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14/01/2011 / ockiesteyn

Britain’s most expensive caravan sold for £550,000 (and you can only live there for 20 years)

Britain’s most expensive caravan sold for £550,000 (and you can only live there for 20 years)

By Liz Hull Last updated at 6:44 PM on 13th January 2011 Comments (52)

 Add to My Stories With its luxury Italian kitchen, top-of-the range flat screen television and iPhone controlled heating system, it’s not your average caravan. But then, at £550,000, it doesn’t come with the average caravan price tag either. The luxury three-bedroomed static holiday home has become the most expensive caravan in the country after being sold to a millionaire couple last month. Nestled on the seafront in Abersoch, North Wales, the chalet has spectacular views over the Lleyn peninsular and even its own private decking and staircase to the beach below. Enlarge The site is popular with the Cheshire set. They pay several thousand pounds in annual lease fees on top of gas and electricity bills. The site also has a gym, club house, tennis courts, restaurants and four swimming pools Nestled on the seafront in Abersoch, North Wales, the chalet has spectacular views over the Lleyn peninsular and even its own private decking and staircase to the beach below The anonymous owners, thought to be a professional couple from Warrington, Cheshire, paid more than £500,000 – three times the average UK house price – to lease the holiday home for 20 years on the exclusive Warren holiday park. Known as the Anniversary Lodge because it was built to mark the 75th anniversary of park owners, Haulfryn Holiday Homes, the fully-furnished property has the look of a footballer’s modern, luxury pad, rather than a cramped, shabby caravan. It comes complete with furniture designed in Milan, Italy, an integrated sound and television system and underfloor heating, which can all be controlled from the owner’s iPhone, even if they are hundreds of miles away. The master bedroom has fitted wardrobes, silk sheets and an en suite spa shower and toilet, while the marble-tiled bathroom comes complete with jacuzzi bath. The caravan also has reflective double glazing – designed to keep the heat out in summer, but in during cold winter months – and bi-fold doors which open the front of the property out entirely, giving unhindered views of the picturesque coastline. Enlarge Enlarge The marble-tiled bathroom comes complete with Jacuzzi bath while the master bedroom has fitted wardrobes, silk sheets and en suite spa shower Enlarge The caravan is heated using a eco-friendly system, which pumps air out from the lodge and warms it using a chemical, before pumping it back inside to heat the water and under floor heating throughout It is heated using a eco-friendly system, which pumps air from the lodge and warms it using a chemical, before pumping it back inside to heat the water and under floor heating throughout. Despite all the extravagant extras, the lodge is still technically classed as a caravan because it is on a chassis and has wheels. The Warren, which has around 700 holiday homes, is popular with the millionaire Cheshire set who privately own many of the static caravans on the site. They pay several thousand pounds in annual lease fees to Haulfryn, on top of gas and electricity bills. The site also has a gym, club house, tennis courts, restaurants and four swimming pools. Jim Gandon, director of sales and marketing at Haulfryn Holiday Homes, said: ‘We don’t shy away from the fact it’s still essentially a static caravan. ‘That’s the heritage of the holiday park. The great British holiday has evolved and we should embrace that. ‘Nothing quite like this has ever been sold before.’ The trend for ‘staycations’ has soared in Britain as families shun going abroad in favour of home comforts on their doorstep, driven partly by the economic downturn and collapse in the value of the pound abroad. Last year Manchester United footballer, Rio Ferdinand, 31, shocked fans when he decided against jetting off to the Caribbean or Dubai for his annual break and booked his wife and two young sons into a caravan park in Prestatyn, North Wales. The Ferdinands hired a £400-per-week “prestige” caravan, which was larger than normal and came with extras like a microwave and DVD player. Other famous names who have stayed on caravan parks recently include television presenter Les Dennis, actor Robert Lindsay and Jade Goody’s ex Jeff Brazier. Councillor Wyn Williams said while house prices had fallen in Abersoch, along with everywhere else in the country, this latest sale proved prices were recovering. ‘Abersoch is a very popular place and the Warren is one of the sites which is recognised for its quality,’ he said. ‘Some of the plots attract high prices because of their quality and this site has won several prizes. ‘This shows that the recession hasn’t hurt everybody.’ Read more:

