Category Archive:柳州桑拿

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World No.

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1 Serena Williams has the chance to make Hopman Cup history after regaining her winning mojo to power the US into Saturday’s final of the mixed-teams event.

Needing to win their tie against the Czech Republic 3-0 in order to qualify for the decider, the US shot out to a 2-0 lead following singles wins to Williams and John Isner.

Williams overcame the wobbles in the second set to beat Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (8-6), before Isner defeated Adam Pavlasek 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 at Perth Arena.

The Czech Republic only needed one rubber win to reach Saturday’s final, but the US pipped them courtesy of a 6-3 6-3 triumph in the mixed doubles.

Williams now has the chance to become the first person to win three Hopman Cup titles, with the US to take on either Poland, France or Great Britain in the final.

“It would really mean a lot for me to come out and to do well and win the event,” Williams said.

“I’m excited because our backs were against the wall. We play well under pressure.”

The 18-time grand slam champion complained of fatigue in her recent matches against Eugenie Bouchard and Flavia Pennetta, but the 33-year-old felt energised on Thursday night.

“I have an ache here and there, but physically I feel like I can run a 10km,” Williams said.

“It feels so much better than I did a couple of days ago. I feel really good now.

“I feel like I’m getting back in the groove. I’m not moving as well as I was last year. But I’m going to try to improve that. I know I can. I’m getting there.

“I needed that win. I was over losing to her in Perth. It feels really good to get through that.”

Williams banged her racquet in frustration during the second set of her singles win, but her fighting spirit spurred her on during a see-sawing third set.

“I just never give up,” Williams said.

“I have been through so much in my life and on the tennis court, I just keep fighting and just keep doing the best that I can and just keep going for it.”

Isner served 20 aces during his 67-minute demolition of world No.239 Pavlasek.

The big-serving American was full of praise for Williams’ efforts.

“That was one of the best singles games I’ve ever seen,” Isner said.

“She did her job. I was sweating bullets in the locker room watching.

“But then I was able to win my match and then win the mixed doubles.”

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The Ivory Coast midfielder joins Samuel Eto’o as the only players to win the continent’s top individual award four times but only Toure has done it in successive years, starting in 2011.

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His latest triumph came ahead of two other finalists, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, in a poll of the coaches and captain’s of Africa’s national teams.

“I’ve been very blessed all these years,” Toure said at the ceremony. “I want to thank all the football fans and say ‘Thank you Africa’.” Toure’s award comes on the back of his stellar performances for Manchester City in the Premier League rather than his achievements with the Ivory Coast.

The Ivorians failed to reach the second round at last year’s World Cup in Brazil and struggled through the qualifiers for the 2015 African Nations Cup.

The 31-year-old Toure scored in Manchester City’s League Cup final win over Sunderland in March and notched 20 goals in helping his side regain the Premier League title, a feat for a midfielder that only Frank Lampard had managed before him.

However, Toure suffered heartbreak in Brazil when the Ivory Coast were denied progress from their World Cup group by a last minute Greece goal. He captained the Ivorians in two of their three games ahead of Didier Drogba.

Toure will lead the team at this month’s African Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea.

He had won the award ahead of Seydou Keita (Mali) in 2011, Drogba in 2012 and John Obi Mikel of Nigeria in 2013. Aubameyang and Enyeama were finalists for the first time at the 2014 awards.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Apple turns stores into art galleries

June 30th, 2019 / / categories: 柳州桑拿 /

NEW YORK (AP) – Apple is turning its retail stores into art galleries featuring the work of professional photographers and other artists who use iPads, iPhones and Mac computers to create.

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Travel photographer Austin Mann used an iPhone 6 to take otherworldly panoramic photos of an Icelandic glacier.

Mann, who recalls mowing lawns as a young high school student to save up for his first, bright green iMac in 1998, says his use of an iPhone and high-end cameras is “split pretty even” when it comes to professional work.

“In the photography industry especially, when you are getting started you are always seeking gear, ‘If I could only get this $1000 lens’,” he says.

Using just an iPhone to take great photos encourages people to “shift away from focusing on gear and equipment”.

Apple commissioned the work of 12 artists at various stages of their career to create works meant to inspire. Showcasing the people who use its technology – in this case, painters, photographers, filmmakers and other visual artists – is a shift for a company long focused on making its products front and centre.

