A Fabulous Football Summer in Russia

For most of use football fans, success and glamour is not something we experience very often. Sure, if you support a club like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City it’s probably a different experience. However for those of us who are stuck supporting a team in the fourth tier of English football then it’s an entirely different experience. My local team is a well supported, totally under performing club who bring plenty of depression and precious little excitement into my life. Indeed as the season comes to an end, our fan’s forum’s most popular topic was the terrible meat pies that were being sold in the ground. I suspect this isn’t the main topic of discussion on the Real Madrid football forums!

Yet this Summer something happens which unites most football fans, the premiere tournament which we can all enjoy. Even if our nation hasn’t qualified, most of us can find a link somewhere to a team we can support. Yes, ladies and gentlemen – four years have passed and now it’s time for the World Cup again.

For soccer fanatics everywhere, there really was a bit of nervousness when Russia was revealed as the host of this years world cup. However until now the worries appear to have actually been unfounded at the very least with regards the framework needed to host this kind of an event. Undoubtedly the main worries are around possible violence and exactly what sort of welcome football fans will receive however it’s likely that all of these will not be concerns either as President Putin is eager to utilize the event to promote Russia.

He will not be the first leader to reckon on a huge economic boost on the back of the competition. However in passed years this has actually not been as large as hoped for, certainly the South African economic condition didn’t benefit quite as much as many had wished. Yet it certainly will provide an amazing atmosphere to the football fans who are little bit more adventurous than those of us who simply settle down to watch Match of the Day online on a Saturday night! Incidentally if you’re outside the UK, there is a way of watching the Match of the Day stream using a VPN just check this link.

What can the economy expect? Well it will almost certainly deliver a short term boost to the economy in many sectors. The Russian Central Bank is hoping that the boost could be somewhat targeted as it has placed stadiums in regions of the country which require this sort of investment. The rise in spending was undoubtedly required anyway, so the opportunity to recoup some investment is certainly welcomed by Putin. He is obviously hoping to showcase the nation as a worldwide superpower once more, and it’s most likely that spending will be rather lavish in several public facing areas in addition to in security.

There certainly should be an expansion in jobs and a comparable increase in the requirement for consumer product and services. This should continue the positive growth that the Russian economy has experienced in the previous year after a sharp fall in the previous two years largely pertaining to the oil price.

The competition is spread out over 11 cities and it is strongly believed will create an additional.2% of gross domestic product in both the 2nd and third quarters. This doesn’t sound huge but it is in fact a huge increase in response to a single event such as this. President Putin’s hold on power though is heavily reliant on improving the living standards of the average Russian. There is a danger here though in that inflation is likely to increase particularly in those cities as thousands of visitors arrive in a short time.

These price rises will probably occur in things like hotels additionally ordinary goods and services in line with the enhanced demand. The Russian authorities are however most likely to clamp down on any type of excessive profiteering and abusing visitors. Many tourists have been in fact attempting to bypass these cost rises by booking using a Russian IP address like this in order to access domestic prices wherever possible.

Source: Further Reading on Proxies

Will Quatar Lose the World Cup

It was one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history when the fantastically wealthy Qatar managed to persuade the money grabbing, corrupt FIFA administration that it would be a great place to hold the 2022 World Cup. The small matter of nobody ever watching football in Qatar or it being far too hot to actually play the game properly where of course minor concerns. The practicalities of not being able to play and the local population having little interest where countered by some judicious vote buying.

Anyone and everyone, outside perhaps the upper echelons of FIFA saw the result in it’s true light. A very sad insight into how far the authorities who control the ‘peoples game’ had fallen. It was confirmation for many of us of the rumours of bribery, corruption and fraud which existed in the corridors of FIFA. Most of it was confirmed in full in a report released after pressure from the German Newspaper Bild, who threatened to publish excerpts.

The corruption was on a huge scale, stories like a secret payment of over 2 million dollars made to the ten year old daughter of Brazilian FIFA member Ricardo Teixeira. Other details reported about three senior FIFA figures being shuttled around to meetings in luxury Qatari jet. There’s little doubt that Qatar bought the world’s biggest sporting tournament, yet should it be allowed to keep it in a post-corrupt FIFA world?

