Sport

Springboks vs All Blacks (WC 2015)

It’s a massive rugby day today: World Cup Semi with the Springboks (South Africa) vs. the All Blacks (NZ) at Twickenham.

News 24 will have live updates.

And Twitter, as always, will be abuzz.

80 minutes of war between two historic great rivals.

I’ll tell you, my heart says: ‘Springboks’, but my head says another: ‘All Blacks’…

Oh well, all I’ll say then is: ‘Go Bokke!!’

UPDATE: Final scores: South Africa 18-20 New Zealand.

😦

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Culture

Predictions

This is something I haven’t done before, but given that it’s New Year’s Eve, how about we make some predictions about the coming year? So mine are as follows:

  • 2013 will be tougher than 2012
  • The Church of England will make a way for Bishopesses
  • Israel’s gonna kick Iran back to the Stone Age
  • Persecution of Christians will increase
  • The iPad 5 will be out
  • The divide between those in the Ordinariate and those not will only grow deeper
  • The (complete) Ignatius Study Bible will be nearing completion (Scott Hahn: PLEASE!)
  • And the Blue Bulls will win the Super 15

So what do you think will happen in 2013?

Next year, this time, we’ll see how well we did! Cf. Deuteronomy 18:22.

 

Culture

A Cardboard Bicycle

That can change the world. So says the Israeli inventor:

Israel (Reuters) – A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world’s most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.

Izhar Gafni, 50, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.

He told Reuters during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error, his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.

“I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard’s weak structural points,” Gafni said.

“Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right,” he said.

Cardboard, made of wood pulp, was invented in the 19th century as sturdy packaging for carrying other more valuable objects, it has rarely been considered as raw material for things usually made of much stronger materials, such as metal.

Once the shape has been formed and cut, the cardboard is treated with a secret concoction made of organic materials to give it its waterproof and fireproof qualities. In the final stage, it is coated with lacquer paint for appearance.

In testing the durability of the treated cardboard, Gafni said he immersed a cross-section in a water tank for several months and it retained all its hardened characteristics.

Once ready for production, the bicycle will include no metal parts, even the brake mechanism and the wheel and pedal bearings will be made of recycled substances, although Gafni said he could not yet reveal those details due to pending patent issues.

“I’m repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go to production, the bike will have no metal parts at all,” Gafni said…

There’s more here.

 

Church

Religion at the Olympics, from Ancient Greece to London

Religion News Service:

A 600-foot footrace was the only athletic event at the first Olympics, a festival held in 776 B.C. and dedicated to Zeus, the chief Greek god.

For the next millennium, Greeks gathered every four years in Olympia to honor Zeus through sports, sacrifices and hymns. The five-day festival brought the Greek world together in devotion to one deity.

What began in ancient Greece as a festival to honor a single god, Zeus, has now become an almost Olympian task, as organizers of the games navigate dozens of sacred fasts, religious rituals and holy days.

The London Olympics will try to accommodate religious athletes with 193 chaplains, a prayer room in every venue and a multifaith center in the Olympic Village.

Athletes at the ancient Olympics believed their training honored the gods, and victory was a sign of favor from a deity. As contests like wrestling, boxing, and horse racing were added to the Olympic roster, they supplemented devotional sacrifices, hymns, and ceremonies.

“The idea was that you were training to please Zeus. But part of the festival would be to visit the temple, visit the cult statues, making offerings, celebrating and seeing your family,” said David Gilman Romano, a professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona.

The combination of Greek sport and worship led the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, to ban the Olympics in 393 A.D.

The Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 after excavations at Olympia renewed public interest in the athletics and pageantry of the Olympics.

Though not sectarian, the modern games began to take on their own quasi-religious rituals.

Coubertin borrowed ceremonies, hymns, and rituals from the ancient festival to shape a transcendent “Olympism,” uniting all athletes. Some scholars today refer to his creation as a “civil religion.”

“The civil religion was not so much the worship or devotion to the state, as it is often now understood,” explained Joseph Price, a professor of religion at Whittier College in California who researches sport and religion. Devotion “was to the civitas, the human group that transcended a particular religion.”

Over the years, the International Olympic Committee and host states introduced “new” symbols to bolster Olympism, said Stephen Mosher, professor of sport management and media at Ithaca College in New York.

Still, the modern games have touches from the ancient past…

Rest here.