The artwork, done on iOS devices and Macs using various apps, is displayed on Apple’s website as part of an ad campaign called “Start something new”.

And the California-based company is replacing all product signage in its retail stores with the artwork.

Just as technology has transformed the way we work and interact with one another, it has also changed the way we create. For painter Roz Hall, that’s meant shifting away from the canvases and acrylic paint he started out using in art school to an iPhone app called Brushes.

After not painting for many years, Hall in 2010 read about a group of artists who started using their iPhones and sometimes iPads, which had just come out.

“I had an iPhone at home and I downloaded the Brushes app,” he says. “That was a wonderful, simple application.”

It was also challenging. When he painted on a canvas, he painted life-size works. Painting on a 3.5 inch-screen was an entirely different thing.

“What I liked about it was that there was no set-up,” Hall says. With all the prep work that comes with traditional painting, he says, “by the time you have everything out the moment has (often) passed.”

Hall, whose website lists exhibitions in cities from San Francisco to New York to Shanghai, says he has not painted traditionally for many years.

And he prefers painting on the iPad to using a traditional computer. Using the app Procreate to paint with his fingers on the iPad, “you don’t feel like you are fighting a computer to create your art. You feel connected to the artwork”, he says.

“When I first used an iPad, it made me think of cave paintings, or when a child first paints using their finger.”

While some artists may look at digital painting as “cheating” – after all, you can delete mistaken brush strokes – Hall, who lives in Britain, thinks it actually makes artists more daring.

“If you spent STG50 on canvas and another STG50 on paint, at some point you are going to get careful. You don’t want to waste what you spent,” he says.

For Apple’s display, Hall used Procreate to paint portraits of people he encountered at the university where he lectures.

They include a bearded, moustached young man with bright yellow glasses and an intense stare, and a woman in a floppy black hat lost in thought.

Alistair Taylor-Young, whose photography career spans two decades and has shot for fashion icons such as Armani and Fendi and magazines ranging from Conde Nast Traveller to French Vogue, took photos of rainy cityscapes with the iPhone 6 for Apple’s project. “Crystal Mosaic” uses the phone’s own camera app to bring drops of rain on glass into focus, showing ordinary scenes through a different perspective.

Taylor-Young bought an iPhone in 2007, when they first came out. Having worked with Polaroid cameras early in his career, he found the quality of the original iPhone’s camera very similar.

“It was quite soft and the colours were muted and distorted,” he says.

“The moment I picked up the phone and started taking pictures, it reminded me of photography in its infancy. You couldn’t focus, change exposure. You just saw something and took a photo.”

The quality of phone cameras has certainly improved in the last several years. But more importantly, the ease of use and always-in-hand nature of a smartphone camera has in many ways democratised photography, encouraging anyone to make a photo diary of daily moments, not just special events or trips.

“Digital hasn’t made any nicer pictures,” Taylor-Young says. “But they have opened up the world to people who would have not necessarily thought of taking pictures, or sharing them.”

Office workers stood shoulder to shoulder, buses and metros halted, and only the toll of bells and sound of weeping broke the silence as France honoured the 12 people massacred at Charlie Hebdo magazine.

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“Charlie will be free!” cried a woman joining a large crowd in front of Paris’ medieval Notre Dame cathedral a moment before noon on Thursday when the country observed a national minute of silence.

Among the hundreds gathered on the ancient square, many were in tears or stood with their eyes closed, while some prayed and a long line formed to enter the cathedral for a special memorial Mass.

Across the city, at the major rail station of Saint-Lazare, staff called on travellers and workers to pause at midday. “We must stick together and save our freedom of speech,” said Julie, 37, who works for the national SNCF rail company.

Another Paris icon, the Eiffel Tower, was to dim its lights at 8pm.

Charlie Hebdo: Thousands turn out for Melbourne, Sydney vigils

Ten people at Charlie Hebdo — including the chief editor and renowned cartoonists — were gunned down on Wednesday by two men who shouted they were taking revenge for the magazine’s repeated publication of cartoons widely seen as insulting to Islam.

Two policemen were also shot, one of them finished off at close range as he lay wounded on the sidewalk.

Shocked politicians led by President Francois Hollande were seen on television taking part in the minute of silence.

Sorrow and fear spread through a country that has long prided itself on freedom of expression, but which for decades has struggled to integrate its rapidly growing Muslim population.

