Saturday, July 10, 2010


Who will be correct? Mani and Paul are putting their reputations on the line in this final match. Both have been wrong before and so it will be difficult to depend on their predictions. Earlier, Mani actually predicted a Uruguay-Spain final which Spain will win. Mani predicted Uruguay to beat Holland and Spain to beat Germany. Unfortunately, there were wrong predictions. Now, they gave him a new set of flags of Holland and Spain and Mani picked Holland. The reports in the world news are wrong that he has been 100% right so far. I still have the photos of his semifinal and final predictions. Please read the report just below this paragraph. Paul went for Spain right away and this is the first match where Paul was asked to pick a non German match.

WORLD CUP 2010 Match Analysis
Mani's streak ends
By David Lee
July 08, 2010

WELL, you know what they say: Mani come, Mani go.

Or as what my colleague Brian Miller said: 'Fly in, create trouble, then fly out.'

All good things must come to an end, and so it was with the World Cup predictions of Singapore's top tipster Mani the Parakeet (sorry, Mr Miller!).

Four for four during the quarter-finals when the little squawker correctly pecked, I mean picked, Uruguay, Holland, Germany and Spain to be the semi-finalists, and Mani was suddenly the psychic parakeet.

But if you had blindly followed the bird-brain this morning, you would have been driven cuckoo.

With Holland 3-1 up, there was that potential 'Honey, Mani told you so' moment, when Maxi Pereira scored in second-half stoppage time when three minutes became five.

Remember how Asamoah Gyan missed his 120th-minute penalty for Ghana and Uruguay came good for Mani?

However, the preening and chirping were eventually silenced by the referee's final whistle, as the winged wonder's proud record came to a turbulent end.

Is the beginner's luck running out?


We'll find out tomorrow, because the parakeet's pick from the other semi-final is Spain, which is, coincidentally, also the team the octopus chose.

If you recall, Paul the omniscient octopus has correctly predicted all of Germany's World Cup results so far, including wins against England and Argentina, and that unlikely defeat by Serbia in the group stage.

Such is the overwhelming mollusc mania, German news channel n-tv actually broadcast its Germany-Spain prediction live, with two reporters commentating on it.

But like all exponents of dark arts, danger lurks, and already Paul has been subjected to death threats by the vanquished Argentinians.

The newspaper El Dia gave this recipe for anyone daring to capture Paul: 'All you need is four normal potatoes, olive oil for taste and a little pepper.'

Argentinan chef Nicolas Bedorrou has suggested on Facebook a far more simplistic and brutal way to cook the octopus - chase it, then beat it (to keep the meat tender) and boil it.

Fingers crossed, our dear Mani will not have to endure such trauma. But seriously, did anyone really think the World Cup would be determined by these tiny critters?

Surely you can't be more bird-brained than that.

I am sure the Spanish and Dutch players and coaches are scratching their heads after knowing these predictions. I am too...haha! Therefore, who shall you believe, a parakeet or an octopus? Which one looks more like Nostradamus or the Oracle to you? It will be predicting correctly for you!

Tentacled prophet and four-legged oracles
By Zurairi AR
July 09, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — In a World Cup of droning vuvuzelas, dodgy balls and substandard favourites, nothing has fascinated the public as much as the octopus named Paul.

So far, the seemingly precognitive Paul has correctly predicted the results of all German matches during the tournament, even their losses to Serbia and Spain.

Tomorrow, according to his handlers, Paul will predict the winner of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. If he is not tired.

Residing in the Oberhausen Sea Life Aquarium in Germany, the two-year-old cephalopod “predicts” the results of matches by picking one of two clear boxes bearing the flags of the competing countries. The boxes are arranged according to Fifa’s arrangement of flags for each match, and filled with food like mussels or oysters.

Previously, he has correctly predicted five out of six results from Germany’s campaign in Euro 2008.

After predicting Germany’s exit at the hands of Spain in the semi-final, Paul has since received death threats from many Germans who wish to see him served on their dinner tables.

Some punters and booking agencies have made money from following his advice, while animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) is urging for his release from his “imprisonment”.

Paul might be the first octopus to have done so, but he is surely not the first animal to tell fortunes or read minds. In 1927, a horse in Virginia, US named Lady Wonder was claimed to possess psychic powers and extra-sensory perception (ESP), and communicated by pushing toy letter blocks.

For the price of a dollar, one could ask the horse three questions, and over 150,000 people had taken up the offer. The horse also supposedly predicted the result of a boxing match, discovered oil, and solved a missing person case.

