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Dakar 2011

January 20th, 2011 No comments

Taken from: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/01/dakar_2011.html

The 2011 edition of the Dakar Rally, being held in South America for the third year, is nearly complete, with competitors heading toward the finish line in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sunday, January 16th. This is the 32nd running of the rally, and over 400 Teams are competing in the race with 200 motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, 140 cars, and 67 trucks. In the end, racers will have traveled 9,500 km (5,900 mi) in 13 stages across spectacular and varied terrain in both Argentina and Chile. Collected here are a handful of images from this year’s race as it nears its end this weekend. [Editor's note: Next entry on 1/19] (42 photos total)

Giofil Aprillia’s Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, from Chile, rides his motorcycle during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Under a rain of confetti, Volkswagen’s driver Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz of Spain wave to fans during the Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally 2011 symbolic start in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

The Aprillia motorcycle of Francisco Lopez Contardo of Chile is reflected in his glasses during the technical verification exercise of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 in Buenos Aires December 31, 2010. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Volkswagen’s driver Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz, both from Spain, compete in the car category during the first stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Victoria and Cordoba, Argentina, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Czech Republic’s Martin Plechaty rides his Yamaha quad during the first stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Victoria and Cordoba, Argentina on Sunday Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

People watch from the Santa Rosa river as South Africa’s driver Giniel De Villiers steers his Volkswagen with German co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz, during the stage 1 Victoria-Cordoba of the Dakar 2011 Rally, on January 2, 2011. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Spain’s driver Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz on January 3, 2011 during the stage 2 Cordoba-Tucuman of the 2011 Dakar Rally. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A biker races in the third stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between San Miguel de Tucuman and Jujuy, Argentina, Tuesday Jan. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Daniel Garcia) #

Competitors ride their vehicles on January 11, 2011, during the stage 9 Copiapo – Copiapo of the 2011 Dakar Rally in the province of Atacama, Chile. (CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Congo’s biker Frank Verhoestraete rides his Aprilia during the 11th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Chilecito and San Juan, Argentina, Thursday Jan. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Volkswagen’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, and co-driver Timo Gottschalk, from Germany, compete in the 11th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Chilecito and San Juan, Argentina, Thursday,Jan. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Kamaz team masseur Bolat tends to driver Artur Ardavichus, both of Russia, at the camp at the conclusion of the 9th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, Tuesday Jan. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

People wash up at the Dakar camp before the start of the 10th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Copiapo, Chile and Chilecito, Argentina, Wednesday Jan. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Competitors start the ninth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Copiapo on January 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

France’s biker Cyril Despres is airborne while racing his KTM during the 10th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Copiapo, Chile, and Chilecito, Argentina, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Daniel Garcia, Pool) #

Followed by a TV helicopter, Volkswagen’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, of Qatar, and co-driver Timo Gottschalk, from Germany, race in the eighth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Antofagasta and Copiapo, Chile, Monday Jan. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Qatar’s driver Nasser Al-Attiyah steers his Volkswagen (bottom) with German co-driver Timo Gottschalk, followed by Spain’s driver Carlos Sainz with co-driver Lucas Cruz on January 10, 2011 on the stage 8 Atacama – Copiapo of the Dakar 2011 Rally. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Marc Coma, of Spain, races his KTM in the 10th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Copiapo, Chile, and Chilecito, Argentina, Wednesday Jan. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Stephane Mantey, Pool) #

Argentina’s Lucio Ezequiel Alvarez, driving a Subaru Forester, kicks up a cloud of dirt during the stage 10 of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Chile’s Copiapo to Argentina’s Chilecito on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Martin Zabala) #

Mexico’s Pedro de Uriarte and co-driver Moctezuma Fernando round a corner in their Predator x-18 during first leg of stage 3 between San Miguel de Tucumán and San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina on January 4th, 2011. (© Eric Testroete) #

Chile’s biker Ignacio Nicolas Casale falls from his Yamaha motorcycle during the eighth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Antofagasta and Copiapo, Chile, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

