Posts Tagged ‘2012’

I Am Alive : : Don’t wait for The Last Of Us

I Am Alive is probably a game that you won’t ever play. The next 5 minutes will hopefully convince you otherwise. The simplicity of the game is what makes it such fun to play. For £8 you’re getting a single player experience that easily rivals that of the £40 titles out there at the moment. It’s certainly been the most enjoyable single player I have played in 2012. So what exactly makes it such a joy to play? Why should you not just wait for The Last Of Us? 

The opening hour is more or less of a climbing tutorial. In I Am Alive you have a stamina bar that slowly decreases as you traverse the terrain in front of you. Therefore, if you are acting like Nathan Drake for too long, then you’ll eventually fall. This makes the climbing sequences not only exciting but also challenging. Figuring out what path to take across (the George Washington?) bridge will act as a lovely tutorial for this.

These climbing sequences usually space out the main events of the story which see you meeting many people. Some need your help, some can help you but most just want to kill and loot your body. This part of I Am Alive is where the game comes into its own. You usually want to help those in need after you experience how difficult it is to stay alive (especially in the harder difficulties).

Every meeting with hostile civilians is dealt with differently than in previous encounters. That said, there is only ever one solution towards coming out alive after each encounter. These meetings with people pop up at a brilliant pace, you’re not waiting long between meetings but you’re waiting long enough to enjoy the other aspects of the game like climbing, scavenging and exploring. The variety between who you come across is also very refreshing.

It’s been a very long time that I’ve played a video game that had me thinking about what will happen even when I am not playing it. Most nights I often found myself thinking about how this man would find his family, which parts of the map I hadn’t explored and what I needed to scavenge for as soon as I resumed playing. It was nice to be so passionate about a single player game since I played the Uncharted series.

Scavenging is another part of I Am Alive that the producers seemed to have pulled off brilliantly. Your character starts off with nothing. Everything from water to camera batteries to first aid must be found. The rare items like bullets and adrenaline shots are usually found in hard to reach places. They often require the player either helping out a person in need or exploring a part of the map that does not tie in with the story line. That said, it is worth your time to go this extra mile. You see, an empty gun is handy to keep away people with a machete. But should you raise your gun towards someone who also has a gun, then expect to die, quickly. Should you find yourself cornered by three enemies, you should shoot and kill the one person with a gun first and then aim your gun menacingly at his two friends that only have knives. They don’t know you just ran out of ammo and they sure ain’t going to call your bluff. Usually, you won’t ever have more than 1 or 2 bullets. Heck, most of the time you won’t have any. I vividly remember the time I managed to scavenge 5 bullets in the space of 15 minutes, I couldn’t stop screaming “5 F**KING BULLETS?!” The amount of power I had was silly. Like a school boy I ran into my next engagement as 4 men slowly cornered me. They were joking with one another about how I probably had nothing for them to loot and how my body would keep their fire warm that night. 3 seconds later they were all dead and I only had one bullet left. The regret seeped into me immediately….

The game later brings in other elements, like a bow and arrow in which you can pickup your arrow again after each use. This means you have unlimited ammo in one way, but can only use it effectively once per engagement. This brought a new element to the game as there were now numerous ways to deal with hostiles. Not only did I have my machete for close engagements but now I had 2 bullets and my bow and arrow?! Before the excitement got too much, I realised that now there was usually an extra person in each group of enemies and a couple of extra guns between them. This made each encounter much more difficult. Yet I must commend the game, the pacing is superb along with the increased difficulty as the game progresses.

I Am Alive is a game that far exceeded my expectations. When a game is only available on the PSN store for £8 you probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. However, I Am Alive could be the most under-rated game of the last 5 years. Many people will unfortunately miss out on this experience due to its lack of coverage along with the release of The Last Of Us just around the corner. However, you will not be disappointed. It was, without a doubt, the best £8 I ever spent.

Video Game Euphoria.

