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Super Rugby Predictions #3: Week 7 2013

My highlights for the Easter weekend are the Chiefs vs Blues and the Stormers vs Crusaders (both on Saturday)

First off, I have been a little bit slack, but mostly busy, with posting the past two weeks of predictions beforehand, but in the interest of monitoring my progress completely, I have updated my past two weeks of predictions in the Archive and they weren’t pretty. Week 4 also wasn’t much better. For weeks 4 & 6 I only managed to get 3/7 right each week and week 5 saw me only get 4/6. So moving along then, I hope week 7 can bring me a better result…

See all this year’s predictions here

Highlanders vs Reds

All Time

  • Average Score:  29  - 22
  • Highlanders W-D-L: 9 – 7 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 38 – 17
  • Hurricanes W-D-L: 7 – 0 – 0

My Prediction: Highlanders by 4

I’m tempted to say that the Reds will win it, but the home game stats speak for themselves here, the Highlanders should get away with their first win!

Hurricanes vs Kings

All Time

  • Average Score:  N/A
  • W-D-L: N/A

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score:  N/A
  • W-D-L: N/A

My Prediction: Hurricanes by 4

Relative newcomers the Kings play their second NZ conference game against the Highlanders. The severe beating that was incurred against the Crusaders last week has shown them what to expect and I still have hopes for them, even if my predictor doesn’t…

Chiefs vs Blues

All Time

  • Average Score:  26 – 24
  • W-D-L: 9 – 10 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 25 – 21
  • W-D-L: 4 – 5 – 0

My Prediction: Chiefs by 10

Without considering past scores, the Chiefs should take this one by at least a try or two. No matter what happens though, this should be a very high scoring game with at least 80 points on the board

Brumbies vs Bulls

All Time

  • Average Score:  32 – 27
  • W-D-L: 8 – 6 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score : 39 – 22
  • W-D-L: 5 – 1 – 0

My Prediction: Brumbies by 4

Should be the Brumbies game, considering their form this year and that they have the home advantage!

Cheetahs vs Rebels

All Time

  • Average Score:  37 – 24
  • W-D-L: 2 – 0 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score : 41 – 21
  • W-D-L: 1 – 0 – 0

My Prediction: Cheetahs by 3

The Cheetahs have come back from a successful Australasian leg, while the Rebels are coming from a major ass-whipping in Durban against the Sharks.

Stormers vs Crusaders

All Time

  • Average Score:  21 – 30
  • W-D-L: 4 – 13 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score:  23 – 28
  • W-D-L: 4 – 5 – 0

My Prediction: Crusaders by 12

The Crusaders have bounced back nicely the past few weeks… and the Stormers have a few injury concerns.

Waratahs vs Force

All Time

  • Average Score:  21 – 30
  • W-D-L: 4 – 13 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score:  18 – 17
  • W-D-L: 1 – 2 – 1

My Prediction: Waratahs by 4

Against my better judgement I’m gonna back the Tahs, even though the Force could surprise them…

Super Rugby Predictions #2: Week 4 2013

Southern Kings

Can my local team, the Southern Kings, win it this weekend against my favourite team, The Sharks?

Last weekend’s predictions were a teeny bit off… okay they sucked, but that is how it goes. This week heralds the arrival of v1.1 of my prediction engine. A few changes were made in the inner workings, firstly, small adjustments to balance the handicap score out a bit with the teams performance building up to that specific point and also added sort of compensation amount to adjust the final predictions.

See last weeks predictions here

Hurricanes vs Crusaders

All Time

  • Average Score:  19  - 28
  • Hurricanes W-D-L: 5 – 15 – 3

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 18 – 27
  • Hurricanes W-D-L: 2 – 6 – 2

My Prediction: Crusaders by 1

The Crusaders are off to their usual bumpy start, and the Hurricanes still have something to prove this year. Should be a close one despite what the stats show us.

