Last Supper Question – Who Attended the Last Supper and Why?

What is luxury? Certainly, luxury has a lot in common with rarity, and while the world’s finest mechanical watches may be made in editions limited to a thousand, a hundred, thirty pieces, a work of art is absolutely unique and so acquires value in the eyes of collectors. Damian Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull titled «For the love of God» cost £14 million to make and was put on sale at £50 million, but even more remarkable in terms of acquired value was the Codex Leicester, or Codex Hammer, thirty-three drawings by Leonardo da Vinci which were bought by Bill Gates in 1994 for $30 million.

So, if luxury has something in common with rarity, then the original DaVinci Last Supper enables everyone to experience the ultimate luxury in art, because this work is absolutely unique, and will never be moved to another museum for a temporary exhibition. It is indissolubly tied to the walls of the room in which it was painted, the refectory of a Dominican monastery in central Milan. Santa Maria delle Grazie.

It is common knowledge that this Renaissance Last Supper is in a bad state, but it is in better condition now than it has been for almost five hundred years. Leonardo painted it from 1494 to 1498, and his finished work sent shock waves through the Italian Renaissance and the world of art at that time. But just a few decades after it had been finished, it began to deteriorate. Often, people think that this was caused by an experimental technique invented by the artist that went wrong, but this is not actually the case.

In the German city of Erfurt, the Catholic cathedral has a large fresco depicting Saint Christopher, in excellent condition, recorded as having been painted «a l’huile sur le mur prepare au moyen d’une couche d’huile et d’une couche de blanc de plomb». This corresponds to the preparation of the wall on which the Last Supper was painted, a very fine plaster mixed with an oily substance, possibly wax, and then coated with a layer of white lead. The technique therefore was not an invention by Leonardo, but a method that had been described previously, in particular, by Cennino Cennini in the 14th century. In fact, according to Cennini, the traditional fresco painting technique, using pigments direct on wet plaster, was the safest, but had the disadvantage of restricting the range of colours that could be used. Cennini in fact recommended the use of pittura a secco, namely painting onto dry plaster, for the final touches alone. Leonardo had evidently heard about the techniques used in northern Europe, and decided to use the oil-based technique for his fresco. This was also important for his desire to work slowly on the painting, giving him sufficient time to develop the gradual shading or chiaroscuro that was essential in his style.

Unfortunately, the wall was subject to rising damp, and the situation was made worse by the fact that on the other side of the wall were the kitchens, where the food eaten by the monks in the refectory was prepared. In the years following the completion of the work, the moisture in the wall repelled the oily ground, and it began to crack, fragmenting the painted surface. In many areas, the individual pieces of plaster between the cracks took on a concave shape, like a series of tiny shells, within which dirt accumulated. During the innumerable restoration operations that have been performed over the centuries, the painting was scraped with spatulas and metal brushes in an attempt to force the plaster back into shape, but this just damaged the edges of the individual concave chips, exposing the lead white ground. Layers of resin and glue were painted over it in an attempt to stabilize the layer of pigment. On several occasions, painters were actually summoned to bring the work back to its original glory by painting over it. By 1969, many scholars believed that there was nothing at all left of Leonardo’s original work, but just accumulated dirt and the paint added during successive repainting operations.

Only in 1977 did the first trial areas of cleaning demonstrate that it was possible to remove the extraneous layers and reach Leonardo’s original pigment. And this is what was done in the operation that lasted from 1978 to 1999.

Another event in the history of this painting proves that its survival up until today is something of a miracle. In August 1943, the refectory received a direct hit from a bomb dropped in one of the three air-raids planned to accelerate the Kingdom of Italy’s Armistice (signed on 3rd September). The blast completely destroyed the roof and one of the long walls of the refectory. The two end walls – one with the Last Supper, the other with Montorfano’s Crucifixion – survived, and the paintings remained intact because they had been protected by a wall of sandbags from floor to ceiling. It is no surprise, considering its turbulent history, that its conditions are closely monitored. Visits are limited to 25 people every 15 minutes, which is why pre-booking is necessary.