You often hear people talk of their amazing experiences. Whether this is in front of a crowd, as they jump out a plane or when they see there sports team win the championship. These are easy to understand because all of us, at some stage, have experienced that magical feeling. That feeling that makes you scared to live the rest of your life out of fear that you will never reach those magical heights again. This feeling comes in all sorts of forms. However, one of those is greatly overlooked. This is the 3rd blog post I’ve written after experiencing such euphoria from a video game (see here for what Call of Duty’s single player did to me).

I write this just one hour after the most incredible FIFA victory I’ve ever seen or taken part in. Now stay with me, before you judge, because it was utter insanity.

The night began with pizza, beer, (real) football and a complete oblivious nature as to what was about to unfold. We set ourselves the task of beating Germany with England on Legendary difficulty in FIFA 12. This would be the perfect climax to the video game football world with the release of FIFA 13 just around the corner. We would proudly be able to say “yeah, we beat FIFA…..on Legendary.” After 3 hours of trying we soon realised the task ahead was not for the faint of heart.

It took us an hour alone just to score a solitary goal, but a tremendous goal at that. Rooney, from the centre circle, threaded a perfectly weighted through ball towards the ‘gassed’ Theo Walcott down the left wing. Rooney continued his gut-busting run all the way to the edge of the area, overtaking two German defenders before Theo eloquently rolled the ball towards the bulldozing Rooney.

Manual Neuer never stood a chance.

   The goal was met with raucous cheers that were loud enough to wake the neighbours. We weren’t even dis-heartened by the final score line of 4-1. We had scored. Against the Germans. On Legendary. It was possible. Suddenly, seeming like we were in a Nike “impossible is nothing” advert, we clicked the restart match button. Our index fingers filled with nothing but optimism and faith.

Another hour went by and we got closer. Scoring became a more regular occurrence. The main difficulty (my friend George and I agreed) was that as soon as we managed to score, the computer would seemingly crush our gleeful faces by upping the difficulty from Legendary to ‘COMPUTER SAYS NO’. The number of times that we conceded minutes after scoring…I don’t like to think about it. Still, we could score, and we had experienced times of up to 60 (FIFA) minutes where we kept the Germans at bay.

Memories of playing through the D-Day mission on Medal Of Honour and Call of Duty began flooding back to me. The Germans had to be stopped.

The clock struck 11:27 pm. We hit the restart button for what would be the last time.
The first 45 minutes was uneventful. A chess game. Teasing runs that made sure not to commit too many men forward for fear of the German merciless counter-attack.
Within 5 minutes of the 2nd half commencing, Ashley Young was hacked down in the area by Per Mertesacker. The kind of challenge that only a slow, lumpy oaf like Per would make. Ashley tumbled to the ground before we heard the referee’s whistle stay silent. We could barely contain the anger. We were stuck in the pause menu for 10 minutes, trying to steady our emotions after it seemed this game was doing everything in its power not to let us win.

   Then just 2 minutes later, Walcott steamed into the penalty area off a counter attack and lobbed the ball up deliciously into the bath of an incoming Ashley Young. He was out for revenge. He leapt high up above Per and headed the ball towards goal from 2 yards out, a certain goal, a certain 1-0 lead…..to our disbelief Neuer clawed the ball over the bar. The agony wasn’t over yet. From the following corner, Lampard swung the ball into the near post where Ferdinand met the ball, winning England’s 4th header in as many hours, before directing it towards the bottom corner. We began to rise in anticipation of this long awaited goal before we saw the ball cannon off the post and out. More screaming ensued. There was no way to win, it wasn’t in the algorithm of the game. Another two minutes went by and these fears were crystallised as Klose headed the ball into the England net after what was incredibly uneventful and boring build up play.

We were 1-0 down at 55 minutes. Our belief in being able to win was gone. We both knew that come the final whistle it would all be over, for good.

But it wasn’t over.