Rebels vs Reds

All Time

  • Average Score: 11 -32
  • Rebels W-D-L: 0 – 4 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 18 – 33
  • Rebels W-D-L: 0 – 2 – 0

My Prediction: Reds by 18

The Rebels haven’t beaten the Reds in any of the 4 games played between these two teams, including 2 at home. I don’t see that changing this year either, but they haven’t had a completely bad start to the year and barely lost to the Waratahs last week

Highlanders vs Cheetahs

All Time

  • Average Score: 27 – 20
  • Highlanders W-D-L: 7 – 0 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 26 – 15
  • Highlanders W-D-L: 3 – 0 – 0

My Prediction: Highlanders by 11

Both teams are coming from a heavy Chiefs defeat, but the Highlanders have had time to lick their wounds. The Cheetahs are a bit more worse for wear, they’re travelling from 2 weeks of losses, the first to the Sharks at home and then the whipping they got last week in Hamilton

Brumbies vs Waratahs

All Time

  • Average Score: 24-22
  • Brumbies W-D-L: 9 – 11 -0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 31 – 14
  • Brumbies W-D-L: 7 – 2 – 0

My Prediction: Brumbies by 2

History show that home games between these 2 teams favours the Brumbies, but as with any local derby game, anything can happen

Stormers vs Chiefs

All Time

  • Average Score: 26 – 24
  • Stormers W-D-L: 8 – 6 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 23 – 21
  • W-D-L: 4– 2 – 0

My Prediction: Chiefs by 13

The Chiefs have been on fire, so if they can break through the brick wall that is the Stormers defense, they should get a decent gap.

Kings vs Sharks

All Time

  • Average Score: N/A
  • W-D-L: N/A

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: N/A
  • W-D-L: N/A

My Prediction: Sharks by 5

I’m very torn about this game, the Sharks are my favourite team, but the Kings on the other hand are the first local team to get a shot at the Super 15, despite a large percentage of the province’s talent playing now for the other SA teams. I kinda want them to win all possible game this year and based on the support they had against the Force, I expect it to be a major boost for the local team again.

Blues vs Bulls

All Time

  • Average Score: 35 – 26
  • Blues W-D-L: 9 – 5 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 42 – 19
  • Blues W-D-L: 7 – 0 – 0

My Prediction: Blues by 7

The Blues look on fire and they should win this one, although not as easy as you’d think.

Final Table positions prediction:

CL: Conference Leaders

WC: Wildcard Teams

(+/-): Position Change from previous week

  1. (+2) Bulls (CL)
  2. (+1) Crusaders (CL)
  3. (-2) Brumbies (CL)
  4. (+2) Sharks (WC)
  5. Chiefs (WC)
  6. (-1) Blues (WC)
  7. (+2) Waratahs
  8. (-1) Hurricanes
  9. (-1) Stormers
  10. (+1) Kings
  11. (-1) Reds
  12. Highlanders
  13. (+1) Force
  14. (+1) Cheetahs
  15. (-2) Rebels

To view previous predictions and more info on how I get the predictions , click here: http://myconflictedself.wordpress.com/super-15-predictions-archive/

Super Rugby Predictions #1: Week 3 2013

2012 Super Rugby season

Week 3 Predictions

For several years now, I have been playing a Super Rugby fantasy league game from Ultimate Dream Teams with 2 friends.

When I do things, I tend to go all out, so over time I have created a sort of “prediction engine” which I can’t say works 100% (yet), but I’m still pretty proud of it. For more history on it and for more info on the how and why, have a look at my Super 15 Predictions Archive page (link on top or click here). My first two week’s predictions are also there, since I discovered one or two flaws in my tracking of season stats, which kinda broke my “prediction engine”

For now though here are my week 3 predictions, even though the first game has already ended with the Blues winning 34 – 15 (which like the Hurricanes game last week has pointed out another flaw in my engine – it doesn’t account for a team like the Blues having a surprisingly good start to this year’s competition

Blues vs Crusaders

All Time

  • Average Score:  22  - 26
  • Blues W-D-L: 9 – 12 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 22 – 21
  • Blues W-D-L: 6 – 5 – 0

My Prediction: Crusaders by 12

Even though I thought the Crusaders would walk away with this one, the Blues are surprising me this year

Waratahs vs Rebels

All Time

  • Average Score: 34 – 12
  • Waratahs W-D-L: 4 – 0 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 29 – 15
  • Waratahs W-D-L: 2 – 0 – 0

My Prediction: Waratahs by 13

Can a good looking Rebels team surprise me like the Blues above?

