Friday, July 30, 2010

Masa the Pooh?

Quite Felipe... I'm sure you're not a "Number Two" either!

As you can see, Masa bares no resemblance to a "number two", nor does he look anything like Bono [see South Park Episode "More Crap", Season 11, Episode 9].

Relax Felipe, don't worry. We all still love you more than Alonso!

Image Source: BBC Sport, Formula 1; Google Images

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Planktons Lost

In a recent BBC article, it was reported that the world is suffering the dangerous decline of plankton in the oceans.

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say the [plankton] decline appears to be linked to rising water temperatures.

This for me is really irritating. Why do they automatically blame the 1% per year decline immediately on "global warming". At this point, still no convincing evidence can be given for the theory of "global warming".

Could it not be that the cut on whaling means that more whales are around and that they are eating up more of these microscopic animals in the bottom of the food chain? Maybe the world's whale population is a lot more than we actually know about.

Do we have eyes in every part of the vast oceans that cover 71% of the globe? How can we be certain that the temperatures are rising? I'm sure the temperature hasn't changed at all at certain depths in the ocean since it's so cold and dark down there anyways.

Anyways, towards the end of the article, you get the sense that they actually don't know what is going on. And worst of all, they seem to bring up the conclusion that they don't really know why they even bothered with the article.

You know what? The Earth has been around for so long, and species adapt to continually changing conditions and environments. If they didn't, they die. Sound Darwinian? That's because it is. Science is about fact, not about assumptions and guesstimates.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Top Gear - Series 15, Episode 5

Wow! What an exhilarating episode of Top Gear tonight on BBC2. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz and Ayrton Senna.

For some time now, I've felt that Top Gear has lost the plot. They just don't have that extra something which made me fall in love with the show. Granted, they've been doing stupid "challenges" since the beginning - I recall Jezza driving to France to look at crappy German wine in a Citroën van. But the substance has been lost, and I felt it was a real pity.

However, since last weekend, the show is back in its former glory!

The stupid motorhome challenge was, well... Stupid, but it was hilariously funny. Especially when Jezza sends most of his time screaming across the English countryside. It was fun to see the review on the Audi R8 Spyder and also to see Andy Garcia driving around in a crappy Korean car.

But tonight was different.

The BBC News team have been helping publicise tonight's show quite a bit since two of Hollywood's biggest names were gracing the dreary old airfield where they film Top Gear. I was worried though. I was expecting a massively hyped up show which then produces nothing special.

How wrong I was.

The only low point of the show was the Toureg vs. snowmobiles segment. But even so, that wasn't half bad.

James May's piece on the Veyron Super Sport was absolutely fantastic especially when it was maxed first by James and then the Bugatti test driver to 431 km/h! It was exhilarating just to see it (on very poor quality streaming TV, until I can get the HD version later on). Then it did a lap! Joy of joys! And it beat the rest to top the lap board!

But then the big shots came on. The actress Jezza forever talks about when trying to find a metaphor for beauty, Cameron Diaz, and the actor we all seem to have a love-hate relationship with, Tom Cruise. They were brilliant and funny. Cameron, even though never one of my favourite actresses, and I don't think she is that good looking, spent some time promoting the Toyota Prius, which was very nice. And guess what? They topped the lap board too! With very, very exciting laps - Tom Cruise came home with only the two wheels on the right-hand side of the car still on the ground.

Then came the finale, after a very exciting, action packed episode. An Ayrton Senna tribute. It wasn't some stupid public service announcement like the one Jezza made with a British Rail train slamming into some Renault people carrier. No, it was a proper, clean, and wonderful presentation of the life of the great Senna. You know what? I think it was a fantastic thing to do. It will bring a brand new generation of people to know one of the greatest racing drivers who ever lived. People like this should always be cherished and never forgotten.

Bleeding fantastic! I hope next week will be as good or better!

As the Comic Book Guy says: "Best. Episode. Ever!"

By the way, is it just me or does anyone else think that Top Gear will start benefiting from the lack of a proper entertainment genre talk show after Jonathan Ross packed up and left from BBC to ITV? If you recall, during Ross' absence after that furore with Russell Brand in 2008, Top Gear had some interesting A level guests like Mark Wahlberg. Maybe more big names will be sitting on those ugly green car seats soon? Jeff Goldblum is next I believe!