Things haven’t really got any better, as far as Qatar hosting the tournament has gone. there’s lots of political instability in the region and many reports of human rights issues in the stadium building. Many people have been killed on the constructions sites and there’s lots of rumours about modern day slavery there. Human rights groups have been repeatedly calling for the tournament to be removed from the country in response to these violations.

The World Cup has a magic which few other sporting tournaments can match. They have the ability to bring huge economic and social benefits to an area, plus the obvious sporting incentives of hosting the tournament. There are football fans across the globe who dream of swapping the evening of watching Match of the Day live from the computer to travelling to somewhere to cheer on their national team. There can be no magic hosting it in Qatar, it’s a stupid place to play football in the Summer and it’s likely only there from bribes and corruption.

Fortunately it seems that the groundswell of opinion of switching the tournament is beginning to take effect. Many reports are now being produced suggesting that it could be moved to somewhere with the existing infrastructure to hold it relatively easily. Places like North america and the United Kingdom have enough stadiums to host the tournament at short notice. Indeed there are many European nations who could either host or share the hosting quite easily.

The latest suggestions have come from a Saudi sports chief who presumably has some connections. It would go a long way to making the public believe that FIFA has really turned over a new leaf.

John Crosswell

Website and Blogger

Confusion in Northern Ireland Politics

It’s sometimes difficult to see political solutions to anything in Northern Ireland particularly at the moment. Many are now talking about the return to direct rule simply because currently there’s no one actually running the province. Of course, this is more of a problem for Sinn Fein than it is for the DUP who in some senses welcome direct rule. The two main parties are so opposed to each other it sometimes seems impossible for there to be any sort of coalition government running Northern Ireland.

Green Party leader Steven Agnew expressed his deep frustration. Again, despite attempts at optics to the opposite, we see the out workings of a talks process which was limited to two parties that have proved time and time again that they can’t deliver, he said. With healthcare, education and everything in Northern Ireland descending into utter chaos, both of these parties have yet again demonstrated weak leadership and inability and unwillingness to take that crucial step forward into the unknown to deliver a peaceful settlement and a functioning Executive. We’ve warned that it’s craziness to carry on doing the same thing again and again and also to expect a different result.

I’m deeply disappointed to have been proven right by the most recent turn of events. I hope that at this point the State Secretary will learn from what’s happened and will now turn into more imaginative solutions which might help to bridge the seemingly impossible chasm between the DUP and Sinn Fein. We trust that the State Secretary will now widen her gaze beyond both of these failed negotiators and will meet to discuss our proposals for a Citizen’s Assembly that could play a vital role in leading Northern Ireland out from the current political impasse. Time to move on’.

These events have been covered extensively in the Irish media and to some extent in the British media. there’s loads of news and information on the Northern Ireland situation on the BBC websites, which you can access ok from the North and the iPlayer is also accessible from the rest of Ireland using this VPN service.

TUV leader Jim Allister said it was time to move on and implement a direct rule. He said: I welcome the fact the DUP has faced some measure of reality. With Sinn Fein never in Stormont to make Northern Ireland work this was a late conclusion to the current unnecessary talks. Nevertheless, they must go further and accept that things can only move forward by fully accepting the demonstrated reality that obligatory coalition may and will never work. This system of devolution is doomed to constant deadlock and failure. Only a coalition of willing has any chance of success. If such isn’t achievable then we need government from the only other place it could come from, Westminster.

British TV is perhaps not the most useful source of information simply because the Northern Ireland situation is often so complex and nuanced however for up to date facts it’s difficult to beat. For those of us interested in Irish politics perhaps the best option from outside Ireland is to invest in an Irish VPN and get access to RTE the Irish broadcaster. However there’s lots of up to date information on UK Television – http://uktvabroad.org/ and there are also the regional programmes broadcast from the BBC.

We need a civil rights movement’. People Before Profit’s MLA Gerry Carroll said there needed to be a brand new civil rights movement. Arlene Foster and the DUP have made plain their unwillingness to enact basic rights for individuals. The talks process failed since the DUP continues to hold the rights of people to ransom. Shame on them.”. The DUP can block the talks, but they can’t stop the growing desire for change among the majority of individuals here.”. 50 years ago a mass movement of individuals power has been put on the street to demand fundamental rights in this state. Now’s the time to rediscover that spirit, and build a brand new civil rights movement. One that may reach across the divide and fight for fundamental rights for the LGBT community, for females and for Irish speakers.