Reds vs Hurricanes

All Time

  • Average Score: 23 – 28
  • Reds W-D-L: 5 – 11 -0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 22 – 24
  • Reds W-D-L: 3 – 5 – 0

My Prediction: Hurricanes by 6

It should be the Hurricanes but who knows

Chiefs vs Cheetahs

All Time

  • Average Score: 27-26
  • Chiefs W-D-L: 2 – 1 -0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 27 – 26
  • Chiefs W-D-L: 2 – 1 – 0

My Prediction: Chiefs by 6

Should be the Chiefs, but the Cheetahs can always surprise.

Bulls vs Force

All Time

  • Average Score: 25 – 23
  • W-D-L: 3 – 3 – 0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 30 – 30
  • W-D-L: 1 – 1 – 0

My Prediction: Bulls by 6

The Bulls don’t have a good record against the Force for some reason, so could go either way

Sharks vs Stormers

All Time

  • Average Score: 20-22
  • W-D-L: 9 – 9 -0

Home Game Advantage

  • Average Score: 21 – 20
  • W-D-L: 5 – 4 – 0

My Prediction: Sharks by 4

Old rivals, pretty evenly matched, could possibly be a serious nail-biter or damn boring game

Final Table positions prediction:

  1. Brumbies (CL)
  2. Crusaders (CL)
  3. Bulls (CL)
  4. Blues (WC)
  5. Chiefs (WC)
  6. Sharks (WC)
  7. Hurricanes
  8. Stormers
  9. Waratahs
  10. Reds
  11. Kings
  12. Highlanders
  13. Rebels
  14. Force
  15. Cheetahs

To view previous predictions and more info on how I get the predictions , click here: http://myconflictedself.wordpress.com/super-15-predictions-archive/

Must See Movies 2013: A Glimpse So Far

Below are the movies I am most excited about for first half of the year or so. Release dates indicated are for South Africa, and are subject to change. Only movies with trailers and confirmed SA release dates are shown here. Watch my monthly posts for more up to date info. Source for release dates: http://moviesite.co.za/CPR.pdf

 

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January

Django Unchained

Prediction: Damn funny and will rock, plenty of Oscar nominations.

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Also watch out for Argohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w918Eh3fij0

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February

A Good Day To Die Hard

Prediction: Not really too sure, but should be good fun :)

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Lincoln

Prediction: Gonna be amazing!

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Also watch out for Zero Dark Thirty if only to see what the hype is about - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxC_JNz5Vbg

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March

Oz the Great & Powerful

Prediction: Looks promising

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Red Dawn

Prediction: Probably will be the same old formula, but should be entertaining

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April

Oblivion

Prediction: Even if it sucks, it should be interesting or at least entertaining, it’s win-win

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Seven Psychopaths

Prediction: It’s a winner! Why? 1) Woody Harrelson, 2) Christopher Walken, 3) It’s looks awesome

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Also watch out for the Carrie remake - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaHzUMq8iaM

May

Iron Man 3

Prediction: Looks very dark…

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Evil Dead (Remake)

Prediction: Where’s Bruce? No really… ooh wait this looks kinda freaky actually :)

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Fast and Furious 6

Prediction: Another one? Only the big names are gonna save this one…

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Also watch out for the Texas Chainsaw 3D (yet another scray movie remake) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqCe2pDfICE

And don’t forget about Stokerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brjtL-2kE9A

June

Man of Steel 

Prediction: Oooh dark… plus Christopher Nolan (producer) and Zack Snyder (300) are involved in it

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After Earth

Prediction: Should be pretty cool, starring Will Smith and son, Jaden

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Star Trek – Into Darkness 

Prediction: Never really got into old Star Trek (*gasp*), so the reboot since the previous film has me hooked :)

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July

World War Z 

Prediction: Bad CGI aside, it should be pretty cool, even if it doesn’t look anything like I’d have pictured the book.

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The Lone Ranger

Prediction: Looks pretty damn cool

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Despicable Me 2 

Prediction: Laughs and fun all around

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August

Pacific Rim

Prediction: Prepare to be blown away…

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September

Elysium

Prediction: Since this isn’t really a trailer, it’s kinda difficult to say, but if Neill Blomkamp bought us District 9 with $30m, imagine what he can do with $120m and Matt Damon?

The mystery around this film reminds me of the mysterious build up and viral campaign of “fakeverts” and the rest that he did with District 9. Less is known about this film that some films coming out in 2014.

