Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The New York Times: To Move Ahead, Spain Needs Its Mojo Back


By Rob Hughes
JOHANNESBURG -- Spain dealt comfortably enough with Honduras at Ellis Park Stadium. But beating one of its former colonies, 2-0, is far from convincing proof that the Spaniards are anywhere near to being the potential world champions we thought they might be.

David Villa scored both goals, and each was an example of just why Barcelona has recently invested €40 million, or $49 million, to buy him from Valencia. But in truth, Villa should have filled his boots with more goals, and Villa looked to be Spain’s only striker who was in form. He also was, by his own admission, extremely lucky to stay on the field after reacting to a kick by slapping a Honduran opponent in the face at halftime. The referee appeared to see it and told Villa to behave himself, but did not issue a red card.
His partner in attack, Fernando Torres, looks more like a barometer of Spain’s sporting health. Torres had knee surgery to repair torn cartilage in April, and though he started, the athleticism was missing, the sharpness was a memory, and the running that he and Villa do automatically for one another was only intermittently there.
So the Spanish attack is, like the team itself, in convalescence.
It is easy to understand why Vicente del Bosque, the national coach, used a group game against a team far below Spain’s level to allow Torres and Villa time to search for their form. At their best, they can take apart almost any defense; but their best may be weeks away.
Torres could have undergone surgery in January, but his club, Liverpool, delayed it. Clearly, it is cutting it fine to expect him to be Villa’s running mate all the way to the final of this World Cup on July 11.
But there is no other Torres. Spain, and Villa, need him because he is the true athlete of the pair. He has the height, the reach, the power, while Villa has the incredible knack of being in the right place to sniff out goals.
Their form is not by any means the only area of the side that keeps del Bosque wearing that hangdog, basset hound look of his on the sideline. The passing for which Barcelona is famed — and therefore this Spanish side that is molded on Barça — is not as fluent as it was when Spain won the Euro 2008 tournament.
It is there, but it stutters. Xavi Hernandez, arguably the world’s finest rhythm maker, has had his own thigh muscle tear, and he looks a week away from performing at his peerless best.
Cesc Fabregas, who would challenge Xavi if anyone could, is only just returning to form from a broken leg.
Excuses count for nothing. The tournament is now, even if Spain is not ready. And if Spain beats Chile on Friday to reach the second round, its opponent after that will be formidable.
It could be Brazil, or it might be Portugal. Brazil’s physical shape, its power as well as its skills, would crush the Spanish, based on the performances this week by the two squads. Portugal might not, but those seven goals the Portuguese ran in against poor North Korea earlier Monday were warning enough.
Del Bosque will say, as he often does, that it has to come one step, one game at a time. Monday was a better match by far for Spain than its opening game, when Switzerland clamped down its opponent with ultrastrong defensive pressure. Losing that game was the shock of this World Cup, and there have been some mighty shocks from the start. Those who like their soccer cultured might wish that Spain would get better quickly — quickly enough to give Brazil a real run for its money if that contest comes sooner in the tournament than many hoped for.

However, even to get through the first round, Spain needs its passing mojo back. Outpassing, outplaying, and outscoring Honduras was not that tough, but doing the same against Chile, a gifted and cunning opponent, will be a far greater challenge.
If Chile could shoot with anybody nearly as well as the Villa-Torres combination usually does, then we might consider the Chileans a title prospect.
Monday was like shooting practice for the Spanish duo. Torres could have scored a hat trick, but missed all his chances before del Bosque decided that 70 minutes, rather than 90, was the limit he should run after his operation.
Villa scored a magnificent first goal, sprinting between two startled Honduran defenders, enticing a third, Osman Chávez, toward him. And then, when Chávez made a lunge at him, he slipped him and, off balance, hooked the ball into the top corner of the net.
Villa’s gesture, the matador withdrawing the cape in front of the bull, was delightful.
His second goal, created by the speed and pass of the Romany winger Jesús Navas, was also hit with such powerful instinct that again the Honduran goalkeeper could not get a hand to it.
Villa should have made it three, at least. He woefully misplaced a penalty kick, and he darted through a hapless defense often enough to where he should have become the second player of this tournament — after Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain — to claim the match ball for scoring a hat trick.
He has 40 goals in 60 appearances for his country, just four shy of Raúl González, the Spanish icon they said Villa could never replace. He is close now to that record, and in 42 fewer games than Raúl. Whether it will come during this World Cup might be determined by how far the healing process of the Spanish goes.

