wife and I went different ways. We sold our house, I moved to a tiny apartment, and I tried to get things back on track by talking about one simple, universal little joy every single day — like snow daysbakery air, or popping bubble wrap.
Internet travelers from all over the world supported awesome things from the start and sent it to friends who sent it to friends. New people seeing the site helped us win the Best Blog award two years in a row and land a book deal.
This Spring The Book of Awesome comes out everywhere.
Honestly, this is just incredible and I’m totally shocked and overwhelmed. But more than anything, I just want to say thanks.
p.s. Here are a few of my favourites:
No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: 100 Million Facebook Profiles Leaked to the Public

Personal details from more than 100 million Facebook profiles have been made public after a security consultant Ron Bowes 'harvested' the data and made it available for download.
“A hundred million. That’s how many Facebook users profiles are now available to download to anybody. The security consultant who hacked the information says, he did it to show that Facebook settings are confusing and comprimise user information.” (Fox News)
Never before has so much personal information been available in one publically available spot.
Or, so says, secruity consultant Ron Bowes who gathered all the personal data of 100 MILLION Facebook users stuff they hadn’t protected and put it in one easily available download.
Lots of people have availed themselves of that information.
We’re analyzing coverage of this very public listing - from Fox News, The BBC, the Herald in Scotland, Tech Crunch and
Pictures, birthdays, nicknames, pals. You name it. Bowes gathered it and posted it online, whenceforth it was then re-downloaded time and time again. Bowes defends his actions, telling the BBC... "I am of the belief that, if I can do something then there are about 1,000 bad guys that can do it too. I believe in open disclosure of issues like this, especially when there's minimal potential for anybody to get hurt.”
Indeed, much of this information was already public. Just not all in one place. Facebook is investigating if that any laws were violated in gathering the information. But a privacy expert says, Facebook is the one to blame -- not the researcher. Scotland’s The Herald interviews Simon Davies from the watchdog Privacy International... “Facebook should have anticipated this attack and put measures in place to prevent it.”
But what about personal responsibility?, asks TechCrunch. If you don’t want everyone in the world, including the bad guys to see your stuff take the time to set your privacy settings, like, now.
“These kinds of security breaches will only encourage more hackers desperate for attention. Now would be a good time for Facebook to set their default search to “Friends Only.” Why? Because most people aren’t quite aware that check mark next to “Everyone” includes a hacker who can grab your personal info, package it up and sell it to the highest bidder.”
Yeah, says the UK’s Time to fetch, buy, or just plain get -- a clue: “....perhaps the existence of a stalker's online black book might finally persuade less security-minded Facebook users to get their arses in gear.”
Oh, and by the way, if you want back the privacy Bowes took too late. Even if you change your privacy settings now, it’s still on the download.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

'Call people fat, not obese' says health minister Anne Milton


GPs and other health professionals should tell people they are fat rather than obese, England's public health minister says. Anne Milton told the BBC that the term fat was more likely to motivate them into losing weight.

She said it was important people should take "personal responsibility" for their lifestyles.
But health experts said the word could stigmatise those who are overweight.
Ms Milton, who stressed she was giving her own, personal view, said: "If I look in the mirror and think I am obese I think I am less worried [than] if I think I am fat."
She said too many staff working in the NHS were worried about using the term, but suggested it could help encourage "personal responsibility".
"At the end of the day, you cannot do it for them. People have to have the information," she added.
A white paper is expected to be published in the autumn, which she said would stress the combined role of the individual, state, business and society.
The comments come after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley last month attacked the "lecturing" of recent public health campaigns, such as the drive on school meals that followed Jamie Oliver's TV shows.

'More brutal'
Professor Steve Field, of the Royal College of GPs, said he agreed with Ms Milton and already tried to use the term fat as much as he could.
"I think the term obese medicalises the state. It makes it a third person issue. I think we need to sometimes be more brutal and honest.
"You can be popular by saying the things people want to hear and in the NHS we too often do that when we should be spelling things out clearly."
But Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, which represents public health professionals, warned against using 'fat' when dealing with patients.
"People don't want to be offensive. There is a lot of stigma to being a fat person."
She said health professionals started using the term obesity to encourage patients to think about the condition in a different way.
"Obesity is something that happens to people rather than something they are. The language you use all depends on the relationship you have with a patient.
"I would probably be more likely to say something like 'can we talk about your weight' rather than obesity, but that is a judgement you make on a patient-by-patient basis."