In Bordeaux, capital of France’s most famous wine growing region, mourners gathered late into the night and continued to come by early Thursday leaving candles, flowers, inscriptions of support and old copies of Charlie Hebdo at a makeshift memorial.

In Nantes, in western France, a young man at a similar memorial was in tears, bearing the words “Je suis Charlie” or “I am Charlie” on his black T-shirt.

The phrase has gone viral at impromptu demonstrations and in social media campaigns over the last 24 hours, even featuring at a demonstration of several hundred people on the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

“They wanted to kill Charlie Hebdo, but they made it immortal,” the man in Nantes said.

In the neighbourhood where the Charlie Hebdo offices are located, Herve Roch, the father of two, said he’d told his children, “that evil people came to do bad things and the police would catch them.”

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Computer program ‘cracks’ poker

May 30th, 2019 / / categories: 柳州桑拿 /

A computer program that taught itself to play poker has created nearly the best possible strategy for one version of the game.

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Researchers believe this shows the value of techniques that may prove useful to help decision-making in medicine and other areas.

The program considered 24 trillion simulated poker hands per second for two months, probably playing more poker than all humanity has ever experienced, says Michael Bowling, who led the project.

The resulting strategy still won’t win every game because of bad luck in the cards.

But over the long run – thousands of games – it won’t lose money.

“We can go against the best (players) in the world and the humans are going to be the ones that lose money,” said Bowling, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

The strategy applies specifically to a game called heads-up limit Texas Hold ’em.

While scientists have created poker-playing programs for years, Bowling’s result stands out because it comes so close to “solving” its version of the game, which essentially means creating the optimal strategy.

Poker is hard to solve because it involves imperfect information, where a player doesn’t know everything that has happened in the game he is playing – specifically, what cards the opponent has been dealt.

Many real-world challenges like negotiations and auctions also include imperfect information, which is one reason why poker has long been a proving ground for the mathematical approach to decision-making called game theory.

Bowling’s paper, released on Thursday by the journal Science, introduces some techniques that could become useful for applying game theory in real-world situations.

Bowling is investigating the possibility of helping doctors determine proper insulin doses for diabetic patients, for example.

Game theory has also been used to schedule security patrols, and it has implications for other areas like developing strategies for cybersecurity, designing drugs and fighting disease pandemics.

Koalas injured in bushfires across SA, Vic and NSW are in desperate need for cotton paw mittens, animal welfare groups say.

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The International Fund for Animal Welfare has asked volunteers to sew cotton mittens for koalas that have been severely burnt. The mittens would be used to cover the animals’s bandages.

Volunteers are encouraged to use the sewing template on IFAW’s website, and to drop off completed mittens at local wildlife centres or at their Sydney offices. 

“Koalas with burns to their paws need to have them treated with burn cream and wrapped in bandages. They then need special cotton mittens to cover the dressings. All this needs changing daily so we’re asking if you can help us by sewing koala mittens – as many as they can before the fire season truly hits,” said IFAW’s Josey Sharrad.

Post by International Fund for Animal Welfare – IFAW.

Jeremy was the first koala to be treated at the Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO) in Adelaide. All four of Jeremy’s paws were treated for second-degree partial thickness burns, but the group assures that he is showing positive signs of recovery.  

Animal welfare groups believe more koalas will be admitted to centres in the coming days. 

“We’ve got one coming in very shortly and another following it,” Adelaide Koala and Wildlife Hospital founder Rae Campbell told ABC. “I think over the coming days and weeks there will be many, many more. 

“Many of them, if they’re picked up early enough and treated, are able to be released and have normal lives.”

Authorities declared on Thursday that the Sampson Flat bushfire had been fully contained, six days after the blaze began its trail of destruction.

The fire destroyed 27 homes, burnt through almost 13,000 hectares and left 134 people, mainly firefighters, injured.

Remarkably, no lives were lost.

 Post by Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation Inc. (AMWRRO). Post by Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation Inc. (AMWRRO). Post by Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organisation Inc. (AMWRRO).

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Organisers of the Rio Olympics said on Thursday they may decide to use more cities to host football action amid concerns that pitches slated to host matches may get burnt out.

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Rio, welcoming South America’s first ever Olympiad in 2016, is scheduled to share out the games with fellow World Cup venues Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Salvador.