More Bitcoin Madness

This website actually gets lots of hits from bemused digital investors seeking advice. Much of it stems from a single post I made a few weeks ago relating to Bitcoin – well here it is. Not exactly useful, or indeed incisive, but Google and other search engines have sent thousands of bewildered investors to my post.

Well firstly I should apologize because that post had very little useful information about Bitcoin simply because I know little about it. However I could actually class myself as a successful investor but more by luck than design. Here’s a little rundown of my experience which might perhaps help some people.

I’ve looked at Bitcoin for years without doing much about it (unfortunately) – but I have stumbled into digital currency. About a year ago I was paid for services rendered (oooh err) in a single bitcoin.  It was actually for promoting a residential VPN service so only slightly shady.

I moaned and complained at the time, and wanted the $500 in cash but didn’t get anywhere. About a year later, I looked at my neglected bitcoin payment and realised it was now worth close to $12000 so preceded to turn it into real money. Imagine picking a share or investment that turned 500 bucks into 12000 in a year with little effort and you can begin to understand the excitement of Bitcoin.

Well firstly I figured out how to cash out, it wasn’t hard. I had my Bitcoin Core wallet – which was free and I installed to accept my payment in the first place. Next step was to find someone who would cash out my coins for me, again I was directed to a company. Their name was Kraken and although they have frequent server problems simply because they appear to be overloaded – it’s a bitcoin exchange and you can find it here https://www.kraken.com/. They seem honest, professional and don’t charge extortionate fees so are worth checking out. Well they worked for me and that’s all I can say.

So I transferred my coin, went through the security checks which took a couple of days and I was ready to go. I placed some sell orders selecting the best price option (the default one) and cashed out my Bitcoin at a huge profit. Then I initiated a balance transfer to my bank account, which I worried about a lot but that actually was fine. It took about 48 hours at which point the money appeared in my bank account – that’s me a digital currency trader and a successful one too!

I should also add, although I wanted my Bitcoin cash in my bank account I was a bit worried about missing out on the potential cash fest so made another move.  With no research I checked out the next rival to Bitcoin which turned out to be Ethereum available at a much more reasonable $400 so I bought one – just to stay in the game.

Just checked and that one coin is now worth nearly $1200 a month later, I can’t imagine how much money the big players are making !!!  Mind you will probably all turn into Tulip dust any day soon at least that’s what I’m told.  Yet I have started watching the news, reading crap digital currency sites and wasting my money on expat TV for news on how the markets going.

Is this the Way to Give Up Smoking Marijuana

This is a controversial issue with many people on either side of the divide, in fact many will assure you that marijuana isn’t even addictive.  There are plenty of people out there today that believe that the smoking of marijuana isn’t something which causes them health issues. One thing you’re going to find about marijuana is that not only will it cause medical issues but will also end up worsening a number of your medical issues. If you suffer from depression or anxiety you will find that the smoking of marijuana might make these issues even worse.  Of course, it’s now much easier to buy due to less of a stigma in some places you can even buy online but using an IP cloaker program is still advisable.

Physical and mental addictions are yet another thing that you can expect to receive if you end up smoking marijuana. In The Following Paragraphs we are going to be taking a look at the How To Quit Weed Program, and how you can conquer both the mental and physical addiction.

With regards to this program it is not going to matter how many times you have attempted to quit before, this will be able to help you. The key to being able to give up smoking marijuana is to take care of your physical addiction, as well as your mental addiction which is something which this program can do within 2 to 6 days. Other methods will only try to eliminate your mental addiction for marijuana which is the reason why many of them end up failing.

While cigarettes are addictive because of the nicotine in them, you’ll figure out that marijuana is addictive because of the THC. You will also discover that during the last 20 years the actual amount of THC that you find in marijuana has been growing by the year. At this stage in time the THC in marijuana is more than twice the amounts that it had been at just 20 years ago. Which is yet another reason marijuana has become so addicting, and these THC levels keep increasing.

