Monday, April 29, 2013

22 Unbelievable places in the world

 Bamboo Forrest, Japan
 Lavender Fields, UK & France

One of  World's Largest Mirrors, Bolivia
 Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
 Red Beach, Panjin, China

Shibazakura Flowers, Takinoue Park, Japan

 Wisteria Flower Tunnel, Japan

 Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
 Black Forrest, Germany
World Largest Mirror, Bolivia

See all 22 places at

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Roger Federer will win a grand slam despite slow seasonal start

Roger Federer isn't ready to ride off into the sunset just yet.
Though the legendary tennis star has struggled thus far in 2013, he's far from finished as a major force in men's tennis. 
To this point in the season, the 17-time Grand Slam champion has yet to win a tournament, and his singles record is 13-4. For most competitors, this wouldn't prompt an investigation into his or her competence, but Federer isn't most competitors. 
Like Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour or Peyton Manning in the NFL, anything less than greatness from Federer leads to speculation about whether or not he's losing his edge. 
Fans of the superstar need not fear—Federer will win at least one Grand Slam this season, and you can be sure he'll be a force to be reckoned with in all three of the remaining prestigious events. 
The biggest obstacle standing in Federer's way at this point is his health. He tweaked his back in a match against Xavier Malisse last July at Wimbledon, and there's no doubt the injury has lingered longer than he'd like (even if he won't admit it). 
No doubt, Federer's health is one of the primary reasons he made the decision to sit out for two months between Indian Wells and the Mutua Madrid Open. He spoke about his extended hiatus, via
I can't play a year like I did last year every single season. That isn't the point I'm at in my career. I'm not 22 where I have to play 25-30 tournaments a year. Plus, I believe I'll be really ready for the tournaments I've entered.
This is a sound strategy, as Federer is still a dominant player on the men's tour when he's rested and healthy.
It's not like Federer forgot how to play. He's still capable of dominating opponents with his world-class serve, still has enough speed and agility to make plays all over the court and still owns one of the best backhands on the ATP Tour.
And the best part is that FedEx hasn't lost any of his knowledge or vast championship experience. 
After he returns from his two-month absence on tour, Federer will re-emerge as one of the most dangerous players on the men's tour. 
Wimbledon will likely be Federer's best chance to win a Grand Slam this year. He won the event in 2012, defeating local hero Andy Murray in the final, and nobody should be surprised to see Federer standing alone as the champion in England once again in 2013.
Federer isn't a young gun any more, but he's hardly an old man. At the age of 31, he still has plenty of championship tennis left in his bones, and he'll prove it by winning a Grand Slam this season.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kim Clijsters attends Belgium vs. Poland Fed Cup match

Tennis - Former world no. 1 Kim Clijsters had been a huge supporter of the Fed Cup competition during her career. 

So it was no surprise that she chose to come to the stands to cheer on her Belgian countrywomen as they took on Poland in the Fed Cup World Group III play off tie on Saturday.

Clijsters watched good friend Kirsten Flipkens beat Urszula Radwanska in straight sets to keep Belgians tied at 1-1 after the first day Clijsters has been helping Flipkens since she retired last September though not in any official capacity. Flipkens has seen her game surge over the past 12 months and is now ranked inside the top 25 in the world.

Flipkens commented, "I knew Kim was coming. She came with Jean-Pierre and I really appreciated it because these two people have been there for me in the rough times and it is nice that I can play a good match in front of them. Kim texted me after. It’s normal when you are in Belgium that you get a lot of attention if you come to watch a match like this, so she came here just to watch my match and left immediately after. But I appreciate it a lot that she was here.”

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Roger Federer back to #2 in the world courtesy of countryman Wawrinka

MONTE CARLO, Monaco, April 18, 2013 (AFP) - Roger Federer will return to second in the ATP standings next week after Andy Murray collapsed to a 6-1, 6-2 third-round loss to Stanislas Wawrinka at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.

A shell-shocked Murray committed 24 unforced errors as he lost to Federer's Swiss compatriot, seeded 13th, in 58 minutes.

Murray, a quarter-finalist here a year ago, went nil for two on break points and lost his own serve five times in the route which sends him back to the practise court for the next fortnight in hopes of repairing his game for the Madrid Masters in early May.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

L.A. Girl Scouts get a geek badge upgrade

While camping, gardening, and public speaking are important to being a stand-up scout, the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles has decided that video game development should also be included as a prestigious badge.

The Girl Scouts has teamed up with Women in Games International to create the new badge, according to GirlGamer

The aim is to get the scouts interested in engineering and software development. The badge will be part of the Girl Scout's STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum.

"Our ultimate goal is to create a STEM-aligned video game badge for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America," WIGI vice president Amy Allison told GirlGamer. "Creating this badge will get young girls excited in technology and science and let them know that they, too, can have a career in the video game industry."

To earn the gaming badge the girl scouts will use Gamestar Mechanic, which is a program that helps people learn game design and development, according to GirlGamer.
The Boy Scouts already have a gaming badge; they also have one for robot buildingand other tech-geared badges. 

On the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts in 2012, Adafruit Industries, an open-source hardware and maker products emporium, also started pushing the Boy and Girl Scouts to offer more tech-based skill badges, including working on Android or Linux and computer engineering.