10 minutes later, Per handled the ball in his own area to keep the ball away from Rooney.  A certain penalty, there was no way the referee could worm his way out this way. George handed me the controller in complete fear he would miss. Lampard stepped up and blasted the ball into the top right corner. 1-1. GAME ON.

At the 76 minute mark, Rooney (who has been our shining star all evening) received the ball with his back to goal about 20 yards out. He leant one way before swivelling the other, leaving Per for dead. Shrugging off the incoming Schweinsteiger, he rocketed the ball into the bottom left corner. A typical Rooney goal that displayed his strength and power. We were 2-1 up and we could hardly contain ourselves. Just 10 minutes away from beating FIFA 12 we became petrified as soon as the German team took possession in fear of the computer suddenly upping their difficulty level again. People say the Shining is a scary film and that Slender is a scary video game. I however have never been more scared than when Phillip Lahm has been running straight at me.

We held out until the 90th minute before Klose somehow found himself 3 yards out. Joe Hart came to our rescue for the 89th time that evening. The ball was cleared and the final whistle was blown. 

The following 25 minutes, we sat dumbstruck. Re-watching highlights and absorbing every possible lick of information available from the match facts page. We knew that we had both experienced something we would one day tell our Grandkids. Stop laughing, I’m serious.

You can list this as #39 in the “Reasons why Video Games are the Best Thing to Happen to the World Since Sliced Bread”.

Bring on FIFA 13.

Rio+20 Summit was a failure.

The World Wildlife Fund has called the RIO+20 Summit a “colossal failure of leadership and vision.” Many people would agree with this. 86 world leaders will have signed a 50 page document (available to see online) that provides no new commitments to fighting climate change. The last decade has seen a surge of community activity with recycling and energy efficient home-ware. This Summit was a chance for the World Leaders to recognise that effort and match it with their own.

There is no new Kyoto Protocol.
There is no solution.
There is no care.

The Summit cannot be seen as just a failure. It was also a betrayal to the people that are attempting to preserve what is left of this planet. The issues that were meant to be addressed; poisoning of the air, emptying of the seas, filth and wastage of our water, exhaustion of the soils, vanishing of the trees, degradation and forced misery of people. Not a single proposition or sign of intent as to how we will handle these issues. There may not be another Earth Summit because any one of these issues may have killed us in another 10 years. Rio, where it all looked so promising in 1992, may have been our last chance for preservation in 2012.

America snubbed the Kyoto Protocol back in 1992 and also refused to stop oil drilling after asked in 2002. In 2012, America did not even show up to the conference. They were joined by Germany and the UK in their pathetic absence. The last 20 years have been a complete waste. The only progress that has been made is by respective communities. Single people making simple actions that amount to a big change when other people join in. The world will not be saved by politics, by world bodies, by “leaders”. They have shown us that. I plead to you reading, it really is up to you now. Have a greener mind about your day to day business. Turn lights off, don’t use plastic bags or cups, buy fuel efficient cars, wear a jumper – don’t turn the heating up.    (That American flag is surrounded by oil, do you see the irony?)

A little bit goes a long way, as long as we all do our part.

In contrast to the absence’s of world leader’s from the Summit, Multinational Corporations were very well represented. In this bid to attract more corporate stakeholders, many are questioning if the UN Summit has become less about the future of the earth and more about the future of corporate profits.

It’s the same story I, like many people, have been talking about for a while. There is no environmental/economic balance. The world is consumed and driven by money. Maybe we environmentalist’s were just being optimistic about 2012 providing help to the movement.

There is nothing else to say. It’s simply down to you and everyone else.

HELP SAVE YOUR PLANET TODAY. 

Westbrook scores 43 but Miami go 3-1 up.

   Russell Westbrook put in a monster performance finishing with 43 points. Just like Rajon Rondo’s perfomance, it was not enough. Heat go up 3-1.

