Posts tagged World Cup
The human body is 18 percent carbon, which means that if you subject it to high enough pressures at high enough temperatures and hold it there for a long enough time, it will form diamonds. You can try this yourself, in a laboratory. 

All it takes is, say, a pound of human ash, more than 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and 60,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level. Extract carbon, bake, compress. Check back in a few weeks. Not a DIYer? No problem. Just FedEx your burial urn to one of the many Internet-facing memorial-diamond companies that have sprung up in the last few years. 

For between $2,500 and $25,000, outfits like Chicago’s LifeGem and Switzerland’s Algordanza will take the cremated remains of your loved ones and return them, presto chango, in the form of wearable jewelry. Diamonds created from human ashes often carry a blue tint. 

This is because of the boron contained in bone. “I don’t know why,” the CEO of Algordanza has said, “but if the diamond is blue, and the deceased also had blue eyes, I hear almost every time that the diamond had the same color as the eyes of the deceased.” 

Gems can also be synthesized from dead pets and, since the mid-2000s, from hair. Several memorial-diamond firms report revenue in the millions of dollars. In 2007, a diamond made from a lock of Beethoven’s hair sold on eBay for $202,700. 

The World Cup tends to gather every thread of weirdness on the planet; as the largest human spectacle in existence, it rolls through every four years trailed by a vast peripheral freak show of psychic octopuses, celebrity witch doctors, and horse-placenta fetishists (otherwise known as soccer players). 

So it’s no real surprise that the tournament’s 2014 edition is now officially the World Cup of diamonds made out of people. In late May, a Brazil-based memorial-diamond company called Brilho Infinito began selling a series of 1,283 diamonds made from the hair of Pelé, the most celebrated footballer in Brazil’s football-obsessed history, and widely regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time. 

The 1,283 gemstones are one for every goal that’s claimed on Pelé’s (dubious) official record. The gemstones are selling for about $7,500 each. The proceeds will be donated to a pediatric complex in Brazil. 

Diamonds in the Rough

The human body is 18 percent carbon, which means that if you subject it to high enough pressures at high enough temperatures and hold it there for a long enough time, it will form diamonds. You can try this yourself, in a laboratory.

All it takes is, say, a pound of human ash, more than 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and 60,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level. Extract carbon, bake, compress. Check back in a few weeks. Not a DIYer? No problem. Just FedEx your burial urn to one of the many Internet-facing memorial-diamond companies that have sprung up in the last few years.

For between $2,500 and $25,000, outfits like Chicago’s LifeGem and Switzerland’s Algordanza will take the cremated remains of your loved ones and return them, presto chango, in the form of wearable jewelry. Diamonds created from human ashes often carry a blue tint.

This is because of the boron contained in bone. “I don’t know why,” the CEO of Algordanza has said, “but if the diamond is blue, and the deceased also had blue eyes, I hear almost every time that the diamond had the same color as the eyes of the deceased.”

Gems can also be synthesized from dead pets and, since the mid-2000s, from hair. Several memorial-diamond firms report revenue in the millions of dollars. In 2007, a diamond made from a lock of Beethoven’s hair sold on eBay for $202,700.

The World Cup tends to gather every thread of weirdness on the planet; as the largest human spectacle in existence, it rolls through every four years trailed by a vast peripheral freak show of psychic octopuses, celebrity witch doctors, and horse-placenta fetishists (otherwise known as soccer players).

So it’s no real surprise that the tournament’s 2014 edition is now officially the World Cup of diamonds made out of people. In late May, a Brazil-based memorial-diamond company called Brilho Infinito began selling a series of 1,283 diamonds made from the hair of Pelé, the most celebrated footballer in Brazil’s football-obsessed history, and widely regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time.

The 1,283 gemstones are one for every goal that’s claimed on Pelé’s (dubious) official record. The gemstones are selling for about $7,500 each. The proceeds will be donated to a pediatric complex in Brazil.

Diamonds in the Rough

VEDAD IBISEVIC ACCELERATES his black Mercedes-Benz into Stuttgart traffic, almost outrunning the memory of his family crammed into an overcrowded bus, fleeing another home. His memories are always there, exerting both lift and drag. Today he is a star striker in the German Bundesliga. 

Twenty-two years ago, in a four-month period, the following things happened to him and his Bosnian family: Serb neighbors invaded his mother’s village, Pijuke, and called out familiar names on a bullhorn, promising that no one would be hurt. 

They murdered everyone who emerged. The ethnic-cleansing militia tortured and killed as many Muslims as they could find, burning down every house. 

They split his grand­father’s head open and carved a cross into the chest of a local shop owner, a man who kept chocolate in his store for children like Vedad. Eleven of the estimated 100,000 killed in the Bosnian civil war died on May 8, 1992, in a little town surrounded by rolling green hills and grazing white sheep. 