As a female gamer I was so glad to see this, there need to be more women game developers in the video game industry to help create more accurate representations of female game heroines.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Martina Hingis starting more coaching duties

Tennis - Former world no. 1 and five time grand slam champion Martina Hingis will be the new coach of Russia Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Pavlyuchenkova and Hingis are both associated with the Patrick Mouratglou Academy. The Russian is currently ranked no. 20 in the world after winning her third career title in Monterrey last weekend. She also reached the finals of Brisbane in early January losing to Serena Williams there but suffered some early losses after that.

Pavlyuchenkova commented "Now I’m starting my collaboration with Martina Hingis and we are going to try all the clay court series. She is coming to Moscow this week to help me for Fed Cup.”

Pavlyuchenkova is part of the Russian Fed Cup team that takes on Slovakia in Moscow this weekend.

Hingis has also been working with one of the other players at the Mouratglou Academy - Daria Garilova.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Kim Clijsters backs squash for Olympic sport

Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters has announced her support of squash’s potential inclusion to the 2020 Olympics.
“I think squash would be a great gain for the Olympics,” Clijsters said.
“This is a super competitive sport and a little different from other racquet sports because there is no net between the two players.”
“It is a very demanding sport.  With the modernization of the sport, squash certainly deserves a place in the Olympics.”
Clijsters is former world number one and has won 41 Women’s Tennis Association singles titles and 11 doubles titles.  
She joins a number of high profile sports figures and celebrities who have ‘backed the bid’ recently as the campaign to get squash into the Olympics has built momentum, including fellow tennis star Roger Federer, top Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh, members of the England rugby team, and Aussie rugby league legend Brad Fittler.
It is a crucial few months in the Olympic bid campaign, and squash players and fans across the globe have been actively pursuing efforts to raise the awareness of the bid and promote squash’s suitability as the next Olympic sport.
Squash will make a final presentation to the International Olympic Committee alongside the seven other bidding sports on May 29, and the formal announcement of which sport is being put forward by the Executive Committee will be made on the same day.
Martial arts karate and wushu, rollersports, wakeboarding, squash, sports climbing, wrestling and a joint bid by baseball and softball are the candidates for the one open spot for the 2020 Games.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Andy Whitfield tribute petition for Madame Tussauds in Sydney

Andy Whitfield's courageous real life inspirational battle touching the lives of so many to live in the moment with his core values of love, hard work, passion and following ones dreams both personally and professionally leaving a powerful legacy makes him the perfect candidate to be honored with a wax figure at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.

With your help we can make this happen! Please join us in celebration and tribute to both Andy Whitfield and the historical great "Spartacus".

Monday, April 08, 2013

Belgium tennis no longer a force to be reckoned with

BRUSSELS — Not so long ago, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin were dominating women’s tennis and turning little Belgium into a force.
Now, Belgium is facing the prospect of dropping into the third tier of the Fed Cup because the federation is unwilling — or unable — to pay for the surface its players prefer.
Against Poland in the World Group II playoffs, Belgium chose to play on an indoor hardcourt when its players are gearing up for the red clay season in Europe. The switch for one weekend did not sit well.
“We are preparing for clay and Belgium says hardcourt,” said Rudi Kuyl, the spokesman for Yanina Wickmayer, who confirmed Tuesday that she won’t play against Poland.
Kirsten Flipkens, ranked No. 23 and Belgium’s current top player, waited until the last moment before making her decision Tuesday for the April 20-21 best-of-five series.
“Confirmation : i DO play fed cup,” she said on Twitter, adding its wasn’t an easy decision.
Flipkens will be the only top-100 player that fourth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska and sister Urszula will face. It is a far cry from the days when Clijsters and Henin vied for the No. 1 ranking and led Belgium to the Fed Cup title in 2001 and the final in 2006.
In fact, the last time Clijsters played Fed Cup was also the last time Belgium won, beating the United States 4-1 in February 2011. What followed were four straight losses as Belgium dropped from the elite World Group to World Group II, and now the playoffs to stay out of the Europe-Africa continental zone.
Even with the 35th-ranked Wickmayer, it would have been tough going against Poland. Belgium’s No. 2 instead will be 181st-ranked Alison Van Uytvanck. An-Sophie Mestach is next at No. 330 in the WTA rankings.
When it came to picking a surface, Walter Goethals, the secretary general of the federation organizing the match, said he was always in a bind.
“We had to take a decision on business logic two months ago,” Goethals told The Associated Press. “We didn’t know at the time whether they (Flipkens and Wickmayer) were going to play.”
Since the weather doesn’t facilitate playing outdoors in Belgium in mid-April, the federation would have to prepare an indoor clay court, and Goethals said it was simply too expensive.
“I won’t mention any prices but in the past, in Fed Cup and Davis Cup, we have lost a lot of money. And we cannot afford that anymore,” Goethals said.
Wickmayer has a history of back problems and had to pull out because of the court.
“Surface changes can be bad and have affected Yanina before,” Kuyl said. “Now her coach is saying, ‘Sorry, we are preparing clay season and Stuttgart.’” The German indoor clay tournament starts the day after the Fed Cup weekend.
Another issue is ranking points, Goethals said.
“Fed Cup has none and so it comes second,” he said.
If Belgium loses to Poland and drops a division, Goethals fears his top players might not return, although that could bring some positives.
“Then we might have to rely on youth and precocious talent,” he said. “That is also how Clijsters and Henin pushed through.”