NASA Space Telescope Center of $1.5 Billion Fiasco

first_imgThe James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project seems to be in even more financial trouble than we reported yesterday on ScienceInsider. An independent review of the project, led by John Casani of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has found that the telescope would end up being at least $1.5 billion over budget. That puts the total estimated cost of the project at $6.5 billion. In a media teleconference yesterday, Casani summarized the findings of the review, which was ordered by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of a panel that oversees NASA’s budget. Casani’s team found that even in the most optimistic scenario, NASA would not be able to launch the telescope before September 2015—a year behind schedule. In order to make that deadline, NASA would need an additional $200 million for the project every year for the next 2 fiscal years. If NASA were to get this additional funding, which does not look likely at least for FY2011, it would still end up with a total cost overrun of $1.5 billion by the time the telescope is ready for launch. If this money does not come through, the launch will be delayed further—possibly by another 2 years, leading to a greater escalation of cost. Casani minced no words about who was to blame. 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It “understated the requirements of the project.” Not only did the project office provide a bad estimate, officials at NASA headquarters failed to identify the errors in the budgeting, Casani said. At the time the project was confirmed, “we didn’t have the people” to do the analysis that was needed, Chris Scolece, NASA’s associate administrator said on the teleconference. “We’re not pleased that we have a cost overrun,” he said. He announced that the project’s administration had been restructured in light of the report’s findings. A new program office has been set up to coordinate the project. It will report directly to the office of the NASA administrator. Scolece would not comment on the prospects of finding an additional $200 million for the project in the next 2 fiscal years. He also would not say how the increased costs might impact other science programs at NASA. “Our goal right now is to go off and implement the recommendations that came out of the report,” he said.last_img read more

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Kenyan marathon master Kipchoge smashes world record,Kenyan marathon master Kipchoge smashes world record

first_imgKenyan Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, clocking 2hr 1min 39sec, taking 1min 17sec off the previous best set four years ago by compatriot Dennis Kimettoto   –  REUTERS SHARE sport September 16, 2018 Published on SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTS × COMMENT Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, smashing the previous best as he clocked 2hr 1min 39sec.The 33-year-old Olympic champion, aided by a string of pacemakers through to 25km of the 42.195km race, took 1min 18sec off the previous best set four years ago by Dennis Kimetto.It was the largest single improvement on the marathon world record since Derek Clayton improved the mark by 2:23 in 1967.“My only words are ‘Thank you!’,” said Kipchoge, who sprinted into the lead after 100 metres and never let up.“I was prepared to run my own race early so I wasn’t surprised to be alone. I have trained so well for this race and have full trust in the programmes of my coach. I am just so incredibly happy to have finally run the world record as I never stopped having belief in myself.”Acclaimed as the greatest marathon runner of the modern era, Kipchoge has dominated marathon racing since making his debut in Hamburg in 2013 after a successful track career that saw him win world gold and silver (2003, 2007) in the 5000m and Olympic silver and bronze (2008, 2004) over the same distance.He has notched up 10 wins from the 11 marathons he has raced, winning three times not only in Berlin but also London, with victories in Rio for Olympic gold as well as in Hamburg, Rotterdam and Chicago.In the German capital on Sunday, Kipchoge had just a handful of pacemakers for company from the early stages of the race.The Kenyan passed through five kilometres in 14:24 and 10 kilometres in 29:21.But shortly after 15 kilometres, which was reached in 43:38, two of the three pacemakers were unable to continue and withdrew from the race.The final pacemaker, Josphat Boit, led Kipchoge through the half-way point in 1:01:06 before dropping out at 25 kilometres, covered in 1:12:24.Running alone with 17 kilometres left, Kipchoge then sped up.He passed the 35-kilometre checkpoint just a shade outside 1:41:00, suggesting a finishing time inside 2:02 was possible. By 40 kilometres, reached in 1:55:32, a world record looked a certainty.Kipchoge maintained his form well into the closing stages to smash compatriot Kimetto’s previous best.“Yes, it was tough running alone, but I was confident,” said Kipchoge, who finished well ahead of compatriots Amos Kipruto (2:06:23) in second and Wilson Kipsang (2:06:48) in third.“I’d said I was running my own race following my planning and I was confident.” Kipchoge came agonisingly close to sporting immortality by nearly running the first sub two-hour marathon last year.He missed the mythical mark by just 25 seconds.But the race conditions at the Nike-sponsored event were so favourable — Kipchoge ran behind a six-man pacesetting team and was trailed by a time-keeping vehicle on a racing circuit in Monza, Italy — that the time was not recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).There was a Kenyan double as Gladys Cherono ran 2:18:11, a course record and world leading time, to win the women’s race.Ethiopian Ruti Aga finished second in 2:18:34 and six-time Olympic and six-time world medallist Tirunesh Dibaba third (2:18:55), making more history as it was the first time three women have broken 2:19 in one race. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, clocking 2hr 1min 39sec, taking 1min 17sec off the previous best set four years ago by compatriot Dennis Kimettoto   –  REUTERSlast_img read more

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Lukaku and Van Dijk lead star-studded FUT TOTW

first_imgRomelu Lukaku and Virgil van Dijk lead the way in the latest FIFA 19 Team of the Week in Ultimate Team.This week’s team is based heavily around the international break, with Lukaku scoring twice against Switzerland in Nations League play to headline the squad.For his part, Van Dijk scored a goal of his own while marshalling a clean sheet against Germany in one of the more talked-about fixtures of the international break. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! The two aren’t the only Premier League stars in the fold, though, with Eric Bailly, Bernardo Silva, Marko Arnautovic and Aleksandr Mitrovic also being named to the Week 5 squad.Serie A was also well-represented with Juventus leading the charge as expected. Wojciech Szczesny was awarded an in-form item despite a pair of Nations League defeats while team-mate Alex Sandro’s goal against Saudi Arabia earned the Brazilian the nod.As for those not involved in international soccer, two MLS representatives were named to the squad in Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela as well as the Philadelphia Union’s Borek Dockal as both clubs push towards the playoffs.See the full squad below…STARTING XIFUT FIFA 19 TOTW 5GK – Wojciech Szczęsny – JuventusLB – Alex Sandro – JuventusCB – Virgil van Dijk – LiverpoolCB – Eric Bailly – Manchester UnitedRM – James Rodriguez – Bayern MunichCAM – Carlos Vela – Los Angeles FCCM – Ruslan Malinovskyi – GenkCDM – Ole Kristian Senaes – Saint-EtienneST – Romelu Lukaku – Manchester UnitedRW- Bernardo Silva – Manchester CityST – Marko Arnautovic – West HamBENCHGK – Ciprian Tatarusani – NantesCB – Ramy Bensebaini – Stade Rennais CAM – Borek Dockal – Philadelphia UnionST – Omar Al Soma – Al AhliST – Odion Ighalo –  Changchun YataiST – Aleksandar Mitrovic – FulhamST – Goran Pandev – Genoa RESERVESCB – Roman Neustadter – FenerbahceLB – Benjami Kololli – ZurichCM – Pedro Aquino – LeonST – Carlos Fernandez – Deportvo la CorunaST – Reggie Lambe – Cambridge Unitedlast_img read more