Image source: BBC Top Gear

Rule 39.1

"I don't know what happened. Felipe was slow coming out of the corner. So... It's very difficult to judge"
- Fernando Alonso, post-race press conference
2010 F1 German Grand Prix
"I don't think I need to speak anything about that. He passed me."
- Felipe Massa, post-race press conference
2010 F1 German Grand Prix
Well, we had a final resurgence from Ferrari again after such a long time. Sadly the conditions were not quite brilliant. It seemed that Ferrari gave their drivers a clear team order. While Masa was leading, he received a radio message from his engineer that Alonso was faster. Shortly after that, Alonso overtook and took the lead to the end of the race.
"Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?"
- Rob Smedley, Masa's race engineer, during the race

From a team's point of view, it makes a lot of sense. Masa was slowing down a bit and pushing Alonso into Vettel in third. If they kept it up, it could have gone two ways. Either Alonso will be so held up he would have ended up behind Vettel. On the other hand, they could have pushed forwards a bit more and kept the Masa-Alonso one-two finish. Still, the decision taken during the race saw Masa fall to second.

The eventual interview with the Ferrari Team Principle was quite clear. He was holding back information. Masa was also quite clear that he wasn't happy and wasn't really trying hide what people already knew. Alonso did his best to lie during the press conference, but nothing much at that point could stop the chatter in the world of Formula 1.

Rule 39.1 in the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations states:
"39.1 Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited."
That wasn't really a team order, purely by the message. But anyways, the result was quite clear to us all. However, Michael Schumacher made a relatively neutral and realistic comment that the point of the race is to win the championship. The team has to do what they think is right for them to achieve that goal.

Was it necessary though, half way through the championship?

UPDATE 19:13 CET: Ferrari has been fined $100 000 for breaching the F1 Sporting Regulations. The results form today's race stands but the incident is now referred to the World Motorsport Council so further actions could still be taken.

Image source: BBC F1

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Exactly How I Feel...

*Sniff* *sniff*... How accurate.

(click to view)

Image source: Madam & Eve,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

World Cup Closing Ceremony

It's starting to get really weird. I thought that when the World Cup is over, I would stop posting articles about it. But it's been about three days since the final goal was scored, and the trophy awarded, and I still find myself coming up with things to post. I think deep down it is linked to my usual withdrawal symptoms, and still trying to latch on to a great event. Nothing wrong with that!

I have finally been able to catch the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa held just before the Finals on Sunday. For some reason it was not shown on British TV - although I wasn't expecting much since the Opening Ceremony was aired by ITV with a number of adverts in between cutting the already short event even shorter.

I think we all have vivid memories of the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The masses of people involved. The precision for these performers in their thousands. The amazing LED technologies incorporated to showcase modern China... etc... etc. They easily set the bar for all future international sporting events. Actually, they raised it to a point where most organisers spent considerable time thinking if it was possible to even aim for such as high level showpiece.

It was a worrying thought for the ceremonies for this World Cup. South Africa doesn't have the resources and capacity to put up such a show. The budget for this even has already stretched the country's coffers by a considerable amount, so it has to be impossible. After watching both Opening and Closing Ceremonies now, though, I have come to a rather startling conclusion:

  • Yes, we didn't have as many performers as there were in the Olympics. That's because we have a 48 million population versus over 1 billion in China.
  • Yes, the performance and settings were not in such a level of perfection as it was in the Olympics, in fact there were a lot of flaws. But it somehow worked. That's how it is in Africa, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
  • Yes, technology wise... Not so spectacular. But it was still entertaining nevertheless. And an old technique was used to give it an extra grand feel to the event, something the Germans used in the 1920s and 1930s - searchlights. Using big powerful beams of light, they were able to extend the confines of the stadium to a different level to produce, really, a "cathedral of light." Good job!
  • Yes, the stadiums may not be as amazingly techie as it was in the Olympics, but you know what? Soccer City, in Johannesburg, and Cape Town Stadium are both absolutely fantastic examples of creative and fantastic architecture.