Before entering the hall itself, visitors pass through a series of glass-encased rooms that delicately remove excess humidity and dust by means of a pressure differential. In other words, you are hoovered, but very gently. Inside the refectory, there is nothing. Nothing except Leonardo’s painting, and Montorfano’s on the opposite wall. At this point there is another analogy with a valuable mechanical timepiece. You can only appreciate its value if you understand something of its incredible complication. Just as to the eyes of a layman, superficially there doesn’t seem to be all that much difference between a Piaget and a Swatch, the Last Supper runs the risk of leaving a visitor with the feeling «is that it?» Worse, a lack of information leaves ample space for writers – most famously Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code, but many other even worse authors who wanted their share of this dubious glory – to reinterpret the painting as they wish. And so, according to Dan Brown, the feminine-looking figure to the left of Christ is not actually one of the twelve Apostles, but Mary Magdalene. This immediately prompts a Brown sceptic such as myself to ask, so where did the twelfth disciple go? Out buying the pizzas, or just late for dinner?

The truth of the matter is that the painting is a true grand complication. There is so much meaning, on several different layers of complexity, that any of the modern reinterpretations pales in comparison. The Last Supper question is one that has never been comprehensively answered.

The first level of meaning is the scene itself. Leonardo chose an exact moment in the Gospel narration of the Last Supper. «In truth, I tell you, one of you will betray me…» says Jesus, who is shown in the act of speaking. This revelation surges outwards amongst the Disciples who react, each in his own way, coalescing them into four groups of three. Christ has an expression of resigned sadness and at the same time, an assured and regal poise. He gestures to the wine with his right hand, to the bread with his left, instituting the fundamental Christian ritual of the Eucharist. The movement of the Disciples isolates Jesus, leaving Him alone at the centre of the composition. He is the only person to have a geometrical shape, an almost perfect equilateral triangle. He is also the only person to wear robes in red and dark blue. This is a tradition that descends from Medieval traditions in painting and stained glass.

The most expensive pigments to make were deep blue and bright red, requiring pulverized lapislazzuli and gold respectively, and so over the centuries, these pigments were used only for the most important figures in the composition. Leonardo painted the Apostles after having made countless drawings, some of which have survived in his notebooks. One preparatory drawing shows the Apostles labeled with their names. In fact, each Apostle had acquired a sort of standard appearance throughout the history of art up until that point, so that a person could recognize them in paintings and frescoes. In the same way, saints and martyrs were often depicted with certain objects that left no doubt as to their identity, such as John the Baptist’s rough animal-skin clothes, St. Peter’s keys, St. Catherine’s wheel and so forth. And so we know who attended the Last Supper – namely the identity of the Apostles – from the facial expressions that Leonardo gave them. On the far left, Bartholomew is rising to his feet, incredulous. James Minor is seated, trying to attract Peter’s attention with a hand on his shoulder. Andrew has both hands in the air, a gesture still used in Italy today to mean «it wasn’t me.»

The next group of three is complicated. Judas is a dark figure, leaning back from his position close to Jesus and over the table, so that his head is actually the next, the fourth, in the sequence. He is clutching a bag of money in his right hand, while his left is about to take a piece of bread. In fact, Jesus would shortly reveal to John that the traitor would be he who would dip his bread into the same bowl as Him. Judas is distanced from the other Apostles by his dark, shadowed complexion, and by an apparently broken nose. Behind his back there is a knife held by a mysterious hand – more on this in another article.

Peter, the next in the sequence, is leaning in the opposite direction to Judas, so that although he is sitting next to Andrew – they were brothers – his head is very close to John the Evangelist. This is because, in the Gospel narration, Peter is asking John to ask Jesus who the traitor would be. John was the youngest Apostle, which was why he was traditionally shown without a beard.

Then, on the right of Jesus, there is Thomas, pointing upwards with a finger. This gesture was familiar to monks during the Renaissance: as meals in the refectory had to be taken in silence, in order to indicate God there was a conventional sign, thumb and index finger extended, the others closed. James Major is next, in a green robe. Philip is gesturing with both hands towards his heart, saying in tortured self-doubt, «Could it be I?» Matthew, the only educated man amongst the Apostles, is debating the matter, hands outstretched towards Jesus while he himself is deep in conversation with the other two Apostles in the right-hand group, Thaddeus, and lastly Simon.

