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While we kept up with daily recaps and analysis of the games, we wanted to hear the inside story on what it was like covering the 2014 World Cup. Mashable’s Sports Reporter Sam Laird gives us his account of the games from Brazil:

 The World Cup’s been over for just over a week and I already miss it. The global fixation, the drama, the transcendent play, the novelty of seeing decidedly non-sports people get full-blown soccer fever — covering, and just experiencing, the entire thing was unlike anything in my life.  

Sure, I’d followed past World Cups as a fan. But this was different. This was Brazil, in so many ways the World Cup’s one true home. And this time I was there. In Brazil. Covering the World Cup. Talk about a surreal — and awesome — experience. I’d been to Brazil before, backpacking around, but this time, for this event, with this license to be nosy and ask questions and make observations, was a whole different game. 

The thing that struck me most there was the joy and excitement among people, both from Brazil and points around the world. The buzz began at the Charlotte airport, and carried over to where locals watched Brazil open the tournament, and on to the fan-fest at Copacabana Beach.

One more moment I’ll never forget: On my last afternoon in Rio, before catching an evening flight home, riding in a van down from a tour of the city’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Germany vs. Ghana was on the radio in Portuguese, and the entire bus of tourists —- from the USA, France, Mexico and Colombia — talked World Cup with our Brazilian driver. All of us were utterly consumed by the tournament there in that moment, and that little van was a microcosm of the entire World Cup. 

Of course, it wasn’t always comfortable. In Manaus, the stark contrast between glitzy mega-event and daily life could be appalling. In Rio, I was fortunate to speak to activists and sit in on a weekly meeting where they discussed protest tactics. They said it was almost impossible to get their message out with how consumed everyone was by the tournament’s bells, whistles and soccer. I found that both totally understandable and totally depressing at the same time. 

 But most of all, I keep thinking of that van ride down from Christ the Redeemer. We mostly spoke Spanish in the van, at different levels, but certain keywords were enough to carry the conversation: campeon, Espana, Muller, van Persie, golazo. The Germany vs. Ghana match was being announced in rapid-fire Portuguese only our Brazilian driver seemed to understand. But three goals were scored during our 20-minute ride, and each was punctuated by something we could all comprehend. It was a cry heard by millions upon millions the world over, throughout the tournament: “Goooooooooal!”

Now, filled with nostalgia after an enthralling four weeks, all I can think is: “Nooooooooooooo.”

Thanks for the memories, World Cup. They’ll last a lifetime.

Images: Mashable, Sam Laird

In The World Of Global Gestures, The Fist Bump Stands Alone

Back in the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama launched a media storm when he nonchalantly fist bumped his wife Michelle. “Obama’s Fist-bump Rocks The Nation!: The Huffington Post exclaimed. “Is the fist bump the new high-five?” NPR’s Laura Silverman asked.

Obama has done it again.

Earlier this month he cemented the gesture as part of his presidential persona when he fist bumped an employee at an Austin barbecue restaurant. Before taking Obama’s order, Daniel Rugg said, “Equal rights for gay people,” the Austin Chronicle reported. Then the presidential bump followed.

All this fist-to-fist action got us thinking: Where did the fist bump come from? Why is it so appealing that the president uses it? And do other cultures have similar nonverbal gestures?

The modern fist bump most likely evolved from the high-five in the sports world, says David Givens, an anthropologist with the Center for Nonverbal Studies in Spokane, Washington. The 1970s Baltimore Bullets guard Fred Carter was an early bumper, Time reported back in 2008. Eventually the fist bump became a way for friends to greet each other.

Givens believes that the fist bump stands out in the world of nonverbal gestures. “The fist bump is one of the few gestures that is equal,” he tells Goats and Sodas. “You could do it with President Obama, and you’d both be equals at that time.”

That’s because the knuckles are meeting at the same level — neither bumper has the upper hand, so to speak.

Continue reading.

Photo by Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Today, President Obama signed an executive order that prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity against federal workers and contractors.

(via forbes)

Urging Indians To ‘Take The Poo To The Loo’

Sanitation and hygiene remain critical problems for India, with about 50% of its population still defecating in the open. UNICEF India’s #poo2loo campaign aims to raise awareness about this issue.

(From Urban Times)

UNICEF’s campaign urges people in India to take potty humor seriously.

(via adcouncil)

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