Anyways, no other nation in the world can boast a former leader of their country who has such a status as His Greatness, Nelson Rolihlala Mandela. I think if he simply came onto the middle of the pitch, we don't need the cathedral of light, or Shakira. It will be more than enough to set the crowd alight, not just in the stadium, but around the world! You know what? Forget the match all together!

Good job South Africa! You've made all of us living abroad exceedingly proud to be African, especially - South African!

Image source: AP, AFP


Vu-vu-ze-la [pronounced: /vuːvuːˈzɛlə/]

noun (plural vu-vu-ze-las)


1. plastic horn: typically a 65cm plastic blowing horn that produces a loud, distinctive monotone note around B♭3 (the B♭ below middle C). Originating from South Africa, it is used at major sports events.

Guys, get it right. It's not a "vuvuzuela" or "bubuzela" or whatever it has been called in the past month around the world. It's not from Venezuela, so no need to stick "zuela" at the end. OK?

Source: Wikipedia, compiled courtesy of Krypton Zone (c) 2010 Entertainment

BBC's "New" Look

The BBC News website launched its new look today. I find the "new" look a bit similar to's revamp over 12 months ago. Personally, I don't like it very much, but that's probably because I'm so used to the old set up that it will take some time for me to get into it again. I hope so, for their sake. Otherwise I'll just pack up and go to another news outlet with a website that I like!

Image source: BBC News, CNN International

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally... I Got It!

See the resemblance?

Image source: Reuters, Fox Entertainment

Wacky Weather

Here it is, before I sign off for the night, a crazy wacky screenshot I took last night from my weather report. Just before the third place play-off match yesterday, a terrifying thunderstorm hit Brussels, and most of northern Belgium. It started with a few drops, then a massive downpour chucking bucket loads of water into the city causing flash floods. The following gale force winds knocked trees over and caused general havoc. All this following days 30°C+ heatwaves going through Europe.

What was really weird is that there were golf ball-sized hail falling from the sky. Of course, my weather report reports that it is snowing in 27°C... Are you serious? I'm sure that is scientifically impossible!

Image source: MSN Weather

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spain Wins!

Spain wins the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa!

Spain 1 - 0 Netherlands (116' Iniesta)

Out great Father of the Nation, Nelson Mandela, garnered the biggest applause and cheers when he made his brief appearance at the World Cup Closing Ceremony much to the delight of everyone in the world. Thank you Madiba for making it possible to once again be reminded how proud we should be as South Africans.

Sadly, this Final was definitely not a classic. The Dutch players were far too dirty and far too aggressive to make it one. I've given up counting cards after 13 yellows and 1 red. That massive karate kick was just terrifying. Poor Iniesta though... Finally made it through the Dutch wall of terror after being fouled way too many times.

I'm really happy Spain won, and it was absolutely great to see that they've already had shirts made with their well-deserved first star in anticipation of their win tonight!

Stealing the FIFA World Cup Trophy?

As the big game was about to start today, while the players were still in the tunnels, I was thinking: why does no one just run onto the pitch and grab the World Cup Trophy? The gleaming Trophy was sitting on a plinth in the middle of the pitch with absolutely no-one within striking distance to guard it.

If you were watching the match, you would have seen that the players in the tunnel were hurriedly asked to shift to the right and make way. Well, it was a space for a pitch invader, who actually tried to get to the Trophy before the match, to be whisked away. Apparently, reports suggest he was trying to put a hat on the trophy.

While he was about arm length to the Trophy, the security guards finally caught on and exercised that age old, banned, tradition of a rugby high tackle to take him down. It took no less than 7 other personnel to remove him through the tunnel.

Fantastic! Pity it didn't make it onto the TV.

Oh yeah... It's currently 70min into the game, and it's still 0-0 with some pretty good chances. Best one coming about 30 seconds ago by David Villa.

Image source: Reuters, AP, AFP, Eurosport

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Robin Hood (2010)

Having been rather busy with the World Cup in the past couple of weeks, it's finally time for me to write a quick word on the latest movie I've watched.