Leonardo brought about many small revolutions with this painting, advances that may seem insignificant to us in our scientific and relatively unspiritual age, but that at the time were momentous. Firstly, he completely broke with tradition as regards the position of Judas. Painters before Leonardo made sure that Judas was very different to the rest of the Apostles, often by placing him alone, on our side of the table, or by making him the only one without a halo. Leonardo puts him together with the rest, one of the twelve, part of the overall sequence, and none of his figures have a halo. Secondly, this is probably the first painting in which an artist has tried to depict the variety of human psychology. Each Apostle reacts in his own, unique way, and Leonardo depicts this using all the methods possible, facial expression, bodily position, and above all, the gestures of the hands. Third, the question of perspective. Leonardo was a master in this fundamental Renaissance rediscovery, and in this painting he both broke the rules, and used it to add extra significance to the work. He broke the rules, because when you are standing the in the refectory, the perspective seems wrong. The upper edge of the tapestries ought to follow straight from the ceiling moulding in the real room, but they don’t.

This is because Leonardo wanted to paint the fresco at a raised level, both so that it could be seen by all the monks in the room, and because the Gospel describes the Last Supper as having taken place in a room on an upper floor. If he had used perspective correctly, we would have seen nothing of what is on the table, and the table itself would have obscured most of the figure’s bodies. So he painted the scene with a perspective view that would be correct if the observer were at a height of about twelve feet. The lines of perspective, the tapestries and the ceiling beams, converge at a vanishing point that is just above Jesus’ right eye. On his temple. «Tempio» in Italian. The word has the same double meaning in both languages, and it succinctly indicates that Christ is the originator of the new faith, the new church.

Leonardo took his revolution a step further. (I should warn you that from here on, I am voicing my own ideas. You decide). The parallel between the twelve Apostles and the twelve signs of the zodiac had been noted prior to Leonardo, but no-one had ever expressed it in paintings, partly because the Church didn’t approve of the contamination of doctrine with astrology. So Leonardo put in some subtle clues. Andrew, third from left, two hands in the air, Gemini, the twins, double sign. Judas, the fourth in the sequence, symbolizes a word that had had three meanings from Ancient Greek times: karkinos, the crab, tumours, and the zodiac constellation. Cancer. Then Peter, fiery temper, a great mane of hair: Leo. And then, the sixth in the sequence, a pale, delicate, feminine face: Virgo, of course! On the other side, Thomas, doubting Thomas, whose raised finger alludes (as well as to the Divinity in the sky) to that fact that later he would say that he would not believe until he had placed his finger into the wounds on Christ’s hands, is in the position of Libra, the sign of the zodiac hallmarked by perennial doubt. Second from last, Thaddeus is holding his hand in a cup shape. Aquarius, the water-bearer.

It’s true, not all the figures have such clear astrological attributes, but I think that there is enough to corroborate the theory. But, one may ask, why did Leonardo want to risk getting into trouble again with the Church for his unorthodox approach to subject matter? Basically, Leonardo didn’t want to paint just a moment in time, important though that moment was. He also wanted to incorporate the world view corresponding to the Neoplatonic philosophy developed by Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy. His room becomes man’s universe, with Christ at the centre, and numerological symbology used to symbolize the elements, the divine creation, the zodiac and the planets.

Another revolution: Leonardo saves Judas. I mentioned the knife that is behind his back, another traditional element in Last Supper paintings, indicating man’s hostility to the traitor and suggesting the fact that Judas would die soon after. While at first glance, Peter seems to be holding the knife, the impossible anatomical position of this hand shows that in actual fact, the hand grasping the knife belongs to no-one at all, and that Peter is restraining it from its murderous action. Leonardo seems to be saying, by placing Judas with the rest of the Apostles, that there is an element of evil in all of us, and that we have to accept it just as we accept death and suffering. We cannot excise evil from the human race by executing a sinner. Hands off Cain, many centuries in advance.

This, then, is one interpretation of this extraordinary painting. While I’ve taken two hours to write this article, Leonardo spent four years on the painting, and there’s more, much, much more to be told…

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High School Recruiting – Helpful Tips

On February 1 of every year, thousands of high school football athletes decide on which school they will continue their careers. Some players choose schools based off the prestige of the school, past success on the field, and sometimes the style of the jerseys. College coaches around the country have made promises to nearly every player and there is no way they can keep every promise that they have made. I will explain what a high school football prospect should consider when making his college football choice.