18/10/2010 / ockiesteyn

Israel’s latest lottery draw… the same numbers as three weeks ago

Israel’s latest lottery draw has thrown up exactly the same numbers as three weeks ago – at odds of one in four trillion…. Viewers were stunned when the six numbers – 36, 33, 32, 26, 14, 13 – were rolled out live on television, in the exact reverse order as less than a month earlier.

17/10/2010 / ockiesteyn

Springbok Radio streaming.

Listen to Springbok Radio streaming……

15/10/2010 / ockiesteyn

Golf Ball Hitting Steel At 150mph – Slow Motion (70,000 fps)

Golf Ball Hitting Steel At 150mph – Slow Motion (70,000 fps) :

Watch this video, this shows what a golf ball goes through when hit at 150 mph…it’s amazing to me how long these balls last. Maybe that’s why the Pro’s use new balls every time they play….

03/10/2010 / ockiesteyn

Cape Town webcam

Cape Town webcam

03/10/2010 / ockiesteyn

Zuckerberg’s story.

3 October 2010,  

The Harvard University dormitory where Facebook was born is a red brick and ivy-draped campus castle that, beyond just being a place to sleep and study, has long prided itself as a community of the best and the brightest.

But Kirkland House, where a curly haired 19-year-old prodigy named Mark Zuckerberg hid out in his room for a week writing the computer code that would eventually redefine the way people interact on the Internet, is wary of threats to its sanctuary. “Do not copy or lend your key to anyone,” it instructs residents. “Do not allow anyone access to the House unless you know him/her.”

Ever since Zuckerberg dropped out at the end of his sophomore year, he has worked to create an online world where such rules no longer apply.

Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site with 500 million users, began as a tool for communication between people who knew each other and were bound by shared and exclusive interests. Zuckerberg required those signing up to have a Harvard e-mail address, months after the university nearly expelled him for hacking its computers and jolting the campus with a site that encouraged students to rank their classmates’ looks.

That site, called Facemash, made fast enemies. But with its successor, Zuckerberg vastly expanded what it means to make friends.

Zuckerberg, now 26, has built Facebook into an international phenomenon by stretching the lines of social convention and embracing a new and far more permeable definition of community. In this new world, users are able, with a few keystrokes, to construct a social network well beyond what would ever be possible face-to-face. Users are encouraged to disclose personal information freely, offering up the stuff of everyday life as material worthy of the biggest stage. In Zuckerberg’s world, the greatest status is conferred on those who “friend” others fast and frequently, even those they have never met.

“I’m trying to make the world a more open place,” Zuckerberg says in the “bio” line of his own Facebook page.

Last week, ready or not, the publicity-shy wunderkind, whose own story has largely escaped the public’s attention despite widespread fascination with the network he created, is being forced into the open in a way far beyond his control.

Hollywood laid out its version of his story Friday in a movie called “The Social Network.” The script by Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing”) depicts Zuckerberg as a socially inept and intellectually corrupt genius, fighting wars with both friends and rivals for the right to call Facebook his own.

The movie comes a week after Zuckerberg, in the last chance to shape his image independently, appeared on the widely viewed Oprah Winfrey show to announce to Americans a $100 million donation to the long-troubled Newark, New Jersey, school system, casting himself as the nation’s brightest young face of philanthropy.

“When you look at the gift to Newark, what it demonstrates is his recognizing that he can’t leave it to the movie to define his image to the general public, because he has no image,” says David Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect,” a book chronicling Zuckerberg’s story, which was written with the cooperation of the man and his company.

Central to this tale: the contradiction between the blank slate that is Zuckerberg, and his campaign to get people to bare their souls via Facebook.

