The Strangest Soccer Match Ever Played

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In 1994, 21 Caribbean nations gathered to play for the Shell Caribbean Cup. Trinidad and Tobago would emerge victorious, but, in the group stage, Barbados and Grenada would play the tournament's most memorable match— quite possibly the strangest soccer match ever played.

Barbados, Grenada, and Puerto Rico were grouped together in the qualifying round. In their first games, Grenada beat Puerto Rico 2-0 while Barbados lost to Puerto Rico, 1-0. With Grenada and Barbados set to play, the potential outcomes were clear: Grenada would advance with a win. For Barbados to advance, they would need to win by at least two goals, because goal differential was used as a tiebreaker.

There were no draws in the qualifying round, so games went into sudden death “golden goal” extra time. For some inexplicable reason, the tournament organizers decided that extra time goals would be worth two goals. So when Barbados found themselves winning 2-1 in regular time with less than ten minutes left, they had two choices: try to score a third goal, unlikely versus a lock-down Grenada defense, or intentionally score an own goal, knot the game up at 2-2, and hope to score and secure a two-goal victory in extra time. They went with the second strategy, as shown in this video:

With the game tied, 2-2, what was strange became stranger. Grenada realized that a 3-2 win or a 3-2 loss would be equally effective, because Barbados needed a two-goal victory. So Grenada tried to score in either goal—Barbados' or their own. For five frantic minutes, Barbados defended both goals against the two-fronted Grenada assault. Grenada failed, and Barbados netted the game-winner in overtime, winning 4-2 and advancing past the qualifying round.

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How Seiichi Miyake and Tactile Paving Changed the World for Visually Impaired People

iStock.com/RonBailey
iStock.com/RonBailey

More than 140 years after Louis Braille invented the Braille reading system, Seiichi Miyake came up with a different system based on touch that allows visually impaired people to navigate public spaces. Today, tactile paving is used by major cities and transportation services around the world. Miyake was so influential that he's the subject of the Google Doodle for March 18, the 52nd anniversary of tactile paving's debut.

The Japanese inventor designed the influential system with a specific person in mind. His friend was losing his vision, so in 1965, Miyake used his own money to build special mats with raised shapes that lead blind and visually impaired people away from danger and toward safety. Pavement with round bumps was meant to signal nearby danger, such as a street crossing or the edge of a train platform, while a stretch of pavement with straight bars was meant to guide them to safe areas. The tactile design allowed pedestrians to detect the features with canes, guide dogs, or their feet.

Originally called Tenji blocks, the tactile pavement was first installed outside the Okayama School for the Blind in Okayama, Japan in 1967. They quickly spread to larger cities, like Tokyo and Osaka, and within a decade, Miyake's system was mandatory in all Japanese rail stations.

Seiichi Miyake died in 1982 at age 56, but the popularity of his invention has only grown since his death. In the 1990s, the U.S., the UK, and Canada embraced tactile pavement in their cities. Miyake's initial design has been built upon throughout the years; there are now pill-shaped bumps to indicate changes in direction and raised lines running perpendicular to foot traffic to signal upcoming steps. And even though they're often thought of as tools for blind people, the bright colors used in tactile pavement also make them more visible to pedestrians with visual impairments.

Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

iStock
iStock

Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

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