Russell Westbrook - 2012 NBA Finals - Game ThreeRussell Westbrook’s performance was very similar to that of Rajon Rondo’s during the Eastern Conference Finals, however, the result was the same. Miami finish with the win and go 3-1 up in the finals. This was the closest and most fast paced game of the finals so far. If you don’t enjoy watching basketball after that game, you should be watching Golf. There are, yet again, far too many talking points to cover, therefore this post will cover some of the key aspects that I thought decided the game.

 Russell Westbrook
As soon as Westbrook shot his first jumper of the game, I along with most Oklahoma fans screamed “no!” at the television. He has dribbled the ball up the court and shot within a few seconds without passing. This is exactly the type of play that did not fall for him in recent games and what drew plenty of criticism from viewers everywhere. The shot was good. As were his next 3. He in fact had 10 1st quarter points and was the main reason why Oklahoma had their first 1st quarter lead all series. Westbrook ended on 20-32 shooting, an incredible way to answer the critics. Unfortunately, Oklahoma could not defend Lebron James and James Harden had a terrible game.  Make no mistake, without Westbrook putting in the performance he did, Game 4 would have been over by half time. It is just a huge shame that Westbrook did not realise the shot clock was only at 5 seconds during the final play. His intentional foul on Chalmers was due to the fact that he thought there were 24 seconds on the shot clock.

Lebron JamesLeBron James - 2012 NBA Finals - Game Four
James finished with 26 points and 12 assists. He abused the post all night long   making Harden and Sefolosha look foolish more often than not. As a counter, Oklahoma had no option but to double team him. With Battier, Chalmers, Cole and  Jones all on the floor at times for the Heat, their 3’s began raining down, mostly in the  2nd quarter. Miami had 18 points from the arc alone in the 2nd quarter. This quickly  obliterated Oklahoma’s early lead and gave them a lot to think about through halftime.  Mainly, “How the hell to we guard Lebron?” Lebron then was screaming on the  sideline due to an intense cramp in the 4th quarter and missed the last minute of the  game. This was after he hobbled on to drain a 3 and put Miami up by 4. If Skip Bayless  tries to argue that he wasn’t clutch, ignore him. That said, Lebron seemed to be trying  to act like Jordan when he played with the flu.

James Harden

Harden finished with 8 points and 2 assists. He also seemed very scared of Miami. He missed 3 wide open 3’s and went 1-5 from downtown. He also shot a shocking 2-10 from the field, including one wide open from the elbow towards the end of the 4th. He had 3/4 seconds of being wide open and hesitated far too long before finally throwing up the brick. His dreadful performance was epitomised by the wide open layup he missed in the 4th. This would have given the Thunder their first lead in 22 minutes and could have changed the entire game. I was perplexed as to why Harden was man marking James late on. Harden does not have the physical capability to defend a player like James. Harden is yet to play to his potential. If Oklahoma are to steal a win in Game 5, Harden will need to achieve his regular season averages.
James Harden - 2012 NBA Finals - Game Three

The Officials
     After a lifetime of watching nothing but football (soccer for you Americans), I grow tired of complaining about referees. However, the Miami Heat seem to get every 50-50 call go their way, including some blatant bad calls. To name a few from Game 4:

  • The double-dribble missed on Lebron James in 2nd that led to a James layup.
  • Loose-ball foul not called on Derek Fisher off a rebound in the 4th. The ball fell to Chalmers who buried a 3.
  • Many fouls (seemingly) not called on Westbrook or Durant throughout the game.

I honestly hate to use the officials as a way of complaining but even my twitter feed was filling up with people that were bemused with some of the calls. What is your take on it? Am I wrong? Are Miami getting an unfair advantage from the officials?