Must See Movies 2012 #9: The Hobbit, Life of Pi (& Jack Reacher)

Week 1

There was nothing really worth watching in the first week in December in my opinion, and since that was the case, I’m going to recommend that you watch Skyfall (again if you already have), which opened the last week on November here in South Africa. See my previous blog post, Must See Movies 2012 #8: Skyfall Review

Otherwise The Hobbit is a winner!

Week 2: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

hobbit_an_unexpected_journey_ver2This past weekend marked the release of the long awaited prequel to the Lord of the Rings. I watched it on Saturday night and all the people I went with were impressed.

The Hobbit is directed again by Peter Jackson and marks the return of several familiar faces. In case you didn’t know (like my fiancée) the Hobbit has been split into three movies: ‘The Unexpected Journey (2012)’, ‘The Desolation of Smaug (2013)’ and lastly ‘There And Back Again (2014)’. I have seen the meme doing the rounds and was expecting it to be very drawn out. While it could have (and should have) been done in one movie, the pace of the movie moves along pretty nicely and you rarely (although not never) get bored. Some critics moaned about it being a overproduced and being about the special effects, but I don’t see how you can make these movies and not.

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Hobbit Meme

The Hobbit also debuts the new HFR 3D technology, where the films are shot at 48 frames per second compared to the normal 24 of other films. Reviews have been mixed but the major advantage to the technology is the minimising of motion blur which affects other 3D movies. Unfortunately the cinema we were at didn’t have the infrastructure so I saw it in normal 3D, so I can’t really tell you more. Feel free to comment if you have.

IMDB Moviemeter: 1

Other IMDB: Top 250 #84 | 5 nominations

Tomatometer: 65%

Trailer 1

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Trailer 2

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Week 3: Life of Pi

Li of Pi

Based on the fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi tells the story of a 16 year old boy, Piscione Molitor Patel, or Pi, when his family is killed in a shipwreck while  moving their zoo to Canada. The story is told from an older Pi’s perspective as he relays his story to a novelist who thinks his story would make a great novel.

A blog I follow did a pretty cool review for this movie. Have a look at the The Focused Filmographer review here

IMDB Moviemeter: 5

Other IMDB: Top 250 #242 | Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 10 wins & 21 nominations

Tomatometer: 88%

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Week 4: Jack Reacher

Jack_reacherI’m not convinced, but it might, just might, surprise me, so for that fact alone, give it a go if you haven’t see any of the first three films I mentioned. The critics seems to like it.

Tom Cruise stars as a homicide investigator who digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper that shot five random victims.

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Trailer 1

(When I first heard the soundtrack from the trailer, I thought it was a new Mission Impossible (1:02))

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Trailer 2

 

 

 

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Must See Movies 2012 #8: Skyfall Review

Skyfall - IMPAwards.com

Source – IMPAwards.com

WARNING: Possible spoilers!

Last month, my one recommendation was the new Bond film, Skyfall. I am happy to say I still stand by this recommendation, it is definitely a must see movie, especially for Bond fans, but then again if you are a Bond fan, I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you this. You’ve already seen the movie and are telling others the same thing… I hope…

Building up to Skyfall, I did a Bond marathon, my third one (which explains my lack of blogging for the last little while), and had managed to get to The World is Not Enough (1999, Pierce Brosnan) the day before I went to watch Skyfall. Up to this point, good old Roger Moore was my favourite Bond with Sean Connery in a very, very, very close second. I liked the Connery era SPECTRE storyline but Moore was just a better Bond for me. George Lazenby wasn’t around long enough to make an impression on me, but I still preferred him to Timothy Dalton & Pierce Brosnan. The Brosnan movies weren’t necessarily bad, although they may have been a bit over the top and worst of all they used BMW for the Bond cars, but I just didn’t like Brosnan. Timothy Dalton was a bit better, but still nowhere near Moore or Connery, and still not as good as Lazenby.

In my first Bond marathon, Brosnan was the current Bond and I was still in school, so I didn’t pay the attention I should have. It was something to watch while I was doing other stuff. I had watched Goldeneye on VHS, didn’t have DVD then, from the local video store where I lived. It was about a year after Goldeneye had come out, and since they had the whole collection, I thought why not. I would like to say I was a fan after that, but that would be a lie, I was just too young I think…

My second Marathon was almost 10 years later, just before the release of Casino Royale. I think this is when I officially became a Bond fan. The second time round I definitely paid more attention, to the characters which were repeated through the movies, the little inside jokes (“This never happened to the other chap” – George Lazenby), the quirks of the different Bonds, the cars, the airplanes and more. It was then that I decided that Moore was my favourite Bond. I watched Casino Royale afterwards when it came to the big screen and also watched Quantum of Solace a few years later and thoroughly enjoyed them.