A Facebook spokesman, Larry Yu, said Zuckerberg would not agree to an interview to talk about himself. That reluctance, he acknowledges, contributes to the vacuum that is the CEO’s public persona.

“He is a shy guy, no question about it,” Yu said. “He does not like doing press stuff. What excites him is building things.”

Yu said Zuckerberg was not trying to seize control of his image with the donation to Newark. Company public relations staff had warned him to delay the announcement because it would be seen as a ploy, he said. Zuckerberg decided to go ahead despite that possibility, because the timing suited city and state officials and the producers of “Oprah,” Yu said.

Zuckerberg, who grew up in the New York City suburb of Dobbs Ferry, New York, in a hilltop house where his father still runs a first-floor dental practice, was a programming prodigy. He began writing code at 10 on an Atari computer his dad bought, devising games and having friends do the graphics. As a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy, he and a friend created a Web tool called Synapse that built personalized music playlists by automatically determining listener’s preferences. Microsoft reportedly offered the pair nearly $1 million, but they turned it down.

Exactly what happened after he got to Harvard in 2003 depends on who is doing the recounting. Soon after he arrived, Zuckerberg created a site called Coursematch that allowed students to choose classes by showing what their classmates were doing. Then, in the fall of his sophomore year, he hacked into the online “facebooks” of Harvard’s residential halls to create Facemash.

“The Kirkland facebook is open on my computer desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive,” Zuckerberg wrote at the time, in his online journal.

The university’s Administrative Board called him in for a hearing but let him remain at the school. Zuckerberg told the Harvard Crimson student newspaper that criticism of the site had made him rethink its viability.

“Issues about violating people’s privacy don’t seem to be surmountable,” he said in an e-mail to the Crimson. “I’m not willing to risk insulting anyone.”

In early 2004, former classmates say, the normally sociable Zuckerberg all but vanished for a week, emerging from his room to urge his friends to join a new creation called The Facebook.

Stephanie Camaglia Reznick, then a freshman at Harvard who was the 92nd to sign up, says Zuckerberg fast gained notoriety. When she arrived for the first day of a discussion group for an introductory psychology class, eyebrows went up when Zuckerberg’s turn came to introduce himself.

“Someone said, ‘Great, you’re the Facebook guy!’ And he was so embarrassed,” says Reznick, now a medical student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. “He really played it down.”

Classmate James Oliver recalls a conversation in the dorm soon after, when Zuckerberg — Oliver and others still refer to him as “Zuck” — explained that he had worked to launch Facebook quickly to show up a Harvard administrator who had said a universitywide online directory would take two years to create. By the end of the semester, Facebook had nearly 160,000 users.

Oliver, who now lives in Los Angeles, calls Zuckerberg the smartest person he met at Harvard.

“People were making jokes in freshman and sophomore years that all the humanities majors were going to ask to be Zuck’s gardeners when he became rich and famous,” he said.

But three fellow Harvard students quickly took issue with Zuckerberg’s creation. Identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and friend Divya Narendra said they had hired Zuckerberg to write computer code for their own social networking site in November 2003, and that he had stolen their idea.

“I worked with the expectation that I would be included in the overall development of the project but found that I was being subjected to demands on my time without truly being made a part of the development team,” Zuckerberg wrote Cameron Winklevoss in a February 2004 e-mail, later quoted in a lawsuit filed by the trio.

The dispute over Facebook’s beginnings, which the company settled by paying the trio $65 million, is far from unique. Inventors have been fighting to take credit for technology’s biggest ideas since at least the telephone, says Paul Saffo, a longtime Silicon Valley forecaster.

“Being first is heavily overrated in the technology space because all really good ideas end up being collaborative,” says Saffo, of the San Francisco analysis firm Discern. “Ideas are cheap. It’s the execution that matters. And if you look at where Facebook is now compared to where it started, it’s a very difficult comparison. … I wouldn’t give a whole lot of credence to people who are showing up and claiming credit.”

