Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: South America

Monday July 14 2014

I have just done a comment at Samizdata, on this (about the recently concluded football World Cup in which England did its usual rather badly (although it did at least get there)), saying this:

I agree with the first comment, about how, if individualism explains this, England (England perhaps more than Britain) ought to be winning tennis, golf, swimming etc., routinely.

I think much depends on what a country (to use collective shorthand) just considers important, for several years rather than just for a few weeks.  Like it or hate it (personally I hate it) Britain, definitely including England, put in a mighty effort (both individual and collective) to make a success (but damn the cost) of the 2012 Olympics, both as an event and by winning a ton of medals.

But from what I hear from football fans, English football takes winning the Premier League, and then doing well in European club competition, more seriously than doing well in the World Cup.  The feeling I get is that the winning England footballer is the one who makes the most money throughout his career.  A former Spurs manager recently talked about how some of his players would fake injury, and wanted his help to do this, to avoid being picked for England.  That would knacker them to no personal career purpose.

Plus, there is this huge split between regular English fans who support their clubs week in week out, and people like me who watch the World Cup but not a lot else.  That Germany Brazil game was the most memorable football game in years, for me.  For a proper fan, it would be some obscure promotion battle or an amazing away draw against a European club that got their team to the last sixteen of the Champions League, or whatever.  For a Man U supporter it would be that remarkable last ditch win against Bayern in the Champions League final.

Sadly, I think politicians have a big influence on this.  The kind of power and money they command doesn’t make successful countries out here in the real world (Brazil, Argentina, etc.), quite the reverse.  But it can make national sporting effort more successful, if by that you mean more medals and trophies.  Angela Merkel is a big fan of her now triumphant football team.  I wonder what else she and Germany’s other politicians did to support them, other than her showing up for lots more of their games than she had to.

Sport.  War by other means.  Discuss.

That last point is one I definitely want to write about more in the nearish future.  How A-bombs and H-bombs have made all out war between Great Powers impossible, and caused an unprecedented outbreak of peace between Great Powers, and thus caused national rivalry to express itself in sport rather than war.  That kind of thing.

Tuesday July 08 2014

Yes, I’m watching this bizarre game.

A commentator said of Brazil’s defenders that they are all over the place, or some such phrase, and added:

It’s like a testimonial match.

For you Brazil, ze turnament iss over.

My prediction?  Germany 5 Brazil 2.  My thinking?  Momentum will shift.  Brazil will be desperate - desperate - not to be further humiliated.  Germany will spare them further humiliation and save their energy for the final.

Vee shell see.

Hansen and Shearer of the BBC are now raking it over at half time.  Were Germany brilliant (Shearer), or Brazil awful (Hansen)?

LATER: I had a feeling about this game when I set the video recorder. But I hoped that it wouldn’t go to extra time because there is something else I want to record, starting at 11.30 pm.  Please let regular time not end all square.  Something tells me that my prayer will be answered.

FINAL SCORE: Brazil 1 Germany 7.  Well, Brazil did score a goal.  Right at the end.  Just after Germany had missed making it eight nothing.

The Spaniards may now be feeling a bit less bad.

Thursday June 03 2010

Because, the transition from regular city to giant hole is just too abrupt, and also maybe because the lighting looks different between the city and the hole:

image

I encountered it first at this Instapundit posting.  But GR didn’t mention the Photoshop possibility, which immediately made me think: this can’t be for real.  But he found it at Boing Boing, who said:

Not Photoshop, sadly.

And they found it at the Guatemalan Government Flickr site.  And the Guatemalan Government isn’t going to make up a story like that, just for a laugh, now is it?

It swallowed up an entire three story building.  A defective sewage pipe apparently.

Count your blessings.

Monday September 08 2008

Another of DT’s Friday ephemera last week was this graphic, showing the relative size of different big countries:

image

I share the general amazement at the size of Africa, but am surprised by other things too, such as how big America is compared to China, and how small India is compared to everyone, including even little old Western Europe.

But I would like also to have seen how Russia shapes up in such company.  How big is Russia, compared to these other big places?

Mercator has a lot to answer for.

Thursday August 14 2008

The quest for weird bridges continues:

image

The formula is the same every time.  Find it on Flickr, then find it with google, with an explanation.

This bridge was definitely rated a success, the proof being that having built one, they built another one next it, just like the first one.  Presumably it helps if you have no ships trying to go underneath.

New category: South America.  South America, well done.