The soldiers forced 7-year-old Vedad and his family from their nearby city of Vlasenica and sent them fleeing, from Bosnia to Switzerland to St. Louis. Vedad slept in forests and buses and refugee camps. 

He hid in a hole. Soldiers burned down his father’s village, a place named Gerovi, which was where Vedad had always felt most at peace as a child. Soccer had taken hold of his imagination there, at a field next to the river, down a narrow path from the town. 

Gerovi was his favorite place in the world, and like everything else he’d known in the first eight years of his life, it was gone. His fingers curl around the steering wheel as he drives away from practice. 

He is here and he is there. When the war started, there wasn’t room in the family’s two bags for him to bring a soccer ball or for his sister to carry her new doll, though she did squeeze the doll’s shoes into their luggage. His past throws a poignant shadow onto his present, making something as emotionally insignificant as a doll’s shoes or this car, an AMG-designed, twin-turbo, 577-horsepower E63 sedan, seem like a triumph of the human spirit. He once fled a war in a bus, and now his feet rest on stainless steel racing pedals. 

The distance between these things can be dizzying. An old Bosnian love song plays on his stereo. The music reminds him of home, which reminds him of the goal he scored against Lithuania last year, which sent his nation to its first World Cup. 

"People from other countries," he says, "they don’t understand. To them, it’s just another soccer game and the goal I scored is just a goal. But it’s not just a goal. I think the people who know me and know my family members, they have the same feeling. It’s not just a goal. It’s much more than that. It’s the whole story." 

Nothing can stay buried - Bosnia-Herzegovina forward Vedad Ibisevic returns to homeland

VEDAD IBISEVIC ACCELERATES his black Mercedes-Benz into Stuttgart traffic, almost outrunning the memory of his family crammed into an overcrowded bus, fleeing another home. His memories are always there, exerting both lift and drag. Today he is a star striker in the German Bundesliga.

Twenty-two years ago, in a four-month period, the following things happened to him and his Bosnian family: Serb neighbors invaded his mother’s village, Pijuke, and called out familiar names on a bullhorn, promising that no one would be hurt.

They murdered everyone who emerged. The ethnic-cleansing militia tortured and killed as many Muslims as they could find, burning down every house.

They split his grand­father’s head open and carved a cross into the chest of a local shop owner, a man who kept chocolate in his store for children like Vedad. Eleven of the estimated 100,000 killed in the Bosnian civil war died on May 8, 1992, in a little town surrounded by rolling green hills and grazing white sheep.

The soldiers forced 7-year-old Vedad and his family from their nearby city of Vlasenica and sent them fleeing, from Bosnia to Switzerland to St. Louis. Vedad slept in forests and buses and refugee camps.

He hid in a hole. Soldiers burned down his father’s village, a place named Gerovi, which was where Vedad had always felt most at peace as a child. Soccer had taken hold of his imagination there, at a field next to the river, down a narrow path from the town.

Gerovi was his favorite place in the world, and like everything else he’d known in the first eight years of his life, it was gone. His fingers curl around the steering wheel as he drives away from practice.

He is here and he is there. When the war started, there wasn’t room in the family’s two bags for him to bring a soccer ball or for his sister to carry her new doll, though she did squeeze the doll’s shoes into their luggage. His past throws a poignant shadow onto his present, making something as emotionally insignificant as a doll’s shoes or this car, an AMG-designed, twin-turbo, 577-horsepower E63 sedan, seem like a triumph of the human spirit. He once fled a war in a bus, and now his feet rest on stainless steel racing pedals.

The distance between these things can be dizzying. An old Bosnian love song plays on his stereo. The music reminds him of home, which reminds him of the goal he scored against Lithuania last year, which sent his nation to its first World Cup.

"People from other countries," he says, "they don’t understand. To them, it’s just another soccer game and the goal I scored is just a goal. But it’s not just a goal. I think the people who know me and know my family members, they have the same feeling. It’s not just a goal. It’s much more than that. It’s the whole story."

Nothing can stay buried - Bosnia-Herzegovina forward Vedad Ibisevic returns to homeland

Jamaica’s National Stadium in Kingston is one of the strangest places to play in international soccer. The track that surrounds the field is pristine, but the pitch is marked with patches of bare dirt. 

There is a scoreboard, but it has no clock. The U.S. national team came here to face Jamaica last June in a crucial World Cup qualifier they were widely expected to win. 

But after the U.S. took a 1-0 lead deep into the second half, Jamaica took advantage of a free kick and a sleeping U.S. defense to sneak a header past the U.S. goalkeeper and equalize the score. 

In the convoluted math of World Cup qualifying, a tie against Jamaica was as good as a loss for the U.S.—one that could seriously damage its chances of even making it to Brazil for the World Cup. 

