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1   Czech woman wins the first Sudoku world championship

March 12, 2006

Jana Tylova, a 31-year-old Czech woman, came from behind to win the inaugural Sudoku world championships to become the top sudoku player in the world. Tylova works as an accountant for a construction company in the Czech city of Most, and she beat 85 players from 22 countries.

A graduate student from Harvard University, Thomas Snyder, who had been leading, came in second and Wei-Ha Huang, a 30-year-old Google software engineer in California, came third.

Tylova, the only woman in the top 18, finished only ninth after the first round before passing all the men to claim the championship. She is already being called "Queen Jana of Sudoku".

"There is no difference between men and women, and I tried to prove that even in logic, men and women are on the same level", said Tylova as people cheered loudly. Jana smiled shyly while accepting her trophy from Wayne Gould who came upon Sudoku in Japan and popularised the game worldwide.

Jana told reporters: "I find it very difficult to give advice at all, but I can advise people to practice every day and to follow websites where there are a lot of games available." Tylova revealed that before competitions she played sudoku two hours per day. "It will probably be more now", she said. She showjumps with her horse Impulse during the rest of her spare time.

Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands, India, Italy, Japan, Venezuela, Switzerland, the United States, the Philippines, Estonia, Slovakia and Turkey were the countries represented in the championship contest.

Sudoku    -     hledat v googlu: Sudoku, obrázky v googlu: Sudoku

2   Michael Moore's controversial new documentary 'Sicko' opens strongly

July 2, 2007

Michael_Moore.jpg, 13 kB

Michael Moore's controversial new documentary SiCKO opened to strong box office numbers in limited release over the weekend. The biting and sometimes humorous expose of America's health system earned weekend totals of US$4.5 Million on 441 screens, the second highest opening weekend numbers for a documentary ever, after Moore's own Fahrenheit 9/11.

This follows last weekend's 'sneak preview' screenings of the film in 43 major markets. Fox News reports that all of these screenings were sold out. The latest documentary from Academy Award and Cannes Film Festival winning filmmaker Moore earned US$10,200 per screen, second in the weekend averages, and ninth in total sales. Ratatouille was the weekend's number one film with US$11,935 per screen (3940 screens) and top earnings of $47 Million. After only one weekend's limited release, SiCKO is now the fifth most successful political documentary ever, behind Fahrenheit 9/11, Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, Bowling for Columbine, and Roger and Me. Four of the top five are now by documentarian Moore.

SiCKO first opened at the AMC Lincoln Square in New York City. Fox News reported that the first screening's take was "possibly a record for an exclusive showing." Moore attended one of the Lincoln Square screenings; his presence not known until he revealed himself during the standing ovation that the film garnered. The ensuing melee of enthusiastic fans resulted in a NYC fire marshal being called in to clear the theater, with Moore then participating in an informal question and answer session on the street.

Moore has appeared on numerous talk shows in support of the film, which The Weinstein Company will roll out to 200 more theaters this week.

Michael Moore    -     hledat v googlu: Michael Moore, obrázky v googlu: Michael Moore

3   Final Harry Potter book goes on sale

July 21, 2007

The final Harry Potter book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has gone on sale today. The book was launched simultaneously across the world.

The book launched first in the UK, where the book went on sale from midnight. Fans in one central London bookshop started joining the queue from 10:30 p.m., which soon reached the door of the shop and out onto the street. The book chain Waterstone's held 'Harry Potter parties', giving out free glasses of wine and snacks. The mood was good-natured and jolly, with some fans dressed up in costume.

New Zealand fans of the series had a launch time of 11.01 a.m. (NZST). Due to high competition among major retail chains, the book was being sold for as little as NZ$32.99 at Whitcoulls; a profit margin of four cents with each book sold. The recommended retail price was NZ$55.00. Many supermarkets in the UK cut prices even further as a publicity stunt with, for example, ASDA selling copies at a loss, at about 1/4 of the recommended retail price.

It was also an early release for Australian fans of the series, at 9.01 a.m. (Sydney). A Sydney Borders store had a line reaching out halfway across the street. In Brisbane City, Borders had a line from the shop, down the street and around the corner.

150 fans in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, were waiting outside a Border's bookstore at 8.00 a.m. to be some of the first to get their hands on a copy. A bookstore nearby, Dymocks, also had a large crowd, an estimated 100 people were waiting. One person arriving there at 6.30 a.m. At one New Zealand Whitcoulls store, they had a entertainer/magician keeping fans entertained while waiting for 11.01 a.m. In Germany, however, some bookshops were disappointed with the turnout for the Harry Potter book launch events.

The Harry Potter series has already sold 325 million copies worldwide. 1.3 million of those were sold in New Zealand, a quarter of New Zealand's population. The Wikipedia article on the latest book became disabled for editing by unregistered and newly registered users within 5 minutes of the book's release.

Harry Potter    -     hledat v googlu: Harry Potter, obrázky v googlu: Harry Potter

4   Pamplona's famous "running of the bulls" in pictures

July 13, 2007

Sanfermin.jpg, 16 kB

The nine day San Fermín festival, commonly known as the running of the bulls (or "el encierro" in Spanish) in Pamplona, Spain, is the most famous of all such events.

Like every year, several revelers are gored, both locals and tourists. Some 800 000 tourists were estimated to have come to Pamplona last weekend. On Thursday, 13 people were admitted to the hospital, seven of whom were gored. Three of the latter had to have surgery.

A 48-year-old man from Pamplona was in a critical condition after being gored in the chest. Other serious incidents involved a Mexican and a German man in their twenties. Runners from Poland, Norway, Spain and the United States also sustained injuries.

