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StrangeSights: South Korean broadcaster apologises for stereotypes in Olympic Opening Ceremony coverage; an app to show your cat’s pain; and, the world’s oldest tennis player…

Cat looking at camera

DAVID ADAMS writes about the odder side of life…

The parade of nations in the Olympic Games’ Opening Ceremony is a time to celebrate the diverse peoples and countries that make up our world. South Korean broadcaster MBC, however, was forced to apologise after its coverage of the parade was accompanied by a series of offensive stereotypes which reportedly included an image of pizza which appeared as the Italian team entered and an image of Dracula when the Romanian team did so. Meanwhile ccaptions accompanying their coverage included “Rich underground resources; a civil war that has been going on for 10 years” which ran when the Syrian team entered and “The political situation is fogged by the assasination of the president” which ran when the Haitian team did. In the apology, MBC said it was “deeply sorry and regretful” for the “inapproopriate images and captions” used in its coverage.

Cat looking at camera

But what is the cat really feeling? An app can help with that. PICTURE: Manja Vitolic/Unsplash.

It might appear as though your cat is just expressing disdain for you but such an expression could be masking the pain they’re feeling. Now you can know for sure – a Canadian company has developed an app that uses artificial intelligence to determine whether a feline is experiencing pain. Developed by Calgary-based – a joint venture between artificial intelligence technology company Alta ML and The Bar G, a portfolio of companies involved in sectors including animal health, the app – called Tably – uses a phone’s camera to examine the cat’s ear and head position, eye-narrowing and muzzle tension as well as how its whiskers change to detect whether or not it’s in distress. It employs a scientifically-validated tool for assessing acute pain in cats based on changes in facial expression which is known as the ‘Feline Grimace Scale’. But even with the app, there’s still the issue of the cat hanging around long enough for you to check on it. “The big challenge with cats is that they don’t express when they’re in pain,” Chris O’Brien, vice president of product at AltaML told Wired last month.“They go and hide, whereas a dog will come in and whine and nuzzle you.”

 For 97-year-old Leonid Stanislavskyi, a Ukrainian who has been playing amateur tennis for over half a century, it is next to impossible to find a worthy adversary in his age group. That has not stopped him from participating in the world and European championships for seniors and outplaying younger competitors, although he is not moving around the court as fast as he used to. Stanislavskyi was 30 when his colleague introduced him to tennis. Since then, he has trained three times a week in his hometown of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. “It is an elegant type of sport,” he told Reuters. “It is good physical exercise. It is a beautiful game. And there is one more thing about tennis – you can play no matter what age you are.” Stanislavskyi, who holds the Guinness World Record holder as the world’s oldest tennis player, has been training hard ahead of the 2021 Super-Seniors World Championship due to be held in October in Mallorca, Spain, where, for the first time, the International Tennis Federation has introduced a 90-and-over age group. The move came after Stanislavskyi sent a written request to the federation asking for the new category to be added. Stanislavskyi says he is finding it harder to play the older he gets. “When I was 95-years-old, I felt much better than now. It is even hard to walk when you are 97-years-old.”




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