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Cuper still flip-flopping on Salah’s fitness

first_imgEgypt ‘Salah has an important test today’ – Cuper still flip-flopping on Egypt star’s fitness Dom Farrell Last updated 1 year ago 01:54 6/19/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Mohamed Salah, Hector Cuper Getty Egypt World Cup Mohamed Salah Russia v Egypt Russia The manager says his star is fit for a crucial clash with Russia, but also said the Liverpool man requires a late fitness test Despite again declaring his star Mohamed Salah to be fit, Egypt boss Hector Cuper also said the Liverpool man is facing a late fitness test before facing Russia in World Cup Group A.Salah swept to a host of end-of-season awards after his stunning debut campaign at Liverpool yielded a remarkable 44 goals in all competitions.However, he signed off 2017-18 on a note of bitter disappointment, as a shoulder injury sustained in a grappling challenge with Sergio Ramos saw the 26-year-old substituted 30 minutes into last month’s 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move The Egyptian Football Association declared Salah fit to face Uruguay in the tournament opener – a verdict Cuper concurred with pre-match before opting against risking his prized asset in the 1-0 defeat.Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s match in St Petersburg, Cuper again put himself at odds with his federation by insisting final medical checks must be carried out, although he expects Salah to face hosts buoyed by a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia.”Salah is fit. In the previous match against Uruguay we thought he was fit also but we always draw up a last physical test,” the former Valencia boss explained.”Today we’ll have an important test for him to see how he does. I think he will be fit to play. He is an important part of our team.”Tomorrow I am optimistic he’ll be able to play.”On Sunday,  Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa said his client would be ready to face Russia , tweeting simply: “Mohamed is fit.”Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov declared himself confident of managing to shackle the prolific attacker if Salah is put through his paces effectively.”I guess each coach has his or her strategy and they prepare matches according to their philosophy,” Cherchesov said.”We need to bear in mind that there is not only one player on the pitch. I don’t think the coach will focus just on Salah.”We prepare matches not basing ourselves solely on how to stop one player such as Salah.”Ready for tomorrow.100 million strong.  @adidasfootball #HereToCreate pic.twitter.com/03BI9CQbgI — Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) June 18, 2018 Although keen to shield the other members of his Pharoahs’ squad from accusations of being passengers in a one-man team, Cuper acknowledged Egypt’s hopes of avoiding an early exit would be greatly increased by having his world-class star available.”Salah is one of the best players in the world. He is in the top 10 for me, there is no shadow of doubt about it,” he said. “It is an honour and privilege to coach him.”On top of being talented he is humble. He plays as a team player and that for me is extremely important nowadays.”He is important to us and I say that with all due respect to the other players in the Egyptian squad.”last_img read more

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National Participation Survey extended until Sunday 8 January 2017

first_imgThank you for the great response so far, we have had over 5,000 started or completed surveys! Due to many of our members already enjoying the holiday festivities, we have decided to extend the survey until Sunday 8 January 2017. A reminder email will sent out overnight to everyone on our database with the link to complete the survey (please check spam/junk folders if not received), a link to the survey is also available for those who haven’t received an email invitation here.The evidence gathered will provide valuable insights into the overall customer satisfaction levels of Touch Football, areas for improvement, and what our participants value within the sport. There will also be incentives to complete the survey with 5 x $100 TFA online shop vouchers up for grabs.We value everyone’s into this important project. TFA wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!Related LinksParticipation Surveylast_img read more

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Juve vs Sampdoria team news: CR7 returns to starting XI

first_imgJuventus are seeking to get back to winning ways on Saturday, when they host Sampdoria at the Allianz Stadium.It took a late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo to prevent them suffering a shock loss to Atalanta on Boxing Day, when they salvaged a 2-2 draw after being reduced to 10 men after 53 minutes when Rodrigo Bentancur was dismissed.That was just the second occasion they have spilt points this season and they will want to finish a successful 2018 on a high against a Sampdoria side in the equation for the top four. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Game Juventus vs Sampdoria Date Saturday, December 29 Time 11:30am GMT / 6:30am ET TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched on ESPN Deportes and streamed on ESPN Deportes+. US TV channel Online stream ESPN Deportes ESPN Deportes+ In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be streamed on Eleven Sports 1. UK TV channel Online stream N/A Eleven Sports 1 Squads & Team News Position Juventus players Goalkeepers Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Perin Defenders De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Bonucci, Cancelo, Rugani, Sandro, Barzagli Midfielders Pjanic, Matuidi, Can, Bentancur, Bernardeschi, Spinazzola, Khedira Forwards Ronaldo, Dybala, Costa, Cuadrado, Mandzukic Juventus starting XI: Szczesny; De Sciglio, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Emre Can, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Cristiano Ronaldo Position Sampdoria players Goalkeepers Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Perin Defenders De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Bonucci, Cancelo, Rugani, Sandro, Barzagli Midfielders Pjanic, Matuidi, Can, Bentancur, Bernardeschi, Spinazzola, Khedira Forwards Ronaldo, Dybala, Costa, Cuadrado, Mandzukic Sampdoria starting XI: Audero; Sala, Tonelli, Colley, Murru; Praet, Ekdal, Linetty; Ramirez; Quagliarella, CaprariBetting & Match Odds Juventus are priced as heavy favourites at 2/9 to win this clash at bet365. Sampdoria can be backed at 12/1, while a draw is on offer at 11/2.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more. Match Preview Mario Mandzukic Juventus Roma Serie A 12222018Juventus showed a rare chink in their armour on Boxing Day as they were held to a 2-2 draw against Atalanta, yet that was only the second time in 18 Serie A fixtures this season that they had dropped points.It was a fixture that they started without Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting XI, but the Portuguese came on and dramatically turned the game just as it seemed that the 10-man Bianconeri might be slipping towards their first defeat of the domestic season.Controversy over match officials, which had been started by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis prior to the match, continued following that encounter, in which Rodrigo Bentancur had been dismissed for two yellow cards. “I’ll leave Banti, who refereed well, aside because it’s not elegant to make these allusions and declarations. I’ll never speak, we need to educate the fans,” Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri lamented. “I could make a scene but that would be wrong, in Italy anything and everything goes and we never learn.“I’m sorry for Italian football, there’s no desire to improve Italian football. There was a beautiful setting today, but we always need to talk about other things.“In my opinion there’s no desire to improve, I’m disappointed for the children and my children. We don’t want to improve this sport.”Sampdoria, meanwhile, are in good form after overcoming Chievo 2-0 on December 26, and coach Marco Giampaolo wants it to go on.“I told the squad that to achieve important things you need to be willing to sacrifice some things, and sacrifice isn’t limited to only two months,” he said after the weekend win, which extended their unbeaten run to seven games.“We need to work on ourselves and even renounce some things, but the reward for that sacrifice can be high.“I don’t look at the table, even if it gives us self confidence, we just need to think about playing our own games as well as possible because there are always three points available.”last_img read more