The history of the term obesity
The term obesity comes from the Latin word obesus, which roughly translated means intensive eating.
Societies have long been worried about problems of excess weight with Greek philosopher Hippocrates even writing about the dangers .
But it was not until the mid 1600s that obesity started being used as a medical term and then in time directly linked to other diseases.
Between 1830 and 1850 a Belgian scientist invented the BMI index to measure obesity by dividing weight by height.
The Journal of Chronic Diseases reported in 1972 that BMI was the best way of measuring excess fat
Over the last three decades the terms BMI and obesity have been getting more and more popular with health professionals as a result.
No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Catalonia Bans Bullfighting

The Canary Islands did the same a few years ago,  and now Catalonia has banned bullfighting after lawmakers ruled the sport was too barbaric.
Bullfighting is banned in Catalonia after lawmakers there sided with activists who say the sport is too barbaric. But bullfighting enthusiasts smell dirty politics, and say they’ll fight to win back what they say is an integral part of Spanish culture. 
The debate was a heated one in Catalonia, with tensions running high on both sides. KOAT features both an opponent and supporter of the ban: “Enrique Guillén sees the essence of Spain in what he calls the noble art of bullfighting. 'My father brought me to see the bullfights when I still had a pacifier. It would be frustrating not to be able to give that to my children, what my parents gave to me.' ... Bullfighting is part of Spanish culture, but that should change, she says, adding many traditions disappear as the society advances.”
And while animal rights activists hail the ban as a major victory, others say the decision was purely politics from Spain’s most independent-minded region. CNNand Sky News speculate: “The subtext here was local politics in the Catalan region there is a strong independence movement. Some here saying that’s really the politicians here got behind this ban.”
MATADOR: “The only thing they care about is independence from Spain. It’s a purely political decision. They want to separate themselves from everything that has Spanish ties. Bullfighting to them sounds Spanish...”
But lawmakers who support the ban maintain the decision has less to do with politics and more to do with the sport’s declining popularity in the region. But as ITNand France 24 report, both sides say this fight isn’t over.
BULLFIGHTER: “For the minute you’ve only got anti-bullfighting people, and the bullfighting fraternities have never organized itself against it. But I think you might get a backlash.”
REPORTER: “But that backlash might not be enough. Catalonia is the first mainland Spanish region to ban bullfighting, and many believe the vote could cause a chain reaction.”
“And in fact in Madrid, 51,000 signatures have been collected to take that debate to Madrid, which is for some the heart of bullfighting.”
The bullfighting ban goes into effect in 2012.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Head Lice: Stay-In-School?

A new study suggests by the time lice is found in the hair, it’s already too late, and students shouldn't be sent home from school.
“Seriously? A new study suggests that kids with head lice don’t need to stay home from school. Moms and Dads out there… are you okay with that?”(MSNBC)
It's a story that's going to make your skin crawl. The creepy, little critters called head lice are making headlines, and not just in your home, but at school. 
CNN suggests that by the time the bug is seen on the scalp, it’s too late to send the child home from school: “It makes no medical sense to send somebody home [from school] if you find lice, because by the time you see something the child has had the infestation for several weeks.”
A Babble blog explains exactly why The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes “no-nit” policies that require a child be sent home from school: “There is no medical reason to take kids out of school because head lice is not as contagious as the schools make it seem. By the time they are discovered at school, most lice is past the contagious point.”
...but there’s one more reason to be concerned about the parasites. The Wall Street Journal reports those strawberry seed-sized menaces are becoming super bugs: “… common treatments for killing head lice, including prescription medications… may no longer be effective because the pests in some areas have built up resistance… families that succeed in treating the condition with popular products such as Rid and Nix may have to apply the pesticidal creams as many as three times to get rid of the pests.”
So what do you think? Should children be sent home if they have head lice? Is there really a "super bug" lice pandemic? You tell us.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Newsy: New, Massive Star Discovered