• First, a prospect should consider whether the school of his choice gives him a full ride scholarship. Financial aid is very important when considering a school. College is not cheap, even for a lesser-known school. A lot of universities’ tuitions are $10,000 or more a year, and not many people simply have thousands of dollars at their disposal.

• Furthermore, will this school help athletes reach their end goal? A player must do his research on the school, the coach, and the conference he will be playing in. He should know what percentage of players from this team, conference, and coach go off into the NFL and succeed. On the other hand, what percentage of former players, who did not go to the NFL, make it in their profession.

• A player should also consider playing time. many players in high school are considered the best at their school, and they do not know what sitting on the bench is like. Coaches promise players opportunities to start right away, but with so many players being told the same promise, someone must sit and wait his turn. As a player, he must sit down with his self and ask the question «will I start here?» Year after year, players transfer from one school because they did not get the chance to play, but in all actuality, they were not good enough to get on the field.

• The player should know what they are getting into. Each player should consider his own expectations for the school he is committing to. If a player is committing to Duke University, his expectation should be to win a conference title by the end of his college football career; he should not expect them to win a national title anytime soon. Some players’ expectations are too high for their school to achieve. Players need to have an open mind when it comes to their team winning «the big one.» If the player’s team has not won a conference title in over 50 years, what makes him think that they will break the trend when he is there. Be realistic.

• Lastly, a player should want to compete. On average, college football teams add about 25 new players each year to their rosters. Most will be on scholarship, while others will be walking onto the team fighting for a spot. High school players must know that the game has changed and they will need to keep up or fall behind. Some high school players come into college wide eyed and unsure about the decision they made, while their counterparts come in ready to compete. Make sure you are one of those players ready to compete at the highest level.

Even with these tips, players will continue to make the wrong choice about their football futures because of what a team has offered them. Players need to consider their future based off academic success, playing time, and the schools’ abilities to get them to where they want to be after school is over. It does not matter if the coach or school breaks their promises because the school and coach will be secure in the end, and the player could be taken advantage of. If I were a player, I would consider only myself in all aspects of choosing a school to attend, and disregard others’ opinion. At the end of the day, it will be my future on the line, and not theirs.

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How To Sell a Screenplay – Using The Internet to Market Your Script

Thanks to the advent of the Internet, new avenues in your attempts to sell a screenplay that were not previously available to screenwriters now exist, and, should you so choose, you could market your screenplay without ever even leaving your house – pretty impressive, right? This is a tool that is in your arsenal, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it!

Knowing how to sell a script means being aware that there are a lot of websites that, for a fee, claim to have the ability to get your script seen by a producer – some are legitimate, some are not, and it is vitally important that you do independent research (outside of the site) before choosing to commit financial resources to one, lest you become the victim of some less than virtuous con man. That being said, there is one site that the author can safely recommend, and that is InkTip, which has a database of over 5,000 producers and is a very solid place to start for someone who is just learning to use the internet to aid in the process of selling a script.

As a general rule of thumb, the projects that seem to well at InkTip are low-budget (meaning limited locations and characters), high concept scripts. You can mix up to two genres, but anything over that becomes a little heady for most readers, and your chances of selling a screenplay aren’t as strong at that point. (By the way, that’s a good rule in general for selling a screenplay in any fashion – don’t bite off more than you can chew in terms of your plot. It’s just going to confuse the reader, who is going to assume that the audience will also be confused by the story, which means that they won’t want to make the movie in the first place.)

The place where most people seem to have trouble during this process is creating a compelling logline. Knowing how to sell a script, and this cannot be stressed enough,means not being vague. Often times, in a desire to not spoil the end of the movie, a writer will say something to the effect of «… nothing could prepare him/her/them for what happens next!» The part that happens next is, of course, the most exciting part, but you didn’t tell the reader what that was! The reader is not an audience member, but they are the first step in determining whether your movie gets in front of an audience or not, so don’t worry about spoiling it for them! If you have a great twist ending, let the reader know about it early on!

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Southport: One of England’s Best Kept Secrets

Luxury relaxation, high class hotel accommodations, serene landscaping and high end shopping locales are only a taste of what your vacation has in store for you when you travel to the unique town of Southport.

Southport is one of the best kept secrets in England. It’s a beautiful and quaint seaside town tucked in Merseyside, England. Just north of Liverpool, this lush area is laden with trees and exquisite landscaping. It also boasts a breathtaking atmosphere full of elaborate Victorian architecture and a prime example of elegant town planning.