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Spotted Rickmers Tokyo Loads Cargo for Lottes MEG Plant

first_imgImage Courtesy: Rickmers-LineIn today’s spotted, we bring you an image of Rickmers Tokyo, a general cargo vessel which recently loaded reactors and pressure vessels in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, for the Lotte’s MEG plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana.Owned by Rickmers Linie whose business operations were acquired by Zeaborn, the 30,000 dwt ship features a length of 192.9 meters and a width of 27.8 meters. This Marshall Islands-flagged ship was built by China’s Xiamen Shipbuilding in 2002.As disclosed, Rickmers-Line was awarded the 120.000 FRT project by one of Koreas’s biggest Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors for one of the world’s largest monoethylene glycol (MEG) plants.“Having dedicated over ten consecutive voyages to move all cargo from Korea to the US, we are proud to play our part in the development of Lake Charles as a premier hub for the petrochemical industry,” Rickmers-Line said.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

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DP World to Quit Operating Deal for Indonesias TPS

first_imgzoom UAE’s port developer DP World has decided not to renew its operating contract for PT Terminal Petikemas Surabaya (TPS) in Indonesia at the end of the agreement in 2019. DP World is a 49% shareholder in TPS, which represents a gross capacity of 2.1 million TEUs out of 85 million TEUs for the group. The company said that there would be no material financial impact on the group as a consequence of this action.“Over the last 20 years, Surabaya has benefitted from DP World’s state-of-the-art, productivity enhancing systems, training and development programmes, as well as the company’s security, safety and environmental best practices, and we are proud of our success there,” Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO, said.“It is unfortunate that the significant positive contributions made by global terminal operators in Indonesia have not been fully recognised, despite our successful track record. We are therefore disappointed that the operating contract renewal terms offered by the Indonesian authorities did not meet our threshold for continued investment,” Bin Sulayem added.“Adhering to strict financial discipline has been crucial to the growth of DP World” and on that basis the company said it is not able to renew the agreement beyond 2019.The transfer of operations will be in accordance to the terms and conditions of the contract, DP World informed.last_img read more

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Congress needs to be strengthened at booth level Captain Ajay Yadav

first_imgGurugram: Maintaining optimism over the future prospects of the grand old party, its Gurugram Lok Sabha candidate of 2019 Captain Ajay Yadav said that all was not lost for the Congress party. The six-time MLA from Rewari said it will be able to revive itself in the coming elections.He has suggested that Congress party needs to strengthen at the booth level and the workers need to be energised further to make the voters believe that Congress can provide alternatives to the failures of the BJP. Even though Captain Yadav lost from his competitor by over three lakh votes, Captain Yadav has not shied away from in thanking five lakh voters who voted for him. In areas of Mewt where BJP was able to get the vote share of 20 percent Yadav has been making constant visits. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarCaptain Ajay Yadav is a son of Abhay Singh Yadav who was again one of the tallest leaders Congress in South Haryana. Captain Yadav served n Indian Army for seven years after he was first commissioned as an officer in 1980. He took the premature retirement in 1987 and joined the state politics. Just two years after his joining the state politics he was able to win his first assembly elections in 1989 after which his successful stint in assembly elections carried on for more than 25 years. Ever since he lost the Rewari is the Assembly elections in 2014, Captain Yadav focussed on the matters related to South Haryana and emphasised that how BJP was not able to deliver governance in the state as well as in the national level. He won the Rewari seat for the first time in 1989 after which he continued the successful trend with wins in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2009.last_img read more

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Coldplay To Exhibit Album Artwork For Kids Company

first_imgColdplay has announced a special exhibition of original album artwork to raise funds for Kids Company.The exhibition will take place from November 29 to December 2 at Proud Galleries in Camden, London, and will feature three paintings by the band and their Mylo Xyloto artist Paris. Also on display will be the original graffiti wall that became the cover artwork for the Mylo Xyloto album as well as a wall painted by children from Kids Company.“Kids Company is a phenomenal organisation that is very close to our hearts,” said singer Chris Martin. “While we were making the last album we did quite a lot of painting with our friend Paris. We built a special wall in our studio and sprayed it, wrote on it and threw things at it until it eventually became the artwork for Mylo Xyloto. This exhibition will be the first time that the wall has appeared in public.”Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company founder / CEO, added: “The support Coldplay have given us over the years has been amazing. Art plays a major role in Kids Company’s work with vulnerable children: kids who have experienced trauma often find it easier to express themselves using art materials rather than words. Our recent award-winning exhibition in partnership with the Royal Academy demonstrated this very powerfully and poignantly.”Kids company provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people, in particular those with severe emotional, behavioral and social difficulties, resulting from significant experiences of trauma and neglect.The artworks are for sale, and can be viewed here.Source:Coldplay.comlast_img read more

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10 Tips to Attracting Real Investors to Your Indie Film

first_imgOr“What if the script I’ve optioned isn’t commercial enough?”My answer is always the same.  The economy and the rest of those issues have nothing to do with it.  If you buy into the doom and gloom of whatever conversation you’re telling yourself, you might as well go watch a movie, because you sure as heck aren’t going to make one.  My business coach always said, “You take actions correlated to the way the world occurs for you”.  So, if you think it’s impossible to raise money for your film… guess what actions you’re going to take.I’m not saying you don’t have to be a lot smarter and a lot more creative.  Of course, you do.  In fact, you may have to consider lowering your budget or partnering up with a producer with more credits for example.   You will need to get educated on what’s selling, how you can best take advantage of federal and state/provincial incentives, get super smart about crowdsourcing, and perhaps consider alternative forms of distribution and how that could entice investors to come on board.  There is an endless number of things you can do to attract investors.With all of this in mind, I have compiled the list below to help you jump-start the funding process.  For the most part, I’ll be focusing on lower budget films, but you can certainly map this on to whatever budget size you have. When I was deciding on which article to write this time all I had to do was think back to the first question everyone asks anytime I’m on a panel or doing a speaking engagement in front of producers. “How do we fund our films?”  And the question doesn’t usually end there.  It continued with“How do I raise money for my film in this economy?”Or“In the face of having to deal with unions on my ultra- low budget film?”Or“When I don’t have enough producing experience?” 2. DO MORE NETWORKING!Go to events, festivals, screenings, and parties and get to know more people and tell them what you are up to.  Be clear, brief and specific.  7READ MORE LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement 1. MINE YOUR OWN NETWORK OF PEOPLECall everyone you know (your entire “Map of Relationships”) and tell them exactly what you are doing — and make a request!  When my film partner, Kate Robbins, and I had finished producing our first four bigger budget indie films we decided to take a break and have some fun producing a few SAG ultra-low projects.We literally called everyone we knew and told them what we were planning and why.  We explained that we were putting the final touches on our business plan, private placement memorandum and operating agreement for our horror film “Candy Stripers.” We had opened our LLC as well and we made our request simple.  After I shared a bit about the project and how much the units/shares were going to be, I said, “if you’re interested in possibly investing and want to take a look at our Business Plan packet we’d be more than happy to send it along.” Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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Asian stocks sink after Wall Street tech selloff

