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America and Iran Settle Their Differences on the Robotic Soccer Field

If only all geopolitical conflicts could be handled by droids kicking soccer balls at each other.

image via (cc) flickr user eneas

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably heard a little something about the recent nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran—an agreement critics fear will clear a path for Iranian atomic weapons, and which advocates argue is a necessary diplomatic step to help direct both nations away from a violent confrontation. But while pundits and politicians around the world have spent the last several days debating the merits of the nuclear diplomacy, Iranian and U.S. representatives were busy duking it out in a very different type of arena: The robotic soccer field.

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Designers Skewer FIFA Sponsors to Highlight Worker Abuse

To protest treatment of the workers readying Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, activists target FIFA’s corporate backers.

image via imgur

We’re still years away from the 2022 FIFA World Cup games slated to take place in the desert nation of Qatar, but already some observers are raising a red flag (or perhaps a red card) over the host country and its treatment of those hired to build the games’ stadiums.

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What if Simply Playing Soccer Could Power a Whole Village?

Uncharted Play's Soccket balls ingeniously turn kinetic energy into electric current.

Photo coutesy of Love Green via Flickr

Usually when a few soccer balls are donated to a rural Mexican town, it doesn’t warrant press coverage. Yet last March TV trucks rolled into Puebla state to watch the distribution of 150 new balls. The cameras were on hand because these were no Adidas or Nike products. These were Uncharted Play’s Soccket balls, built to turn the kinetic energy of play into electrical current. When enough charge is stored up, the ball can be used to power various electrical devices. Since rolling out last year, the Soccket ball has stirred up a great deal of interest, attracting the attention of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, among others, as a potentially powerful tool to bring light to regions of the world where power grids are unreliable or unavailable. Like most early technologies, Soccket is far from perfect—some accounts claim it’s quite buggy. But if comparable products tell us anything, those kinks may smooth out over the next few years, allowing Soccket to lead the way as yet another powerful off-the-grid tool for rural development.

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Intermission: Soccer, Animated with String

Richard Swarbrick animates highlights from the Euro 2012 soccer tournament entirely with string.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX-2dVgo0eY

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