But Carlos Nuzman, who chairs the Brazilian Olympic Committee, told reporters FIFA has voiced concern at whether the four pitches will stand up to multiple use in early rounds.

“Can we have one more city? Yes,” Nuzman said. “This is under discussion with FIFA and the Brazil soccer federation.”

Adding venues would not just protect pitches from cutting up but would have the added benefit of bringing potential use to one or more of Brazil’s potential “white elephant” World Cup venues such as Manaus in Amazonia and Cuiaba, both of whom boast multimillion-dollar swanky new stadiums but have no major local side to fill them.

Nuzman said adding venues – rather as London did for the 2012 event when some matches were played as far away as Newcastle and Glasgow, some 400 kilometres away – would respond to FIFA concerns of pitch maintenance.

With 16 men’s teams and 12 for the women, the current four-city structure could mean some stadiums hosting more than one match a day during the August 3 to 19 football event.

Rio’s legendary Maracana, which hosted Germany’s World Cup final win over Argentina in July, is scheduled to host semi-final and final matches.

Brazil used 12 venues at the World Cup, giving the Maracana a massive $400 million overhaul and spending almost $3 billion in all to spread the tournament across the country despite fears that several host cities would struggle to fill their new grounds thereafter.

As a partial solution, the Brazilian league brought domestic matches to the likes of Manaus’ Amazonia Arena last season.

Nuzman hinted a decision would be made by February, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to visit to monitor progress on Games’ preparations.

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The Brazilian put the Catalan club ahead after 34 minutes when he fired home following a well worked move and after that the flood gates opened against the bottom side in La Liga.

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Six minutes later Luis Suarez slotted past Przemyslaw Tyton after creating the chance with a delightful dummy as he allowed the ball to run through his legs before bearing down on goal.

Lionel Messi, who was the focus of attention following a reported bust-up with Enrique, looked very motivated from the start with some lively runs and converted a penalty just before halftime after Neymar was felled by defender Enzo Roco.

Jordi Alba made it 4-0 with a clinical finish from a Messi pass after 55 minutes and Neymar got his second foal with a deflected drive from distance five minutes later.

Shortly afterwards Neymar was substituted and made it clear he was unhappy as he shook his head when walking off.

It was an important win for Enrique who was criticised for leaving Messi and Neymar on the bench for the defeat by Real Sociedad last Sunday with his team stuttering under him.

The coach put out a first choice strike force against Elche as he could not afford another slip-up and he received a mixed reception from the Camp Nou crowd.

At several times during the game fans chanted his name but they were then drowned out by whistles.

“The only reflection that I will make is that which interests me, and I value the support of the fans to the players. They are the protagonists in this show and I like it that they are supported,” he told a news conference.

“This is basic if we are going to have a good season and it is great if they can back the players.”

It has been a difficult week with presidential elections brought forward a year to the end of this season due to general dissatisfaction with the management of the club.

“I think that our supporters have belief in us and in this sense I am in favour of the decision to hold elections by the president (Josep Maria) Bartomeu as a generous gesture” said Luis Enrique.

“This is a way of bringing some calm and hopefully we can build on that with some good results.”

Barca will face either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid in the King’s Cup quarter-finals once they finish off Elche. Atletico hold a 2-0 first-leg lead after the home leg on Wednesday.

(Editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford)

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Charlie Hebdo: A history of the French satire magazineIn pictures: Rallies held across Europe for Charlie Hebdo shootingWorld leaders condemn Paris attackCartoonists pay tribute to Charlie Hedbo<strong style="line-height: 1.

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538em;”>Comment: we are all Charlie Hebdo – and this is an attack on our rightsLIVE UPDATES: the hunt for Paris attackers countinues

When a masked gunman burst into the Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting shouting “Allahu akbar” and fired off a hail of bullets, journalist Laurent Leger threw himself behind a corner table and hid as horror unfolded around him.

The journalists were wrapping up their weekly meeting when they heard what sounded like “fireworks” outside, said Leger, whose reflex to hide would make him one of few survivors of the bloodbath.

He looked like a member of the special forces, “he was masked, dressed all in black, he was holding his weapon with both hands,” Leger told France Info radio.

He said the gunman called out “Charb!” the name of editor-in-chief and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier who was living under police protection after receiving death threats for the magazine’s provocative content mocking Islam.