The toss up for my movie night was between Toy Story 3, The A-Team and the movie my friends and I ended up watching: Robin Hood. Having heard really good things about Toy Story, that would have been the movie of choice, but it would be better for my friends to take their kids there than a "guys' night out." The A-Team seemed to be a bit poor based on reviews, but spoke to us quite well as it was something we all enjoyed back in the day. Still... Robin Hood it was.

I didn't know what to expect. I hardly read up on the movie at all before going due to time constraints - yes, it has something to do with the World Cup as mentioned earlier. I saw the trailer some time ago but didn't really think much of it. It was indeed something I would like to have seen during the year though. However, I do recall hearing something about Russell Crowe getting into some issues with the press when they attacked him for changing his accent half-way through the movie.

Do you know what? I didn't notice it at all. The reason for that, I believe, is because the movie was so flowing and action packed that you just don't care if he decided to talk like an Indian (which he didn't, of course).

I thought the movie was quite fantastic. It takes a very well established theme and pretty much turns it around so that it becomes nearly unrecognisable. You don't really get a chance to think what is really different because you are so drawn into the movie. There was some quite fantastic comedy bits in the movie, which was a bit uncharacteristic but well fitted anyways.

You know what? It was a bit like one of those "Beginnings" movies (i.e. Batman Begins, Star Trek, etc), but it doesn't come across like one until you think a bit about it afterwards. Some of them do it well, like the two I mentioned, and some of them are just disastrous.

Go watch it. It's worth it. It has something for everyone.

Image source: Universal Pictures

Uruguay 1 - 3 Netherlands

After two amazing goals in the first-half - one from each team, both long distance shots with the Jabulani ball ending up in the back of the net past a rather confounded goal keeper - the Dutch came in with two further goals in quick succession to take full control of the game. The Dutch goal was particularly breathtaking since nobody really thought it was going to go in. One of which could be off-side, but was a close call, took a deflection off the defender. The next came in the form of a classic header.

While I'm writing the post, Uruguay just came in on the 2nd of three minutes of stoppage time to claim a second goal to make it 2-3. But the Dutch confidently march into the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals!

Turned out to be a surprisingly interesting game. Much more than I imagined!

Germany Poised to Win 2010 FIFA World Cup

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I don't get this... I just turned on my laptop to see if anything interesting has happened in the world today. Everything in my world is pretty OK today. I've gotten myself a portable air conditioning unit which means I can finally sit at home without boiling away. But when I opened the BBC News web page, I got this:

Who the hell are these people and does anyone actually care? Seriously... It does not say anything to me and it is probably the least interesting thing happening right now. I would have stuck the Nadal victory at Wimbledon there since more people are interested in that than the Polish elections with people no one knows or cares!

Image source: BBCNews

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Paraguay 0 - 0 Spain

There's about 2 minutes before half-time, but this game seems to be one of the most boring games so far. After the absolutely inspiring match between Germany and Argentina, the game going on now is just plain boring... Both sides are defending badly, passing to the opponents, and the strikers don't seem to be very active.

To be quite frank... The players all look a bit bored themselves. No spark, no fire. They are just lolling around the pitch. Poor, poor, poor!

Magical Klose

Germany's Miroslav Klose has once again shown his colours during the 2010 World Cup's Quarter-finals match against Argentina with 2 goals bringing him 1 goal away to tie with Brazil's Ronaldo in all time goals in World Cup finals. Germany defeated Maradona's Argentina convincingly, and shockingly, 4-0. You just can't fault the German team today. Their defense was impenetrable and the attack was fluid and affective. Absolutely brilliant!

Image source: Getty Images: Joern Pollex,

Fiat 500 Abarth

I had the good fortune, actually fantastic luck, to test drive the Fiat 500 Abarth for an evening on Wednesday. Well... my reaction would pretty much be: Wow! It's really a fast fun little city car. It's got just about enough power to give you a little tingle, but also it's just tiny and can squeeze through some rather tight spaces in a very small European city. I also like the chunky sports steering wheel, although it feels a little out of proportion to the rest of the car. The ride comfort is also not as bad as you may think, but it does send a shock up the spine on some of the really big potholes in Brussels (same thing with my own car).

If I have a chance, I'll write more, but for now...

Image source: Krypton Zone (c) 2010 Entertainment