first_imgBEIJING — Asian stocks sank Tuesday after a tech sell-off dragged Wall Street lower.KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 tumbled 3.2 per cent to 21,554.45 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.1 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.2 per cent at 2,625.37 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gave up 1.9 per cent to 5,825.60. Seoul’s Kospi retreated 1.6 per cent to 2,047.10 and benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also declined.WALL STREET: A sell-off in technology companies knocked more than 600 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The wave of selling snared big names including Apple, Amazon and Goldman Sachs. Banks, consumer-focused companies, and media and communications stocks all took heavy losses. That, in turn, weighed on chipmakers. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 2 per cent to 2,726.22. The Dow gave up 2.3 per cent to 25,387.18. It was down briefly by 648 points. The Nasdaq composite slid 2.8 per cent to 7,200.87.APPLE: The tech stock tumble followed an analyst report that suggested Apple significantly cut back orders from one of its suppliers. That fueled questions about the outlook for tech industries and U.S. economic growth. Apple fell 5 per cent after Wells Fargo analysts said the iPhone maker is the unnamed customer that optical communications company Lumentum Holdings said was significantly reducing orders. Shares in Lumentum plunged 33 per cent.ANALYST’S TAKE: “The U.S. morning sell-off in the tech sector triggered the equity rout,” said Stephen Innes of OANDA in a report. “It is hard to overlook the global growth slowdown, while the Trump administration seems set to exert pressure on China trade.” A stronger U.S. dollar usually acts as a “wrecking ball through Asian equities.”OPEC: Saudi Arabia said the oil cartel and allied crude producers will likely need to cut supplies, perhaps by as much as 1 million barrels of oil a day, to rebalance the market after U.S. sanctions failed to cut Iran’s output. Khalid al-Falih’s comments showed the balancing act U.S. allies face in dealing with President Donald Trump’s actions. Trump has demanded OPEC increase production to drive down U.S. gasoline prices. Al-Falih, who on Sunday said the kingdom would cut production by more than 500,000 barrels per day in December, said Saudi Arabia gave customers “100 per cent of what they asked for.” That appeared to be a veiled reference to Trump.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 78 cents to $59.15 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank 26 cents on Monday to $59.93. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 69 cents to $69.43 in London. It declined 6 cents the previous session to $70.12.CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 113.89 yen from Monday’s 113.84 yen. The euro gained to $1.1241 from $1.1218.Joe McDonald, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Godse killed Gandhis body people like Pragya killing soul of India Kailash

first_imgNew Delhi: Stressing that Mahatma Gandhi is above power and politics, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi Saturday said people like Pragya Singh Thakur are killing the soul of India and the BJP should expel her from the party. His comments came after Malegaon blast accused and BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate Thakur lauded Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a “patriot” in an election rally in Madhya Pradesh. She later apologised for her statement, saying she respected Gandhi and his work for the country cannot be forgotten. “Godse had killed Gandhi’s body, but people like Pragya are killing the soul, non-violence, peace, tolerance and the soul of India. Gandhi is above all power and politics. “The BJP leadership should forego its interest of any small benefit and immediately take her out of the party in compliance with the Raj dharma,” Satyarthi, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, tweeted. Thakur on Thursday had said, “Godse was a patriot, is a patriot, and will remain a patriot. Those who call him a terrorist should look within they will get a reply in this election.” She made the remarks reacting to actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s comments calling Godse as the first Hindu terrorist. Thakur, who is facing trial in the Malegaon blast case that killed six people, has apologised for the statement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said he will never forgive Thakur for calling Godse a true patriot. In April, the BJP candidate had claimed that police officer Hemant Karkare had died in the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai as she “had cursed him” due to “years of mental and physical torture” he gave her.last_img read more

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All litigation all the time Simmering Alberta oil sands disputes set to

EDMONTON — Simmering disputes over the oil sands between Alberta aboriginals and the provincial and federal governments will break into the open in 2014 as virtually every one of the many recent changes in oversight of the controversial industry comes under legal and political attack.“All litigation, all the time, is what I see on the horizon,” said Larry Innes, lawyer for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.[np_storybar title=”Why 2014 will be year of big decisions for Canadian oil and gas” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/12/26/keystone-northern-gateway-why-2014-will-be-year-of-big-decisions-for-canadian-oil-and-gas/?__lsa=7535-349a”%5DFrom decisions on pipelines, investment in LNG, what to spend and what to cut, it’s shaping up to be a landmark year for Canada’s oil and gas industry. Keep reading. [/np_storybar]Over the last 18 months, Ottawa and Edmonton have rewritten the book on resource development. Everything from how aboriginals will be consulted to land use planning to oil sands monitoring to the basic ground rules for environmental assessment has been changed.Governments say the new regime is more efficient, predictable and transparent. Aboriginals say it violates their rights and ignores their recommendations.So as aboriginal groups in British Columbia prepare for an expected attack on the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, Alberta aboriginals are pushing back with a long list of lawsuits either now or soon to be before the courts.The Fort McKay First Nation is appealing an approval of Brion Energy’s plans for a 50,000-barrel-a-day operation northwest of Fort McMurray. It says the province has violated the constitution by setting up an energy regulator expressly forbidden to hear arguments based on aboriginal rights.The Mikisew Cree and Frog Lake First Nation are before the courts arguing that Ottawa’s recent amendments to the Fisheries and Navigable Waters Acts run afoul of their rights.The Beaver Lake Cree is fighting both levels of government in a case that seeks to force them to consider the cumulative effects of oil sands development when issuing new permits.A total of 17 First Nations from around Alberta are trying to get legislation on access to public lands tossed out in a long-running case expected to go to trial this year.The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation plans to file a lawsuit in January attacking Ottawa’s new environmental assessment legislation after the approval of a major oil sands expansion that it says will violate both treaty rights and federal laws.At the same time, the Alberta government’s other major oil sands initiatives are running into heavy weather.All six First Nations in the oil sands area have requested a statutory review of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, the government’s attempt to balance development and environmental values. Those same bands, along with many others, have also rejected the province’s plans to centralize and control aboriginal consultation.One major band — the Fort McKay First Nation — has pulled out of the Joint Oilsands Monitoring program, the showpiece federal-provincial effort to monitor environmental change in the oil sands.Even the Lubicon Cree First Nation are back in court, with another try in a decades-long attempt to win a reserve and get some royalties on energy extracted from what they say is their land.The treaties give the province the power to take up lands and the argument is there must be a limit to thatAlberta Environment and Minister Robin Campbell declined to be interviewed.“We work with aboriginal leaders and communities in a variety of areas and will continue to do so,” said spokesman Kevin Zahara. “We will not speculate on possible legal challenges.”A big part of the problem is simply the scale of development, said Nigel Bankes, professor of resource law at the University of Calgary.“In the oil sands area, it’s really the intensity of the development,” he said.“The treaties give the province the power to take up lands and the argument is there must be a limit to that. That can’t be an entitlement to take away all lands (to) which First Nations have historically exercised hunting rights.”Those concerns grow as governments narrow who has the right to air concerns and what concerns they’re allowed to raise.“I think that’s a fair characterization,” said Bankes, who said that process has been going on for years. “(There’s a) very narrow and stringent standing test and I think that does mean there’s a level of frustration out there.”Not only are bands barred from raising aboriginal rights at regulatory hearings, two have recently been denied the right to even speak at ones concerning oil sands projects on their doorstep. Lawsuits happen when discussion fails, said Joe Jobin, chief operating officer of the Fort McKay First Nation.“First Nations have always tried to work with the government on developing a policy that works for First Nations and for industry,” he said.“The frustration is that the input is not being meaningfully considered. It’s almost like this attitude, ’Well, if you don’t like it, take us to court.”’The result is higher costs for everyone and uncertainty for industry, said Bankes. He added Alberta is increasingly resembling lawsuit-happy British Columbia, which has few treaties.“What we’re seeing now is the same sort of litigation that we’ve been seeing in B.C. for a long time. This is now being transplanted to the treaty context of Alberta.“Government has said to itself, ’Things are clearer here, there’s more security precisely because we’ve got treaties.’ I guess what the litigation that we’re seeing now is calling into question is, is that really true?”Innes said Alberta bands that have traditionally preferred to negotiate are increasingly through with talking.“First Nations who have been investing in the process find the process is stacked against them,” he said.“Things are coming to a head.” read more