It’s been called “stellar behemoth”, “monster ball” and even “scorcher”. What is it? It’s what scientists are calling the heaviest star ever found.
“Experts say the star has a mass over 265 times the size of the sun... and is more than a million years old.” (MSNBC)
The Guardian reports this type of star has an odd life… a life that always ends in suicide: “They are the most colossal stars ever seen and live short, bright, lives in faraway reaches of space before exploding in a blaze of glory. Were it to replace our own star, the intensity of the rays would sterilise the Earth leaving it lifeless.”
Dailytech attempted to explain why the star lives such a ‘short’ lives using a weight-loss analogy. The blog quotes northern England’s University of Sheffield’s lead astrophysicist: “‘R136a1 is already middle-aged and has undergone an intense weight loss program, shedding a fifth of its initial mass over that time, or more than fifty solar masses.’”
Whatever diet these stars are on, it seems to be working. National Geographic reports the star used to be much, much bigger: “… the behemoth may have actually slimmed down since birth, when it likely tipped the scales at 320 times the sun's mass… the record-breaking star is so massive that it burns its hydrogen fuel at an unprecedented rate.”
But the Christian Science Monitor says the claims might be too good to be true: “Others have suggested that the team has detected very tightly packed clusters with stars too close to resolve individually.” 
In other words, Christian Science Monitor is suggesting it might not be the ‘behemoth’ scientists think... it could just be a bunch of stars so close together it merely looks like a massive star.
So what do you think of the new discovery? Exciting? Or just another space case? 

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

35 mm

"35mm" is a shortfilm about cinema itself. We picked 35 of our favorite movies and tried to simplifly them as far as possible. The outcome is a 2 minute journey through the history of film.
Leave your comments with the movies you have found!
Take a close look and tell us if you've recognized them all!
Concept / Layout: Sarah Biermann, Torsten Strer, Felix Meyer, Pascal Monaco
Animation: Felix Meyer, Pascal Monaco
Sound: Torsten Strer

35mm from Pascal Monaco on Vimeo.

Concept / Layout: Sarah Biermann, Torsten Strer, Felix Meyer, Pascal Monaco
Animation: Felix Meyer, Pascal Monaco
Sound: Torsten Strer

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water


The Story of Bottled Water with Annie Leonard - How Manufactured Demand pushes what we don’t need and destroys what we need most

The Story of Bottled Water employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap.
Over eight minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry's attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.
The Story of Bottled Water was released on March 22nd, 2010, World Water Day, an annual UN-sponsored day of action to support access to clean, safe water for the world’s people. Globally, more than 1 billion have little choice but to use potentially harmful sources of water, leading to what the World Health Organization calls “a silent humanitarian crisis.” Meanwhile, many Americans, who generally have access to safe and abundant water from the kitchen tap, drink bottled water despite the enormous waste of money, energy and resources it represents.
Production partners on the bottled water film include five leading sustainability groups: Corporate Accountability International, Environmental Working Group, Food & Water Watch, Pacific Institute, and Polaris Institute.
And, for all you fact checkers out there

The Story of Bottled Water companion website ( will serve as an interactive launch pad for information and activism. The site offers viewers a series of ways to get involved, including links to the partners’ campaigns, as well as downloadable resources and information, including an annotated script.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

In It To Win It

Alberto Contador & Andy Schleck In It To Win It

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pórtico de la Gloria - The first movie of mankind, filmed in stone

From the lost Paradise to Judgement Day. Pórtico de la Gloria in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the first great movie of mankind, filmed in stone.

Perhaps the chief beauty of the cathedral, however, is the 12th century Portico da Gloria, behind the western facade. This Portico da Gloria in the narthex of the west portal is a remains from the Romanesque period. It is a masterwork of Romanesque sculpture built between 1168 and 1188 by Master Mateo at the request of king Ferdinand II of Leon. The vigorous naturalism of the figures in this triple portal is an expression of an art form, varied in its details, workmanship and polychromy (of which faint traces of colour remain). The shafts, tympana and archivolts of the three doorways which open onto the nave and the two aisles are a mass of strong and nervous sculpture representing the Last Judgment.

