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2014 FIFA World Cup: From the Round of 16 to the Winner

With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting, alternative commentary, mood swings, (allegedly) sulky England players, exciting matches, the USA vs Ronaldo, Europeans taking early return flights, deep analysis, a fantasy league and many goals - but who will finally lift the trophy in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jun 26, 2014 - 1838 comments

Monitoring the raindrops that keep falling on your head from space

The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
posted by Rob Rockets on Jan 8, 2014 - 6 comments

France in the NSA's crosshairs

Using documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Le Monde reports that the NSA has been intercepting French telephone communications on a massive scale. Under a programme called 'US-985D', the NSA is collecting not only metadata but recordings of telephone calls: From 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013, 70.3 million French telephone calls were recorded.
These revelations came just as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on a pre-scheduled visit. Francois Hollande is not pleased.
posted by anemone of the state on Oct 21, 2013 - 166 comments

Why the UK went to war when France and Germany didn't: satellites

"We’ve suspected for some time that the French and German governments’ refusal to take part in the Iraq war had something to do with their access to independent overhead imagery satellites. Briefly, France and Germany did (with the HELIOS and SAR Lupe programs respectively), and didn’t take part at all. Spain and Italy had some access to French imagery and had advanced plans to get their own. They made a limited commitment. The UK, Australia, Denmark, and the ROK relied on the United States and were, in a phrase that should be better known outside Australia, all the way with LBJ." -- Alex Harrowell explains how the absence of independent satellite intelligence may have helped the UK into the War on Iraq [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 19, 2013 - 13 comments

Time flies by when you're the driver of a train

You may remember the 7.5 hour documentary released in 2009 which allowed you to travel the journey between Bergen to Oslo from the comfort of your home. If your wanderlust was fired up watching that video, then you may enjoy some of the other trips you can take. Switzerland: [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on May 25, 2013 - 28 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

The state of high-speed rail, August 2009

The Guardian ran a series of articles looking at the state of high-speed rail travel today. France intends to double its length of track over the next decade, and China is planning a massive rail-building programme, including a high-speed line which will halve the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to 4 hours. In Germany, domestic air travel is rapidly going extinct, and Spain's network has made day trips between Madrid and Barcelona a possibility. The USA, which has long neglected its rail network, is planning up to 10 high-speed lines. Meanwhile, Britain's only high-speed line goes to France, but there is talk of a 250mph line from London to Birmingham and beyond, possibly by the early 2020s. Meanwhile, the CEO of France's rail operator, SNCF, weighs in on what the UK should do.
posted by acb on Aug 7, 2009 - 49 comments

Size Doesn't Matter... Size Doesn't Matter... Keep repeating...

I've long felt that the U.S. of A. "jumped the shark" as a country when we rejected the Metric System. The price of gasoline would still be under a dollar (per liter). Yet, we'd drive less because a short 20 mile trip would become a long 32 km trip. Then there's the most important measurement of all [maybe NSFW animated graph], providing us with the joy of 12.9(!) while we try to ignore that Japan is .1 ahead of us and France is .1 more than South Africa. (And is that Korean average North or South?)
posted by wendell on Aug 14, 2006 - 65 comments

River Art

Ahmad Nadalian's work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying them).
posted by tellurian on Aug 2, 2006 - 7 comments

Bonjour America

Howdy États-Unis! Cyrille of Vingt Sur Vingt (French) has a new blog and he's talking to you, USians.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 5, 2006 - 20 comments

Jerry Lewis at 80

Jerry Lewis at 80 (more inside)
posted by matteo on Mar 13, 2006 - 46 comments

Segregation for the dummies

Secret information concerning the Black American Troops. We must prevent the rise of any pronounced degree of intimacy between French officers and black officers. We may be courteous and amiable with these last, but we cannot deal with them on the same plane as with the white American officers without deeply wounding the latter. In August 1918, the French liaison officer at the American Expeditionary Force Headquarters gave his fellow officers a primer in US-style racial segregation, urging the military and civil authorities to implement similar procedures on French soil, as the local populations were felt by US authorities to be much too friendly towards American Black troops (PDF, page 13) (see also the first chapter of Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light). This memorandum, however, was never distributed and other similar leaflets were eventually destroyed by the French government. One soldier of the 93rd Division wrote his mother: These French people don't bother with no color line business. They treat us so good that the only time I ever know I'm colored is when I look in the glass.
posted by elgilito on Oct 19, 2005 - 18 comments

No West

Will the notion of the "West" soon be politically meaningless? A fascinating article by Brian Walden which raises questions about the direction Europe and the wider community is heading in C21. Some of the comments are particularly interesting.
posted by tommyc on May 30, 2005 - 17 comments

A little lesson on the superpower of the 17th-18th centuries

And when an American mouths off about French military history, he's not just being ignorant, he's being ungrateful. The War Nerd provides a little historical perspective. [via monkeyfilter]
posted by jb on Aug 22, 2004 - 32 comments

France, stung by Libyan WMD deal, admits US policies showing results

France, stung by Libyan WMD deal, admits US policies showing results Ok. Agreed. You don't like Bush. And the French government does not like Bush. But here is what the French now say about Libya: [...] The media, which have long criticised the US war and invasion of Iraq, grudgingly allowed that that conquest had borne fruit in terms of putting pressure on other countries Washington considers "rogue states" or part of an "axis of evil"[...]
posted by Postroad on Dec 22, 2003 - 72 comments

Think We Can (French) Kiss and Make Up?

Think We Can (French) Kiss and Make Up? Two years ago it was "I'll always love and support you". It only took a little while, though, before the arguments began. But there are always counselors to help you work on the relationship. There is even talk of reconciliation. And anyway, this love-hate relationship has been going on for almost three centuries.
posted by twsf on Sep 11, 2003 - 10 comments

The House passes constitutional ammendment banning flag burning

Flag-burning amendment passes the House? Yeah it's highly unlikley this will pass the Senate which is good. I can't say the same for are friends the French who's government just passed a law to jail or fine anyone who insults the flag let alone burn it.
posted by ZupanGOD on Jun 4, 2003 - 36 comments

Stewart For America!

The Stewart For America Petition. "We, the undersigned, hereby request that French Stewart immediately change his name to 'Freedom' Stewart." Long live America.
posted by adrober on Mar 14, 2003 - 16 comments

on the heels of freedomgate

"A lot of people may not want to repatriate their fallen loved ones, separating them from their comrades, to make a statement about the French government."

Try telling Congress that. Tax dollars are flying and common sense is dwindling.
posted by artifex on Mar 13, 2003 - 65 comments

Even Shakespeare bashed the French.

Even Shakespeare bashed the French. Here's the play in which Willie the Shake indulges in a bit of Frog-bashing.
posted by mrmanley on Feb 25, 2003 - 53 comments

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