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Vancouver residential property benchmark prices cracks 1 million

VANCOUVER — The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says the typical price of a home in Metro Vancouver has surpassed $1 million.The board says the composite benchmark price for all residential properties in the area is currently $1,019,400, up 8.7 per cent from July 2016.The benchmark price for detached properties in the area is about $1.612 million, for attached properties $763,700 and for apartments $616,600.While home prices jumped, there were more listings and fewer sales in Metro Vancouver last month.The board says there were 2,960 residential property sales in the region — down 8.2 per cent from a year ago — and 5,256 properties were newly listed for sale last month. That brought the total number of properties above 9,000 for the first time this year.Today also marks the one-year anniversary since the province’s former Liberal government imposed a 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax, aimed at cooling the hot housing market. The new NDP government has said it’s reviewing whether the tax and other measures were effective. read more

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Vonage to Turbocharge AI Efforts

Let Your Bots Do the Talking Andrew Prokop August 22, 2019 AudioCode’s Voice.AI Gateway lets enterprises voice-enable bots and call them from any telephone, UC system, or WebRTC endpoint. Log in or register to post comments “For the last 20 years, everybody’s been focused on getting the least cost per voice minute … to get audio conferencing as cheap and as ubiquitous as possible. That’s great, and that’s what has happened. But it’s happened at the expensive of the overall audio or voice experience,” Javaid said. “So one of the things that we’ve looked at, for example, is what we can do this with artificial intelligence and machine learning technique to really improve the overall audio experience.” After all, voice and conference calls are so very central to the way a lot of businesses continue to operate, he said. “If we can improve those experiences, AI will yield big benefits.”Tags:News & Viewsvendor newsM&Aconversational AIVonageOver.aiAI & Speech TechnologiesAI & AutomationAPIs & Embedded CommunicationsContact Center & Customer ExperienceCPaaSDigital WorkplaceNews & Views Articles You Might Like conversationalAI.jpg Besides its intellectual property in conversational AI, Vonage is acquiring Over.ai’s technical team of 23 from i.am+, an AI technology platform that purchased the company about three years ago. Over.ai is an Israeli company, and the team will join Vonage’s R&D hub in Tel Aviv. Cisco to ‘Tuck In’ Voice AI from Voicea Zeus Kerravala August 07, 2019 The acquisition will help advance the company’s cognitive collaboration strategy for Webex. AI is fueling a transformation in enterprise communications, and Vonage sees a role for it within its flagship UCaaS application, its CCaaS offering, as well as a new API product or enhancement to existing products, Javaid said. As my colleague Eric Krapf, GM of Enterprise Connect, wrote last week in his EC blog, artificial intelligence (AI) in enterprise and contact center communications “is happening.” While that means a whole lot of promise for enterprises, it also means a whole lot of hunting around for that oh-so-necessary AI talent that providers require to turn their technology plans into reality. In the last five years, Over.ai has gone deep on AI and machine learning, with a particular focus of late on “everything related to natural language processing and natural language understanding,” which we find adjacent to what we do and is the technology we need,” Dudai said. Such was the impetus for Vonage’s acquisition of voice AI firm Over.ai, announced last week. “We needed to accelerate — turbocharge, if you will — building up our expertise and depth in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Omar Javaid, president of Vonage’s API platform (Nexmo), told me in a No Jitter briefing. Speech Applications Are Vulnerable, Too Gary Audin October 04, 2019 Are you really in control of your voice-enabled devices and applications? Reiterating that the Over.ai acquisition will bolster Vonage’s AI skill set, Javaid noted that the new talent will help further the work Vonage has been doing to bring conversational AI to the contact center as one of Google’s Contact Center AI (CCAI) partners, Javaid said. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, well, you have Google CCAI, you’re done. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done still, and now we have more of the kind of expertise that requires,” he added. See All in AI & Speech Technologies » Via its voice and conversational AI platform, Over.ai provides intelligent virtual assistant functionality via APIs so that businesses can do more with their IVR systems. Vonage has been experimenting with Over.ai to provide a “smart IVR” system using bots to answer questions from customers calling into contact centers, explained Sagi Dudai, Vonage CTO, during the briefing. In applying conversational AI to phone lines, Vonage said it’s looking to help companies lower operational costs while improving the service they provide. Vonage has had a working partnership with Over.ai, which has built a voice and conversational AI platform, for a little over a year, Javaid said. When the acquisition opportunity presented itself, Vonage jumped at the chance, he added. “The short of it is that we really liked the team.” Google Ups its Game in Contact Center Speech Recognition Beth Schultz July 23, 2019 Introduces updates that will improve conversational and transcription accuracy, for use by virtual and human agents alike No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday Ryan Daily August 30, 2019 A look at the latest news coming from Google, Oblong, Expereo, Nureva, and Verint. read more

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Where Sabermetrics And the Eye Test Disagree