Another horse in 1900 in Germany, Clever Hans, was shown as having the ability to solve arithmetical and intellectual problems. Having a multi-talented owner who was a mathematics teacher, amateur horse trainer and phrenologist bestowed Hans with various abilities such as telling time, differentiating musical tones and understanding German.

In the 1980s, a dog called Harass II was purported by its handler, John Prestons, to be psychic. Harass II could supposedly find cold trails and human scent — even months or years later. He could also track underwater and after hurricanes, using his psychic powers.

Historically, humans have relied on observing animals for divination since thousands of years ago. Alectryomancy, practised by Etruscans in ancient Italy 2,400 years ago, enables people to tell fortunes by seeing roosters pecking at scattered grains.

The ancient Romans practised augury, divination by studying the flight of birds: whether any noise was made, whether they flew alone, their directions, etc. These duties were held by a special order of priests whose role was interpreting the gods’ messages.

This divination by observation extends to various other animals such as cats (felidomancy), horse (hippomancy), fish (ichthyomancy), spider and snakes (ophiomancy).

In the cases of Lady Wonder, Clever Hans and Harass II, it has been proven that the animals were unconsciously or unintentionally cued by their owners. In fact, this observer effect has been called the “Clever Hans Effect” and has been used to debunk many “intelligent” or “talented” pets over the years.

As for Paul, it is still not proven if he reacts to his trainer Oliver Walenciak’s cues or the expectant German fans. Although he has predicted 11 out of 12 matches correctly so far, it is noted that Paul chose Germany nine times out of 12. Considering Germany was the favourites in those nine matches, Paul had consequently better odds to be correct.

Being a common octopus (Octopus vulgaris), it has also been suggested that Paul has a preference for flags with bright horizontal stripes like Germany and Spain, instead of England or Argentina, despite not being able to see in colour.

The species is naturally found in shallow tropical and semi-tropical seas around the world and can grow up to 25cm, with tentacles up to a metre.

Common octopi are well-known for being highly intelligent and responsive. They have been observed to unscrew bottle caps and manipulating other tools.

Whether Paul really possesses supernatural abilities or is just extremely lucky, there is no doubt that he or his owners should capitalise on his popularity quick.

Even if he does not end up in furious Germans’ tummies, Paul is nearing the end of his life —his species has a life expectancy of just two years.

For now, Paul has been immortalised in the minds of many World Cup watchers, even garnering two Twitter accounts for himself, which you can find here and here.

Football: Animal magic deals World Cup blow to pundits
Posted: 09 July 2010 2311 hrs

PARIS - Franz Beckenbauer, Pele and Jurgen Klinsmann have some serious rivals when it comes to World Cup punditry.

Step forward - or swim or fly - Paul and Pauline the octopus oracles and Mani the Singapore parakeet who have all been given credit for correctly predicting a series of World Cup results.

Paul, born in Weymouth in the south west of England, has led the way with a perfect record of guessing six out of six winners from his aquarium home in western Germany.

Indeed he has shown there is no room for nostaglia or sentiment as twice he correctly predicted that his adopted country Germany would lose and twice they did.

He also correctly foretold that the English would not prevail over the Germans.

Now expectation will be on tentacle hooks to see whether the eight-legged oracle is proven correct with his plumping for Spain over the Dutch in Sunday's final - and such is his celebrity the drama of his selection was carried live on national German television.

The two-year-old mollusc medium has also said that Germany will defeat Uruguay in the third-place play-off game on Saturday.

In the now familiar routine, two boxes were lowered into his tank, each containing a mussel and the flags of the two opposing teams.

The tentacled tipster went straight to the Spanish box, wrenched open the lid and gobbled the tasty morsel.

But the art of football prediction has become a dangerous job for the English-born clairvoyant cephalopod with some bitter German fans threatening to turn him into sushi after he predicted a semi-final defeat for the Mannschaft.

According to aquarium spokesman Daniel Fey, Paul has received death-threat emails demanding "we want Paul for the pan."

There have been no such death threats for Mani in Singapore who predicted all four winners of the quarter-finals correctly and has pecked for the Dutch.

The bird has rapidly gained cult status among gambling-mad soccer fans who have been flocking to its astrologer owner's shop in the hope of winning big.

Local media reports said Mani - dubbed "magical bird" and "homegrown psychic parakeet" - used its beak to pick a card bearing the flag of the Netherlands over one with Spain's national colours.

Pauline may also have plumped for the Dutch but given that she is in captivity in the Netherlands she may have opted for the safety first option by choosing the 'Oranje'.

- AFP/ir

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