There are so many amazing sites in Southport, it’s no surprise that it’s one of England’s most noteworthy and reputable tourist venues. Southport is riddled with town attractions such as the Southport Pier which is the second longest seaside pleasure pier in the British Isles, its deluxe shopping on Lord Street, not to mention the elegant tree-lined shopping street that was once the home of Napoleon III of France.

Southport has a population of just under 100, 000 and is one of the twelfth largest settlements in North West England.

Historically a part of Lancashire, the Southport was founded in 1792 when a hotel was built at what is currently the south end of Lord Street. At that time the area was sparsely populated and was dominated by sand dunes. During the turn of the 19th century Southport became popular with tourists due to the easy and convenient access from the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The town grew quickly with the rapid growth coinciding with the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era.

Southport is located on the Irish Seacoast of North West England. The town lies conveniently to the north of the well known city of Liverpool and west of the city of Preston. Extensive sand dunes stretch for several miles to the south of town. The Ainsdales and dunes have been designated as a National Nature Reserve in England, making it a serene site for relaxation and beautiful pictures.

Southport today is still one of the most popular seaside resorts in the United Kingdom. It is well known for hosting a variety of events including an annual air show, and the largest independent flower show in the UK. The town is at the center of England’s Golf Coast and has hosted The Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in the past.

One of the most sought after perks of a trip to Southport is walk through the popular Hesketh Park. This gorgeous amenity is a public park situated near the north end of Lord Street in the Victorian seaside town. Rich in history itself, the land Hesketh Park occupies was once sand dunes and beach. As the tides receded and the town of Southport grew, the need for a park was proposed. At the time, the land was owned by Rev Charles Hesketh.

He generously donated the land for use as a public park. Hesketh Park was originally designed as a public park in the mid-19th century by Edward Kemp, and was further developed in the 20th century. The land has many Victorian features and landscape designs and is a breathtaking addition to the sand dunes and otherwise seaside atmosphere in Southport.

Southport is rich with culture, history and beauty. It is the prime vacation spot for your England excursion.

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Developing Aggression in Youth Football Players, the Splatter Tackling Drill

Splatter Tackling Drills

We are huge fans of splatter tackling and splatter tackling drills when you are coaching youth football. These drills are great ways to ease your kids into full contact. We think it is imperative to prefect blocking and tackling technique at the youth level. Too many youth football coaches just don’t spend enough time or demand the perfection of detail that makes kids great blockers and tacklers.

Ruining the Potential of Good Kids

Despite what many youth coaches think, most kids aren’t born to be great blockers and tacklers, they are made. Unfortunately there are a bunch of kids out there that have the potential to be very good football players that are ruined by their youth football coach. These coaches rush kids into contact before they have perfected perfect blocking and tackling technique with their players WITHOUT contact. Too many kids get rushed into full speed blocking and tackling in space well before they are ready for it. That’s a coaching problem, not a kid problem. Coach is too busy trying to quickly see who is studs are, before giving his average and weaker kids a chance to develop the skills and confidence to be able to survive and compete in a full speed tackling or blocking drill in space.

Splatter Drills

In our book «Winning Youth Football a Step-by- Step Plan», we detail exactly how you can do it. One of the key steps is using «Splatter» drills. The Splatter Drill lets a player learn how to accelerate through contact without experiencing the consequence of a reciprocal blow. This drill also allows the player to take another player to the ground without a hard ground impact. This drill can also help you drill the correct landmarks for feet placement, head placement and hip roll.

For the player playing the role of the «patsy», the player providing zero resistance to the block or tackle and is getting slammed into a soft landing matt on every rep, the job doesn’t sound like much fun. But what I’m hearing from coaches all across the country is that their kids love to be the one holding the shield and getting slammed onto the landing pad every play. I thought our kids were weird, they all want to play the pasty, but I guess everyones kids are as odd as mine.

Problems With Splatter Drills

One of the things that always bothered me about this drill was the fact you need to have 4 long dummys to use as landing pads. Well at about $100 each, that is $400, out of the reach of many youth programs. Lugging these dummies around is a big hassle as well. Then once on the field, you have just one landing pad for 25 kids. As most of you know I’m not a fan of having kids standing in long lines, so that means whenever we do splatter drills. It is only part of a circuit, it is never a drill we want to do on it’s own, even if we need it.