Defensive Runs Saved: Despite “Baseball Tonight’s” penchant for highlighting Web Gems, great fielders4At least, great defenders according to WAR’s fielding metric, Defensive Runs Saved. appear to be given short shrift in the ratings. Regardless of position, they were systematically underrated by the BBTN 100 panel. After controlling for other characteristics and overall WAR, a player who invests in his defense to the point where he saves 2.5 runs per 600 PAs gets dinged by one point in BBTN’s ratings. A great example is the Atlanta Braves’ Andrelton Simmons, who saved an astounding 40 runs per 1,200 innings in the field. His 7 WAR/600 suggested a BBTN score of 84; instead, the panel rated him a mere 76. Positional Scarcity: The voters tended to judge players’ offensive numbers without regard to the position where they were produced. It’s a lot easier to find a great hitter physically capable of playing first base than it is to find the same hitter who can also play competently at shortstop, but the BBTN rankings don’t reflect that.5The position adjustment in WAR is derived from changes in fielding performance when players move between different positions. For instance, the history of players switching from shortstop to second base suggests that players gain four extra defensive runs above average per 1,350 innings with the move, implying that second base is an easier position to play than shortstop. Holding WAR constant, for every 2.1 fewer runs of positional value that a player’s position was worth, his BBTN rating increased by one point. This sits in stark contrast to the sabermetric idea of positional scarcity, which Bill James gave voice to in the 1980s and, more rigorously, was popularized by Keith Woolner in the 1990s with the development of VORP. The effect is most evident with designated hitters, whose WAR totals are limited because they provide literally no defensive value. DHs like Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox rated 10 and 8 points higher, respectively, than WAR says they should have. Isolated Power: All else being equal, players with great power were significantly overvalued by voters. If a player somehow increased his isolated power by 11 points while keeping his overall value equal, he would have been rated one point higher by the BBTN panel. To wit: Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles is a fantastic power hitter (his .269 ISO since 2011 tied the Detroit Tigers’ two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera for third in our data set), but he rates as a below-average baserunner and a weak fielder at a non-premium defensive position. His three-year WAR should be equivalent to a 62 BBTN rating, but the panel gave him an 81. Two weeks ago, ESPN1FiveThirtyEight’s owner, for those unaware. released its “Baseball Tonight” (BBTN) 100, a player ranking based on votes from a panel of 40 experts. The panelists graded each of a group of 277 players on a 0-100 scale and then ranked them accordingly. For instance, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels topped the list with a score of 98, while his most valuable player foil from recent seasons, Miguel Cabrera, came in second at 96.2Ratings are rounded throughout.It’s just one group of ratings from one group of writers, former players and ex-pats of the game. But it’s a useful proxy to understand the difference between subjective valuations and empirical ones. I was interested in seeing what these experts’ preferences tell us about how they view the game. If the BBTN panelists were ranking players, surely some of their metrics would differ from more empirical measures. This isn’t to say that the experts didn’t look at statistics at all when voting, or that most of them aren’t knowledgeable about baseball’s growing culture of numeracy. Many of them are. But purely subjective votes like this bring out the emotional decisions inherent in evaluating players. I wanted to know where those emotions led the panel when — right or wrong — they strayed from the path of pure sabermetric orthodoxy.To that end, I broke down what caused players’ BBTN scores to differ from what would have been predicted from their wins above replacement marks, an advanced metric designed to statistically measure a player’s on-field contributions in a logical, structured way. Think of this as an investigation into where sabermetrics and the “eye test” disagree.For the 149 position players who logged at least 600 plate appearances from 2011 to 2013, I adapted per-plate appearance WAR rates to the same scale as the BBTN ratings.3For qualified players, the correlation between BBTN score and WAR per 600 PAs was just 0.42. But that’s kind of the point — we’re interested in investigating what correlates with the residuals between WAR and BBTN score. For instance, a rate of 6 WAR per 600 PAs, as Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays produced, would typically lead to a BBTN score of 78 — precisely the mark the panel gave Bautista. But not every player’s BBTN score lined up so perfectly with his WAR numbers.The Texas Rangers’ Prince Fielder generated just 3.3 WAR/600, which my calculations predict would lead to a BBTN rating of 62; instead, the voters deemed Fielder worthy of a 79, one of the most divergent ratings in the data set. Meanwhile, Craig Gentry of the Oakland Athletics created 6.7 WAR/600 — normally good for a BBTN score of 82 — but was rated a 45 by the panel.These divergences are a proxy for over- and under-ratedness, where — for the purposes of this concept — a player’s accurate rating is just his WAR rate. If a player was overrated, his BBTN score would be higher than his WAR implied it should be, and the opposite for an underrated player.But not every overrated player is overrated for the same reason. To understand if the experts are snookered by certain skills more than others, I gathered a bunch of numbers (including scouting-style defensive opinions) from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs, looking to see which were significant predictors of how much a player’s BBTN rating diverged from his WAR.Seven factors turned up as having a real effect on how a player was regarded by voters, relative to his sabermetric output. Contact Rate: Perhaps unsurprisingly, BBTN 100 panelists have a bias toward guys who put the bat on the ball when they swing. All else being equal, a 1.9-point increase in contact percentage leads to a player being rated one point higher in the voting. The Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Reyes connected on 88.5 percent of swings, which coupled with a .321 BABIP to help give him a .306 batting average — and a BBTN rating of 71, seven points higher than his WAR would typically warrant. Arm Strength: Sabermetrics is indifferent to the flair with which a player plays — its only concern is production. Arm strength is one of those pieces of flair most associated with raw athleticism (or “tools,” in scouting parlance) that the eyes appreciate even if the numbers are indifferent. That’s speculation, of course, but the regression is detecting some kind of real effect. It tells us that between two equally valuable players rated six points apart in arm strength, as measured by Tom Tango’s Fans Scouting Report, the more rifle-armed of the pair would score one point higher in the BBTN 100. All told, these results aren’t incredibly shocking. They exhibit a bias toward many of the traditional “tools” of scouting: hitting for average and power, speed, fielding and throwing. The voters’ bias isn’t conscious, but it is real. It’s indicative of all the factors that add up to our impression of a player, rather than his empirical value.Sabermetrics isn’t automatically the “correct” answer in these comparisons, but it does offer a rigorous, systematic way of valuing players. Examining where human biases conflict with the statistics is a useful way to determine where our eyes’ prejudices lie. Batting Average on Balls in Play: There are two possible explanations for the value placed by the BBTN 100 voters on BABIP. One is that the panel doesn’t seem to agree with the standard sabermetric view that much of a batter’s BABIP is driven by chance. (Remember, this isn’t to say success on balls in play is all luck, but it does take nearly two and a half years worth of plate appearances for an individual hitter’s BABIP to stabilize.) The other is that they strongly value those select batters whose playing style lends itself to a higher than normal BABIP — think speedy, ground-ball hitters like Ichiro Suzuki in his prime. With WAR held constant, a player would need a BABIP 14 points higher to see a one-point boost to his BBTN score. Clutch Hitting: Success in the Win Probability Added “clutch” metric — which measures whether a player hits better in high-leverage situations — may follow from playing style more than mental fortitude. But whatever the reason, the voters enjoy a player who raises his game in crucial situations. A player whose clutch play added 0.45 wins per 600 PA more than another (despite equal WAR) receives a one-point boost to his BBTN 100 rating. The New York Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury might be the poster child here after leading baseball in clutch wins above average over the 2011-13 span; Ellsbury was rated eight points higher by BBTN than WAR suggests he should have been. read more