In the summer after his sophomore year, Zuckerberg left Harvard for a rented house in Silicon Valley to build Facebook, expanding it to other campuses and then across the globe with venture funding from Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal. Each time it seemed to plateau, Zuckerberg revamped it to create new utility and sources of entertainment. He turned down an offer from Yahoo! to buy the company for $1 billion.

As it has grown into a phenomenon, Facebook has repeatedly sparked privacy concerns from critics concerned about its push to get users to reveal more personal information. But Zuckerberg, the face of Facebook, has offered up relatively little about himself.

The bubble was breached in 2007 when a now defunct magazine for Harvard alumni called 02138 published a lengthy story about the dispute over Facebook’s beginnings. The magazine obtained court files that were supposed to have been sealed and posted documents on its website, including Zuckerberg’s application to Harvard and long-ago postings from his online journal. Facebook sued, seeking a court order to have the documents removed.

“They shed some insight into Zuckerberg which he clearly did not want people to see,” said Richard Bradley, who was the executive editor of the magazine. “Our lawyer conveyed to us the strong sense from his communication with Facebook’s law firm that Facebook’s lawyers were not entirely enthusiastic about pursuing this litigation, but that Zuckerberg himself was livid.”

Facebook’s request was denied and the documents circulated freely on the Web, with little other information available to counter the portrait of Zuckerberg they offered. Some of those who know him say the perceptions are misguided. He had plenty of friends at Harvard and was a regular at parties, former classmates said. Rather than being some kind of evil genius, his success was based on the fact that he liked people and was liked in return, which helped him understand what online tools would appeal to fellow students.

Kirkpatrick, who wrote the book on Facebook, said first impressions of Zuckerberg can be misleading. He recalled the first time they met in the fall of 2006 at midtown Manhattan restaurant Il Gatorade, where the menu includes a $44 entree of grilled Piedmonts strip loin with Italian arugula. Zuckerberg walked in wearing sandals and a T-shirt. He offered little in the way of small talk.

When Zuckerberg started laying out his ideas about Facebook and his determination to keep reinventing it, however, Kirkpatrick said his brilliance was undeniable.

“His motivation is to change the world,” Kirkpatrick says.

Still, it is not clear that describes the entirety of the man. The movie presents Zuckerberg not just as ultra-intelligent, but as motivated largely by personal insecurities. For two hours in a dark theater, it offers an adrenaline-charged journey with a warped computer-age Aladdin driven to keep unleashing new genies from a bottle.

“Well, you can’t deny it’s a good movie,” Kirkpatrick said, as the lights came up in a screening room last week and the final credits rolled. Maybe. But is the character on the screen the real Zuckerberg?

“It wasn’t even close,” he said.

02/10/2010 / ockiesteyn

Tennis players who grunt do have advantage, study says

Tennis players who grunt do have advantage, study says…….

The loud grunts of some tennis players can give them a real advantage over opponents, a scientific study says. Canadian and American researchers said tests had shown that “extraneous sound interfered with participants’ performance, making their responses both slower and less accurate”.

Some top tennis stars, including Martina Navratilova, regard grunting as unfair, or even as cheating. Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal are among the game’s big grunters.

Speed and spin: The study, which appeared in the Public Library of Science ONE journal, tested 33 students at the University of British Columbia in western Canada. Hundreds of video clips were shown of a player hitting a ball to either the left or right.

The students had to determine the direction quickly, but on some shots were subjected to noises simulating grunting. Lead report author Scott Sinnett told the BBC: “The findings were unequivocal. Basically, when the video clips did have a grunt, the participants were not only slower to react but they had lower accuracy levels. So they were basically slower and could actually be wrong-footed, if you could extend that to a real-world tennis court.”

The report said the grunt could also hamper a receiver who was trying to judge the spin and speed of a ball from the sound made off the racket. Mr Sinnett said: “The study raises a number of interesting questions for tennis.

For example, if Rafael Nadal is grunting and Roger Federer is not, is that fair?”