Mario Chalmers

Chalmers has been due a good game. Wade spoke highly of him during his post game interview (why wouldn’t he?) after he played a huge role in the Game 4 win. He ended with 25 points off an efficient 9-15 night of shooting. He made a tough layup in traffic the possession after Lebron was carried off due to cramp and then sank a couple of clutch free throws a few possessions later, maintaining the lead Miami had. Chalmers was the deciding factor. The unpredictable deciding factor. Game 1 had the support players of OKC step up. Game 2 had shane Battier. Game 3 had Oklahoma’s rare low free throw percentage. Game 4 had Mario Chalmers go off for 25 points.

Did any of you predict any of these things? This series is impossible to call, still. Ibaka could go 11-11 from the field in Game 5, it’s been that kind of series. The unpredictable nature is making it one of the best series I have ever watched. Either team could have won by a sweep already. It’s times like this that you wish it was a best of 13.

Who will win the 2012 NBA Finals?

Miami flops in Game 1.

Were Miami terrible? Or were Oklahoma brilliant?
       To be honest, Miami were pretty terrible. One shocking statistic- Durant and Westbrook ended on 63 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists. Lebron, Wade and Bosh ended on 59 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists.
       Miami were the better team for the first half, thanks mainly to the 3 point shooting of Battier and offensive aggression of Chalmers who had 13 and 10 respectively at the half. That said, how often will Miami shoot 60% from 3 point land? Oklahoma were still shooting a better field-goal percentage (<8%) by halftime, they weren’t worried. This is what Oklahoma seem to have done consistently against the best teams all year. Stay within striking distance before erupting and taking over. 
     I spoke in my preview of this series how the game would be won by the supporting cast, not the big 3 of either team. Chalmers and Battier were giving Miami the lead at the half. Then Sefolosha and Collinson took over the supporting roles. Sefolosha had Lebron in his back pocket all of the 4th quarter. There is a reason why Lebron only had 2 points in the first 8.13 minutes of the 4th. Collinson had one massive offensive rebound, tipping it out to Durant who hit a three. Not to mention Collison’s 10 rebounds and 8 timely points. 
     We can’t ignore the impact that Westbrook and Durant had. Wade is terrible at transitional defence, so when Westbrook starts moving through the gears and has the ability to pull up for a two or drive straight into the bucket, OKC usually wind up with a +2 on their scorecard. I remember Lebron in an iso move during the 4th, it took about 15 seconds and he ended up hitting a 3 point play from the free throw line. He seemed pretty pumped after this. Durant than casually brought the ball up on the next play before pulling up almost immediately, and sinking a 3 pointer. 
    Durant and Westbrook had 41 points in the second half alone. The whole Miami Heat team at 40. Lebron still scored 30 points but Wade forced too many low percentage shots and ended on 19. So we can assume Wade and Lebron will finish with 30 each a night? Ok, so what about Harden?
     He can finish with 20+ points if he wants and yet only had a 5 point game. If Wade or Bosh increase their points, OKC still have Harden who can hep out. It seems insane that Westbrook and Durant beat Miami almost single handedly. They just needed a little help on defence from Sefolosha, something he can do better than any NBA player, and a few rebounds from a 7 footer (Collison).
     I strongly believe that OKC can win these Finals in under 6 games. Unless Lebron has another 45 point game and Wade plays like a superstar and drops 35….it would still be a close finish to the game.
    Let me know what you think in the comments, who will win tonight? Will Lebron go carzy again? Will that be the downfall of Miami? Several Miami players are known to have commented on how Miami doesn’t feel like a team and how they wish there was more ball movement instead of just Iso plays of Lebron. 
    Lebron tried to win it by himself in Cleveland, it doesn’t work, just ask Kobe. Until Lebron realises that he has some great outlet options in Bosh, Battier and Chalmers, I doubt they will get near the trophy. Even Cole showed that he has some talent during the regular season and he didn’t even play on Tuesday. The Miami coach basically played 6 players on Tuesday and only two of them shot the ball in the last 24 minutes.

NBA Finals Preview

We have the final everyone wanted. Miami Heat, the most exciting team to watch.
                                                     Oklahoma City, the other most exciting team to watch.