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Newsy: McDowell Beats Big Names at U.S. Open

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell outplayed golf's household names to win the U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach.
“A mistake he would not make. Every player dreams two putts to win the open. Northern Ireland for the first time, and Europe for the first time in 40 years.”(The Golf Channel)
Graeme McDowell held off the world's best players on Sunday to win the US Open Championship. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els were all in contention but couldn’t generate a Sunday charge.
We're monitoring reaction to the Open from ESPN, The Golf Channel, Sky News and The Irish Independent
The Golf Channel spoke with McDowell who described what an extraordinary fathers day it was for him.
“ANCHOR: What’s it feel like to have your father Kenny here and to get that big hug on the 18th green?
“MCDOWELL: That was awesome, you know, on Father's Day to have him out here. He has been talking about Pebble Beach all year, can’t wait to go there. He said to me, ‘There’s only one thing I want from fathers day this year and that’s for you to pick this trophy up’, and that’s a special feeling. I think it’s only the second time I’ve won with him in the crowd, and this is a pretty special one.”
After Dustin Johnson, the 54-hole leader, collapsed under the pressure of the Open, the tournament was wide open for the taking. But ESPN’s Rick Reilly says seemingly, nobody wanted it: “The best players in the world came to the best golf course in the world and played everywhere but the golf course. The played out of junk, they played out of rocks, they played out of beaches. ... It was the open they really should have closed. It was the open nobody seemed to want to win. ... Pebble Beach seemed to be a mountain nobody could climb. I’m just happy nobody hurt themselves, or got electrocuted.”
The biggest surprise of the tournament was the performance of an unknown qualifier: Frenchman Gregory Havret. He came within one stroke of forcing a playoff with McDowell for the championship. Sky News interviews him on his life changing experience: “I’m probably in between the best surprise of my life, and the best disappointment too. I’m second which is probably the worst place, but in another hand it's such a dream.”
Dublin's The Irish Independent says McDowell was built to handle the incredible mental grind of golf’s toughest test: “McDowell's a phenomenal warrior, one of that special sporting breed who can turn butterflies into bullets.”

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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cloud Computing in Plain English

What is cloud computing? Here is an explanation in plain English:

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

Newsy: Sweden's Royal Wedding Sparks Controversy

The king of Sweden has agreed to pay for half of his daughter's wedding, being called the most lavish since Princess Diana and Prince Charles'. But taxpayers aren't happy about footing the other half.
“Today the King of Sweden hosted the most lavish royal wedding since Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s. His daughter is the princess bride, Victoria but the groom… Daniel Westling, who shed a tear during his vows, is from a very different world: the gym.”
Sweden rejoiced as a fairy-tale wedding unfolded in front of them. However, the 20 million kronor, or 2.63 million dollar, wedding bill has sapped the joy out of some people, mainly the taxpayers who will be responsible for at least half of the cost of the wedding.
We're analyzing coverage from CNN, The Local and The Wall Street Journal.
Although the popularity of the monarchy has dropped down from 62 percent to 56 percent over the past 6 years, CNN reports the Swedish are looking forward to the wedding and the opportunities it will bring: “We hope the wedding is going to be very good for us and good for Stockholm. Asa Norberg runs a souvenir shop at the heart of old town. After losing almost a third of her normal customer volume to the financial crisis she's hoping the royal wedding will turn things around.”
The Local, a Swedish English language news Web site, stated that the king has promised to absorb half the cost of the wedding, but that that will not include additional expenses, like free public transportation cost, extra security and a whole lot more: “A news program at the weekend stated that the government allocated 40 million kronor ($5.7 million) to renovate a palace near Stockholm that the couple will live in. Another 8 million kronor ($1.14 million) over two years has been granted to run the place.”
Stockholm has also invested millions into a two-week long festival celebrating the occasion. They are expecting huge returns. But, The Wall Street Journaldiscovered, Sweden might have overestimated the royal’s popularity. Of the 2,300 journalists covering the wedding, only 700 were non-Swedes. It found a business student who tried to rent out his property for the event: “No one was interested. I guess there were too many of us thinking the same thing.”
So what do you think of the Swedish wedding? ‘Happily ever after’ for the people? Or should tax-payers get a spending pre-nup?