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Carmelo Anthony Makes The Thunder Whole

As the NBA super team has returned to fashion over the last decade or so, basketball fans have been trained to rein in expectations — that putting together “on paper” talent full of volume scoring and high usage rates is a foolish way to assemble a fantasy team, let alone an NBA roster. They’ve been warned, in other words, against getting too excited about exactly what the Oklahoma City Thunder just did.At first glance, Sam Presti and the Thunder pulling off yet another surprising trade — this time swapping Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick for 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony — seems like fool’s gold. There’s only one ball, and Anthony, Paul George (whom the Thunder acquired earlier in the offseason) and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook all used prolific amounts of it last season: Anthony had a usage rate of 29.1 percent, his lowest in a decade but still a top-20 figure in the league. George’s was 28.9, also in the top 20, and Westbrook’s, famously, was 41.7 — a single-season NBA record. Anthony isn’t what he once was and his Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2013; George’s Indiana Pacers and Westbrook’s Thunder washed out in the first round. There’s plenty reason to question whether this will work. But Oklahoma City isn’t just any rebuilding project, and that makes its needs unique.It’s hard to evaluate the revamped Thunder by looking at these players as they existed on other teams. A player’s role can change drastically when going from a bad team to a contender (e.g. Kevin Love). More important is how they’ll fit on a Thunder team gunning for the Western Conference Finals and beyond. And unlike most teams adding star players to a modest roster, there’s a template in the team’s recent history for how the fit might go: The Kevin Durant-led 2015-16 Thunder went up 3-1 on the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals.Westbrook, starting center Steven Adams and standout perimeter defender Andre Roberson are all holdovers from that team, and George will likely be asked to fill a trimmed-down Durant role. Anthony, meanwhile, has a surprising amount in common with another former OKC standout: Serge Ibaka.This takes a bit of explaining. Ibaka’s defense has slipped recently, but he’s still a good defender overall and blocks shots at a high rate. Even in the 2016 playoffs, when Ibaka was no longer the fierce rim protector he was in earlier playoff runs, he held the Warriors to 40.8 percent shooting on attempts he defended in the conference finals. Meanwhile, Anthony can string together a few high-intensity defensive plays, but he has never shown the ability to do that over a season or even a playoff series. Big advantage for Serge. But Anthony has traditionally been a very good rebounder for his position and excels at Ibaka’s other major contribution: floor spacing from a “big” position.Anthony had an effective field goal rate of 58.6 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers last season, better than known sharpshooters like Kevin Love and in the top half of players with at least 200 attempts. (This is more impressive than it sounds, because the ranks of players who are asked to take 200 spot-up jumpers is a heavily self-selected group. Anthony will obviously hold the ball more than Ibaka, but he’s also a better ball handler and passer. The who-does-what balance will be crucial, which it doesn’t take deep analysis to see. But at minimum, Melo walking into a spot-up shooting role — the role he played so well for Team USA — will help the Thunder no matter what else he does, simply because he’s a good enough shooter to space the floor. And the Thunder desperately needed spacing.As a team, the Thunder had an effective field goal rate of 48.4 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers last season, third-worst in the league. The season before, they were middle-of-the-pack at 52.2 eFG, despite Ibaka underperforming and bricklayers like Roberson, Kyle Singler and Randy Foye eating up a lot of looks. Now they add Anthony, George was even better last season at 60.1 percent eFG and Patrick Patterson (55 percent eFG). The Thunder didn’t just address their need for shooters — they course-corrected their recent tendency to address shooting deficiencies with players who can only shoot, Anthony Morrow or Alex Abrines.The bigger question for Oklahoma City is depth. The Thunder rotation was already perilously thin, and trading Kanter and McDermott for Anthony replaces two young players with a 33-year-old forward. But even that is offset by the ways Anthony and George fundamentally change the makeup of the roster. Last season, the Thunder scored 10.6 fewer points per 100 possessions when Westbrook sat, making role players like Roberson or fellow defensive standouts such as Jerami Grant much less valuable than they would be on a team that was competent offensively. So the fact that Anthony and George carried their respective offenses with fairly limited rosters should mean that Roberson, Grant and other role players can focus on their strengths rather than their deficiencies.And that gets to the core of why the Westbrook-Anthony-George team-up isn’t quite like other recent collections of stars, Golden State notwithstanding. The core of a contending team was already in place but was gutted by Durant’s exit in free agency and general roster turnover. The Thunder were a good team with a few specific, extreme holes in the roster. Trading for Paul George filled a bunch of them, and trading for Melo has emphatically closed the rest. read more