The Solution, Tony Holland to the Rescue

My good friend Tony Holland from Maryland solved this one. He went to Walmart and bought several camping air mattresses for $65 each. Each mattress is big enough to be a landing pad all by itself. These things roll up into a small box too, so you don’t need a pickup to lug them around. Tony bought a small electric air compressor for $20 that not only inflates each mattress in less than 2 minutes, it also sucks the air out as well when you are finished. Tony has several of these mattresses so his kids can all do Splatter Drills at the same time and in much smaller groups. He didn’t have to repair a single leak and he said all of his are good to go for next season.

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Soccer Psychology – The Difference Between Winning and Losing

In today’s game of soccer most would argue that the most important person in a team is the coach. But a new position has arisen from the depths of the grandstand and his importance has significantly increased. Can you guess who it is?

Big clubs all over the world are employing Sports psychologists for help and some have even put them on as full time staff. Sports psychology has become the next boom industry as clubs and coaches have discovered the power of soccer psychology.

The difference between winning and losing at the highest level can be separated by a thin white line. All players are extremely fit, skillful, strong and quick. But how many players are confident and mentally strong? Clubs have discovered this and have added psychology to their growing list of weapons.

Players these days have pushed their physical capabilities to the limit and the competitive edge has virtually flattened out. That’s until mental warfare stepped in with the arrival of soccer psychology.

Science has proven that psychology and the right mindset influences and improves soccer performance. Sports psychology also identifies weaknesses and offers counseling to players who might be suffering from a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. They can also monitor motivational levels within a team and assess the whole team on an individual basis.

Soccer psychologists can also identify the different personalities within the team and ensure that these personalities don’t clash and work together. Remember, a champion team will always beat a team of champions. Soccer psychologists make the transition from a team to a championship team look very simple. By correcting the mindset of the players and increasing the player’s confidence the dream of winning silverware becomes a reality.

Soccer over the years has claimed its fair share of victims. Players that have lost all confidence and cannot perform at the levels required have inevitably been shown the door at their respective clubs. How can we stop this? Most players that have lost their confidence also suffer from low self esteem. With low self esteem comes the nerves and anxiety. If you have this problem within your team, the use of a soccer psychologist will solve all your problems. They will help your players relax and also use mental imagery to build on their shattered confidence without even touching a soccer ball.

Sports psychology has been directly linked to team spirit. The greater the team spirit, the greater chance you have of winning trophies. That’s why we see the smaller clubs of Europe beating some of the heavy weights in the champion’s league. Are the players better at the smaller clubs? Or do they have team spirit? From watching the champion’s league, it’s clearly evident what the smaller clubs lack in talent they make up in spirit and confidence.

The main purpose of psychology in soccer is to prevent the players feeling like failures when they lose. By eliminating this feeling, psychologists are protecting the players self esteem. Could self esteem and confidence be the secret ingredient all the big clubs share?

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How Do I Find the Best Laptop For a Kid?

Buying laptops or computers for kids is much different than buying for yourself. Knowing what to look for and what they need is key.

First, it’s helpful to answer these questions:

  • What programs do they need? Will they be using this for school? They’ll need a word processing program, like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Works Word Processor. Microsoft Works usually comes with Windows by default; Microsoft Word comes with the purchase of the Microsoft Office suite. The suite includes Power Point and Excel, also programs kids may use with school. For a Mac, there’s often a default word processing program, but the full deal can be purchased with Microsoft Office for Macs.

  • Do they need internet? Some schools do offer filtered access to the Internet, and others may simply have wireless available. Laptops with wireless capabilities can be disabled so kids can’t get online. Most laptops on the market today come with wireless features and ethernet ports for hooking up to the internet.

  • How durable is it? Kids are more likely to lose or break laptops. Shuffling around from school to homeopens many opportunities for dropping or losing them.You may choose not to buy a laptop for kids that is highly expensive and brand new, and instead opt for a decent used one that will support necessary educational programs. Many vendors offer refurbished laptops with good warranties. If you do go for a more expensive new model, consider home insurance that might cover loss due to theft. Having a protective laptop case can also be a good plan.

With these things in mind, you can walk into a store selling computers and have an idea of what to look for. You can also check online with retailer websites and view refurbished models to get some pricing.