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

Newsy: England Team Facing Criticism

English fans and critics are calling for changes to the national team after two lackluster performances.
Steve McManaman: “Everyone was just deeply frustrated, wasn’t it? We’re all trying to put our finger on it, why everyone is, why everything has gone wrong at the moment. And nobody knows the answer...” (ESPN)
Add the English football team to the ranks of the frustrated and underachieving, after ties with the United States and Algeria. 
Now, with one game remaining against Slovenia, coach Fabio Capello is hearing boos from English football fans, and is getting advice on what to do with the team from former players and coaches.
We’re analyzing what has happened to England from ESPN, The Sunday Mirror, South Africa’s Independent Online, and Sky News sports.
How much dissatisfaction is there? The Sunday Mirror reports, South African authorities arrested English fan Pavlos Joseph after he barged in on the team to berate them after the nil-nil draw with Algeria: “Mortgage advisor Pavlos Joseph stumbles into dressing room while looking for toilet and reads stunned team the riot act ... [and tells] the multi-millionaire failures: ‘You are a disgrace.’”
After the game, striker Wayne Rooney lashed out at the fans...fans who have been loudly booing their national team: “Nice to see the home fans boo ya. Thanks for really supporting us.” (BBC)
But maybe he brought it on himself. 
Going into the game against Algeria, Rooney said his team wouldn’t need to be at its best to beat the Algerians. Algerian striker Ryad Boudebouz told South Africa’s Independent Online, that made a tie, rewarding: "It's true that getting a draw made us particularly happy because of the way the English under-estimated us with their comments in the media in the run-up to the match.”
Former England international Steve McManaman tells ESPN, the players are under a lot of pressure, but that’s no excuse: “You can’t just blame the pressure of playing for England. That’s counted. That’s been there forever. But they need to improve, because if they do find a way to beat Slovenia, which is not a given at the moment, and progress, they could meet a Germany or Serbia or a Ghana the way their group is fluctuating at the moment, and that’s going to be a really important game.”
And Slovenia is well aware of the pressure facing the English team. The team’s goalkeeper tells Sky Sports, England is in a slumber: "I hope England do not wake up against us... England have some big names in their squad, but in their first two matches they showed they weren't superior to their rivals in the group."
So what do think is wrong with England in the World Cup? And will they snap out of it in time to advance?

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

Newsy: Harry Potter Theme Park Opens

Thousands came out for opening of 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter' at Universal Orlando. However, some say the theme park is too expensive.
Harry Potter fans around the globe are excited for the newest addition to Universal Orlando Resort — The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. 
The Orlando Sentinel got these images of opening day — thousands crowded the entrance.
The attraction is getting rave reviews from the likes of MSNBC, WEWS, and WFTS. 
“The wait is over. Now, Harry Potter fans from across the world who have read and watched the wizarding journeys from J.K. Rowling’s Potter saga can finally experience Harry’s world for themselves.” (MSNBC)
“The park is a replica of the town of Hogsmead and the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and had glowing reports.” (WEWS)
“You want to know what’s the best thing about this? Take a look at the detail. This is Hogwarts castle behind me and it’s just amazing what they’ve done here because you walk here and it’s like you’re walking onto the movie." (WFTS)
Fans have waited five years for this, and while it seems most people are pleased with the park, critics are expressing disdain over high costs. The Wallet Pop andBBC highlight the pricey problem: …“and you can only buy it here, and it’ll cost you. Golden snitches, fifteen dollars. Omioculars, thirty-five dollars. Sneak-o-Scopes, fifteen dollars. Remembrall, thirteen dollars.” (Wallet Pop) 
“If you want to dress like one of the Hogwarts kids this is going to send you back a hundred dollars. This little wand here is Hermione’s wand. This is thirty bucks. And if you want to ride the same broomstick as Harry Potter himself, this Firebolt is three-hundred dollars.” (BBC) 
The park is so expensive that some don’t think they will be able to afford it. One mother tells The Stir: “…that adds up to $296 for entry only to one park for a family of four with two kids under age 9. ... More power to you if you can afford to make this trip, but this adventure isn't going to make my family's summer vacation plans…”
So what do you think of the new theme park? Is the magic worth the money?
WRITER: Jessica Duong

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Humour: How does the Vuvuzela work?


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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Newsy: Spain Facing Economic Crisis

After discussion at EU’s summit meeting Thursday, the global community is attempting to evaluate and shore-up what some are calling Spain’s economic debt crisis.
We’re analyzing coverage from CNBC, BBC, euronews, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine.
First, multiple perspectives on that crisis from some of the people who know it best, on the BBC, CNBC, and Euronews.
“There has been this increase in debt ratio. For some countries, this is really serious, like in the case of Greece, for instance. Some countries are in the middle, like Germany or France. Some countries are in a rather good situation compared to the debt ratio, and I’m thinking about Spain." (BBC)
“We’re not seeing anything yet that suggests that there is a risk that they will have to resort to European stroke IMF funding yet.” (CNBC)
“The European Commission categorically denied a report that the EU, IMF and U.S. Treasury were drawing up a liquidity plan for Spain.” (Euronews)
Although an IMF bailout is not necessary in the works now, the road to Europe’s economic recovery hinges on Spain. Unicredit Group Chief Economist Marco Annunziata describes Spain as “the Euro-zone’s linchpin...”: “…accounting for almost 12 percent of the area’s G.D.P. ... If Spain fails, the Euro-zone’s wheels will come off, derailing the continent’s recovery and its financial system.” (The New York Times)
TIME writer Michael Schuman agrees with the IMF, saying that overall Spanish PM Zapatero is “moving in the right direction.”: “His cabinet approved a labor reform bill to encourage hiring and make the labor market more flexible.”
But he also adds: “Much more needs to get done, like financial sector reform.”
An ING banking expert tells CNBC, financial sector reform must also be implemented throughout the European Union: “Let’s again be honest and say that if you want the Euro to survive, you need a credit union followed by some sort of partial fiscal union.”
So what do you think? Is Spain in economic trouble? Can it survive without a bailout? Does the Eurozone as a whole need fundamental reform? 
WRITER: Kelly Hagen

