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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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Brazilian Soccer Team Asks Super Fans to Show Their Support in Blood

Brazilian team EC Vítoria is ditching its trademark red and black-striped uniform as part of a campaign to encourage fans to donate blood.

The Brazilian soccer team EC Vitória's red and black-striped jerseys are as integral to the team's identity as the Yankees' pinstripes. (The team's nickname is the "Rubro-negro," or "Red and Blacks," after all.) But this season, fans looking on from the bleachers may be a little confused to see white gaps where the red part of the equation used to lie. The change, however, has little to do with rebranding the team's image and everything to do with promoting a good cause.

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FIFA Headscarf Ban Crushes Olympic Hopes for Iranian Women's Soccer

The Iranian women's soccer team has been banned from Olympic competition, all because of uniforms. Who's to blame: FIFA or the Iranian government?


FIFA has just ruled that Iran’s women soccer team will not be able to compete in the Olympics because their headscarves violate the association’s dress code. The decision came right before an Olympic qualifier against Jordan last Friday. Iran’s football federation claimed they made changes to the team uniforms after a similar ban last year, but FIFA, the preeminent international soccer authority, has nevertheless deemed the team ineligible.

Since the decision, Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called FIFA officials “dictators and colonialists,” and officials will protest the decision. But FIFA hasn’t budged, saying their decision was for “safety reasons.”

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