This program will help you detoxify your body and get rid of all of the chemicals that the marijuana produces within your body. After your body no longer has these types of chemicals in it, you will find that the physical addiction to this drug is reduced. Which is one of the primary reasons that you need to detoxify your body if you wish to quit smoking marijuana. If you have ever attempted to quit smoking marijuana before, and did not detox your body, you have to have realized how difficult it was to try and quit.

If you truly want to quit smoking marijuana, you will find that this is one of the most complete programs you can find that will assist you to accomplish this. You can invest in this program right on the web and you are also going to find that $37.00 is all you are going to have to pay.   It’s well worth it and in fact for the costs of a couple of months of Netflix subscription you can be on your own way to a weed free life.  You are going to also discover that this includes a cash back guarantee, which is ideal for people who may be a little hesitant to try this program. You will have the ability to purchase and use this program for a complete two months to see if it’s everything that it’s cracked up to be, of course, if it is not, you can simply ask for a refund of your purchase. Due to this you have nothing to lose if you choose to give this program a try.

An Alcohol Treatment Revolution

We live in a time, when spreading information is easier than at any point in human history.  Potentially any of us can spread a message to literally millions of other people using the internet.  Whether it’s social media, a website or simply a comment on a popular page – the potential is there to reach a global audience.  In fact the problem is not the communication medium but the difficulty of information overload, there’s so much out there it’s sometimes hard to get heard above the noise.

However it’s still difficult to believe that sometimes great ideas or concepts don’t get out to wider audiences particularly in the medical research areas.   Now we’ve all probably flicked through pages of alleged miracle cures for everything from obesity to cancer involving diet, superfoods, lifestyle changes and drugs.

It’s incredibly difficult to sort out which have substance and which are the product of a vivid or deranged imagination.   It remind me of the character in the film ‘Contagion’ where a blogger pretends to ‘cure’ himself of the global epidemic that is wiping out humankind.  The reality is that the character was merely pretending to cure himself in order to   promote a drug that he had a financial interest in.  This I suspect is more commonplace than we might imagine and of course increases the scepticism that we all rightly should feel when looking  at information online.

Yet there are still cures, treatments and research which somehow get overlooked despite the wide reach of the internet.   One of the methods I became aware of is an alcohol treatment method called The Sinclair Method .  Now traditionally, treating someone who has problems with alcohol relies heavily on one specific word – abstinence.  Treatment is almost always centred around complete cessation of alcohol.  Although this is of course sensible in some respects, the problem is that it relies on constant and consistent willpower over many years.  Not surprisingly people find this very difficult to do and so cure rates are correspondingly small.

The Sinclair Method doesn’t advocate this as part of the treatment, in fact people are encouraged to carry on drinking to some extent.  The method involves taking drugs called Naltrexone and Nalmefene the latter which is distributed in Europe under the tradename Selincro (reference here) in pharmacies. This drug actually reduces the pleasure created by drinking alcohol, in effect blocking the receptors that cause alcoholism.  Slowly but surely, the patients will lose that desire to excessive drinking simply by removing the ‘buzz’.

The amazing thing is that it works, the drug starts reprogramming the brain to stop craving the pleasure of alcohol.  In fact it removes that pleasure and gradually patients reach a situation called pharmacological extinction.  The drug acts to eliminate the reinforcement of pleasure which takes place in the brain when people drink more alcohol.   It’s often not considered as a treatment by many because you must drink alongside the drug in order for it to work.   This of course is at a tangent to all traditional treatments which insist on total abstinence.

There are literally millions of people across the world who struggle with alcoholism on many levels and yet treatments like the Sinclair Method are largely unknown.   This is despite the fact that the treatment is clinically proved with trials reporting a success rate of over 78% much higher that referring patients to something like AA.   Sometimes information can be hidden but when it comes to the internet, it’s often hidden in plain sight!

John Williams

http://cipec.org/

Do We Really Need AI Art?

Do we really need computers to help in the world of art, music and drama? It’s a debate that has gone on for year, however only recently has it become a realistic situation. Artificial Intelligence is discovering its own way to the area of music, literature and artwork, raising never-before-considered questions regarding a creator’s function. Accessible work with on the web, the automated article applications, named Orpheus, has created thousands and tens of thousands of bits of songs since it was launched in 2007.

