How GPS tracking is changing football


One for the football season. Will sports remain sports?

The Brazilian fitness staff claims that since their players started using GPS wearable devices in 2015, soft-tissue injuries have been rare. Ramos, the physiologist, recalls that during the Rio Olympics in 2016 he needed to have a word with Neymar because of the exceptional number of high-intensity sprints registered by his GPS device during training. “We had to tell him to slow down or else he would get injured.” If he had, he wouldn’t have been on the pitch to score the winning goal in the final against Germany. Whoever strikes the decisive shot at this year’s World Cup will probably have done so with a computer at his back.

The complete article

Joao Medeiros — 1843

Image source



Have you ever felt an inexplicable sadness because you were alone? I felt such a sadness on a weekend when I was in London away from my family during Holi, one of the biggest festivals in India.

We live in a society that admires independence but derides isolation. Yet for many old people the two go hand in hand. Back in the summer of 1960, following the death of his wife, Joy, C.S. Lewis wrote of the agony of becoming a free agent. “I’d like to meet,” he wrote to Peter Bide, the priest who had married them, “for I am – Oh God that I were not – very free now. One doesn’t realise in early life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy is to be tied.” This was exactly Barry’s experience. He finds it hard to say where grief ends and loneliness begins, but together he experienced them as “a penetrating hurt that doesn’t dissipate – a mental thing that becomes physical and robs you of all motivation. I got very near to losing the will to live: despair is always knocking on the door for the lonely.”

The complete article

Maggie Fergusson — 1843

Image source

The Man Trap


The trials of modern men.

As these children grow older, boys will often go to punishing lengths to prove their masculinity to each other, whereas girls enjoy a much wider gamut of acceptable behaviour. “If we’re keeping score about who has it worse, girls actually have it much better when it comes to the definition of femininity,” says Lisa Damour, a psychologist who works closely with adolescents. “You can be a tomboy and that’s cool. You can be into make-up and that’s cool. But boys operate in an exceedingly narrow margin for what’s considered masculine.” When boys stray from this script, they typically get bullied or abused. Their status as men is at once so valuable and so precarious that it must be won over and over again.

The complete article

Emily Bobrow — 1843

Image source

What’s the best age gap in a relationship?


Have you heard of “half their age plus seven” test? This is the convention around the age gap between partners that is considered okay.

What evidence there is, therefore, vindicates the choices of OKCupid’s users: women should pick men who are as close as possible in age to them, while men should look for younger women. A true economist, however, would look for better evidence, perhaps by comparing the marital bliss of random couples with varying age differences. Unfortunately for them, but luckily for the rest of us, people make their own choices – and are free to ignore silly rules of thumb.

The complete article

Soumaya Keynes — 1843

Image source



Two “Star Trek” plot devices proved a gift for writers struggling to bring their avowedly heterosexual heroes to a mutual understanding. As a half-Vulcan, Spock is able to establish a telepathic link with others simply by touching them (the “mind meld”). In one slash fic after another, some emergency makes it essential that he mind-melds with Kirk – and the pair discover that their passion is reciprocal. Pon farr, or “mating time”, is an aspect of Vulcan biology: every seven years, Vulcans must mate or die. Leave the two men stranded on an uninhabited planet; put the Enterprise’s transporters out of action – and let Kirk’s concern for his first officer do the rest.

The complete article

Helen Joyce — 1843

Image source



What does it take for a country to become developed? There are various costs of progress. This needull looks at millions of Chinese children who have been left behind by their parents drawn to big cities for employment.

Outside school, they occupy themselves in whatever new distractions can expand to fill their days. One Saturday morning saw them climbing the highest hilltop to swing from a tree like monkeys, sliding down a mound of building materials next to an animal sty under construction and dipping their forearms into the water of a rice paddy to see how high the mud reached. A favourite game, their own invention, is to clap their hands as close to a miniature deck of cards as possible, trying to flip over cards which can then be played to beat lower-value cards until one of them has the whole deck. They go back to their grandparents’ homes for hot meals twice a day, but otherwise the village is theirs.

The complete article

Alec Ash — 1843

Image source



“Warcraft” which tanked in the US and Europe was very successful in China. Movie viewing habits differ across geographies. Today’s needull looks at some of these.

Warcraft, the American blockbuster chock full of orcs, elves and very large dogs, tanked in Europe as well as the US. But in China it broke records, taking $157m in its opening week (more than “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in its entire China run). That is thanks to a generation of Chinese movie-goers who grew up playing the video games that the film is based on, especially “World of Warcraft”. The massive multiplayer online role-playing game was so popular that internet-addiction camps popped up to “cure” the craze. Fortunately for Hollywood, they didn’t succeed.

The entire article

The Economist 1843

Image source