Both cities couldn’t be more different if they tried. 
Bosh, Westrbook, Wade, Harden, Durant, Lebron. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be incredible. 

There are far too many talking points to cover. Will Bosh impact the game like he should. Will Chalmers be able to defend Westbrook. Will Chalmers even defend Westbrook. Will Iblocka maintain his incredible shooting percentage. Will Lebron choke. Will Perkins miss another dunk.  
I don’t want to drown you in this post. I instead want to talk about 2 things.

1) The game will not be won by either team’s “Big 3”.
Do I need to type all 6 names out again? We have the MVP, the runner up MVP. One of the most explosive and attacking point guards. The most undervalued forward. The 6th man of the year….oh and Dwayne Wade.  
Bosh, Wade and Lebron average 67.7 points per game for the Heat.
Harden, Westbrook and Durant average 67.1 points per game for the Thunder.
Unless you really want to tell me that Heat will win every game by 1 point, I fail to see how the game will be won outright by these 6 players.
I know Lebron dropped 45 against Boston, but Durant is the best scorer in the league. Logically, these 6 players will cancel each other out. Unfortunately it is never that simple, especially given Lebron’s history in the Finals (avg 19 ppg). However, for this reason, I’m going to predict that Oklahoma will win the NBA finals. The effort from Perkins, Iblocka and Sefolosha will exceed that from Chalmers, Haslem and….Miller? Oklahoma have a deeper and stronger squad in my opinion. But this is the NBA Finals, a stage where anyone out of 6 all star, superstar, super, suplerlative players can take over and send their fans into delirium. 

 2) The difference between Lebron and Durant is their personality. 
 The massive difference in their personality can be seen in one week during July of 2010. This was when Lebron announced his move to Miami via the TV fiasco “The Decision”. This was followed up by “The Celebration” as he joined Wade and Bosh in a smoke filled Miami Heat arena to the cheers of wealthy, cocktail sipping fans. Finally, who can forget the famous “…not 3, not 4, not 5….not even 6!” speech (in reference to how many titles Miami would go on to win).
The day before “The Decision”, Durant quietly announced that he had signed a further 5 year contract with Oklahoma. He simply posted on Twitter, “God is great, me and my family came a long way”. 
Lebron’s contract is littered with opt-outs should his romance with the Heat not work out.
Durant is property of Oklahoma until 2016. There are no opt-outs for him. To be honest, I don’t think he would ever want to leave anyway. 

To my close friends, it’s no surprise that I will be cheering for Oklahoma during the Finals. If anything, this post should show how optimistic I am that they will win, but you can never be sure, especially with the Miami Heat standing in Oklahoma’s way. 

The importance of the Rio 2012 Earth Summit.

The environment has gained much political attention over the last 30 years; no longer can 1st world countries like America, Japan and China ignore this fact. Environmental benefits still come after economic and social ones in developed countries. Unfortunately, these developed countries are the ones that effect the environment the most, both negatively and positively. The 5th Earth Summit is coming up in 10 days and provides a chance for certain 1st world countries to finally step up to the problem of environmental degradation and exploitation.

       The whole environmental movement began with John Muir in 1892 who started the Sierra Club and used to it express environmental opinions towards the government. The National Trust was then formed 3 years later in 1895. England and America still viewed the environment as something to be feared. The majority wanted control of the environment. Art and literature were used to promote the inherent “goodness” of the environment. People like William Wordsworth dedicated their careers to convincing people that the environment was something magical to be enjoyed. This period was known as the “enlightenment” – Something America still has to go through.

        The real turning point of the movement came in 1962 when Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring’. It was a book that outlined a lot of the environmental problems that were occurring at the time. One example was how Rachel outlined the use of the pesticide DTT in agriculture. Not only did this leech into rivers and harm habitats and animals, it was also a cause for human cancer. Upon reading this, President John F Kennedy banned the use of DTT after many agricultural companies trued to ban the publishing of the book. The book was monumental because for the first time, information like this was available to the public. This had never happened before.