The central tympanum gives us an image of Christ in Majesty as Judge and Redeemer, showing His wounds in His feet and hands, accompanied by the tetramorph. He is surrounded on both sides by a retinue of angels carrying the symbols of the Passion. In the archivolt are represented the 24 Elders of the Apocalypse, who are tuning their musical instruments.

The column statues represent the apostles with their attribute, prophets and Old Testament figures with their name on a book or parchment. These were all polychromed. Noteworthy is the faint smile of the prophet Daniel looking at the angel of Reims.

The middle pier represents Saint James, his face conveying an ecstatic serenity. The text scroll in his hand shows the words Misit me Dominus (the Lord sent me). below him is the Tree of Jesse (the lineage leading to Christ), while above is a representation of the Trinity. It is customary for the pilgrims to touch the left foot of this statue, signifying that they have reached their destination. So many pilgrims have laid their hands on the pillar to rest their weary bones, that a groove has been worn in the stone.

The lateral portals are dedicated to the rival churches: on the left to the Jews and on the right to the unbelievers.

The right tympanym is divided in three parts and is dedicated to the salvation of the souls. In the centre Christ and St Michael, flanked by Hell (represented by demons) and Heaven (represented by children). The purgatory is shown on the side.

The left tympanum shows scenes from the Old Testament.

Demons are represented at the bottom of the pórtico, signifying that Glory crushes sin.

Behind the portico stands the statue of Maestro Mateo, the master architect and sculptor put in charge of the cathedral building programme in the 12th century by Fernando II. It is said that whoever butts their head three times against the statue will be given a portion of Mateo's genius and perhaps enhanced memory. There is usually a long line of visitors waiting to bump their head against the statue. The sculptures in this portico have been a point of reference for Galician sculpture until the 15th century.

Learn more at:

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Newsy: Dolphin Hurls Itself Out of Tank

The debate over keeping animals in captivity is heating up after footage of a dolphin jumping out of its tank in Japan hit the Internet. Here’s the clip.
First, the dolphin makes a high jump. Then, it jumps again. Other dolphins can be seen crowding around the creature. It was later lifted back into the tank with a crane, and trainers say it sustained only minor injuries. But critics say this is further evidence that captivity is cruel. ABC’s anchors are appalled, and say it seems like the dolphin was trying to escape.
“You almost wonder what these animals go through because they’re trapped there. They have to do shows for people. ... It kind of makes you wonder how desperate those animals feel, when they’re there all day, trapped up like that, having to perform shows and deal with people all day. So, that whale tried to make a run for it.”
And the Daily Mail quotes Ric O’Barry, the filmmaker who made The Cove, the Oscar-nominated documentary about dolphin slaughters in Japan. O’Barry says: “‘The habitat…is so unnatural it leapt out in desperation. … It wanted to end it. Why does a person jump out of a building?’”
But, NBC reports the aquarium is defending itself: “The manager of the animal park denied the dolphin’s captivity was cruel, saying the tank was not overcrowded and followed general aquarium guidelines.”
Do you think this dolphin was trying to escape? How do you feel about animals in captivity — is it necessary for education, or just cruel?

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Theory of Relativity


If you wish to know more:

Everything in the universe is traveling through space-time at the speed of light - the maximum speed possible. If you are sitting still in space, then you are traveling through time at the maximum speed. But if you begin traveling through space, then your progress through time slows down. Time Dilation and other relativistic phenomena await you in this interesting series, so hurry up and slow down!

1. Basics And Impact In Our Everyday Life
2. Time Dilation - Slowing Down Clocks
3. The Famous Equation E=mc2
4. Gravity And Acceleration
5. Black Holes, Event Horizon & Gravitational Waves

Want to know why we don't have to worry about our sun burning out? It's because long before that happens, the sun will expand so enormously that Earth will be cooked to a cinder. Take a tour through the solar system, learn about the event horizon of black holes and when our galaxy began. 