He explained AI functions nicely within the area of musical composition, since the established notions, systems and rules, like harmonics, make recruiting feasible.   The concept was beautifully explained in a programme on mathematics recently aired on the BBC, possibly still available on the BBC iPlayer if you use a UK proxy of some sort.

Orpheus users may set the parameters, correcting rhythm and pitch patterns to reflect exactly the nature of their songs they want to produce, ” he explained.

Sagayama has additionally “written” a tune with Orpheus and contains published it on the web.

AI can also be splitting ground in literature.

The researchers first made a plot while the applications written sentences predicated on it.

“it is a measure ahead,” stated Sato.

Using AI in creative projects, nevertheless, has increased concerns regarding intellectual property. Who owns the job made by AI? And can it be art?

Sagayama said songs created with Orpheus can’t “belong” into the app because the system isn’t any more compared to “a tool for essay”

A part of this panel, Tatsuhiro Ueno, professor of Education in Waseda University, stated under the present law there’s absolutely no copyright on AI-made artwork.

Ueno, nevertheless, mentioned there is not a very clear distinction between something created by a human lonely and some thing produced out of AI aid.

It ought to be set by “how widely people are involved,” he explained.

“The idea of writers (or even composers or designers) might become less significant,” Tama Art University professor Akihiro Kubota stated, foreshadowing that which he believes will function as a selection of new artwork forms created through human-AI collaborations.

Kubota along with also his group developed one creative endeavor when they sent to area a microsatellite transporting AI applications which written poetry and music predicated on fever and other information.

Further Reading:

Watching BBC TV in Spain

The Spiritual Martial Art – Tae Kwon Do

Many people engage in martial arts at all times of life, and for very different reasons. It may sound surprising that many martial arts have no recommended minimum or maximum ages. For example many older people take up sports like Tae Kwon Do in their middle or even later years.

A martial art that is popular all over the world for its spin kicks that are turbo fast and usually high and spectacular is Tae Kwon Do. The system is traditional in Korea where it evolved over very many years. You will find four separate disciplines with Tae Kwon Do, including sparring, break test, self defense and patters. Mastering all four disciplines forms the cornerstone a student has to grasp before being granted any of the advanced belt rankings. A student needs to pass an examination to be awarded a higher belt.

I personally came across this particular brand of Martial arts vie the video publishing site YouTube. I was doing some research for a new piece of software called the YouTube Keyword Planner, which if you have an interest you can see demonstrated here.

I was testing it with different seed keywords and one of those was martial arts and it was then I discovered that Tae Kwon Do was very well represented on YouTube with many great channels dedicated to the art.

Tae Kwon Do doesn’t prescribe any kind of minimum or maximum age for a student, and children can start at quite a young age. With games they are helped to develop fast responses and they find out about the limitations of their own skills. They are also taught about having respect. Kids and grown ups have different rules to follow in their respective competitive events. Kids are only allowed to kick or punch to the body and not to the head, although they are dressed in full body protection. The tournaments are what makes Tae Kwon Do so appealing to its students. Without the competitions there won’t be nearly as many players in this art.

People find watching the fiercely contested competitions highly interesting. They are not nearly as dangerous as Muay Thai fights, although many think their competitions are deadly. Safety gear is donned for the entire body, including the head. In the adult competitions it is allowed to kick to the head, but the majority of stylists have very little difficulty stopping them before they have a chance to land. Students can only take part in tournaments once they are considered to be adequately experienced. In order to win, expect it to take you several years to become up to scratch. Taking part in games is a fantastic way to learn new things, particularly if there are competitors from other parts of the world. There’s quite a few great TV programmes on Japanese, South Korean and Chinese sites although you may need a paid VPN subscription with servers in those countries to access them.

When matching up fighters you have to make sure that they are really at equal levels. There is no real contest when an individual with a black belt fights an individual rather unskilled, such as a white belt student. Apart from the basic punches, blocks and kicks, Tae Kwon Do also teaches the martial artist to perform stunning movements like spinning kicks. Because it’s quite popular all around the world, finding a place to learn the art is simple enough. You won’t just learn to defend yourself when you start Tae Kwon Do, this martial art form will also let you have a whole lot of fun and enrich your character.

Self-defence is an oft-quoted reason behind signing up for martial arts courses. If you’re worried about all the violence, you might be interested in mastering self defense. Even if you are not a violent individual, it is not a bad idea to know about self defense.