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10 Reasons Liverpool is So Popular

As the 2008 European Capital Of Culture, Liverpool gained a lot of publicity and attention form the media all over the world. It’s not hard to see why Liverpool was chosen, and why it’s just reward for all the hard work that has gone on in the city in recent years.

Here’s why you should visit if you haven’t been yet.

1. Any sports fan will know that there’s lots of sporting history in Liverpool. Whether you’re a football fan worshipping at Anfield or Goodison Park, enjoy horse racing from Aintree, or keen on golf, athletics or swimming, there’s plenty to keep a sports fan happy in Liverpool

2. As well as the sport, Liverpool is well known for it’s music. As well as being forever remembered for the Beatles, there is a thriving music scene, and many local bands enjoy playing at the popular music venues in Liverpool.

3. The opening of the Liverpool One shopping areas has brought even more attention to the city, and encouraged more shoppers to browse. With over 160 shops, as well as restaurants and a cinema, there’s something for everyone in Liverpool One.

4. Culture plays an important part in this city. From the World Museum, and the Tate Gallery to the theatre performances, street events and festivals, and the up to the minute fashions and nightlife.

5. The Beatles are probably even more famous than the football teams, and even all these years later, fans come to pay homage, and take a magical mystery tour around the city to find out more about the Fab Four.

6. Liverpool has rapidly become a popular destination for cruise ships, and this is bringing more visitors and more revenue into the city, and encouraging people to explore this fascinating region.

7. Many businesses are moving here, and new companies are being formed all the time to provide the products and services that the residents and other businesses need. From the chemical and car industries of south Liverpool, to the companies in the commercial district, and the new and exciting companies in the new media sector, there are lots of reasons to start a company in Liverpool.

8. Thanks to it’s excellent infrastructure, Liverpool is very easy to get to. Whether you arrive at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which is just a few miles from the city centre, or by road or rail, you’ll find getting around isn’t hard.

9. Thanks to the highly respected universities, there are many students in Liverpool, and so a lot of research and hard work is done, that can be used to benefit businesses and residents here. In addition, many graduates who move to Liverpool to study will stay here after they finish their studies, and add to the talent of the local workforce.

10. There is always something to do, no matter what your interests, or when you chose to visit. From a concert at the new Arena by a global megastar, an historical tour of the city, and an amazing shopping experience and unrivalled nightlife.

Now you know more about Liverpool, and why it’s so popular, isn’t it time you came here?

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Can Soccer Be Explained By Statistics?

Can a game as fluid and – many would argue – nuanced, and even elegant, as the game of soccer is, be explained by statistics? After all, there are hundreds of variables which all come into play during each and every soccer match – and, in some cases, pure luck seems to be a deciding factor in winning the game. A player’s performance in that particular match surely cannot be explained by the numbers alone, so those unknowns cannot be discounted neither.

Can any win or lose in the game of soccer be attributed to something as unpoetical as numbers, skeptics wonder. Soccer fans have never demanded more than to know the score, and time elapsed. Unlike those dedicated to baseball, soccer websites typically display only a handful of categories that could be useful for statistics: goals, assists, shots, shots on goal, game-winning goals and game-winning assists. Looking at those, one could conclude that soccer is just not a numbers game.

Still, in this age of big data, even a game as free-flowing, variable and seemingly unpredictable as the soccer undoubtedly is, has started to take data analysis more seriously. It was only in 1994 that FIFA has started counting assists, but now it looks like the game of soccer may be on a brink of statistical revolution. The biggest clubs, like Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea or Manchester United, have already spent hundreds of thousands on statistical data analysis.

However, it looks like top clubs intend to keep the data for themselves! They have staff members dedicated to interpreting the data that has been generated on their matches. It seems like they are not too keen on making the methods they use to do so publicly debatable. They prefer to use them internally, to their team’s advantage.

Data analysis companies they employ will watch a live feed of the game, chart any distinct action, enter all this data into a database, and crunch the numbers. Statistics such as individual player touches, number of passes, number of balls lost and won, and others, are then revealed. While it seems that the resulting numbers still can’t accurately predict who will win the game, they can tell you a lot about the quality of the game. For example, a team’s number of touches is found to correlate with his FIFA rankings.

Still, unlike baseball and other similarly structured sports, analyzing soccer data is hard. Yet, there is no going back to hunches-only approach any time soon.

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