A journalist works after the end of the Dakar 2011 Rally fifth stage between Calama and Iquique on January 6, 2010, in Iquique, Chile. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A lathe operator works on a piece to fix a truck after the end of the Dakar 2011 Rally fifth stage between Calama and Iquique on January 6, 2010, in Iquique, Chile. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Motorcycle competitors prepare themselves at the checkpoint of the start of the 11th stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally, from Chilecito to San Juan January 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Mitsubishi’s driver Guilherme Spinelli and co-driver Youssef Haddad, both from Brazil, compete during the fourth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Jujuy, Argentina, and Calama, Chile, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Spectators attend the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Copiapo to Copiapo on January 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Spectators run for cover as Carlos Sainz of Spain drives his Volkswagen Touareg during the fifth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Calama to Iquique January 6, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

BMW car driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-paul Cottret, both from France, compete during the 9th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

South Africa’s driver Giniel De Villiers steers his Volkswagen with German co-driverv Dirk Von Zitzewitz on January 11, 2011 during stage 9 Copiapo – Copiapo of the 2011 Dakar Rally in the province of Atacama, Chile. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Argentina’s Alejandro Patronelli rides his Quad Yamaha on January 11, 2011, during the stage 9 Copiapo – Copiapo of the 2011 Dakar Rally in the province of Atacama, Chile. (CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Jincheng biker Baohua Han, left, from China, looks on after falling down from his motorcycle, not seen, during the seventh stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Arica and Antofagasta, Chile, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. At right, Kamaz driver Artur Ardavichus and co-driver Denis Berezovskiy, both from Russia, compete. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

A competitor rides in the dunes during the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Iquique to Arica January 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Chile’s biker Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez races his Aprilia in the seventh stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Arica and Antofagasta, Chile, Sunday Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

BMW’s driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret, both from France, compete during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

The finish line beside the camp set for competitors is seen from a helicopter during the fifth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Calama and Iquique in Chile, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

Miners, who were trapped for 69 days in a collapsed mine on 2010, from left, Ariel Ticona, Pedro Cortez, Victor Zamora, Dakar Rally director Etienne Lavigne, and miner Claudio Yanez, pose for pictures next to the Fenix 3, a backup rescue capsule that was never used during the miners’ rescue operation on Oct., 2010, at the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally camp in Copiapo, Chile, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

An assistent checks the tires of a car at the Dakar camp in Calama after the fourth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Jujuy, Argentina, and Calama, Chile, Wednesday Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) #

A marshal checks motorcycle competitors at the checkpoint of the start of the 11th stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally, from Chilecito to San Juan January 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Spain’s driver Carlos Sainz steers his Volkswagen with co-driver Lucas Cruz on January 10, 2011 on the stage 8 Atacama – Copiapo of the Dakar 2011 Rally. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Portugal’s biker Ruben Faria rides his KTM on January 9, 2011 on the stage 7 Arica-Atacama of the 2011 Dakar Rally, in Chile. (DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Carlos Sainz of Spain drives his Volkswagen Touareg during the ninth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Copiapo to Copiapo January 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Aprillia pilot Francisco Lopez Contardo of Chile rides during the sixth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Iquique to Arica January 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

These Things Project

January 17th, 2011 No comments

Ripley’s Stuff, in collaboration with Shereen’s Kak, has launched a new project.  These Things.

These Things was inspired by These Hands which was launched almost simultaneously.  These Things will go broad into various “Things”, namely:  These Heads, These Feet.  I’m sure you get the picture.

So, head on over to These Hands and sign-up.  You can simply use your Facebook credentials or for those who do not FB can simply register.

Test NetworkedBlogs

January 7th, 2011 No comments

Testing NetworkedBlogs

Categories: General Tags:

Beware of Power Balance placebo bracelet

January 6th, 2011 No comments

Article taken from: http://www.health24.com/fitness/FitnessDoc_articles/16-4596,60432.asp

The Power Balance bracelet worn by high profile sports stars to improve their athletic prowess has been exposed as a sham. Here’s Dr Ross Tucker’s take on it.

Power balance: “We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims.”