1. Faster Than The Speed Of Light (1/2): The Universe - Created Out Of Nothing?
2. Faster Than The Speed Of Light (2/2): The Expanding Universe

The Cassiopeia Project - making science simple!
The Cassiopeia Project is an effort to make high quality science videos available to everyone. If you can visualize it, then understanding is not far behind.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Every school should have a bad teacher

Every school should have a ‘useless teacher’, according to the chairman of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Zenna Atkins: a bad teacher helps children learn how to ‘manage’ people who are not good at their jobs.

Atkins,44, said: ‘It’s about learning to identify good role models. One good thing about primary school is that every kid learns how to deal with a really bad teacher. In the private sector, as a rule, you need to performance manage 10 per cent of people out of the business. But I don’t think that should be the case in schools. I would not remove every single useless teacher because every grown up in a workplace needs to learn to cope with the moron who sits four desks down without lamping them and to deal with authority that’s useless. I’d like to keep the number low, but if every primary school has one pretty naff teacher, this helps kids realise that even if you know the quality of authority is not good, you have to learn how to play it. Schools need to reflect society, especially at primary level. In society there are people you don't like, there are people who are incompetent and there are often people above you in authority who you think are incompetent, and learning that ability to deal with that and, actually surviving that environment can be an advantage.’
She also recommended schools use violent computer games to teach maths as they help "intuitive thinking".
The comments also follow a report last week which said that, although the General Teaching Council estimated two years ago that there could be as many as 17,000 sub-standard teachers circulating in Britain, just 18 had been struck off in the last ten years.
The 44-year-old married mother of two children and two step children was appointed as the first Chairman of Ofsted in September 2006 with the remit to ‘help ensure a better deal for children and adult learners in England’.
Atkins was seen as an ideal figure to do this having overcome her own chequered education to become an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Ms Atkins, who is dyslexic, was born in London but educated at St Clare’s, a private school in Penzance that has since closed, and attended Cornwall College of Further Education.
Her father was an academic who spoke 17 languages while her mother was also dyslexic.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: "What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?" Question Finally Solved

British researchers say they’ve finally answered which came first — the chicken or the egg. See which one did and why.
It’s a story that can only be described as groundbreaking. Scientists have answered the age-old question: Which came first — the chicken or the egg? Media are astounded.
ABC says: “It has remained one of life’s unsolved mysteries…”
And food news site EatDrinkandBe says that: “A debate raging for centuries may have finally been solved…”
So which came first? After two years of research, British scientists discovered that a protein found in chicken ovaries is necessary for forming chicken eggs. So, they say, eggs must come from chickens, and it’s the chicken that existed first. 
Sky News explains the science: “Hens produce a protein called OC-17. Using a supercomputer to zoom in on the egg-making process, scientists saw that OC-17 speeds up the conversion of calcium carbonate into calcite crystals, which make up the egg shell.”
Still, there are some naysayers. An anchor on NBC’s South Carolina affiliate, WYFF, is highly skeptical: “I don’t see how you’ve solved this. What you’ve proven, by a computer, is that eggs can only be formed, chicken eggs can only be formed, by chickens — but chickens can only be formed by chicken eggs. ... I’m not convinced in the slightest.”
“Well then why did we do the cotton pickin’ story?”
“You know what? Throw that away. It’s garbage.”
But others are grateful, and want more answers. CBS’ Los Angeles affiliate, KCAL, poses an even bigger question: “Now scientists can concentrate on the more important question: Why did the chicken cross the road?”
What do you think of this research? And dare we ask… which do you think came first?

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


To Spain the glory of a World Cup triumph in which they prevailed over a deplorable Holland side that was reduced to 10 men when the English referee Howard Webb eventually dismissed the Dutch defender John Heitinga with a second caution in the 109th minute. Cesc Fábregas, on as substitute, fed Andrés Iniesta, undoubtedly man of the match and of the whole World Cup, to score the winner seven minutes later.