A few months back when the 50 years of Bond hype was around and talk of Skyfall was on the rise, I decided to do my third marathon from Dr No up to Quantum of Solace and slowly but surely I made it through to The World Is Not Enough. That was just before the weekend of Skyfall’s release in South Africa. I then had the choice to wait until I actually finished my marathon, or to watch Skyfall that weekend. I watched it as you could guess and I was blown away, but I finished the remaining movies in the week afterwards. Which brings me to the one Bond that I haven’t mentioned yet, the current one, Daniel Craig.  He is definitely not the sophisticated, suave Bond that was portrayed by all the previous Bonds, although you can see his growth as a 00 through the first three movies.

But there’s a reason for that, in Casino Royale, the Bond movies took a drastic twist that some, non-Bond fans mostly, may not have noticed, it was a complete reset of the Bond Universe. It wasn’t so much of a new story as a new twist on it. Casino Royale was to Bond what Batman Begins was to Batman. Casino Royale was actually also the first book in Ian Fleming’s Bond novels.

Casino Royale Director Martin Campbell confirmed this:

“The producers felt it had gone off the rails a bit after Die Another Day, with invisible cars and all that. I told them, we have to go back to the books. We even discussed doing it as a period piece.We settled on a more fucked-up character with a dark streak in him – drinking too much, dodgy liver – all that’s in the book. In Casino, he also had a real relationship with a woman. He doesn’t just have a dozen for king and country.”

I didn’t know this when I first watched Casino Royale, it took a second watch a month or two later.  There were other things related to this that I also didn’t realise, like the reboot of the Felix Leiter character as well.

In Casino Royale, we see James Bond’s promotion to the ranks of the 00′s. He is definitely the darkest Bond of the series as we see him falling in love with the character Vesper and being betrayed by her near the end. In Quantum of Solace we are made more aware of the Quantum organisation (replacing both SMERSH and SPECTRE of the early films and novels in this reboot) and find that our villians in this film and the previous one are all part of Quantum, including Vesper and her killer/lover, Yusef Kabira.

In Skyfall, the foundation for the new Bond universe is set even more. We are introduced to the new Moneypenny straight away even if we don’t realise it and to the new Q a bit later. Many fans and even Daniel Craig expressed wishes for their return, and quite a return they have made (What did you expect, an exploding pen?).

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know about the whole M situation, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Ralph Fiennes is a pretty damn good actor and while I loved Judie Dench as M, she reminded me too much of the Brosnan era.

With Skyfall, Daniel Craig officially became my new favourite James Bond. I thought he was brilliant in Casino Royale, a little less brilliant in Quantum of Solace, although only a little bit less. In Skyfall he has me hooked to Bond 2.0. He was brilliant and even managed to not let Javier Bardiem outshine him, not easy, with Bardiem as the villian, ex-00 agent Raoul Silva (aka Tiago Rodriguez)

Don’t rely on me to convince you to watch though, go read some reviews if you need to, but the fact that it is the highest grossing movie of all time in the UK, and has almost reached the billion Dollar mark ($922 million at the time of this post) which would put in on top as the highest earning Bond film of all time (relative to inflation) which is currently held by Goldfinger at the magic $1 billion mark.

If you’re still looking at me for some reasons to go watch it, where do I start? The best Bond villian for a long time: Javier Bardiem, the sexy Bond girl Bérénice Marlohe, who plays Severine and the moment you see what Aston he is gonna drive (I heard about 5-10 “whoas” when I watched it in the cinema. Not to say those are it’s only good points, they’re just the most prominent ones.

Wanna have another look at that trailer? Sure!

Sacred Economics: The Gift Economy

 

 

Charles EisensteinToday I heard of Charles Eisenstein  for the first time. It was in a video about the concept of the Gift Economy and how we as society need to move away from the money economy.

 

 

 

Below is the short film which covers it briefly, but if you would like to hear more, watch the longer video underneath in which he goes into detail on money, the gift economy and some other topics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For something similar, but just as interesting, watch “THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?”, a 2 hour documentary on making a change.

 

 

 

Official Website: http://www.thrivemovement.com/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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