The above statement should come as no surprise, given what history has shown us about companies that make such claims about products ranging from supplements to holographic stickers.

What is different is that the above quote comes directly from Power Balance, who are responsible for making the now ubiquitous holographic bracelets that are worn by celebrities, sports stars, and members of the public in such huge numbers that if you go down to your local gym and you don’t have one, you feel like the odd one out.

Power Balance placebo bracelet

Somebody is making a fortune of what is basically a placebo effect, a psychological benefit of wearing a bracelet that initially claimed to harness the body’s natural energy field to improve.  From their website, it “optimizes the body’s natural energy flow”, which improves strength, endurance and flexibility.  All without evidence of course.  And I would be the first to point out that the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of the absence of an effect.

However, in this case, the fact that not a single study exists is very telling.  Why?  Because proving whether these gimmicks work is so simple that a high-school student could conduct the study.  Yet nothing has emerged. And that’s because there is no incentive to provide the science – the science does not matter, the marketing does, and so Power Balance has invested into celebrity endorsement and viral marketing, not research.  With good reason – research destroys their credibility.  I’ll discuss this in much more detail in a post early next week.

For today, just the report on the findings of the Commission.  Below is the statement they issued in response to an investigation from Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission, which exposed them as a sham.  The huge verdict resulted in Power Balance admitting that they had no evidence, that they had misled consumers, and promising to refund customers who feel misled by the advertising claims.  The statement below will appear in 20 magazines in Australia.

“CORRECTIVE ADVERTISEMENT: Power Balance Wrist Bands

In our advertising we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility.

We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologise and offer a full refund.

To obtain a refund please visit our website www.powerbalance.com.au or contact us toll-free on 1800 733 436

This offer will be available until 30th June 2011. To be eligible for a refund, together with return postage, you will need to return a genuine Power Balance product along with proof of purchase (including credit card records, store barcodes and receipts) from an authorised reseller in Australia.

This Corrective Notice has been paid for by Power Balance Australia Pty Ltd and placed pursuant to an undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission given under section 87B of the Trade Practices Act, 1974.”

I hope that this is the catalyst for more of the same around the world.

Many of you will no doubt be thinking “so what.  If it’s a placebo effect, it doesn’t matter, as long as it works”.  And this is a topic certainly worth discussing.  But that’s for another time, so join me next week when I’ll look a little more closely at Power Balance bracelets, some of the claims they made, and how the lack of science was part of the strategy.  It’s a great case study in the clash of incentives between marketing and credibility, and should stimulate some good discussion.

And finally, I have no objection to members of the public, celebrities and even individual sportspeople wearing the bracelet.  However, if you are a sports scientist, a personal trainer or biokineticist/strength and conditioning coach who works with athletes and sports teams, and you wear this bracelet, then you are unwittingly (or perhaps knowingly) endorsing the sham “science”. After all, all you have is your scientific “credibility” – it is your value to your athletes and clients.  So rather than simply following the herd, think that perhaps your endorsement strips away your own credibility.

Dr Ross Tucker, is Health24’s FitnessDoc and has a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Cape Town and a Post-Graduate degree in Sports Management from the UCT’s Faculty of Commerce. He is currently employed at the University of Cape Town and Sports Science Institute of South Africa, and works as a consultant to various sporting teams, including South African Sevens, Canoeing, Rowing and Triathlon SA. He also blogs on www.sportsscientists.com)

PEOPLE ARE AWESOME

December 2nd, 2010 No comments

PEOPLE ARE AWESOME

Incredible video of amazing stunts, some too hard to believe…

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November 28th, 2010 No comments

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Categories: General Tags:

Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain

November 22nd, 2010 No comments

About this talk
We’re bringing gameplay into more aspects of our lives, spending countless hours — and real money — exploring virtual worlds for imaginary treasures. Why? As Tom Chatfield shows, games are perfectly tuned to dole out rewards that engage the brain and keep us questing for more.

About Tom Chatfield
Tom Chatfield thinks about games — what we want from them, what we get from them, and how we might use our hard-wired desire for a gamer’s reward to change the way we learn.