The Americans desperately needed a quick score. But without a scoreboard clock, none of the players knew how much time was left. U.S. defender Brad Evans asked the referee, but he just ran on by. Finally, an official on the sidelines held up a card. Four minutes to go. 

With His Eye on the World Cup, Soccer Coach Jurgen Klinsmann Overhauls Team USA - WSJ

Jamaica’s National Stadium in Kingston is one of the strangest places to play in international soccer. The track that surrounds the field is pristine, but the pitch is marked with patches of bare dirt.

There is a scoreboard, but it has no clock. The U.S. national team came here to face Jamaica last June in a crucial World Cup qualifier they were widely expected to win.

But after the U.S. took a 1-0 lead deep into the second half, Jamaica took advantage of a free kick and a sleeping U.S. defense to sneak a header past the U.S. goalkeeper and equalize the score.

In the convoluted math of World Cup qualifying, a tie against Jamaica was as good as a loss for the U.S.—one that could seriously damage its chances of even making it to Brazil for the World Cup.

The Americans desperately needed a quick score. But without a scoreboard clock, none of the players knew how much time was left. U.S. defender Brad Evans asked the referee, but he just ran on by. Finally, an official on the sidelines held up a card. Four minutes to go.

With His Eye on the World Cup, Soccer Coach Jurgen Klinsmann Overhauls Team USA - WSJ

akuat:

Obligatory: This was a fantastic night in Ghana. We watched the game on Oxford Street in Osu, Accra, which exploded right after the match. People ran through the streets dancing, waving flags, flame-throwing, singing, blowing vuvuzelas. We were pickpocketed, pushed almost into ditches, high-fived, nearly run over, interviewed, hugged. A few of us were fighting through the middle of the street when a mob of men appeared out of nowhere and hugged us around our waists and started dancing and jumping and dancing. By the time we tumbled out we’d lost everyone we knew—thirty minutes later we found them down the road, tucked away in a gelateria with a few other Americans (“Canadians,” for the night). With the help of our new friend Steve we made it out through a side street; my group’s all home and safe now, but the celebration will continue until daybreak.
I cheered for the U.S. tonight, but I was also proud to carry a Ghanaian flag. And I’m excited for what’s to come. This time’s for Africa.

The view from our former, and most excellent, intern. If anyone had to beat the U.S., Ghana was our pick. 

akuat:

Obligatory: This was a fantastic night in Ghana. We watched the game on Oxford Street in Osu, Accra, which exploded right after the match. People ran through the streets dancing, waving flags, flame-throwing, singing, blowing vuvuzelas. We were pickpocketed, pushed almost into ditches, high-fived, nearly run over, interviewed, hugged. A few of us were fighting through the middle of the street when a mob of men appeared out of nowhere and hugged us around our waists and started dancing and jumping and dancing. By the time we tumbled out we’d lost everyone we knew—thirty minutes later we found them down the road, tucked away in a gelateria with a few other Americans (“Canadians,” for the night). With the help of our new friend Steve we made it out through a side street; my group’s all home and safe now, but the celebration will continue until daybreak.

I cheered for the U.S. tonight, but I was also proud to carry a Ghanaian flag. And I’m excited for what’s to come. This time’s for Africa.

The view from our former, and most excellent, intern. If anyone had to beat the U.S., Ghana was our pick. 

People who dismiss boycotts say they punish ordinary people rather than those in power, and furthermore, that cultural exchanges like orchestra tours and sports matches help dispel the sense of otherness that hangs over pariah peoples, allowing us to recognize our common humanity. Permit me to suggest that, in the case of North Korea and the World Cup, this is idiocy. Consider North Korea’s star player, the striker Jong Tae-se. A vocal and charismatic 20-something nicknamed “The People’s Wayne Rooney,” Jong has asserted that North Korea’s participation in the World Cup will do a great deal to demystify the country, win it respect and understanding abroad, and stoke pride at home. Indeed, Jong himself leads a totally normal and enjoyable-sounding life, by professional-athlete standards. He rolls in a silver Hummer, loves to snowboard, travels with an iPod and a Nintendo, and aspires to bed one of the Wondergirls—the Spice Girls of Seoul. He has also never lived in North Korea. He was born in Japan and continues to reside there, in the better-off Korean diaspora. He was the one who told the newspapers about his North Korean teammates’ quaint penchant for rock-paper-scissors. If Jong doesn’t represent the existence of Joe Ebrahim’s “dual life” in terms of North Korean society—in which a few nation-glorifying stars are allowed to pursue a capitalist lifestyle while most forage for food and dream about basic rights—I don’t know what does.
Eve Fairbanks, making the case that North Korea should be banned from the World Cup