         The book prompted the first ever Earth Day to take place in 1970. This was after 150,000 people died in 3 days during the Industrial Revolution because of the smog build up. There was also an oil spill off the coast of Santa Monica in 1969. People were finally becoming aware of the damage that was taking place due to the exploitation and misuse of the environment. This culminated in the first Earth Summit in 1972 which took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

          Whilst this was a monumental occasion and milestone for environmentalists, the meeting did nothing but highlight how 1st world countries were exploiting 3rd world countries. In fact, the first time that any progress was made was 20 years later in 1992 at the third Earth Summit in Rio. The ‘Kyoto Protocol’ was introduced. This stated that by 2012, any participating country had to decrease their carbon emissions by 5%. Over 37 countries signed the document. Collectively it would make a huge difference since the limits it proposed for each country were relatively small.

      Unfortunately, 3 key countries refused to sign the document claiming that signing the document would be economic suicide. These three countries were Russia, China and America. If all of Europe was to lower their emissions by 5% it probably would be less than if America lowered their emissions by 5%. With these 3 countries out of the agreement, the Kyoto Protocol seemed almost useless.
10 years later in 2002 at Johannesburg, Japan and America refused to limit their offshore oil drilling. Again they were putting their own economic benefits ahead of the world’s environmental benefits. Finally, in 2010, Barack Obama said that “it is pointless to sign the Kyoto Protocol since it is almost over”. Whilst I understand why he said this, he neglected to go further and talk about what America was doing to counter their un-involvement in the Kyoto Protocol.

          With the Earth Summit returning to Rio in 9 days where the first positive step was taken, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards the environment have changed from 1st world countries. In the last decade there has been a large impact on “acting as a community” and doing what you can. Recycle this, turn off that light, be “energy efficient”.

       My father recently told me how one of his friends had helped save thousands of trees in the Amazon. My first thought wasn’t how brilliant this was. Instead I thought of how pointless single actions like this will be until we can get the entire world to think the same way. Yes, we can save thousands of trees but until companies lower their emissions then we are just conserving what is left of the environment. We should be protecting and re-building it. 1st world countries desperately need to find a balance between socio-economic and environmental needs. Until this happens, the environmental will continue to deteriorate.

Dead bees, another cry out for alternative fuel?

     Recent studies have shown that diesel fumes are related to the decline of honeybee colonies. The theory states that nano-particles emitted from diesel exhausts disrupt the navigation of bees. Thus making it impossible for them to return to their hive as they eventually die. Why is this important I hear you say? Well there is a much bigger picture to look at.

      Bees produce billions for the world economy, £430 million a year in the United Kingdom alone. People do not realise just how much they aid employment by producing honey and pollinating crop fields. In return, they ask for nothing. I think they are the most underrated working class in the world. To realise that the modern mode of transport is killing them off is extremely worrying. Ten’s of thousand’s of beehives have been dropping every winter. Since 2007, the United States has seen a 35% drop in the number of hives.

     This statistic is screaming at me to sell my diesel ‘eco-friendly’ Ford Fiesta and buy an electric car. Car companies have done a brilliant job of convincing the masses that diesel fueled cars should be bought due to their efficiency and minimal effect on the environment. Yet the fact remains, diesel is a non-renewable fuel that is harmful to all living things. Yes, diesel is better than petrol; You get more miles to the gallon and it does harm the environment less, but we are merely prolonging the inevitable.

     How can we deal with this issue? I would love to tell you that scientists have just discovered a new renewable energy source as powerful as oil but we are not there yet. So all we can do is nudge people. Give people a reason to buy electric cars, a reason to cycle to work and a reason to roll the window down instead of hitting the AC switch.

