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Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollJuly 7, 2006 10:46 PM


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I haven't had the time to type up the answer to yesterday's quiz, so instead why not a World Cup open thread? It was pretty easy to discern the pattern in the quarterfinals, where Portugal beat England, Italy beat the Ukraine, France beat Brazil, and Germany beat Argentina -- all of the Eurozone squads were victorious, while those nations still puttering along with their local currencies were left to go home and lick their wounds. Hooray for globalization! But what is it that separates Les Bleus and the Azzurri, victorious in the semifinals, from their opponents? I mean, besides a bluish tinge, a strong wine tradition, almost identical flags, and amazing goals? (And being picked by me to lose?) Eventually it hit me: these were the countries that have been home to Popes! Sometimes simultaneously! So what will happen in Sunday's final? Italy has had more Popes, but France has been more of a leader in unifying Europe. A titanic struggle between the temporal and spiritual realms awaits. Allez les Bleus!Forza Italia! (I will, at the time, actually be in Italy, so I'm leaning slightly Forza over Allez, but I wouldn't bet against that Zizou guy in his last professional game.)

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