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Is Virginia Too Slow

Wichita St.1666Sweet 161-0.41119 So, what gives? Why has Virginia — a team that has so thoroughly dominated the regular season lately — disappointed so much in March? It may have something to do with the glacially slow pace at which Bennett has his team playing.A team’s efficiency margin (i.e., the amount by which it would outscore an average Division I opponent over the course of 100 possessions) is generally a good predictor of wins and losses. Teams that score efficiently and make it hard for their opponents to do so tend to win a lot of games. According to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Virginia has hovered near the Top 5 in adjusted efficiency margin during its recent period of excellence, finishing each of the past five seasons somewhere in the ballpark of +25 to +30 points per 100 possessions. This year, the Cavs have the best margin of any Division I team at an eye-popping +35.Of course, Virginia never actually has a chance to play 100 possessions in any individual game. The typical 40-minute college game has only about 70 possessions in each direction. And because the Cavaliers play at the slowest pace of any Division I team (353rd), they typically use even fewer possessions than that — just less than 60 on average.Reducing the number of possessions available to each team puts a greater emphasis on randomness; each stroke of bad luck — a cold-shooting snap, a blown call, a bounce of the ball in the wrong direction — matters a bit more when the pace is slow. Extra randomness puts the favorite at greater risk and bolsters the underdog’s chances at an upset. By playing at a slow pace, the Cavaliers are essentially giving themselves fewer opportunities to prove that they are the better team in any given game. This is especially problematic if the Cavs find themselves trailing by a large margin, as they were early in the second half last year against UMBC.But does it actually matter? We know that pace has only a very modest influence on the predictability of postseason outcomes in the NBA. That’s because each NBA game is 48 minutes long, each team uses about 100 possessions per game, and each playoff matchup is decided over a best-of-seven series. However, in a single elimination tournament with shorter games and fewer possessions, playing at a slower pace has much greater potential to introduce some wild volatility — hence, March Madness.We ran a simulation to gauge just how big of a problem Virginia’s slow pace might be in the NCAA Tournament. Starting with the Cavaliers’ per-100-possession stats, we broke down the likelihood of the various potential outcomes for each possession on offense and on defense — how often they would score or allow 3 points (3-pointer made, 3 free throws or a 2-pointer and a free throw), 2 points (2PM or 2FTs), 1 point (1 FT) or 0 points (0FG, 0FT or a turnover) against an average opponent. Then, by sampling randomly from these distributions of potential possession outcomes, we created 10,000 simulated games for a range of different pace scenarios — from 50 to 80 possessions per game — to find the ratio of points scored to points allowed in each simulation. These simulations assume (undoubtedly unrealistically) that Virginia’s offensive and defensive efficiency would be unaffected by a change in the pace of play. Playing at a fast or slow pace tends to nudge a good team’s range of outcomes one way or the other by about a quarter of a win. So, yes, Virginia’s slow pace of play puts it at a relative disadvantage compared to other, higher-tempo No. 1 seeds. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Virginia should start playing faster.After all, Bennett knows a low-possession team can succeed in the tourney. He witnessed it firsthand in 2000 as a member of his father Dick’s coaching staff, when their methodical Wisconsin squad reached the Final Four despite playing at a snail’s pace. Now, Tony has implemented the same pace-defying pack-line defense that Dick once used to stifle Wisconsin’s opponents and tempo alike. That conservative defensive scheme is so integral to the Bennetts’ coaching identity that playing at a slow pace has basically become a family tradition.In the end, a team’s efficiency margin is still a much better predictor of tournament success than its tempo. And, in practice, Virginia’s huge efficiency margin may be inextricable from its slow pace of play. A faster-paced Virginia team might also become a less efficient Virginia team, especially on the defensive end.Theoretically, Bennett would maximize Virginia’s tournament chances by having his team play at a faster tempo. But in reality, his best bet may be to continue following in his dad’s slow-paced footsteps in the hopes that they will eventually lead him back to the Final Four.The journey will start for Bennett and Virginia on Friday afternoon against Gardner-Webb of the Big South. On paper, the Cavaliers will be 35 points better than the Runnin’ Bulldogs, at least on a per-100-possession basis. But we will just have to wait and see if 59 possessions will be enough for the Cavs to prove they are better than a No. 16 seed this time around.Check out our latest March Madness predictions. * Seed averages since 1985. Game totals through March 17, 2019.Source: sports-reference.com Michigan St.1629Final Four—+0.3529 SCHOOLTOTALTOURNEYBEST FINISHNo. 1 SeedAVG.Rank Duke17212Champion1+0.1145 WINSWins Vs. expected Virginia1727Elite Eight3-1.30159 Kansas17212Final Four3-0.55131 Arizona1688Elite Eight1-0.54127 Last year, coach Tony Bennett and his Virginia Cavaliers earned the embarrassing distinction of becoming the first No. 1 seed in men’s NCAA Tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed in the opening round. Bennett may end up being tied to that ignominious bit of trivia for the rest of his life, but he also has a real shot at redemption this year. Virginia is a No. 1 seed once again, and the reigning coach of the year will have another chance to win his (and the school’s) first national championship. But the questions linger: Was last year’s loss to the underdog Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers just a one-off fluke for Virginia, or was it symptomatic of a fatal flaw in Bennett’s system? Will this be the year that one of his teams finally breaks through?Broadly speaking, Bennett has been very successful at Virginia. He has racked up multiple 30-win seasons, recruited a string of NBA-quality players and fixed the Cavaliers firmly in the AP Top 10. It took him just three seasons to transform a 10-win team into an NCAA Tournament participant. And yet — despite five subsequent tourney appearances, including three No. 1 seeds — victories in the Big Dance have been few and far between for Bennett, as his Virginia teams have notched a total of just seven tournament wins. In fact, Virginia’s performance against seed expectation of -1.30 wins per tournament is the second-worst of any team over the past five years. Under this assumption of a stable efficiency margin — where the digital Cavaliers are programmed to score an average of 1.3 times as many points as they allow regardless of the tempo — we find that Virginia wins slightly more simulated games when playing at a faster pace. Visually, you can see the orange band of simulated results narrowing from left to right as the range of likely outcomes shrinks toward the average with an increasing number of possessions. The Cavs lost 9.7 percent of their simulated games when they played at a 59 possession-per-game tempo (equivalent to their usual pace), but the more their pace increased, the fewer upsets there were.This is an interesting thought experiment, but is there any empirical evidence to support the idea that playing at a slow pace is tied to underachievement in the tournament?To find out, we examined game results from the 17 NCAA Tournaments from 2002 to 2018, for which there are team-tempo stats available from KenPom. We created a model for expected win totals based on tournament seed and adjusted efficiency margin. Next, we compared the expected win totals from the model with the actual win totals for each team in each tournament, excluding the First Four and other play-in games.164 teams per tournament x 17 tournaments for a total of 1,088 distinct team-year combos. From there we sorted the teams by quality (i.e., expected to win more or less than two games in a single tournament) and by adjusted tempo (possessions per game, divided into tertiles), forming six groups. We found that, among the teams that were expected to win the most games (two or more), those that played at a slow pace tended to underachieve, while those that played faster were most likely to outperform their expected win totals. Virginia has been successful lately, just not when it countsTournament wins vs. average for seed* for the 10 Division I NCAA teams with the most total wins since 2013-14, through the 2018 tournament Kentucky17915Finalist1+1.187 Villanova19015Champion3+0.0549 Gonzaga19113Finalist1x+0.8812th of 160 UNC16915Champion2+0.6621 read more

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Big supermarkets allowed to regulate their own food safety just 4 years

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Tesco has been selected to pilot the scheme despite being at the centre of the horse meat scandal just four years ago, in which burgers being sold as “beef” actually contained mince made from horses.Tim Lang, Professor of food policy at the Centre for Food Policy, at City University, told the Grocer magazine: “This is scandalous. It’s a sign of a weak FSA.”The fact it happens to be turning to Tesco, of all companies, in time of trouble, is a sign of the resurgence of Tesco just four years after Horsegate, but also very bad news for public health.”However the FSA claims the move will allow it to launch a full on crackdown on restaurants and retailers with poor hygiene ratings, which it claims are the “real threat” to public health as they are more likely to make customers ill. Under the scheme retailers which can prove they meet top hygiene standards would become exempt from visits from trading standards officials and will instead be allowed to hire a private firm to do the checks.  It will also apply to restaurants, and the FSA has selected pub chain Mitchell & Butlers to partake in the three month trial. The scheme could be in place as early as 2020, however the watchdog does not appear to have worked out a number of crucial details of how it will work. A spokesman from the FSA told the Telegraph: “Before retailers are allowed to do this we have to make sure they have the level of assurance we are looking for. Right now we don’t have the details of how we would get that assurance.”Dr Mike Bromley, founder of Genon Laboratories, which tests food, said: “I would be worried that it could open the door for food contamination and food fraud. And I still think we need a system of inspectors from the FSA on the ground to make the system safe.” Fears are mounting that the next horse meat scandal is just around the corner, as big supermarkets may soon be allowed to avoid inspections from Government officers.Under money-saving plans being devised by cash-strapped food safety watchdogs, “trusted” retailers will be given special permission to police themselves.The move comes after major cuts to the Food Standards Authority’s budget meant it could no longer cope. It is being described by experts as the most scandalous Government decision on food safety in recent history.last_img read more

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