Guidance on Publishing Research Results Online

Nowadays there is an additional problem for the researcher – how to publish their results. The traditional format of publishing research to many outsiders seems to be the 200 page long PDF,  they are often huge mountains of text with conclusions buried within sandwiched between appendices and references.  It is of course difficult to present often complexed research and findings in an easy to digest format without losing much of  the substance that supports the conclusions.

Many of course include diagrams and graphics as part of their reports in an attempt to make the information more accessible to those without specialised knowledge or qualifications in that specific area.  After all it is the interests of all researchers to make their conclusions and work available to as many people as possible.

One of the biggest difficulties is that the skills needed to produce such format is often not available especially on smaller, tightly funded research projects.   Can you expect a Physics researcher or medical student to be a master in graphic design or computer animation, it’s certainly a bonus to a project but overall unlikely.

Fortunately now there are many tools online which can be used to present information more accessibly than traditional formats.  One of those products is Content Samurai which is video making software entirely stored online in the cloud.  It’s fairly simple to use and can be used to create slideshow type videos which can be used to summarise or conclude research projects, here’s a quick demonstration of it in use.

There are limitations of course to using software like this to create presentations. The format is deliberately kept simple in order to reduce the knowledge needed to use the application. You cannot for instance produce advanced editing techniques or special effects beyond those hard coded into the application. However it should be noted that using existing content you can produce a professional presentation in video format within a few minutes. The video produced is perfectly suitable for direct upload to video sites like YouTube and even grabbing a blog post like this – How to Watch the BBC iPlayer in Germany and turning it quickly into a video presentation which is the perfect place to distribute to a wider audience.

Of course this format is never going to be suitable for publishing the bulk of research findings, the format is simply not able to deliver large amounts of scientific data for example. However for summaries and conclusions it offers people without video creation skills the perfect solution. It’s obviously worth investigating the variety of online slideshow makers which are available, as some are more complex and powerful than others. It’s likely you can find something that can be used by most researchers.

Losing our Privacy Online

Many of us seem to accept that we will lose a certain amount of privacy the more our lives become centred around the digital world. After all when we post up details of where we are, what we are doing to hundreds or even thousands of people on social networking sites then it’s obvious privacy is not at the top of our concerns. However I suspect many have not even began to think of some of the wider issues involved and specifically whom we are allowing to see our details.

There are dangers involved and some more obvious than others. Many teenagers for example, have literally thousands of ‘friends’ in sites like Facebook – it’s almost like a popularity contest. A contest I might add am unlikely to win with my rather sad 67 friends listed currently. But imagine the teenager who announces to the masses that they are off on holiday for three weeks with their parents to their 2100 ‘friends’, what a great way for burglars to target properties, car thieves to steal cars or even identity thieves target individuals or their premises some might even use a fast UK VPN to avoid getting caught online.

Handy social apps which announce your location and status to everyone – sounds great, but do you really want thousands of virtual stalkers? Do you want your pictures and images distributed far and wide throughout the digital world. Because that is what happens, photos online can end up anywhere and not just with your few select friends.

The major issue with our browsing is that it is fundamentally built on something pretty much insecure – HTTP. The protocol that we mainly use to browse and surf the internet works great but has no security at all (HTTPS has some but very little). Everything is sent and distributed in clear text – all our posts, web browsing, downloads, messages included. This you can at least do something about by using software like this – demonstrated here.

But even that won’t help you when you’re using the web sites themselves and the internal security. Everything you are and do online has value and such it is valuable information to everyone from companies to governments. There is a reason that Facebook for example record every keystroke you make on their site, including stuff you decide to delete/don’t post – it’s because it’s useful to advertisers.

We feel that we’re in control of our identity when we browse the web but it’s simply not true. For example your IP address is used for a whole host of decisions about your browsing – what you see and how. Take the BBC site for example you are checked as soon as you log on to that site, if you’re ip address is not British then you won’t be able to use the amazing BBC Iplayer application. Well at least unless you do something like this Video – Watch BBC Iplayer from France.

The reality is that by default we have very little control of our personal information, although we can improve that situation. Be careful about what you post and where, check out VPNs and security software that encrypt your connection and make sure your security settings are controlled on any social web sites you use.