Andrés Iniesta, man of the match, and best player in 2010 World Cup

An unforgettable World Cup final ground its way to a penalty shoot-out, after offering cautions in place of goals. Holland were overwhelmingly the guilty party, with eight bookings to Spain's four. Although football was not wholly excluded, chances were shunned and the Spain right-back Sergio Ramos put a free header high from a corner kick in the 77th minute. A little later, Arjen Robben broke clear for Holland but Iker Casillas saved at his feet. The goalkeeper's team-mates had not been incisive enough until the very end.

The mayhem and nastiness of the occasion was an encumbrance for Spain, who will have visualised a wholly different type of game. It was potentially unsettling that victory should be seen as their destiny considering that they had never even reached the final before. Vicente del Bosque's side, for that matter, have developed a highly individual style founded on exceptional technique that exhausts and demoralises opponents as a midfield of supreme artistry confiscates the ball.

The flaw lies in the fact that possession can be an end in itself for Spain. European champions though they might be, the team began its World Cup programme in South Africa with a defeat by Switzerland. They went behind then and a single goal sufficed for the victors. That occasion must have been prominent in the thoughts of the coach Bert van Marwijk and the Holland players. It can certainly be agreed that adversity of another sort lay before Spain in Johannesburg.

There had been an expectation that the Dutch would be much less respectful than the young Germany side that lost to Spain in the last four. Holland have a hard-bitten air and Mark van Bommel, the defensive midfielder, is utterly at peace while making enemies. Curiously, the Bayern Munich player attracts the bulk of the animosity despite the fact that it was his abrasive colleague Nigel de Jong, of Manchester City, who was suspended from the semi-final.

Van Bommel did collect a caution here but notoriety was being dispersed liberally. His yellow card was the third of four that Webb had flashed by the 22nd minute. The teams had a pair apiece by then and there was a kind of parity as an initially nervous Holland settled down. De Jong took up old habits unacceptably later in the first-half, but escaped with a yellow card after landing his studs in the chest of Xabi Alonso.

The midfielder was unscathed, but Spain had a fragility of sorts. Fernando Torres, out of form since a knee injury in March, was again among the substitutes. That had not left the team toothless, but they had to step out of character for the semi-final, when the centre-back Carles Puyol scored the single goal with a pounding header at a set-piece.

As it turns out, the direct approach may not be as alien to this side as we suppose. Ramos leapt to connect with a Xavi set-piece after four minutes and Maarten Stekelenburg was fully extended to parry to his right. The finer points of open play were forgotten before the interval. Spain, as anticipated, had more polish but the final assuredly did not gleam. Intrigue lay, after a further foul or two, in speculation as to how close Webb had come to giving Van Bommel a second yellow card.

Holland were also menacing in laudable ways. A prepared move for instance involved Arjen Robben pulling back a corner to an unmarked Van Bommel, but the midfielder miscontrolled his attempt. That was in keeping with the shabby character of the final then, but the Dutch may have found satisfaction in being in contention against Spain. In the 45th minute, the goalkeeper Iker Casillas had to be alert to turn behind a Robben effort that could have sneaked past him at the near post.

Whatever was said at half-time did not lead to many people changing their way. Before an hour was completed, it had been necessary for Webb to caution Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Johnny Heitinga of Holland. Van Bronckhorst is captain, veteran and cultivated left-back but not even he could rise above the ugliness.

The tone might have altered swiftly with a goal that looked likely in the 62nd minute. Wesley Sneijder suddenly introduced artistry with the lovely pass that freed Robben and the winger attempted to take care, yet Casillas got his right leg in the path of the shot and conceded merely a corner. It was a spell in which Holland were in the ascendancy. The better moments made it all the more infuriating that Webb still had to keep reaching for a yellow card. For convenience sake, he would have been as well keeping it in his hand at all times. Football did break through now and again, with Spain squandering an excellent opportunity.

A piercing cross from the substitute Jesús Navas went through the legs of Heitinga, but David Villa met the ball cleanly and it was deflected for a corner. By that stage both sides must have understood the unpalatable nature of the final, with Holland the principal offenders, but it was beyond them to mend their ways.

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