“And then the shooting started, the smell of gunpowder … by chance I threw myself behind the table and he didn’t see me … a few seconds, and everyone was on the ground,” he said, adding the gunman had shot at random.

Leger said that as the satirical Charlie Hebdo team were “jokers”, he at first thought it may be some kind of a prank.

But the reality quickly sank in as the sharp sting of gunpowder hit his nose and one by one his colleagues crumpled to the ground.

Helpless, the veteran reporter huddled tightly in his hiding place.

“I saw the others on the ground, the sound of explosions, then suddenly there was silence. A long silence.”

Leger said he heard footsteps and realised the gunman was returning.

He heard the man exchange a few words with someone else and realised there were two attackers.

“I thought they were going to walk around to find survivors,” he said. But they were unable to walk around the cramped room and left.

When the coast was clear he and others who were not hit got up to try to help their colleagues. Leger said he held the hand of the weekly’s webmaster while waiting for help to arrive.

“I saw a lot of blood, I saw half the editorial team on the ground,” he said. “I saw horror.”

“I still don’t know how I managed to escape.”

Some of the country’s best-known cartoonists such as Charb, his police guard and an invited visitor were among the 10 who died in the room.

A maintenance man was shot in the reception area and another policeman was murdered outside as the two attackers fled. Eleven people were wounded, four of them seriously.

“It all happened so fast … it still hasn’t sunk in for anyone in this small team of survivors that it really happened.”

Clearly stunned, the journalist described a tight-knit group of colleagues whose job centred on humour, almost wiped out by the attack.

But the weekly’s biting irony and irreverent style made it a key target of jihadist groups.

But to Leger, the massacre was “unimaginable. Charb felt more threatened than the others, we stopped thinking about it”.

And as the country plunges into mourning, Charlie Hebdo has refused to be cowed by terror, and with the help of several other French media plans to put out next week’s issue.

The newspaper’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said one million copies would be printed instead of the normal 60,000.

Leger said it was “important” to publish something.

“I don’t want it to be an issue about death. I want a magazine on the challenge to exist, to say things, to fight against idiocy, against human stupidity, against all fundamentalism.”

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Cowboys-Packers set for NFL battle

April 29th, 2019 / / categories: 柳州桑拿 /

In a rematch of a brutally cold 1967 playoff classic dubbed the “Ice Bowl,” the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers top a weekend of intense knockout clashes.

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The Cowboys, unbeaten on the road this season, travel to Green Bay, perfect at home in the campaign, in sub-freezing conditions and one team will have its title dreams ended on Sunday (Monday (AEDT).

“We don’t pay attention to them being 8-0 on the road because they haven’t come here and beaten us here at Lambeau,” Packers defensive back Micah Hyde said. “But it’s going to be a tough matchup and we understand that.”

It’s the first time the Cowboys have visited Lambeau Field for a playoff game since New Year’s Eve in 1967, when Bart Starr’s late touchdown plunge in wind chills averaging minus-48 (minus-44 Celsius) gave the Packers a 21-17 triumph on their way to winning the second Super Bowl.

The last time an unbeaten road team visited an unbeaten host in the playoffs came in 1972 when visiting Miami won at Pittsburgh on the way to the only undefeated Super Bowl championship run.

“This will be a big challenge,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

“It’s definitely something that jumps off the stat sheet when you see eight wins on the road.”

The Cowboys, featuring NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray and standout quarterback Tony Romo, have lost their past six road playoff games while the Packers, whose quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been nagged by a calf injury, has thrown 38 touchdowns without an interception in 477 passes over his past 16 home games.

The Cowboys have not reached the Super Bowl since winning their third in four seasons in 1996.

And since the Packers last won the Super Bowl in 2011, they saw a 15-1 season end with a home playoff loss to the New York Giants and exits to San Francisco the past two years.

The Packers-Cowboys victor will face the winner of Sunday’s (Monday AEDT) clash between defending Super Bowl champion Seattle or upstart Carolina, who are only the second playoff qualifier with a losing regular-season record, in the National Conference final.

In the American Conference, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning will guide the Broncos against his former club, the visiting Indianapolis Colts, on Sunday (Monday AEDT) while the top seed New England Patriots play host on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) to Baltimore, the Ravens fresh off winning their playoff opener at Pittsburgh.

Winners of the conference finals on January 18 will advance to the Super Bowl championship spectacle on February 1 at Glendale, Arizona.