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Newsy: Internet 'Kill Switch' Proposed

A new bill would give President Obama the power to shut down the Internet in the event of a cyber attack which could compromise national security.
A new bill in Congress could give the president what’s being called an Internet kill switch, spurring outcry that it would give the government too much power.
We’re looking at perspectives from CNN, American Public Media, The Volokh Conspiracy Blog, The Inquisitor, The Portland Mercury Blog and Instapundit.
The bill would give the president the power to issue measures that Internet companies would have to comply with in case of a cyber attack which could comprimise national security. The president would be able to shut down parts of the Internet. It’s sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee. CNN expands on the bill.
KIRAN CHETRY: “Senator Lieberman has long supported government regulation of the Internet, but this new bill goes even further in the handling of emergency powers, handing them over to the Feds.”
American Public Media’s Marketplace says the idea of a cyber attack is not all that far-fetched, and The Volokh Conspiracy blog says, iif an attacked occurred, the president would have the ability to protect the country: “The Pentagon and private companies like Google already fend off millions of attacks every day.”
“If another country launches a computer network attack on U.S. infrastructure, do we want the president to look as helpless as he looks today in response to the BP spill?”
Fox News reports that the bill is supported by many Internet companies because it would protect them from civil lawsuits and reimburse them if the Internet was shut down. The Inquisitir says this isn’t surprising: “…the typical sweet deal being dangled in front of the companies to con them into signing on this stupidity…”
The Portland Mercury blog is astounded that a senator would even conceive an idea like this: “That activating a ‘kill switch’ would not only bring our economy to a near-screeching halt, but could possibly cause irreparable damage? It sincerely blows my mind that this person is allowed anywhere near the federal government!”
Finally, an Instapundit blog explains that something like this could cause public chaos: “WHAT COULD GO WRONG? ... If they shut down the Internet, I’m getting my gun. And I think everyone should take it as a signal to do the same -- because one way or the other it means the country’s under attack.”
What do you think? Should the government have control of the Internet in case of a cyber attack? If so, does this bill provide the right amount?

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

Weather Forecast for London

Click for Londres, Reino Unido Forecast

4th ESO students travelling to London next Friday 25th might be interested in knowing what the weather will be like. Check these sites before packing your suitcases:

Click for Londres, Reino Unido Forecast

Historical Summary for June 25th to June 30th


The Average High Temperature is 21 C with a historical range of 12 C to 31 C
The Average Low Temperature is 12 C with a historical range of 7 C to 17 C

There is a 0% chance of a Hot Day (temperature over 90°F / 32°C).
(0 days out of 78 in historical record)
Most consecutive days found in historic record: 0

There is a 99% chance of a Warm Day (temperature over 60°F / 16°C).
(77 days out of 78 in historical record)
Most consecutive days found in historic record: 6

There is a 0% chance of a Freezing Day (temperature below 32°F / 0°C).
(0 days out of 78 in historical record)
Most consecutive days found in historic record: 0

Cloud Cover

Average Cloud Cover is partly cloudy
There is a 42% chance of a Cloudy Day (31 days out of 74 in historical record)
Most consecutive days found in historic record: 5


The Average Wind is 11 km/h with a historical range of 2 km/h to 26 km/h
There is a 8% chance of a Windy Day (average wind over 10 mph / 15km/h) (6 days out of 78 in historical record)
Most consecutive days found in historic record: 2


The Average High Dew Point is 13 C with a historical range of 7 C to 17 C
The Average Low Dew Point is 8 C with a historical range of 1 C to 13 C
There is a 13% chance of a Humid Day (dew point over 65°F / 18°C) (10 days out of 78 in historical record)
Most consecutive days found in historic record: 2

Daily Observations 25th-30th June 2009

2009Temp. (°C)Punto de Rocío (°C)Humedad: (%)Presión al Nivel del Mar (hPa)Visibilidad (km)Wind (km/h)Velocidad de Ráfagas (km/h)Precip (cm)Eventos

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