      My immediate plan would be to deny raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph. This is simply telling motorists that it is ok to drive faster, burn more fuel and pump more money into the pockets of oil companies. It also widens the gulf between the speeds of electric vehicles compared to fuel driven vehicles. One major reason why the public are buying fuel cars rather than electric is due to speed.  Further on this, road tax on fueled vehicles should be vastly increased.

      We cannot sugar coat this anymore. We have to stop finding ways of prolonging this unfortunate truth. Instead, begin to use fuels that are both renewable and do not harm the environment. If an event as small as a bee dying does not convince you that something must be done, I fear we have already lost the battle. 

Lebron Will Be Stopped.

             I recently watched the documentary that follows Lebron James through his High School years, ‘More than a Game’. Considering how much I dislike James as a person, the documentary manages to highlight a human and dare I say loveable side to him. There’s no doubt he is the best basketball player on the planet at the moment (with an exception to my ‘My Player’ in NBA 2K12), but is he the most valuable? Now that Miami are without the interior presence of Chris Bosh we will see just how valuable he is.
             I’m under the assumption that should anything happen to James, Wade or Bosh, then Miami would still be favourites for the Championship because of how good all 3 players are. However, Indiana made it very clear that the Heat are not the same team when all the 3 superstars aren’t on the floor. Boston revealed this flaw during Game 3 of the Eastern conference Finals. I am however writing this from the air so I’m unaware of the Game 4 result.
             Game 3 highlighted how much length the Heat lack. With Bosh out of the squad, Battier has been forced to play more minutes. With Kevin Garnett in the form he has been in, it wouldn’t have been a surprise for him to post impressive numbers in this series. The number of balls that were thrown over his markers head into the paint during game 3 was insane. He found it so easy to switch on his marker and get basket side. With Rondo as the point guard, Boston were getting a lot of easy buckets. It should also be noted that when Boston play without Kevin Garnett in the playoffs, they concede 29 more points per game on average. Boston doesn’t really have much right to still be in the series and I wouldn’t be surprised if Game 4 ended as a W for Miami. The fact remains however that without Bosh, the Heat have a very big weakness, one that Perkins and Ibaka cannot wait to exploit (assuming OKC beat SAS).
             Oklahoma are a jump shooting team. For a while I thought this would be their downfall against the Lakers. Can they really shoot over 50% from the floor every night?! Unfortunately they can as someone always seems to step up. The talent in the squad is so deep. Westbrook had a terrible game offensively in Game 4 against San Antonio. He is also one of the most passionate players in the league, so even though his shots weren’t falling, his “hustle” stat was maxed out at 99 all night long. He made a lot of key defensive plays.
             I know what you’re thinking- so how many did Durant score? Durant was very, very quiet for the first 3 quarters of the game. It’s how he operates and what he did every game against the Lakers. The man literally turns on a clutch button and starts draining everything in the last 12 minutes, it’s unbelievable. So how did OKC win a few nights ago of Westbrook and Durant were so quiet during the first 3 quarters? James Harden continues to fill the shoes of 6th Man of the Year. Not only that, but Ibaka ended up with 24 points of 10 for 10 shooting. Perkins played more aggressively than I’ve ever seen. Even when certain players don’t show up for OKC until the 4th quarter, or at all in Westbrook’s case, they still have players that put points on the board. Is this the case for Miami?

                                                             Hell no.

             Wade and Lebron have been carrying that team since Bosh has been injured. Yes a few of their players have scored 10/12 points off the bench but they don’t contribute anywhere near as much as Harden and Ibaka have.
             I’m certain that Miami will beat the paint attacking team of Boston, but OKC will provide a very different challenge to Miami. I feel that it would be a much more exciting final than if San Antonio were to overcome Oklahoma.

             Apologies if I hurt your feelings by writing negatively about James. I just really don’t want him to win a ring. A thin line divides arrogance and confidence. A line that Lebron is somehow impervious to.