Thursday's run lasted six minutes, where a normal run is only two minutes long. Normally, the pack of bulls stays together, but in this run they separated, which is more dangerous for the runners. Since 1924, there have been 13 fatalities, the last of whom was an American in 1995.

The 825 metre run garnered international fame after Ernest Hemingway described the running in his 1926 book The Sun Also Rises. The end of the run is the bullring where the matadors will deal with the bulls.

Animal rights activists protest the bull-running because they believe the tradition is cruel to the animals. Tomorrow, the eighth and final run will be held, at 8:00 a.m. CEST (UTC+2).

Pamplona    -     hledat v googlu: Pamplona, obrázky v googlu: Pamplona

5   Tarantino wades through Manila floods

August 21, 2007

Acclaimed Hollywood director of "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill," Quentin Tarantino was forced to wade in Manila's flood waters and use a pedicab in order to get to Malacanang Palace to receive an award from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday.

The pedicab is a three-wheeled vehicle with a side-car driven by human pedal power, common mode of transportation in the Philippines used for short distance travel or during floods in the country.

Tarantino, the guest of honour for the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival, was about to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award when an elevated southwest monsoon dumped rain in the Philippine capital, Manila, Wednesday morning.

The director was already late for the award ceremony due to traffic caused by the rain in Metro Manila when he was forced to leave his limousine and take the pedicab to the Presidential palace, some 1.5 kilometers away.

Tarantino was wearing the Barong Tagalog (the Filipino formal wear), black pants and black shoes when he took the pedicab. While he was being transported in the barely covered pedicab to the Presidential Palace, another downpour occurred. Tarantino arrived at the palace wet from the downpour and had to change into black jogging pants.

The director was being honored for his contributions in cinema. He was quoted as saying, during his week-long visit to the Philippines, that he admires Asian cinema and will need to study it more.

Tarantino is currently writing a book on Asian cinema and will feature Filipino cinema.

Tarantino    -     hledat v googlu: Tarantino, obrázky v googlu: Tarantino

6   Ozzy Osbourne's personal possessions fetch $800,000 for charity

December 2, 2007

American heavy metal performer Ozzy Osbourne, who became famous as the lead vocalist for Black Sabbath and later as a solo act, has raised more than US$800,000 for The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program, founded by his spouse Sharon Osbourne at the Cedars Sinai Hospital, by auctioning off personal items.

A number of the items that he auctioned off over the two day period have been seen on his reality TV show The Osbournes, which featured home life with Sharon, Ozzy and their two children. Amongst some of the higher-priced items were a carved walnut Victorian-style custom built pool table which raised $11,250, a painting from Edourad Drouot which fetched $10,500, a pair of Ozzy's famous round glasses which raised $5,250 and a dog bed given to Sharon by Elton John which sold for $2,375.

Some more famous items were also amongst the 500 lots offered. Ozzy's black satin coat, complete with bat-wing cape, raised $3,300 and a hand-painted floral cup used regularly on The Osbournes made $1,625. A bronze plaque of a demon's head that was regularly seen in its position adorning the front door of their house had been expected to go for $800 to $1,200instead raised $8,750. A wire model of the Eiffel Tower from on the kitchen table sold for $10,000, while skull-covered trainers Ozzy had worn reached $2,625. Bidders came from as far away as Germany to buy what they could from his mansion in Beverly Hills, California.

However, three cars included in the auction failed to attract bidders and did not sell. They were a 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, estimated at $160,000 to $180,000, a 2005 Cadillac CTS-V sedan estimated at $30,000 to $40,000 and a 1950 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88 Club Coupe previously owned by author Danielle Steel estimated at $40,000 to $50,000. Sharon had earlier said of the cars "We're not great car people. They really don't do a lot for us.

Darren Julien, president of Julien's Auctions, which organised the two-day sale, said "It did very well. It raised some good money for a very worthy cause."

"For a celebrity garage sale, it was pretty spectacular.," he went on. He also commented on the fact that there was fierce competition for the many artworks included. "We had Ozzy fans bidding against these sophisticated fine art buyers, which you don't see every day. For the most part the metalheads were outbidding the art crowd."

Ozzy Osbourne    -     hledat v googlu: Ozzy Osbourne, obrázky v googlu: Ozzy Osbourne

7   Elephants recognize mirror image of themselves

November 1, 2006

African_Elephant.jpg, 11 kB

If you put an elephant in front of a mirror, it will be able to recognize itself, according to a study performed by scientists on three female elephants at the Bronx Zoo located in New York City, New York.

During a test on the elephants named Happy, Maxine and Patty, a mirror was placed in their habitat and all three of the animals went over to the mirrors when they were released back into their habitats.

"Maxine, Patty and Happy immediately went over to the mirror when they were let out, which was really a surprise to us because most animals, when exposed to a mirror, act immediately as if it were another animal," said a student who took place in the experiment and studies at Emory University located in Atlanta, Georgia, Josh Plotnik.

The mirrors were initially covered and when the elephants went to examine the new item, the cover was removed. Another elephant also began to play with a painted "white 'X'" on its head when it walked in front of the mirror.

"They would go over smell it and then leave. They went straight for it — there was a lot of smelling the very first day. Both Maxine and Patty tried to climb the mirror wall and look over it," added Plotnik.

Despite the activity, the elephants Plotnik says, who are usually very vocal to each other were silent during their examination of the mirrors.

"I was really surprised that there was no audible vocalization. These elephants are extremely vocal," Plotnik said.

Until this study had been performed, only two other animals were known to be able to recognize themselves in mirrors - Dolphins and chimpanzees.

"This ability to recognize themselves in a mirror suggests a higher level of self-awareness," said a senior scientist who was a co-publisher of the study, which was reported in the National Academy of Sciences, Diana Reiss.

elephant    -     hledat v googlu: elephant, obrázky v googlu: elephant

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