Recently in Entertainment & Sports Category
Being of Croatian descent myself it's cool to read that the Qarth scenes from Game of Thrones are filmed in Dubrovnik! I'd love to visit Croatia sometime.
If you've watched the show and wondered where all the exotic, arid, desert footage was shot for the 'Qarth' kingdom scenes, HBO said they are mostly filmed in Croatia.
The premium cable channel works with a production company called Embassy Films, based in Croatia, for the scenes shot there. About 170 local crew were employed for shooting in Dubrovnik, according to the production company.
"This was very good for Croatian, Dubrovnik economy, starting from crew and people directly involved, to hotels, transportation, etc.," said Erika Milutin, executive producer working on the show with Embassy Films.
James Galea performs an amazing card trick in the form of a story.
Many people start running to lose weight or get fit but then begin to love running for it's own sake.
Tom Holland, running coach and author of "The Marathon Method," tells his clients that running for 3 miles was horrible for him too, but farther down the road things changed.
"It happens for different people at different times and different distances: that runner's high," he said in an interview.
For me the three-mile distance was the turning point. Getting myself in shape to run three miles seemed hard, and three miles felt like a million. Once I gained the ability to run three miles it was pretty easy to add on more miles. I don't think I've ever hit the wall even when I ran my half-marathon, but there was definitely a hump at the three-mile fitness level.
Why do runners love to run? There are a lot of reasons, but one of the top for me is that it's so linear.
Gregory Chertok, a sports psychologist with the American College of Sports Medicine, said many people are drawn to running because it's an uncomplicated activity.
"Put one foot in front of the other and when you work hard, you improve," Chertok said. "Not everything in life is so simple. You could spend 10 years in a ballet studio and not become a ballerina."
If you run longer, harder and faster you will become a better runner. You may never get a promotion from working hard, you may never win a prize, and your kids may end up in jail despite your best efforts... but you can get as good at running as you want to!
Awesome. Disney makes some fantastic movies so I'm excited to see how they revitalize Star Wars after the disastrous prequels. Can we do some sort of "reboot" but keep the original three movies?
New research shows that due to our circadian rhythm West Coast football teams beat the spread against East Coast teams 70% of the time!
Now, a few times each NFL season, an Eastern team plays a Western team in a night game. For television reasons, all the games start around 8:30 p.m., Eastern Time.
That means for an East Coast home game, the West Coast players still have their body clocks set at 5:30 -- ready to perk up, as the Eastern boys will soon run down. If the West Coast team is home, same thing: It's 5:30 for the Pacific boys, but the Atlantic guys' body clocks say it's 8:30.
Follow me? It doesn't matter where the game is played. The West Coast bodies are coming to life as the East Coast bodies are feeling nature's circadian cues to sleep.
And guess what the researchers found? Over a quarter-century span, the West Coast teams beat the East an amazing 70 percent of the time against the spread. Hello! Seventy percent!
That's pretty astounding, and I'm sure that gamblers have known this and profited from it for a long time.
So I've decided to write a review of Guild Wars 2! Some background on my perspective: I haven't played a ton of massively multiplayer online games. In World of Warcraft I made it all the way to level one. I played Lord of the Rings Online for a few months and enjoyed it, and the same for The Old Republic. Both turned grindy and I lost my interest.
Ok, so, GW2: it's awesome. Let me count the ways!
1. The graphics and visual content are gorgeous. Exploration is a blast, and there's always something new to see. The cities feel populated and live.
2. The dynamic events are fun. Sure, some are just "protect the caravan", but not all. Once I logged off in a friendly NPC fortress and when I logged back on it had been taken over by centaurs and burned to the ground. So we had to take it back over and rebuild it!
3. Character skills and abilities. I'm playing an elementalist and the mechanics are just plain fun. There are ability cooldowns, but they don't govern combat. It's hard to understand why without mentioning:
4. Mobile combat! Most abilities can be used on the run. You have to keep moving to dodge enemies and to get them into the hitboxes of your abilities. When an ability comes off cooldown you can't just use it unless you're in the right position. Combat isn't just a rotation of abilities in an "optimal" order because a lot of effort goes into positioning. Some enemies are fast, some are slow, and sometimes your movement abilities change based on your skills.
5. Instant travel. Once you have visited a place you can instantly travel back to it for a handful of copper. This means that there's a lot less running around, and all your foot travel is to new and exciting places, which leads to:
6. Exploration! The exploration system is excellent. You get rewards to visiting new places, killing a wide variety of creatures, seeing new vistas, and completing maps. The game deliberately rewards you for spreading your activities out. For example, monsters that have been alive for a long time give bonus experience points -- if you want to get the bonuses, you have to venture off the well-traveled routes.
7. Conditions and boons. These are the debuffs/buffs that are common in many games, but their mechanics are tweaked and more interesting in GW2. For example, elementalists can cause both bleeding and burning to do damage over time, but the effects stack differently. Bleeding stacks on intensity, which means that the more stacks of bleeding that you put on a target the more damage the target takes each second. Burning stacks on duration, which means that adding more burning doesn't increase the damage per second, but does lengthen the amount of time the target burns for. These distinctions make a huge difference when you're cooperating with other players to take down a boss. Which brings us to:
8. Ad hoc grouping! You get to work with whomever you're close to. You don't need to intentionally form a group to quest together, you can just go wherever you want and start walking next to whoever you want to team with. Rewards are automatically shared to everyone, so there's no competition between players and no reason to begrudge someone joining your group.
Those are my impressions after the first week of play. I plan to continue, so I may have more to say later on as I advance. I haven't tried much PvP or World-vs.-World play yet, but I plan to.
1. You never find items that make you say "I want to develop my character to use this!".
Firstly, you never find items for your class that you can't use. Unlike Diablo 2, items only have class and level restrictions, no attribute minimums. This is because Diablo 3 autolevels your attributes when your character advances and doesn't give you an option on how to spend your points. So unlike Diablo 2, it's impossible to find an item that you can't use yet, but that you will be able to use if you spend your next two or three levels putting points into a specific attribute.
Secondly, there is no character development. When you level-up you don't get to spend points to improve anything, you simply get access to new and different skills. The new skills aren't "better" than the old skills, just different. There is no sense of progression whatsoever, and no sense that you're tailoring your character according to your desires. There are no trade-offs. This means that the items you find also have no trade-offs, which makes them very uninteresting. Except for your very first choice in the game when you decide what class to play, you never get to make any choices that affect how your character develops. Every item you find either improves your primary stat and vitality (better, use it), or it doesn't (worse, sell it). There are no decisions.
2. The auction house. It's much easier to buy good items than to find them. You can buy amazing items for very little gold, which takes all the excitement out of finding loot. Nothing you find will be better than what you can buy.
Statistician DC Woods describes why he plays the lottery despite knowing the odds:
So why do I still buy lottery tickets? Definitely not for the expected monetary return on investment. I think of it as a discretionary entertainment spend. I get literally hours of enjoyment from fantasizing what I'd do if I won. I happily spend $25 for two hours of entertainment at the movies, and I don't judge the value of that experience based on its expected return. For me, a lottery ticket for the occasional big draw has just as much entertainment value, or more, than the many other things that I spend money on to entertain myself.
The decision of whether to buy a lottery ticket shouldn't be based on the probability of winning, or the expected return of a ticket, but on the entertainment value that comes from imagining a different life. If that entertainment value compares favourably with other activities with a similar price, then go for it. Plus, it has the added bonus that you might actually win; one-in-a-million events happen every day. Someone eventually wins the big prize, and you have to be in to win.
So in addition to the money he could win, there's a psychic reward to playing: you get to imagine what you'd do if you won. Interesting, but I can imagine what I'd do with a ton of money even if I don't buy a lottery ticket. Still, people pour money into all sorts of hobbies that have zero expected return on investment without batting an eye... whether you buy a new sports car or play video games it's your hobby money, spend it on what you enjoy.
I had never thought about it before, but it makes sense that the "whales" are able to negotiate special terms with casinos before they show up to play.
Sophisticated gamblers won't play by the standard rules. They negotiate. Because the casino values high rollers more than the average customer, it is willing to lessen its edge for them. It does this primarily by offering discounts, or "loss rebates." When a casino offers a discount of, say, 10 percent, that means if the player loses $100,000 at the blackjack table, he has to pay only $90,000. Beyond the usual high-roller perks, the casino might also sweeten the deal by staking the player a significant amount up front, offering thousands of dollars in free chips, just to get the ball rolling. But even in that scenario, Johnson won't play. By his reckoning, a few thousand in free chips plus a standard 10 percent discount just means that the casino is going to end up with slightly less of the player's money after a few hours of play. The player still loses.
But two years ago, Johnson says, the casinos started getting desperate. With their table-game revenues tanking and the number of whales diminishing, casino marketers began to compete more aggressively for the big spenders. After all, one high roller who has a bad night can determine whether a casino's table games finish a month in the red or in the black. Inside the casinos, this heightened the natural tension between the marketers, who are always pushing to sweeten the discounts, and the gaming managers, who want to maximize the house's statistical edge. But month after month of declining revenues strengthened the marketers' position. By late 2010, the discounts at some of the strapped Atlantic City casinos began creeping upward, as high as 20 percent.
Gambling by the normal rules is for suckers. Those huge, glamorous buildings are built from donations.
In the early 20th century Albert Kahn financed an amazing collection of color photographs.